Efficacy of the World Health Organization–recommended handwashing technique and a modified washing technique to removeClostridium difficilefrom hands

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid



The efficacy of the World Health Organization (WHO)–recommended handwashing technique against Clostridium difficile is uncertain, and whether it could be improved remains unknown. Also, the benefit of using a structured technique instead of an unstructured technique remains unclear.


This study was a prospective comparison of 3 techniques (unstructured, WHO, and a novel technique dubbed WHO shortened repeated [WHO-SR] technique) to remove C difficile. Ten participants were enrolled and performed each technique. Hands were contaminated with 3 × 106 colony forming units (CFU) of a nontoxigenic strain containing 90% spores. Efficacy was assessed using the whole-hand method. The relative efficacy of each technique and of a structured (either WHO or WHO-SR) vs an unstructured technique were assessed by Mann-Whitney U test and Wilcoxon signed-rank test.


The median effectiveness of the unstructured, WHO, and WHO-SR techniques in log10 CFU reduction was 1.30 (interquartile range [IQR], 1.27-1.43), 1.71 (IQR, 1.34-1.91), and 1.70 (IQR, 1.54-2.42), respectively. The WHO-SR technique was significantly more efficacious than the unstructured technique (P = .01). Washing hands with a structured technique was more effective than washing with an unstructured technique (median, 1.70 vs 1.30 log10 CFU reduction, respectively; P = .007).


A structured washing technique is more effective than an unstructured technique against C difficile.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles