Watery things and hygiene

I saw quite a bit about water and hygiene whilst on holiday in the UK.

We went to an old silk mill. I went to the loo. The loos there have all been twinned with loos in very poor places, via an organisation named Toilet Twinning. This is really set up for donations from the UK, but I think they would accept donations from anywhere. They claim that fully 1/3 of humanity has no access to latrines, and when they say “latrines” they include pits. So they take your donation, educate somebody about hygiene and help them add a loo to their house. And they rely on him to spread the word about hygiene, and they send you a picture (with GPS co-ordinates) of the loo you are now twinned with to hang in your own small room so that others may receive the message.

The government there is becoming concerned about water useage and conserving it as much as possible. They can’t enforce it by law (well, they could try, I suppose, but would it win an election?) but they do encourage people to be concious of their water use and to aim for a 125 liters per person per day. That target is about to be dropped to 110. They do require all newly constructed buildings to have certain features that make this target more easily acheivable.

Local government (in theory, at least) are all over the water supply companies who are accused of not doing proper maintenance and thus being responsible for significant water loss.

Shower timers have the end effect of cutting water usage - if they display to the showerer the time for which the water runs.

Studies also show an inverse relation between water consumption and the pressure of the jet of shower water. If you feel a good strong jet, you shower for less time and actually use less water. Who’d have thought?

See here which is flogging a particular product, but also provides data.

The real story here, of course, is that less water used in showers is less water that has to be heated, which means less energy used.

This is of interest in the UK because energy bills are a hot topic (ouch!) there.

Advertising can be effective! I got led to this study about water use in showers because I went to a venue named The King’s Place in London (to see Jake Blount, who was excellent, but that’s a tale for another forum). They have waterless urinals - and they advertise it. That’s right. You use what looks like a regular urinal, except it never flushes (it also doesn’t stink). The venue estimates this is saving 10s of 1000s of liters of water a month. The name of the company that provides these urinals (this includes training staff, because they must be cleaned in a different way) is included in the advertising (which is not all over the venue, but prominent in the Gent’s toilets).

The venue also had taps that only ran whilst your hands were actually under the outlet - meaning you can wash your hands without actually having to touch the tap at all. Similarly activated soap dispensers were built in, but positioned so that you have to move your hands away from the tap to get soap. All nice and hygienic.

They had high efficiency hand driers. No paper towels which usually end up in landfill or blocking your plumbing.

I noticed that a lot of businesses there were not keen on cash. Several restaurants that we went to just flat out refused to accept cash (they build the tip into the bill). I speculated about this. Perhaps if you don’t take cash you don’t have to worry about staff sticking their hands into the till, and there’s no need to cash up, manage floats etc.

But then I saw a sign on a pub in London that explained it all. It’s hygiene. Staff (or enough of them) don’t want to handle that note that’s been in your pocket. How many other pockets has it been in? How many other hands have touched it? What’s on it? It’s another hygiene/infection issue - possibly a hang over from the lock down.

There are signs everywhere of things that began during lockdown and have been retained because management finds it convenient.

I got into a dispute with a car hire company whose name begins with A. They agreed they owed me money. But they wouldn’t just refund to my credit card. They had a complicated system by which you could eventually get a credit voucher mailed to you. “It’s valid for 12 months, Sir.” Where? “At this facility, Sir.”: I pointed out that I wasn’t likely to ever to be able to redeem that voucher at Heathrow Airport. “Well sorry, Sir. You’ll need to talk to head office. We started this during Covid.”

OK… so you can see how they had a problem early on in the lockdown. Somebody books a car, then phones up to say oh sorry, there’s this lockdown thing and now I have to stay home. And they want their money back.

I protested that Covid was 3 years ago. “Sorry, Sir. The policy was enacted then and is still in place and I’m just doing my job here.”

So, I said, the company has retained a policy of giving vouchers that are unlikely to ever be redeemed rather than just a straighforward refund. That must be a nice little earner.

“I wouldn’t put it like that, Sir. Tell you what, I’m not really supposed to do this, but I can give you GPS in that car.”

But I’d already booked and paid for GPS.

