Home Washroom Hygeine

In order to critically review the management of norovirus outbreaks, Hygiena International ATP test systems (involving a hand-held SystemSURE luminometer and UltraSnap swabs) has been used to evaluate the effectiveness of cleaning procedures, following two norovirus outbreaks on a cruise ship.

Norovirus is the most prevalent cause of infectious gastroenteritis in the UK, and the ATP bioluminescence technique has been used for many years to identify potential sources of contamination in the food chain, in production and preparation areas as well as many other industrial and commercial applications such as restaurants and hotels. It has also been utilised more recently to monitor surface cleanliness, and used in conjunction with varying infection control measures to monitor many other areas of potential infection. These include confined environments as found in care homes and hospitals, where secondary or subsequent outbreaks often re-occur even after initial cleaning and sanitation procedures have been undertaken. Other potential areas of application include schools, or wherever food is prepared or consumed by the general public.

Any cleaning procedure is designed to remove residues of food and body fluids such that the subsequent application of disinfectants can function correctly and inactivate residual microbial contamination. Foods and body fluids contain large amounts of ATP such that residues of ATP remaining on surfaces after cleaning provide a direct, objective measure of the efficacy of the cleaning process and residual contamination risk.

The Hygiena UltraSnap swabs contain a reagent known as luciferase/luciferin in the bulb of the swab. Once the swab is snapped and the bulb squeezed, an oxidation reaction takes place with any ATP present, emitting light. The light produced is directly proportional to the amount of ATP in the area tested. This is a rapid method showing a strong correlation between ATP and microbial cells, with results measured in relative light units (RLU) that can be obtained within 15 seconds.

www.hygiena.net

For products that kill 99.99% of bacteria and are ideal for hospitals and washrooms to combat against diseases view the range of Clover Chemicals here

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At the peak of the recession, firms throughout the UK and Europe looked at methods to cut prices. Even the British Government put in place austerity measures that meant each public convenience came under financial scrutiny, however Simon Biggs, Operational Director of Monthind Clean, asks what damage continues to be being done to companies up and down the country who aren’t taking sufficient care of their washrooms?

A study carried out by Katrin.com revealed that it’s not simply customers’ habits which are affected by the cleanliness and upkeep of public washrooms, however 82% of staff assume their wellbeing at work would improve with better facilities. It is to be expected that washrooms in eating places could have one of the largest impacts on client behaviour and opinion, and it’s worth noting that 72% of shoppers stated they wouldn’t return if the washroom is unpleasant, whereas 79% stated they might share this data with friends – a figure prone to improve with the upsurge in on-line and social media activity. So, why are firms taking the danger?

“People have robust opinions on the subject of washroom cleanliness, and it’s about more than simply clean toilets and hand basins,” mentioned Simon. Hand dryers, air fresheners, sanitary disposal bins and baby changing services are among the extras folks expect to see as a matter of course these days. The contract cleaning business is claimed to be valued greater than £10billion, and with the additional demands on everybody’s purse strings, corporations are all the time trying to lower prices.

“However, in the event that they fail to deliver even the fundamentals, the adverse effect it may have on business is not worth contemplating. If a store has dirty windows and patrons can’t see the products on show they aren’t prone to enter, not to mention buy, and the same may be stated for catering institutions. Consumers are very involved about hygiene, and one of many areas that is most blatant is in its customer conveniences. In contrast, outsourced cleaning costs very little in comparison with the long-term harm which poor amenities can do to the popularity of a business.”

Mill Sales Direct supplies  the most competitively priced janitorial supplies within the area, together with toilet paper, paper towels, hand cleaning products and dispensers. If you are looking to replenish your washroom and are looking for the most competitively priced products then please view the washroom range at the millsalesdirect website

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Hand sanitisers are growing in popularity as a result of rising consumer awareness, increasing focus on hand hygiene and the threat of diseases such as H1N1 flu in several parts of the world, according to a new report by GIA.

The research forecasts that the global market for hand sanitisers will reach US$1.6 billion by 2020, as the focus on preventing the transmission of diseases through hand-to-mouth or hand-to-hand contact underscores the need for better hand hygiene practices.

Hand sanitisers are expected to promote compliance with hygiene practices as they are easy to use and do not require the rinsing of hands, according to the report.

