Hand Care

Wash Your Hands at Work

By Business, Hand Care, Safety

Person washing hands

No matter where you work, chances are you are surrounded by surfaces covered with germs: phones, computer keyboards and mice, copier and elevator buttons, door knobs, sink faucets, coffee pot handles, stair rails, and many more. Even a desktop can have more germs than a toilet seat.

If you touch a contaminated surface, then touch your eye, nose, or mouth, you are at risk of getting infected — we all touch our faces often, without realizing it. No wonder a virus can spread through a building in 2 – 4 hours.

The best way to keep yourself and your coworkers from getting sick is to wash your hands thoroughly and often. Make hand washing a habit, part of your routine throughout the day. According to the CDC you should wash your hands:

  • As soon as you get to work
  • Before and after eating or preparing food
  • After using the restroom
  • After handling trash
  • Between meetings
  • When using shared office equipment like copiers
  • After coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose
  • Whenever your hands are dirty
  • After shaking hands with someone

Also from the CDC, how to wash your hands properly:

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the Happy Birthday song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Finally, here are some suggestions for employers and managers to help encourage good hand hygiene at work:

  • Provide employees with wipes, disinfectants, cleaners, and hand sanitizer.
  • Post signs encouraging frequent hand washing.
  • Send an office-wide e-mail encouraging hygienic activities at work and at home.
  • Incorporate hand hygiene into existing health and safety programs.
  • Keep restrooms, kitchens, and break areas supplied with cleaning products and hand soaps.

Avoid Shopping Germs

By Cleaning And Disinfecting, Hand Care

Aire-Master Hand SanitizerAccording to, the shopping mall is a very germy place. Flu viruses, E. coli, staph, and other germs are there, waiting to get you sick. Health consulted a panel of experts to name the germiest places in the mall:

  • Restroom sinks
  • Food court tables
  • Escalator handrails
  • ATM keypads
  • Toy stores
  • Fitting rooms
  • Gadget shops
  • Makeup samples

Read the entire article for the details of how you can get infected in each of these locations — and how to protect yourself. We might also recommend taking some Hand Sanitizer with you as you shop.

The Germiest Places in the World

By Cleaning And Disinfecting, Hand Care

Forensic Science Technician published a list of the 50 Germiest Places in the World. We broke the items out into categories for easy comparison.

Personal / Household

Kitchen Sink

As we have posted before, the kitchen sink is typically the germiest place in the house.

  • Kitchen sinks
  • Underwear
  • Purses and handbags
  • Wet laundry
  • Keyboards
  • Cell phones
  • Kitchen sponges
  • Bath tubs & shower curtains
  • Vacuum cleaner bags
  • Beds
  • Money
  • Soap (especially bars)
  • The human mouth


Portable Toilets

When you leave the house, don’t touch anything. And wash your hands.

  • Portable toilets
  • Door handles
  • Outdoor music festivals
  • Playgrounds
  • Hotel linens and towels
  • Keyboards
  • Communal office equipment (staplers, copiers, etc.)
  • Schools
  • Airplane bathrooms
  • Water parks
  • Healthcare facilities
  • Nursing homes
  • Zoos
  • ATM machines
  • Dumpsters
  • Public transportation
  • Gym equipment

Cities / International Locations

Kissing the Blarney Stone

Most of these places are not popular travel destinations, but a couple are. If you go to Ireland, don’t kiss the Blarney Stone. Thousands of other tourists just kissed it before you.

  • The Blarney Stone
  • Baku, Azerbaijan
  • Ganges River
  • Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • Antananarivo, Madagascar
  • Oscar Wilde’s grave
  • Port au Prince, Haiti
  • Mexico City, Mexico
  • Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • Mumbai, India
  • Baghdad, Iraq
  • Almaty, Kazakhstan
  • Brazzaville, Congo

Places you probably never go

Slaughterhouse cattle bodies

Unless you work in one of these industries, it is unlikely you will come in direct contact with these places. Hopefully.

  • Slaughterhouses
  • Monkey cages
  • Landfills
  • Fish farm lakes
  • Sewers
  • Waste treatment ponds
  • Murder/suicide scenes
  • Farms

HT: Kaivac

CDC Review of Soap Types

By Hand Care

The CDC has published some recommendations regarding hand hygiene preparations. Here are some excerpts:

Plain (Non-Antimicrobial) Soap

Kids washing handsSoaps are detergent-based products that contain esterified fatty acids and sodium or potassium hydroxide. They are available in various forms including bar soap, tissue, leaflet, and liquid preparations. Their cleaning activity can be attributed to their detergent properties, which result in removal of dirt, soil, and various organic substances from the hands. Plain soaps have minimal, if any, antimicrobial activity. However, handwashing with plain soap can remove loosely adherent transient flora. For example, handwashing with plain soap and water for 15 seconds reduces bacterial counts on the skin, whereas washing for 30 seconds reduces counts by over twice as much. However, in several studies, handwashing with plain soap failed to remove pathogens from the hands of hospital personnel. Handwashing with plain soap can result in paradoxical increases in bacterial counts on the skin.


