Germ Hotspots in the Bathroom: Effective Cleaning

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Every bathroom is home to germs. They thrive in the conditions a damp, warm room presents. The invisible invaders are easy to target in conventional ways, but bleaching your toilet once a week isn’t enough! From your shower curtain to your toothbrush, germ hotspots pulse throughout your bathroom. Cleaning effectively is important to staying healthy and avoiding a range illness. Common bathroom germs can cause diarrhea and a whole host of other nasty symptoms. With this in mind we’ve put together some of the germs favourite homes and how to send them packing:

The first point of call is touch points. These are locations in your bathroom that people commonly touch, creating a space where the build up can become dangerous. Door handles, flushes and taps are all examples of touch points. They are best tackled with a disinfectant spray or wipe. Allow the formula to sit for a couple of minutes before wiping clean in order to allow the chemical to work.  

Next up is your whole shower area, where the heat combined with the regular supply of water allow germs to breed. Opening your shower curtain while you aren’t using it prevents some of this build up as there are less confined spaces. Follow the instructions on how to wash it regularly to avoid mould building up. Pay attention to the showerhead and allow it to run for 20 seconds before getting in. This, alongside monthly cleaning with water and disinfectant, should keep it clean. Finally beware of sponges that have been sitting for too long. The retained moisture provides a breeding ground for bacteria. Microwaving the sponge for a minute every couple of days will heat it enough to kill them off.

Researchers at the University of Manchester have shown that up to 10 million bacteria, viruses and fungi can live on an uncovered toothbrush. It can be victim to toilet spray (yuck!) or excessive water and can hold bugs that can make you seriously ill like E. Coli. Drying your toothbrush thoroughly after use will kill a lot of the germs. A toothbrush should be replaced regularly and not stored with other family members toiletries as these could pass on the germs. This is especially the case is someone is ill, many bugs and virus’ can be spread throughout the house like this. Keep your toothbrush in a cupboard or on your bedside table so you know it’s fine to stick in your mouth!

You’ll never kill all the germs in any room of your house, but understanding how they grow and the best methods of containing them will help you stay healthy. Disinfectant wipes, sprays and a bottle of bleach will keep your bathroom spick and span. Regular preventative steps help maintain a healthy bathroom that won’t leave you feeling dirtier than when you went in! You’re ready to nuke the germs!  

Paper Towels Or Hand Dryers – How to Remain Hygienic In A Public Bathroom

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With 80% of infection being spread from the hands, the act of drying your hands is an essential part of the handwashing process, as the spread of bacteria greatly increases with wet skin rather than dry skin. But which is better? Some public bathrooms have electric hand dryers, others just paper towels, and plenty have both. But which is more hygienic? Don’t fear, we are here to help.

So why are we debating about it?

Sometimes we don’t have an option as to what methods we dry our hands with. However, when faced with the option, most people have wondered what is the most hygienic method. Paper towels are certainly the most efficient, whereas hand dryers appear to be the most cost effective and environmentally friendly. But which one is the most hygienic?

A few years ago, a scientist named Dr. Cunrui Huang, from the Queensland University of Technology, decided to find out the answer. He carried out a review of 12 studies evaluating how efficient these methods were at the removal of bacteria. As it turns out, the winner was Paper Towels.

 

Why is this?

This is largely based on two factors:

  • It removes more bacteria in a shorter amount of time
  • It physically removes the bacteria

 

Factor 1: How long does it take to dry your hands

With paper towels, one of the studies found that residual water on that hands reduced to just 1 per cent after 15 seconds. This is a stark contrast with hot air dryers that leave 3 per cent of residual water on the hands after 45 seconds.

This difference of 30 seconds becomes even more significant when compared with another one of the studies which found that on average people don’t generally dry that hands for much longer than 20 seconds.

This is why drying hands with paper towels is less likely to carry less bacteria. This means a lower risk of illnesses and the prevention of ccross-contamination due to wet skin; which is important during these cold months.

 

Factor 2: The Physical Removal of Bacteria

As well as being able to dry your hands in a shorter amount of time, the actual motion of drying your hands with a paper towel and the friction that comes with it physically removes the bacteria. This is another large contrast to standard hot air dryers, which can blow organisms up to a foot into the air!

What do the public prefer?

According to the study, the public prefer paper towels to hand dryers. It showed that 55 – 64% of bathroom users preferred paper towels, compared to a mere 28% who preferred hand dryers.

 

Why is drying your hands important?

Whatever method you have available to you, drying your hands properly is imperative, as damp hands can spread more than 1000x more bacteria than dry hands. If you are ever unsure whether you have thoroughly cleaned your hands, it’s always a good idea to carry around antibacterial hand wipes or a small bottle of hand bacterial gel, which can be used anywhere, even on public transport.

How To Get a 5-star Rating For Your Restaurant

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The numbered hygiene rating is given out to all restaurants and food establishments by local authorities. The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) helps customers choose where to eat by informing them how seriously the restaurant takes its cleanliness. It is an essential rating system that is used to encourage trust among the public. Restaurants or food establishments with poor ratings will generally see fewer customers coming through the door than those with higher standards. It’s therefore used as a deterrent for food establishments who might cut corners when it comes to hygiene. The threat of fewer customers and consequently less revenue is enough to ensure that the food rating scales are adhered to.

But how does it work? And what are the local agencies looking out for when inspecting the premises? The food safety officer will look for three fundamental things;

  • How hygienically the food is being handled. This includes looking at exactly how food is stored, prepared, cooked and reheated
  • Secondly, the inspector will take a look at the building and decide whether or not it meets the standards set for cleanliness, lighting, ventilation and other facilities and potential issues
  • Finally, how the business manages and records its methods and what it does to ensure that food is safe is also examined

Once the inspector has completed made their decision, they will award the restaurant a numbered rating, which should be displayed at the front of the restaurant for all customers to see. The rating will scale from 0-5. The top rating of 5 means the business passes all the required fields and is considered to have very good hygiene levels. Ratings of 0-2 are poor with drastic improvements required and 3 is considered satisfactory. These ratings, as you can imagine, have a huge impact on the way customers will view a restaurant.

Everyone has access to your food ratings through the government’s website. From here they can view your hygiene rating and make their own mind up about the cleanliness of the establishment. There is no breakdown of why some ratings are lower than others available to the public, so an error that may seem small to the owner and in their view, may not affect the experience of the customer, could be translated as overall poor hygiene by the customer who only has the rating scale to reference.

For a business to achieve the highest rating they must make the improvements set out by the inspector on the visit. The officers are there to give practical advice on how to make improvements, which should be considered and implemented. To ensure that the scheme is fair, businesses have a set of safeguards to refer to, should they feel that the decision is harsh. This gives the business grounds on which to appeal any decision, the right to reply and an opportunity to request a re-visit once improvements had been made. These safeguards allow for food establishments to ensure that the right decision is met. Fundamentally the rating is used so that customers are sure that they are getting the most hygienic service possible.

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