5 People to Help Rescue Communal Bin Areas

We see time and time again the problem of communal refuse areas within shared developments being misused. This is usually within residential apartment blocks, although just as possible within business premises as well; it’s an issue that can suddenly escalate to critical and end up creating complications for those involved.

Take a recent example of an outside bin store area at a new-build residential development with apartment blocks. Within a week over a busy holiday period rubbish piled up so high that not only was it causing health and hygiene issues, but the usual bin collection by the local authority had stopped because they simply could not access the area.

So nothing else is being removed, more rubbish continues to pile up (and in actual fact can attract more when left untidy), and various residents and related contractors becoming concerned about how to find the culprit and quickly deal with the issue.

To effectively resolve, it’s often a team effort and in particular 5 different interests:

  1.       Cleaners – We appreciate the role of cleaners, and the reality that they’re often the supplier attending site most frequently, and needing to provide a service that clearly has visible results. Although the general clear and upkeep of such refuse areas is often not within their usual remit, they can at least visually check and immediately report any emerging issues.
    This can even include details of individuals seen causing the rubbish or contact details left on any packaging, all within effective data protection procedures, and they can help with any easy-wins such as moving large items away or simple collection of items in bin bags.
  1.       Landscapers – Whoever is maintaining outside areas, usually a form of gardener or landscaper, is often the best supplier to maintain and clean the communal bin store areas, even if within internal areas like basement car parks. They’re used to getting their hands dirty so to speak, and can usually arrange suitable removal of rubbish through authorised means.
    Therefore make sure they’re regularly checking as well as reacting to issues within these areas, can help report any potential culprits, and arrange any additional measures such as skips and drain clears.
  1.       Refuse Collectors – This is often the local authority with residential properties, or private suppliers for commercial premises. Unfortunately they often only literally clear what bins they can easily access, excluding any piled-up rubbish, and needing room to move any bins on wheels to their vehicles.
    In addition to making sure this can happen on set collection days, be ready for those times when they can’t, and any additional call-out clears needed by them or other suppliers, and any basis of amended charges to reflect a reduced service.
  1.       Handymen – They’re worth their weight in gold to help problem solve, whether it’s quickly fixing a lock and hinge on a gate, installing signs and notices, or simply checking and helping co-ordinate matters.
    Sometimes other contractors will try and muscle in on these roles for an additional source of business, but always make sure they have the correct skill set, response time, and fair rates before going ahead.
  1.       Property & Facilities Managers – They’re the glue to effectively running a property, and where the buck often stops. They ideally should have good communication lines to each contractor, and clearly state where contractors need to work and communicate directly together, and being clear with Purchase Orders and requirements.

Little things like contractors helping to take photos on site of the messed-up area in question, and being easily able to update concerned residents and occupiers is key, often all within a tight timescale and budget.

The ideal situation for a nice clear bin store area is therefore to be ahead of the game and pro-active, and reduce the likelihood of rubbish even piling up in the first place. Effective communication to all occupiers and parties, regular checks, and a good team on standby to nip in the bud early on can work a treat.

However, when you’re left to react to a messy communal bin store area, maybe after a holiday period where residents are home with visitors and leaving more rubbish, then don’t panic. Deal quickly and effectively through a combined approach, and make sure it doesn’t escalate further, with the root cause then being identified and dealt with.

Easy Cleaners are local cleaners with an active blog of tips and tricks for commercial and domestic cleaning.


Cleaning & Hygiene

Cleanline is an exclusive brand of professional cleaning products and systems from Bunzl Catering Supplies, manufactured in the UK and designed specifically for the catering and hospitality industry.

BFM interviewed Rod Hale, National Account Manager Exclusive Brands, Bunzl Catering Supplies:

What does a venue’s hygiene say about it to customers?

People often judge the quality of an establishment by its cleanliness, and no more so than in the washroom area. Toilets and urinals should be spotless and fresh. For toilets we recommend Cleanline acid lime scale remover as it can be used in hard water areas. All urinals need urinal blocks because they act continuously to clean and fragrance.

Which are the most important parts of a venue to be kept clean – bedrooms, toilets, kitchen, etc.?

