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July 2017

Keeping clean; terminology in the hygiene business

Written by Nathalie Leblond
Technology and Trends

Here at Initial we take hygiene very seriously, in fact you could say we are the experts. And as the experts we love to educate others on hygiene jargon, both on our website and in our blogs. However, we are also aware that not everyone has quite such a vivid interest in this subject as we do, and that at times our jargon and terminology may be confusing.

So here are a few of the terms you may see crop up regularly, and what they mean. We hope these allow you to navigate our website more easily. If you come across any terminology that isn't covered in the list below, let us know by email initialza(at)rentokil-initial(dot)com and we’ll add it to the list.

ANTIBACTERIAL: Any substance or product that destroys or inhibits the growth of bacteria.

ANTIMICROBIAL: Any substance or product that inhibits the growth of microorganisms, such as bacteria, fungi, or protozoa.

BACTERIA: one celled organisms, various species of which are involved in fermentation, putrefaction, infectious diseases, or nitrogen fixation.

BACTERICIDE: A substance that kills bacteria.

CONTAMINATE: To make impure or unsuitable by contact or mixture with something unclean or bad, for example bacteria.

CROSS CONTAMINATION: Cross-contamination is when bacteria is spread between food, surfaces or equipment.

DISINFECTANT: A chemical that kills bacteria. (Also known as germicides, bactericides or biocides.)

E-COLI: A bacterium commonly found in the intestines of humans and other animals, some strains of which can cause severe food poisoning.

FEMININE HYGIENE WASTE: Used tampons and sanitary towels.

FUNGUS: Any of a diverse group of single-celled organisms that live by decomposing and absorbing the organic material in which they grow, comprising the mushrooms, molds, mildews,smuts, rusts, and yeasts.

GERM: A microorganism, especially one which causes disease.

HYGIENE: The science that deals with the promotion and preservation of health.

INFECTIOUS: Likely to cause or spread infection.

MICRO-ORGANISMS: Any organism too small to be viewed by the naked eye, such as bacteria, protozoa, and some fungi and algae.

PATHOGEN: A bacterium, virus, or other microorganism that can cause disease.

SANITIZE: To apply heat or chemicals in order to destroy most pathogens.

SANITIZER: A product that reduces or eliminates pathogens in the air, on surfaces or on inanimate objects.

SANITARY BIN: Receptacle for sanitary waste such as tampons and sanitary towels.

SANITARY TOWEL: An absorbent pad worn by women to absorb menstrual blood.

TAMPON: A plug of soft material inserted into the vagina to absorb menstrual blood.

VIRUS: a microscopic infectious agent that replicates only within the cells of living hosts; mainly bacteria, plants, and animals. Viruses grow or reproduce only on living cells.

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Nathalie Leblond

Nathalie Leblond

Nathalie is the Category Manager at Rentokil Initial, and has worked in the hygiene and pest control industry for 12 years. Although after 12 years cockroaches still have the power to terrify her, she has learnt countless ways to defeat germs both in the workplace and at home. She is a passionate advocate for Global Handwash Day and the health benefits that can be derived from regular handwashing and hygiene practices. When not contributing to the Initial blog, Nathalie is writing press releases for sister businesses, Rentokil and Ambius. You can find her on LinkedIn.

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