Cleaning, Sanitizing, Disinfecting: What Does It Mean?

October 4, 2020 Ofir Broides Vavker

COVID-19 has brought on a lot of changes with it. Online video meetings have replaced traditional workspaces, and even the education system in some countries. Masks have become a normal occurrence, and their absence – not presence – could make one nervous.

Above all else, COVID-19 highlighted the need to keep our environment as clean as possible. Of course, our efforts to keep our environment clean includes high-touch surfaces we come into contact with, as well as our hands, which inevitably enable dangerous germs inside of our bodies. This has led to a general sense of confusion regarding the best ways one can get rid of harmful germs and bacteria.

Everybody’s using these terms, but are they using them correctly? Cleaning, Sanitizing, Disinfecting – what’s what?

First, we have to get the semantics out of the way.

Cleaning refers to the process of getting rid of something undesirable from a surface. This could refer to tangible things, like dirt, as well as “invisible” things like bacteria.

Cleaning hands

Sanitizing reduces bacteria on surfaces, while disinfection inactivates bacteria and viruses on surfaces. The semantics are slightly different, though all three words refer to the final goal of creating a more hygienic, germ-free environment.

How we think about hygiene affects the way we practice it

According to a recent study,“Visibility” and transmission: complexities around promoting hand hygiene in young children – a qualitative study” parents tend to encourage their children to wash hands more often when there are visual cues, such as dirt, compared to “invisible” cues, like coughing into their hands.

The same study showed that parents felt gastrointestinal infections were more visible, and therefore taught their kids to wash their hands more often when they contracted them. This was in comparison to respiratory tract infections (RTI), which was considered less “dirty” by the parents, and resulted in them not teaching their kids to wash their hands as much after contracting it.

Both cases included similarly contagious diseases. In both cases one contracts the disease after touching infected surfaces and then touching sensitive entrees to the body, such as the mouth, nose, and eyes. So why do people feel the need to wash their hands more after one, but not the other?

A similar problem takes place when one uses gloves in order to protect the hands from germs and viruses. Gloves must be changed regularly after coming into contact with potentially contaminated surfaces, however this proves harder for employees to remember because the skin doesn’t feel dirty. When one has a sensation of touching things, the thought to wash ones hands flashes through their minds more often.

What are the best ways to keep your hands clean?

Hand sanitizer – hand sanitizer uses chemical solutions to reduce bacteria on the skin. Though when made and stored correctly hand sanitizer can deal with the coronavirus just fine, it doesn’t get rid of other viruses as easily, such as the norovirus which causes stomach pains. So the next time you’re at a restaurant – don’t just rub some alcohol-gel and call it a day.

hands hygiene

Gloves – wearing gloves can protect the skin from infected surfaces. However, gloves must be put on and taken off with extreme care to avoid contact with the skin, and must also be changed frequently. Moreover, gloves must be stored in correct settings to avoid unsafe thinning out of the latex.

Hand washing – hand washing remains the cheapest, most efficient way to keep your hands clean.Simple soap and water can dissolve the virus’ membrane, rendering it inactive. However, hand washing must be practiced frequently and thoroughly, with the correct amount of soap and water, following the correct hand movements and lathering techniques.

Automated hand washing machines – Soapy’s solution

Soapy’s solution to the hand hygiene problem is the ECO Hygiene Micro-Station. Soapy believes that in the future, we will all wash our hands with automatic hand washing machines.

Hands Hygiene

The smart, automatic hand wash station measures the correct amount of soap and water needed per wash cycle. It dispenses the soap and water with the help of motion sensors, creating a touch free system that helps you avoid cross contamination. The micro-station scans the hands, ensuring the correct hand movements are practiced, and scores the hand washing process so that the user knows how well their wash cycle went.

The ECO Hygiene Micro-Station can be equipped with sanitizer and turned into an automatic hand sanitizer machine as well. It is versatile enough to fit the needs of diverse businesses, with the different wash and sanitizing cycles controlled from the Soapy Wisdom platform.

If you want to learn more about the ECO Hygiene Micro-Station you can contact us here.

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