Spring Cleaning: Practical Advice

Our Spring Cleaning series offers practical advice on how to solve some common cleaning problems. The tasks (and products) we suggest can be done at any time of the year but they are always a good idea during Spring Cleaning.

Remove Graffiti

Graffiti is unsightly at any time of the year. But it's a good idea to include it on the spring ...
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High-Level Spring Cleaning

Cleaning high-up and inaccessible surfaces is a classic spring cleaning task. It pays to keep these areas clean because they ...
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Ovens Cleaning for Busy Businesses

In many smaller and independent hotels and restaurants, the kitchen will be the centre of activities. And in that kitchen, ...
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Removing Linen Spots and Stains

Removing stubborn spots and stains from linen is a typical spring cleaning task. It gets fabrics back into tip-top condition ...
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Clearing Blocked Drains

Blocked drains and pipes are an inconvenience. Clear them as soon as possible to allow the proper function of sinks ...
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Fast and Simple Kitchen Disinfection

Regular cleaning is the bedrock for any business that serves and prepares food. It keeps key areas clean and hygienic ...
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Spring Cleaning Carpets

Spring is a good time to give carpets a deep clean. They are likely to have suffered heavy soiling over ...
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Shiny Windows and Mirrors

Few things impress guests and customers more than bright and shiny glass, metal and hard surfaces. That special sparkle shows ...
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Oven Spring Cleaning

Ovens work hard in commercial kitchens. They are used throughout the day and are central to the kitchen's success. But ...
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Pleasant Smells – The Difference

There is no doubt that we tend to associate pleasant smells with good things. But the reverse is also true ...
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Check back regularly for additions and updates.

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Last Chance to Vote…

Voting closes at the end of this week for this year’s “Tomorrow’s” Awards organised by publisher Opus. If you haven’t done so already, please vote for our shortlisted products by clicking on the links below:

Please share with colleagues and ask them to vote too.

Thank you.

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Trusted Brands Support Industry Awards

Professional chefs choose products from our Pro Formula range because they like its combination of professional formulations from Diversey with brands from Unilever that they and their customers know and trust. This is why we chose to highlight Pro Formula products as part of our support of two recent foodservice industry events. We were one of the sponsors for January’s National Breakfast & Brunch Awards and February’s National Burger Awards. H2O, a leading publisher of foodservice magazines, organises both events. Professional chefs taking part used Cif Professional 2in1 Kitchen Cleaner Disinfectant and other products from the range to keep their workspace clean quickly and easily during their demonstrations.

Chefs used professional Pro Formula cleaning products at the National Breakfast and Burger Awards

The National Breakfast & Brunch Awards presents prizes in three main categories: National Breakfast of the Year; Breakfast Chef of the Year; and Bloody Mary of the Year.

The National Burger Award is an exclusive trade competition open to chefs from the casual dining, pub and bar sectors. Entrants battle to impress a panel of industry experts. Finalists compete in a cook-off consisting of two rounds. In the first, they cook their own speciality burger and in the second they create a “technical burger” from a selection of ingredients supplied by the organisers on the day.

National Burger Awards logo

It’s good to support industry awards because they celebrate success and high standards. We like to think these are values we share. Of course, there are some good business reasons too. Good hygiene and food safety can have a major effect on any business preparing and serving food. For example, our research showed that over one-third of people who enter a dirty restaurant will leave immediately. A further 23 per cent will order but depart before completing their meal. Hygiene helps to protect customers and staff against any risk of food-borne illness. Cleanliness creates the right impression for customers and can help them decide where to eat. It can also help encourage customers to make stronger recommendations and give higher ratings on booking or review sites.

Chefs used professional Pro Formula cleaning products at the National Breakfast and Burger Awards

At Diversey, we have an extensive range of products to help food-service operators of all sizes meet these objectives. Many small, medium-size and independent businesses prefer products from our Pro Formula range. These combine professional formulations from Diversey with trusted brands from Unilever including Cif, Persil, Comfort, Domestos, and Sun. This set of easy-to-use cleaning products helps businesses like these to complete routine and common problem-solving tasks quickly and economically with excellent results.

