Woosh Washrooms

Flu season… An expensive season for some businesses.

Autumn and winter signals many things: the changing of the seasons, leaves falling off the trees, receding daylight and, of course, Christmas. But the long cold nights also bring with them an increased incidence of cold and flu. Indeed, for many, the move from autumn into winter marks the beginning of ‘cold and flu season’.

Public washrooms are often considered a main offender in the spread of cold and flu. It’s hardly surprising when you consider just how many people use these facilities day to day. They are often cramped, poorly ventilated rooms with little in the way of infection prevention. Thousands of people breath in the same air and make use of the same fixtures – toilet roll holders, sinks, soaps, towels, taps and so on. It seems like only a matter of time before a visitor picks up something. 

According to the Centre for Economic and Business Research, absences from work equate to losses of around £18bn in the UK every single year – and that number looks sets to rise to a staggering £26bn by 2030. 

While the common cold and influenza virus only make up a portion of that figure – minor illnesses accounted for 24.8% of all sickness absences in 2016 – the numbers still demonstrate a need for diligence from both individuals and the people who manage public restrooms.

Cold and flu viruses are mainly spread via coughs and sneezes. Poorly cleaned surfaces also pose a risk, especially when an infected person touches something and hasn’t washed their hands thoroughly. Colds usually go away by the themselves, but flu can be much more serious and is thought to result in the deaths of around 500,000 people worldwide each year. 

Because these viruses are mutating all the time, it’s almost impossible for some to immunise people fully. Vaccines help those that are most vulnerable, but no inoculation is comprehensive to guarantee full protection.

Research has shown that viruses can survive on surfaces for up to 24 hours. This means a person who coughs or splutters in the washroom is highly likely to pass on their illness to another visitor. And, of course, the more people that use a washroom, the more likely it is that an infection will spread. Somewhat alarmingly, medical literature has also revealed that germs spread through the air via hand dryers and toilet flushes. 

Unsurprisingly, in this study bacteria were found in much higher quantities within public washroom environments, with sinks and handles proving the worst offenders. Human immune systems are very good at combating the worst of these nasties but, as Dr Nuala O Connor, GP says “Washing your hands is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself and others from getting sick with vomiting, diarrhoea, coughs, colds, sore throat, flu, in fact almost all infections.”

Thorough hand washing is, and always will be, the first line of defence for fighting cold and flu. There are, however, many things that washroom management provider can do to join the fight. Beyond meticulous and well managed cleaning rotas, owners can install automatic systems to reduce the need for individuals to touch surfaces. 

Enclosed dispensers will also eliminate having to fumble around in search of consumables. Hand hygiene facilities should be made widely available to eliminate infection at source.  

Get in touch with us to see how else we can help turn the tide against cold and flu in your workplace. Or take a look at our range of hygiene products and dispensing solutions here.

Carpets for the environmentally conscious office…

Landlords looking to up the value of their commercial properties should pay close attention to the green factor when choosing an eco-friendly carpet for their offices.

‘Eco-friendly’ is on everyone’s lips these days. Fierce competition among designers and manufacturers has placed carpet design in the forefront of sustainable flooring innovations. Whether it be area rugs, wall-to-wall installations or fully customizable carpet tiles, carpet manufacturers in the UK are putting an emphasis on recycling and natural materials with limited environmental impact, and the beneficiaries of this green endeavor don’t stop at the planet.

Landlords and property agents looking to up the value of their commercial properties and attract carbon-conscious tenants should pay close attention to the green factor when choosing a carpet for their offices.

 

What to look for in an eco-friendly carpet?

 

The most environmentally friendly carpets are made from natural, renewable fibres; this includes organic wool and cotton, jute, bamboo, sisal, seagrass and coir. That being said, looking at the ‘made of’ list doesn’t guarantee a 100% eco-friendly carpet. Indeed, some carpets have been treated with insect and flame repellents that will cause some of the worst (dangerously invisible) off-gassings.

These off-gassings usually come from the carpet backing, so be sure to look for backings that have been sewn or glued using non-toxic adhesives low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs.) Some of the best carpet backings or pads are made from non-synthetic latex, camel hair felt, or untreated wool. A CRI Indoor Air Quality label is what you want.

Tessera loop pile carpet, Forbo

If your carpet isn’t made from sustainable materials, it can still be eco-friendly if it is recycled. Some are made from 100% recycled plastic bottles – you’ll find them under the name of PET carpets, or P.E.T carpets  (polyethylene terephthalate.) Some advantages to PET fibres include stain and abrasion resistance and low moisture absorption. Other rugs are made by recycling old, used carpets, provided they are in suitable condition to be recycled.

