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Robotic vacuum cleaner

Flooring that Shines

Flooring that Shines

Maintaining clean floors is a crucial aspect of any cleaning routine, with floors facing significant wear and tear from foot traffic, wheeled equipment, and spills. The challenges of floor cleaning and ways to lighten the workload for cleaners are explored in discussions with various companies.

Unlike other surfaces primarily soiled by dust and fingerprints, floors in public spaces endure constant contact with dirty shoes, leaving behind marks, grooves, and potential hazards. This makes floor maintenance a substantial part of cleaning routines, but the time it consumes varies depending on the environment. Christian Mrowka, Kärcher’s floorcare product manager, notes that floor cleaning in spaces like logistics warehouses may take a whole day, while offices might allocate around 50% of a cleaner’s time due to additional tasks like cleaning desks and glass surfaces.

Effective floor cleaning is pivotal for enhancing air quality in dusty environments, thereby ensuring a safer workplace for employees. Studies indicate that bacteria present on the floor can become airborne, posing a risk of contaminating hands, surfaces, or being inhaled or swallowed. Consistent cleaning practices significantly contribute to maintaining a low level of contamination.

A well-maintained floor not only fosters cleanliness but also positively impacts employee morale and productivity, as emphasised by Mrowka. In settings like warehouses, where forklifts navigate around spills and debris, productivity may suffer. The presence of obstacles, such as rubbish, increases the risk of accidents when machines need to manoeuvre. Therefore, a clean floor plays a vital role in promoting a safe and efficient working environment.

The time needed for floor cleaning varies based on several factors, including the facility’s type and size, the flooring type, the level of traffic, and the cleaning frequency. In areas with high traffic, such as hallways, entrances, reception areas, and washrooms, the task becomes notably time-consuming to ensure both cleanliness and safety.

The advent of user-friendly scrubber dryers has proven beneficial, and the increased prevalence of autonomous floor cleaning robots adds even more flexibility to the cleaning process.

These innovations serve to reduce the time dedicated to floor cleaning, allowing employees to focus on more intricate tasks, notes Mrowka. Furthermore, these automated systems offer the advantage of night-time cleaning without requiring staff presence. Additionally, digital systems contribute by recording and monitoring the quality of cleaning performance.

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Modern washroom with light colours

The Challenge of Washrooms at Christmas

The Challenge of Washrooms at Christmas

With the holiday season approaching, individuals worldwide are gearing up for Christmas celebrations, social gatherings, and reunions with friends and family. Unfortunately, this festive period also coincides with the heightened risk of colds, the flu, and the emergence of new COVID variants. Lee Radzki from Essity, the manufacturer of Tork products, emphasises the importance of minimising cross-contamination in public restrooms during the winter holidays.

This Christmas season holds significant stakes as everyone aims to maintain good health to fully enjoy the holiday break with loved ones. The vivid memories of the challenges faced in 2020 serve as a reminder of how disheartening it can be when Christmas plans are abruptly cancelled, whether due to widespread restrictions or a family member falling ill.

With the ongoing emergence of new COVID-19 variants and the onset of the flu season, concerns about falling ill are entirely justified. However, completely eliminating these risks is a tall order, short of isolating oneself at home throughout the Christmas period.

Nonetheless, there are specific measures that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of contracting infections or viruses. Handwashing has been recognised as a highly effective means of reducing the risk of various illnesses. At home, most of us have easy access to running water, soap, and towels, making handwashing a straightforward practice.

The scenario differs in public places like restaurants, pubs, and hotels. Festive celebrations often involve increased alcohol consumption, resulting in more frequent restroom visits and overcrowded facilities. It’s challenging to maintain physical distance in busy restrooms, making infection risk higher. Additionally, people are less likely to practice thorough hand hygiene when they must endure long restroom queues.

