Hygiene Considerations in Commercial Restrooms
The decision to invest in new amenities or compliant appliances for your commercial facility should always place emphasis on health and wellness above all else. Hygiene is a major deterring factor for most customers entering an unkempt bathroom. According to a Cintas proprietary research study, 80% of restroom users rate the cleanliness of a commercial bathroom based on the availability of paper towels, but customers rely on many other consumable goods and fixtures when making their decisions to use an establishment. Hygiene considerations in commercial restrooms include compliant signage for customers and employees, standard operating procedures for cleaning, and updated technology to reduce environmental impact while helping customers reduce risks of contamination or transfer.
In his article on restroom hygiene, Thomas Westerkamp argues that restroom floors, walls, partitions, counters, and fixtures all carry microbes and disease-causing bacteria if they are not properly cleaned, maintained and periodically upgraded. As technology continues to adapt, studies show the degree to which public restrooms can be made more hygienic by implementing touch-free amenities such as paper towel dispensers, hot air dryers, soap dispensers, and other common bathroom fixtures.
Antibacterial soap is just one of the many hygiene considerations in commercial restrooms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims that lathering and scrubbing hands creates friction, which helps lift dirt, grease, and microbes from the skin. Without an adequate means to dry hands, research shows that the risk of contamination increases due to the transfer of pathogens. Paper towels are favored for healthcare environments according to “The Hygienic Efficacy of Different Hand-Drying Methods” by research students at the School of Public Health and Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation at Queensland University of Technology. Air dryers are preferred by business owners because they last longer, require less expendable costs, and eliminate the need for contact, but this same study argues that they are not efficient in locations where hygiene is paramount.
One of the most important hygiene considerations in commercial restrooms involves education. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires certain signs to be posted as well as design guides that ensure your commercial restroom is accessible to individuals with blindness or a range of differing abilities. Each state holds specific regulations for handwashing codes and requirements to ensure your employees are reducing the risk of contamination and unsafe handling. Consult and verify all design distances and heights as well as signage requirements with local codes or ordinances, because they often supersede federal requirements.
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