Hand sanitizers and foams are very convenient and approved by the CDC for hand hygiene. However, the CDC clearly states that hand sanitizers should only be used in the absence of soap and water for a correct hand wash. In any situation involving food preparation and healthcare issues involving bodily fluids or when the hands are visibly soiled, hand hygiene with soap and water is the only correct method to use.
Installation of the SaniTimer® is extremely easy and typically takes less than a minute. It can be installed by most anybody without express knowledge of plumbing or faucet fixtures. Simply unscrew your existing aerator and then attach our unit onto the faucet. Tighten the orbiting faucet adapter affixed to the SaniTimer® with your fingers until it becomes very tight, and finish it with the included wrench for extra assurance against leaks and drips. Most facilities do not need to employ the help of maintenance or an engineer, but some opt in to doing so to adhere to organizational rules or for expert assistance though it is not required. (Note: The manual comes with Spanish and English instructions for ease of installation.)
The SaniTimer® does not use a solenoid coil to control water flow nor does it control or monitor water temperature. The water flow is completely controlled by the user and on the sink hot and cold water knobs. To dispel a common myth, water temperature actually does not affect hand hygiene efficiency at all, it is solely for personal preference. For temperature to even be a legitimate factor, the water would have to be so hot as to burn any user instantly, and this will obviously never be the case.
The SaniTimer® is preprogrammed to meet the CDC guidelines for standard hand washing compliance and the minimum 20 seconds as needed. The ST-100 model currently on the market is not programmable to account for ease of use and installation without issue. We do realize that though we have accounted for all standard hand washing applications, there are different standards and guidelines set in place by facilities nationwide and that many of them require or adhere to different hand hygiene time constraints as in a surgical scrub or for a NICU unit. In these situations, we are pleased to announce that we are currently working on a fully programmable model that will time a hand wash anywhere from 1 second (highly not recommended) up to 9 minutes and 59 seconds. This new model should be available sometime in 2015.
By default, most faucets come with an aerator which is used to allow air to mix with the water at the faucet point and our unit is no exception. This allows for little to no splashing of water and also is ideal for water conservation. Our SaniTimer® uses an aerator that allows for laminar flow. Laminar flow is ideal for a hand hygiene situation, and is a requirement by many facility maintenance crews, as it provides for aeration of the water to avoid splashing while creating the most ideal setup for dispelling bacteria as the water does not laterally mix. With the other type of aeration, being turbulent flow, it allows for water mixing and cross contamination along with microbes to be more prevalent in the water itself. In the instance that a customer requires there to be no aeration whatsoever, our aerator is very easy to remove if that should be an issue. (You can use the included wrench in our box to do this as well.)
The SaniTimer® is outfitted with the most common size in the world for sink faucets, fitting more than 85% of all available sinks, which is called standard size at 55/64 inch – 27. The two other less common sizes are the large 1/2 inch garden hose size, and the 3/4 inch small size faucets. It is very easy to find inexpensive faucet adapters to allow our unit to fit onto any of these other faucet size configurations without issue. They are available at local hardware shops or you can call into our corporate office to help you find the right adapter you need.
The SaniTimer® comes with a manual containing both English and Spanish instructions for use and installation, a battery already preinstalled for ease of use, a faucet adapter, and a small wrench for tightening (this also removes the aerator if needed). The faucet adapter included would only be used if the threading on the faucet is located on the inside (meaning it is male threaded) versus being on the outside which is most common (this is female threading).
We chose the CR2032 lithium battery for our unit as it is the biggest of the available lithium batteries and also extremely common and inexpensive. This battery is commonly found in bathroom scales, some watches, and various wall clocks. Even with constant use, this battery will last between 9 months to 1 year in our unit. It is extremely easy to replace, and you will know it needs replacing when you notice the screen on the unit goes blank and displays nothing at all. Since the unit is always on and ready for a user, by default displaying the 30 seconds at all times, if the screen is ever blank, the battery has died and needs replacing.
What if my sinks are currently outfitted with motion sensors for water conservation or foot pedals?
The SaniTimer® is designed so that it will function in all of these applications. Once the water starts, and triggers the timer, the SaniTimer® will continue to countdown and finish the cycle even if the flow of water is interrupted. The flow of water starts the timer, but isn’t required for the operation of the SaniTimer® itself, so even if the user steps away to scrub their hands and the flow of water stops, the user can still watch the timer and finish the process as recommended. (Though, we encourage the user to stay under the flow of water as they wash and scrub as this is the practice that the CDC directly recommends.)
Countless national studies have shown that proper hand hygiene and bacteria removal are attributed to two main factors, friction during the scrubbing process and the length of time allowed for removal. Soap acts as an agent that lifts dirt, bacteria, and other harmful materials from your skin. The more vigorously and thoroughly a user scrubs, the more bacteria is able to be absorbed by the soap. The soap takes a short time to work, but once the soap has clung to all the dirt and bacteria, the water washes it away off the hands.
Many studies have also shown that statistically the majority of bacteria removal on the hands happens after the 11th to 12th second mark as it takes ample time for the soap to adhere to the bacteria. The process is exponentially back-loaded to where the below statistic has been calculated. You can see by the numbersbelow how important it is to finish the process out completely to make it effective.
- Total bacteria removed from 5 seconds of hand washing until 11 seconds: About 38%
- Total bacteria removed during hand washing between 11 and 16 seconds: About 88%
- Total bacteria removed during hand washing between 16 and 20 seconds: About 99%
The SaniTimer® is most commonly used where proper hand hygiene makes the most sense. In any instance of food preparation, direct patient contact in healthcare (including nursing stations and in all patient rooms), and also in child education and childcare facilities. All the aforementioned applications typically have hand washing sinks in place, specifically for this purpose, and separate from other sinks as to avoid confusion and cross contamination. Many have had to offer these facilities according to local and national health codes for compliance and regulations.