Once placement of sanitizers is determined, facility cleaning managers must decide on which dispenser best fits their needs. Mann personally likes the automatic dispensers, which he touts as being reliable and always dispensing the perfect dose.

“When it comes to the sanitizer itself, people also tend to prefer the foams,” he adds. “Foam is nice because it is easier to control and you get full coverage.”

Foam, versus the gel counterpart, also tends to cause fewer spills around dispensers. But when using either option, experts recommend adding a drip tray under dispensing units. Trays can help protect floors from becoming slippery and hazardous.

“Drip trays are important because people will stick their hand in a dispenser and the product will start to dispense, but they pull their hand away too quickly,” says Hicks. “It is necessary to have a drip pan there, because of the damage sanitizers can do to floor finishes, carpets or other surfaces.”

Signing Up

No matter what type of product or dispenser is used, hand hygiene compliance in schools can increase with awareness. Signs touting the steps to proper handwashing and awareness programs on how germs are spread will educate students and staff on how and when to wash up.

Signs should be colorful, interesting or funny. They should be consistent in their messaging and placed in prominent locations throughout the school. Many schools will also get student groups involved in spreading the messaging of proper hand hygiene, by having them speak to younger students about how germs are spread and what can be done to prevent them. 

No matter what initiatives are in place, it is important that the overall message is to encourage people to wash their hands, and do it properly.

“It’s getting building occupants to remember,” Hicks says. “One of the greatest opportunities to break that chain of infection is clean hands and clean surfaces.” 

JON DePAOLIS is a freelance writer based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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