The Pro Formula kitchen range includes trusted brand professional formulations for tasks such as surface cleaning and disinfection, dishwashing, descaling and floor cleaning.

Pro Formula products for kitchen with Cif branding, as showcased at the awards events, include professional formulations for tasks such as surface cleaning and disinfection, dishwashing, descaling and floor cleaning.

Each Pro Formula product is designed to combine the insight, understanding and expertise of Diversey and Unilever – respective industry leaders – gained over decades of delivering highly effective cleaning and hygiene solutions. The result is an integrated and complementary set of products that meets the majority of any smaller business’s requirements.

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Carry On Hand Hygiene

Reducing cold and flu among care home staff and residents is one of the key objectives of Diversey’s annual “Are You Ready?” campaign.

Good hand hygiene is the single most important way to reduce the spread of infections. Diversey makes this simpler with its personal bottles of hand disinfectants.

Common illnesses such as Influenza and Norovirus peak during winter while many other pathogens remain a threat all year round. Unchecked they can spread by personal contact or touching contaminated surfaces. This is why hand hygiene is so important:

  • Protect residents – reduce their risk of coughs, colds, flu and other common infections
  • Protect yourself – reduce your risk of catching or spreading illnesses
  • Protect employees – fewer illnesses means less time off work
  • Protect business – less lost work time, no unexpected cost of cover, maintain services, stay productive, retain your reputation

Protection is better than cure. Hands must be cleaned frequently – when moving from job to job, area to area, person to person. Diversey makes hand hygiene easier by offering pocket-sized bottles containing Soft Care Med H5 and Des E that users can carry or wear on their belt:

  • Convenient – 100ml small size, always handy
  • Belt/Reel Clip – right by your side when you need it
  • Frequent use – disinfect your hands when moving from job to job, person to person, as often as you like
  • Visible – shows colleagues and customers you care about hygiene
  • No excuses – always there when you need it

The Diversey advantage:

  • Tried and tested products – Soft Care Med H5 and Des E are extensively used by the NHS, healthcare, hotels and food-service customers
  • Excellent protection – against Norovirus, Influenza A (H1N1), rotavirus, hepatitis B, HIV, MRSA and other common infections
  • Kind to skin – Diversey sanitisers look after skin, leaving it soft and smooth to the touch
  • Non-perfumed formulation – ideal for food-service applications without risk of tainting foodstuffs
  • Support – unrivalled application and technical support from a global leader in cleaning and hygiene

Personal bottles and belt clips are just one line of defence against infections. Encouraging your team members to wear them can be part of your ongoing infection and outbreak prevention programme.

Look out for more advice soon as part of our “Are You Ready?” campaign to reduce seasonal illnesses and outbreaks.

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Save Energy In Cleaning Operations

Reducing energy consumption is usually a key objective when improving the sustainability of cleaning operations. Using less energy saves money but also protects valuable resources and reduces CO2 emissions associated with burning fossil fuels in power stations or heating water on-site. There are some simple but effective ways to save energy in cleaning.

Choose the Right Product.

Selecting the correct product for any given task reduces the need for repeat cleaning which avoids additional water heating and electrical equipment running costs let alone savings in time and product consumption.

Energy saving cleaning options from Diversey.

Think Lower Temperatures

It costs money and takes time to heat water to the proper working temperature. Instead, switch to cleaning products that work at lower temperatures. Alternative low-temperature formulations are available for key tasks such as general cleaning, floorcare and laundry (including disinfection). They will deliver payback from day one. Many can be swapped into existing processes with minimal need for retraining or significant change.

Lower temperature laundry processes can save energy.

Switching to a lower temperature laundry product, for example, can save around 35% on water heating costs, consume 34% less water and cut wash time by almost 20% – all excellent sustainability gains.

Incidentally, avoid any process that involves adding cold water to hot water to cool it down to a comfortable temperature. This is wasteful and inefficient. But it is easily done when preparing solutions for tasks such as hand dishwashing or surface cleaning with handcloths. Instead, try and use equipment that heats the water to the correct temperature and no higher.