Product innovations such as alcohol free, easy-to-use antibacterial sanitisers in travel packs, as well as the launch of products in a convenient form such as disinfectant wipes, antibacterial lotions, soaps and gels are also helping to stimulate growth in the market.

The US is shown to represent the largest market worldwide. Sales in the country, which witnessed a strong surge during the 2009 H1N1 crisis, are now slowing down. Demand, nevertheless, continues to be supported by strong marketing and promotional campaigns, well entrenched hygiene practices among the population, the introduction of new products and a growing preference for non-alcohol-based hand sanitisers.

In developing economies, increase in the number of disease epidemics, changing lifestyles, Westernisation of habits, growing awareness over the importance of personal hygiene and increasing per capita spends on personal care and hygiene products are driving growth.

Asia-Pacific is poised to grow at the fastest compounded annual rate of 13.6% over the analysis period.

Entitled ‘Hand Sanitizers: A Global Strategic Business Report’, the report provides a comprehensive review of market trends, issues, drivers, mergers, acquisitions and other strategic industry activities of major companies worldwide.

A full range of Hand Sanitisers can be found at millsalesdirect.com

keyboard germs

We tend to fret about the germs that are lying in wait on our toilet seats, but truth be told families are at a greater risk to a lot of other household items that are generally considered sanitary. The reason being is that most people scrub down their toilets any chance they get because we have become so obsessed with keeping that part of our house especially germ-free. On the other hand, items that we use every day such as keyboards, video game controllers, and cell phones rarely get the cleaning attention they deserve. Let’s take a look at some seemingly “clean” household items that are actually home to more germs than your toilet seat:

1. Sponge

It would only make sense that the thing we use to clean the germs off of other household items would be a major carrier of bacteria. Many experts consider sponges to be the No. 1 source of germs in the entire house. The average sponge can carry upward of 10 million bacteria per square inch, around a quarter of a million times more than your average toilet seat. This major kitchen hygiene problem is exacerbated by the fact that most people will wait weeks before switching out their sponge. When’s the last time you switched up your sponge? If you do find yourself having to use a sponge that you fear may be carrying a host of germs, throw it in the microwave to zap away some of its bacteria, but it won’t work on all.

2. Kitchen Sinks

household-germs

Seven household items that are carrying more germs than your average toilet seat

While most of us consider our bathrooms to be the area of our house hiding the most germs, it’s actually our kitchens we should be worrying about. Similar to sponges, kitchen sinks are home to more germs than any other area of a bathroom, including the toilet seat. Results of the 2011 NSF International Household Germ Studyrevealed that 45 percent of kitchen sinks are home to Coliform bacteria, includingSalmonella and E.coli. This family of bacteria was also found on 32 percent of kitchen counter tops and 18 percent of cutting boards.

3. Video Game/TV Controlers

Combine teenagers who forget to wash their hands every once in a while with the fact that the majority of their time will be spent either playing video games or watching TV, and you have a recipe for disaster. Researchers from UNICEF and Unilever combined efforts to compare the cleanliness of an average household’s TV remote and video game controler against a toilet seat. While TV remotes carried an average of 1,600 bacteria per 100 square centimeters and video game controlers 7,863 per 100 square centimeters, toilet seats are home to an average of 1,600 bacteria per 100 square centimeters.

4. Bottom of a Woman’s Purse

Women have no problem putting their handbags on the floors of public transportation, bathrooms, or other germ laden surfaces, but would you want to touch those areas with your bare hands? Although they may not realize it, women transport a great deal of germs and bacteria onto kitchen tables and countertops via their purses. Researchers from one of the UK’s leading hygiene and washroom services companies, Initial Washroom Hygiene, conducted a swab analysis revealing that one out of every five handbags was carrying dangerously high levels of bacteria-related contamination. Due to cross-contamination risks, many of the items found in a handbag such as face or hand cream, lipstick, and mascara were also home to germs and bacteria.

“Handbags come into regular contact with our hands and a variety of surfaces, so the risk of transferring different germs onto them is very high, especially as bags are rarely cleaned,” Peter Barratt, Technical Manager at Initial Hygiene, said in astatement. “Once these germs are on the bags, they can easily be transferred via hands onto other surfaces. Regular hand sanitization is essential to prevent the presence of bacteria in the first place and thorough cleaning of bags is recommended to prevent the buildup of contamination.”

