Why Bleach Doesn’t Work

Why Bleach Doesn’t Work:

Authored By: Helene Paxton, MS, MT(ASCP),PhD, CIC

Most citations for disinfection of C. diff in the environment states that bleach should be used or compares against bleach. So my question is if bleach is so effective, why does C. diff continue to haunt us and sicken our patients? It is the fastest growing infection in our hospitals. The fact is that there are other chemicals that also work as sporicidals for C. diff as listed on the EPA K list. Other agents do work so why does bleach continue to be the mainstay?

A few reasons:

  1. Bleach is easy to obtain and is
  2. Bleach has been in the healthcare arena for many
  3. The smell is familiar and not viewed as harmful by users, although data would suggest that respiratory problems are common in healthcare

The fact is that bleach is hard on the environment. It oxidizes metals, leaves a white film, has a strong odor, is unstable when diluted and, when used, is rarely left on the surface long enough to be effective. Even when sprayed, bleach misses many spores and allows continued contamination. Bleach does work when used properly, but the pitfalls are many and other methodologies may be superior in their delivery. Data suggests that 7% peroxide is as effective as bleach and does not leave a residue, does not oxidize the metals, is safer to use, and has no smell.

  • TOMI Environmental Solutions SteraMistTM offers a technology that is both effective and safe for

the environment. Importantly, it is a safe for people, as well. Developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the technology is registered by the EPA as a hospital-healthcare disinfectant and general disinfectant and works against many resistant pathogens including C. diff, MRSA, Pseudomonas, Staphylococcus aureus, etc.

  • The only active ingredient is 7.8% H202 which is ionized to a reactive oxygen species consisting mostly of neutral hydroxyl radicals by passage through an atmospheric cold plasma The by- products of the activated hydrogen peroxide are oxygen and water…Far safer to handle than those left by conventional methods including bleach.

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