Hygiene everywhere! In the Kitchen, bathroom and toilet!

Hygiene is a series of practices performed to preserve health. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), “Hygiene refers to conditions and practices that help to maintain health and prevent the spread of diseases.”Personal hygiene refers to maintaining the body’s cleanliness. Hygiene activities can be grouped into the following: home and everyday hygiene, personal hygiene, medical hygiene, sleep hygiene and food hygiene. Home and everyday hygiene includes hand washing, respiratory hygiene, food hygiene at home, hygiene in the kitchen, hygiene in the bathroom, laundry hygiene and medical hygiene at home.

Hygiene in the kitchen, bathroom and toilet

Routine cleaning of hands, food, sites and surfaces (such as toilet seats and flush handles, door and tap handles, work surfaces, bath and basin surfaces) in the kitchen, bathroom and toilet rooms reduces the spread of pathogens.[20] The infection risk from flush toilets is not high, provided they are properly maintained, although some splashing and aerosol formation can occur during flushing, particularly when someone has diarrhoea. Pathogens can survive in the scum or scale left behind on baths, showers, and washbasins after washing and bathing.


Thorough cleaning is important in preventing the spread of fungal infections. Moulds can live on wall and floor tiles and on shower curtains. Mould can be responsible for infections, cause allergic responses, deteriorate/damage surfaces, and cause unpleasant odours. Primary sites of fungal growth are inanimate surfaces, including carpets and soft furnishings.[21] Air-borne fungi are usually associated with damp conditions, poor ventilation, or closed air systems.


Hygienic cleaning can be done through:

Mechanical removal (i.e., cleaning) using a soap or detergent. To be effective as a hygiene measure, this process must be followed by thorough rinsing under running water to remove pathogens from the surface.

Using a process or product that inactivates the pathogens in situ. Pathogen kill is achieved using a “micro-biocidal” product, i.e., a disinfectant or antibacterial product; waterless hand sanitizer; or by application of heat.

In some cases combined pathogen removal with kill is used, e.g., laundering of clothing and household linens such as towels and bed linen.

Many children around the world live in conditions that make it difficult to maintain good hygiene. Where homes, schools and health centres have dirt floors; where water for handwashing is unavailable; and even where families share spaces with domestic animals; maintaining hygiene can be a challenge. What’s more, practising good hygiene is often perceived as a woman’s responsibility, adding to her burden of care.

For families, good hygiene means avoiding illness and spending less on health care. In some contexts, it can also secure a family’s social status and help individuals maintain self-confidence.

Yet, important hygiene behaviours are difficult to practice without the right knowledge and skills, adequate community support and the belief that one’s own behaviour can actually make a difference.

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