When restrooms in venues become crowded, cleaning teams face added pressure. They are tasked with thorough cleaning to minimise cross-contamination, but achieving this in a bustling restroom where space is at a premium can be challenging. The constant need to replenish soap and paper supplies exacerbates congestion and poses difficulties for staff to stay on top of refilling tasks.

Similarly, in retail centres, stores experience high foot traffic during the Christmas season, further straining restroom facilities. Staff must efficiently maintain the restrooms to prevent disruptions and bottlenecks.

Ensuring a steady supply of soap and paper during the busy Christmas period is essential to prevent run-outs. For example, the Tork SmartOne toilet paper system dispenses a single sheet at a time, reducing consumption by up to 40%, which in turn reduces the need for frequent maintenance checks. In bustling restrooms, soap systems should be user-friendly, quick to refill, and resistant to running out.

Addressing restroom congestion is one way to reduce the risk of illness during the festive season, but other measures can enhance restroom safety. Proper ventilation with fans, open windows where possible, and partitioned outer doors can help maintain good airflow. Strategically placed signs and posters can remind people of the importance of hand hygiene and the risks of touching contaminated surfaces. Hand sanitiser dispensers should be easily accessible and consistently replenished to complement handwashing facilities.

While the risk of falling ill over Christmas is a concern, public restrooms can mitigate cross-contamination risks by promoting good hand hygiene, managing crowds effectively, and ensuring a consistent supply of soap and paper products.

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Planet Earth wearing a mask

COVID is on the Rise, Again!

COVID is on the Rise, Again!

The research, spearheaded by Imperial College London, marks the inaugural connection between the presence of SARS-CoV-2 on individuals’ hands and frequently touched surfaces, and the subsequent risk of infection among close contacts. These findings underscore the importance of implementing effective measures when someone is infected. Specifically, they advocate for practices such as frequent hand-washing, regular disinfection of commonly touched surfaces, maintaining physical distance, and the use of masks as essential strategies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Mono Lisa wearing a face masked with masking crowd viewing image

Professor Ajit Lalvani, author of the study, said “Our real-life study in London households provides the first empirical evidence to show that the presence of SARS-CoV-2 on people’s hands and surfaces contributes significantly to spread of COVID-19. Since we didn’t systematically sample household air, we cannot rule out airborne transmission occurring in parallel.”

Source: https://www.imperial.ac.uk/news/244251/covid-19-spread-households-linked-virus-hands/

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Cleaning a ceramic sink

The Costly Consequences of Unpleasant and Unhygienic Washrooms

The Costly Consequences of Unpleasant and Unhygienic Washrooms

Recent research indicates that British businesses face significant consequences when their washrooms are smelly and unclean, as negative reviews can cause a considerable drop in Tripadvisor ratings for hospitality establishments, averaging one full star.

Analyzing over 80,000 Tripadvisor reviews of 200 hospitality venues across the UK, the survey discovered that 92% of respondents have encountered unpleasant odors in public washrooms, with 78% expressing that this would discourage them from revisiting the same place. On the other hand, 76% revealed that a positive washroom experience would increase their likelihood of spending money at a business.

The primary factors leading people to avoid public washrooms were perceived uncleanliness and dirty toilets (68%), unpleasant smells (62%), the presence of human waste on the floor (52%), wet floors (47%), and a lack of soap (41%).

When asked to identify the types of businesses that generally offer the highest-quality public washroom facilities, hotel accommodations ranked the highest (47%), followed by banks and estate agents (9%). High street restaurants (30%), local pubs (23%), and bars (20%) were found to be lagging behind in this aspect.

Coronavirus Advice

This article was last updated on the 19th November 2020.

Coronavirus Advice – February 2020

Following the outbreak of Novel Coronavirus, please find our guidance on best practice to keep safe.

