What Causes Blocked Drains?

A very common problem in both commercial and residential properties is blocked drains but this can actually be avoided relatively easily if you’re mindful about what you put down the drain in the first place.

Used cooking grease and fat, for example, are often washed down the kitchen sink but you should actually scrape dirty dishes and pans into the bin or use a fat trap to help prevent the buildup of fat and grease in the pipe network.

A big part of the problem when grease and fat find their way into the drains and sewer system is that they can contribute to the creation of fatbergs, some of which can be huge and cost thousands of pounds to sort out.

Wet wipes are another culprit that can easily lead to a blocked drain and you should always avoid flushing these, even if the packet says it’s fine to do so. They too can clog pipes and obstruct drains, so make sure they go in the bin instead, or perhaps invest in reusable cloths and avoid using wet wipes altogether.

It’s also important to make sure that you keep an eye on the exterior of your property, as well as being mindful about what you send down the drains when you’re in the home.

Leaves and other debris from trees can be washed into drains and cause obstructions in this way, so make sure you clean the garden regularly and build a compost heap for leaves to keep them out of the drain network.

However, wet wipes are in fact the biggest culprit, it would seem, with recent research from Water UK (the trade organisation that represents all the main water and sewerage companies in the country) revealing that these products make up 93 per cent of the material that causes sewer blockages.

Apparently, there are around 300,000 sewer blockages each and every year, which costs the country £100 million, money that could be used in other ways, such as improving services or reducing bills.

Water UK’s director of corporate affairs Rae Stewart said at the time: “There are things that water companies can do, such as improve education about what should and shouldn’t be flushed.

“There are things manufacturers can do, such as make labelling clearer on non-flushable products. And, of course, there are things individuals can do – which is bin the wipes rather than flush them.”

If you find you have a blocked drain, you’ll need to find out if the blocked pipework belongs to your water supplier or if it’s your own private drain.

If it’s the former, the supplier will come out to clear it for free and try to find out the cause of the blockage, but if it’s your own drain you’ll need to sort it yourself, whether that’s by attempting to unblock it on your own or by calling out a professional to help.

Looking for drain unblockers right now? See what we’ve got in stock in our online shop.

How Office Drains Are Blocked And How To Solve It

One of the most annoying, disruptive and unpleasant issues you can have in an office is blocked drains. It can be difficult to tell where the issue comes from, where there is an issue in the system and how it can be fixed.

The good thing about it is that for most blocked sinks, drains and pipes, dedicated drain unblocker products are straightforward, hygienic and fast working.

As your business will pay for the water, its drainage and call-out costs in the case of any issue, solving issues as soon as possible will save you a lot of money in the long term.

Here are the most common causes of blockages and how you can solve them.


What Are The Signs Of A Blocked Drain?

Figuring out the cause of a blocked drain is critical, but the first step is seeing the warning signs of a potential blockage.

Once you get these signs, but before you have a serious problem is the time to bring in preventative measures and fix your drains.

The first sign that you will likely get reported is an unusual and often rather unpleasant smell emanating from the drains. This means that a significant amount of build-up has emerged.

Other signs include unusual water rises and overflows from your toilet drainage, which suggests that the process is being blocked by something, sinks taking longer to clear, and odd gurgling sounds from the plughole, which suggests it is taking longer for water to flow.



Oils and grease can be common in your canteens or kitchen sinks, but when washed down the sink or the drain it hardens as it cools and can cause blockages and bad smells.

Thankfully, the solution can be as simple as pouring boiling water down the drain, which will help melt the grease and allow it to be disposed of safely.


Plants, Dirt and Leaves

A particular problem for outdoor drains leaves that fall or are blown off trees that blow into drains and can cause blockages. This can be the most frustrating to clean as it often involves more physical methods than bleach and drain cleaners.

Using protective gloves, remove dirt, soil and leaves from the system and wait to see if that helps the system.


Hair and Toiletries

The former is more of an issue in offices with showers, but hair can block drains and cause major issues. Thankfully, this tends to be an easier issue to fix immediately by pulling the hair out of the drain using a hook.

Toiletries such as baby wipes should never be flushed down the toilet, as they soak up moisture, get bigger and can block water flow, They can be a nightmare to fix, sometimes needing a plumber’s snake or a plunger to dislodge.


Broken Pipe

Broken pipes cause either blockages or leaks depending on the nature of the fracture.

When an older pipe fracture it becomes easier to block compared to a newer piece of pipe, so if you are worried about this or blockages have become more common, get in touch with a plumber or other professional.

How Does The Lighting In Our Homes And Offices Affect Our Bodies?

