Infection Prevention & Control

Why we need “Door Handle Sanitizers”

Door Handle Sanitizers

In every possible setting, the home, public buildings, schools, offices, restaurants, cruise ships and health care facilities, when we talk about good hygiene practices and/or infection control we cannot ignore Door Handles and there role in the spread of germs.

Door handles are the most commonly touched surface in any building and as such they become critical contact points. They can cause infections by harbouring millions of harmful germs and bacteria such as E.coli, Staphylococcus, Aureas, MRSA, Norovirus as well as fungal and viral infections. According to Dr. James Steckelberg a consultant in the Division of Infectious Diseases and a professor of medicine at Mayo Medical School “Cold and flu germ-laden droplets may remain infectious for several hours, depending on where they fall. Germs generally remain active longer on stainless steel, plastic and similar hard surfaces than on fabric and other soft surfaces. Other factors, such as the amount of virus deposited on a surface and the temperature and humidity of the environment, also determine how long cold and flu germs stay active outside the body.
Door handles in Public toilets are potentially the worst offenders and therefore present the highest risk and given the volume of people who are likely to use such facilities, the likelihood of picking up some harm full bacteria or common virus is shared by every person who is using such facilities.
Washing your hands, of course, is the best way to stop the spread of germs but if you have to touch the door handle to get out of the restroom or the door handle of any communally used room, you will almost certainly undo some or all of the good you achieved during your original hand washing exercise.
We must therefore conclude that all the evidence points to the fact that although one may have followed the correct protocol, cleaned their hands thoroughly before leaving the restroom, if the person or persons who went before you did not then the most likely scenario is that you will recontaminate your hands when you exit the facility.

Touching a contaminated door handles not only puts the individual user at risk but also has the added effect of turning that individual into a vector for the further spread of potentially harmful germs throughout a building. A recent study on how “How quickly viruses can contaminate buildings — from just a single doorknob” which was presented at an American Society for Microbiology showed the results of planting a harmless bug ( which replicated the actions of the Norovirus) on a single door knob in an office used by 80 employees. The study was able to prove that infections could spread from a single door handle to 50 per cent of the workforce within 120 minutes.

The only way to mitigate against such risks in to ensure that the door handle remains germ and virus free. The Clever Hygiene Solutions Ltd. Door handle sanitizer is proven to reduce the contamination levels on the door handle to negligible levels. The graph below shows the dramatic effect after the installation of the system on several of the door handles in a Dublin university. Click on the image below for the full report

Ronnie Russell Graph

Additional information highlighting the risks can be found by clicking on the following links.

  1. Potential Sources of Transmission of Hospital Acquired Infections in the Volta Regional Hospital in Ghana
  2. Distribution and prevalence of bacteria found on the door handles of Olin Hall
  3. Doorknobs May Be ‘Reservoirs’ for MRSA
  4. Additional useful information

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