“I’ll turn it on for you, Sir.”

although X posting is frowned upon, i just posted this on another site and it seems to be applicable - my apologies for breaking any rules… :
often the topic of potability [keeping water clean enough for drinking] pops up.
1st off, ANY sunlight which enters your water tank will activate algae and slime growth and bacteria will also thrive. adding HTH or a small measure of bleach will kill most of it, although it depends on the water quality, volume and temperature etc, much research has gone into keeping slow flowing water potable and especially in healthcare environments water borne diseases have to be eliminated. UV lights are good at this.
you will remember the old saying ‘silwer skoon’ - in fact silwer is used to eliminate bacteria in anything from bandaid to milk… yes, in the old days a coin containing silver could be thrown into a bottle of milk and it would keep fresh for longer. here i must add that our forefathers stayed pretty healthy drinking from the same sources as their cattle - so the hype regarding super clean drinking water must be taken with some [epsom?] salt.
after much googling years ago i found a workable and cheap solution in order to keep tank water clear of slime and most bacteria. ionization - being lazy this process had to be very low maintenance.
to make a longish story short here is what i build.
1st off i needed an energy source - smallish solar panel; now i need a silver and copper piece - not big, fingernail size will do, but purity is important, 99% pure silver/copper is ideal.
now install the silver and copper on a piece of plastic, about 10cm apart. connect the positive and negative of the solar panel via shielded wires with the metal pieces - i can’t remember which polarity to which but i dont think its important - then dip the plastic with the wires inside your tank about a foot from the bottom, inside the water and fit the pv on top in order to generate a current.
what you now have is an anode and a cathode and positive and negative ions being released into the water. the negative ions will go in search of the positive ones and vice versa. the ions will also be moving in the whole water mass and penetrate any organism containing ions in their cellular structure in order to team up with the opposite ‘sex’ [polarity] - thereby killing them, be it algae, slime or bacteria; voila, problem solved. just check the electrical connections on the plastic once in six months - this site was interesting https://www.lenntech.com/ - it having been long ago i also attach some documents for you guys to peruse
gabriel smit
PS - i have a 5000l rainwater tank at work, rough ogiesdraad filter to keep out chunks of dirt. it has been there for 13 years, never been cleaned inside, an ionization contraption as above is installed - we’ve been drinking from it and have yet to feel any ill effects - me being 70 plus and slightly immune compromised at that included! - indeed, thinking about it the mineral deposits in bird-poop from the roof might do us good :-); the water is still silwerskoon without any odour or taste!

Copper-silver ionization as a disinfectant - water tank ionization.pdf (66.4 KB)
water tank ionization background 00.pdf (656.1 KB)

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You can do things like this if you are confident that the electric will always be on.

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I’m not very fond of those. I would rather wipe my hands on my trousers. That raises the issue of how one opens the door (which usually pulls inwards when you are leaving) with hands that are not entirely dry (and honestly, most people probably run out of there once the “good enough” point is reached). For myself, I use the pinky, because that finger is less likely to end up rubbing a nose or an eye later.

The other option is to time your leaving of said restroom with another patron and catch the door with your foot.

Maybe I am a little germophobic, but in my defense, I’ve been like that since before covid. My number one do-not-touch surface is probably the rolling rails of an escalator.


Same here.

Even elevator buttons gets pushed with my knuckles or keys or bank card.

Oh yes and urinals I flush with my elbow.

I used to be very sensi with surfaces, then I went to the SADF, the “border” too.

Yeah, your views changes big time.

There is “in your head” and then there are real problems to avoid. Like free bowl of peanuts in a pub on the counter.

Washing you hands regularly, properly, my secret today.

And keep your hands away from your eyes/face UNLESS they are washed.

And remember, once you have touched your own face/mouth/nose, they are dirty! Wash them again before you greet someone by hand. :rofl: (nou gaan die manne worry)


Touch screen ordering interfaces! At the local KFC, I do like using the self-order terminal, because I’m an introvert and if I don’t have to talk to anyone, even better. But I operate the screen using a knuckle.

Or if you have shaken hands with the pope/unemployed.

Speaking of such bathroom matters, urine is actually completely sterile. It tends to attract stuff and not smell great, but your own urine is actually the thing you have to be least freaked out about.

Bingo! The barman avoids the unwashed bank notes all night long then catches the tube, where who knows who have left who knows what on who knows what.

It’s not about hygiene.

I know a couple of people like that. I always find great entertainment value in pointing out things that they missed or have not thought about yet.

We’ve just finished watching all 8 seasons of Monk (the defective detective), and one thing that I find interesting is how he is so terribly germophobic, but his OCD still compels him to touch every lamp pole, car aerial and reading lamp he walks past. Quite funny.

For me it is quite simple. I do not have a specific list of things I won’t touch. I just generally keep my hands to myself and/or on my pockets.

A public piano, for example, is one of the worst collectors of other people’s dirt, and rarely cleaned. I still can’t keep my hand off them anyway… :slight_smile:

In the real world, we can’t avoid touching surfaces. I got frustrated at my place of work when they let us back into the offic again. We had a fingerprint scanner access system. Yech! So they gave us each a card that was linked to the representation of our fingerprints in the database (diligently santising the cards before handing them over) and these reliably triggered the access control system. But then you had to (for my office anyway) pull the door open. Which exposes you to who knows what.

