Cleaning the house to prepare for a visitor with cystic fibrosis

How to Prep Your Home for a CF Visitor

Last updated: May 2022

When my daughter was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, our friends and family were eager to do everything they could to help us. One of the (surprising) areas they have been able to support us and Caroline’s health is by taking a few steps to prep their home before we visit.

I never expect people we visit to go out of their way to prepare their home for her. However, I have learned that many people are eager to do what they can to help their loved ones with CF. If that happens to describe you as well, here are a few ideas for how you can prep your home for a visitor with CF. Do you need to do all of these to have a safer space for someone with CF? Nope! These are just a few ways you can take action to make your home an ideal environment for someone with CF if you have the time and ability.

Preparing for your visitor

Make hand sanitizing and hand washing a common practice in your home, especially before handling your loved one’s food or sharing snacks.

Send a message or give a call to your CF loved one if you or someone in your home isn’t feeling well. Let your loved one with CF decide if they feel comfortable coming. When people cancel plans or uninvite us because they don't think we would feel safe coming with our daughter, it's disappointing. I would rather have some say in the decision.

Cleaning tips

Start taking off your shoes at the door

Taking your shoes off is a quick and easy way to keep your floors clean of dirt and germs from outdoors or workplaces. This is especially important if you have an infant with CF who spends a lot of time crawling! It is a small but effective step.

Clean or turn off humidifiers

Moist environments can easily breed mold and bacteria that are harmful to those living with CF. Humidifiers in particular are known to be the perfect breeding ground for a bacteria called pseudomonas aeruginosa which is a bacteria that causes lung infections in those living with CF.

To clean your humidifier you can use a bleach and water mixture or a 3 percent hydrogen peroxide and water mixture. Reference the instructions on your humidifier to decide which is best for yours. Bleach is shown to be the most effective at killing mold and bacteria.

Cleaning mixture: 1 gallon of water with 1 teaspoon of liquid chlorine bleach OR four parts water to one part 3 percent hydrogen peroxide. Note: Do not mix bleach and hydrogen peroxide - it can be very dangerous!

Vacuum and dust

Vacuuming and dusting regularly is a simple way to improve the overall air quality of your home. Dust can carry germs, bacteria, and debris which can irritate the lungs of someone with CF. Look for a vacuum with a filter inside to keep the dust from reentering the air after you vacuum.

Disinfect commonly touched surfaces

This may be something you already do, which is awesome! Just make sure you are following the directions for sanitizing and disinfecting on the back of your cleaning product label. Most disinfectants need to remain wet on the surface for two to ten minutes before they fully disinfect a surface. Something else to keep in mind is looking for disinfectants that kill 99.9% of cold and flu viruses. As an added bonus, you could look for products that kill MRSA and pseudomonas aeruginosa for an extra punch of CF protection!

Food tips

Avoid communal food and snacks

Be mindful of situations where your loved one with CF may want to avoid contact with others. For example, opening a bag of chips and setting them on the counter invites lots of hands to be touching your loved one’s food. Consider setting out bowls for everyone to pour their snack into, or letting your loved one with CF grab their snacks first.

Have a special spot for snacks

Create a small basket in your pantry that is special for your loved one with CF. You could include hand sanitizer, high-fat foods, salty snacks, and a few enzyme-free snacks as well just in case they forget to bring enzymes. (“Enzyme-free” snacks are snacks that have 0 g of fat and require no enzymes.) You could also include some applesauce in the basket if your loved one is a child who still takes their enzymes on applesauce.


Know that your loved one with CF is not expecting you to have the “perfect” home for them, they just want to enjoy your company!

You do not need to do ALL of these preparations to have a “safe” home for a loved one with CF. If you don't have time or ability to do all of these steps, that is okay! However, each and every one of these steps is a great, effective way to create a safer environment for someone with CF.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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