5. Smartphones/Tablets

We use them all day every day, but how often do we put in the time to clean our smartphones and tablets? While we always remember to wash our hands before or after going to the bathroom, we usually neglect washing our hands before touching our smartphone or tablet.  Microbiologists working with Which? took swabs from 30 tablets and 30 phones and tested them for disease-carrying bacteria such as E.coli. One tablet was carrying 600 units per swab of Staphylococcus aureus, also known as staph. While a single smartphone was found to carry 140 units per swab of staph, the average toilet only contained 20 units per swab or less. To put those numbers into perspective, the Health Protection Agency considers anywhere between 20 and 10,000 units of staph to be a potential risk for disease.

“A count of 600 on a plastic device of any sort is incredibly high,” James Francis, the microbiologist who carried out our testing, said in a statement. “In the food industry, if we found those levels of bacteria from a hand swab of a food handler, they’d have to be taken out of the workplace and retrained in basic hygiene.”

6. Keyboards

Even on your family’s personal computer, keyboards can become a breeding ground for all types of bacteria. Due to all of its cracks and spaces, thoroughly cleaning a keyboard can prove difficult even with a can of compressed air. When Francis and his colleagues performed the same swab test on keyboards, they found an average 480 units per swab of staph hiding in the most commonly used area of our desks. Remember to clean your personal keyboard at least once a month by powering down your computer, lifting the keyboard upside down to shake out any particles, and using a can of compressed air on every crack and space between keys. It may seem like an arduous task, but it’s worth it to avoid a bacterial infection.

7. Showerheads

It’s tasked with cleaning our bodies, so how unsanitary can a showerhead actually be? Thanks to that warm moisture left behind after a shower, the inside of a showerhead can be harboring more germs than you think. A study conducted at the University of Colorado-Boulder analyzed around 50 showerheads from nine major cities, 30 percent of which contained high levels of Mycobacterium avium, a pathogen that can easily infect people with weakened immune systems and has been linked to pulmonary disease. To easily disinfect your showerhead, unscrew the device and place it a saucepan filled with boiling vinegar. Mineral deposit build-up should be easy to spot through discoloration.

“There have been some precedents for concern regarding pathogens and showerheads, but until this study we did not know just how much concern,” CU-Boulder Professor Norman Pace said in a statement. “If you are getting a face full of water when you first turn your shower on, that means you are probably getting a particularly high load of Mycobacterium avium, which may not be too healthy.”

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A new study has revealed that our hands are far more likely to make us unwell than the grubby surfaces we strive to avoid in public places.

In the study, commissioned by sanitising water brand Aquaint, twenty-five swabs were taken from multiple high street and shopping centre locations across St Albans and Luton.

 All of the swabs were taken from dirty looking surfaces in and around food outlets such as cafés and fast food restaurants including tables, public benches, escalator handrails, high chairs and children’s ride-on toys.

 In all cases, the surfaces were given a ‘poor’ visual rating which indicates stains, debris and signs of wear. The samples were then laboratory tested for a range of harmful bacteria including staphylococcus, ecoli and enterobacteriaceae which has been linked to deaths.

Despite selecting dirty looking surfaces, there were insufficient traces of harmful bacteria to indicate an actual threat to health. This means that the reading was so low that the bacteria were either not present or in tiny quantities (in most cases less than 10 per square cm).

Looking more generally, the ‘TVC actual’, or overall quantity of bacteria measured was relatively low – 33,000 in the worst example, a wooden public bench. To put this in perspective, the average person carries over 10 million bacteria on the hands alone and a University of Arizona study (2012) found that a typical kitchen sponge will contain several million bacteria. There was also no notable difference between St Albans city and Luton town centre.

Alongside this study, Aquaint polled members of the public on habits and attitudes to germs. Unsurprisingly, 92% of those polled said they would avoid dirty looking tables and seats, citing health as the primary concern. By contrast, only 13% said they would avoid eating unless they had washed or cleansed their hands.

This indifference towards hand washing tallies with research by Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL) and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) in 2012 which found that faecal matter is present on 26% of hands in the UK. Faecal matter is rife with germs – around one billion per gram. The UN estimates that hand washing alone could save more than a million lives a year from diarrhoeal diseases and prevent respiratory infections.

