Semmelweis Lesson – Handwashing as a Hygiene Model

By Allen Rathey

Semmelweis Lesson – Handwashing as a Hygiene Model

When mid-19th-century Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis made handwashing mandatory for medical students after they performed post-mortems and before they examined expectant mothers, the mortality rate dropped by 90%.


The CDC says handwashing removes soil and germs using soap, clean running water, and four key steps:


  1. Wet
  2. Lather / Scrub
  3. Rinse
  4. Dry

How does this apply to making facility surface cleaning better and healthier?

 

Wet


Just as clean running water is a key to handwashing, so it is with surface cleaning. Water is the world’s best solvent, so using it to dissolve common soil by wetting the surface with fresh cleaning solution is a first step. Adding an effective cleaning solution [https://www.kaivac.com/cat_8-Chemicals] further improves water’s ability to wet, breakdown and emulsify soil.

 

Lather / Scrub


Agitating or scrubbing the surface?like rubbing your hands together when handwashing?enables the cleaner to do its work; and ensuring cleaning tools [https://www.kaivac.com/cat_7-Tools-and-Attachments] get into cracks and crevices is like cleaning under the fingernails when handwashing (which is why we sometimes use a nail brush).

 

Rinse


Running water is a powerful force for dirt and germ removal, as it is for forming canyons, so thorough washing and rinsing with clean water [https://www.kaivac.com/pn_71-OmniFlex%E2%84%A2-Spray-and-Vac] is as important to surface cleaning as it is to handwashing.

 

Dry


Drying is the final cleaning step and can be achieved by vacuuming [https://www.kaivac.com/pn_81-OmniFlex%E2%84%A2-AutoVac] or – as in modern handwashing – aided by air blowers that gently, quickly, hygienically dry the surface.


Following the proven principles of effective handwashing will help keep your facility completely clean for healthy results.


Image source: Flickr

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