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As today (19th November) is World Toilet Day we’re dedicating our latest blog entry to toilets and their importance in human life and what we should be doing in order to make sure that a place that we spend an average of 13 months of our lives sitting on is as clean as it needs to be.

Having access to a toilet is a basic human right and is something that most of us will take for granted but, alarmingly, 4.5 billion people on our planet are currently living without access to a safe toilet – that’s a staggering 62.5% of the world living without access to safe sanitation. That may seem crazy for us that live in first-world countries, but unfortunately for those who don’t this is a very real and serious problem. As well as this, 892 million people worldwide are practising open defecation, which is essentially turning our beautiful planet into an open sewer, which doesn’t take much to realise that this is going to cause problems for the environment and its ecosystems.

This is a global issue as toilets play a hugely important role for all of us, not only for a safe space to relieve ourselves, but they are also important for the sustainable, inclusive development of the human race. In a nutshell, toilets are vital for the healthy development of people, especially children. Safe sanitation in general is just as important. Having a safe area to relieve of urine and faeces helps to provide a healthy living environment for everyone, protect natural resources such as surface water, groundwater and soil, and provide safety, security and dignity for everyone when they use the facility.

So what needs to be done in order to tackle these issues and reduce the number of people who do not have access to safe sanitation? The short answer is investment. In 2012 the World Health Organisation estimated that for every dollar that the USA invested into global sanitation, the global economic return on sanitation spending is $5.50. This number alone proves that investment in the area is the answer to the problem. Nearly half of global malnutrition instances are linked to chronic diarrhoea caused by a lack of clean water, decent sanitation and good hygiene, showing that the global population’s lack of access to clean and safe toilets is having a huge impact on the future of millions of children worldwide suffering from malnutrition. Over half of the world are struggling to develop, stay healthy and earn themselves a better future, all for the want of a toilet. It’s time that changed.

As well as the global need for improved sanitation, it is also important that we ensure our toilets at home and work are clean in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Bathrooms can be germ breeding grounds if they are not maintained correctly, resulting in illness and potential damage to bathroom surfaces and fixtures. To help the prevention of bacteria and other germs we would recommend cleaning your toilet twice a week, your sink weekly and your shower and bath once every couple of weeks, but there is nothing wrong with cleaning them more often if you use them more frequently. If you’re looking for new products to tackle the germs in your bathroom, our Everfresh Apple is great for cleaning toilets and Clean Fast is great for cleaning all surfaces in your bathroom.

 

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.

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. You can read more about the importance of hand hygiene here and you can browse our range of skin care products here.

Nearly all of us use them on a daily basis, whether it’s a coffee shop cup, takeaway box or food packaging, but what impact on our environment does the use of single use plastics have?

Production and use of plastic has dramatically increased over the last 20 years and it has become an essential product in our modern lives. Everywhere you look plastic is being used and it isn’t going to be disappearing anytime soon, but we could all be doing our bit to reduce the amount of single use plastic we use in our day-to-day lives, as these are a huge factor in the climate change we’re currently experiencing.

So, what happens to plastic after we’ve binned it? At the moment, a lot of the plastic we use just ends up at landfill sites, where it can take hundreds or even thousands of years to break down, but it’s not just the accumulation of said plastics that harms the environment – it is also the fragments and toxins released during photo-decomposition that pollute our soil and water. As well as ending up at landfill sites, more than 8 billion tonnes of plastic are dumped into our oceans every year, with half of this being from single use plastic, so just think of the progress we could make if we all made a conscious effort to reduce single use plastic consumption. If we carry on disposing plastic at the same rates we are now there will be more plastic by weight in the oceans than fish by 2050, which is a very scary thought. And I’m sure by now most of us will have seen Blue Planet 2, or at least pictures of it like the one to the left, and we should all want to reduce the amount of instances where turtles, seals, sea birds and more are getting caught up in things like beers can rings, plastic bags, fishing nets etc.

What can we do to tackle the plastic build up in the world then? Burning plastic isn’t an option as this releases highly toxic environmental pollutants that can potentially cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and cause cancer. So, at the moment the only solution we have is to wait for plastics to naturally decompose which, as pointed out earlier, can take hundreds if not thousands of years to happen.

This is why we all need to be more conscious of the amount of single use plastics we are using, as we need to be tackling the problem as soon as we can. On 24th October, just 2 days after the UK government officially announced its plan to ban plastic straws, drink stirrers and cotton buds, the EU announced that they were introducing reforms to tackle everything the UK has named, plus plastic cutlery, plates and balloon sticks as well. This is a huge step forward in the battle on plastic, as it means that even those people who are not making a conscious effort to reduce their single use plastic consumption will be doing so anyway as it will become law. There is no set date yet for when this law will come into practice, but in the meantime we should all be looking to reduce, if not wipe out entirely, our use of the products outlined by the EU.