We can’t be perfect, but we can mitigate, and the mititigation is simple and effective

Ocean going ships are very good incubators for infectious disease. Lots of people crowded into a small, shared space for prolonged periods of time. Some years ago the US Navy became frustrated by the number of staff that were sick and thus unfit for duty at any given time. A bit of a logistical problem in peace time, but it would be a real problem in an actual operation.

So they gave an order to specific ships. ALL crew had to thoroughly wash their hands five times a day.

They then monitored those ships. Infection rates plummeted (not to zero, but a big improvement). The simple intervention was sucessful.

So they extended the order to the entire fleet.

Which is the point made earlier in this thread: Wash you hands.

The other simple mitigation is the one that all English school kids of a certain age had drilled into their heads:
Coughs and sneezes
Spread diseases
Catch them in your hankychiefses.

Not your hand, which can then contaminate some other surface, but your hanky,

The recommended practice of using the crook of your elbow rather than your hand also has a lot going for it.

Don’t be like one once-famous newspaper columnist who gooied a tantrum at Hyde Park shopping center because he was asked to santisise when entering a store, after having just sanitised at another store, at a restaurant etc. Who did they think they were and what did they think he was?

I have my opinion about what he is, but sanitising with alcohol is a good thing, soap and water is better.

We could reduce the spread of all sorts of things by making these two precautions a habit.

This I also know. My entertainment came from when we still lived in Musina which is the wild wild west by many standards. Almost every other weekend we were in the Limpopo river exploring it with our 4x4 vehicles, at least 5 vehicles in such a group.

Then when it gets time for the manne to answer the call of nature (number 1 that is), sometimes right there in the sand behind the vehicle, I would wander over to get admonished - “pasop ek het hier gep#ss” and then say so what, whilst stomping my bare feet in the wet puddle to the horror or some of these hardebaard manne :rofl:

It is not the p#ss that is the issue (peanut example, and all other surfaces) … it is when people poop and not wash their hands properly after such a unsanitary event.

Just saying.

Well, I am now inspired to read a book that has been sitting on my shelf for some time. “The Big Necessity” by Rose Grace. It is about going and having a place to go. Generally it is about sanitation.

From the preface: “In poorly sewered nineteenth-century London, one child out of two died early. After toilets, sewers and hand washing with soap became normal, child mortality dropped by a fifth. It was the largest reduction in child mortality in British history.”

The author makes the point that proper removal of excreta can reduce diarrhoea by 40%. Provision of clean water, which accounts for 90% of sanitation budgets, offers a reduction of 16% to 20%.

Those of you describing yourself as germophobic are onto something.

I drilled a borehole once, deep, very deep – good water.
A couple of retired American old-timers who drilled all their lives told me I was drinking the rain that fell when dinosaurs walked the earth.
No noo-noos down deep.


But when humans settle above a aquafer/catchment area, in due course it could contaminate the underground water. On the 4x4 forum, geez, what some of the guys find when they test the borehole water, eish.

If one has clean borehole water, still apparently needs to be tested every so often I gathered.

Yes, otherwise you risk becoming senile from all the heavy metal poisoning. :wink:

yep, ask old Nero - but then even if you live a pristine life you run the risk achieving that state

old time copper doorknobs kill bacteria on them, modern plastic, chrome or polished aluminium will only assist in fortifying your auto-immune system… my trick is to open them with a piece of paper or my foot as stated by @plonkster, there also patience and practice is called for

… now there is a bacteria smorgasbord - I have nearly perfected the art of balancing in the centre of those stairs in order not to touch those rubbers… ever wondered why they are black in the 1st place?.. [but then if the whole staircase suddenly stops - I have to work on that…]

an old friend [now safely dead] having been very senior in the gold and uranium mining industry and having to do and pay for the dirty jobs and shenanigans of his superiors [and present politicos] - some still alive - has told me about the horrors of underground water poisoning on the witwatersrand and other environmental disasters caused for the sake of a few [billion] dollars more :face_vomiting:

hehehe… i love it when a topic gets ‘watered down’ like this… in old London - or whatever the dwelling, you had to take great care when walking on the pavement next to buildings, for at any stage someone might holler [or forget to…] from above and throw out the nagemmer; in ancient Roman and Greek cities open sewerage channels were common place… no wonder perfume was so popular… and what about the burning of incense :see_no_evil: :rofl: