During the pandemic clean, disinfected hands became the hygienic standards and therefore safe (public) bathroom environments came in the focus of the debate. A recent survey by Harrison Wipes in the United Kingdom has found people are more aware of cleanliness because of the coronavirus pandemic. This will reflect on using bathrooms outside of their homes since the covid numbers are dropping and the vaccination rates are rising. More people are returning to the public sphere and returning to shared (public) bathrooms.
Hygiene hazards in bathrooms
The list of hygiene hazards such as toilet clogs or contaminated surfaces make bathrooms a high risk area as research shows: a toilet or urinal flush can spread aerosolized particles carrying SARS-CoV-2 through the air and the number of viral particles are increasing after a toilet was flushed, and their concentration in the surrounding air remained high for 30 minutes or more after the flush.
Hand hygiene does not just require proper handwashing after using the restroom with soap and water or the use of hand sanitizers, it is also important to dry hands thoroughly. Wet hands attract and spread microbes more easily than dry hands. Ideally, hands should be dried using either individual paper towels or hand dryers which can dry hands effectively and as quickly as it can be done with paper towels.
As the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated: “To protect yourself against the new coronavirus, you should frequently clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Once your hands are cleaned, you should dry them thoroughly by using paper towels or a warm air hand dryer.”
Challenge the hazards
With those health hazards in mind, the awareness and the demand for healthy and hygienic bathrooms will remain high. As a result, companies have to maintain a high standard to make their customers and employers feel safe.
The investments often go into electric hand dryers and toward touchless solutions to guarantee the best and safest hand drying methods. Automated bathroom solutions are often a mixture of automated technologies and high-touch surfaces in washrooms, such as automated sinks and electric hand dryers coupled with manual-flush toilets and urinals. The goal is to achieve a maximally touchless experience.
In Germany it is even financially supported by the state when companies (restaurants) and public institutions want to switch to touchless environmentally friendly hand dryers.