Active ingredient ethanolAlcohols have excellent in vitro germicidal activity against gram-positive and gram-negative vegetative bacteria, including multidrug-resistant pathogens (e.g., MRSA and VRE), Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and various fungi. Certain enveloped (lipophilic) viruses (e.g., herpes simplex virus, human immunodeficiency virus [HIV], influenza virus, respiratory syncytial virus, and vaccinia virus) are susceptible to alcohols when tested in vitro. Hepatitis B virus is an enveloped virus that is somewhat less susceptible but is killed by 60%–70% alcohol; hepatitis C virus also is likely killed by this percentage of alcohol. In a porcine tissue carrier model used to study antiseptic activity, 70% ethanol and 70% isopropanol were found to reduce titers of an enveloped bacteriophage more effectively than an antimicrobial soap containing 4% chlorhexidine gluconate. Despite its effectiveness against these organisms, alcohols have very poor activity against bacterial spores, protozoan oocysts, and certain nonenveloped (nonlipophilic) viruses.

Numerous studies have documented the in vivo antimicrobial activity of alcohols. Alcohols effectively reduce bacterial counts on the hands. Alcohols are rapidly germicidal when applied to the skin, but they have no appreciable persistent (i.e., residual) activity. However, regrowth of bacteria on the skin occurs slowly after use of alcohol-based hand antiseptics, presumably because of the sublethal effect alcohols have on some of the skin bacteria. Addition of chlorhexidine, quaternary ammonium compounds, octenidine, or triclosan to alcohol-based solutions can result in persistent activity.

Alcohol-based products are more effective for standard handwashing or hand antisepsis by health care workers (HCWs) than soap or antimicrobial soaps. In all but two of the trials that compared alcohol-based solutions with antimicrobial soaps or detergents, alcohol reduced bacterial counts on hands more than washing hands with soaps or detergents containing hexachlorophene, povidone-iodine, 4% chlorhexidine, or triclosan. In studies examining antimicrobial-resistant organisms, alcohol-based products reduced the number of multidrug-resistant pathogens recovered from the hands of HCWs more effectively than did handwashing with soap and water.

Antimicrobial Soap with Triclosan

Doctor washing handsTriclosan (chemical name: 2,4,4′ –trichloro-2′-hydroxy-diphenyl ether) is a nonionic, colorless substance that was developed in the 1960s. It has been incorporated into soaps for use by HCWs and the public and into other consumer products. Concentrations of 0.2%–2% have antimicrobial activity. Triclosan enters bacterial cells and affects the cytoplasmic membrane and synthesis of RNA, fatty acids, and proteins. Recent studies indicate this agent’s antibacterial activity is attributable to binding to the active site of enoyl-acyl carrier protein reductase.

Triclosan has a broad range of antimicrobial activity, but it is often bacteriostatic. Triclosan’s activity against gram-positive organisms (including MRSA) is greater than against gram-negative bacilli, particularly P. aeruginosa. The agent possesses reasonable activity against mycobacterial and Candida spp., but it has limited activity against filamentous fungi. In several studies, log reductions have been lower after triclosan is used than when chlorhexidine, iodophors, or alcohol-based products are applied.

Read the full report.

Germ Prevention

By Hand Care

How Much Does Sickness Cost Your Business?

Man sneezingWork absenteeism costs U.S. employers an estimated 17 percent of payroll costs — a huge penalty that can make the difference between profit and loss for private organizations, or massive budget overruns for public employers.

Missing time from work due to illness, or taking care of a family member who is ill, is a part of life. And who can blame the working mom for staying home with her sick child, or taking time during the day to tend to an ill parent.

A survey of U.S. insurers and employers indicated that on any given day, 25 percent to 33 percent of the typical work force is not at work for a variety of reasons, including illnesses ranging from the mild to serious. This amounts to an average cost to small business of $757.00 per year and the average worker will lose $1,044.00 per year in wage.

Often the uncounted costs are even greater. These include loss of productivity and erosion of customer services that can lead to loss of business and revenue. What can a small business do?

Aire-Master Waterless Hand Sanitizer

An Ounce of Protection Keeps Germs Away

Disinfecting work equipment touch surfaces such as telephones, computer keyboards, printers, and fax machines can also help reduce the spread of germs and bacteria from one co-worker to another. Aire-Master offers the PortionPac Germicidal Detergent and Healthcare Disinfectant spray to help you kill germs on business equipment.

Handwashing is one of the best and simplest ways to dramatically reduce the spread of infection and the number of sick days, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC recommends vigorous scrubbing with warm, soapy water for at least 15 seconds.

Boy wiping his noseFive Common Germ Transmitting Scenarios

Hands to food

Germs are transmitted from unclean hands to food, usually by an infected food preparer who didn’t handwash after using the toilet. The germs are then passed to those who eat the food.

Infected infant to hands to other children

During diaper changing, germs are passed from an infant with diarrhea to the hands of a parent; if the parent doesn’t immediately wash his or her hands before handling another child, the germs that cause diarrhea are passed to the second child.

Food to hands to food

Germs are transmitted from raw, uncooked foods, such as chicken, to hands; the germs are then transferred to other foods, such as salad. Cooking the raw food kills the initial germs, but the salad remains contaminated.

Nose, mouth, or eyes to hands to others

Germs that cause colds, eye infections, and other illnesses can spread to the hands by sneezing, coughing, or rubbing the eyes and then can be transferred to other family members or friends.

Food to hands to infants

Germs from uncooked foods are transferred to hands and then to infants. If a parent handling raw chicken, for example, doesn’t wash his or her hands before tending to an infant, they could transfer germs such as salmonella from the food to the infant.