Minimizing cross-contamination in the restroom is not new to custodial managers, and product manufacturers are always looking to aid in the process. In recent years, newer products have emerged that are specifically designed to improve toilet tissue sanitation. Similar to a paper towel dispenser or a box of facial tissues, there are toilet tissue dispensers that dispense one tissue at a time.

When toilet tissues pop up one at a time, restroom patrons don’t have to touch the roll to find the end. Users touch only what they intend to use.

Some commercial dispensers allow the tissue to be exposed and are thus susceptible for tissue to human transmission of bacteria commonly found in restroom environments. But although the end of the tissue is exposed, Tanner points out that the exposure is not for very long, which limits the risk of contamination. 

Also relatively new to the market within the last three years are single-dispensing, centerpull tissue dispensers.

These tissue dispensers feature a completely enclosed tissue roll, with sheet-by-sheet feeding of the tissue from a small nozzle in the front (as opposed to pulling multiple sheets from underneath in traditional tissue dispensers). Manufacturers comment that because the tissue has not been exposed, grabbed or touched, these dispensers can help reduce the chance of cross-contamination.

Electronic tissue dispensers are also an option for facilities that demand hygiene. Some healthcare facilities, such as acute care hospitals, and long term care and assisted living facilities are already using the technology.

These are enclosed dispensers that distribute toilet tissue at the wave of a hand. Experts like that the no-touch dispensing and the fully enclosed tissue reduces the likelihood that bacteria or other pathogens can be spread from touching the dispenser or the exposed toilet tissue.

No matter which dispenser custodial managers choose for their restrooms, experts stress that the need for external cleaning and disinfecting of these surfaces is the same as it is for other hard surfaces within the restroom environment. 

REBECCA KANABLE is a freelance writer based in Milton, Wis.

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Minimizing Microbes on Toilet Tissue Dispensers