Maintain Existing Equipment Properly

Inefficiencies waste energy. Always complete routine and scheduled maintenance at the correct time. Equipment used in hard water areas can be prone to lime-scale. This can accumulate and restrict the passage of water and impact on the equipment’s reliability. It can also affect the sensors that regulate temperatures so that the equipment heats water to the wrong temperature for optimum performance.

Eliminate limescale in kitchen equipment to save energy.

Limescale also limits the efficiency of the heating element. This means more energy will be required to heat the same amount of water. Studies have shown that each millimetre of scale inside the heating element will add around eight to ten per cent on energy costs for a typical commercial laundry or dishwashing machine. Regular descaling with a specialist product or switching to formulations that prevent lime-scale will help prevent this issue.

Consider Completely Different Processes

Sometimes a different approach pays dividends. Microfibre, for example, when used with water alone for general surface cleaning offers a double win. No chemicals are used which means there is no need to heat a solution to a recommended working temperature.

Microfibre helps to save energy in cleaning.

Adopt Modern Cleaning Machines

These are generally far more energy-efficient than the models they replace. Recent changes to EU regulations covering vacuum cleaners led the design team at TASKI to devise the innovative models in our TASKI AERO range. These are quieter and consume around half the energy yet have the suction and performance of conventional machines rated at over 1000W. This helps them to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 60 per cent.

TASKI AERO vacuum cleaners use less energy and are quieter than conventional machines.

Other parts of the extensive TASKI floorcare range reflect this step-change in sustainability. The latest-generation scrubber driers – the TASKI swingo 2100 micro is the newest model – reduce energy consumption by up to 30 per cent and water consumption by up to 76 per cent compared with conventional machines. All of this quickly delivers savings on running costs.

At Diversey, we can advise on the most efficient combination of our products for specific applications to save energy in cleaning. We offer proper documentation with tools and calculators to help assess the savings you can make.

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Flooding – Practical Cleanup Tips

Choice of Cleaning Chemicals and Practical Tips

Many places are affected by flooding. Photo by Andy Falconer on Unsplash

With many parts of the country currently under water – and maybe more to come – businesses will soon turn attention to their clean-up. There will be many things to deal with after a flood and cleaning should definitely be one of them. Done properly it can help get the business back up and running quickly, effectively and safely.

This is especially important for businesses that prepare and serve food. Water in flooded areas can contain a wide variety of pathogenic organisms from sewage and other materials that could constitute a significant health risk. Water may not be available or will need boiling before use. The Environmental Agency and its local departments issue advice on dealing with flood damage and cleaning up after. Everyone should avoid direct contact with floodwater and associated debris wherever possible.

The following aims to provide some practical advice.

1: Hand Cleaning

hand hygiene is always important but especially after a flood.

Good cleansing of the skin is very important in reducing the risks associated with handling contaminated water/materials. Skin cleansing can be augmented by the use of an alcohol-based hand sanitiser such as Soft Care Med to reduce any hazards associated with pathogenic organisms. This is especially important when the quality of the water used for cleaning the hands is not of drinking quality.

2: Kitchen Surface Sanitising

If kitchen areas have suffered flood water damage it is important to thoroughly clean and sanitise. This should be done for all areas that have come into contact with the flood water by either immersion or by being splashed – if in doubt sanitise all areas. These areas should be thoroughly cleaned using a sanitiser (as outlined below) and then disinfected with another use of the sanitiser.

Clean kitchen surfaces promote food safety.

Floodwater can contain pathogenic organisms that usual kitchen sanitisers may not be effective against. Suitable sanitisers for this purpose contain chlorine (such as Suma Sol D4.8) or hydrogen peroxide (such as Oxivir Plus) as their active ingredient.

Businesses that have been advised to boil water before drinking should also use boiled water for preparing sanitiser solutions and for rinsing.

3: Dishwashing Machines

Dishwashers can clean items soiled during a flood.

If tap water has to be boiled then use the dishwashing machine on its longest, slowest cycle. This will enable the heat to provide disinfection. Check that all wash and rinse jets are clear before washing and the running temperatures should be 55°-65°C for wash 80°-90°C for the final rinse.

