How Clean Are Our Workplaces - Antibacterial Surface Coating

How virus & bacteria free are the surfaces we work with every day?

At your work; your apartments; your elderly relatives health care facility or hospital; the supermarket; school or university; a fast-food restaurant; on the bus, train, ferry or tram; on a cruise; or basically anywhere your everyday takes you.

The surfaces we touch in our daily routine can be a path of transmission, says Larrouy-Maumus – Infectious disease researcher at Imperial College London.

So how long can a contagious pathogen survive on surfaces?

The virus that causes Covid-19 – Sars-CoV-2 can endure and remain active on plastic and hard surfaces for up to 28 days (CSIRO). Some bacteria – including E. Coli and MRSA can survive for several months on inanimate surfaces, while infectious yeasts can last for weeks.

This only underlines the importance of having surfaces continually cleaning and disinfected that we frequently touch going about our daily business, be it work, shopping, eating out, going to the doctors or at the sports field.

Who is responsible to ensure surfaces are being cleaned?

For most of us, we tend to take a lot for granted and hope the people responsible for cleaning and sanitising the surfaces we interact with every day are actually ‘clean’.

We rely on those responsible for the cleaners to ensure their staff do their job effectively and they use the best cleaning products available to protect us.

However, following years of COVID restrictions, experienced cleaning staff are not only hard to find, but they also face pressures from their employers to get the job done quickly and effectively.

Cleaning contracting companies are also facing huge challenges in hiring and keeping good staff, in balancing wages vs ROI, as well as competition, changes to requirements for cleaning materials, COVID, and cash flow management.

How long does it take to clean a workplace?

The pressures on cleaners and cleaning contractors are enormous to get the job done.  Currently (18/03/2022) there are 37238 cleaning jobs found in Australia (Seek)

For general commercial cleaning, an industry standard for general office cleaning typically takes around one cleaner one hour to clean 325 square metres including dusting, moping, vacuuming, wiping all surfaces with a liquid detergent and disinfectant.

In comparison, hotel management generally allow for 25-35 minutes for an experienced cleaner to turn over a room (10-12 rooms per shift) which included a full clean, disinfect and change bed linen and bathroom towels etc; around 45-55 minutes for 5-star hotel room.

A fitness centre or gym deep clean takes around 3 hours per 45 sqm; an apartment or office building common areas around 1 hour per 55sqm, and a medical centre: 2 hours per 40sqm.

(Note: the cleaning times highlighted are approximates after research obtained from several leading cleaning organisations as well as research on how to calculate cleaning times).

Surfaces under a microscope

Images of various surfaces under microscope

These microscopic images capture the uneven nature of surfaces.

Clean doesn’t mean germ-free

How can you tell a surfaces is free of potential pathogens and the like?

Having  cleaned, sanitized, and disinfected your building, how do you really know your human touch surfaces are truly clean? Doing a simple eye scan doesn’t corollate to a germ-free environment.

Bacteria and viruses can grow and replicate without us knowing. Contamination can’t be seen with the naked eye.

Example of an uncoated porous surface

Figure 1 shows the porous nature of an uneven hard surface highlighting the potential to attract and harbour contaminates and harmful biocides.

Smart surfaces that kill bacteria and viruses 24/7

There are ways to turn the very surfaces that many of these pathogens use to spread from person to person into weapons against them.

Specialised long-lasting antibacterial surface coatings have been proven to dramatically reduce the risk of contamination of frequently touched surface hotspots as in building – common areas, door handles, lift buttons; subway and train carriages; escalator rails; aircraft – seating; tray tables and baggage compartments; cruise ship – cabins, passageways, recreational and dining facilities, and aged-care and health facilities.

Titanium Dioxide and Silver Nano Composite Surface Coating

One of the most potent antimicrobial surface coatings consists of a mix of Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) and Silver (Ag) self-sanitising nanoparticles (NP).

Example of fully sealed porous surface after CleanShield Titanium Dioxide antibacterial surface coating

  • Figure 2 shows the change when an antibacterial surface coating (overlay) is applied effectively sealing uneven surfaces.

