With the expected phased opening of hospitality establishments over the summer, managers are turning their attention to measures to stop the spread of the virus, in the air and on surfaces, not least on table tops.
Coronavirus On Hard Surfaces
According to well-publicised studies, Coronaviruses can live for up to perhaps 5 days on hard surfaces (copper being the notable exception; more later).
So to halt transmission of the virus, surfaces should be regularly cleaned, and it is at least heartening that Coronaviruses, including Covid-19, can be killed fairly easily, using the right products and methods. A Coronavirus is what is known as an ‘enveloped virus’, which means that they’re wrapped in a protective layer of lipids (fat) and proteins. This layer of fat can be dissolved with soap or disinfectant or alcohol, all of which then also kill the virus.
How To Clean Your Tables Tops
Despite a strong instinct to clean everything with disinfectant or strong chemicals, we still recommend that ALL table tops be cleaned with warm soapy water. This was our advice pre-Corona and it remains our advice when also considering the need to destroy the virus, although tops should be cleaned more regularly.
The longer soap is left on a surface, the more effective it is likely to be, although the Government advice to wash your hands for 20 seconds implies that the virus is removed or killed within this time. Equally, the more regularly you clean a surface, be it your hands or a restaurant table top, the more likely it is that the virus is eliminated.
Alcohol, bleach, disinfectants and sanitisers should be avoided, particularly on timber tops for reasons highlighted here: Never Use Sanitiser On Wooden Table Tops https://info.thecontractchair.co.uk/blog/never-use-sanitiser-on-wooden-table-tops
Caring For Your Table Tops
Many table tops will be damaged by what might once have been considered an overly-vigorous approach, but is now likely to be a central part of anti-virus measures. Even washing with soap will eventually cause wear on the most vulnerable materials, which are usually natural materials, notably wood, but most stone surfaces (including marble) can also be damaged pretty easily.
Oiled, sealed and waxed table tops
Outdoor wooden tops are often oiled, stone tops are usually sealed and metal tops are generally waxed. The more any of these are cleaned, the more often they also need re-oiling, sealing or waxing.
If your table tops are timber (this includes veneer) they are likely to have been finished with a lacquer. Take extra care to wipe away all soap residue after cleaning and leave the surface dry.
Extra Protection For Vulnerable Table Tops
Suppliers are rushing to provide clear plastic layers that can be cut to size (this cutting is a factory process) and laid on a table top, so providing a robust layer protecting the actual table below it. As a guide, these currently cost around £40 for a small-ish table top.
Table Tops For The Covid Era
With so many unknowns remaining about the virus, no doubt this is a subject that will evolve over the coming weeks. We do not yet know if antibacterial products are also effective against CoronaVirus, but as soon as we hear more, we will update this information. In the meantime, we recommend the cleaning and care outlined above, and:
Tablecloths can be washed between sittings, providing visible reassurance to customers. In addition, it is likely that Covid-19 survives for less time on, and is picked up less easily from fabric surfaces.
Copper Table Tops
Copper has long been known as a ‘curing’ metal, and this quality has been underlined during the pandemic. Copper ions apparently attack the cellwall of a Coronavirus, destroying the genetic material, so the virus cannot mutate. Viruses that settle on a copper or copper alloy surface are killed in minutes. This was evidenced by Professor Bill Keevil, director of the Environmental Healthcare Unit at the University of Southampton, based on global scientific literature and 20 years of research, quoted on Radio 4 (at 7.25am on 27th May if you want to listen on catch-up). Be aware that a lacquer layer on a copper surface will remove this quality, a ‘raw’ copper top appears to be virtually the only surface that will actually destroy Covid-19. Click below see our offering:
Please do get in touch with us for more information on this developing subject or with any furniture enquiries.