4: General Surface Sanitising

Sanitise any surface that could come into contact with food after a flood.

Remove and dispose of all physical debris and damaged items. Then clean these areas thoroughly using a sanitiser, as mentioned. Disinfect with repeat use of the sanitiser.

Floodwater can contain pathogenic organisms that commonly-used sanitisers may not be effective against. Suitable sanitisers for this purpose are those containing a chlorine- or hydrogen peroxide-based bleaching system such as Titan Sanitiser Powder or Titan Chlor plus tablets. For areas that are sensitive to chlorine such as fabric or furniture, we recommend Oxivir Plus.

Businesses that have been advised to boil water before drinking should also use boiled water for preparing sanitiser solutions and for rinsing.

Dry out areas as soon as possible after they have been cleaned and sanitised. This is because damp conditions are favourable for mould and fungal growth which can damage surfaces. Also, their fungal spores can cause health problems.

The same sanitisers used for general cleaning, as outlined above, should be used to remove any mould that is found. An ideal alternative is Sani Mould Out which is specially formulated to remove mould and return surfaces to their sparkling best.

Product Selection Chart

ProductUseActive Based On
Titan Sanitiser Powder All-Surface SanitiserChlorine
Titan Chlor Plus tablets All-Surface SanitiserChlorine
Suma Sol D4.8 Sanitiser for all Kitchen Hard SurfacesChlorine
Oxivir Plus Spray Sanitiser for all Soft Surfaces and FurnishingsOxygen
Soft Care Med/Des  E Hand Disinfectant GelAlcohol
Sani Mould OutMould Remover Chlorine
Floods can cause severe disruption to businesses.

Cleaning up after a flood can be a daunting task. However, a bit of planning and choosing the right products can make the work a bit easier and quicker.

You can download the advice in this post as a ready reference using the link below.

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Kit Cleans Up Infectious Spills

Seasonal illnesses such as Influenza and, in particular, Norovirus are often associated with vomiting and diarrhoea. These “body spills” are usually unexpected but they always represent a potential source of infection because they contain millions of the viruses that cause the illness. This means they must be cleaned up quickly and effectively to eliminate the risk of further contamination.

As we suggest in our “Are You Ready?” campaign, it pays to be ready. Our ready-to-use Oxivir Spill Kit contains everything you need to contain and remove a body spill quickly and easily before it has the chance to cause more illnesses.

  • Oxivir Excel (750ml ready-to-use spray bottle) to clean and disinfect surfaces contaminated by the body spill
  • absorbent granules to soak up spillages
  • disposable scoop
  • nitrile gloves
  • paper towels
  • apron
  • shoe covers
  • protective face mask
  • disposable bio-hazard bag to hold spillages and used kit items
  • carry case

Oxivir Excel Foam is a ready-to-use one-step cleaner disinfectant with “broad-spectrum” efficacy and short contact times. This means it provides the highest levels of protection against a wide range and type of pathogen and microbe that cause illnesses, including viruses, bacteria and yeasts. It kills viruses such as Influenza and Norovirus in just one minute. It is extensively tested against European norms and effective against multiple pathogens.

The secret to this performance is the use of our patented Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide (AHP) as the active ingredient in Oxivir Excel Foam. AHP degrades to water and oxygen shortly after use. It leaves no active residues that may contribute to the development of tolerant strains. It is also is non-staining and non-perfumed which means it can be used safely on most hard, nonporous surfaces.

The Oxivir Spill Kit kit is completely disposable, so once taken from the box, there is no risk of containation as all is disposed of in the bio-hazard bag.

 

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Diversey Joins AISE Charter 2020+

Diversey has signed the 2020+ version of the AISE Charter for Sustainable Cleaning. This extends a relationship that started in 2005. Back then we were the first commercial cleaning product supplier to sign the original version. The Charter remains a voluntary, independently certified industry-wide sustainability initiative.

AISE Charter logo.

