We now know that COVID-19, along with and other viruses and bacteria can spread quickly between people and surfaces because it lives for hours or days on certain surfaces. While public places like hospitals and airports have dedicated staff to frequently clean and disinfect them, very few of us have the time or energy to do so for their own home and car. Modern technology has given us a solution in antimicrobial self-disinfecting coatings, but besides HDB lift buttons, where else should these coatings be applied? This article is here to give you some guidance.
[Credit: Aljunied-Hougang Town Council]
Are there a lot of microbes on high touch surfaces?
A 2016 study by the US National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) of the most contaminated objects in the home found over 340 different bacteria on 30 different surfaces. Some of the bacteria found such as Staph, Salmonella, and E.coli are especially dangerous to humans.
Even if there aren’t many to begin with, bacteria quickly reproduce if not controlled. Research done by the Society for General Microbiology has found that some dangerous bacteria such as E.coli can divide every 20 minutes under the right conditions. That means that a single bacterium can become 2,097,152 bacteria in just 7 hours.
SARS-CoV-2 virus can also be detected on these on many of the same surfaces. According to the World Health Organization, airborne COVID-19 lives up to 3 hours, but can live on surfaces for up to 72 hours. Here’s a handy chart:
Which surfaces need protection the most?
Different surfaces in your home and car have different levels of risk when it comes to exposing you to bacteria and viruses. Here are some of the worst.
Knobs, handles, and switches
Door handles, electrical points and light switches are very high touch.
We might imagine that the bathroom door knob is the dirtiest, however the NSF study showed that other places were even more contaminated, such as:
- bathroom light/heater switches
- refrigerator handles
- stove knobs
Do note that this information coincides with the WHO recommendations – plastic and stainless steel surfaces being the most favorable materials for microbes to linger and grow.
The kitchen & service yard
The US National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) found that areas where food is stored or prepared had more bacteria and fecal contamination than other places in the home.
Kitchen items that need frequent cleaning or self-disinfecting coating include:
- cabinet handles
- kitchen sink
- kitchen tap
- microwave handles
- kitchen countertops
- washing machine buttons/handles
- dining table
Bathrooms are where we clean and dispose of our body’s waste, but unfortunately the dirt and particles we purge tend end up concentrated here. For example, Salmonella, E. coli, and fecal matter was detected on a whopping 9 percent of bathroom faucet handles by the NSF.
The moisture remaining after a bath or shower (especially in our humid climate) also tend to create an environment amenable to microbial and fungal growth.
High-contact bathroom surfaces you should clean frequently and/or treat with a coating include:
- shower handles
- floor traps
- tap & mixer handles
- bidet handles
- floor around the toilet bowl
Home office and living room
Remotes for electronic devices like your TV, air-con and fan are handled by household members and guests alike. The same is true for other electronic surfaces such as family PC keyboards and game console controllers.
As all of these tend to be plastic, coronavirus can linger there for as long as 3 days. Additionally due to the long contact time relative to remotes, sweat, skin cells and oils can be deposited there to nourish microbes and fungi.
Another place that benefits greatly from frequent cleaning or coating would be carpets and sofas. Your guest or family member may have had their bum on a bus or taxi seat just minutes before walking in and taking a seat.
Cars and other Vehicles
Cars are in general actually dirtier than homes. According to a studyby Aston University, cars contain approximately 283 different types of bacteria per square centimeter. While vacuuming can help remove visible dust and crumbs, but may leave microbes behind or simply spread them around the interior.
Driver’s controls are the highest touch surfaces in the car, with the highest risk of spreading bacteria. On hot, sweaty days the driver and passengers can also leave sweat and grime on the seats, making these a critical area too.
High-contamination surfaces in the car include:
- Steering wheel & indicator sticks
- Seatbelt buckles
- Cup holder
- Driver’s seat
- Door handles
- Boot and boot handle/button
If like many Singaporeans you lead a busy lifestyle, or just want to reduce the inconvenience of repeated cleaning and disinfecting, why not invest in surfaces that sanitize themselves?
If you’d like to engage a coating service, you should go for the best. HomeGuard365® is Singapore’s Fastest Germ Killer, inactivating 99.999% of microbes on treated surfaces in just 15 minutes and lasting over 1,000 wipes with ethanol. Not only are we using the latest and most powerful coating on the market, you know we’ve done our research on where best to put it. Read more about HomeGuard365® here.