Time to fight the flu!

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Seasonal influenza (the flu) is a serious and contagious respiratory infection, generally transmitted through human to human contact. People who have the flu often present with fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue. The impact on public health and businesses due to seasonal flu can be significant. Fortunately, there are a number of important measures that can help reduce the risk of spreading the seasonal flu.

Wash your hands frequently

Proper hand hygiene / hand-washing is essential to preventing an influenza contamination. Proper hand-washing helps remove most bacteria, viruses and other pathogens, so they can’t be spread to others. The European Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) recommends the following:

  • Hands should be washed thoroughly with soap and water
  • After washing with soap and water, dry hands thoroughly with single-use paper towels. Hand-washing with drying of hands should last for at least 40-60 seconds each time
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitisers reduce the amount of influenza virus on contaminated hands. When hand-washing is not possible, alcohol-based hand sanitisers are an option

Avoid others that are sick & stay home yourself when sick

For the flu to be transmitted the virus must go from an individual who has contracted the flu virus to another person, who can then become infected. Individuals who have contracted the flu virus are contagious at least one day prior to displaying symptoms, and up to seven days after they first appear. You can reduce the risk of this sort of transmission through social distancing by avoiding others who are sick and staying home yourself if sick.

Clean & disinfectant surfaces

The flu virus can survive up to 48 hours on stainless steel and plastic surfaces, and up to 12 hours on cloth, paper and tissues. Proper cleaning and disinfecting can minimise the chances of individuals contracting the virus from a contaminated surface. To properly clean, disinfect and protect your environment:

  • Clean any visible soil from surfaces before disinfecting. When cleaning and disinfecting, work from top to bottom and from cleaner to more heavily soiled surfaces.
  • Thoroughly wet the surface with a BPD-registered disinfectant with claims for Influenza A and follow label instructions.
  • Disinfect frequently touched hard surfaces often, including tables, chairs, light switches, door handles and restroom facilities.
  • Give special attention to frequently touched surfaces in food preparation areas, as well as the restroom, including light switches, taps, toilet flush levers, door knobs and handrails.

Get the flu vaccination

Getting a flu vaccine and taking antiviral medications as prescribed if you do contract the flu are two ways the ECDC advocates stopping the spread of flu germs. The flu vaccine is one of the most effective forms of protection against seasonal flu.

Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing 

Coughing and sneezing into your elbow or a tissue helps protect others. If you do have seasonal flu and do not cover your nose or mouth a person or persons within two metres can be infected.

Wash your tableware thoroughly

Eating utensils, dishes and glasses should all be thoroughly washed either in a dishwasher or by hand with water and dishwashing detergent.

Top 10 Home Cleaning Tips!

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It’s surprising just how filthy household items can get and the serious harm that these surfaces can cause if not cleaned properly. Harmful germs will breed on a surface within hours so it’s important, especially at winter time when people are more likely to pick up a virus, to regularly clean surfaces.

With that in mind, we though we’d share some top cleaning tips to help you keep things running smoothly at home:

  1. Soak in the sink: Within eight hours, one bacterium on a damp cloth can turn into six million, so soak your cloth in the kitchen sink in a couple of inches of hot water with a capful of bleach or other multipurpose cleaner.
  2. Leave those lids down: Germs from the toilet bowl can become airborne for two hours after each flush and travel as far as six feet. Always replace the lid before flushing! If you need to use a toilet brush, make sure you disinfect it after use.
  3. Prevent poisoning: Campylobacter is carried by about half of all dogs and cats, which can cause food poisoning in their owners. If you let pets join you on the sofa, spray the upholstery afterwards with Dettol All in One Disinfectant Spray to kill germs and harmful bacteria.
  4. Put bacteria to bed: A warm bedroom is the perfect breeding ground for dust mites. The average person sheds up to 10g of skin a week and up to 18kg in a lifetime. Pull back bed linen every morning, vacuum your mattress as well as under the bed every few weeks and open the windows.
  5. On your marks: Stubborn marks on your toilet bowl or enamel bath? Try rubbing a pumice stone on the stain. It’s hard enough to shift stains yet soft enough not to mark the surface.
  6. Sweat dreams: A fair proportion of a pillow’s weight is made up of skin scales, dandruff, sweat, and saliva. Load two pillows at a time into the washing machine then stick them in the tumble dryer with a few tennis balls to stop the filling clumping.
  7. Get in the spirit: Tackle those stains with a splash of vodka or gin on carpet or upholstery. To be safe, check a hidden area first to make sure the colours don’t come out.
  8. Sink your toothbrushes into it: They’re great for getting into those tricky corners such as around the base of taps, tile grouting and around the hinges of the toilet seat.
  9. Seal out the germs:  The seal around the fridge commonly harbours mould, which can spread every time the fridge door opens, contaminating the food. Remember to wipe fridge seals in your cleaning routine.
  10. Kill bacteria in beaks:  A child’s rubber duck can harvest multiple dangerous germs in their beaks and harmful mould at the base. Before first use, apply glue in the holes to prevent mould from creeping in.

