Door push pads – to the rescue?

Could this new innovation be a breakthrough in the fight against virus transmission?

Someone demonstrating how push pads work

The nation is, understandably, experiencing COVID-fatigue now, especially since the announcement of a fresh lockdown in England being enforced from tomorrow.

So, we thought we’d offer a little glimmer of hope, by focussing on some of the innovations which are emerging at pace, as scientists pull out all the stops to help us live with at least some degree of normality in what is being dubbed the post-coronavirus ‘new normal’.

One such is the new door push pads which have been invented by researchers at the University of Leeds, to minimise the risk of COVID being transmitted from one person to the next in a range of settings.

An important part of our role, here at Elliott’s, is to stay abreast of the latest industry developments and innovations, in order to bring you the very best advice and products available.

Keeping you ‘in the know’

From time to time, we’ll let you know when something we think is particularly special comes available, so that you can benefit from the latest, cutting-edge developments.

The new, self-sanitising door push pads from our supplier Surfaceskins, is one such example.  You may have received an email from us over the past few days, in which case you’ll have had a brief introduction to these great new pieces of kit, ‘hot off the press’. However, we’re so impressed by what they have to offer, we wanted to provide you with more details in this blog.

Essentially, seven years ago, long before the coronavirus emerged, the University of Leeds team spotted a particular issue with the door plates that are typical of busy settings like hospitals, schools, restaurants and shops. Firstly, they often have high volumes of people passing through, creating a significant risk of germs being passed from one person to the next. Not only that, but they are made of metal or plastic, on which scientists know germs such as the winter norovirus vomiting bug can survive for days at a time.

Their solution? To devote seven years of painstaking research to creating the ‘push pad’ concept – soft, textile pads designed to fit neatly over existing door plates, which automatically secrete a perfect dose of alcohol antibacterial gel when touched, to sanitise both the pad and the hands of anyone who touches them, stopping transition before it starts. Little did they know that they would be offering their product just as the coronavirus took hold of the UK and Europe, but their invention couldn’t have been more fortuitous, given that independent tests have shown push pads are 90 per cent effective in reducing common infection bacteria. And just as well, given reports have shown that around 300,000 patients in England acquire an infection while being treated by the NHS. Details of the technology have now been published in the Journal of Hospital Infection and it is said to be attracting widespread interest amongst all manner of organisations keen to keep their staff and customers safe from COVID-19.

The pads are the result of a design collaboration between Nonwovens Innovation and Research Institute Ltd, a spin-off company from the University of Leeds’ School of Design, and industrial designers Adam Walker and Simon Scott-Harden. Mark Wilcox, the university’s professor of microbiology, who led the independent review of the push pads, has been quoted by the BBC as saying that they could help combat ‘the contamination of doors by microbes’ and ‘offer a new way to reduce the risk of the spread of bacteria and viruses in hospital environments and other settings where frequent contact with doors could undermine hand hygiene’.

New to market, this innovation has been featured in The Times newspaper as well as on the BBC, and the push pads are engineered to kill deposited germs in seconds, secreting just enough disinfectant to sanitise hands when pressed, but not enough to drip and cause potential slip hazards. As Surfaceskins’ own website states: “It only takes one person depositing germs and bacteria on the door plate to potentially put subsequent users (seconds later) at risk.”

Our view

Janette Elliott, Finance & Marketing Director at Elliott’s, said: “We’re very excited about this new development which, we believe, is ideal for use in a wide range of settings, from doctors’ surgeries to hospitals, schools, factories, restaurants and retail outlets.

“They can even be bespoked to reflect an organisation’s own branding and key messages as well, to enhance the look and feel of premises while spreading a strong message about its commitment to taking all possible steps to protect those it deals with.”

You’ll find a selection of options in our dedicated product brochure, as always, you can contact our team, during office hours, to discuss your specific needs via or 01482 327580.


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