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February 2017

Public bathroom standards: sanitary nightmare or hygiene heaven?

Written by Nicole Horne
Feminine Hygiene, Bathroom Hygiene, Handwashing and Hand Hygiene

Public bathroom standards: sanitary nightmare or hygiene heaven?

Public bathrooms are the subject of our latest blog post. Does the available research confirm their status as sanitary nightmare or are they actually more hygienic than we think? Read the blog to find out. 

Biggest bathroom hygiene pet peeves

Most of us, like myself, cringe at the mere thought of having to use public toilets. In most cases, our expectations of a well equipped, hygienic bathroom are met with the stark reality of my pet peeve: no toilet paper and no soap! Public bathroom standards - sanitary nightmare -2

Or those bathrooms in which you have to place toilet paper over the toilet seat, or flush the toilet before bolting out in fear of the sneeze effect. 

But new research in the European Cleaning Journal of Applied and Environmental Microbiology has revealed shocking news;  that public bathrooms are far less germy than we think! In fact, the research shows that they are rarely more unhygienic than the average toilet at home!

Is bacteria found in restrooms dangerous?

The study’s co-author Jack Gilbert said, “The restroom isn’t that dangerous. The organisms that can grow there have a very low probability of being able to cause an infection.”

Despite this, the number of bacteria found in public restrooms was still high, amounting to an average of 500,000 bacterial cells per square inch on all surfaces.

While it’s a heartening study, other tests haven’t proved quite so positive. One test from the University of Arizona in 1997 found remnants of faecal bacteria, salmonella and typhoid fever in one in ten public toilets.

Which study you choose to listen to possibly depends on your general outlook in life, but it’s a wake-up call for your hygiene practices. (Why don't you take our hygiene quiz on bathroom etiquette, to see just how good your personal hygiene actually is?)

No matter what the research may say on public bathrooms, we believe they should be kept as clean and hygienic as humanly possible.

what should public bathroom standards be?

As a bare minimum, we believe that public bathrooms should have a sanitary waste disposal solution in place, as well as hand washing and drying solutions. Initial can help with both of these, providing you with high-quality, hygienic bathroom services.

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Nicole Horne

Nicole Horne

Nicole is a Digital Marketing Executive at Rentokil Initial Hygiene in Johannesburg. A self-proclaimed germaphobe, her love for hygienic environments and curiosity of all things “beneath the surface” fuels her enthusiasm for writing about the impact of germs in the workplace. She is passionate about creating awareness and sharing her knowledge on the impact of good hygiene practices. Follow Nicole on Twitter and LinkedIn for updates on the the good, the bad and the germy.

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