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FACT: A top up soap dispenser found in public toilets can contain more than three million bacteria. One in four dispensers is contaminated and can actually leave your hands with 25 times more bacteria than before you washed them!  

These bacteria are known as opportunistic microbes and can cause eye infections, skin infections, bladder infections, bronchitis, flu and urinary tract infections.  They also endanger people who have compromised immune systems and those recovering from surgery or major burns. 

The Centre for Disease control backs this up with its guidelines on how hand care products should be stored. Hand care products, including plain (non-antimicrobial) soap and antiseptic products can become contaminated or support the growth of micro-organisms. 

Liquid products should be stored in closed containers and dispensed from either disposable containers or containers that are washed and dried thoroughly before refilling. Soap should not be added to a partially empty dispenser, because this practice of “topping off" might lead to bacterial contamination of soap and negate the beneficial effect of hand cleaning and disinfection.” 

The John Yablonski Study found that 100% of newly installed refillable bulk soap dispensers were grossly contaminated within months due to the reservoir being open. When bacteria like coliform contaminates soap, it thrives in it and when new soap is added to the old supply without rinsing out the dispensers first, it only exacerbates the problem. Every time more soap is added the bacteria says, ‘Good, more food.” Once dispensers are contaminated, bacterial ‘biofilm’ returns to the inside even after cleaning and not even bleach can clean it completely.

Veronica Vivier of Nuwkem Hygiene says “Research confirms that using refillable bulk soap dispensers in a public toilet (the ordinary pink soap you most often see in a public toilet) is actually working against your efforts of keeping your hands hygienic. As 80% of infections are spread through hand contact, a contaminated hand will transfer that bacteria to 27 surfaces and the damage multiplies.”

“Bacteria resides in all skin creases on the hands and nails, so hands need to be washed for long enough i.e. 15-20 seconds to get rid of the bacteria. Ensuring we have clean hands is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others, maintains Vivier“.

What then is the solution or alternate to refillable dispensers?  Hygienically sealed systems or sachets with pumps. The sealed systems have new, clean soap that is never opened and refilled. They help prevent contamination from germs in the air or from the fingers of the person doing the refilling, and the container is recyclable.

Nuwkem Hygiene, supplies hygienically sealed soap refill sachets in anti – bacterial foam soap or lotion foam soap refills. The soap sachets are versatile, recyclable, tamperproof, hermetically sealed with a refill / pump combination. 

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Downloads:

How to correctly wash your hands