Safe Surface Science

Safe Surface Science

We are a group of scientists based at or collaborating with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, who have worked for many years on:

  • Healthcare-associated infections
  • The environmental components of infection prevention and control, including water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).

Many of us were actors in The Soapbox Collaborative – a small evidence-based charitable trust, which focused on improving hygiene at birth in maternity units in LMICs, and the legacy of this work lives on at the LSHTM and now in Safe Surface Science.

Safe Surface Science is vital right now

Environmental hygiene stands alongside hand hygiene as a critical action for the prevention and control of infections, including COVID-19. Cleaning of surfaces is the best way of maintaining a safe environment and particularly for those surfaces which hands frequently touch, such as door handles or taps. 

Why isn't hand hygiene enough?

While hand hygiene is crucial in preventing the transmission of infections, particularly in the fight against COVID-19, it is dependent on safe surfaces in the environment. 

If commonly-touched surfaces are contaminated and unclean, hands will become ‘re-contaminated’ even after hand hygiene has been performed. But the solution is simple. The most basic of interventions, cleaning, currently offers us an opportunity to reduce transmission. 

A mental model of how to block viral transmission
A mental model of how to block viral transmission
Adapted from:

Our aims in setting-up Safe Surface Science

  1. To help promote awareness & action on the potential contribution of environmental hygiene as a risk factor for COVID-19 transmission & mitigation in home, public and healthcare settings, & in high, medium & low-income settings.
  2. To highlight priority gaps in the evidence-base on environmental risks in the short-term for COVID-19 and in the longer term for HAIs, and the need for capacity-strengthening.

Please keep in touch with these pages to see our work and opportunities to collaborate.


5 tips for keeping hands safe after hand washing

An introductory video to the Safe Surface Challenge sharing 5 tips on how to keep hands safe after washing them whilst out and about in public and shared spaces. Watch this video to learn how we can all help in the fight against COVID-19!  


How to wipe surfaces

Watch this video to see the Clean Team's Dr Sam Tweed demonstrating how to effectively clean a surface, wiping in an S shape from clean to dirty. 



Tips for cleaning during COVID-19

The clean team:

Dr Alex Aiken

Professor Stephanie Dancer

Dr Giorgia Gon

Professor Wendy Graham

Claire Kilpatrick

Hattie Lowe

Emma Morrison

Rebecca White

Dr Susannah Woodd

Dr Sam Tweed