AISE and companies in the cleaning and hygiene industry have long acted responsibly and proactively to reduce their environmental impact and contribute to the wellbeing of society. The Charter for Sustainable Cleaning stimulates and guides this action. The AISE wrote the original in 2005 and revised it in 2010. This latest upgrade aims to be even more complete and relevant, aligned with EU circular economy and plastics policy, climate change priorities and with global policy expectations.

Diversey’s Sustainability Record

Readers familiar with Diversey will already know that environmental stewardship is deeply embedded in our culture. Throughout the course of nearly 100 years of providing revolutionary cleaning and hygiene technologies, we have demonstrated that protecting and improving the environment is good for business. Therefore sustainability has been at the core of the value we deliver to customers. But it has been given many names since our business was created in 1923. We produce a Sustainability Report each year.

AISE Charter logo.

As well as being the first to join the AISE Charter we were, in 2008, the first company in the cleaning industry to join the World Wildlife Fund’s Climate Savers programme. We were also a founding member of the WWF Global Water Roundtable in 2009.

More than a decade ago we set ourselves some demanding sustainability targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, energy use, water use and waste across our own business. We met these well ahead of schedule so in 2018 we announced a new set of targets which we expect to meet by 2025.

In addition to the progress we have made as a business, we also offer a comprehensive range of products and equipment that help our customers to make their own cleaning operations more sustainable: our market-leading ultra-concentrated products and controlled dosing systems minimise waste; we have been offering eco-labelled products for over 20 years; our TASKI cleaning machines use less water and energy than conventional alternatives; we offer products that allow cleaning with water alone.

The Revised AISE Charter 2020+

The AISE has revised its Charter 2020+ so that companies can be even more effective in driving sustainability across the cleaning and hygiene industry.

  • Streamlined and engaging. The new Charter is streamlined, lighter and optimised to improve accessibility and offer added benefits to members.
  • Modernised and appealing. The new Charter marks have high impact and are appealing, backed by extensive consumer testing.
  • Relevant and responsive. Sustainable development is important and is getting higher on the political agenda – the Charter stimulates and guides sustainable progress.
  • Complete and innovation-friendly. The Charter is the most complete sustainability scheme for steering best practice for the cleaning and hygiene industry in Europe.
  • Proven and recognised. The Charter has a proven track record of delivering tangible improvements in environmental performance.

The AISE Charter aims to offer the most complete sustainability scheme for steering best practice for the cleaning and hygiene industry. Therefore it helps organisations to continue delivering tangible improvements in environmental performance. The Charter has been a great success since 2005 and now covers around 90% of the industry’s production in Europe. The AISE aggregates KPI reports from Charter member companies. In doing so, the reports demonstrate the remarkable achievements made by participants, including Diversey.

About AISE: AISE is the International Association for Soaps, Detergents and Maintenance Products. Based in Brussels, it has been the voice of the industry to EU regulators for over 65 years. Membership consists of 29 national associations across Europe, 17 corporate members and 11 value chain partners. Through this extensive network, A.I.S.E. represents over 900 companies supplying household and professional cleaning products and services across Europe.

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Safe & Effective Ongoing Infection Prevention for Care Homes

Protecting residents in care homes from infections is an all-year-round priority but there are additional challenges during winter when there are usually peaks in serious illnesses such as Influenza and Norovirus. These can be life-threatening to residents, many of whom are likely to be frail and vulnerable. Because of this seasonal link, we’re focusing on care homes in our annual “Are You Ready?” campaign.

Infection prevention relies on rigorous hand hygiene and surface disinfection. This helps to break the chain of infection because most illnesses are caused by personal contact or touching a contaminated surface.

Effective surface disinfection is critical. Well-run homes will have a daily cleaning regime that focuses on the areas used by residents and staff to maintain a clean and hygienic environment. The latest thinking by authorities such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) is that additional attention should be paid to frequent-touch surfaces. In care homes, these might include light switches, door handles, table-tops, bed rails, remote controls and similar devices, telephones and touch-screens. Additional hand-hygiene frequency among staff is also recommended – such as when moving from task to task or resident to resident – to achieve the highest levels of protection.

