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Think about this. When you flush a toilet, the water in the bowl mixes with particles of the waste. An invisible cloud of this then shoots up to 10 inches into the air. The contaminated water can linger on surfaces for 90 minutes¹.

How does that make you feel? Probably slightly nauseous, with a resolution to close the toilet lid each time you flush. It’s a reminder that we can’t always see hazards, that we often put our health and safety in the hands of others, and that others put their health and safety in your hands.

When planning and managing public spaces, we understand that effective, or poor, cleaning has a major impact in three areas; first, how safe people are from slips, second, how hygienic an environment is, particularly for vulnerable people. The third area is the perception people have of the space, whether that’s a decision to avoid a restaurant where you’ve been unwell after visiting, to feel unsafe in a healthcare space, or to feel uncomfortable in a work environment.

Cleaning is an area we are constantly researching in terms of product development, day to day customer support and resources, such as our downloadable guides. We know it can be a challenging area and it’s not something we’re complacent about.

Since this interview was filmed, the global pandemic of Covid-19 began. We asked Delia if, and how, the cleaning recommendations covered in this film have changed.

“The care and attention to cleaning, and the cleaning methods that I spoke about in this interview, haven’t changed – although their importance is now clearer to many more of us. However, to prepare for people returning to work and to places of learning, I would recommend a two-stage cleaning process. That means cleaning with a detergent to remove the soil that that we can see, followed by disinfecting with a reputable product - 1000 ppm chlorine is recommended to get on top of surface contamination, which is what can’t be seen with the naked eye. The two-stage process will ensure a thorough and effective clean, and will also reassure returning staff and visitors. I’ve always recommended periodic detailed-cleaning – unfortunately it’s not always done - but I think that attitudes will, rightly, change now and this type of regular clean will become part of scheduled maintenance.”

Delia Cannings, Managing Director, Environmental Excellence Training and Development Ltd

¹Best et al. Potential for aerosolizaton of Clostridium difficile after flushing toilets: the role of toilet lids in reducing environmental contamination risk. Journal of Hospital Infection. 2012;80:1-5.