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Why Have A Touchless Restroom?

Nov 15, 2020 | Blog, Restroom

Key Takeaways:

      1. Touchless restrooms significantly reduce the spread of germs and bacteria, promoting a healthier environment.
      2. Automated fixtures like touchless faucets, soap dispensers, and hand dryers improve overall hygiene by minimizing contact.
      3. Touchless technology enhances user convenience and satisfaction by offering a more efficient and modern restroom experience.
      4. These restrooms can lower maintenance costs due to reduced physical wear and tear on fixtures.
      5. Water and energy conservation is improved with the use of automated, sensor-activated devices.
      6. Touchless restrooms align with sustainability goals and appeal to environmentally-conscious users.
      7. Restroom feedback must also be touchless – use the cell phone

     

    Why have a Touchless Restroom? The Future of Public Hygiene

    A dirty public bathroom is terrible for business and a stain on an organization’s image. A Harvard Business School study shows that clean, working guest restrooms are critical for maintaining business reputation and revenue. They serve as a quality barometer for the brand. This means user feedback is vital for organizations. Yet restroom standards are poor despite handwashing standards improving.

    In fact, 70% of the respondents reported a recent unpleasant public bathroom encounter. This is up from 51% four years ago. Bradley Corp 2022

    Introduction – What is the Issue

    In an era where health and hygiene have taken center stage, touchless restrooms have emerged as a pivotal innovation in public and commercial facilities. These modern restrooms, equipped with automatic fixtures and sensor-activated features, offer a myriad of benefits that extend far beyond basic sanitation. This comprehensive article delves into the reasons why touchless restrooms are not just a trend, but a necessary evolution in public health and facility management.

    The Evolution of Restroom Technology

    Before we explore the benefits, it’s essential to understand the journey of restroom technology. Traditional restrooms, with their manual fixtures, have long been a breeding ground for germs and a source of user discomfort. The transition to touchless technology represents a significant leap forward in addressing these longstanding issues.

    Historical Context: The concept of public restrooms dates back to ancient Rome, but it wasn’t until the late 20th century that significant advancements in restroom technology began to emerge. The first wave of improvements included automatic flush toilets and motion-sensor faucets, primarily in airports and high-end hotels. However, these early iterations were often unreliable and viewed as luxuries rather than necessities.

    The Tipping Point: The global health crises of the early 21st century, including the SARS outbreak in 2003 and the H1N1 pandemic in 2009, heightened awareness of the importance of hand hygiene and the risks associated with touching surfaces in public spaces. This awareness laid the groundwork for the widespread adoption of touchless technology in restrooms.

    Current Landscape: Today, touchless restrooms incorporate a wide range of sophisticated technologies, from infrared sensors and microprocessor controls to IoT-enabled devices that can track usage patterns and maintenance needs. This evolution has transformed the restroom from a necessary facility into a cornerstone of public health strategy.

    Benefits of Touchless Restrooms

    There are are seven major theoretical benefits of touchless restrooms. We will conver each in turn.

    1. Reducing Germ Spread: The Cornerstone of Public Health
    2. Enhancing User Convenience: A Seamless Experience
    3. Improving Restroom Accessibility: Universal Design in Action
    4. Types of Touchless Fixtures: A Comprehensive Ecosystem
    5. Cost Efficiency and Sustainability: The Business Case for Touchless Restrooms
    6. Modern Appeal and User Experience: Elevating Brand Perception
    7. Compliance with Health Guidelines: Meeting and Exceeding Standards

    Seven benefits of a touchless restroom

    heartbeat icon  ONE: Reducing Germ Spread: The Cornerstone of Public Health

    The primary and most crucial benefit of touchless restrooms is their ability to significantly reduce the spread of germs and bacteria. This aspect has become increasingly important in light of recent global health events.

    Scientific Basis: Research published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology found that bacteria can survive on restroom surfaces for hours or even days. Common pathogens like E. coli and Salmonella can persist on surfaces like faucet handles and doorknobs, creating a chain of transmission from one user to another.

    Touchless Solutions: By eliminating the need to touch surfaces, automatic fixtures break this chain of transmission. Sensor-activated faucets, soap dispensers, hand dryers, and toilet flushers create a nearly contact-free environment, dramatically reducing the risk of cross-contamination.

    Impact on Public Health: A study conducted by the American Journal of Infection Control reported that implementing touchless fixtures in healthcare facilities led to a 75% reduction in surface bacteria counts. While this study focused on healthcare settings, the implications for other public spaces are significant.

    face happy icon TWO: Enhancing User Convenience: A Seamless Experience

    Touchless restrooms offer unparalleled convenience, transforming what was once a necessary but often unpleasant experience into a seamless and efficient process.

    Effortless Operation: With motion-activated fixtures, users can navigate the restroom with ease. This is particularly beneficial in high-traffic areas where quick turnaround is essential.

    Accessibility for All: Touchless fixtures are inherently more accessible to people with physical limitations. For individuals with mobility issues or those who find it challenging to grip or turn traditional fixtures, sensor-activated devices offer independence and dignity.

