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Should We Be More Wary Of Wipes?

Matt Baines looks at the perils of the wet-wipe, and explains why we should watch out before we buy – is it really right for us?

It was with interest that I read recently about the dramatic increase in the use of impregnated

wipes for hospital disinfection. Concerns are growing, however, about the lack of proven effi cacy for wipes being used in the healthcare cleaning arena. There is a notable absence of independent research into wipes – a point highlighted by Peter Hoffman, Consultant Clinical Scientist from Public Health England during the Infection Prevention 2013 conference, organised by the Infection Prevention Society.

I must admit, I can understand the apprehension over guaranteeing that adequate biocide comes into contact with the surface being disinfected, and that suffi cient contact time is then allowed for disinfection to be achieved before the wipe residue fl ashes-off. It is much more commonly our practice to recommend that surface disinfection takes place with accurate dilution of a concentrated broad-spectrum bactericide/virucide, such as Screen from the Premiere Products range. The application of a disinfectant product in this manner enables the cleaning operative to control the quantities of solution being applied, in order to be more certain of achieving the desired effi cacy, while still taking into consideration surface soiling and other matters which may otherwise impair the outcome.

On a separate but similar note, we at Premiere Products have also been campaigning against the popularity of


wipes, albeit for different reasons, but which may nonetheless be of equal interest to the Tomorrow’s Cleaning readership, particularly those with a vested interest in the on-going welfare and performance of their premises’ waste water infrastructure.

Wet-wipes have several serious drawbacks. Firstly, they're costly to use – as much as 4p per use. Secondly, they easily dry- out, rendering them ineffective. Thirdly, they aren’t always to hand. Lastly and most importantly, they can cause serious and costly environmental problems. As they are made of non-woven fabric (to hold the moisture) and not paper, they simply don’t breakdown suffi ciently after fl ushing, resulting in sewer blockages that cause human misery and cost millions of pounds to clear. Although many wipe manufacturers describe their product as being “fl ushable”, the fact remains that many things could be described as “fl ushable” given a powerful enough fl ush! Just because you can fl ush it, doesn’t mean you should.

Our affi nity partner, Thames Water, report that they spend approximately £12million every year clearing 80,000 blockages from their sewage network, 75% of which are estimated to be caused by wet wipes. These blockages have to be removed manually and sent to landfi ll – is it really any wonder that water rates are high? What, then, can be done to satisfy our increasing demand for personal hygiene without the obvious environmental consequences of using wipes?

Freshu® is an anti-bacterial cleansing foam that has been specially formulated for use on the most sensitive areas of the body, yet its capability to deliver 99.9% bacterial kill makes it effective enough to double as a surface cleanser in washrooms and other public areas, and an alternative to alcohol-based hand gels.

Just a small amount of Freshu® on toilet tissue is all you need to feel shower-fresh and hygienically clean – at a fraction of the cost of wet- wipes. The product is soap- free, fragrance free, alcohol- free, and pH balanced. Infused with natural Aloe Vera, it has been dermatologically tested and is safe for the entire family. It has also been independently confi rmed as safe for the aquatic environment, and won’t lead to mounds of waste in land-fi lls.

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