Basins, commonly used to bathe patients who are unable to bathe themselves, frequently become contaminated with potential pathogens and may serve as a source for nosocomial transmission. Chlorhexidine (CHG) has bactericidal activity against a broad spectrum of pathogens and is increasingly used in antiseptic patient baths. The purpose of this study was to ascertain whether basins used to administer CHG bed baths are likely to become contaminated.
Bed bath conditions were simulated by mixing 30 mL of a 4% CHG product or soap preparation to 1 L of warm (37°C) tap water in a 6-L plastic basin (Medical Action Industries). Two commercial brands of CHG (Hibiclens, Molnlycke Health Care [hereafter, CHG-A], or Scrub Care, Cardinal Health [hereafter, CHG-B]) and 1 brand of soap (SensiCare SeptiSoft, ConvaTec) were used. Basins were inoculated with 108 colony-forming units (CFUs) of 1 species of bacteria, mixed for 30 seconds, incubated for 20 minutes at room temperature, emptied, and allowed to dry for 1 hour. A 100-cm2 area on the bottom of the basin was sampled for 10 seconds in 2 directions with a cotton swab premoistened with normal saline. Swab tips were placed in 2 mL of trypticase soy broth (Difco) and vortex-mixed for 30 seconds, and the solution was quantitatively cultured on sheep blood agar (Remel). Cultures were incubated at 37°C for 24 hours, and colonies were counted and expressed as CFUs per square centimeter. Tap water with and without a bacterial inoculum served as positive and negative controls, respectively.