Significant impact of terminal room cleaning with bleach on reducing nosocomial Clostridium difficile

Am J Infect Control. 2010 Jun;38(5):350-3. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2009.11.003. Epub 2010 Jan 31.


Background: We were alerted to increased rates of Clostridium difficile-positive tests at all 3 hospitals in our health care system by MedMined Data Mining Surveillance Service, CareFusion (San Diego, CA). In response, an intervention of terminal room cleaning with dilute bleach was instituted to decrease the amount of C difficile environmental spore contamination from patients with C difficile infection (CDI).

Methods: The intervention consisted of replacing quaternary ammonium compound as a room cleaning agent with dilute bleach to disinfect rooms of patients with CDI upon discharge. All surfaces, floor to ceiling were wiped with dilute bleach applied with towels to thoroughly wet the surfaces. Daily room cleaning remained unchanged. Patients remained on C difficile contact isolation precautions until discharge. To determine the effectiveness of this program, rates of nosocomial CDI for all 3 hospitals were determined using the MedMined Virtual Surveillance Interface for 10 months prior to and 2 years after the cleaning intervention. Statistical significance was determined using Poisson regression analysis.

Results: There was a 48% reduction in the prevalence density of C difficile after the bleaching intervention (95% confidence interval: 36%-58%, P < .0001).

Conclusion: The implementation of a thorough, all-surface terminal bleach cleaning program in the rooms of patients with CDI has made a sustained, significant impact on reducing the rate of nosocomial CDI in our health care system.

MeSH terms

  • Clostridioides difficile / drug effects*
  • Clostridium Infections / prevention & control*
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control*
  • Disinfectants*
  • Disinfection / methods*
  • Housekeeping, Hospital / methods
  • Humans
  • Sodium Hypochlorite*


  • Disinfectants
  • Sodium Hypochlorite