Many care homes use traditional cleaners and disinfectants containing chlorine or “quats” as their active ingredient. Used correctly these will be effective at removing the common pathogens and microbes that cause illnesses but they can be complicated to use in care homes. Separate products may be required for the cleaning and the disinfection (and to eliminate different types of pathogen) and not all can be used easily on the variety of surfaces likely to be found in the care home.

Products containing chlorine are also suspected of aggravating asthma and other respiratory problems and forming chlorine compounds in the atmosphere. This can create an unpleasant environment for residents at best but for the frail, it can aggravate underlying health conditions and lead to additional suffering.

Given the ongoing requirement for cleaning and disinfection, there are good reasons for using a single combined product for both tasks. This way, disinfection automatically takes place whenever any cleaning task is undertaken. It becomes an ongoing process that is completely embedded within the care home’s daily routine. That can raise standards and compliance rates with a resultant reduction in infections.

In the past, it was difficult to find a single cleaner-disinfectant formulation that simplified processes, saved time and improved productivity without compromising on any infection prevention capability. This changed when Diversey introduced its Oxivir range of products containing innovative Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide (AHP) as the active ingredient.

AHP is a patented blend of commonly used, safe ingredients that when combined with low levels of hydrogen peroxide dramatically increase its germicidal potency and cleaning performance. Tested to the latest EN standards, disinfectants containing AHP are highly effective against a wide range of viruses including Influenza and Norovirus as well as spores, yeasts, and fungi. This ability to kill many different types of pathogens is known as “broad-spectrum capability”.

Products containing AHP offer an effective alternative to formulations with chlorine compounds as the active ingredient. They do not contain respiratory irritants. The AHP degrades to oxygen and water alone shortly after use which helps make formulations containing it safer to use on a wider range of surfaces, including fabrics and washroom surfaces. Many AHP-based formulations have no safety classification which means they can be used in a wider range of settings, including care homes, with fewer restrictions. Chlorine-based products, on the other hand, usually carry a hazard symbol.

Products in the Oxivir range include:

Oxivir Excel: a fast-acting cleaner-disinfectant that can replace general surface cleaning products for routine tasks and provide affordable ongoing infection protection. It is effective against viruses such as Influenza and Norovirus in just 30 seconds. It is available as a convenient, ready-to-use, spray or in five-litre containers for simple dilution.

Oxivir Excel Wipes: disposable ready-to-use wipes, convenient for on-the-spot use. These are also ideal for giving portable or high touch items such as remote controls a quick clean.

Oxivir Spill Kit: a ready-to-use kit with everything needed to contain and remove body spillages quickly and easily. Each kit contains a 750ml Oxivir Excel spray, absorbent granules, scoops, bags and all the personal protection equipment (PPE) needed to deal with spillages.

Diversey’s Oxivir range offers care homes the opportunity to replace conventional infection prevention products with safer and more effective alternatives. Our annual “Are You Ready?” campaign aims to provide useful information about how to protect yourself and others from seasonal illnesses such as Norovirus and Influenza.

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Hand Hygiene Helps Fight Antimicrobial Resistance

Hand hygiene in hospitals

Growing concerns about the spread of antimicrobial resistance mean that healthcare workers must use every technique and tool at their disposal to protect lives and prevent infections. Despite many pharmaceutical and technical advances, good hand hygiene and surface disinfection remain central to all infection prevention programmes. This is because they are the simplest and most effective way to break the chain of infection.

The discovery of antibiotics in the first half of the last century gave doctors a powerful weapon against common infections for the first time in human history. Simple, often naturally occurring, compounds had the power to destroy many common infections that until that time had been life-threatening and hard to defeat. They saved and transformed countless lives in the following decades.

Breaking the chain of infection (Public Health England)

However, it soon became clear that many of the pathogens so easily treated with antibiotics were beginning to develop immunity. Even the simplest and smallest lifeforms have a tremendous ability to adapt and change to ensure their survival. It’s an arms race. Pathogens develop resistance and scientists and drug companies try to develop new antibiotics. But it’s a battle that is hard to win. It often seems that the microbes are faster at adapting than we are at developing weapons against them. This may explain, in part, why no new class of antibiotics has been introduced in the past three decades.

