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Disinfecting jewelry: C Diff

Very strange question: a customer who’s an executor of an estate has some jewelry he wants me to appraise. The woman had a C Diff infection at the time of death, and he wants to make sure the jewelry is disinfected. I read that a diluted mixture of bleach (10:1) works, but that doesn’t sound like a good idea on jewelry (not on gold and most gems, anyway)… Any thoughts?

That would be something I would consult with a real medical professional about. Another option might be to consult with a licensed mortician. I wouldn’t trust anything you might see on the Internet when it comes to something like that, including us.


How about steam. Or a medical autoclave.

“C diff can survive for 70-90 days out side the body.” So if it’s been more
than 3 months since she died it shouldn’t be a problem.
We’re it my problem I’d call the CDC just to be sure.
Jo Haemer

Per the EPA these are the only products tested and approved for killing c.diff spores when used according to directions

Hi, Refined Designs,

You could have a look at the CDC webpage on c. Difficile:

They specifically suggest using a disinfectant that has sporicidal claims. Apparently the spores can persist on hard surfaces for up to 5 months. I would be most wary of rings or bracelets as being most likely to have come in contact with contaminated body fluids.



I am a chemist during the day and work for one of the companies that has products on the EPA list posted above. Make sure you follow the specific label directions for C. diff. They might be different than general disinfection directions. C. diff is very difficult to kill. Good luck.

I mentioned above about steam. The CDC seems to agree and provides very specific guidelines for readily available techniques involving steam. specifically read the paragraph on steam near the top of the publication.

So why all the speculation and related problems wit chemicals that will have an unknown impact. Not trying to be disrespectful but the CDC ihas the expertise in their field and a quick search of their site did not have any advice on the fabrication of jewelry techniques (tongue in cheek)

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Oops what did I do?

Thanks for the feedback, everyone. The lawyer was thankful for the info, and is also looking onto a special ultraviolet light (around $100) which is supposed to kill C Diff…

Make sure the light has an epa approval number as proof that it will really do the job, one point is to be sure it is rated to kill the bacteria and the spores… strong UV will kill bacteria, spores are a tougher nut to crack although in theory enough uva-a will kill anything…… But then strong UVA will do bad things to some gemstones….

It sounds funny to refer to an epa rating , you would think that the FDA would be the ones to certify stuff, but the way they divvy things up it falls to the epa’s turf to certify disinfecting and sterilizing methods and products, while the FDA sets the types of test to certify, based on input from cdc, industry and the medical field. Up here in canuk land we have health and welfare doing the fda part with agriculture Canada doing the epa part for certification

Also light can only work where it is able to reach, some spores for example behind a stone would not be killed.

Again no matter what method is used, the method must be followed to the letter. For example Ron mentioned steam… yes steam will do the job but not a little squirt from a jewelers cleaner, we would be taking hospital level Sterilization which is in an autoclave at 270degrees f at 15psi pressure for 3 to 15 minutes once a stable temperature is reached depending on the degree of sterilization wanted


You might want to check with the executor… but it is quite possible that the woman was hospitalized at the time of infection and remained hospitalized to the time of her death. If that is the case then I’d expect that only the jewelry she was wearing at the hospital would need to be disinfected:)


Would an old pressure cooker work? Pressure pounds are adjustable and the temperature is constant as long as the rocker is constant at a low speed.

How can you set the pressure pounds on a pressure cooker…???

Hi Janetb,
Generally you cannot set the psi on a pressure cooker, it is fixed. There is a temperature gauge on a large pressure canner so that you can tell when it reaches a certain temperature (usually 240*F) to begin timing your food. The standard pressure for a cooker is 15 psi and it is fixed by the weight that you put on the cooker’s vent pipe. There are a few cookers that allow you to set a pressure of 5, 10, or 15 psi. The lower pressures are for vegetables and other tender items which are easily overcooked, so that you can more easily time when they are done. I would suppose that for C. dif. you would want the highest pressure anyway. The variable canners I have seen have a circular weight with three different holes to put on the vent which are marked 5, 10 and 15.

So there you have it, a cooking lesson on Orchid! Put a nice, but tough piece of meat in the cooker while you are pave setting and in 1/3 the time it takes in an open pot it will be falling off the bones. Probably before you get done setting those side stones in that engagement ring!

In the tattoo trade pressure cookers are sometimes used to disinfect
needles. Autoclaves can be pretty spendy.

Why don’t you contact your dental
surgeon for guidance! Just a thought!

Gerry! from my IPhone!

Look in the second hand stores for the old rocker that has 3 different pressure settings. They are determined by where the pivot point is placed on the round rocker. Round as in like a coin with the holes on the edge rather than the current ones with a little knob on the top and only one setting. Old ones come 5, 10, 15 pounds.

I just want to add that the stove-top pressure cookers are ~15psi. The electric ones (Instant Pot is one brand) are generally around 11psi.