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?
When rating a bathroom one generally tends to focus on a few categories:
Cleanliness: Is the facility well kept? Are the floor and sanitary ware clean and checked regularly.
Odour: Does the facility have a neutral or pleasant smell? Smell is one of your most important senses and creates an immediate impression of the establishment. No one enjoys a foul odour from the bathroom.
Sanitary ware: Are the amenities in good condition? We tend to check whether toilets and basins are stained or cracked and whether the toilet seats are in good condition and urinals well kept.
Hand washing: Does the facility have handwashing and hand drying equipment? Handwashing is of great importance - especially in public areas - to minimise the risk of cross-contamination.
I used to think that those bathroom/toilet checks above were enough to conclude whether the bathroom in question was clean, but after digging a little deeper into ways to stay healthy I quickly learned that there is far more to establishing how gross a toilet is than just the impression we get from our five senses.
Would you believe me if I told you the “clean” toilet depicted in the image above may well be teeming with bacteria and viruses? There are several germs that may lie wait in our odourless, “clean” toilets that could be detrimental to our health. Gastrointestinal viruses, such as the norovirus, are easily transmitted and can survive on a solid surface like a toilet seat for about a week. Additionally, enteric pathogens such as E.coli, Salmonella, Shigella, and Campylobacter can be transferred by faeces. These are a but a few of the organisms one may come into contact with in a public bathroom. My advice to avoid “cheek-to-cheek” cross-contamination is to use a toilet seat sanitiser or disposable toilet seat covers, and if you’re a business owner or a facilities manager I’d recommend you schedule regular deep cleaning to coincide with your regular daily cleaning.
As we’ve seen with 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 your facilities. I would recommend you enlist a professional hygiene provider to ensure that your customers’ health is top of mind.
As a business, ensure that you are putting your best foot forward with your bathrooms. And as a user and potential critic, ensure that you are fair in your assessment.
For more helpful insights into hygiene, health and safety, subscribe to the Initial blog.