Tag Archives: clean

Deceptive appearances – “clean” can be infectious

Woman with magnifier
Just because it’s clean doesn’t mean it’s germ-free

You can’t see germs, they’re too unbelievably small.

You can tell when they’re around though – the smell of something “off” or the discolouration of growths like mould.

And of course, the swelling round a cut, or the queasiness in your tummy.

Hungry to eat – you

They’re hard at work, doing the only thing they know how – eat. And it’s when they eat you, that you start feeling sick.

So the thing is, to stop them before they get the chance – a constant war against them, even though they’re invisible.

Uh huh.

But we’re surrounded by billions and billions of germs, all the time – mostly bacteria. They’re even inside our bodies, living in harmony – doing useful work, like help us digest food.

There’s still billions more, some good, some bad – tuberculosis for example is a very unpleasant experience. There’s viruses too – also not so good for us – unable to function properly without a warm human body. And all too ready to bring us down.

It’s because of germs that we have to keep cleaning things – not just that they’re yucky. They’re dangerous and infectious. (Tweet this)

We see the dirt, we rub or scrape it off, rinse away any residue – and assume that’s good enough.

Germs never give up

Except that germs are much more pernicious than that. And when you get down to microbial levels, what you think might be a smooth surface isn’t smooth at all. It’s like a rocky mountain range, with plenty of rocks and crags to hang onto.

That countertop you’ve just wiped down might LOOK clean, but could still be infested.

OK, we’re aware of that, which is why we use germ-killing cleaners like bleach. Oxidising action destroys the germs, so we’re safe.

In theory.

But like we said, germs are pernicious – and persistent.

Scrub, scrub

Was the bleach solution strong enough? Was it there long enough to kill everything? And didn’t you have to wipe it off afterwards, so remaining bleach couldn’t contaminate anything?

Chances are, only half the germs got clobbered – and anything else you wiped could have picked them up too – that wiping cloth is a double-edged sword.

Right, so it’s rub-scrub-wipe, rub-scrub-wipe all over the place – work surfaces, furniture tops, floors – and hopefully it’s safe. It certainly looks sparkling – a few hours well spent.

Well yes, but germs don’t just sit on flat surfaces, they’re everywhere else too – the walls, cupboard doors, the ceiling, behind things, underneath, and in every nook and cranny.

Oh yes, and the air of course – it’s 80% of the room space. Floating, swirling, drifting, hovering – so small and light they may never fall to the floor. Billions and billions of them, ready to catch on your skin or clothing, or for you to breathe them in.

Aargh! What can you do?

The Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease

For a start, wash your hands. You use them for everything and most germs spread on contact. So if they’re on your hands, they can transfer to everything you touch. Infectious, infectious!

Wash Hands Logo
Your personal everyday defence against germs

Like the soft tissue round your eyes, nose and mouth – because, would you believe, most of us touch our faces 2,000 – 3,000 times a day!

Want to know how nasties like norovirus get to you most of the time? From germs on your hands in contact with all kinds of things – other people, common objects, or believe it or not, from the loo. Your hands are infectious.

Which why, in this blog, we refer to it as the Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease.

So what about the rest of the job, all those nooks and crannies? And how in the world can you scrub the air?

Total room steriliser

The easy answer is with a Hypersteriliser.

You’ve done the main work and got rid of the dirt and gunge. Now comes the follow-up to do everything else – and to destroy ALL germs completely.

Press the button and the Hypersteriliser generates an ultra-fine mist of hydrogen peroxide – quickly filling the place like the bathroom when you’re having a shower.

It’s no ordinary mist either. This stuff is ionised, with highly charged electrons all trying to escape each other, pushing in all directions to get away. This forces them everywhere – up, out, underneath and behind, deep into cracks and crevices – as far away from each other as they can get.

The same charge attracts them actively to fixed or floating cells of viruses and bacteria. They grab hold like a magnet, shoving atoms of oxygen at them – ripping their whole cell structure apart.

