We have made great progress over the last century with regards to infection. We now know that infections are caused by tiny microbes, invisible to the naked eye. These microbes can be passed from one person to another in a number of ways and the environment plays a huge role in this. Most microbes in the environment are harmless but where there is a chance the environment has been contaminated by human or animal waste, food or through sneezing there is a chance that you could pick up an infection. Examples of cross contamination are through aerosols, not washing your hands, contaminated food to name a few. 

We should keep our environment hygienically safe wherever possible, to prevent infection but do you know what hygienically safe means? It does not mean sterile (free form microbes); it means low numbers of microbes that are insufficient to cause disease. The body can usually protect itself from low numbers of microbes. When microbes are present on a surface (the floor, a surface or a toilet) they can either be loosely bound to the surface or be present firmly stuck and encased with dirt and grime. The latter can be difficult to remove but many cleaners rely on chemicals to dislodge the dirt and grime and the rubbing action to remove action. We can use a variety of cleaning products that effectively do this but some contain chemicals that themselves can damage the environment if used in large quantities.

Some plant essential oils are natural cleaners and are very effective at killing microbes by punching holes in the cell membrane as well as de-greasing surfaces. As these essential oils are derived from plant material they are easily degradable. They contain carbon and hydrogen (sometimes oxygen), hence, do not damage the environment.

A hygienically clean environment is a safe environment and this is essential in preventing and controlling the spread of infection. You should try to instigate a cleaning schedule within your home or work place. Certain areas will obviously require more frequent cleaning than others (food preparation surfaces, bathroom surfaces, the floor and the toilet).

Cleaning tips to make your environment hygienically safe:

  • Surfaces and floors should be cleaned regularly to prevent a grime build up.
  • Carpets and rugs should be regularly vacuumed and steamed cleaned periodically.
  • Chairs and other furniture should be wiped down and cleaned regularly.
  • Toilet areas should be cleaned regularly to help prevent the spread of infection.
  • Kitchen or food prep areas should be cleaned before and after every meal is prepared.
  • Children’s toys and play areas should be cleaned regularly.
  • Frequently touched areas such as light switches, sink taps, door handles, toilet handles, sinks and light switches should be regularly cleaned.