Can you believe it’s Halloween already!? Us neither, it’s the time of year that we all just get busier and busier with Christmas around the corner and the last thing we want to be doing is cleaning up after throwing a Halloween get-together. So, we’re going to let you in on some of the spookiest tips and tricks that we know about to make sure your house returns to being clean and sparkling - while hopefully using less time, energy and chemicals as well!

  • A dab of toothpaste and a scrub can clean marker pen stains from wood – a handy trick to have up your sleeve if you’ve got creative kids at your party this year!
  • You’ve got a lot of people coming and going and not all take their shoes off at the door.  Ditch your old, traditional mop and get yourself a microfibre mop. Traditional mop heads will likely stay damp for a while after using, making it a bacteria breeding hot-ground, and nobody wants to be spreading that around their home. Also, microfibre works with just the cloth and water, so you’ll save money on chemicals too!
  • Struggling to vacuum any glitter that has come loose from spooky costumes? Use a lint roller to pick up any remaining pieces that are stubborn and hard to remove.
  • Someone has dropped the jack-o-lantern and you’ve now got an unsightly stain on the carpet. Pick up pulp with paper towels and blot the stain using Nova Spotta. Repeat if necessary! 
  • Did you know blenders clean themselves? Yes, you read that correctly! Once you’ve made some delicious pumpkin soup - fill your blender with warm water and add a few drops of your washing up liquid. Turn the blender on for a few seconds and rinse after. Ta-da!
  • Do you find yourself regularly throwing out washing up sponges because they get dirty? Clean them with this simple trick - Slightly dampen your sponge, pop it in the microwave for 60 seconds on full power, and you’ll reduce the amount of bacterial contamination on it by up to 99 percent, according to research published in the Journal of Environmental Health. Just make sure your sponge doesn’t have a metal scourer part or you’ll be adding “buy a new microwave” to your list of chores. Also make sure the sponge isn’t dry as this can start a fire.
  • Steam clean your microwave – put a bowl of water with a few tablespoons of white vinegar in the microwave for a couple of minutes on the highest setting, then remove the bowl and all dirt that is on the inside surfaces of the microwave should wipe straight off.
  • Hopefully you’re not going to come across any broken eggs this year – but if you do it’s best to clean these when wet with warm water and washing up liquid. If any egg happens to dry, why not try neat Orange Fresh to and a scrubbing brush to remove the marks from windows,  brickwork and paving.

We hope you find these tips and tricks useful, if you’ve got any of your own tips to share please leave them in the comments on our Facebook post!

We hear all the time about how important hand hygiene is and that we should be regularly washing our hands, especially after visits to the bathroom and before eating, but why is hand hygiene so important to our health?

In short, washing your hands properly is one of the main things you can do to prevent the spread of diseases. Good hand hygiene helps to reduce the likeliness of flu, food poisoning and healthcare associated infections being spread from person to person, with nearly 50% of all foodborne illness outbreaks being linked back to improper hand hygiene.   

But it’s not just a case of rinse your hands with water and you’re done, you need to make sure that you’re thoroughly washing your hands with soap and water every time you wash them, to ensure that all germs on your hands are killed. When you are washing your hands, you need to make sure that the tips of your fingers, the palms of your hands, your thumbs and your fingernails are all cleaned. Most people wash the palms of their hands and miss out everything else, when in fact most of the bacteria on our hands is on our fingertips and under fingernails, with bacteria doubling after using the bathroom.

It’s also important to know when you should be washing your hands as well as how, as this is another big contributor in preventing the spread of illnesses. You should be washing your hands after using the bathroom, before prepping and before eating food, when you’ve coughed or sneezed, when your hands are visibly dirty from work or other activities, after touching animals or animal waste, after handing rubbish and before and after visiting a hospital ward or other healthcare facility.

So, how can you ensure that you’re washing your hands correctly? Follow this ten-step method and you’ll be clean as a whistle:

  • Wet hands under warm running water
  • Add soap
  • Rub palms together to create lather
  • Rub the backs of hands vigorously with palms with fingers interlaced
  • Wash between fingers
  • Group fingers together, rub tips in lather on palm of opposite hand
  • Rotational rubbing of left thumb clasped in right palm and vice-versa
  • Rub the right wrist with the left palm and vice-versa
  • Rub backs of fingers against opposite palm
  • Rinse hands to remove all soap and dry hands thoroughly