In a word, no. Antibacterial wipes cannot be re-used because of the spreading of germs across surfaces from a dirty to a clean environment.
But let’s look at why that might be…and the potential dangers in attempting to re-use wipes that have already covered contaminated desktops, door handles, kitchen cabinets, office equipment, and other surface areas.
July 19th marked “Freedom Day” in England. Not a particularly helpful term, truth be told, as it masks (if you’ll excuse the pun) the greater sense of responsibility we must all adopt if we’re to successfully navigate our way through this COVID-19 pandemic. As the summer holidays wear on, and domestic travel increases, there’s no denying that the onus is now squarely on us, the general British public, to ensure better levels of personal cleanliness, as well as show consideration towards family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances – and indeed the wider population – through better hygiene practices, as we seek to quell further waves of the virus.
All of this involves a better understanding of cleaning routines and products: what works and what doesn’t, and the potential impact of poor cleaning practice.
Why stock up on antibacterial wipes, instead of re-using?
Before setting out, let’s just pause to consider why we’re actually wiping down a particular surface. Whilst it may be the most visually satisfying, we’re not cleaning purely to rid the area of crumbs, dust, dirt and other visible pollutants.
Our aim is surely to remove all invisible germs, viruses and bacteria, leaving a clean, pristine environment – a surface you could eat off – whilst applying a level of preventative protection to mitigate virus and bacteria spread.
Few people consider that wiping is often a two-part process: the first wipe to remove all grime and debris from the surface, and the second to apply the disinfectant. Fortunately our Midi-Wipe and Clothwipe ranges are able to perform both these actions in a single wipe, eradicating excess dirt, and laying down a film of antibacterial disinfectant, which should be left to air dry for a few minutes.
But after using a single wipe on a given surface, think about where any bacteria/virus remnants may have gone. That wipe used to rid surface A of all germs will almost certainly harbour microbe traces, and should consequently never be used on surface B, C, D, E or anywhere else… as you’ll simply be transferring bugs from one area to another. These wipes should be disposed of immediately.
So, the question is not simply: Can I re-use antibacterial wipes? It’s more an understanding that a single wipe should apply solely to a single surface, and never be used to clean other areas – no matter how deceptively clean it may appear after use.
With this in mind, it makes sense to stock up. To properly clean and disinfect your workplace, home kitchen, door handles etc, you’ll need to ensure that you hold a good supply of the right products – and at Uniwipe we’re able to supply in bulk on request, saving money and time, whilst providing peace of mind.
One wipe:one surface
Regular readers will recall how we covered the dos and don’ts of good antibacterial wipe practice in our post a few weeks back, zeroing in on those five key points to remember, when cleaning the workplace or home.
But, arguably, re-using antibacterial wipes across multiple surfaces carries the most serious risk, as it offers a false sense of security.
That ‘Good Samaritan’ employee who whips round the office over lunch: wiping down desks, mousepads, phones, monitors, etc, all whilst conserving wipes, and then settles back into the afternoon shift with a magnanimous glow – blissfully unaware that they’ve likely spread bacteria to previously uninfected parts of the office.
• 10/10 for initiative.
• 0/10 for hygiene.
With the increased cleaning regimes in place in most workplaces just now, this scenario is not an uncommon one. Logically:
1) Surfaces are visibly less dirty than pre-COVID.
2) Consequently, less visible grime is removed when using the wipe.
3) Thus, the wipe is considered ‘cleaner’, and will be re-used across other surfaces…
And, of course, this isn’t restricted to the office. Visibly cleaner kitchens are conducive to fewer wipes being required to cover more surfaces, increasing the likelihood of viral transmission around the home.
It’s hard to over-emphasize the importance of one wipe:one surface, whether in the professional or domestic setting.
Ensuring that the home and workplace have good supplies of the right products, and that they’re readily available, is a fundamental consideration for all of us. (In the office environment, effective hygiene communication may fall on HR: ensuring staff are aware of the products available and that there’s a plentiful supply, so that employees don’t feel they need to skimp when packs run low.)
We’ve endured an awful lot over the past 18 months, but with an ever-increasing percentage of the UK population vaccinated, restrictions are being eased. Or, in some cases, dropped completely…
As for July 19th – let’s help to make sure ‘Freedom’ lasts longer than a single day…