Ask the Expert (Restroom Maintenance)
How Can We Minimize Germs in Restrooms?
- By Will Haas
- January 1st, 2017
Avoiding contact with germs in restrooms is an important health topic, particularly during
the winter months when cold and flu illnesses are
prevalent. To start, frequent and thorough hand
washing is a must when it comes to stopping the
spread of germs. That means washing vigorously
with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and
drying thoroughly. Setting water temperature at
a comfortable warm temperature (roughly 100°F
or 38°C) will help support the hand washing
process. Posting signage with friendly reminders
about hand washing near sink areas, and verbal
reminders from teachers, including “hand washing
breaks” before snacks and lunch can also help
reinforce hand washing habits.
Regular restroom maintenance checks are
also mandatory. These check-ins should ideally
include cleaning and sanitizing of commonly
touched surfaces — faucets, sinks, partition
latches and entrance doors. It’s also important
to restock soap and paper towels to help ensure
hands can be completely cleaned and dried.
As for restroom design and products, touchless
fixtures help minimize touchpoints on germridden
restroom surfaces. In 2011, University of
Colorado researchers examined the microbial
biogeography of public restroom surfaces and
found that the hand washing process was
responsible for significant bacterial exposure, as
soap dispensers contained even more bacteria
than toilet seats. Using sensor-operated faucets,
flush valves, soap dispensers, hand dryers and
paper towel dispensers will reduce germ contact
and cross-contamination from users’ hands.
In addition, consider lavatory units made of
non-porous sustainable materials that do not
support microbial growth. Also look for units that
feature seamless molded construction, so there
are no cracks and crevices for germs and dirt to
build up. Lavatory countertops and sinks that
employ a smooth and seamless contoured or linear
design are also very easy to wipe down.
This article originally appeared in the January 2017 issue of School Planning & Management.
Will Haas is a product manager for Bradley Corporation. He can be reached at 800/BRADLEY or www.bradleycorp.com.