We are all spending more time than ever before in our homes and, particularly in the winter months, it can feel as though you have artificial lights on for most of the day even when it’s light outside.

One study conducted in Australia and shared by the Sydney Morning Herald has highlighted the issues we face from having too much artificial light in our properties.

According to the research, the average home in Australia was so bright that it suppressed melatonin production by almost 50 per cent. Why is that important? Well, melatonin is what naturally controls our sleep patterns.

Before the introduction of artificial lighting, our melatonin levels would rise when the sun went down, sending us to sleep, and lower as the sun rose, waking us up. The introduction of artificial light has altered how our bodies produce melatonin, however.

Natural light is, therefore, an important aspect that should be considered in the construction of new homes and offices, as it has such an impact on our bodies and how they function.

As the Irish News explained recently, some architects are looking at housing design differently and, instead of sticking to the idea that houses should have standard sized and equally spaced windows, they are looking at how to maximise the natural daylight that enters a property.

The publication noted that well-designed architectural homes “employ windows and modern, energy-efficient glazing of all shapes and sizes, in locations to either let daylight flood in, capture a view or bring the outside exterior space into the home”.

The use of energy-efficient glazing is essential, because if you have larger and more windows, you need to ensure that your home isn’t going to lose excessive amounts of heat during the colder months of the year, or get too hot when it’s warmer.

Offices, too, have transitioned towards providing people with more natural light and larger windows, but without the correct glazing products there can be a similar issue in terms of heat loss and solar gain.

Fitting a solar reflective glass film, either to your home or business property, can mitigate many of these problems, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of more natural daylight without the potential downsides that come from having larger windows.

As the Irish Times noted, there is yet another benefit to providing sufficient daylight in all of our buildings – it saves energy.

“Effective day lighting means less reliance on electricity to provide artificial lighting while sunlight can contribute towards meeting some of the heating needs through controlled passive solar gain,” the publication stated.

In terms of how our lighting is impacting our bodies, the researchers in Australia have recommended that we darken our homes before we go to bed to improve the quality of our rest. This can be particularly beneficial for anyone who is suffering from sleep problems, they suggested.

We also know that a lack of exposure to daylight in the winter can contribute to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), so creating homes and offices that do a better job of introducing natural light could benefit a significant number of people.

Survey Reveals Hygiene Must Be Businesses’ Priority

A survey of workers has revealed that three out of four people believe there is a moderate to high risk of germs in UK offices, leaving them feeling unsafe and unwilling to return to the workplace

The study, conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Kimberly-Clark Professional showed that there is little confidence during this early stage of trying to get employees back into business premises, offices, and workplaces, according to the FMJ.

75 per cent of UK workers said they do not feel safe returning to their offices, and 86 per cent stated they would avoid a location if they believed it wasn’t COVID-secure, with 80 per cent of consumers also indicated they are now more aware of hygiene practices when outside the home.

Additionally, 78 per cent of employees surveyed as part of a sample of 1,097 adults felt there was a moderate-to-high risk of germs being present in office buildings – with 69 per cent identifying strict social distancing policies enforcement as an important indicator of safety in an office building.

51 per cent indicated they wanted wearing masks to be made mandatory when entering work premises. 70 per cent also cited the provision of hygienic hand washing and toilet facilities as hygiene requirements, confirming cleaning and hygiene-related factors as being of the utmost importance for six out of every seven people surveyed.

Six of the seven most important factors listed were cleaning and hygiene-related. 62 per cent said that seeing cleaning in action was important and 58 per cent wanted cleaning and disinfecting procedures clearly communicated. 89 per cent said that the washroom is a key area where businesses can do more to enhance hygiene and cleanliness.

Three out of four people said they thought the washroom reflected how much the organisation cared about its employees and visitors, and an equal amount of people thought the condition of the washroom reflected the hygiene standards of the rest of the business.

Commenting on the findings, Olena Neznal, Vice President of Kimberly-Clark Professional EMEA, says: “Early experiences out of the home have not met expectations, so more must be done. Fear and uncertainty have put businesses under pressure to balance the responsibilities of keeping everyone safe and staying up to date with protocols whilst getting businesses back on track.”

“Only businesses which win the confidence of their employees and customers will thrive, and from this research, it is clear that hygiene is now top of the business agenda.”

The multiple changes in the official guidance from the government in terms of working from home and socialising has created a sense of confusion over the rules, which could be why many people are reticent.

Measures such as the rule of six, whilst not applicable in office environments, are affecting employee confidence. When this rule came into force, many questioned its logic when they were still being actively encouraged to return to work and other public spaces such as shops and restaurants.

