In a tight spot?

09 September 2013

SCA’s Charlotte Branwhite looks at systems for the smaller washrooms of pubs, cafes, trains and aircraft that are hygienic, practical and attractive – while also fitting into those facilities where space is severely limited.

Public washrooms come in all shapes and sizes. Service stations and shopping centres often set aside spacious areas where large numbers of people can use the facilities at once. But conversely, very little space is set aside for toilet provision in environments such as city centre pubs and cafés where rents are high. Similarly in transport facilities such as aircraft and trains, washroom space needs to be restricted so that the number of passengers on board can be maximised. But every washroom, no matter how small, needs to be equipped with essentials such as toilet paper, soap and hand drying facilities for optimum hygiene and comfort.

This presents a challenge for companies when equipping a smaller washroom, since these facilities may need to cater for a high throughput of visitors despite their size. In the case of a café or pub, too, the washroom should also contribute to the customer’s favourable impression of the premises. And on an aeroplane or train there will potentially be no-one on board to service the toilet which means that the supply of consumables needs to last the journey.


Pubs, cafés and restaurants


In the smaller washroom of a smart city pub or restaurant, warm air dryers would take up valuable space and may also be unacceptably noisy in such confined quarters. A hand towel dispenser with a slim profile would be a good compact solution here, particularly one that has been designed to give out towels one at a time to discourage guests from taking out more than they need. This will ensure a continued supply of towels and reduce the need for extra maintenance checks.

Conventional toilet rolls may seem an obvious choice in a washroom where space is at a premium since these need only a small holder – or even no dispenser at all – to keep them in place. But toilet rolls tend to be either used up quickly or pilfered, which means that hygiene may be compromised and more maintenance checks will become necessary. 

A compact toilet tissue system offering single sheet dispensing will naturally limit consumption plus time spent refilling. Many companies also offer slimline folded toilet paper systems or compact, tightly-wound rolls in smaller dispensers. If these dispensers are lockable to prevent pilferage, so much the better, while tightly-wound rolls provide a long-lasting supply of paper and this will again prevent the need for more frequent maintenance checks.


Trains and aircraft



Different challenges exist when equipping the washrooms of trains and aircraft where relatively few toilet cubicles are provided for the large numbers of people whiling away the hours by taking in refreshments. Again a compact toilet tissue system offering single sheet dispensing works well here. 

Many manufacturers offer flushable hand towels for the washrooms on aircraft and on trains. Blockages should be avoided at all costs in such washrooms since it would be highly inconvenient if one of the toilet cubicles were to be out of action during a long flight or train journey. Flushable hand towels are designed to disintegrate quickly in water after drying the hands, and this helps to prevent blockages if users inadvertently put them down the toilet rather than in the bin. 

In any compact washroom, a mini soap dispenser containing a foam or liquid soap can be affixed to the wall to keep the limited basin and unit space clear. Many modern soap dispensers are designed to give out measured shots of soap, and this helps to prevent over-consumption and messy spills.

It is a tall order to provide smaller washrooms with low-maintenance, easy-to-clean systems that take up little space. However, this can be achieved with careful planning and by putting the right systems in place.