Free educational tools for improving public health and hygiene
Popular questions and answers
A good manual hand wash is effective in reducing hand bacteria counts, no doubt. However, the manual hand wash method cannot be guaranteed to be consistent from person to person and day-to-day, otherwise this would be a good alternative. Manual handwashing is inherently variable. Important aspects of the hand wash, such as amount of soap, amount of water, coverage of the hand (fingernails, fingertips, between the fingers, wrist, etc.), and duration of the wash vary from wash to wash. By automating the process, these aspects are closely controlled and each person receives a high-quality hand wash regardless of the human variability factor. If you haven't experienced any problems in the past, then statistically you are overdue for a problem. CleanTech® standardizes each hand wash, guarantees clean hands, and leaves skin feeling softer with each wash! And this innovative technology provides a more sustainable approach to hand hygiene by wasting no water or solution compared to a traditional sink where most of the water is just running down the drain. Meritech has performed a series of independent laboratory studies that clinically prove CleanTech® automated handwashing systems remove more than 99.9% of harmful pathogens from hands with each 12-second wash cycle, providing an equivalent result as a full 1-minute manual hand wash.
CleanTech® shines in three key areas:
CleanTech® features twenty rotating spray nozzles in each cylinder that spray lightly pressurized water and UltraPure Hand Hygiene Solution across the hands during the wash cycle, creating a spa, massage-like sensation for the hands. Anyone who tries a CleanTech® hand wash for the first time remarks on how amazing it feels—"like a car wash for the hands!" The amazing experience encourages increased use alone. On top of that, Meritech's UltraPure Hand Hygiene Solution contains added emollients so hands feel softer with each wash. With a good compliance monitoring program and the use of the automatic hand wash cycle counter enabled on each CleanTech® system, compliance can be managed more proactively and reinforced based on real-time behaviors. And last but not least—hand washes delivered in CleanTech® systems only take 12 seconds, so it is quicker and easier than washing hands manually in a traditional sink.
Meritech Hygiene Solutions are uniquely formulated for use in CleanTech® Handwashing Stations and Meritech Boot Washing Stations to maintain the appropriate chemical concentration (PPM) required to effectively remove pathogens and exceed regulatory recommendations while also improving skin health over time. Hands washed in a CleanTech® system with UltraPure Hand Hygiene Solution are left feeling fresher and softer with each wash, thus encouraging repeated use and great-feeling skin. These benefits are critical in creating a consistent efficacy result while encouraging frequent handwashing without the negative side effects commonly experienced with repeated traditional handwashing, like dry skin or chapped hands. We have conducted extensive efficacy studies in FDA-certified laboratories to prove that CleanTech® handwashing systems consistently remove more than 99.9% of harmful pathogens with each wash cycle. These studies were conducted on CleanTech® equipment using Meritech Hygiene Solutions, so 99.9% pathogen removal can only be guaranteed when using Meritech Hygiene Solutions in accordance with our recommended operating instructions. Use of other chemical solutions will negatively impact the efficacy of the hand wash process, can damage the equipment, and will void the equipment warranty.
Hand sanitizers are an easy, quick alternative when handwashing with plain soap and water or with a CleanTech® automated handwashing system isn’t convenient or possible. Hand sanitizers often have a form of alcohol, such as ethyl alcohol, as an active ingredient and are used as an antiseptic. While convenient, research shows that alcohol gel is not an equivalent substitute for handwashing, and the CDC and FDA recommend that hand sanitizers only be used when a manual or automated hand wash option is not readily available. Instant hand sanitizers are not an acceptable method for handwashing in any food applications (production or food service). This is due to the fact that people rarely use the appropriate amount and contact time required for hand sanitizer to kill the volume of transient pathogens present on their hands. Furthermore, sanitizers are not healthy for the skin. Actually, many sanitizers damage the skin to the point that it makes it easier for many pathogens to colonize in the cracks of dried and dead skin. Most importantly, alcohol gel sanitizers are not effective in killing and/or removing many pathogens, and so the use of alcohol gel can actually promote the spread of disease by creating a false sense of security that results in less frequent and effective handwashing. A perfect example of a situation where gel sanitizers are a poor solution is in controlling norovirus on cruise ships. The CDC has clearly stated that alcohol gel does not kill or remove norovirus, and cruise lines are being required to encourage more regular handwashing among their guests or to provide CleanTech® automated handwashing stations. When instant hand sanitizers are used in any application, people are misled to believe that they are cleaning their hands; therefore they lessen their trips to a sink with soap and water. This false sense of security actually increases cross contamination and infection rates.
Automated handwashing is highly recommended in facilities that use gloves due to the high risk of cross-contamination! To start, the use of gloves creates the perfect warm, moist environment perfectly suited for breeding colonies of pathogens on the hands. Furthermore, studies show that gloves are not as reliable of a barrier as we might hope they would be. In a study conducted by BioScience Laboratories that tested randomly selected vinyl food-grade gloves, 80% were found to have pre-existing punctures or tears. In the study, when hands were washed properly prior to gloving, no significant microbial growth was observed on the surface of the glove. In another study, hands that were initially inoculated with E. coli before donning gloves were determined to have significant counts on the outside surface of the gloves after use. This research supports the notion that, when hands are not properly washed prior to donning gloves, there is a risk of any pathogens on the hands inside the glove to cross-contaminate external surfaces. For those companies that do use gloves, the CDC recommends washing before gloving due to the rapid growth of bacteria on gloved hands, and due to the risk of punctures and tears during use. When hands are washed effectively prior to wearing gloves, the risk of cross-contamination is reduced, but the key is that the manual wash must be effective. Only a CleanTech® automated handwashing system can guarantee an effective hand wash prior to gloving every time.