If you’re looking for heavy-duty cleaning wipes for your business, visit our online store!

Keeping Your WFH Space Safe And Hygienic

The arrival of the coronavirus pandemic saw a dramatic shift as the UK’s workforce suddenly found themselves working from home. While some people may have created a dedicated home office to work from, many workers’ improvised home workspaces fall short of ideal.

With the country entering a second national lockdown, those who have been working from home will undoubtedly be continuing to do so for the foreseeable future, and it’s time for those who found themselves working from the kitchen table, sofa, and even in bed to up their WFH setup game.

It is said that Churchill used to work from his bed in his pyjamas, and John Lennon tried to change the world from between the sheets, working from your laptop on the sofa or from the bed is detrimental to your health.


How do I set up my home workspace?

Musculoskeletal disorders are the most common work-related injury, and proper ergonomic setup has been shown to reduce common ailments such as muscle strains, lower back pain, and tendonitis, as well as decreasing fatigue and enhancing productivity.

If you do not have access or room for a dedicated work desk, then a flat surface is essential, and a proper ergonomic chair is a must.

Fresh air and natural light are important, as is considering your posture while working.

The UK Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors suggests several ways that employees set up their workspace and stay healthy while working from home.

It is important to take regular breaks and engage in physical movement to help your physical and mental wellbeing. Keep hydrated and stretch regularly, and take a break to go for a walk outside instead of being sat for hours on end during endless Zoom meetings.


Keeping your home workspace hygienic

Our homes are a haven for microbes, and the typical work desk is home to over 10 million bacteria. Your monitor, keyboard, computer, mouse, office files, chair and personal items are all reservoirs for microbes, which are mainly deposited via our hands, skin and hair.

With the ongoing pandemic, it’s essential to ensure that you keep your WFH space clean and sanitised. If you do begin to feel ill, it is essential to seek medical assistance and take time off sick.

By soldiering on and battling through it, you will not only be spreading the germs over your workspace and home, but you will inevitably end up stressed from working while ill, weakening your immune system further.

Remember, good hand hygiene is one of the most effective ways to reduce germ transmission.

Keep your work desk uncluttered and clean, and regularly wipe it down with ordinary detergent. To clean your keyboard, monitor and other equipment, first unplug them, then dust with a soft microfibre cloth before wiping with a moist alcohol or detergent wipe.

Do not eat at your desk, unless you want a side order of microbes with your sandwich. Wipe and disinfect your phone regularly, as it hosts all sorts of pathogens, potentially including faecal material. Resist the urge to take your phone into the bathroom, especially if you enjoy scrolling during your lunch!

A safe and hygienic work environment in the home is essential to maximise the benefits and to reduce the risk of injury and illness

If you’re looking for surface sanitiser for your enhanced hygiene measures, visit our online store today.

Preparing Yourself For A Return To The Office

The continuing coronavirus crisis means that many people will be working from home for the foreseeable future, but it may be necessary for some to return to the office either part-time or full-time. After so long away, it is bound to bring up some anxiety around hygiene and safety.

While companies are taking measures to ensure hygiene standards and COVID-secure precautions are in place, the thought of returning to old routines and job pressures can be daunting to anyone.

We have a look at some tips for how to make the transition back to the office a little easier.

  1. Get back into a routine

Even the most organised of people will have seen their routines thrown into disarray over the past few months, and the idea of getting back into the daily grind and routine can be an unsettling thought.

The key to dealing with this is to begin building up your routine ahead of time so that your first day back isn’t so much of a shock to the system.

Before your return to the office start date, set your alarm for the time you would usually be getting up for work, and start getting used to the early mornings again. Prepare your clothing for the next day the night before, even if for the moment that is still your WFH loungewear, and even prepare lunches for the next day to prepare your mind for ‘work mode’.

  1. Avoid burning yourself out in the first week

Avoid throwing yourself into work by filling up your diary with meetings. Make sure you allow yourself an adjustment period and schedule in some breaks to give yourself a rest and recharge.

Likely, your work colleagues and yourself are all out of the office work habits, so go slowly and gently, and remember to be kind to yourself.

  1. Reflect on the positives

Life during lockdown provided many of us with the chance to live a slightly simpler life for a few months, so the return to office life can be a bit of a culture shock.

Make the transition a little easier by embracing the time off you’ve had, and focus on the positives that came with it, such as more quality time with the family, new skills you may have picked up, or even finally finishing that Netflix boxset everyone had insisted you watch.

Make a list of all the things you have enjoyed and place it where you can see them, and don’t forget them just because your routine is returning to normal.

