The opportunities to install handwashing stations are often limited in commercial buildings, which is one of the reasons why hand sanitizer was such a valuable commodity during the early stages of the pandemic. Of course, a handwashing station requires rooms to have sinks, a set-up that’s often only found in lower levels of schools and healthcare facilities.

“There’s an opportunity to have handwashing stations in younger grades, where they’ll have a sink and soap and a paper towel dispenser,” says Schneringer. “As you get into the higher grades, you get the opportunity to provide hand sanitizer dispensers — either wall mounts or stands that could potentially work for that application.”

When sinks are not available, cleaning contractors need to look at the higher-traffic areas to realize where they want to place sanitizing stations. Consider high-touch areas like breakrooms, elevators and entrances to buildings.

Hand sanitizers aren’t considered as effective at stopping the spread of germs as handwashing, but in many situations they are the best alternative to keeping hands clean.

“Sanitizing is an interim opportunity to kill the germs or bacteria on hands, but the cells remain because nothing has been washed away,” says Lynch. “Sanitizer does kill germs and viruses but they do not clean hands, just reduce bacteria. BSCs need to stress that using running water and soap lifts the viruses off hands and disposes of them down the drain.”

As for the best hand sanitizer dispenser setup, distributors suggest hands-free, battery-operated devices that can be mounted on a wall. Free-standing dispensers are also available. Where to place those sanitizing stations, in addition to helping determine which ones are best for customers, is another way a contractor can help clients keep buildings open and safe.

“More so than liquid and foam soap, hand sanitizer has been the biggest change in our industry,” says Lynch. “More dispensers are being placed near facility access points. If people are coming in or exiting, they can use the sanitizer.”

Dave Lubach is a freelance writer and former associate editor at Facility Maintenance Decisions, a sister publication to Contracting Profits.

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