You can find detailed information about how to prevent the spread of infection from Public Health England on Gov.uk: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-infection-prevention-and-control

Hand Hygiene

The overriding advice for the public is to observe good hand hygiene, ensuring you wash hands correctly and frequently. The NHS advises to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds:

Use soap and water to build up a lather in your hands. Ensure all surfaces of the hands are cleaned, including the thumbs, palms, between fingers and fingertips. When you’ve finished washing your hands, rinse off the soap and dry your hands thoroughly. Hands left damp can quickly attract and breed germs.

You can also use an alcohol-based hand rub after washing your hands or in place of soap and water if you cannot get to a sink. Alcohol-based hand sanitisers are not effective at cleaning visibly dirty hands but at levels over 60% alcohol, they are effective at killing 99.9% of bacteria.

GOJO Antimicrobial Foaming Handwash and Purell Advanced Hygienic Hand Rub meet EN 14476+A1 (v.2015), giving you confidence that you’re in safe hands.

Surface Cleaning

For infection control, the PHE recommends using a neutral detergent followed by a chlorine-based disinfectant and cleaning surfaces regularly, at least daily if caring for someone who is suspected to have contracted Coronavirus. Always use adequate PPE and ensure any staff members caring for a patient are trained in the safe use of PPE. 

Bio Productions Chlorine Sanitising Tablets – 1 tablet dissolved in 1L of water gives 1,000 ppm of available chlorine suitable for disinfecting surfaces such as bathrooms, kitchens, door handles etc.

Safe Zone Plus is a ready to use virucidal disinfectant, easy to use when Chlorine is not suitable.

For further information please read the Public Health advice at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-infection-prevention-and-control

Alternatively the World Health Organisation advice can be found here: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

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Work Related Stress

How Cleaning Can Help Your Mental Health

Successful business achievement

How Cleaning can help your mental health

Being in environments that are cluttered make for easy distractions, which can in turn impair the brain’s ability to process information to the best of its ability and leave you feeling disconcerted. This means that not only does it matter to keep your home clean and tidy, but also keeping your workspace – whether this is a desk, van, classroom or anything in between – clean and tidy as you can be more productive and develop healthy habits at work if you pay more attention to the cleanliness and organisation of your environment. By implementing techniques and habits that will help you to be tidier, you may feel better about yourself and the space in which you work, without having any anxiety about misplacing or losing documents or creating mounds of unfinished business.

A 2010 study[1] on how people described their homes and how this affected mental well-being showed that people who describe their home as “cluttered” or crowded with “unfinished projects” were more likely to be fatigued and depressed. In comparison, those who defined their home as “restful” and “restorative” had higher levels of happiness and mental well-being.

These findings highlight the way in which cluttered and messy environments can make it difficult for us to focus on particular tasks and achieve goals throughout the day and week. But by engaging in a regular cleaning routine, research shows[2] that we feel more optimistic after a failure, as being clean and tidy can help to boost self-esteem and confidence.

So, what can we easily do to make our living and working environments cleaner, so that we can positively affect our mental well-being? We’d recommend the following:

  • Setting a time each day that is dedicated to cleaning, for example arrive ten minutes early to work or leave ten minutes later so that you can ensure that your work space is tidy, ready for the day ahead. You may not want to stay at work longer than you need to, but the mental and productive benefits would be great.
  • Do the same for at home, so that not every job you need to do in the week needs doing all at once on a Sunday afternoon when you should be relaxing!
  • Have organisational office items – stationary holders, letter trays, filing cabinets – to help you file your work more effectively, reducing the amount of tidying that you will need to do when things start to pile up.
  • Split up the jobs that you don’t like doing! Hate doing the vacuuming or the ironing? Then make sure these jobs are on separate days, so you don’t feel down about doing it all at once. Also, if you live with someone, try and make it so that you do the jobs that the other person doesn’t like and vice-versa, meaning that you won’t see your cleaning tasks as as much of a chore.
  • Finally, and perhaps most importantly, make cleaning fun! Now this might not be easy to do, but you can listen to music or an audio book as you clean to get you through it, or even reward yourself with your favourite treat when you reach cleaning milestones.