    Psychological Comfort: The knowledge that one doesn’t have to touch potentially contaminated surfaces provides psychological comfort to users, especially in public spaces. This comfort can lead to increased use of facilities, which is particularly important in workplace settings where regular restroom use is linked to better health outcomes.

    image icon THREE: Improving Restroom Accessibility: Universal Design in Action

    Touchless restrooms embody the principles of universal design, making facilities more accessible to a diverse range of users.

    Broader Reach: Beyond assisting those with physical disabilities, touchless fixtures benefit a wide range of users, including children who may struggle with traditional fixtures, elderly individuals with reduced dexterity, and people carrying items or managing young children.

    Compliance with Regulations: Many touchless fixtures help facilities comply with accessibility regulations such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). For instance, sensor-activated faucets eliminate the need for lever-style handles that meet ADA requirements, simplifying compliance while improving usability for all.

    Case Study: A major airport implemented fully touchless restrooms and reported a 40% decrease in complaints related to accessibility issues. This improvement not only enhanced the travel experience for passengers with disabilities but also streamlined operations for the facility management team.

    Access complaints decrease after touchless restrooms introduced

    aspengrovestudios icon FOUR: Types of Touchless Fixtures: A Comprehensive Ecosystem

    Modern touchless restrooms incorporate a variety of fixtures, each contributing to the overall hygiene and efficiency of the space. These might include some of those below:

    Sensor-Activated Faucets: These fixtures use infrared technology to detect hand movement, activating water flow without any physical contact. Advanced models can regulate water temperature and flow rate, further enhancing efficiency and user comfort.

    Automatic Soap Dispensers: These devices dispense a pre-measured amount of soap when hands are detected, ensuring consistent hygiene practices and reducing waste. Some models incorporate antimicrobial technology in the dispensing mechanism, further enhancing hygiene.

    Touch-Free Hand Dryers: High-speed, energy-efficient hand dryers activate automatically, providing quick drying without the need for paper towels. Many modern units incorporate HEPA filters to ensure that the air used for drying is clean.

    Sensor-Activated Toilets and Urinals: These fixtures flush automatically after use, maintaining cleanliness and reducing water waste. Some advanced models can adjust the flush volume based on usage, optimizing water conservation.

    Automatic Door Operators: While not always considered part of the restroom fixtures, touchless door systems complete the hands-free experience, allowing users to enter and exit without touching handles.

    money bag icon FIVE: Cost Efficiency and Sustainability: The Business Case for Touchless Restrooms

    Beyond the health and convenience benefits, touchless restrooms offer significant advantages in terms of cost savings and environmental sustainability.

    Water Conservation: Sensor-activated faucets and toilets can reduce water usage by up to 70% compared to traditional fixtures. This not only lowers utility costs but also aligns with water conservation efforts, particularly important in regions facing water scarcity.

    Energy Savings: Many touchless fixtures are designed with energy efficiency in mind. LED-illuminated sensors and low-power electronics contribute to reduced electricity consumption. Some facilities report energy savings of up to 20% after switching to touchless systems.

    Reduced Maintenance Costs: Touchless fixtures often require less frequent maintenance due to reduced wear and tear from manual operation. Additionally, the precise dispensing of water and soap leads to less overflow and spillage, reducing cleaning requirements.

    Waste Reduction: Automatic soap dispensers and hand dryers significantly reduce the consumption of disposable products like paper towels. This not only cuts down on purchasing costs but also reduces waste management expenses and environmental impact.

    Long-Term ROI: While the initial investment in touchless technology may be higher than traditional fixtures, the long-term return on investment is substantial. A cost analysis by the Green Building Council showed that touchless restrooms in commercial buildings could result in a 30% reduction in overall operational costs over a five-year period.

    bookmark star icon SIX: Modern Appeal and User Experience: Elevating Brand Perception

    The aesthetic and functional appeal of touchless restrooms can significantly impact a facility’s image and user satisfaction.

    Contemporary Design: Touchless fixtures often feature sleek, modern designs that enhance the overall look of the restroom. This contemporary aesthetic can elevate the perceived value of the entire facility.

    Tech-Forward Image: Implementing touchless technology demonstrates a commitment to innovation and user comfort. This can be particularly impactful for businesses looking to project a progressive, forward-thinking image.

    Improved User Satisfaction: Surveys consistently show that users prefer touchless restrooms. A study by the American Restroom Association found that 85% of respondents rated their experience in touchless restrooms as “excellent” or “very good,” compared to just 45% for traditional restrooms.

    Brand Loyalty: Positive restroom experiences can translate into improved brand perception and customer loyalty. In retail environments, clean and modern restrooms have been linked to longer shopping times and increased likelihood of return visits.

    certificate icon SEVEN: Compliance with Health Guidelines: Meeting and Exceeding Standards

    In the post-pandemic world, adherence to health guidelines has become more critical than ever. Touchless restrooms play a crucial role in meeting and often exceeding these standards.

    Alignment with CDC Recommendations: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends touchless fixtures as part of their guidelines for preventing the spread of infectious diseases in public spaces.

