We know we don’t have to tell you, but having a clean washroom does wonders for staff morale. But what is more important is that it is kept eco-clean. The difference? Well, it comes down to the chances that bacteria, odours and other washroom nasties are given to take hold.
Dedication to being eco-clean has more benefits than simply the facilities looking good. It also means that workers’ health levels are also kept high, with the spread of illnesses and viruses drastically reduced.
Even when it looks clean, a washroom can be far from ideal from a health perspective. This is because the contaminators are minute, so far more intricate systems than a dustpan and broom is needed. That is why the majority of offices use dedicated service providers (like our own Fresh & Clean service).
You might wonder if it is really all that bad, what with the fact that you have probably used thousands of washrooms and public toilets in your time, and perhaps have never gotten ill. Well, it is a bit of a lottery who will be affected, but research has confirmed time and time again the health issues that exist – not least flu, ecoli and gastroenteritis, and even hepatitis A 1.
So, we’ve put together a short list of the type of issues that must be addressed if a washroom really can be considered eco-clean. From proper refuse disposal to guarding against cross contamination, these are essential key steps.
Proper Refuse Disposal
This is a basic expectation, putting tissues and other refuse in a bin. The problem, of course, is that bacteria is free to multiply, so if refuse is not disposed of properly they can spread onto other surfaces. So, suitably sized bins to take the expected volume refuse should be covered.
These bins should have biodegradable liners inside, allowing for easy and clean disposal of the filled bags, something that should be done every day.
Of course, the ladies washroom requires special facilities to accommodate the needs of users. For example, efficient sanitary napkin disposal units are essential allowing for easy and completely safe disposal.
The sophistication of these units is highly impressive, with leading brands providing a disposable biodegradable liner inside a discreetly designed cartridge, which also contains essential oil deodorisers. But the important factor is once the napkins are placed in, they cannot fall out.
The Odour Problem
The problem of odours in a washroom is something that we are conscious of. You know that dank, sickly-sweet smell that can greet us? Well, more often than not, the smell is caused by a build up of uric acid crystals on urinals and toilet bowels. Bacteria thrive in these crystals, so that ‘urine smell’ is a sure sign of poor hygiene standards.
The logical answer to the problem is to install automated air freshener dispensers – CFC free, of course! But these generally just over the problem Sanitisers are much more effective, which clean the surface of the urinals and the toilet bowels to prevent the build up of uric acid.
Risk of Cross Contamination
Of course, a key part of keeping your office washroom eco-clean is the prevention of cross contamination, something that is chiefly responsible for the spread of illness in the workplace.
There are a number of ways that cross contamination can happen: firstly, when we flush the toilet 1; secondly, when we use hot air hand-dryers 2; and finally, when we touch taps, sinks that are contaminated – in fact, research suggests sinks are the least hygienic areas 1.
The best way to battle these are to have the washroom regularly cleaned. Urinal and toilet sanitisers kills bacteria in the air, but also provide hand sanitisers for staff to wash their hands with. Finally, you could replace hot air hand dryers with cloth towel dispensers, with studies showing they isolate bacteria within the dispenser 3.
- ‘What Can You Catch in Restrooms?’, WebMB – http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/what-can-you-catch-in-restrooms
- ‘A comparative study of three different hand drying methods: paper towel, warm air dryer, jet air dryer’ K Redway and S Fawdar, School of Biosciences, University of Westminster, London
- ‘A comparative study of different hand-drying methods: continuous roller towel, paper towel, warm air dryer’ K Redway and S Fawdar, School of Biosciences, University of Westminster, London.