No germ survives this oxidising action. They are dead and gone – the whole place is sterile.

And the hydrogen peroxide? Without its charge any more, it reverts to oxygen and water – and an ultra thin, infinitesimally wafer-like layer of silver – used as a germ-killing booster and left behind as a protective antibiotic coating.

Yes, everything looks clean – and now the germ threshold is zero. No bugs anywhere, except the ones you might bring in with you.

And they’re no problem either – you HAVE washed your hands, haven’t you?

How cracks in our hygiene will kill us

Arms folded doctor
Germs are so deadly, you can’t take chances, ever

It’s Hollywood’s oldest cliché.

The white-gloved finger running along a surface – and the dirty smudge that results.

Just because a thing looks clean doesn’t mean it is.

Except we know that. Which is why we  attack everything with disinfectants the way we do.

Looks are deceiving

We know about germs – and we know they live in dirt.

But sussing whether a thing is clean or not is still a problem.

If you’ve got the time and patience, you can try one of those fancy CSI jobbies that show up where the bloodstains are. Bioluminescence that glows under UV light. Hidden germs – lurking.

Which is a nightmare that’s even worse in hospitals. HAIs – hospital acquired infections – are the most frustrating and deadly challenge of our age.

Argh, it’s infuriating! Here is a facility specially created to make people well – only for them to catch a superbug and die.

And it happens, even though staff are meticulous with their cleaning procedures. Latex gloves, so nothing is touched directly. Every surface swabbed with bleach.

Recycling bugs

Next second, everyone is down with diarrhoea – even patients in special care and on antibiotics. Especially them, it often seems. Clostridium difficile (c.diff) – a killer bacterium that seems to thrive in health care centres – accounting for around 2,000 deaths a year in UK.

This is a real nasty that seems to lurk everywhere. Swab, scrub, swab, scrub – but repeat infections become a vicious cycle.

Because it’s not just on surfaces, it’s in hidden corners and cracks – those unavoidable crevices between furniture and machines – where hand-wipe cleaning just cannot reach.

Desperate to try anything, Vancouver General Hospital is running tests with a tracker dog. Like an airport bomb-sniffer, Angus the springer spaniel is specially trained to sniff out clostridium difficile wherever it inevitably tries to hide. In the cracks in walls, floors, and under sinks – out of sight, out of mind – until the next uncontrollable dash for the loo.

Effective, sure – and a heart-warming story.

Except the cracks still have to be properly cleaned and disinfected. It takes time to sniff out a whole hospital ward too. And even then, conventional cleaners may not actually kill the bug.

There are questions too – about the wisdom of bringing a dog into a hospital in the first place.

An effective rescue

All problems that dissolve into nothing by using hydrogen peroxide.

Many hospitals will be familiar with hydrogen peroxide fogging to get rid of germs.

Few of them stick with it because it’s a schlep – rooms have to be evacuated for the spray to be applied – and out of action for hours while the stuff dries out.

Unless of course, they’re using a Hypersteriliser.

No more schlep, no more wet spray.

The dry mist from this small and easily handled machine is ionised.

Ultra-fine particles of hydrogen peroxide are charged like a plasma to disperse quickly in all directions. Upwards, outwards, underneath and behind things – penetrating deep into inaccessible crevices – dynamically attracted there, exactly where c. diff likes to hide.

Not just c.diff either – but all viruses and bacteria that may be present.

Charged attraction

Like magnets, the charged particles of hydrogen peroxide actively reach out and grab at the cells of harmful pathogens – ripping through them with oxygen atoms to destroy them completely.

Another super-effective germ killer, colloidal silver, boosts this action so the hydrogen peroxide is three times more effective. A miniscule film of it is left behind on surfaces as an ongoing microbial barrier.

And after its oxidising attack, the hydrogen peroxide itself breaks down into harmless oxygen and water, which quickly evaporates into nothing.