It’s a fact that commercial kitchens can get very dirty. Surfaces need to be regularly cleaned and sanitised, equipment needs to be washed so it’s free from contamination and floors need to be clean and dry to prevent slippages. Throughout the shift, after the shift, end of the day, weekly, monthly and annual cleaning tasks should be structured and highlighted to your staff, so they are aware of their responsibilities and when tasks need completing. Some cleaning jobs should be done several times a day, while others need to only be done weekly or monthly. Regular cleaning of your kitchen is essential for food safety and can help reduce food waste, lowering overall menu costs.

The new Cleanline colour-coded professional kitchen kit makes two-stage cleaning in the kitchen simpler and more cost-effective for catering and hospitality businesses of all sizes.

How important is staff training when it comes to hygiene? Is it worth hiring professional cleaners to do the work?

Good practical training is a major factor in getting the best out of cleaning products.  If new starters are not shown exactly what to do as soon as they start, then they will simply do what they think is best and quickly establish a routine of bad practices. On the first day, new employees would benefit from a visit to the cleaning store with an explanation of what each product is for, followed by an overview of the daily cleaning regime.

What technological advances have been made in the hygiene world in recent months? What effect have they had?

The Cleanline COSHH training and product resource e-learning website is available to help employees use cleaning products safely, and in a manner compliant with Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH). It does this by providing free COSHH awareness training through a selection of videos and multiple-choice questions, and can be completed online in under 15 minutes. Successful completion of the training is automatically flagged to a customer administrator, who can access and download user reports via the Admin tab. Perfect for regular COSHH awareness training or completed as part of an induction; new starters can be COSHH aware even before stepping on site.

What advice would you offer to operators looking to keep their venues clean?

  • Choose your chemical supplier carefully
    Many chemical suppliers include a comprehensive support package in the price of their products. This can be made up of practical training, COSHH training, maintenance visits, emergency call outs, wall charts and dispensing equipment. Make sure you’re getting the best value for money.
  • Safety Data Sheets
    Make sure you have one for every cleaning product in use and that everybody knows where they are kept in case there’s an emergency.
  • Use colour coded cleaning products
    With over one hundred languages spoken in the British workplace today, it is impossible to have so many written instructions for using cleaning products. Liquid cleaning products that are the same colour as their labels, dispensers and wall chart references are universally understood.
  • Use concentrated products
    Mixing concentrated products with water on site with a chemical dispenser is not only the most cost effective way of cleaning, it is also greener than using domestic type ready-to-use products. Constant re-use of trigger sprays means less plastic for landfill, less transportation, fewer fossil fuels used and a smaller carbon footprint.
    Super concentrated cleaning products in the Cleanline Super range are diluted through wall-mounted dosing systems for ultimate control and measurable cost in use. Diluted at point of use, super concentrate products use reduced packaging waste, take up less space on a vehicle, reducing the impact on the environment.
  • Make sure your products are at the correct strength
    It’s a common myth that a stronger product does a better job, but with an alkali based floor cleaner for example, too strong a solution will leave an unsightly white deposit. Use the right items to apply the products with; if you use a damp cloth to apply glass polish it will result in visible smudges – clean, dry disposable paper is best.
  • Ensure that the FSA’s Two Stage Clean advice is understood and enacted
    The Food Standards Agency’s Two Stage Clean guidelines are clear: Stage 1 is cleaning food preparation surfaces. Stage 2 is sanitising those surfaces. Train your staff to carry out two distinct and separate jobs.
  • Water Softener
    It easy to forget to maintain this vital piece of equipment. Make sure that replenishing it with salt is part of the routine and get it serviced regularly. Hard water leads to tannin staining, poor results and wrecks expensive dishwashers.
  • Allocate routine cleaning tasks to individuals
    If individuals have ownership of specific tasks, personal pride and accountability increase the likelihood of a good job being completed.

Flexible workplaces need consistent hygiene

Steve Nurdin, marketing manager at Cannon Hygiene, discusses how changing workplace expectations are demanding more from facilities management’s role in hygiene.

