Germ Hotspots Exposed

Germ Hotspots

Just because something looks clean, doesn’t mean it is. Be cautious around the germ hotspots below and you may be able to avoid that extra sick day this winter.

Restaurant Menus

The next time you reach for that menu, you may want to consider the hundreds or thousands of people who have handled it before you. What are the chances your menu underwent a thorough sanitizing before your server plopped it down on your table? Probably slim to none. You should probably wash your hands before picking up that tasty burger.

Lime and Lemon Wedges

After ordering 21 drinks at various restaurants, researchers from the Journal of Environmental Health found 25 different microorganisms on the accompanying limes and lemons – including E. coli. Perhaps it would be best to skip the lemon and lime next time you find yourself ordering a vodka soda.

Restroom Door Knobs and Handles

Well this one shouldn’t be too much of a shocker. If you saw our last post on hand washing habits, you’ve realized that most Americans aren’t very diligent when it comes washing their hands post restroom. Reduce your chances of contamination by flushing with your foot and opening the door handle with a paper towel.

Grocery Carts

With flu and cold season just around the corner, more and more grocery stores are making disinfecting wipes available for customers to give their cart or basket a quick wipe down. According to the Journal of Medical Virology – flu and cold viruses can survive up to 18 hours on hard surfaces. As you can probably imagine, grocery carts are a breeding ground for bacteria. Take advantage of these free wipes or bring your own.

Free Food Samples

Though tempting, free mixed nuts at the bar are NEVER a good idea. Hand-to-food contact is one of the most common ways to spread foodborne illness. Even if you carry a bottle of hand sanitizer in your purse, think about all of the people who can’t even bother to wash their hands. The next time you’re offered a communal bowel of tasty treats, just say pass.

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

Industrial Cleaning Supplies FAQs: Cleaning, Disinfecting and Sanitizing

cleaning supplies
What’s the difference between cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing?

Though these three industrial cleaning supplies are often used interchangeably, they aren’t the same thing. Cleaning is an action performed to remove dust, dirt and residue from a soiled surface. While surfaces may appear hygienic after a thorough cleaning, basic cleaning does not address harmful microorganisms.

Disinfecting on top of cleaning adds another layer of safety because it’s performed to remove 100% germs and bacterial that can spread disease or infection. Like disinfecting, sanitizing works to remove harmful microorganisms, however, it’s not quite as strong. Sanitizing reduces the number of microorganisms to a safe level, but it does not eliminate all of them. Sanitizers also cannot kill viruses or fungi.

In general, disinfectants are frequently used in healthcare settings, while sanitizers are often required in the food service industry.

How are germs spread?

Germs are spread through three different mechanisms: direct contact, indirect contact, airborne spread.

1) Direct contact means that germs are spread from one infected person to another. An example of this is when an infected person coughs or sneezes into his or her hands and then touches another person before washing.

2) Indirect contact means that germs are spread from an infected person to another person through a common surface or object. An example of this is when an infected person shares eating utensils with another person.

3) Airborne spread means when germs are spread through the air from an infected person to an uninfected person over short distances. When someone coughs or sneezes, small germ-filled droplets are sprayed into the air. Anyone within a three foot radius can be infected.

Is it possible to clean and disinfect at the same time?

The short answer is sometimes. In order to properly disinfect, the disinfectant must come into direct contact with the target surface area. This may not be possible if there is a heavy barrier of dirt, grime or grease present. In other words, it’s possible to simultaneously clean and disinfect, but only under slightly soiled conditions. An industrial cleaner containing bleach may be able to clean and disinfect at the same time.

What does it mean when a disinfectant is “EPA-registered”?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates the production and sale of all  disinfectants. All EPA-registered industrial cleaner disinfectants must comply with several regulations regarding raw materials, label strength, processing, safety, efficacy and shelf life.

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons