Microfiber cloths reduce the transfer of Clostridium difficile spores to environmental surfaces compared with cotton cloths

Am J Infect Control. 2015 Jul 1;43(7):686-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2015.03.002. Epub 2015 Apr 20.


Background: Environmental surfaces in health care facilities contaminated with Clostridium difficile spores can be a reservoir that contribute to transmission of hospital-acquired infections. Microfiber cleaning cloths may improve the effectiveness of surface cleaning. The objective of this study was to assess the removal and transfer of C difficile spores on surfaces cleaned by microfiber compared with cotton cloths.

Methods: C difficile spores (approximately 4.2 log(10)/site) were applied to ceramic surfaces. Microfiber or cotton cloths were used to wipe the surfaces that were sprayed with either buffer or a nonsporicidal cleaning agent. To ensure reproducible pressure and surface contact time, a drill apparatus was used. The pressure was 1.5-1.77 N, and the total number of rotations was 10. Viable counts were used to assess the efficiency of microfiber and cotton cloths in removing and transferring spores.

Results: Of 4.4 log(10)C difficile spores inoculated on a ceramic surface, microfiber and cotton cloths removed 2.4 and 1.7 log(10), respectively. Microfiber cloths containing 4.2 log(10)C difficile spores transferred 1.7 log(10) C difficile spores when used to wipe a ceramic surface compared with cotton cloths that transferred 2.4 log(10). Similarly microfiber wipes transferred fewer spores on consecutive surfaces wiped compared with cotton cloths (0.8 log(10) vs 1.80 log(10)).

Conclusion: The use of microfiber cloths may reduce the risk of C difficile spore transfer during surface cleaning.

Keywords: Cleaning; Environmental; Hospital-acquired infections.

Publication types

  • Clinical Study

MeSH terms

  • Clostridium difficile / isolation & purification*
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Environmental Microbiology*
  • Housekeeping, Hospital / methods*
  • Spores, Bacterial / isolation & purification*