Julies Blog

Plumbing problems

by Julie Finch-Scally

There can be nothing more annoying than having a shower in a bath where the water doesn’t run away fast enough.  This has been happening in the unit where I am currently staying. 

Obviously it is worse when I wash my hair because all that foam from the shampoo stays on the top of the water and leaves a scum as the water drains away.

There is an easy solution.  Get a kettle or jug full of boiling water and when the bath is completely empty pour the boiling water down the drain hole.  This should fix it.

Now it so happens I tried this but unfortunately it didn’t work.  Oh it was a bit better, but not the rapid removal of water down the drain as I would have liked.  What to do?

Thankfully there was a product in the cleanser section of the local supermarket that was a special solution for cleaning drains.  These products are available in most supermarkets because blocked drains are a worldwide problem.  Whereas once the drain clearing products were made with caustic soda, now a days most are made with bio-degradable products so there is no harm to the environment.

Most blockages in drains are from hair.  Long strands of hair congeal with soap residue and stick to the sides of the pipes and form a plug.  The drain clearing products dissolve the soap and allows the plug of hair to wash away down the pipes.

When hubby and I got the product home he poured about 20ml down the drain hole, and left it there to do its work.  About ten minutes later I poured a jug full of boiling water down the drain hole.  As I poured the water into the drain I expected lots of froth to bubble up over the edge of the hole, but it didn’t.  I poured slowly and although some froth came up out of the hole it didn’t take over.  Pouring slowly was the answer because as the water went down the hole eventually so did the bubbles.

Of course the proof of whether it worked would be the following morning when we had a shower.  And yes, it worked.  As we showered standing in the bath the water flowed down the drain as it should.

Now I can look forward to washing my hair and not worrying about the froth from the shampoo getting stuck on the bottom of the bath causing scum.  


Let's follow the Swiss

by Julie Finch-Scally

In my job as a Hygiene Consultant I have the opportunity to review the hygiene of hotels around the world.  To access these places I fly to the specific country.  This means I have to use public facilities in many and varied places.

I have been impressed by the toilets and cleanliness at Changi Airport in Singapore, and its automated checking system for users to express their opinions.  I have always found the toilet facilities at Canberra Airport, Australia to be of a high standard.  But I cannot say I am always happy with toilets on planes.

Flight time is valuable which means the longer the aircraft sits on the ground, money is not being made by the airline.  To overcome this, over the last several years, the turnaround of planes has become shorter.  This has led to a reduction of the time allowed for cleaning.  As planes have expanded catering for more passengers, there are more toilets to clean and less time to do the job.

Recently I had the privilege of travelling on a fast train in Switzerland.  The train was busy, and when I found an empty seat I had to remove several old newspapers so I could sit down.  Normally I would have looked for another place, but as there were no other seats available the newspapers had to be put on the floor.

About ten minutes into the trip a man in a blue dustcoat walked through the carriage with a large plastic rubbish bag.  He was collecting all the passenger’s rubbish, such as empty cups and dishes.  He was delighted to take the old newspapers. 

This is the first time I have ever seen a cleaner walking through a train collecting rubbish.  I know air stewards do so on planes, but that is to stop the rubbish flying around causing damage during takeoff and landing. 

I also had to use the facilities on this train, and once again was impressed.  Most toilet facilities on trains are drab and grey and generally rather dirty.  Not this one.  There were murals around the walls giving the impression one was in a real bathroom with a window.  All the surfaces were clean, and I had the feeling they had recently been wiped over.

I have written to airline managements suggesting on ‘long haul flights’ they carry a cleaner to keep the toilets clean instead of expecting the stewards to do the job, and after seeing the inside of this toilet on the Swiss train, I can see what a difference it would make if the small room was given a bright interior and had a special person on board keeping the toilets in a pristine condition. 

Surely the addition of a cleaner on a flight would save money in the long run.  Hygiene standards on planes would improve and the aroma emanating from the room would be so much purer. 

If the Swiss can do it on trains, clearly any mode of transport that travels long distances can keep its cleaning standards high by having a dedicated cleaner on board. 


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