Some experts suggest strategically placing hand sanitizers both within and outside of restrooms, but others emphasize the need for sanitizing stations peppered throughout a facility. 

“Alcohol-based hand sanitizers, at least 60-percent alcohol, should be everywhere, as they help those persons who don’t have the right soap-and-water handwashing, which is most people,” says Rathey. Also, at IHC, we are not big fans of fragrances, as these consist of petrochemicals which may have harmful health impacts. However, if a fragrance encourages proper hand hygiene, then we are in favor of it as the lesser of two evils.” 

Sawchuk discourages the use of scented room fragrances in the restroom because of their tendency to cover up foul smells that are indicative of a problem.  

“Malodors should be addressed by finding the source and eliminating it, not masking the symptoms,” he adds. 

When it comes to honing in on what might be best for the facility in question, experts suggest distributors focus on facility traffic, hand-touch patterns, and the surfaces touched before making bundle recommendations. Additional considerations include the age of the people using the facility and if there are any health concerns, which may prove difficult to determine. Distributors are also encouraged to ask about the cleaning schedule and frequency, and what type of staff is tasked with completing the work. 

Sawchuk advises jan/san distributors to ask about their customers priorities. Are they cleaning for health? Are they focused on green cleaning? Or are they looking for the lowest prices? From there, distributors can better tailor restroom product bundles that fit those needs and objectives. 

Other areas worth exploring include challenges end users are currently facing and why these are an issue. Consider volume loads and traffic patterns; what people are using the building for and what their preferences may be; and the type of custodial equipment and hardware currently being used. 

As for technology, such as electronic/motion sensors or IoT (Internet of Things) dispensers, these can be beneficial especially for larger facilities or those with heavy traffic, since they can alert to changes in usage patterns or when product is running low, allowing for a proactive response. Additionally, the data they can generate can prove helpful. One caveat though; it’s best not to place these options where abuse is likely to happen. 

Although experts say sensor and analytic technologies can noticeably reduce consumable costs, they advise against deploying technology simply because it’s available. 

“There must be a clear business objective that the technology is used to solve, and there must be before and after KPIs (key performance indictors) that need to be measured,” Sawchuk explains. “There are other considerations, but these two are the most important.” 

Presented effectively, offering hand hygiene bundles can help jan/san distributors grow their incremental sales, their gross profits, and better differentiate their company from competitors. 

For the clients, if done properly, they should get a better return for their objectives and priorities,” he adds, “including an overall lower cost of the program consumables and labor with higher satisfaction by their building occupants.” 

Sidebar: Getting it Right 

Distributors can supply end users with a preferred bundle of hand hygiene products, but even the most efficient and appealing set up won’t guarantee handwashing compliance from occupants. The top hand hygiene programs combine products with initiatives to encourage consistent handwashing, and distributors can set themselves apart by highlighting these opportunities. 

One initiative seeking to address this situation is “Healthy Schools, Healthy People,” a joint effort between the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Cleaning Institute (ACI). This initiative provides teachers, administrators and students with various resources, such as the “Commit to Clean” toolkit, interactive games, on-demand, best-practices webinars, and a newsletter to help educate and drive home the important of good hand hygiene. 

There’s also the Indoor Health Council (IHC) which offers the Clean Hands Certified (CHC) Credential for Service Professionals. Participants learn handwashing technique through a demo video, assisted by handwashing proctors who teach/confirm the right steps to take. Timing — for example washing after sneezing, before and after eating, using the restroom, touching shared surfaces/objects, etc. — is also covered.   

“A cash incentive program with monthly milestones during a one-year program will help forge proper habits,” says Allen Rathey, director of the IHC. “Clean Hands Certified workers will contribute to better health, less absenteeism, and a better bottom line for business.”  

Pamela Mills-Senn is a freelance writer from Long Beach, California. She is a frequent contributor to Sanitary Maintenance. 

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Improving Hand Hygiene with Product Bundling