Clostridioides difficile associated infections (CDI) develop frequently in hospitalized, elderly patients after an antibiotic treatment. The infection is highly contagious and can be transmitted to other patients when cleaning and disinfection measures are insufficient. Textiles like bed linens or health care personnel uniforms can be involved in the spread of CDI. Spore-forming bacteria are difficult to inactivate and laundering processes efficient against pathogens like Escherichia coli or Staphylococcus aureus, may be insufficient for C. difficile spores.
In the present study, the sporicidal effect of laundering processes was investigated systematically. Simulated washing tests were performed with biomonitors containing Bacillus subtilis spores. B. subtilis is a suitable model strain for C. difficile with comparable tolerance against disinfectants, heat and extreme pH values. The efficiency of different Peracetic acid (PAA) and sodium hypochlorite concentrations against B. subtilis spores was tested at different temperatures and contact times. Furthermore, a bleach-containing household detergent was included in the investigation.
PAA concentrations, typically applied in I&I laundry cycles, were able to reduce B. subtilis spores sufficiently. Less effective were the tested NaClO-concentrations. The household laundry detergent failed to remove a significant number of bacterial spores.