For BSCs that supply customers with bulk soap dispensers, Dr. Gerba recommends switching from an open system to a sealed-cartridge soap system. Sealed systems are not only more hygienic but easier to maintain, according to manufacturers.

“Sealed soap systems eliminate the risk of contamination through contact or the environment, making them safer and healthier for the user,” says Renner. “Every sealed soap cartridge is fresh, clean and germ-free. When it’s put into the dispenser, there’s no way to open it and contaminate it, or allow air or water in.” 

In just over 40 percent of the cases, BSCs mandate what type of soap dispenser a customer purchases, according to Contracting Profits’ “2017 Report On The Building Service Contractor Market.” The rest of the time they have to service whatever type of dispenser is on the wall. 

Faivre recommends charging a premium to service bulk dispensers because of the time involved in maintaining them. Next, to sway customers toward a sealed system, she suggests focusing on potential labor and time savings compared with refillable systems.

“One of the benefits of a sealed system is the maintenance,” says Faivre. “When we measured the time it takes to change a cartridge, we found that it takes six seconds to switch out a cartridge versus 30 seconds to top up a bulk dispenser.”

Bulk dispensers can also be difficult to refill, resulting in spills and drips that take additional time to clean up.  

But most importantly, manufacturers encourage BSCs to promote the health benefits of a sealed soap system and their effect on hand-washing compliance.

“The benefits of a sealed soap system are healthier employees, as well as less illness and absenteeism,” says Renner. “Contaminated bulk soap can transfer to the hands, which in turn can be transferred throughout the facility, spreading germs to others.”

BSCs should also promote the clean look of a sealed system. 

“A BSC doesn’t want to have to explain a nasty-looking dispenser or answer to a complaint about sick or unhappy employees or visitors,” says Renner. “Dirty, unsightly dispensers quickly discourage hand washing, which is the single most effective defense against the spread of colds, flu and other illnesses.”

Appearance Matters

A clean, attractive-looking soap dispenser not only encourages hand washing but elevates the image of the restroom — and, by extension, the company. 

“We work extensively with building service contractors, and you quickly learn the restroom is the area of facility service that’s the source of most complaints,” says Wojtkun. “A sanitary, sealed system may seem at face value to be an insignificant improvement, but we believe it’s an appreciable, easily implemented upgrade for the restroom.”

For those customers who are still on the fence about switching to sealed systems, Wojtkun advises BSCs to emphasize the importance of a positive hand-washing experience. 

“In an office building, for example, every person will frequent that restroom about four times a day on average,” says Wojtkun. “And let’s hope every person will wash their hands after using the restroom. There are few, if any, other things you can be assured of in a facility that every person, every day will interact with to that frequency.”

For this reason, both BSCs and their customers stand to benefit if the soap dispensers in that restroom operate as smoothly and effectively as possible. 

“Whether it’s a school or office building, better stocked, cleaner, neater restrooms can make students and tenants happier,” says Wojtkun. “And I hope that’s something customers would aspire to.”  

Kassandra Kania is a freelance writer based in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is a frequent contributor to Contracting Profits. 


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Many BSCs Don't See Value In Bulk Dispenser Cleaning