  1. Ask about safety measures

Before you return to the office, it might be an idea to speak to your manager or boss about what safety measures have been implemented to minimise the risk of contracting or spreading the coronavirus. Familiarise yourself with the changes to the office environment and the new rules and guidelines in place to help reduce any anxiety.

If you need surface sanitiser products for your COVID-secure office, contact us today.

How To Keep Your Floors Clean This Autumn

Autumn has officially begun, which means we can expect to see a little bit more inclement weather coming our way… so now’s the time to think about how best to go about keeping your homes and offices clean and tidy in the face of increasing amounts of dirt and grime being trodden through living and working spaces.

Firstly, keeping your outside areas as clean as you can is wise, because it means that less debris will be brought inside on the bottoms of shoes or blown in when doors are opened. It will also make it safer for people to approach buildings, as driveways and paved areas won’t be slippery and treacherous.

Investing in a good quality doormat is a good idea, as it means that people have the opportunity to wipe their feet before they go inside, leaving any muck and mud outside where it belongs – which will, again, make it easier for you to clean interior spaces.

As for the cleaning itself, it will depend on what sort of floor coverings you have as to which hygiene strategy would be the most effective one to follow.

For carpeted areas, consider washing these every three months or so using a carpet shampoo machine – but always check that the detergent you use is compatible with the material, or you could cause more problems than you solve.

If you have hardwood flooring, always go around with a vacuum cleaner before you mop, so you can pick up any dirt and debris that may have been tracked through on people’s shoes. 

This will also help prevent any grit from scratching the wood, which can be difficult to sort out. Also consider using a steam mop for a really deep clean if the floors start to look a little bit on the lacklustre side.

You don’t always have to use a wet mop and you can really create hygienic living and working environments with dry mopping in between deeper cleans. These are reusable, so eco-friendly at the same time and it can be quicker to get the job done, as mop heads are often bigger than wet mops.

Prevention can be better than cure and if you are really worried about how your flooring will weather the storm of autumn and winter, you could consider investing in something like a floor protection product. You can buy these for both carpet and wood flooring, so you can protect all parts of the office or home.

The film is very quick and easy to lay down and provides up to 45 days of protection, so ideal for this time of year. All you need to do is peel it up afterwards, once the bad weather has passed us by. No residue is left behind so your flooring will always look good, no matter what happens.


Hands. Face. Space Hygiene Campaign Launched For Winter

The government has launched a new campaign to help prevent the spread of coronavirus indoors over the winter months, urging people to continue washing their hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, covering their faces and observing social distancing measures to control infection rates and avoid a second wave.

The Hands. Face. Space campaign will run across print, radio, TV, out of home, social and digital display advertising, as well as on community media channels over the coming weeks, with a new video being released to help drive home the message, showing how coronavirus can spread indoors.

The film encourages people to follow simple steps to help reduce the risk of infection at a time when it’s expected that they will be spending more time at home and indoors during the colder months.

While coronavirus isn’t likely to survive for long on outdoor surfaces in sunlight, it can survive for over 24 hours in indoor environments, so hand-washing regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or making good use of hand sanitiser can reduce the risk of both catching and passing the virus on.

Wearing a face covering is also advised because the virus is carried in the air by respiratory droplets, which can land on surfaces or other people. They can also stay in the air indoors for at least five minutes, longer if there is no ventilation.

And social distancing is necessary because virus transmission is most likely to happen within two metres of an infected person. It won’t always be possible to maintain this exact distance but the campaign aims to encourage people to remain mindful of their surroundings.

Chief medical officer professor Chris Whitty said: “As we approach winter and inevitably spend more time indoors, we need the public to keep following this important advice to control the spread of the virus.

“Following these simple steps could make a significant difference in reducing the transmission of Covid-19 and help protect you and your friends, colleagues and family from the virus.”

Regular cleaning of office environments, as well as domestic properties, is certainly wise at the moment and, as winter approaches, you may want to increase your vigilance in this regard. 

Remember that surface contamination is one of the main ways that the virus can spread so implementing a robust cleaning regime is certainly wise, particularly in the office where people come and go all the time. Make sure that all desks, tables, telephones, keyboards and other office equipment are wiped down with disinfectant regularly throughout the day.

You may also want to put up posters reminding people of the importance of good hygiene now and in the future to help prevent the spread of the virus as winter approaches.

Do you need to stock up on surface disinfectant? See what we have in stock today.

Concerns Raised About State Of Potholes In Oxfordshire Road

A privately owned road in West Oxfordshire has come in for criticism about the state of its surface. The road at Swinford Toll Bridge, which charges cars five pence to cross, has been described by one road user as looking like the tarmac “has melted”.

