Dycem® vs Footbaths & Sanitizing Mats
GMP and personal hygiene policies along with HACCP procedures are the foundation of many safety and quality assurance programs, specifically within food and beverage processing and manufacturing facilities. These programs aim to prevent pathogens from contaminating the facility and the products produced within. Footbaths filled with a liquid sanitizing solution or mats containing a sanitizing powder are often used to decontaminate footwear prior to production. While common, these methods have many factors that should be evaluated.
Control of Microbes
Footbaths and sanitizing mats rely on chemical disinfectants to effectively decontaminate. This is in addition to the physical cleaning needed to remove debris and other visible dirt from the soles of shoes. Personnel must allow adequate contact time in order for the disinfectants to work to their potential. If there is too much organic material built up in the container, sanitizers may become less effective.
In comparison, Dycem mats capture and retain all particulate that comes in contact with the surface, viable or non-viable. While the particles are kept on the mat, the Polygiene BioMaster silver additive restricts any additional growth of potentially harmful microbes
Health & Safety
Due to the nature of using a liquid solution and the potential for spillage or wet shoes, footbaths can become a tripping hazard and endanger the health and safety of operators within a facility. In addition, the chemicals added to the footbaths or sanitizing mats can be toxic, even deadly, if ingested or tracked into the production environment.
Dycem mats are a dry solution that only requires a quick wet cleaning daily or per shift. Because they are low profile and sealed to the subfloor, Dycem mats allow operators to move across with ease and remove the risk of slipping or falling. The BioMaster antimicrobial additive is stable and non-leaching. It is certified skin-safe and food-safe, so poses no potential hazards to operators or products.
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If not maintained or used properly, footbaths and sanitizing mats can cause more harm than good. Footbaths left uncleaned or unmonitored can become a “bacteria bath”, introducing potentially harmful microbial growth. If concentration levels of chemicals are not kept to certain specifications, the risk of viable particles remaining on shoes is heightened. These same chemicals can also erode the soles of shoes, posing the risk of foreign objects from footwear inadvertently entering the production environment.
Dycem mats are effective EVEN when dirty. Between cleanings, the polymeric composition continues to attract and retain dirt and debris while the BioMaster additive provides 24/7 protection against microbial growth. Customized for each specific facility, Dycem mats can also prevent contamination from moving between hygiene levels and zones.
Maintaining footbaths and sanitizing mats can be quite an involved process with many steps. Monitoring, replenishing, cleaning, and disposing of contaminated liquids or powders requires frequent attention from operators or janitorial staff. Frequent ordering and stocking of chemicals can also be a time-consuming task. Extended contact time for effective decontamination and multi-step processes causes a bottleneck for operators and creates unproductive downtime.
Placed in the unavoidable flow of traffic, operators must walk over the Dycem mats as part of their regular entry or exit procedures. Downtime from additional training or extra processes is prevented. Maintenance is minimal for the lifespan of the mats, which is 3+ years on average. There are no chemicals or solutions that must be kept on hand. Once installed, Dycem mats are easily incorporated into the daily wet cleaning schedule.
The upfront purchase and installation costs of footbaths and sanitizing mats, as well as the ongoing price of stocking the chemicals and solutions required, can add up quickly, especially for larger facilities with higher volumes of people and production. The hidden costs of employee downtime for use and maintenance, potential health and safety claims, and the risk of recalls or rejected batches from contamination cannot be ignored.
With a lifespan of 3+ years, minimal downtime for use and maintenance, and most importantly, the reduction of high-priced contamination issues, Dycem mats provide a superior return on investment and are the most efficient total-cost solution.