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July 2019

Unisex bathrooms and what that means for hygiene

Written by Bakang Kganyago
Workplace Hygiene

Unisex or gender neutral bathrooms are becoming more common within our society. With them come some unique challenges of which business owners should be aware.

In this article we will wade in on why some deem it important to establish more unisex bathrooms in modern society, as well as looking at some of the challenges faced when establishing unisex bathrooms and what you’ll need to meet all the hygiene and practical requirements of unisex bathrooms.

Why Are Gender Neutral Bathrooms becoming So Important?

Progress is certainly being made in creating a society that is more accepting and accommodating of the LBGTQ community, as the first group of people to benefit from gender neutral bathrooms would certainly be transgender and non-binary people. Unisex bathrooms help make gender-nonconforming people feel safer in public spaces. 

Furthermore, unisex bathrooms also benefit gender-conforming people, as they provide a safer environment for families. For example, a situation where a father can safely accompany his young daughter into the bathroom without worrying that the other female users may feel threatened. There have been several unpleasant incidents in the news recently of attacks on young children who have been sent into bathrooms unaccompanied, and as such having unisex bathroom could help mitigate the risk of such events.

Additionally, people with disabilities who have carers of a different gender can benefit from unisex bathrooms, as they would be able to have their carer freely assisting them.

The Challenges Posed by Unisex Bathrooms

When creating a unisex bathroom, the main challenge is how to establish privacy within the bathroom. You may consider removing urinals entirely, however, keeping them may reduce waiting times for female users and for obvious reasons will help keep toilets clean. An alternative would be to install modesty screens between urinals or install urinals at a different section of the bathroom, perhaps behind a partial wall obscured from view.

Catering to Female Hygiene Requirements

One important thing to keep in mind is that men and women have different bathroom hygiene requirements, and the failure to cater to each requirement may present great health hazards to bathroom visitors. 

Disposing of sanitary waste is not only a sensitive issue, but also an issue of good hygiene, therefore providing females with a discreet and hygienic way to dispose of feminine hygiene waste in serviced feminine hygiene units is a vital part of providing a clean and pleasant unisex bathroom environment. Additionally, those units need to be well serviced to ensure that a constantly high level of bathroom hygiene is maintained.

Catering to Men’s Hygiene Requirements

Assuming that the bathroom still has urinals, urinal sanitisers are mandatory to maintain a fresh and sanitary environment without odour. Alternatively, if you wish to rule out having urinals altogether, perhaps for privacy reasons, toilet seat sanitisers that dispense a cleansing solution that can be used to clean the seat before use, or for the unfortunate spill on the rim/seat, are an excellent addition to the overall hygiene standards of your bathroom.

Other Hygiene Requirements

Things that you can add to help improve everyone’s bathroom experience are: soap dispensers, as good hand hygiene is the simplest and most effective way of reducing the spread of infectious diseases and  air care solutions, which reassure users that your bathroom is clean and cared for and address the misnomer that shared bathrooms may run the risk of having odour problems.

Gender neutral bathrooms are beneficial to all of us in one way or another, but careful attention needs to be given to providing an environment that is not only inclusive but also hygienic, tending to every visitor’s hygiene needs.

Make sure your bathrooms, unisex or not, are kept hygienic and clean at all times. Contact us for a comprehensive solution.

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Bakang Kganyago

Bakang Kganyago

Bakang is a Digital Marketing Executive for Rentokil Initial. A germaphobe at heart, he's passionate about learning and sharing insights on how to defeat the enemy we cannot see. Join his journey as he writes about the impact of germs in our daily lives.

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