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September 2017

Toilet review: How gross is that toilet?

Written by Lemay Rogers
Cleanliness and Hygiene

For many of us the bathroom is a measure of the hygiene in an establishment.  How do you know your bathrooms have ticked all the boxes for hygiene and cleanliness? Make sure you meet the criteria in our toilet review.

Like most South Africans I have fond childhood memories of road trips. For us road trip holidays to the Eastern Cape coast had a set ritual:

Family gets home from work; go shopping; get home and pack clothing; pack the car and trailer; make snacks for the trip; go to sleep early (or pretend to sleep because you are so excited to see the sea); wake up at 4am; stop for breakfast at the 1-stop in Bloemfontein; stop for lunch at the 1-stop in Queenstown; arrive at destination around 16:30.

Although the process generally ran like clockwork the one thing you could never quite predict was the number of toilet break stops needed for the family.  It would depend on the amount of refreshments consumed on the trip but also the state of the facilities. The state of the facilities was generally the factor that would force my father to stop at numerous rest rooms on the route, until we found one in which the girls were comfortable.

During this time we used to joke about having a way of knowing which bathrooms to stop at.  Enter the age of mobile phones and apps, and we finally can.  In Nicole’s last blog “Up & coming: the 3 coolest hygiene innovationsr” we read about apps like SitOrSquat, Flush and Whizzer where you can rate and review the bathrooms you visit. Although there aren’t many South African reviews available, as these apps grow in popularity, I suspect you’ll not only be able to find a good facility, you’ll also see an increase in the quality of facilities.  

As we’ve seen with similar apps for restaurant and accommodation reviews, the power of social media word-of-mouth can attract customers to your establishment. If you are not careful, these reviews can also cause serious harm to your reputation. Hence my advice to businesses with bathrooms open to the public: take great care in managing these facilities. I would recommend you enlist a professional hygiene provider to ensure your reputation is protected.

When rating a bathroom one generally tends to focus on a few categories:

  1. Cleanliness: Is the facility well kept?  The floor and sanitary ware should be clean and checked regularly.
  2. Odour: Do you need a WWII gas mask to enter the facility?  The facility should have a neutral or pleasant smell.  One should also ensure the room is well ventilated with open windows or sufficient extractor fans. Smell is one of your most important senses and creates an immediate impression of your establishment.  Make sure your restaurant isn’t judged on an odour from the bathroom.
  3. Sanitary ware: Are the amenities in good condition?  The toilets and basins shouldn’t be stained or have cracks.  The toilet seats should also be in good condition and urinals well kept.
  4. Running water: Your facility should have running water to ensure customers can flush and wash their hands.
  5. Hand washing: Hand washing is of great importance; especially in public areas.  Ensure that your bathrooms are stocked with soap.
  6. Hand drying: Often missed, having paper towel or air dryers is important to ensure customer safety (through the minimising of slips due to water droplets), customer comfort as well as to minimise the risk of cross contamination.  
  7. Toilet paper:  Although difficult to manage, it is important that paper supplies are checked regularly to ensure your customers’ comfort.
  8. Pests: There is nothing more offputting than seeing a fly leave the bathroom when you enter.  Or to see a cockroach running under your feet while negotiating the confined space of the cubicle.  The impression it leaves with the customer is that these pests are probably in the kitchen too.  Make sure you have a reliable pest control company to keep your reputation intact.

For many of us the bathroom is a measure of the establishment.  As a business, ensure you are putting your best foot forward.  And as a user and potential critic, ensure that you are fair in your assessment.

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Lemay Rogers

Lemay Rogers

Lémay Rogers is the Marketing Manager for Rentokil Initial. When not contributing to the Initial blog, she is the custodian of all things Marketing for Rentokil Initial South Africa, and supports the Sub-Saharan African businesses. As a frequent traveller AND mother of a toddler, she is all too aware of how easily germs can travel with us, from one location to another and then back to our homes. Follow Lémay on Twitter and LinkedIn for practical advice on good hygiene practices, both at home and in the workplace.

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