Bola Lafe, founder of Aquaint, said: “This study highlights the fact that people avoid what they believe will make them unwell. In fact, we need to narrow the lens when it comes to spotting potential risks to health. Our hands operate a highly effective public transport network for bacteria and viruses. During the course of a day, we all touch hundreds of surfaces and have varying attitudes to hand washing. This is totally out of our control so rather than just avoiding certain areas, good hand hygiene should be the top priority. Our hands are in frequent contact with our mouths or with items that we put in our mouths, making them the fastest route to illness.

“Visual cues about germs and bacteria can be very misleading. In areas of high footfall, especially in the sorts of places we tested, surfaces are touched and wiped by thousands of hands, bags and cloths every day. Although these surfaces looked unpleasant, we found very little evidence of harmful bacteria because germs are picked up and deposited all of the time.”

He added: “A dirty table is not pleasant but neither is it dangerous by default. By contrast, a gleaming shiny table could well be harboring high levels of potentially dangerous bacteria. The lesson is that unless you’ve cleaned your hands as well as the surface, it’s a lottery.”

The study was commissioned by Aquaint to understand how instinctive reactions to environmental conditions might inadvertently lead to an impact on health.

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A number of hospitals, leisure parks, catering outlets and retail stores have been switching to the Tork SmartOne system to help prevent expensive toilet blockages.

Laboratory tests have shown Tork SmartOne to break down extremely efficiently in water. And when coupled with its consumption control benefits, the Tork SmartOne system becomes a highly cost-effective solution for away-from-home washrooms.

A leading leisure park that receives thousands of visitors per day recently switched from mini jumbo dispensers to the Tork SmartOne Toilet Tissue system, which offers single-sheet dispensing. The park had previously had issues with blockages, and these were leading to closed toilets and costly call-outs.

“The problem was that too much tissue was entering the drainage system,” SCA product and segment manager Stephen Wright said. “When the park trialled the Tork SmartOne system they saw a reduction both in the amount of product used and in blockage issues.” The park has since ordered more than 200 Tork SmartOne dispensers.

Other places that have also experienced fewer blockages as a result of switching to the Tork SmartOne system include a London coffee shop and bakery,  a multi-site casino, an NHS hospital and a department store.

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EcoTech (Europe) counts itself as one of the UK’s largest manufacturers of cleaning products in the UK.

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The company’s entire range now extends to over 400 products, 98% of which are produced in house at its Coventry factory and distributed throughout the UK, Europe and the Middle East by a carefully selected group of distributors.

The range is also available to view and purchase from the company’s website www.ecotech-europe.com.

As part of EcoTech’s production expansion plans, it has invested significantly in a new state-of-the-art flow pack filling line to produce a range of baby wipes, facial cleansing wipes, hand and surface wipes and ‘flushable’ moist toilet tissue and feminine hygiene wipes. This is the newest range of flow packs to come out of a single UK manufacturer for many years, according to EcoTech.

The company’s production processes follow a strict ISO9001 and BRC Accredited manufacturing process and all products have been independently tested and approved for use in both professional and domestic applications.

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The music festival season is here – and once again hundreds of thousands of people will be gathering together in the open air to listen to music, have fun – and eat and drink together.

Many festival foodstuffs such as hotdogs, burgers and sandwiches are eaten with the hands which means that hand hygiene is more important than ever.

But facilities at stadiums are notorious for being overcrowded, unhygienic and unpleasant. Long queues inevitably form for the toilet blocks which means that soap, toilet tissue and hand towel supplies may run out during the busy periods between acts.

Long-lasting systems that are quick and easy to top up will help to speed up the queues while also reducing the risk of illnesses that can spread where hand hygiene is neglected.

The Tork Matic® Hand Towel system is highly suitable for use in stadium washrooms since this is a long-lasting system that gives out only one towel at a time. This helps to naturally reduce consumption while also improving hygiene, since each towel is touched only by the user.

Another good option is the Tork Singlefold Hand Towel Dispenser which will provide a good supply of economical zigzag-fold hand towels. The Tork Spray Soap system works well in a stadium since each cartridge offers 3,200 shots per refill. This reduces the number of maintenance checks and prevents the soap supply from running out between maintenance checks.

