Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust NHS Lozenge

Bugs and rubber ducks in the dishwasher! Our Night in the Museum

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Our team has been celebrating a Night in the Museum.... and it was a real "House of Horrors".

The Science Museum in London runs events called Science Museum Lates which are after-hours themed nights every month in London and we won an invitation supported by the Royal College of Pathologists. (RCPath)

Nicola Hardman who made the successful bid for a place, said: " We had an excellent time, sharing our passion whilst flying the flag for CHFT."

The event really was all about engaging and educating the public in maintaining health and reducing the spread of infection in the home environment.

Nicola had to develop and pitch a proposal to Science Museum & RCPath events and public engagement managers. Her proposal - called House of Horrors - focussed on the yukky side of everything in the house such as the number of organisms on a dishcloth and  how often should a rubber duck be cleaned, (see below for all the answers) best practice with cosmetics to hand hygiene and mobile phone cleaning..

Her proposal was one of four selected after a competitive process and she secured external funding for our team to attend. Her team members were  Jean Robinson IPC Matron, Hannah Armitage Senior BMS and Christine Turner Antimicrobial Pharmacist.

The event had one of their highest ever turn outs of 4416 attendees.

Nicola, said: " Over the course of three hours we discussed with and educated members of the public on all things related to infection in the home environment.  The session was interactive and created a great deal of interest, we did not stop!  Feedback was excellent."


We appeared in the Science Museum programme, on the RCPath website and Nicola am going to be interviewed for an article for the Profession section of The Pathologist (RCPath's publication).

How any bugs on a dishcloth? 200,000 more than on a toilet seat.

So, Nicola, How often does a rubber duck need cleaning? 

The best approach would be to get the ones without the hole (though they are less fun!). If you have a toy with a hole, and therefore capable of gathering and retaining dirty water, the hole can be sealed off with a blob of hot glue. Regarding the actual cleaning of rubber ducks… they can be boiled, put in bleach or even soaked in vinegar (white).

My favourite approach is to stick them in the dishwasher. Ensuring that the toys are rinsed off after every use and stored somewhere where they can air dry also helps. If you are noticing a build-up of black gunk inside… it’s probably time to ditch the duck!




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