Current conditions have changed our daily lives in an incredibly short period of time. Now, more than ever, we all want to know that we are doing everything we can to keep ourselves, our colleagues and visitors safe and well. To ensure we can do this, requires understanding the science behind surface wiping and cleaning.
We want to know that the people we are in contact with have washed their hands properly and that the places we go are as clean and as hygienic as possible. For example, are our schools and universities clean? Will office workers clean their work surfaces properly to avoid spreading germs? How hygienic are the surfaces in our hospitals? How many germs are found on shopping trolley handles?
Creating a more hygienic workplace, healthcare facility and places to shop and eat does not stop at the washroom. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommends prioritising the daily cleaning and disinfecting of hot spots in facilities from offices, to schools, hospitals, shops, and places to eat.
Objects that are touched by lots of people throughout the day, such as door handles, elevator buttons and shopping trolleys, should be cleaned and disinfected frequently in order to break the chain of germ transmission. Many of our customers are needing to think in a different way about what, when and how often they clean, to keep people safe.
Understanding the difference between cleaning and disinfecting enables facilities to manage hygiene more effectively and prioritise frequently touched surfaces.
Cleaning versus disinfecting
Cleaning removes germs, dirt, and other impurities from surfaces or objects by using detergent or soap and water to physically remove germs from surfaces. This process does not necessarily kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.
Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces or objects by using chemicals. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.
The CDC recommends a two-step daily routine to clean frequently touched surfaces;
Step 1. Clean surface with a detergent or soap and water.
Step 2. Disinfect the surface using an EN-registered disinfectant.
The CDC guidelines also recommend providing disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces can be wiped down before each use. Surfaces considered hot spots for germs also include computer keyboards, phones and light switches. Science indicates why these surfaces need daily hygiene protocols in addition to hand hygiene standards in facilities.
The average desk has 400 times more bacteria than a toilet seat, a keyboard harbours 8,900 bacteria and a mobile phone harbours 6,300 bacteria. In healthcare facilities 67% of soap buckets tested harboured bacteria, with 93% of cleaning towels sampled containing live bacteria.
A study on shopping trollies found E.coli on almost half of those tested. These germs may be transferred from the trolley to hands, to food and the face. With adults touching 7,200 surfaces and touching their face 552 times in the span of 24 hours, we can see why that in today’s current conditions tougher hygiene protocols are required.
While placing hand sanitiser and signage in offices and common areas is a step in the right direction, studies show it simply is not enough to make a real impact.
No matter which surface areas they come into contact with throughout the day, give your employees, visitors, patients and customers greater peace of mind by providing proven cleaning and disinfecting solutions to help break the chain of germ transmission.
In the midst of change, creating exceptional workplaces includes doing everything you can to ensure that we all use proper hand hygiene protocols and that shared surfaces are clean and hygienic.