Facilities management increasingly needs to accommodate new workplace practices such as flexible working while still providing a business with a high-quality service. Cleaning procedures also have to adapt to work in tandem with these shifting working patterns, to maximise efficiency and create a working environment with hygiene at its heart.

An increase in people working from home or visiting from other offices means businesses are adapting the way their space is used to take into account fluctuating numbers of people in one building. For example, many have created shared spaces through collaborative working hubs and hot desking policies.

Hygiene standards can become diluted as a result with more people sharing office spaces and transmitting bacteria. People’s attitudes and vigilance towards cleanliness often differs greatly and bad practices can encourage the spread of germs. This can seriously impact productivity in a business, especially during peak seasons for illnesses which can spread rapidly around an office and severely deplete a workforce.

To tackle this problem, there’s been a shift towards hygiene systems that work in the background to ensure levels of cleanliness are being automatically maintained, especially in shared spaces. For example, filters are now available that actively clean and fragrance the air, killing airborne bacteria and stopping illnesses from spreading. Shared surfaces such as door handles are another germ hotspot, but solutions are available that spray an antibacterial mist on washroom door handles to prevent germs from entering the wider office. Automated solutions can provide peace of mind that effective hygiene is remaining consistent at a time when flexible working is on the rise.

Appearance and functionality

People are generally more aware than ever of the impact of germs, driving hygiene to the forefront of facilities management. Washrooms, for example, are one of the most visited places in an organisation – people may share a desk with two or three, but a washroom with 50 others. As such, hygiene has to work much harder to match a business’ needs and expectations, demanding solutions that offer a top-class service. A washroom can not only affect employees’ opinions of their workplace but also a visitor’s impression of the business, so care should be taken to fit a suite that reinforces a positive company image.

As more businesses up their investment in facilities, it becomes more noticeable when a company hasn’t made the same commitment to their hygiene procedures. People expect the same levels of cleanliness in the workplace as they would at home or in a restaurant, and want to see a consistent and high quality hygiene policy being visibly practiced. From installing hand sanitisers across the office to actively promote good hand hygiene, to ensuring that doormats are kept well laundered and attractive, many businesses are now going above and beyond on their hygiene commitments to meet expectations.

Flexibility looks set to continue shaping workplace practices and maintaining a hygiene approach that reflects this should always be of high priority. By implementing a hygiene strategy that suits shifts in demand while staying consistent in its levels of service, facilities managers can be sure that their business continues to provide a quality environment for staff and visitors alike.


Gradus specified for upgrade at BMI healthcare facility

Contract interiors specialist Gradus has supplied SureProtect Pure hygienic wall cladding and Specialist Bathroom Products to BMI The Somerfield Hospital, to improve cleanliness and accessibility.

Based in Maidstone, Kent, BMI The Somerfield Hospital is part of BMI Healthcare, a leading provider of independent healthcare with a nationwide network of hospitals. The hospital is registered for 38 beds in total and features three operating theatres, three minor procedure rooms and a range of specialist clinics.

To help improve the hygiene levels and ease of access for such a diverse range of patients, Gradus refurbished the main outpatient’s WC on the ground floor. Products specified included SureProtect Pure wall cladding and Maxima Specialist Bathroom Products, which were supplied and fitted by an experienced team from Gradus Contracts.

SureProtect Pure, was specified to ensure the bathroom remained easy to clean and maintain, helping to reduce the need for frequent replacement and contribute towards a hygienic environment. The smooth surface is impervious to moisture and bacteria making it ideal for applications that must adhere to rigorous hygiene standards, such as hospital environments.

Maxima products in Blue, including a Grab Rail and two Adjustable Support Arms, were chosen to contrast with the White SureProtect Pure wall cladding and to help ensure inclusive access to the WC. The Specialist Bathroom Products specified have been designed to meet guidelines in Approved Document M of the Building Regulation 2010.

Connie Stocker, Executive Director at BMI The Somerfield Hospital, said: “We chose to specify Gradus because of its years of experience in the contract interior industry, and proven track record in providing safe and secure solutions to the healthcare sector.