 

Who manufactures eco-friendly carpets?

Interface

In 1994, Interface started the first carpet tile recycling initiative. Known as ReEntry, the program now involves separating the carpet from its backing and recycling more product into new Nylon fibre. Interface is also on a ‘Mission Zero’ to completely eliminate the company’s environmental impact by 2020.

On-line, off-line carpet collection, Interface

Desso

Desso’s innovative Take Back™ programme ensures that worn-out carpet tiles are recycled into new carpet products. Defying the cradle to grave model, Desso’s ambitious initiative follows the Cradle to Cradle® approach pioneered by Professor Michael Braungart and architect William McDonough.

In addition to its carpet manufacturing, Desso is committed to reducing its CO2 emissions by increasing its use of green electricity and covering its roof by 25,000 m2 of solar panels.

Take Back™ programme, Desso

Milliken

Specialised in minimising waste during its manufacturing process, Milliken focuses on the use of recycled materials in lieu of petroleum and other oil-based components. Milliken’s eco-friendly carpet uses an ECONYL® nylon yarn made from equal parts post-industrial and post-consumer recycled fibres. In addition, the company uses 90% recycled polyurethane for its Comfort Plus® range of lightweight, carpet tile backing.

Arctic Survey commercial carpet, Milliken

Forbo

Forbo recycles old carpet, fishing nets and plastic bottles to manufacture innovative eco-friendly carpets such as the Coral entrance flooring collection. Forbo’s Tessera tiles contain over 58% recycled content by weight, while their Westbond tiles have a minimum of 70% recycled content in their backing. Forbo’s carpets are also easy to clean thanks to a system called Dry Fusion which requires less water and fewer chemicals to perform.

 


Coral entrance flooring, Forbo

Recycling is one of several other factors to take into consideration when choosing the right flooring for your office. An invaluable tool in the landlord’s toolbox, office flooring is an important decision.

Written by Elissaveta Marinova of Re-public.
Source: Re-public Space Ltd.

Loos with views…

They may be small, but their importance isn’t to
be underestimated, for loo’s with views can
increase property value.

Whether it be in the workplace, retail or hospitality, washrooms are a key
expression of the company values. Organisations that value and understand
the power of first impressions will go above and beyond to impress. High-
end washroom countertops, top-notch fixtures and spectacular views all show
your attention to detail and highlight your level of commitment. Believe it or
not, loos with views command higher rent too.

To inspire and convince you, here is a roundup of some of the most unusual
of toilets, boasting the most striking of views. Be it in an office building,
public facilities, or a seemingly inconspicuous coffee shops, loos with views
are there to steal the show.

We have a personal preference (hint, it involves two-way mirrors), but what is
yours? Share your favourite on our Twitter page.


Mumin Papa Café – the women’s bathroom is built into an aquarium,
Akashi, Japan.


The toilets inside The Shard boast stunning views of London


Toilet perched over a disused 15-story elevator shaft,
Mexico


The JR tower in Japan is equipped with
panoramic urinal views.


Commerzbank headquarters – urinals with a view over Frankfurt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Don’t Miss A Sec’, two-way mirror glass public toilet in London,
Monica Bonvicini.

Because it wouldn’t be fair if the gents at the Shard didn’t enjoy similar
London views as the ladies…

 

 

Want to know why not washing you hands can cost £18 billion?

Do you swear by the ‘Office Bathroom Drill’? Wash hands. Dry hands. Use paper towel to open door. Manoeuvre elbow, leg or hip to move door. Then return to your desk, skin untouched by germs. Hopefully.

Many people admit, that the lengths they go to try and avoid washroom germs can be a little extreme!  Let me ask you a question…How do you flush the loo when out and about? Odd as the question may seem, allegedly two thirds of people flush the toilet with their feet. Yes, you did read that right. With their feet! The other third use toilet tissue, skip the flush altogether or gingerly flush with elbow or finger tips.

The ‘only live once, care free, dare devil’ washroom users that do decide to flush the toilet ‘normally’, may as well have cartwheeled down London’s super sewer. The germs skulking around down there are not the sort you want to meet in the dark, or any time for that matter.

The toilet and toilet flush are always accused of being the bad boys in the bathroom hygiene scene. But what if we were the bad boys (and girls) and didn’t wash our hands properly. Touching the flusher is one issue, washing your hands is another. Maybe you are one of those people that don’t use your feet to flush the toilet, instead use that thing called a hand, to grab the handle and flush. Well, congratulations for using it in the correct way- but you now have your very own germ factory right there on your hands. The warmth and natural moisture of your mitts, is the perfect environment for mass production.

