Nurses: how to keep work shoes clean

From spreading pathogens to patients to simply looking messy, dirty work shoes can be a nurse’s worst enemy. A study published in the Journal of Hospital Infection, for instance, discovered that the shoe soles of health care workers at a university tertiary care center in Switzerland possibly aided in the spreading of clostridioides difficile, a diarrhea-and-colitis-causing germ that can be life threatening.

“HCWs’ (health care workers) shoe soles were positive in 17.8% with C. difficile strains linked epidemiologically and confirmed by WGS to infected patients suggesting potential transmission by HCWs’ shoe soles,” according to the study. “This pilot study provides sufficient evidence to further evaluate this potential mode of healthcare-associated transmission of C. difficile by a larger clinical trial.”

To cut down on potential pathogen spreading, here are some easy ways to disinfect nursing shoes.

Ultraviolet radiation exposure

From the National Institutes of Health to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to the New York Presbyterian Hospital, many organizations utilize ultraviolet radiation exposure (UVC) machines to reportedly destroy 99.9% of pathogens clinging to their health care workers’ shoes. Similar to a standing scale, the device requires nurses to place their feet on a platform to function. After just eight seconds, the process is complete.

If your workplaces doesn’t have one already, Nurse Journal suggested advocating for UVC machines, such as the HealthySole Plus, at your facility to ensure your shoes are as clean as possible.

Cleaning your shoes at home

When cleaning your shoes the old fashioned way, it is important to use the right products. Disinfectant solutions with a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution are great for removing stains, but these solutions will need two parts baking soda each in order to become effective disinfectants. Rubbing alcohol is a superior choice for those wearing leather shoes, as the solution is gentler on the leather. For white shoes, a solution of one part bleach and five parts water is an effective germ killer.

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