“As we have a large number of people using our facilities everyday, we required a solution that made our WC accessible to everyone visiting, working or staying in the hospital, and so Gradus provided us with a comprehensive range of Specialist Bathroom Products to meet our needs.”

Anna Conrad-Smith, Marketing Product Manager at Gradus, commented: “In addition to The Maxima Range, Gradus SureProtect Pure wall cladding is an excellent choice for hospital environments. The smooth, easy to clean surface is also extremely durable and resistant to impact damage, which helps to maintain hygiene standards and reduce ongoing repair and maintenance costs.

“This project demonstrates our commitment to creating safe and accessible buildings without compromising on the aesthetics of the building.”

For further information on the full range of wall protection and Specialist Bathroom Products available from Gradus, please call 01625 428922 or visit www.gradus.com.


Jangro raises over £45,000 for Macmillan

The UK’s largest network of janitorial supply companies, Jangro, has raised £48,223.03 for its nominated charity Macmillan Cancer Support.

Jangro and its national network of 43 distribution sites have been supporting the charity, which helps those affected by cancer, since 2013.

Auctions, raffles, collection tubs, ‘Mankini’ events, sponsored swims and ‘Movember’ challenges all have contributed to the running total.

Funds have also been raised through Jangro donating a percentage of sales for every single unit sold from its top 5 best-selling chemical products.

Joanne Gilliard, Operations Director at Jangro, said: “It really is a pleasure to give this fantastic amount of money to such a deserving charity, which works tirelessly to support those affected by this awful illness.

“Cancer touches everyone at some point in their life, either personally or through a friend or family member, and I am so glad we are able to support Macmillan through our members based across the country.

“Everyone from our suppliers through to our end users can congratulate themselves for contributing to such a fantastic total.

“Our work doesn’t stop here though, we have plenty of fundraising activities in the pipeline as we continue to work towards our fundraising target of £100,000!”

To donate to Jangro’s JustGiving page please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jangro

For more information about Jangro you can visit: http://www.jangro.net or call 01204 795 955.


Raising hygiene standards with Rotarad


With cleanliness the top priority within the healthcare sector, Rotarad’s radiator valve access kit, which allows access to the space behind the radiator, is a major step forward in raising hygiene standards.

Helping to fight the battle against infection

For the first time, the ingenious Rotarad kit makes full access behind the radiator panel, a both forgotten and inaccessible place, a reality. Allowing easy deep cleaning as well as the opportunity to completely redecorate a room, Rotarad offers clear benefits, including raised hygiene standards since the accessibility allows harmful bacteria, dust and other irritants that can trigger allergies to be conveniently and regularly removed. Rotarad may also help with infection control of so-called superbugs MRSA and C. diff.

Fully compliant and easy to install

The result of extensive market research and product testing, Rotarad is fully complaint with all current EU quality and health and safety regulations. Easily installed as either an original or retrofit, Rotarad is suitable for all sizes of conventional radiator.

Malcolm Keeling, product creator said, ‘Rotarad literally has the potential to help revolutionise attitudes and practises concerning cleanliness within our hospitals, clinics and care homes.’

Rotarad is available at independent plumbing and heating merchants, DIY outlets as well as via Rotarad direct.

For more information on the Rotarad radiator convertor kit and how it could benefit the healthcare sector, visit www.rotarad.com or call 01782 385152.


Losing the ground war against food contamination

In the high-pressure environment of food service, lapses in hygiene make casualties of customers, reputations and even businesses. James White of Denis Rawlins Ltd focuses on a forgotten front in the war against food contamination where outdated methods abet the enemy.

Safeguarding food safety is a constant battle, requiring consistently high standards in processing and storage, personal hygiene, staff training and supervision, and cleaning.

One slip – not washing hands, under-cooking food, failing to chill it properly, cross-contaminating cooked ingredients via a surface or knife used for raw meat – and the consequences for customers and the business can be catastrophic. So in the heat of the kitchen, it’s not surprising if the surface that staff stand on is not seen as a major risk.

Yet the contaminants lurking beneath our feet can easily be transferred to hands and utensils. The risks from poorly cleaned floors are not so well appreciated. And this is where the battle against the ever-present threat of germs and pathogens can often be lost.

