Trolley wipes have become a staple offering at the entrance to most reputable retailers and a
welcome service that consumers have come to expect, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. In recent months, however, it appears that many of these same retailers have decided to forgo trolley wipes in favour of employing an individual armed with a liquid-filled spray bottle to spray down trolley handles.
As many of these spray bottles are unlabelled there is a large question mark over the exact
ingredients of the contents and whether they actually contain the required levels of alcohol required to effectively neutralise the Covid-19 virus. In July, tests conducted by Rhodes University on sanitisers used by an Eastern Cape boarding school where more than 200 staff and pupils tested positive for Covid-19 were found to contain significantly less than the required minimum alcohol content of 70%.
However, even if the liquid is an acceptable sanitiser, a spray is not necessarily the most effective way of removing bacteria and viruses on trolley handles, points out scientist Bernard Reeksting.
“Spraying a trolley handle with a sanitiser only acts as a wash-down given that its distribution is wide and somewhat erratic which means that much of its effect will be wasted in the atmosphere. A spray therefore provides no guarantee that the sanitiser is evenly distributed as it is likely to only land in the spray direction.”
Numerous studies around the world in recent months have proved the efficacy of disinfectant wipes as a more effective alternative to sanitiser spray when it comes to disinfecting shopping trolleys and other public surfaces. According to Professor Charles Gerba, Professor of Virology at the Environmental Department at the University of West Arizona, “… wet wipes win hands down in the fight against the Coronavirus”.
The reason wipes are so effective is that they mechanically clean soiling from a surface and remove possible regions of bacterial and viral entrapment, explains Reeksting. “The wipe acts as a reservoir to retain fluid which allows it to be evenly spread over the surface being cleaned and then actively and mechanically removes pathogens from the surface and brings them into close contact with the wipe fluid.”
Both the World Health Organisation (WHO) and health experts have encouraged the use of hand
washing with soap in the fight against Covid-19. The reason for this is that the Covid-19 virus is a self-assembled nanoparticle with a fatty bilayer. Soap dissolves the fat membrane of the virus which renders it inactive. In a nutshell, combining soap and water dissolves the ‘glue’ holding the virus together.
“It is for this reason that the Infection Protection Products trolley wipes are manufactured with a high and potent soap content which is combined with an effective disinfectant including alcohol, which both deactivates and kills any micro-organisms,” reveals marketing director Annette Devenish.
When it comes to disinfectant wipes the recommended practice is to first clean the surface with
soap and water in order to remove debris which could be blocking some of the surface and reducing the effectiveness of the disinfectant, and then to disinfect. Devenish therefore recommends that shoppers use one trolley wipe to physically remove dirt and microorganisms off the surface of trolleys and their handles, and a second wipe in order to ensure disinfection.
Reeksting warns that alcohol-based spray sanitisers need to be used with caution, particularly as far as asthmatics and alcoholics are concerned. “Alcohol-based spray sanitisers are not ideal even for those with only mild asthma as their health can be negatively impacted by the alcohol vapours. Similarly, alcoholics should not be exposed to excessive alcohol-based sanitising spray.”
Infection Protection Products is a 30-year old proudly South African manufacturing business with
significant expertise in the hygiene market. The company is best known for its ISO compliant and
SABS approved Sani-touch product range which includes detergent, disinfectant, sanitising and
cleaning wipes as well as sanitisers, dispensers and consumables which are supplied to the medical, retail, hospitality, education, manufacturing and service sectors.