Does Steam Vapor Kill C. Diff?

Endospores of Clostridium difficile on hospital surfaces are a major concern.   Like most hospital disinfectants, the effect of steam on endospores of Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) is less pronounced than the effect on non-endospore (vegetative) hospital pathogens, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).  However, that is not to say that steam vapor systems have no effect on endospores of C. difficile.  A recent Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) study, performed by BioScience Laboratories, Inc. (Bozeman, Montana) challenged a leading steam vapor sanitation device (Mondo Vap 2400 fitted with TANCS module / Advanced Vapor Technologies) with highly concentrated C. difficile endospores.1 In that study, BioScience Laboratories reported initial spore counts of >106 cfu/surface, and total reductions (accounting for transfer to the cleaning implement, which was also measured) of 68.9% and 86.7% after just 3 and 5 seconds of contact, respectively.  Thus, steam vapor systems share some limitations of chemical disinfectants with respect to endospores of C. difficile, but if used regularly should substantially reduce the burden of this problematic microbe on hospital surfaces.


Author: Benjamin Tanner, PhD - Antimicrobial Test Laboratories, Inc.




  1. BioScience Laboratories (Bozeman, MT) GLP Study Report #090121-250 (not published to the public)


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Does Steam Vapor Kill C. Diff?

Created on January 4th, 2011.
Last Modified on September 11th, 2016