Getting a handle on washroom hygiene
09 October 2017
Washrooms may often seem neglected or an afterthought, but to users they can be the most important room in the building. It should come as no surprise then that some companies are continuing to innovate to improve washroom environments and hygiene, says Dave Carson of P-Wave
Compared to glass roofed atria filled with interesting sculptures or wood-panelled board rooms that reek of power, washrooms may seem a less than glamorous part of our work environment – and they often reek of something decidedly different to power – but they are something we can’t do without.
Their essential nature doesn’t mean they have to be ‘bog’ standard and utilitarian though. Just as their designs can be on trend, so too can the solutions for keeping them clean and hygienic. Bombarding the place with chemicals in the hope of killing all bacteria and removing any unpleasant smells will no longer wash!
A better atmosphere
Usually the most noticeable aspect of a washroom is its smell, after all you don’t always have to cross the threshold to know where the washroom is. That’s why air fresheners are an important part of the cleaners’ toolkit. A welcoming smell is a great start. Of course, there are many different types, but something natural smelling, strong and long lasting should be the starting point.
As well as air fresheners, there are a number of products to tackle the causes of bad smells. These include urinal and trough screens with protrusions which can capture the urine and stop it splashing onto the floor where it can seep into the grout in between tiles and make a lasting negative impression. Products can also help stop pipe blockages – another cause of nuisance smells – by catching bits of chewing gum or tissue before they go down the drain.
Nature can provide a helping hand too. Odour controlling enzymes can be introduced to products meaning that ‘good’ bacteria eliminates the smelly ‘bad’ bacteria which feeds on urine. Cutting out the smell at source in this way is far more effective and environmentally-friendly than using urinal blocks or harsh chemicals.
A door to better hygiene
No matter what products are used to keep washrooms hygienic, we’ve all seen the survey results that say too many people don’t wash their hands before leaving (and probably seen a few people dodging the sink to head straight for the door ourselves). This means the more responsible among us are faced with touching dirty door handles when trying to exit the room. This leads to a variety of escape methods such as just using the little finger (or for the more flexible the elbow), pulling your sleeve over your hand or grabbing a paper towel on the way out. These methods can now be consigned to the waste bin as new solutions are available to kill the bacteria on the door handle before it gets the chance to spread.
These include solutions that fit over existing door handles and push plates so that you don’t need to get a grip of anything unpleasant and costs are kept to a minimum. Silver ion technology can also be used to kill harmful bacteria. The technology is new to the washroom but based on tried and tested silver use in medical situations – and best of all, despite being silver-based, the cost is not prohibitive for this use.
Tackling odours and hygiene issues in the washroom is of great importance to the wellbeing of any work force. Along with the improvements in sickness rates generated, by showing employees you care about the washroom you show you care about them. Not something to be sniffed at!