Wash your hands! Squirt of soap. Feebly rub hands together. Quick rinse under a trickle of water. Run them under a hand dryer and good to go! Simples.

Hang on, hang on. These are germs we’re talking about. Big, nasty, bad germs that can have you tucked up in bed before you can say “Woosh Washrooms”.

Washing hands properly is super-duper important. You should be washing your hands for about 15 seconds minimum or the time it takes you to sing happy birthday twice (in your head, please)! This should include between your fingers, your nails, the backs of your hands and thumbs! You’d be surprised how many of these places are missed when washing hands.

Just ponder long enough to consider everyone you interact with. Do they wash their hands? Don’t they wash their hands? You can just imaging the germ ‘rave’ going on in the average UK office. Humans are perfect germ transportation machines.

£18 billion. YES! £18 Billion was the UK expenditure on sick days in 2013! That’s a heck of a lot of wonga just because people are ‘too busy’ to spend 15 seconds on washing their hands. But seriously, 15 seconds, to help save £18 billion. Doesn’t seem a bad little deal. And even if moneys not your thing then who wants to be sick for days or even weeks a year?

Maybe you think this germ thing is being over egged a bit, but listen to this – 80% of all common infections (yes this includes the dreaded cold/flu) can be spread by hands. Germy hands.

If you can eliminate the spread of germs by hands, you can minimise sick days. Any loyal self-respecting employee, health and safety diligent facilities manager or cost conscious boss would want that.

It’s this time of year when the common cold and flu is at its best. Causing havoc with your sinuses, ruining your throat and making everyone head pound and ache with fever. Picture this – you sneeze, reach for a tissue, and dab your dripping nose. You screw the tissue up (rubbing snot and saliva all over your hands, by the way). You then dispose of it in your bin (not a mini tissue mountain on the corner of the desk, we hope) and crack on with your work. You then touch your mouse, keyboard, phone and the pile of paperwork for your manager and also hand back a colleague’s pen that you pinched by mistake earlier. You have just started a chain of contamination. Well done! Germs from your hands are rocking and rolling all over the office.

That is why hand sanitiser is an office must have. To find out the multiple benefits of this wonder product you can read our hand sanitiser facts article.

Sanitising, or Wooshing your hands as we like to call it, can nail those germs you may have missed in your 15 second/two-rounds-of-happy-birthday hand washing as well as any nasties you may have picked up on your way back to your desk. We recommend using enough to keep your hands wet for 15 seconds before they start to dry.  Combine a thorough hand wash with a good Wooshing of hand sanitiser afterwards and you’ll take squeaky clean to a whole new level.

With bacteria and germs lurking at every corner we would like to recommend a desktop Wooshing kit. A super sanitising set which gives you a mini hand sanitiser, a desktop sanitiser and your very own e-cloth. This kit is capable of blasting germs off both your hands and your desk/mouse/keyboard, meaning you can be germ free.

If you’re serious about your office being germ free and want to avoid people calling in sick, call a Wooshologist on 0800 206 2110.

 

 

What 8,000 people thought about washrooms…

Image image image. We hear more and more about how we look, how we dress and how we do our hair. This means we’re all a little bit more worried about our appearance, but does this rub off onto our surroundings, like our washrooms for example? Apparently not. According to a survey taken by Bradley Corporation there is an increasing dissatisfaction with washrooms.

Here’s a little fact for you facilities managers out there:

‘87% of British people say that having a bad washroom experience leads to a bad impression of your establishment!’

This was a survey of 8,000 people (not just the guy down at the local moaning over a pint). If you break it down a bit you can see that 6,960 of the people asked believed a good washroom really was important. No more thinking, “Having a good washroom isn’t really relevant for my organisation” and a lot more of “If my washroom is great my organisation will benefit”.

When people were asked to express the key solutions to a clean washroom guess what came out on top?

Toilet paper! A nonnegotiable necessity- don’t you think. Enough said.

• Next was soap. Needed to make your hands squeaky clean, and stop all the nasty germs from hanging around.

• Third was paper towels these really are super-duper important and key in saying ‘bye-bye’ to residual contamination (that’s techy speak for the little critters that like to make you ill). With all those germs gone your staff spend less time sick at home in their pjs, and more time at work actually being staff.

Hand sanitiser came next on the list. Surprised? Don’t be. As a Wooshologist I can tell you it’s becoming a ‘must have’ with our clients. In fact, 8 out of 10 people expect to find hand sanitiser in washrooms. (Want to know more? click here)

• Last on the list, but still rated as highly important is the humble hand drier. Known for dead-fast drying these bad boys will get everyone back at their desks working before you can say ‘Rumpelstiltskin’.

