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How long is 20 seconds? WaveWash takes away the guesswork

Hand washing timer helps businesses, care homes and schools adjust to life after lockdown

How long is 20 seconds?A British-made contactless hand washing timer is helping schools, care homes, businesses and families to combat the spread of coronavirus and reopen safely.

Fitted above any sink, Wavewash is a 20 second, light-up timer which is activated with a wave of the hand.

The contactless timer encourages good hand hygiene and helps users make sure they wash for the time required to remove almost all microorganisms from their hands, including COVID-19.

Under the government’s COVID-19 guidance, employers should advise workers to regularly wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds and they should consider providing any additional facilities needed to do so. The practice is also recommended by the NHS and health authorities around the world as the simplest and most effective way to prevent the spread of coronavirus and other viruses.

Wavewash was launched commercially last month, and is now being used by schools, care homes, hospices, businesses and households to support good hand hygiene.

Hand washing

As well as being appropriate for a wide range of businesses, Wavewash is now being used in schools and care homes across the country and units have even been shipped to America. Wavewash can be fitted above sinks in any organisation to help them meet their obligations to operate safely and become COVID-secure. The device reminds people to wash their hands more thoroughly and helps them to achieve a 20 second wash every time.

Beaumond House Community Hospice in Nottinghamshire is using Wavewash for its washrooms to support hand hygiene for health workers and essential visitors. 

Fundraising and Marketing Manager for Beaumond House, Cathy Lowe for said: “The Wavewash systems have been really useful in the hospice in focusing staff and visitors on timing themselves when they wash their hands. During this time when hand washing is the single most important aspect of preventing the spread of infection, the Wavewash is a helpful device. They are easy to fit, clean and use.”

With its lights and sounds, Wavewash helps children and adults to wash their hands thoroughly for twenty seconds every time and the children love it. A new version of the device is also being developed, with colourful images to make hand washing more fun and engaging for children.

Queen’s Hill School and Nursery in Norfolk was one of the first schools to use Wavewash, with 15 units installed above sinks in each of its classroom toilet facilities.

Head of Reception & SENCO and Inclusion Leader at Queen’s Hill Primary School and Nursery in Norfolk, Miss Butcher said: “Wavewash is a game changer in hand washing hygiene for both kids and adults alike”.

Lynda Pattie, General Manager of the Woodlarks Centre care home in Surrey, said: “They are a very useful tool and certainly a good reminder on the thoroughness of hand washing technique. We believe they are a very good aid in the correct procedure for hand washing.”

While washing your hands for 20 seconds is recognised as the simplest and most effective way to prevent the spread of coronavirus, studies from before the pandemic and an online test carried out by Wavewash suggest that most people won’t be washing long enough.

An academic study of 3,749 people in 2013 found that in a real world setting, most people wash their hands for just six seconds, with only 5% of people washing for twenty seconds or more (source). This is despite health authorities having advocated 20 second hand washing for more many years.

More recently, Wavewash conducted its own online test of more than a thousand people since the beginning of the UK-wide lockdown. The test asked people to start a timer and stop it when they think 20 seconds has passed, while trying to be as accurate as possible. The test showed that most people were more than three seconds out (57%) with two-in-five (39%) counting too fast (source). You can take the online test for yourself at www.wavewash.now.sh. The results suggest that many people aren’t washing their hands well enough, even when they think they’re doing the right thing.

Wavewash partner, Martin Hurworth said:

“As more business reopen and schools welcome more students, it’s crucial that steps are taken to prevent the spread of the virus and keep everyone safe. 20 second hand washing with soap and water is one of the most important things for all of us to be doing, but it’s not as easy as it sounds.

“Even if you think you’re doing the right thing, you can still be washing too quickly or not using the right technique and that can mean you’re not removing the virus from your hands and you’re still spreading it to others. Of course, there are also those who choose not to wash their hands or who cut corners and don’t do it long enough, which is a problem for everyone.

“With Wavewash, we hope to tackle both of these problems; it’s a smart but noticeable device which gently reminds people to wash their hands more thoroughly and it helps them to do it every time. It means they don’t have to keep counting seconds so they can focus on their technique, making the whole process easier.

“Since we launched Wavewash a month ago, it’s helping workforces across the country to stay clean and children love it too. I believe that Wavewash can make a real difference in getting everyone to wash their hands properly and helping us to get back to normal safely.”

Wavewash is manufactured in Suffolk and was developed by a team of British engineers who were inspired after speaking to doctors and nurses about the problems caused by people failing to properly wash their hands in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic.

The device uses a contactless motion-sensor to operate, so there’s no need to touch the device at all. It’s designed to be easily wiped clean and it can be fitted to virtually any surface using screws or a self-adhesive pad which are included.

The makers of Wavewash hope that the device will lead to more people thoroughly washing their hands in future, helping to make 20 second-long hand washing a permanent habit. Wavewash is available for purchase now. Visit www.wavewash.co.uk for more information or call 01603 343 727

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