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Bacteria lurks on soft surfaces too

No matter what type of facility you work in, whether it is a hotel, office, school or even a long-term care facility, there are contaminated soft surfaces that need attention.

From carpets and upholstered furniture to mattresses, curtains and bedspreads, soft surfaces, just like all hard surfaces, are potential reservoirs of harmful bacteria that can cause infection.

Thus, the important questions become:

  • What potentially harmful bacteria live on these soft surfaces?
  • How does a cleaner effectively decontaminate them?

What Lives On Soft Surfaces?

Many types of potentially harmful bacteria can survive on soft surfaces including MRSA, VRE and influenza.

Scientific research has shown not only the presence of pathogens on soft surfaces, but also that organisms can persist on soft surfaces for several hours — like the influenza virus1 — to as long as three months for MRSA and VRE on fabrics like polyester.2

Since pathogens can survive for days and months on soft surfaces, it is likely that the surface will be touched while the pathogen is still alive, and therefore it is assumed that soft surfaces can and do play a role in the spread of infection in facilities.

While the presence of microorganisms has been verified, only a few studies have looked at the link to transmission.

However, these studies have shown that bacteria can be transferred to upholstery and fabric cushions, and then back to people.3,4

One study found that after treating hospital MRSA patients, 65 percent of nurses had uniforms contaminated with MRSA.5

In another study, a multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumanii outbreak was linked back to contaminated hospital privacy curtains.6

Although soft surfaces in healthcare settings are more frequently studied, soft surfaces in other settings should not be ignored.

Facilities that provide areas for close personal contact, such as gyms and schools, and especially day care and long-term care facilities, are ideal environments for the spread of infections and are likely one of the most common sources of infectious diseases.i

People don’t always think about sanitizing all soft surfaces, like upholstery which cannot be laundered, but these surfaces can still contribute to the spread of infection.

Commonly Contaminated

Personal soft items like bed sheets in hotels and some healthcare facilities are likely less of a concern for cross-contamination since they are usually laundered after use.

But materials such as upholstered chairs and sofas in common building areas or mats and pads in gyms and rehab facilities are very rarely, if ever, sanitized and can contribute to the spread of pathogens among customers, patients and staff.

In fact, even infrequently touched items can contribute to the continuous cycle of transmission.

However, the soft surfaces of highest concern are those touched or shared most frequently, such as upholstered furniture.

My research has shown that bacterial concentration is particularly high on waiting room chairs, patient chairs and privacy curtains in long-term care and healthcare facilities.

These surfaces can contribute to cross-contamination and can spread infection from person to person.

Nano-Shield is an effective antimicrobial for both hard and soft/porous surfaces.

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Who We Are:

We are a distribution/service company with over 20 years experience providing anti-slip and anti-microbial protection solutions for Healthcare, Hospitality, Residential and Corporate Markets nationwide and internationally.

Mission Statement:

Nano-Concepts utilizes the latest science, materials, research, and techniques, to protect the public from threats posed by unsafe surfaces.

We will continue to develop, market, and install protective technology through our international network of partners. We will make unsafe floors slip resistant and protect all surfaces from damage by bacteria, mold, algae and other microbiological threats.

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