How do you remove biofilms during bathrooms, toilets, tanks, and pipe cleaning?
We agree that almost everyone has encountered biofilms. Although if asked, they may be oblivious of it. Biofilms are commonly found in bathrooms, tub enclosures, shower stalls, and kitchens.
In general, they are somewhat associated with surfaces that experience the touch of water from time to time.
Moreover, to know if you ever came across biofilms, it is important to know what exactly it is.
What is Biofilm?
Biofilms can simply be described as a group of enjoined microbial cells that are unchangeably inclined with a surface encapsulated in a matrix of polysaccharide material.
They constitute a group of microorganisms in which cells stick together and also to a surface. They can also be considered a hydrogel, a compound polymer that contains a higher moisture weight, compared to its dry state.
Biofilms are very organized, forming a coordinated, functional bacteria community. They attach to surfaces like rocks, tooth, bathroom surface, and other water surfaces.
In reality, every surface with water has the potentials to breed a community of biofilm. There is water in most rocks occurrences, the channel the water flows through is at times, massively dominated by biofilms.
Since it has been established that biofilm is somewhat a necessary evil on wet surfaces. It becomes imperative to understand how they can be eliminated. There are specific processes that are employed in the removal of biofilm from surfaces during cleaning.
This article discusses topics about biofilm removal and related processes.
Where Do Biofilms Exist?
Biofilms occur in a variety of places within the home.
They are present in pipes, tanks, home heat exchanges, the plumbing network, and kitchens. They also have a complex structure that enables them to adapt to all environmental conditions, making them very hard to remove.
Biofilm is capable of contaminating water in pipes, food in the kitchen and can result in an unpleasant outlook for toilets.
How to Get Rid of Biofilms in the House
Biofilms have a nature of attaching to surface with a lot of resistance.
The traditional cleaning method is not as effective on the attached biofilm, unlike the free-swimming one. The removal of the biofilm is a procedure that requires a lot of care.
Consequently, it has been discovered through research, that it is easier to just kill biofilm using alkaline products. This is more effective than the use of acids.
Since biofilms thrive on surfaces with fatty and protein residues, it becomes necessary to eliminate biofilms with products that are typically free of fats. These products should be effective in the removal of adhesion from surfaces.
Furthermore, there are specialized products in the market that could be used to remove biofilms. Some of these products are based on sodium hydroxide and agents with high solubility. They have a detergent effect in drains and are efficiently capable of detaching biofilm.
Why is Biofilm Removal Necessary?
To the average house owner, biofilm appears harmless.
Apart from the somewhat unpleasant look, biofilm is a group of active microbial could affect household cleaning in the following ways:
- It stains various household coverings, harbors large species of bacteria and other germs; and when it graduates into harboring debris, it can be very difficult to eliminate.
- Biofilm tends to spread easily around the house, increasing the homeowner’s vulnerability to illnesses.
- If not properly taken care of, biofilms can grow to the extent of surviving sanitizers and disinfectants.
How to Remove Biofilms from Tanks and Pipes
When selecting a cleansing approach for filtration systems like tanks and pipes, it is necessary to consider the presence of biofilms and choose a technique that is efficient enough.
For instance, mechanical methods are less expensive when compared to the chemical cleaning method. However, they are not as effective and may leave biofilms behind in filtration-systems, causing more problems.
Therefore, it is advised to employ chemical cleaning techniques that are capable of removing all deposits of biofilms.
Removing Biofilms With Hydrogen Peroxide
Biofilm, being a colony of bacteria gravitates towards the surface of the pipes and tank walls. It moves in a pattern that easily locates where nutrients are stored.
Biofilm is capable of adaptation, and as such can cling to the walls of tanks and pipes, sipping nutrients periodically.
Although some bacteria are easily swept away by a strong flow of water in the pipes, the formation of biofilm increases their resistance. They develop polysaccharide matrices that enable them to withstand currents of the water.
Hydrogen peroxide is a multi-functional chemical.