Antibiotic discovery and resistance timeline (Public Health England)

Many pathogens that were easily killed by the commonest – and least expensive – antibiotics have developed resistance. This means illnesses and infections that were easy to treat just a few decades ago have become life-threatening once again. According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), about 33,000 people in Europe die each year due to infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This is almost 2.5 times higher than in 2007. The burden of antibiotic-resistant infections is almost as great as the total risk of influenza, tuberculosis and HIV. 

The World Health Organisation says that antimicrobial resistance “is no longer a prediction for the future, it is happening right now in every region of the world and has the potential to affect anyone, of any age, in any country…[and is] is a major threat to public health.”

Some sources suggest there will be an additional 10 million deaths worldwide over the next 30 years. This will cost £66 trillion in economic output.

Global deaths due to antimicrobial resistance could reach 10 million by 2050 (Public Health England)

Although antibiotics offered – and still do – new ways of killing dangerous pathogens of concern, many conventional infection prevention techniques are just as important today. Hand hygiene in conjunction with new methods of surface disinfection helps to break the chain of infection. It is simple, effective and generally less expensive than alternative approaches and techniques.

The reasons for this are easy to understand. The majority – perhaps up to 80% or four in five – of infections are spread by hand-to-hand contact or touching a contaminated surface. This is why hand hygiene and surface disinfection form the backbone of all infection prevention regimes. People reduce the chances of infection if they keep their hands and surfaces they touch as clean as possible.

Antimicrobial resistance infographic (WHO/World Health Organisation)

This is not to say that “traditional” techniques have not evolved thanks to better research and understanding. The WHO has promoted its “five moments of hand hygiene” for many years. Local initiatives and global awareness campaigns with this simple message are making a big difference to people all over the world.

Studies have shown that simple handwashing with soap and water is more effective than doing nothing at all. The simple mechanical action of washing removes enough pathogens to reduce the risk of infection although there is no disinfection involved. Other studies have shown that concentrating on the fingertips is also more effective than general hand cleansing. This, incidentally, is part of the thinking behind the TMED approach.

Modern hospitals often require a more rigorous and disciplined approach. Hand hygiene formulations used in healthcare must be effective, of course. But they should also support the frequent use called for in initiatives such as the “five moments”. To do this they need to be pleasant to use without causing any damage to delicate skin. At the same time, advances in dispenser design aim to maximise product availability and reduce (or ideally eliminate) the risk of running out. They do this with a range of features including bigger pack sizes, making visual checks easier, emitting warnings when running low, and even allowing remote checks over the Internet.

The latest thinking in the healthcare sector builds on the “five moments” with the Targeted Moments of Environmental Disinfection (TMED). This builds on the simple “five moments” message but instead focuses on the surfaces that people are most likely to touch. As with the “five moments” it is simple to explain and replicate. Together, the “five moments” and TMED offer the prospect of greatly improved infection prevention outcomes with relatively little additional cost or effort.

Other advances have focused on the type of surface disinfectants used in healthcare settings. There is some evidence that conventional disinfectants containing chlorine as their active ingredient can enable antimicrobial resistance because of the way they work at the biological level. Innovative active ingredients containing Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide kill pathogens in a different way which may mean there is a reduced risk of them becoming resistant.

Products containing AHP are effective against a wider range of pathogens than chlorine-based alternatives. They are simple and easy to use in a wide range of applications. We refer to this as “broad-spectrum” performance. It would need numerous conventional alternatives to achieve the same level of efficacy. This can be complex, time-consuming and expensive.

To be effective, surface disinfection processes must be simple and accessible so that they can be completed whenever needed. They must also be acceptable to healthcare workers and visitors. This means, for example, that disinfectants must be non-hazardous and non-irritating. Finally, processes must be fast because anything that adds time or becomes a burden is less likely to be done.

Diversey is participating in the Annual Infection Prevention and Control Conference, organised by Knowlex and the NHS. The event takes place in Birmingham on 13 February 2020.

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