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Hand Hygiene, Infection Prevention and Food Safety Blog

Have You Washed Your Hands? Hygiene in Public Washrooms

hygiene-public-facilities-320x213.jpgDid your mother ask whether you had washed your hands every time you sat down at the table to eat?  My mother certainly did.  And, if your family was constantly inundated with that question it means you will have an understanding of hygiene.

 

It would seem hand hygiene is no longer an active ingredient in raising children, especially when you see posters in public facilities telling everyone to wash their hands before leaving. 

 

Another notice I recently saw on mirrors in public facilities on a cruise ship was a revelation to me. It requested people to open the doors with the paper towel used to dry their hands.  There was even a bin next to the door so the offending paper could be dropped into it once the door was opened.  Hygiene in cruise line facilities is particularly important given the amount of incidents of passenger sicknesses in the news. Obviously the cruise line was aware of people walking out of the facilities without washing their hands, thereby leaving the door handle possibly covered with germs. Since then I have adopted this procedure.

 

Hygiene in Public Washrooms

All this points to the fact that people from all walks of life no longer deem it necessary to wash their hands on a regular basis.  In fact, 1 in 5 people admit to not washing their hands after using the washroom and only 30% use soap. Why this should be the case I am not sure, but I guess it boils down to that constant reminder we get given when we are children.  

 

Of course it is not for the want of cleansing products being available to assist in the washing of one’s hands.  Hand cleansers have improved over the years.  Whereas once there were only small packets of hand soap available for hand washing, now there are special dispensers providing a precise amount of soap that will not only generate a suitable lather but leave your hands feeling soft and smooth.  On top of that because the soap is in a dispenser, there is no longer that soggy mess one gets when the soap sits too long in the water trapped in the soap holder. 

 

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Public washrooms are typically highly contaminated with bacteria. A study has found that the sink tops the list with more than 50,000 Colony Forming Units (CFUs) followed closely by the radiator and tap. Dispensers that are treated with antimicrobial technology were found with no traces of bacteria or mould, compared to those that were not treated. Cleaners working in establishments with public facilities are very aware of hygiene and that a clean washroom is good for business. In SCA Tissue North America’s past survey, a dispenser with insufficient product would prevent a customer’s return visit to a restaurant 28 percent of the time. Therefore pride is taken in ensuring the area is clean and the soap dispensers and driers are always in perfect condition.

 

With too many people nowadays very happy to complain, keeping public facilities in pristine condition not only shows the diligence of the cleaners, but also shows the establishment is mindful of hygiene. Always a help in making customers feel safe and comfortable.

 

So the next time you have occasion to use a public facility, remember as you leave what my Mum, and thousands of other Mums used to say, “Have you washed your hands?”   

 

About the Author

Julie FS_square.bmp

Julie Finch-Scally is a distinguished franchisor and competent managing director who launched the Duster Dollies in 1993.  Beginning as a one woman business doing the cleaning The Duster Dollies eventually became a well known brand across Australia for its cleaning and hygiene standards.  After twenty years the company changed course and became consultants in Hygiene Management and Cleaning.  Ultimately Julie Finch-Scally became the Guru of Cleaning, nationally acclaimed for her exceptional skills and understanding of domestic cleaning services. Julie’s ability to develop a user-friendly and efficient cleaning system has gained her an impeccable reputation among satisfied clients and cleaners alike.  Her recent graduation as a Master of International Law has given her an understanding of global requirements in hygiene standards as well as a desire to help improve the status of cleaners around the world. 

To learn more visit her website at www.juliefinchscally.com.au                                                                          

Topics: Hand hygiene, Infection Prevention - Workplace and Public Areas, Restroom hand washing

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