Handrail hygiene – cleaning handrails and guardrails in the age of Covid-19
As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to escalate, public health and the safety of our friends, families and vulnerable members of society is of paramount importance. As well as frequently washing your hands, that means keeping surfaces as clean as possible.
Handrails are one of the most-touched parts of our homes, businesses and public places: keeping them stringently clean, especially in public places, is critically important in the current climate.
While there isn’t much good news around right now, one encouraging aspect is that experts believe Covid-19 isn’t very resilient. While it can last for days on non-porous surfaces, it can also be removed and/or killed very easily with simple household cleaning solutions.
Of course, at the time of writing, we know there is a shortage of certain kinds of cleaning and hygiene products in the shops, especially antibacterial gels and hand soaps. Fortunately, many household cleaners are effective at killing off Covid-19, so there’s no need to stock up: there’s a good chance you already have what you need under the sink.
Here is a guide to what works, and what doesn’t work, when it comes to cleaning and killing viruses and bacteria.
Soap and water
Yes, really. Soap and water are effective ways to remove bacteria and viruses from surfaces, especially non-porous surfaces such as steel and glass. Don’t just take our word for it: here is a more scientific explanation from a professor of chemistry of why soap and water is so effective.
Soap and water is what we usually recommend for use on our balustrades and fittings, because it cleans effectively without being so harsh that it tarnishes the materials.
Remember to clean surfaces thoroughly and carefully – a quick wipe won’t do the trick.
Rubbing alcohol – at least 70% alcohol – will kill viruses, including coronaviruses, without causing damage to most surfaces. If, after cleaning the surface with soapy water, you want to double up and use rubbing alcohol, then it’s fine to do so.
Avoid bleach solution on stainless steel
Bleach, diluted in cold water, is an effective killer of bacteria and viruses, but it is very harsh and can cause damage to surfaces such as stainless steel. We never recommend using bleach on stainless steel surfaces for this reason. As explained above, there are ways to keep surfaces clean without resorting to bleach so we would recommend sticking to that.
Antibacterial wipes and sprays
Antibacterial wipes and sprays offer a convenient way to kill germs, bacteria and viruses, but please read the label carefully in case they contain bleach. Even if you think they might be ok to use, we’d recommend testing on a discreet/hidden area before using them.
Follow instructions carefully
Pay attention to the instructions for the products you’re using, especially to guidance on how long to use a product for. If it says to leave for five minutes before wiping away, make sure you do that.
Is there anything that doesn’t work?
Vinegar-based products are fantastic for some cleaning jobs – and they help to avoid streaks on glass surfaces. However, according to American website Consumer Reports, there is no evidence to suggest that vinegar can kill the Coronavirus.
Don’t forget to clean your cleaning cloths!
It’s just good cleaning practice, but make sure you rinse your cleaning cloths carefully, especially when moving between different surfaces, and make sure you wash them properly if they are reusable, or replace them frequently if they are disposable.
Remember, if you must go out and about, avoid touching surfaces as much as possible. Never touch your face if you haven’t recently washed your hands, cough and sneeze into a paper tissue or the crook of your elbow, and maintain social distance as much as possible until Government advice changes. Most of all, take care of yourselves and each other.