The advantage of these ultrafine nanoparticles is their size. They’re so small, you cannot see them with the naked eye at <100 Nanometre (Nm) or 1 billionth of a metre in diameter.

Using a specialised electrostatic coating spray machine, the Titanium dioxide charged coating particles penetrates the uneven contours of the surface to completely seal off any dirt and grime, and potential contaminates being trapped under the surface in these microfine cavities. 

With a one-time application, this broad-spectrum antibacterial surface coating will continue to function 24/7 for around twelve months, actively decomposing most bacteria (gram positive and gram negative), viruses (including COVID-19), mould, fungi and yeast.

The constant self-cleaning, antibacterial and antiviral photocatalytic oxidation nature of the titanium surface coating is activated by any visible light source (natural or artificial) above 40-50 lux.  Surface coatings containing both Titanium Dioxide and Silver has been shown to enhance the coating effectiveness at close to zero lux, albeit a reduced level of decontamination.

What are the benefits of TiO2/Ag the self-cleaning and sanitising surface?

Titanium dioxide, silver nanoparticle coatings are non-toxic to humans and are proven to improve indoor workplace environments by reducing the potential for viral cross-contamination.

The antibacterial, antiviral decontamination of workplace surfaces is continuous (24/7) providing the coating has sufficient natural or artificial light to activate the photocatalytic oxygenation process of the titanium and silver surface.

TiO2 has also been proven to help purify the air, to act as a UV filter, and have self-cleaning surface properties on both internal and externally for buildings and glass structures.

An ultra-thin layer of Titanium Dioxide and Silver coating on surfaces helps to function as a permanent protective overlay barrier against the dust, grime, oils, germs, and pathogens that sit on top of a treated coated surface rather than penetrate the surface material.

The sealed surfaces provide the potential to save cleaning times and labour costs while reducing the dependence and use of harmful chemical disinfectants.

Example – Residential building monitoring – single touch point – elevator buttons & rails (extract – CleanShield Australia)

Example of CleanShield Antimicrobial Surface Coating internal hard surface monitoring

 # Initial ATP biological surface reading prior to preparation & treatment
** Periodical follow-up
RLU readings

Surface coating complements existing cleaning arrangements

Once the surface coating is applied professionally, the cleaning process should become much simpler as the surfaces need only be wiped over with water or mild Ph-negative natural cleaning products to remove any debris on the surface.

The antimicrobial surface coating can support the current cleaning programs by complementing the existing cleaning arrangements for clients in supporting a more ‘greener’ solution. Some level of chemical disinfectants may still be required based on circumstances, albeit at a reduced level.

Industries using Titanium Dioxide coating

The demand for Titanium Dioxide global and Australian market is growing experientially.

The effectiveness of Titanium Dioxide/Silver as an antibacterial surface coating in protecting industry sectors and government workplaces include:

  • Public institutions
  • Public and private transportation
  • Schools and kindergartens
  • Playgrounds for children
  • Airports / Airlines
  • Banking institutions
  • Hotels and spaces for events
  • Healthcare / Hospitals
  • Care centres for the elderly
  • Restaurants and bars
  • Office and apartment buildings
  • Sports facilities and stadiums
  • Fitness & sports centres
  • Shopping malls and centres
  • Theatres and cinema complexes
  • Recreational spaces
  • Cruise lines
  • Construction

In summary

Titanium dioxide and silver enhanced antibacterial surface coating applications have been reducing the levels of bacteria, viruses, and mould on workplace surfaces efficiently for many years.

The technical advances in the development and application of these amazing compounds are saving lives, lessening transfer of pathogens in our workplaces 24/7, while reducing the concerns and reliance of the overall contract cleaning processes of the surfaces we interact and touch every day.

Where can I obtain more information about antibacterial surface coatings?

Contact CleanShield Australia – email

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Aged CareAntibacterialAntimicrobialapartmentscleanerscleaningcontract cleaningcruise linesdisinfectinghealthcarehotelshygieneOffice BuildingssanitisingschoolsSilverstrata managementSurface CoatingTitanium Dioxide
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