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Is Vinegar a Good Disinfectant for Patient Medical Equipment?

March 29th, 2011 by Sharon O'Hara

So, I said, why do you think vinegar is a disinfectant as effective as chlorine bleach?  It doesn’t claim to disinfect on any vinegar bottle I’ve seen.

She replied everybody knows vinegar is what we use to clean and disinfect face masks and tubes for C-Pap and Bi-Pap machines.  Chlorine bleach smells too much.

That was a recent, not rare exchange between me and another person who also uses respiratory equipment that needs to be disinfected from time to time.

I use dishwashing soap and a mild solution of bleach and let my Bi-Pap hoses and mask soak for a while – 20 minutes or longer.  I don’t use vinegar as a disinfectant because I don’t like the smell and it doesn’t claim to disinfect.

I wonder why some patients are told to use vinegar to clean and disinfect respiratory equipment since it is not a disinfectant.

***

“…Is Vinegar an Acceptably Safe Alternative for Chlorine Bleach when Disinfecting

It is not safe to use as a disinfectant for any medical equipment. If you are looking for information on cleaning home healthcare items, you must follow your physician’s advice.

There’s a whole genus of bacteria Pseudomonas out there that really don’t give a hoot about vinegar. Is Pseudomonas an issue? Well, for some people, it certainly is. If you have anyone in your home with Cystic Fibrosis, it can cause pneumonia, in patients on chemotherapy it can cause skin infections, etc. Ever heard of hot tub rash? Pseudomonas is the likely culprit. So there are cases where vinegar really isn’t the smart choice. In hospitals, Pseudomonas can be particularly devastating, it’s the cause of Necrotising Entercolitis in NICU patients and devastating skin infections in burn patients.

Dilute solutions of chlorine bleach applied properly is the only agent I feel comfortable recommending when disinfection truly matters. If you use chlorine bleach properly, there should not be a significant source of fumes.

http://www.home-ec101.com/is-vinegar-an-acceptably-safe-alternative-for-chlorine-bleach-when-disinfecting/

More later…. Sharon O’Hara

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This is a patient to patient blog to exchange information and resources...from COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) to Arthritis to Cellulites to Sarcoidosis to Sleep Apnea to RLS to Psoriasis to Support Groups to Caregivers and all points in between. Written by Sharon O'Hara.

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