With the pandemic, more employees than ever before began working from home in order to remain safe. In fact, according to a 2020 Pew Research poll, 71 percent were working from home.
As cases have lightened, some employers are choosing to bring employees back into the workplace. The case of workplace safety and hygiene becomes more of a concern for employees, and in order to retain employee happiness, it needs to be addressed.
This includes addressing common hygiene myths that could actually be impeding good hygiene practices.
Read on to learn some of the top workplace hygiene myths that still exist today!
Soap Doesn’t Kill Germs
Washing your hands after you use the bathroom with soap and water is still as important as ever. However, washing your hands with soap doesn’t actually kill germs. Instead, it detaches germs from your hands and slides them down the drain.
This is because soap contains surfactants that help the germs come off your hands easier. The manual motion of scrubbing your hands also makes this process more effective.
Keep this in mind if you’re considering purchasing antibacterial soap. Educating your employees on proper handwashing techniques is more effective instead.
Employers can also invest in these electric soap dispensers so that employees don’t touch any germ-covered surfaces while washing their hands.
Smartphones Are Dirtier Than Toilet Seats
Many people opt to use toilet seat covers, hover over the seat, or lay out toilet paper in order to avoid touching the seat. However, much of this is necessary when you consider that your smartphone is even dirtier.
Even if you’re careful about where you set your phone, consider all the microorganisms moving from your unwashed hands to the screen and cover of your smartphone.
Employees can combat this by not taking their phones into bathrooms or making sure that their phones are put away. Apple also says that using Clorox Disinfecting Wipes on the phone screen is a good method to disinfect your phone without harming it.
Viruses Stay on Hard Surfaces Longer
Although the time can vary depending on the temperature and the type of surface, it’s important to remember that viruses can linger on hard, non-porous surfaces. This is especially important to note when employees visit the bathroom and touch surfaces inside after washing their hands.
For this reason, it’s recommended to open the door with a paper towel and then toss the paper once exiting. There are also door openers near the bottom of doors that you can open with your foot. This eliminates the need to touch the door handle.
There is a Right Way to Wash Hands
Now that you know that germs slide off your hands instead of being killed by soap, you should realize that the way you wash your hands is important. It’s recommended to spend at least 20 seconds washing your hands. You can also sing the “Happy Birthday” song in your head.
During those 20 seconds, make sure to wash your palms as well as in-between your fingers, wrists, and the back of your hands. You can also scratch your nails against one soapy palm in order to get some soap beneath your fingernails where germs also dwell.
Hand Dryers Spread Germs
It’s important to keep in mind that old, outdated hand dryers can contribute to the spread of germs if they don’t dry your hands effectively. This is because germs find it easier to cling onto damp hands versus dry hands.
However, newly installed hand dryers typically send out a quick blast of air that dries your hands within seconds. The sooner your hands are dry, the less prone you are to touching a surface within the bathroom and contaminating them again.
For that reason, if there are no more paper towels left in the office bathroom, it’s still better to opt for the hand dryer than nothing at all.
You Don’t Need to Wash Your Hands With Hot Water
Although boiling water can kill bacteria, you’ll harm yourself if you wash your hands with temperatures even close to the boiling point. For this reason, hot water that your hands can withstand is just as effective as warm water. Instead of making yourself suffer, opt for warm water instead.
The Five-Second Rule Won’t Keep You Safe
Although many people notice, it’s important to keep in mind that the five-second rule is a definite myth. Your food is contaminated as soon as it touches the floor laden with germs–not five seconds after.
This is even more true if your food is left on the floor longer. You can also expect there to be more germs if the floors aren’t cleaned and disinfected regularly.
Improve Hygiene By Combatting Workplace Hygiene Myths
Now that you’re aware of these common workplace hygiene myths, you can start improving the hygiene of your employees overall. As a small business owner, you can post papers on proper handwashing techniques or send out emails on how employees can disinfect their phones.
Lastly, make sure that your business is well-equipped with soap, automatic soap dispensers, paper towels, and hand dryers. You may also want to offer hand sanitizer at the entrance of your business so that employees are encouraged to disinfect before they come inside.
Although many of these tips seem small, the spread of germs can be dangerous when many employees are working closely together. As germs build up and people are touching surfaces covered in viruses, they can get sick and pass it on to their co-workers. Ready for more tips on how to have a clean environment? Keep reading the blog for more tips!