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May 4th 2021

Cleaning up – has the pandemic changed our hygiene habits for good?

The global COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in billions of people changing their personal hygiene habits, particularly when it comes to thorough and consistent hand washing. What may have been a subconscious act previously has seen us transition to rigorously washing whilst counting to 20 in the process! We’ve also all become accustomed to sanitizer and wipes, sales of which soared during March 2020 by a staggering 5,678 percent when compared to the previous year*.

But what else has changed in terms of hygiene, particularly for sectors that provide essential services such as healthcare, and what further measures can we take to future proof against another health crisis?

Going back to basics in any working environment, handwashing with soap and water proves to be one of the best ways to prevent the spread of infectious diseases and is the first line of defense against COVID-19.

Shockingly, there is a high percentage of non-hand-washers out there, and research shows that even where soap and water are in abundance, only 50% of people actually use them after going to the bathroom**.

If people see others washing their hands in the bathroom, you’d hope that others are encouraged to do the same, but unfortunately, when left to their own devices many choose not to bother. So, what other factors can encourage non-hand-washers to make the right choice? Essentially, simple signage can act as a visual reminder, change people’s bad habits and also guilt-trip them into doing it!

Signage can be easy enough to produce, but keeping it sanitized and ensuring that it stands the test of time can prove to be a challenge, particularly in high traffic areas such as public restrooms. For a durable signage solution our recommendation would be choosing a waterproof, tearproof, tried and tested synthetic print media product such as KernowPrint Dry Toner. Print quality will retain its integrity and won’t be compromised by water or liquids.

Looking beyond the surface

Viruses can be spread through another person coughing or sneezing and contaminating a surface, and so it is important that environments are kept as clean and easy to sanitize.

Antimicrobial coatings have made an increasing appearance since the start of the pandemic, and products such as Biomaster can provide fast, effective antimicrobial protection for the lifetime of the product, helping to keep surfaces clean and hygienic and reducing the risk of cross-contamination. High contact surfaces such as menus can harbor germs if printed on standard paper which is frequently passed between diners. In fact, menus which are not frequently replaced (if paper based) or sanitized are reported to carry more germs than bathroom seats!

These sorts of coatings are also now being seen in grocery stores the technology is incorporated into shopping cart and basket handles and even gas pumps to help reduce the spread of infection.

Sanitizer vs Sanity

Hand sanitizer is an obvious quick fix when out and about and has become a staple in everyone’s glove boxes and bags. It’s accessible and convenient, but experts say that it’s no replacement for traditional hand washing with soap and water.

If your only option is hand sanitizer, experts advise to make sure the one you’re carrying is actually up to par. That means checking the ingredients. When water and soap are not immediately available, hand sanitizers with upwards of 60 percent alcohol are good second alternatives – the experts say. But with so much sanitizer now out there (with the market value estimated to reach 2.14 Billion USD by 2027) can sanitizer be in any way damaging?

Solvents can certainly be damaging to the skin if used excessively, however, when we relate this to our industry of synthetic print media, the stronger the sanitizer the more effective it is at keeping signage and prints clean.

This has caused a problem for many producers of synthetic media. As you can see in this video, some materials simply won’t stand the test of cleaning products which have a high chemical and alcohol percentage, meaning that the print can be compromised.

 

 

 

 

The pandemic has certainly had a profound effect on the world we live in, and if one positive can come out of it, we may now live in a cleaner more cautious world where people will appreciate the importance of adopting even the simplest of hygiene habits.

For more information about synthetic media products for a safer world visit – https://kernowcoatings.com/staysafe/

 

*https://www.statista.com/statistics/1112767/impact-of-coronavirus-on-online-sales-values-of-health-and-hygiene-products-in-the-us/

** https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200417-the-hidden-reasons-some-people-dont-wash-their-hands

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