The Oxford Mail reported on the concerns, with both motorists and councillors weighing in on the state of the road surface. Jane Johnson, from Minster Lovell, who uses the stretch of road regularly, told the newspaper that both her and her husband are worried that the deteriorating condition of the road could lead to an accident.

“There’s five really bad potholes and one like a crater, where if there’s another car, you have no option but to go into it,” she revealed.

Dan Levy, West Oxfordshire district councillor for the Eynsham and Cassington ward, told the news provider that as well as being concerned for drivers, he is also worried that the potholes could cause serious problems for cyclists and motorcyclists.

“With my cycling hat on, you see all these chippings come up which can be dangerous for cyclists,” he asserted.

Mr Levy also revealed that the owners, who bought the toll bridge along with the cottage next to the bridge, a car park and four acres of land, stopped collecting the toll in January and the road’s condition has deteriorated in that time.

The land, road and cottage were all sold at auction in 2009 for just over £1 million, the newspaper revealed.

County councillor for the Eynsham division Charles Matthew told the newspaper that he frequently receives emails from his constituents complaining about the state of the toll bridge, adding that he is “fed up” by the lack of action on the part of the owners.

In March this year, the Guardian reported that local authorities in England and Wales filled fewer potholes in 2019/20 than they had in 2018/19.

The publication revealed that they filled 1.5 million potholes in the last tax year, compared with the 1.9 million potholes that were dealt with in the 12 months before, research from the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) found.

The report also noted that, during this time, average highway maintenance budgets for councils fell by 16 per cent, while the amount that they were forced to pay out in compensation as a result of damage caused by poor road conditions climbed by 17 per cent.

According to the report’s authors, it would take 11 years and require funding of £11.1 billion to get all the roads in England and Wales back into “a reasonable, steady state”.

Rick Green, chairman of the AIA criticised the government’s approach to local highway maintenance budgets, describing the “stop-start approach” as “wasteful”. He added that providing short-term cash injections with no longer-term plan “does nothing to improve the condition of the local road network on which we all rely”.

Whether you have responsibility for maintaining a private road or you work within a local highways department, you may find that pothole repair products can help you fix road surfaces quickly and efficiently.

Top Hygiene Tips For Your Workplace After Lockdown

Now that lockdown restrictions are being eased around the UK, businesses of all shapes and sizes, and across all industries, are beginning to open their doors once again, allowing their workforce to return to the office and welcoming customers back with open arms once more.

But it’s important to make sure that employees are comfortable about returning to work and that your customers feel safe coming into your place of business to say hi.

The World Health Organization has published guidance to help companies ready themselves for a return to work, advising them on how to prevent the spread of covid-19, how to manage risks when organising meetings and events, what to consider when travelling for business and preparing your workplace in case the virus arrives in the community.

Making sure that workplaces are clean and hygienic is key, because surface contamination is one of the main ways that the virus spreads. It’s essential that you set up a robust cleaning regime and ensure that all desks and tables, telephones, keyboards and so on are wiped down with disinfectant regularly.

It’s also important that employees, contractors and customers follow certain procedures as well, so make sure that you’re promoting regular and thorough hand-washing. This can be achieved by installing hand-sanitising stations in prominent places throughout your workplace, refilling them regularly.

Ensuring that there are places where people can go to wash their hands with soap and water would also be useful, since this kills the virus and prevents the spread of coronavirus.

Carrying out a risk assessment will help you identify the right kind of cleaning strategy for your particular business.

Consider frequently touched surfaces and focus on these as a central part of your cleaning regime, such as doors, bannisters, workstations, door handles, toilets, changing rooms, vehicle handles and steering wheels, shared equipment, taps, kettles and so on.

Adequate cleaning strategies involve a two-pronged approach – deep cleaning at least once a day and periodic cleaning at various times throughout the day. The latter could include cleaning items immediately after use, for example.

It might also be a good idea to set your workplace up in such a way as to reduce the need for contact with surfaces and objects in the first place, such as by reducing equipment, propping open doors and fitting automated sensors on doors.

You will also need to ensure that your members of staff are aware of their own personal responsibilities when it comes to preventing the spread of coronavirus. Keeping surfaces as clear as possible will help keep the workplace more hygienic – and easier to clean, for example.

Keeping the store cupboards fully stocked with all the cleaning products you need is all the more important these days, so make sure you do a stock take on a regular basis and replace items before you run out.

Our surface disinfectant offers protection against harmful bacteria, viruses and fungi to any hard surface. Find it in our online shop.