You’re welcome 🙂

Do you use you’re phone on the loo? (You’re not the only one…)

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We’ve come across research which claims that a third of UK workers admit to being on their smartphone while using the toilet, and almost one in 12 even consume food and drink there!

The study questioned 1,000 office workers in the UK to understand the state of handwashing habits in office environments, and revealed some major concerns about the spread of germs in the workplace.

A third (32%) of UK workers questioned said that they use their smartphones while in the office washroom, with Facebook (60%), WhatsApp (36%), playing games and emailing (both 18%) the most popular activities. Also, 13% even admitted to making phone calls from the cubicle. Most worryingly of all, around one in 12 (8%) said they had eaten food in the office washroom.

It’s no wonder that British workers are concerned about their co-workers washroom habits. Almost half (49%) would be ‘disgusted’, and a quarter would be ‘concerned’, if they knew a colleague didn’t wash their hands after visiting the washroom. Almost four in 10 (38%) will avoid shaking hands with people they know have just left the washroom, while a quarter would be uncomfortable with a client or important business stakeholder using the same office toilets as the general workforce.

According to the World Health Organisation, hand hygiene is “the most important measure to avoid the transmission of harmful germs.” Thankfully, more than eight out of 10 (83%) of UK office workers claim to always wash their hands after visiting the washroom and 31% claim to wash their hands for more than 20 seconds every time. However, this good work could be undone by office workers’ unhygienic habits.

The survey also questioned office workers in Australia, France, Germany and Malaysia (1,000 in each country). The Germans lead the way in hand hygiene, with 87% of workers reporting to always wash their hands after using the washroom, compared with 83% in the UK, France, Australia and Malaysia. Brits are less likely to use their phone in the washroom than Australians and Malaysians (40%), but did not perform as well as the Germans (21%) and French (31%). Australians are the most likely to consume food and drinks in the washroom, with 11% of respondents admitting to that practice.

The research across the five nations also found 45% of workers who did not always wash their hands blamed external factors such as being in a hurry. The washroom environment was cited as the biggest contributory factor, with 50% of respondents blaming an aspect of the bathroom for driving them away. In fact, 16% said they avoid washing their hands when the smell is bad, 20% when there is no soap or towels, and 15% when the handwashing facility is not clean.

What’s your excuse…?

Are you making these mistakes when cleaning your gadgets?

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Are you making cleaning harder than it should be?

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Raise your hand if  you love cleaning your home? No, we didn’t think so but it is often  chore that we’re all required to perform. Stop making things even harder for yourself by making these common mistakes:

Using a feather duster

Even though you’re taking the time to dust, this tool only spreads filth from one surface to another. A microfiber cloth is your best bet because it grabs and holds onto particles.

Cleaning your windows when its sunny!

Sure, it might be more pleasant for you, but the heat from the sun will cause your cleaner to dry before you can wipe it up, leaving streaks and causing extra work for you to fix the marks. Instead, save this chore for a cloudy day or nighttime.

Wearing shoes around the house 

Leaving your shoes at the door is one of the smartest things you can do to cut down on the amount of dust and grime that gets into your home — which means way less cleaning.

9 kitchen cleaning mistakes you’re probably making…

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The kitchen is the epicentre of the home. It’s where we spend a considerable amount of time as well as eating, drinking and socialising, which means it gets dirty pretty quickly!

We thought we’d provide you with some useful tips that you can factor into your daily/weekly kitchen cleaning routine – not just wiping down surfaces but all out warfare on grease and appliance cleaning!

1. You’re not wiping handles and knobs

Cupboard doors and knobs are arguably parts of our kitchens we touch most out of any surface. From opening the fridge, to touching bottles and jars with unwashed hands, we’ve all been there.

Wipe down handles, knobs, buttons and taps regularly with an antibacterial solution to minimise the transfer of bacteria from one surface to another. Some key bacteria hotspots include microwave buttons, oven doors, fridge handles, taps and kettle handles.

2. You’re not using lemon and baking soda to loosen up burnt-in residue

If you’re fed up of scrubbing away at your coffee pot and baking trays, you’ve got to try this miracle hack for lifting burnt food away easily.

All you need to do is mix lemon and baking soda and rub it into the burnt area. Give it a good few minutes to work into the burn and keep rubbing (we like using the back of a wooden spoon). You’ll find the burnt particles come away very easily. Once you’re satisfied with how much has come off, wash the item as usual.

3. You’re not cleaning your cooker hood filter regularly

You might not see or notice this very often but if you’re a keen cook, the chances are you use it a lot. We’re talking about your cooker hood filter.

Check your manufacturer’s website for the model of your cooker hood to find out how recommend you clean it. It takes a matter of minutes and will totally improve the efficiency of your appliance. Of course, that means more chips for us all.

4. You’re not cleaning your chopping boards properly

Untreated wooden boards can harbour lots of germs you can’t see. As thoroughly as you may have washed them, food residue can seep into the wood grain and if left for long periods of time, promote the growth of unwanted bacteria.

If you have wooden chopping boards, ensure they are treated and try this simple cleaning trick after use. Sprinkle table salt over the board, take half a lemon slice-side-down and use it to rub the salt into the board. The little grains of salt will penetrate into the wood grain, resulting in a cleaner board. Once you’re done, give the board a wash with hot, soapy water and leave it to dry thoroughly before putting it away.

5. You’re not wearing gloves when handling chemicals

Don’t ruin your awesome manicure with harsh detergents. Skin is the largest organ on the human body and it’s incredibly good at absorbing anything that lands on our skin.

When you’re using chemical-based products to clean your kitchen, it’s really important to make sure you’re wearing rubber gloves.

6. You’re not clearing and cleaning out your fridge regularly

The fridge is the place we all go to when our bellies are grumbling for something delicious to be concocted. Clearing out and wiping down the surfaces of your fridge regularly does not only stave off any nasty germs, it also gives you a chance to check use by dates and put leftovers to good use.

We recommend checking use by dates weekly and cleaning the fridge as regularly as you can. If your time schedule doesn’t allow for it to be done as often as you’d like, once a month is good enough.

7. You’re overloading your dishwasher

You probably think you’re being really smart and resourceful by cramming as many items into your dishwasher as possible. The likely outcome of loading your dishwasher to the brim will be that your dishes don’t get as clean as they should.

Another great dishwasher tip is to alternate placing spoons with the handles up and down, but keep forks with their tines pointing upward. This means they won’t bunch together and resist being cleaned.

8. You’re not cleaning the kitchen sink

Just because you run soapy water in your sink a few times a day doesn’t mean you don’t need to clean it.

Your sink is a damp environment that thrives on bacteria, especially when you think about what’s lurking on your sponge and around the drain. If you regularly leave packages of meat out to thaw in the sink, you’ll definitely want to use an antibacterial cleaner.

9. You’re using the same sponge everywhere

Think about it, you’ve just wiped down a super dirty surface with a rag and then use the same one to wipe down another surface on the other side of the room.

Bacteria from the first surface has just been transferred from the dirtier surface to the not-so dirty one. You might be over-using your cleaning cloth and spreading germs without even realising it. Even if your sponge doesn’t look too old, it should be replaced regularly as it’s used so often and on surfaces we utilise to prepare our daily meals.

You’re welcome 🙂

Try these 7 home made cleaning products TODAY!

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We all have our favourite cleaning products that we like to use (Viakal springs to mind!). However, you can’t get away from the benefits of homemade cleaning products, so we’ve listed below 7 of the easiest and most commonly found ingredients in your home:

1.Wood polish – lemon juice & olive oil

Wood can easily lose its life and shine, and become stained by everyday items like coffee cups. To restore some beauty to your wooden furniture, use a bowl to mix 2 cups of olive oil with cup of lemon juice. Dip a clean cloth into the mix and apply to wood in circular motions. This has a moisturising effect and can also prevent splits and splinters.

2.Surface cleaner/degreaser – lemon juice

Lemons are naturally antibacterial so combine 1 cup of water with the juice of 2 lemons, and add ½ a cup of white vinegar into a trigger spray bottle. You can also add essential oils  – lavender and orange both work well.

3.Glass cleaner – cider vinegar

Combine 2 cups of water with ½ a cup apple cider vinegar into a trigger spray bottle (you can add a splash of citrus juice for a nice scent!). Once sprayed, use a microfibre glass cloth to clean mirrors, windows and shower doors.

 4.Stainless steel cleaner – olive oil

Use a soft cloth to apply olive oil in a circular motion, and use white vinegar to wipe the surface when you are finished. This works well on the front and hood of stainless steel cookers, kettles and appliances, and kitchen workstation handles.

5.Pan cleaner/degreaser – salt

It’s surprisingly simple to remove burnt on stains from the bottoms of pans and baking tins – just use salt! Pour salt over the area and leave for a few minutes. Scrub the bottom of the pan with a damp sponge and your metal will be clean and grease-free!

6.Bathroom cleaner – grapefruit

Use half a grapefruit and some salt to scrub bathtubs and wall tiles. The abrasive side will remove most tough stains, and will smell lovely afterwards. You’ll also benefit from the natural antibacterial properties. Make sure to rinse afterwards using the showerhead.

7.Fabric softener – white vinegar

White vinegar is excellent at softening fabric and preventing creases. Add about half a cap into your wash – don’t worry, you won’t smell like a chippy!

Happy homemade cleaning!