Cleaning and disinfection in home care: A comparison of 2 commercial products with potentially different consequences for respiratory health

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Home care aides perform personal care and homemaking services in client homes, including cleaning and disinfection (C&D). Although C&D are performed to remove soil and dust, they are increasingly performed for infection prevention. Many C&D products contain respiratory irritants. The objective of this study was to evaluate 2 commercial products for C&D effectiveness on common household surfaces in seniors' homes.


Two C&D visits were conducted in 46 seniors' homes. One visit applied a bleach-containing cleaning product and the other applied an environmentally preferable product. Before and after C&D, the study team performed organic soil bioluminometer measurements on surfaces and collected cotton swab and wipe samples for total bacteria count, Staphylococcus aureus, and Clostridium difficile identification.


Both products removed microorganisms from tested surfaces. S aureus was found in 7 households, 1 strain of which was methicillin-resistant. Both products removed S aureus from all surfaces. Bleach-containing products removed somewhat more soil than environmentally preferable products, although results were statistically significant for only 1 surface.


The study showed similar, not identical, C&D performance for 2 cleaning products with potentially different consequences for respiratory health. Additional research is needed to develop robust recommendations for safe, effective C&D in home care.

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