    Global Health Standards: Organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO) have emphasized the importance of hand hygiene in preventing disease transmission. Touchless restrooms support these global health initiatives by making proper hand washing more accessible and appealing.

    Preparedness for Future Health Crises: Implementing touchless technology positions facilities to be better prepared for future health emergencies, demonstrating proactive risk management.

    COVID – An Attitude Change?

    Today, the Coronavirus has changed the world’s view on so many things. One central area that has already seen dramatic change is personal hygiene. Handwashing habits have changed. Specifically people worldwide are taking notice of how often they pat their face, and how often they wash their hands with soap and water – now much higher than the previous study. Which means as hygiene awareness increases, one technology that is declining is the touchscreen –  especially in restrooms. They are not only capable of collecting feedback but can spread disease-producing microbes. Specifically they act as another fixture from which disease may arise, and cause person to person spread. No wonder demand is decreasing.

    Remember the public are now much more aware of their own exposure:

    Restroom users are more concerned about cleanliness

     

    Importantly, these type of bacteria seem also resistant to anti-bacterial treatment placed on the screen or its fixture. This means a real health hazard to any person connecting with surfaces even if they following handwashing and towel guidelines.

    This spread of germs is well documented and now impacting consumer demand in restroom fixtures. So how will business owners react to create a healthier restroom experience?

    How will public bathrooms change post-COVID 19, and why go touchless in a restroom?

    Despite frequently wiping down kiosk screens with sanitizer, merely cleaning it may not be enough, especially with the prevalence of Covid-19. With 34% of Americans not washing their hands after using the restroom, avoiding germs in a public washroom is nearly an impossible task.

    This perceived risk is higher now than before and the Coronavirus is accelerating demand for hands free fixtures. In fact, according to new research:

    91% of Americans believe it’s extremely or somewhat important that public restrooms are equipped with touchless fixtures – Bradley Corp.

    Touchless as a Solution

    To ensure customers’ safety and health and still receive the needed feedback to improve standards, custodial and janitorial managers need to employ more innovative feedback solutions. This includes a recommended 5-step process AND a touchless bathroom feedback system.

    For commercial restrooms, this removes the infection risk from screens yet improves operating standards by enabling on the spot feedback and an opportunity for an immediate resolution. This touchless approach can also replace employee checklists (never used).

    Hands free restroom equipment is the future and the Coronavirus has made touchless feedback a must.

    Third-party devices or screens are now a disastrous idea – and touchless restrooms are the new order of the day.

    As more commercial spaces are reopening around the country, Coronavirus has made touchless features a must-have. Facility and building managers now face the herculean task of keeping these restrooms and the workplace clean and safe while still ensuring a safe way of receiving customer feedback. It is not just about changing washing habits, sanitizer and social distancing anymore.

    Touchless restrooms are not only preferred – rather they are demanded.

    Touchless restrooms are now preferred

     

    New Processes Must Include Feedback

    Touchless restroom feedback systems like Opiniator are a convenient and durable method of receiving feedback from customers via their cell phones, avoiding contact with potentially infected surfaces, water, towels, bathroom doors, paper and screens. This touchless system eliminates screen contact, and it also reduces the cost of maintaining, or cleaning those devices.

    Contact with germs will decrease with the side benefit that the overall bathroom experience will be elevated and operating costs will decrease.

    Restroom managers can now improve maintenance and achieve cost savings by receiving feedback alerts directly from their customer’s phones. Signs within the restroom alert the user give a quick alert if something needs fixing. There’s no need to download an app – feedback can be sent effortlessly through QR code, website, phone call, or text message.

    Conclusion

    As the busy festive season gets closer, businesses need to better adapt toilet standards to consumers’ increasing safety requirements. If not, public restroom usage may decline yet the negative impression will continue. Specifically, building managers should plan for the hands-free future and introduce a touchless rating tool. Opiniator enables touchless feedback from users and staff . This helps improve service standards and maintain their brand’s image by delivering restroom hygiene and safety.

    For more detail including a short video – check the webpage.

    FAQ:

    Q1: What are the main benefits of having a touchless restroom?
    A1: The main benefits include improved hygiene, reduced spread of germs, user convenience, lower maintenance costs, and enhanced sustainability.

    Q2: How do touchless restrooms contribute to better hygiene?
    A2: They minimize physical contact with surfaces, significantly reducing the transmission of germs and bacteria.

    Q3: Are touchless restrooms more expensive to maintain?
    A3: No, they typically have lower maintenance costs due to less wear and tear on fixtures and more efficient use of resources.

    Q4: Can touchless restroom fixtures help in water conservation?
    A4: Yes, sensor-activated devices ensure water is only used when needed, leading to significant water savings.

    Q5: What types of fixtures are commonly found in touchless restrooms?
    A5: Common fixtures include touchless faucets, soap dispensers, hand dryers, and automatic flush toilets.

    Q6: Why might businesses choose to install touchless restrooms?
    A6: Businesses may install them to promote hygiene, enhance customer satisfaction, reduce maintenance costs, and support sustainability efforts.

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