Keeping Your House Clean for Cystic Fibrosis

You want your house to be spotless and safe for your child with cystic fibrosis. But with all the other things you need to get done in a day — airway clearance treatments, medicines, clinic visits, and more — you may not have much time to devote to house cleaning. Give yourself a break. You do need to work a little harder in some areas of your home, but you don’t need to constantly clean every nook and cranny. Focus your energy on the things that pose the biggest threat to your child.

Woman cleaning floor with vacuum cleaner
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Here are tips on keeping clean and living well with CF in mind.

Wipe Away Germs

Some harmful organisms can live on objects even if you think you’ve cleaned them. Soap and water are not always enough. For areas likely to be contaminated, you need to use a disinfectant. If you only have time to do one cleaning task, make it wiping. Take a few minutes each day to wipe down all of the surfaces that you and your child touch. Antibacterial wipes are handy and effective, as long as you use them properly. You can also use a 1:10 bleach solution for a more economical option, but be sure to use it the same day you mix it because it will quickly lose its disinfectant power.

Keep Bathrooms and Treatment Rooms Clean

These are the rooms where germs are most likely to hang out, so you really should give these a good scrubbing every single day.

Keep Things Dry

Moisture is a breeding ground for germs and mold, so don’t leave anything wet. Dry off sinks, bathtubs, bath toys, countertops, and any other wet surfaces immediately after using them.

Dust, Sweep, and Vacuum

Sweep, dust and vacuum often enough to prevent dust from collecting on surfaces. Be sure to include fans and air ducts in your dusting routine because these areas collect dust quickly and are often overlooked. Every few days should be sufficient for most homes, but if you live in a particularly dusty area you may find you need to sweep and dust more often. Finally, it's a good idea to periodically have your air ducts cleaned out by a professional service.

If you have carpets in your home, you might want to consider replacing them with laminate, wood, or tile floors with throw rugs because it is impossible to completely eliminate dust from the carpet. If your child has stuffed toys, wash and dry them thoroughly once a week or so to make sure they are not harboring dust.

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  • P. Schelstraete, S. Van Daele, K. De Boeck, M. Proesmans, P. Lebecque, J. Leclercq-Foucart, A. Malfroot, M. Vaneechoutte, and F. De Baets. “ Pseudomonas aeruginosa in the Home Environment of Newly Infected Cystic Fibrosis Patients”. 2008. Eur Respir J 31: 822-829. 11 July 2009.

By Lori Alma
Lori Alma, RN, is a registered nurse and cystic fibrosis expert who assists families in a Florida Department of Health program for special needs children.