A whopping 77% of British respondents said they would rather not use a washroom if it was dirty and smelly! Over 50% said a bad smell would leave a poor impression. If only they knew it took a simple air freshener or air purifier and all their woes would be gone.

Washrooms are not always given the highest priority and we want to know why. Toilets can make a significant difference in the overall impression your organisation makes on staff and, perhaps more importantly customers! That is, if the toilets are sparkling, smell fresh as a daisy and allow for people to be as clean as a bean after using them. Otherwise the first impression of your building won’t be as great- and we all know first impressions count.

Want to upgrade your washrooms from grime scene to clean scene? Give a Wooshologist a call on 0800 206 2110

Written by Ashlyn-Jane

Hand Sanitiser- What you don’t know!

Many of us use hand sanitiser, we wonder how many of you know why!

We can tell you:

‘80% of common infections can be spread through hands’.

That’s why.

While proper handwashing technique is a vital part of keeping yourself healthy, good old soap and water aren’t always around when you need them (say, when you get an unexpected hug from a runny-nosed pre-schooler on the playground).

That’s where alcohol-based sanitisers come to the rescue. We recommend hand sanitisers that contain between 60 and 80 percent alcohol, this is because they work the best (in other words- exterminate the most germs, they won’t be back). When you’re out and about, and not near a sink, hand sanitisers are the perfect go-to!

If your hands aren’t actually covered with visible dirt, the best way to clean them is to use hand sanitiser, says James Scott, a microbiologist at the University of Toronto. “A sanitiser cleans your hands much better than soap and water, so it reduces the bacterial burden to a much greater extent,” he says. “And your hands tend to stay cleaner longer than if you were to compare with regular hand washing.”

We recommend you scrub your hands thoroughly using soap and water (if a sink is available!), a little guide is to sing happy birthday twice while you wash (it’s entirely up to you whether you do this in your head or out loud). After germ and visible dirt busting it’s time to prolong the bacteria-free status of your hands. Squirt a generous dollop of hand sanitiser into the palm of your hand and rub together. It should take around 15 seconds for them to dry, if it doesn’t take that long, you may not have used enough sanitiser. You would have heard of the expression ‘less is more’ right? But there is an exception to every rule and hand sanitiser is that exception.

OK, we know sanitiser is awesome on your hands, but did you know about these little hacks:

• Do you use makeup brushes? Imagine the dirt they collect from your skin! You’ve guessed, hand sanitiser can be used to clean through your brushes, limiting the spread of bacteria! Brilliant.

• Ever spilt something on your white shirt JUST before a meeting, hand sanitiser can help! Apply a blob onto the stain and let soak in, then scrub and repeat until the stain has vanished, genius! Of course we don’t want to be responsible for ruining your Gucci goods, so test on a small unnoticeable patch first.

• 95% of mobile phones have bacteria on! Some say our phones have more diverse types of bacteria than a loo seat- seriously guys! We touch money, door handles, other people, keyboards, food…and then… we reach for our phones. It’s no wonder they’re breeding ground for nasty germs and grease. A small squirt of sanitiser onto a tissue, perfect for de- griming our phones.

• If you wear glasses, like me, you’ll know the real issue of smeary and greasy specs! Everyone I know who has glasses gets fed up of peering through grimy lenses. Apply sanitiser to the lenses and rub with a soft cloth. Be sure to clean the frames too, even if you really do believe your nose is squeaky clean.

• Public toilets- everybody’s out-and-about nightmare. Whether you’re a nest builder, like to hover or just steer clear. Here’s your number one sanity saver when it comes to avoiding getting bacteria on your bum! Sanitiser can be applied to the loo seat with some tissue, once it’s dried you can be safely seated to do your deed. Simple!

• Got a pesky pimple rearing its nasty head? Stop that sucker in its tracks with…you guessed again…hand sanitiser. A little (as in teeney weeney) dab on the crime scene will help dry the pimple out and bash-up the bacteria. What more could you want. While a few Wooshologists have tried this- with no adverse effects, we do recommend you consult your GP first. Just in case.

• You’ve got a lovely glass bowl and you start to peel off the label…oh that step isn’t so simple. Peel is the wrong word – more like pick, scrub and scratch. Even if you’re triumphant in removing the label, you’re often left with an icky patch that is quite comfortable where it is, thank you very much. Bingo! This is where we get a bit of sanitiser which kicks ass and allows you to wipe away the sticky residue! Stress free label removing. Check. Oh and you get to keep your nails in tack too.

So now you’re wondering how to get hold of this stuff, or you should be anyway! Give a Wooshologist a call on 0800 206 2110 and check out some of the options below…

Written by Ashlyn-Jane