In addition to handicapped stalls, automatic toilet tissue dispensers are extremely useful for healthcare facilities, nursing homes or anywhere else where the spread of infection is a major concern to cleaning professionals, tenants and facility executives. According to a study by Dr. Charles Gerba, a professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona, toilet tissue dispensers in public restrooms have 150 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat. By removing a touch-point from the restroom, automatic toilet tissue dispensers prevent cross-contamination. 

“It’s one less piece of plastic that someone would have to touch, one less opportunity for cross-contamination in the restroom,” says Cain.  

To further reduce the potential of cross-contamination, dispensers completely enclose the tissue so users can only touch the tissue they are going to use. 

“You’re only touching the sheet that you’re going to be using, unlike a jumbo tissue or standard tissue; often you have to reach up and touch the roll to get it started if that sheet you’re going to be using isn’t exposed,” says Jill Lambrecht-Hudson, the vice president of sales and marketing at National Tissue Co., Cudahy, Wis. “So in a sense, you’d be contaminating the rest of the roll.”

When a tissue roll is covered, it not only is protected from users’ hands, but also from other germs found in a restroom. For example, when a toilet is flushed, the plume can release germs into the air. 

“We’ve read studies of the types of germs that can be found in hospital washroom or any kind of restroom stall. Because the roll is completely enclosed you don’t have to worry about those external factors in the air that would get on the roll,” says Cain. “In addition, the dispenser itself is easy to wash down so if you get in a situation where there are germs in the air, you can wipe down the dispenser, pull the tissue that’s showing and you’re ready for the next patient.” 

Touch-free operations are important for restroom aesthetics, and automatic toilet tissue dispensers can be one more item to promote an upscale image in Class-A offices and high-end retail stores and restaurants. 

“It’s all about the image,” says Lambrecht-Hudson. “It reflects on what is happening in the back of the house. If you walk into a restaurant and it’s filthy, you wonder how your food is being cooked.” 

Toilet tissue is the last area of the restroom to go touch-free. Over the years many suppliers have doubted the touchless movement would include toilet tissue, so it’s understandable if facility executives (and even some BSCs) are skeptical about this new innovation. But seeing is believing. Contractors should have facility managers test out a touch-free dispenser while comparing it to a more standard, manual dispenser.

“You’ve got to demonstrate it for them,” Lambrecht-Hudson says.  


Brendan O’Brien is a freelance writer based in Greenfield, Wis.


previous page of this article:
Touchless Toilet Paper Dispensers Aid Disabled Users