Kitchens generate greasy soils that coat floor surfaces. In this warm and damp environment bacteria multiply, especially in crevices and grout lines between tiles. Workers’ footwear also tracks dirt and invisible microbes from other areas, including toilets and washrooms, into cleaned areas. So, whether floors look clean or not, they can end up harbouring a stomach-churning mix of microbes.

Studies in the US and elsewhere have shown not only that floors can become reservoirs of health-threatening pathogens, but also how staff have many direct and indirect contact with floors every day. This could be tying a trailing shoe lace, picking up a dropped utensil, gathering an electrical cord from the floor, or lifting a carton of food that had been placed there.

It’s estimated that 70% of all floors in the UK are still mopped by hand, and that includes many kitchens as well as dining areas. The obvious problem with mopping is it spreads rather than removes soil. Even if cleaning solution and mop heads are changed frequently, mopping inevitably returns some of the soils to the floor. And a mop cannot be expected to dislodge dirt ingrained in crevices.

This whole process – mopping with a degreaser or bleach, and then rinsing with ‘clean’ water – is as laborious and time-consuming as it is ineffective. Moreover, in this constant war against germs, mopping is effectively aiding and abetting the enemy. Hence the Denis Rawlins campaign to Chop the Mop.

In kitchens, or any environment where hygiene matters, cleaning has to remove soil, leaving a sanitised surface. For floors, this means dispensing fresh cleaning solution and recovering the liquid along with soils, by suction or squeegee. Whether this is achieved mechanically by a scrubber dryer or other machine, it’s also essential the floor is left virtually dry and thus safe to walk on.

Food factories test work surfaces to check they’re not contaminated. We too advocate science-based cleaning, and have extended this to floors and touch points, including those in washrooms. Like the food industry, we use ATP meters to measure the universal (adenosine triphosphate) marker for animal, bacterial and mould cells. We test before and after cleaning to show how effective the process is. And we have researched the global market for cleaning equipment to identify the most hygienic and cost-effective methods.

We were impressed by a comparatively low-tech cleaning system that achieves very high standards. As a supplier of wide range of cleaning equipment, we were struck by how this modular system could match more sophisticated, and expensive, technology.

This was borne out by a three-way test by university scientists who compared manual microfibre mopping, a scrubber dryer and the OmniFlexTM system. Based on a patented trolley bucket, as components are added it can be configured to dispense and vac, spray and squeegee, or spray and vac.

The tests involved a solution of Escherichia coli (the E. coli organism responsible for many food poisoning outbreaks) with ‘before’ and ‘after’ measurements using ATP monitors and bacteria plates.

The microfibre mop at best removed less than 51% of the soil, but that dropped to 24% as the plates revealed how the mop dragged bacteria from dirty areas back into cleaner parts of the floor.

By contrast, more than 99% of the bacteria were removed by the scrubber dryer. Significantly, the same standard was achieved by the AutoVac – which is the OmniFlex unit with a drop-down squeegee head.

The Food Service Dispense and Vac uses the same technology as the AutoVac, is simple to use, even for kitchen or casual staff with minimal training. It has proven its effectiveness and productivity cleaning hard floors in the manufacturer Kaivac’s native US, becoming a staple floor cleaning machine in the food service sector.

Studies show the OmniflexTM Dispense and Vac is 30-60 times more effective than a mop and bucket. At least one fast food chain halved its cleaning time while achieving superior cleaning results for no more than its annual spend on mops and buckets.

Given our Chop the Mop mission this is compelling, as it means that food processors and outlets using traditional methods can save money while raising the standards of hygiene in their premises.



Taking a stand for public health – Bulk soap is a proven risk

Washroom hygiene has come a long way in recent years, helped by advances in technology and design. Mike Sullivan, Managing Director for GOJO Industries-Europe, explains how the latest systems can help achieve even higher hygiene standards.

Advances in terms of technology and materials have the power to change many aspects of our lives. History is littered with landmark moments when a new idea, manufacturing method or scientific breakthrough helped to re-shape the way we live and work. In public washrooms, for example, we stopped using bars of soap as safer, cleaner and more sanitary options became available.

