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In celebration of Halloween, we’ve compiled our 7 most hideous, scary and shocking cleaning and hygiene facts for your enjoyment or displeasure:
Tip: Germaphobes look away now.
#1 – Eek! (Computer) Mice!! Britain’s office germ hotspots revealed.
Who’d have thought toilets were not your main concern in the workplace when it comes to germs?
The germ hotspots of Britain’s offices were recently revealed to be in places we may not have originally expected…
- Computer mouse (580 combined colony forming units)
- Kettle (336.6 combined colony forming units)
- Fridge (295 combined colony forming units)
- Laptop (264.8 combined colony forming units)
- Bathroom lock (188 combined colony forming units)
- Hand sanitiser bottle (175.5 combined colony forming units)
- Printer (100.5 combined colony forming units)
- Light switch (99 combined colony forming units)
- Desk phone (96.5 combined colony forming units)
- Kitchen cupboard (67.9 combined colony forming units)
To be clear – the terrifying toilet swab actually produced 11 times less combined colony forming units than a creepy computer mouse… yuk.
Oh, and can someone please clean the Sanitiser bottle asap!
#2 – Bad Air Zombies! Indoor air is predicted to be between 2x and 30x worse depending on where you work from.
Pre-Covid, employees spent more than 90,000 hours at their workplace over the course of their working lives. With a sharp increase in education around indoor air quality (IAQ) following the pandemic, it’s alarming to think that indoors is 2-5 times as polluted as outside, especially for those working built up areas and major cities.
Sadly, working from home is not the solution either – homes are potentially much more polluted (some research indicates up to 30x the outdoor air levels)!
One study concluded that the toxic chemicals (in this case found in household rather than commercial cleaning agents) are 3 times more likely to cause cancer than outdoor air is. And just small increase in CO2 (by 1000ppm) can impair cognitive performance in the same way that 1.5 pints of beer can in men, and 2 pints of beer can in women! The quality of our air directly affects our performance.
In the UK, pre-Covid, it was estimated there may be as many as 40k premature deaths a year relating to indoor air quality (IAQ) and its certainly played an undeniable part in the spread of CV-19.
Time to service your air con and better still, open a window!
#3 – ‘Bless You’: Droplets from a colleague’s cough or sneeze can travel more than 6 ft from the source and as much as 20 ft up in the air.
A researcher at Loughborough University, (who is also an applied mathematics lecturer), collected data during the first lockdown and found that largest droplets (1,000 micrograms in diameter) travelled almost 12 feet, while those 750 micrograms in diameter reached nearly 8 feet. The smallest droplets, those 30 to 50 micrograms in diameter, went up to 19.5 feet up into the air and landed further than 6 foot away.
A cough can travel up to 50 miles per hour, and sneezes reach speeds up to 100 miles per hour!
You better run fast… but if you can’t – remind your colleagues to use a tissue, or tilt their head down if no tissue is nearby. And definitely wash their hands after too!!
#4 – Scrub-a-dub-dub: Washing hands 6-10 times per day linked to lower risk from vampires infection and don’t forget the soap!
Infection control goes beyond just Covid prevention, although it’s easy to forget sometimes. It’s important to know that alcohol gels and sanitsers do not kill all bad bacteria. Norovirus, for example, spreads very quickly and is really unpleasant and alcohol will not prevent you catching it. This autumn it came about early thanks to lockdown easing and it is already making its way around the UK despite commonly being a winter bug.
Washing your hands with soap and water when you are able is more effective than relying on hand sanitiser or water alone, because the surfactants in the soap can remove soil and microbes from your skin’s surface.
Recent research from UCL showed moderate-frequency handwashing (6-10 per day) was associated with significantly reduced overall risk of contracting Coronavirus (36% reduction in the risk of infection compared to those who washed their hands 0-5 times per day).
Top tip to aid compliance – clean sinks encourage handwashing. Dirty sinks deter people from using them!
So at this time of year, soap might be a better aid to preventing nasties than garlic!
#5 – Painful Truth: Chemical cleaning agents are bad for human health (especially bad for your cleaners).
A 10-year study of cleaning operatives found that sadly, cleaning staff using conventional chemical cleaning products over long periods are 58% more likely to develop lung cancer than the office working counterparts they serve.
As we’ve all increased cleaning in recent years, it’s not unthinkable to imagine this may slowly increase for anyone repeatedly exposed to cleaning chemicals – at work and at home.
Traditional cleaning products contain toxins, carcinogens, chemicals or corrosive substances that may be harmful to health. Over time they can pollute indoor air and even contribute to microbial resistance.
10 to 20 years in cleaning, can be as damaging as smoking 20 cigarettes a day for the same period and sadly this does affect the health of people who work hard every day to keep others safe and well.
If this stat shakes you to the core as it does us, then you might like to think about considering the more human and eco-friendly cleaning solutions like using probiotics that have none of the negative product-related side effects.
#6 – Just Plain Scary: Covid can last on surfaces for anywhere from 9 to 17 days.
One peer-reviewed study found Covid could last on some surfaces, including plastic, for up to 9 days. Meanwhile, research from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the States (using a cruise ship subject) discovered however that it lived on surfaces for 17 days after infected passengers disembarked.
This information has scary consequences for any surfaces not usually covered by a regular daily clean. This could include high- and low-level surfaces, behind furniture or on soft furnishings.
It’s definitely time to look differently at the environments we clean and how we tackle cleaning the entire space, not only the common touchpoints and hard surfaces, for instance probiotic misting (not the evil kind!!) makes a significant difference in removing COVID from infrequently cleaned areas
#7 – Don’t Be a Swamp Creature: Stop avoiding the hand dryer and paper towels.
If there’s one thing not to avoid in the bathroom, it’s the items there to help you dry your hands.
You’re 1000 times more likely to spread bacteria with damp hands and a whopping 80% of contagious diseases are transmitted by touch alone. Leave without taking time to dry your hands properly and you have only done half the job of preventing the spread of infection.
Do these stats keep you awake? Is the state of your office haunting you at night? Is the return to the workplace scaring your staff? If so – we can help…
If you need a hand transforming your premises from dirty, dank and disastrous to clean, sparkling and fresh, talk to one of our cleaning team today – we assure you we don’t bite.
Sources: https://www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com/articles/20698-respiratory-droplets-from-coughs-sneezes-can-travel-beyond-6-feet-study Chicopee research via https://www.twinfm.com/article/office-germ-hotspots-revealed https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/2020/may/handwashing-6-10-times-day-linked-lower-infection-risk https://chela.co.uk/workplace-hygiene-statistics/ https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200401-covid-19-how-fear-of-coronavirus-is-changing-our-psychology https://stock.adobe.com/uk/images/health-effects-of-air-pollution-infographic-toxic-effects/284810684?prev_url=detail