References:

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19934011

[2] https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2476507/How-washing-hands-makes-HAPPIER-Cleaning-boosts-confidence-washes-away-feelings-failure.html

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Recycling – Do Your Bit!

Recycling- Do Your bit!

Recycling is an issue that is dominating the world at the moment and rightly so, as in the UK alone over 31 billion tonnes of waste is produced every year, including around 5 billion drinks cans and 13 billion plastic drinks bottles being used, but more than 3 billion of these plastic bottles are not recycled. In an attempt to tackle this, more than 40 companies, including giants Coca-Cola, Asda and Proctor & Gamble, have signed up with the government, trade associations and campaigners to form the UK Plastics Pact.

This comes after the government made the announcement that there will soon be a ban in the UK on the sales of plastic straws and cotton buds, in an attempt to tackle the overuse of plastic. Environmental Secretary Michael Gove also announced that the UK will commit £61m to develop new ways of clearing up plastics.

On the new bans to be introduced, the Environmental Secretary said: “Single-use plastics are a scourge on our seas and lethal to our precious environment and wildlife, so it is vital we act now. We have already banned harmful microbeads and cut plastic bag use, and now we want to take action on straws, stirrers and cotton buds to help protect our marine life.”

Theresa May added: “The UK government is a world leader on this issue, and the British public have shown passion and energy embracing our plastic bag charge and microbead ban, and today we have put forward ambitious plans to further reduce plastic waste from straws, stirrers and cotton buds.”

So, what can we do as consumers to help reduce plastic use and increase recycling rates?

  • Read all packaging labels to know how to recycle our products.
  • Take all glass bottles to the local bottle bank.
  • Take your own cups into coffee shops, rather than using single-use cups.
  • Reuse plastics where possible, e.g. carrier bags, plastic food boxes from the takeaway, water bottles, polystyrene and bubble wrap, to name a few.

Did you know?

  • Recycling a single plastic bottle can conserve enough energy to light a 60W bulb for up to 6 hours.
  • Recycling one aluminium can saves enough energy to run a TV for 2 hours.
  • 6 billion kg of waste is dumped into the ocean every year, with most of this being plastic.
  • Takeout coffee cups are not recyclable, resulting in billions of cups being thrown away as waste every year.
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Washroom

The Key to Hotel Hygiene

The Key to Hotel Hygiene

Cleanliness is something that all of us expect when we stay in a hotel. We instantly make a judgement on the place we are staying in when we walk in, and a lot of this judgement rests on how clean everything is. We look at the windows, front desk, floors and the bar area, but has anyone ever stopped to think how clean the hotel key cards are? The Journal of Environmental Health published an article in 2017 that looked into this exact thought and the results were alarming.

In most hotels around the world, guests who check in to the hotel are given a brand new key card, but there are some hotels where guests are given previously used cards. To get as comprehensive results as possible from the test, the researchers of this study wanted to find out if the card might still be contaminated if it is brand new as well as if they’re previously used. When the tests were carried out on the cards that were already used and being recycled to be used again, there was an assumption that the cards would already be contaminated, but what was unknown was the degree of contamination on the card.

Put it to the Test

149 hotel key cards were collected from 25 economy and mid-range hotels to carry out the test, which used Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) monitoring systems to swab the cards to measure contamination levels. On the ATP system, a reading of less than 10 indicates a very clean surface, 11-30 indicates an unclean surface that mat cause disease and 30 and above indicates that the cards are soiled, contaminated and could spread disease.

The results of the tests showed that the reused hotel key cards had an average reading of 175.03 which is extremely high, indicating that the cards were dirty and very likely to be contaminated with a threat of spreading disease. For the new key cards there was an average reading of 35, which suggests that even at brand new, the cards could already be contaminated and carry diseases.

These test results just go to show that diseases really can be laying on just about anything, not just the obvious things we think of like toilets, door handles, counter tops and light switches and it highlights just how important proper hand hygiene is.

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