No organisation would expect their employees or visitors to leave the washroom with more germs on their hands than before they washed them – and this is why the method used to refill dispensers is such a crucial consideration. Yet, despite breakthroughs in hand hygiene, millions of people worldwide are using refillable bulk soap dispensers, even though scientific evidence shows 1 in 4 of these dispensers is contaminated.

Although they are an old fashioned hand washing method, bulk soap dispensers are commonly found in schools, restaurants, office buildings, health clubs, shopping centres and other public places, exposing people to an unnecessary health risk. Organisations, including the World Health Organisation, have recognised the bacterial contamination risk of filling up these bulk soap dispensers and have issued guidelines against it1.

A bulk fill dispenser is one where the soap is poured from a bottle into an open reservoir at the top of the unit. Because the reservoir is open to the environment, bacteria can contaminate the soap, which leads to the formation of a biofilm on the inside of the dispenser. Biofilms are groups of bacteria that coat surfaces and are difficult to wash off or ‘kill’. Because the biofilm is formed on the inside of the dispenser it leads to contamination of any new soap that is subsequently added to the dispenser.

Countless employees and other unsuspecting hand washers are washing using this method every day, potentially putting themselves at more risk than using the outdated bar of soap. Hands can have 25 times more germs after washing with contaminated soap. This can make people sick from fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, or eye infections due to the level of pathogens found within the soap. The young, elderly and immunocompromised are at greatest risk.

So can the dispensers be disinfected?

Recontamination can occur even after cleaning and soaking the bulk soap dispenser in bleach, so it’s not a case of simply disinfecting the dispensers to remove the risk. A study found that, after multiple cleaning methods, including bleach based products, contaminated bulk soap dispensers became re-contaminated within 2 weeks of cleaning. Biofilms were found in both plastic and stainless steel bulk dispensers and the dispenser would need to be replaced to eliminate the contamination.

The health of washroom users and the image of building owners is put at risk

Companies invest millions in technology, innovation and recruiting the right people to gain competitive advantage, and it’s easy to understand why attention to these areas is so important. Sometimes however, the significant difference a relatively small investment in providing access to effective hand hygiene systems can make is overlooked.

Washroom facilities are a major source of complaints in office buildings, with extreme temperatures (47%) and unclean / understocked washrooms (32%) being the top two grievances. Upgrading health and hygiene facilities provides building owners and managers with a clear opportunity to increase overall tenant satisfaction and will leave users with a positive lasting impression.

Refillable bulk soap dispensers are messy, labour intensive and prone to environmental and deliberate contamination. Time and effort is required to pour the soap and clean up spills, drips and stains. Parts can wear out or break and need to be replaced. Permanent nozzles can easily clog, causing complaints that the soap has run out. Once bacterial contamination occurs, dispensers must be replaced. All these factors work against efforts to create a healthy, productive building environment.

The right refills

This doesn’t make for comfortable reading, but there is an alternative. Sanitary sealed refills are increasing in popularity because the product inside is protected from contamination, as it is factory sealed and includes a fresh valve with each refill. All GOJO and PURELL® refills are SANITARY SEALED™. This means that the soap is never open to the environment and so cross contamination from the air or other sources is prevented. The hygiene and health benefits are obvious – and in addition they also make for efficient use of time for hard-pressed maintenance staff, because they are so much simpler and quicker to replace.

By investing in the best hand hygiene solutions, organisations not only protect their facilities, but also demonstrate their commitment to improving the well-being of end-users, and their dedication to providing the very best service.

For more information on GOJO dispensers and formulations call +44 (0)1908 588444, email infouk@gojo.com or visit www.gojo.com/united-kingdom


An ally in the germ war

Infectious outbreaks may seem like a risk too far to control. But facilities managers should know they have a trusty ally in fogging, says Ashley White, Commercial and Safety Manager of cleaning and FM services specialist Nviro.

An essential element of the facilities manager’s job is ensuring the health and safety of the people who work in or visit the building. From avoiding slip and trip hazards to monitoring air conditioning systems to guard against legionella, the risks to be managed are legion.