And the Tork SmartOne® toilet tissue dispenser is also ideal for high-capacity stadium washrooms since it offers single-sheet dispensing which can cut consumption by up to 40 per cent. This reduces both waste and costs along with time spent refilling the unit.

The lockable dispenser prevents pilferage while the sealed casing improves hygiene since it prevents any contamination of the toilet tissue inside.

 

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The average cell phone carries more than just a contact list, it also harbors 25,107 bacteria per square inch. This fact makes the cell phone one of the filthiest surfaces people come into contact with on a daily basis. No surprise, this far surpasses public toilet seats, which measure only 1,201 bacteria per square inch.

Reports from Mashable highlight five common surfaces that are actually cleaner than the average persons cell phone. 
1. The public toilet – 1,201 bacteria per square inch
2. The kitchen counter – 1,736 bacteria per square inch
3. Pet food dish – 2,110 bacteria per square inch
4. The self-serve checkout screen – 4,500 bacteria per square inch
5. A doorknob – 8,643 bacteria per square inch

According to reports from the Deb Group, Dr. Charles Gerba, a professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona, commented on the findings and said the results were not surprising.   

“Nobody ever cleans or disinfects their phone, so the germs and bacteria just keep building up,” he explains. What types of germs? E. coli, as well as influenza and MRSA, a germ that causes rashes and skin infections.

Deb also reported that, in a separate study, researchers found that 94.5 percent of phones were contaminated with some kind of bacteria, many of which were resistant to multiple antibiotics. By also testing the participants’ hands, the researchers were able to show that a significant number of germs were transferred from their hands to their phones, and vice versa. In fact, about 30 percent of the bacteria on the phones ended up on the owner’s hands.

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Using paper towels to dry your hands is far more hygienic than using electric hand dryers which actually increase the amount of bacteria on hands and can spread cross contamination in public washrooms, according to an independent scientific study. The study, conducted by scientists at the University of Westminster, London, measured the number of bacteria on subjects’ hands before washing and after drying them using three different methods —paper towels, a traditional warm air dyer and a new high-speed jet air dryer. 

From a hygiene standpoint, paper towels are clearly superior to electric hand dryers, according to Keith Redway, a Senior Academic in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Westminster.

Study results show that drying with paper towels results in a significant decrease in the numbers of bacteria on the hands — a clear advantage compared with the increases observed for both types of electric hand dryers tested in this study — and are far less likely to contaminate other washroom users and the washroom environment.

“Indeed, these findings suggest that if either a warm air dryer or jet air dryer is the only drying method available, in terms of bacterial numbers, a washroom user could be better off not washing and drying their hands at all,” Redway says.

The study, which is available for review at www.westminster.ac.uk/~redwayk, found that paper towel drying reduced the average number of bacteria on the finger pads by up to 76 percent and on the palms by up to 77 percent.  By comparison, electric hand dryers actually caused bacteria counts to increase. The study showed:
• Traditional warm air dryers increased the average number of bacteria by 194 percent on the finger pads and by 254 percent on the palms.
• Jet air dryers increased the average number of bacteria on the finger pads by 42 percent and on the palms by 15 percent.

The scientists also carried out tests to establish whether there was the potential for cross contamination of other washroom users and the washroom environment as a result of each type of drying method. They found:
• The jet air dryer, which blows air out of the unit at claimed speeds of 400 mph, was capable of blowing micro-organisms from the hands and the unit and potentially contaminating other washroom users and the washroom environment up to 2 meters away.
• Use of a traditional warm air hand dryer spread micro-organisms up to 0.25 meters from the dryer. 
• Paper towels showed no significant spread of micro-organisms.

“The results of all parts of this study suggest that the use of warm air dryers and jet air dryers should be carefully considered in locations where hygiene is of paramount importance, such as hospitals, clinics, schools, nurseries, care homes, kitchens and other food preparation areas,” said  Redway. “In addition, paper hand towel use is highly beneficial for improved hygiene in any other facilities open to the public, such as factories, offices, bars and restaurants.”

While consumers, healthcare institutions and businesses such as restaurants are often told that electric hand dryers are the most hygienic way to dry the hands after washing them, science says otherwise. A growing body of research, including this study by the University of Westminster and other studies as far back as 1989, suggest people could even be putting themselves at increased risk of illness by using electric hand dryers.

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