So yes, there might be cracks all round us where germs can hide. But they’re not going to get very far with this kind of protection. Sterilised, safe and secure.

Let’s get HAIs down – and antibiotic-resistant bugs out on their ear.

We’ve hiked our hygiene habits to a whole new level.

The difference between clean and safe

Mum and baby hands
Most of the time, clean just isn’t enough

Chores done. Spic and span.

And the floor looks so good you could eat your breakfast off it.

Really?

Prepared to risk a tummy ache for it?

Beyond appearances

For all you know, that floor could be covered in germs. And how would you know? They’re so small you need a microscope to see them.

OK, soap and water does get rid of a lot of stuff . Dirt certainly, you can see that.

And yes, probably a whole stack of germs.

By making that floor – or anything else – clean, you have basically “sanitised” it.

If before you started there were a million germs to a square inch – harmful pathogens, viruses or bacteria – you have now pulled them down to 100,000, a reduction of 90%.

Assuming of course, that you have cleaned thoroughly – not just slopped with a mop and stopped for a coffee.

Personal hygiene

It’s the same with your hands.

A proper clean with soap and water for at least thirty seconds – or with alcohol gel if there’s no facilities – will get rid of 90% of germs.

Medics and science boffins call this a Sterility Assurance Level of Log 1. If you scrub for five minutes or so, like operating staff do, you get rid of 99% – a Sterility Assurance Level of Log 2.

But there’s a catch. All bacteria have the power to divide and multiply. One cell becomes two, two become four, four become sixteen – etcetera.

And since 10% of them are left, they’ll be at it immediately.

Warm, moist conditions accelerate this. So if whatever you’ve just cleaned isn’t dry, those germs will be racing to replace themselves. That 10% of germs can double in 20 minutes. In less than two hours, they could be back to full strength.

And germs like flu viruses can survive on your skin for 24 hours. Other bacteria can survive for weeks. (Tweet this)

Makes you think twice about the towel you use, doesn’t it? If it’s still damp – and it’s likely to be – the next person who comes along is going to pick up whatever you left. That’s why air blade dryers are so much safer – your hands get dry without leaving anything behind.

Thank goodness.

Because out of all the millions and millions of bacteria that might be around (there always are), it only takes 10 cells of something nasty like e.coli to make you very sick indeed.

This means war

So how about if you deliberately set out to kill germs? Use a disinfectant like Domestos or Dettol?

Depending on the strength and preparation of the stuff you’re using, you’ll reduce germ levels – the number of colony forming units of viruses or bacteria – by anything from 99.9% to 99.999%. That’s a Sterility Assurance Level from Log 3 to Log 5. (Just count the number of 9s).

Pretty good, but not really serious if infection is a problem – like when everyone’s come down with norovirus, or flu is spreading like wildfire.

Going the whole hog is to sterilise everything. To destroy all viruses and bacteria completely. Reduce those million germs you started with down to nothing – all non-pathogenic and pathogenic spores, fungi and viruses.

The science boys shake their heads at that, since it’s not always provable. The best they’re prepared to accept is reducing the million down to one, or 99.9999%. This puts us at a Sterility Assurance Level of Log 6.

Making safe

Safe enough?

For sure. And it’s achievable in as little as twenty minutes by misting up the room with ionised hydrogen peroxide.

Ionising makes hydrogen peroxide particles become supercharged – acting far more powerfully than they would otherwise. They kill on contact without needing to saturate the atmosphere. The dry mist reaches everywhere, sterilising the air as well as all surfaces.

Well you don’t get flu by sniffing the table, do you?

And ionised hydrogen peroxide can be used pretty well anywhere in an enclosed space. You just roll in the electronic robot unit – it’s about the size of a small wheelie-bin – close all the doors and windows, hit the button and leave.

Result, a sterilised room with a germ threshold of zero. Your kid’s classroom, your office, your hotel room – anywhere you might be a risk.

Washed your hands?

You’re off to a good start.