The threat posed by bugs and microbes is not new, but the expectation that building managers need to consider infection control is spreading. More employers are concerned about workers’ wellbeing. Minds have also been concentrated by outbreaks of the Norovirus winter vomiting bug and contingency planning for bird and swine ’flu pandemics.

Whether reacting to – or pre-empting – a germ attack, there are a variety of weapons available to facilities managers and their cleaning teams.

Common methods include deploying hand sanitisers in wash rooms and communal areas, steam cleaning of both soft and hard surfaces, and wall-mounted sanitisation units that use UV light to decontaminate air in toilets and elsewhere.

Until relatively recently, chemical fogging had not been so commonplace outside industrial clean rooms and food factories, but it’s a method with benefits that facilities managers should understand.

Modern biocides now mean that bio-fogging is a highly cost-effective sanitisation technique. Also, fogging no longer entails major disruption or health risks of its own from potentially toxic chemicals.

The water-based anti-microbial we use is non-hazardous, odourless and non-corrosive to materials and surfaces. This solution is harmless to the environment and does not require rinsing. The only real concern is the potential for an allergic reaction for people in the area during fogging.

As the anti-microbial is sprayed as a fine mist, fogging must be done outside working or opening hours. And cleaning staff need to take all necessary precautions, wearing the PPE recommended for the agent used.

A biocide is effective against airborne viruses and bacteria because the fine particles in the fog remain suspended in the air long enough to kill them. These particles also spread throughout the space being treated, settling on surfaces, including walls and ceilings, furniture and floors.

An effective biocide – we recommend using a solution with four different biocides to combat any resistant bacteria – will eliminate a very wide spectrum of microbes and pathogens. These include E. coli, MRSA, C. difficile, listeria, salmonella and Legionella pneumophilia.

In practice, the effectiveness of fogging will be limited only by failure to deliver sufficient biocide or obstacles that stop it reaching the surfaces in a room. A fogger machine is not difficult to operate, while evidence strips can be used to check that enough of the agent has been delivered.

Dust, debris and other extraneous materials are more likely to come between the biocide and the sanitised surface that fogging can achieve. Which is why a thorough deep clean is essential in advance of fogging.

While facilities managers may trust the evidence of their eyes when judging the standard of a deep clean, we recommend a more scientific approach when it comes to sanitisation.

Microbes and all living things produce the molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which can be accurately measured. A hand-held luminometer gives a ready indicator of living cells on a surface. So it’s practicable to take ATP readings before and after fogging, and thus test its effectiveness.

We have carried out many trials both in the Nviro offices and on clients’ premises, and the results show a dramatic reduction in ATP levels after fogging.

Moreover, the sanitisation effect is not short-lived. Chemical suppliers claim that fogging agents have a residual efficacy against contamination that can last for months. The chemical continues acting as a bactericide and virucide, so that – if applied following an outbreak of infection – it can help prevent repeat outbreaks. Our own testing showed that ATP readings after several weeks had not returned to the levels recorded before fogging, indicating that surfaces were not being re-contaminated as one might expect.

ATP data can be used by facilities managers to gauge the cleanliness of common touch points in their buildings, and the effectiveness of a cleaning regime. But it can also be used to demonstrate the value of enhanced cleaning; to inform fellow managers, including those responsible for health, safety and welfare; and to justify the cost of sanitisation.

Fogging agents are more expensive than conventional cleaning solutions, and the service provider must invest in the necessary fogger machines, luminometers, PPE and staff training.

But the results we have achieved give us and clients confidence that fogging is a cost-effective sanitisation technique. This may be most apparent when an infectious outbreak has caused high levels of illness and disruption, perhaps with loss of business or reputational damage.

But every organisation should consider what role sanitisation, including fogging, should play in its contingency planning, if not its annual cleaning plan. For clients aiming to minimise the risk to employees or customers of ‘flu or other contagious infections, we recommend that areas are fogged twice a year to maintain a good level of protection. Facilities managers should be reassured that in the germ war they have a powerful ally.