It can function effectively as an oxidizer, an antiseptic or a bleaching agent. These properties allow it to eliminate biofilms from pipes and tanks. When other bleaching agents like chlorine are poured in pipes and reservoirs, the presence of water reduces their potency.
On the other hand, hydrogen peroxide is capable of reducing the cohesive energy of bacteria in the biofilm without its potency being reduced by water. This allows for easy removal of the biofilms from the walls of pipes and tanks.
In summary, it has a detergent-effect on pipes and reservoirs.
All that is required is to pour hydrogen peroxide at specific intervals into the reservoir and pipe inlets. About 100ml at each interval will do the job. This solution can also be used to clean shower pipes, however, a detachment may be necessary in this case.
Hydrogen peroxide has proven to be helpful in the removal of biofilm without affecting the surface layers.
Biofilms: The Serratia Marcescens
In many household bathrooms, it is possible to see a pink film. It looks like mold, however, it isn’t. The film is produced by a bacteria called Serratia marcescens.
From findings, this bacteria is associated with plumbing leaks. Therefore, if you observe a leak in your house’s plumbing network, it is important to hire a professional to fix it ASAP.
More so, the earlier the detection of this bacteria, the less damage is done.
What is Serratia Marcescens?
Serratia marcescens is a biofilm of bacteria that can be found anywhere, including soil, water, rocks, and other surfaces. However, they are majorly found in the bathroom.
This is because they seamlessly feed on the mineral deposits of the soap and fatty residues of the shampoo and shower gel. They can also spread to the shower curtains and toilets.
Notably, Serratia marcescens are airborne and can spread to every part of the house. This may result in various illnesses for household occupants.
How to Get Rid of Serratia Marcescens in Bathrooms and Toilets
- In preparation, it is wise to stay protected. This is achieved through the use of rubber gloves.
- Pour about 250ml of chlorine bleach into a toilet bowl. Scrub the bowl using a toilet brush to eliminate any signs of Serratia marcescens. Rinse this brush in the tub and place it back into its holder.
- Remove the toilet tank cover. Pour the chlorine bleach into the toilet tank and stir carefully.
- Allow the chlorine bleach to settle in the toilet tank for some time.
- You are required to flush the toilet a couple of times to ensure the bleach is removed from the tank.
- Carefully wipe all parts of the toilet clean with an effective disinfectant.
- Dispose of wipes after the cleaning process.
To effectively rid your bathrooms and toilets of the Serratia marcescens, you’ll need to note the necessary equipment that will be required.
- Rubber gloves
- A smooth scrubbing brush
- Disinfectant wipe
- Toilet bowl (advised to be disposable)
After the removal of Serratia Marcescens, they could grow back over time. Therefore, it is cogent to inculcate practices that will prevent resurgence.
These practices include:
- After complete removal, treat the bathroom surfaces with a biocide
- Make sure there is constant ventilation of the bathroom to prevent increased humidity.
- Ensure the exhaust fan is on before you shower and keep it on for some minutes after bathing
- Periodically scrub the bathroom walls with a wipe after bathing.
- Wipeout any soap residue that could metamorphose into a mold.
- Always endeavor to fix water leakage as soon as possible.
Biofilms can be very harmful to your home, if not removed in time.
Till now, a lot of people overlook the presence of biofilm in many parts of their homes and it is often regarded as normal dirt bearing an unpleasant outlook. However, it is more.
Serratia marcescens is an extremely harmful biofilm and can be found in a lot of bathrooms today. This depicts the state of household maintenance around the world. Many homeowners do not know the downside of these bacteria, which explains the lack of prompt action on their part.
We have discussed the necessary approaches to take care of biofilm within the house and the best practices to eliminate the growth on various surfaces. Also, remember that persistent action is required to stop the resurgence of biofilms when eliminated.
Through these tips, it becomes easier to eradicate and stop the growth of biofilms in your homes.
Related Cleaning Guides:
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- Sample Toilet Cleaning Checklist Template
- How To Clean A Bathroom Step By Step
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