How School Custodians Can Reduce School Absenteeism, Promote Hand Washing

Each year, it is estimated that 32 million school days are missed due to flu while up to 180 million school days are lost due to the common cold. School administrators are well aware that increasing proper hand washing is effective in decreasing illness. The experts at Kutol Products Company, manufacturers of commercial hand soap products, help schools go beyond hand washing basics and provide advice on how schools can use custodial services to promote better hand hygiene habits and help decrease sick days.  

“We call it the S.A.F.E. approach and it specifically addresses what can be implemented by custodians to assure optimum hand washing habits,” notes Dan Renner, marketing director for Kutol Products Company. “S.A.F.E. goes beyond encouraging hand washing after using the restroom and singing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice while lathering.  These are four easy steps that school custodians can implement to promote better hand hygiene.”

The S.A.F.E. approach:

S = Sanitizers. Install hand sanitizing stations throughout the building to supplement hand washing activity. A study of school-age children (Morton, Schultz 2004) found that using sanitizer in combination with hand washing is effective in reducing absenteeism due to infectious illness by 43%. There is a wide array of sanitizers available on the market, however non-alcohol based hand sanitizers, such as Kutol’s Foaming Instant Hand Sanitizer (No Alcohol), are much safer for school environments than alcohol-based products.

A = Allergen-Free.  Avoid hand soaps with allergens. Have custodians stock hand soaps that are free of dyes, fragrances, parabens, sulfates, and peanut or tree nut ingredients, as these are best suited for users who might have allergic reactions. An extra dimension of security is added by using allergen-free products that do not contain formaldehyde preservatives, such as Green Seal™ certified Kutol Foaming Ultra Green Hand Soap. 

F = Foam for Fun.  Foaming hand soaps and hand sanitizers are more cost-effective and children love them. It is easy for custodians to switch out liquids for foaming products in most dispensers. In a Minnesota study, it was found that using foaming hand soap in schools increased hand washing rates by 75%!

E = Explain with Posters or Signage. Custodians can post signs to encourage proper hand washing. Studies show having signage in restrooms almost doubles hand washing activity, as well as increasing the likelihood of using hand soap.

Following the S.A.F.E. approach, custodians become an important factor in implementing a comprehensive hand hygiene program to help reduce lost school days.