Whether it’s an office or a public washroom, their cleanliness is always under scrutiny – with a high percentage of people basing the cleanliness of a building on how clean their washrooms are.
However, whilst we’re in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and the public becoming more aware of the need to have a clean environment, the cleanliness of these high-traffic areas is critical.
In a recent study, Kimberley-Clarke Professionals asked consumers “What are the most important areas to improve hygiene in an office building?” Three in four thought the condition of the washroom was a reflection of how much the establishment cares about its consumers/visitors, while equally 75% thought the condition of the washroom is a reflection of the hygiene standards of the rest of the establishment.
And according to another study in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 77,000 distinct types of bacteria and viruses exist in toilets and washrooms. Due to the aerosol effect that occurs when a toilet is flushed with the lid open, harmful bacteria can easily spread throughout a restroom.
But even though the cleanliness of toilets come under intense scrutiny, they’re actually not the most unsanitary place. Many surfaces can harbour bacteria and viral infections, so in addition to your toilets it’s important that you or your cleaning teams disinfect the following high-touch washroom areas to prevent cross-contamination of surfaces:
Washroom Door handles
When going to and from the toilet, it can be hard to avoid touching the door handle – with germs being picked up and transferred. So, it’s important that either yourself or your cleaning teams disinfect washroom door handles regularly to reduce the risk of germs spreading.
Soap dispensers and dryers
With the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Public Health Wales reiterating the importance of maintaining good hand hygiene, soap dispensers are another area that is hard to avoid touching. With many washrooms not having touchless featured dispensers, push dispensers will harbour more bacteria due to frequent touching by those who have used the toilet.
Hot air hand dryers have also been shown to spread germs throughout a Washroom. In a recent study by applied and environmental microbiology, they found hot air hand dryers collect bacteria from the air and spread it onto freshly washed hands. Another study also found that jet-air dryers can spread 60 times more bacteria than warm air dryers and 1,3000 times more than paper towels. You can read more here
Installing or providing paper towel dispensers can be one way to help visitors and employees dry their hands without the potential risk of spreading germs. Placement is key, so consider placing paper towel dispensers near the exit so visitors or employees can use a paper towel to grab the door handle when leaving and place a bin next to the exit so that the towels can be thrown away.
In smaller workplaces, some employees or visitors will have to manually switch on and off the light. When it comes to cleaning, it can be easy to overlook light switches as a frequently touched area so it’s important that they are incorporated into a cleaning routine.
With many washrooms having designated stalls for those with disability issues and like door handles, these areas are unavoidable. To ensure that those using the disabled stall don’t spread bacteria and viruses, it’s important they are disinfected and are part of your cleaning regime.
When it comes to the stalls themselves, it can be easy to think that the stall latches, the floor and the toilet itself are the most important and only areas to clean. However, the walls of the toilet stall can easily harbour germs and bacteria – especially if someone has flushed with the toilet lid up. So, it’s important that you or your cleaning team incorporate this area into the cleaning routine.
Although we have highlighted 5 high touch areas within your washrooms, it’s important that you or your cleaning teams know how to effectively clean and disinfect them to prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses.
Clean before disinfecting
There is a common misconception that cleaning and disinfecting are the same thing, but they aren’t. Cleaning involves the removal of dirt’s, oils, debris, and grime from high touch surfaces whereas disinfecting will kill germs and bacteria living on these high touch surfaces. When cleaning it’s important that you use colour coded micro-fibre cloths to reduce cross-contamination of surfaces and use virucidal cleaning products.
Stay Educated and follow instructions
Aside from you or your cleaning team following proper cleaning protocols, it’s important to stay educated with the products that are being used to cleaning your washrooms and to follow the manufacturer’s directions. For example, some cleaning chemicals require contact time of up to 10 minutes whereas others may need 3 minutes. Also, some may need to be diluted down to avoid damaging surfaces.
Get the professionals in
With the recent pandemic causing businesses to ramp up their cleaning but also ensure that their work environment is safe, it can be a juggling act to ensure that everything is done correctly and to the letter.
Hiring a professional cleaning service like ourselves can take away your need to juggle so many things at once and allow you to focus on running your business whilst we ensure that your business is kept clean to a high standard and your employees can work in a safe environment.
For more information about our washroom services or commercial cleaning services give our team a call on 01656 713950 or visit our website for more details.