Five Tips For Hygienic Restrooms

Public spaces are scrutinized more than ever for cleanliness, and commercial restrooms are a big focus.

By Rachel Olsavicky
From the August 2020 Issue

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a new normal for today’s facilities, with hygiene now at the forefront of daily business operations. When it comes to lowering the risk of infection among workers and patrons, maintaining and enforcing proper hygiene is no longer a best practice—it is a necessity. As facility executives implement strategies to meet the demands of employees and customers, they must invest in solutions that create a safe and healthy environment for all.

commercial restrooms
Pay attention to high-touch surfaces when evaluating restroom cleaning protocols. Stock up on supplies, and consider how to reduce traffic in restrooms by limiting the number of people at one time. (Photos: Getty Images)

Since the start of the pandemic, Tork has supported businesses across industries with information on how to minimize contagion and meet hygiene-critical standards. So, what have we learned? Public spaces are more scrutinized on hygiene than ever before, and businesses who don’t make hygiene a priority will suffer.

commercial restrooms

As facility management teams navigate new safety protocols and processes, here are a few ways to prioritize safety and facilitate better hygiene habits in the restroom:

1. Pay attention to high-touch surfaces. It is critical that high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, soap dispensers, and faucets are regularly disinfected by facility cleaning staff. Guests can also minimize the spread of germs when they enter and exit a restroom by using paper towels to avoid dirty handles. In fact, 75% of end-users say they use paper hand towels to avoid touching different surfaces in public restrooms.

2. Stock up on supplies. Facility executives (or the cleaning contractors they’ve hired) should ensure personal protective equipment (PPE) is always available and accessible to cleaning staff during each shift. This equipment includes, but is not limited to, face masks, gloves, soap, hand towels, and disinfectant wipes.

3. Minimize foot traffic. Because COVID-19 is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets, it is important to minimize occupancy in the restroom at any given time. Think about things you can do differently to minimize traffic. Can you limit the number of people in your restrooms at one time, close the restrooms to facilitate deep cleaning in between large crowds, or block every other sink to encourage social distancing while handwashing? Such measures will go a long way when it comes to improving social distancing, and managing and containing the spread of the virus.

4. Placement is key. Proper dispenser placement is critical when it comes to encouraging hand hygiene. To boost hand hygiene compliance, facility management should ensure dispensers are located near the entrances and exits of restrooms and near restroom sinks. Signage can also help reinforce hand hygiene.

5. Switch to paper hand towels. Though some facilities may have previously installed jet or hot air dryers due to ease and efficiency, facility managers are rethinking daily operations through the lens of hygiene. Paper hand towels are the safest and most hygienic way to dry hands, particularly when compared to jet air dryers, which spread up to 10x more germs, according to one study.¹ Because jet air dryers blow water droplets from fingers into the air, they have also been identified as spreading more bacteria into the environment than other drying methods.²

By switching to paper hand towels, facility managers not only lessen the spread of germs and bacteria, but also improve guest satisfaction. According to a recent study from Tork, more than two-thirds of Americans prefer using hand towels to air dryers.³ In addition, paper towel systems are quicker for guests to use and for cleaners to service, allowing for shorter lines, which improves social distancing. [Editor’s note: The debate between the hygienic advantages of paper towels versus hand dryers in restrooms is ongoing. Click here for a related post on hand dryers from one supplier.]

Extra Attention For Restrooms

Maintaining a clean restroom environment has never been more critical, and not prioritizing hygiene could cause major hurdles in safety and business management.

¹ Best et al, J Hosp Infection, 2014
² Margas E. et al, J Applied Microbial, 2013
³ 2020 Survey conducted by United Minds in cooperation with CINT in April 2020. The survey covered the U.S., with a total of 1,012 respondents

Olsavicky is regional marketing manager, commercial & public interest for Essity Professional Hygiene. Tork is a brand of Essity, a global hygiene and health company that develops, produces, and sells personal care, consumer tissue, and professional hygiene products and solutions.

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