The importance of proper handwashing is commonly underestimated when it comes to preventing illness and reducing absenteeism, and facilities do this at their own risk and expense, cautions Allen Rathey, director of the Indoor Health Council (IHC), Nampa, Idaho. 

“The costs of illness and absenteeism due to lack of handwashing in business is substantial and can have negative effects on the economic and health outcomes of workers, customers and society,” says Rathey.It’s important to promote and practice good hand hygiene habits in the workplace. This can help reduce transmission of infectious diseases and improve productivity and wellbeing.” 

The IHC provides the Clean Hands Certified (CHC) Credential for service professionals. Consequently, Rathey believes first and foremost in the importance of educating people about the nuts and bolts of handwashing such as technique (how to wash) and timing (when to wash) as well as providing incentives to do so. Still, he acknowledges that products like soaps and dispensers can play a role in encouraging optimal hand hygiene. 

Distributors are essential to this effort as well, by devising and customizing product bundles that support the best hand hygiene program for their customers. These bundles can include different soap types, paper or air-drying options, dispenser options, fragrance recommendations, and internet of things (IoT) devices such as sensors. 

Bundling these solutions will not only create a more coherent approach that could benefit the building’s inhabitants and visitors, but product bundles can also be a profitable strategy for distributors while saving their customers money, says Kristin DiNicolantonio, senior director, stakeholder communications for the American Cleaning Institute (ACI), Washington, D.C 

Although product bundles will differ somewhat depending on the type of facility education, healthcare or commercial office some generalities can be made. For one thing, says Mike Sawchuk, managing director of Sawchuk Consulting, St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada, distributors should keep the focus on cleaning for health, not appearance. Costs shouldn’t play an oversized role in product selection, he continues, nor should the aesthetics/architectural design exert undue influence over what dispensers and hand-drying options are selected. 

“Additionally, all products should be certified by a third party,” says Sawchuk, adding that this even pertains to can liners. “From there, of course, the selection of consumables and dispensers should vary based on the type of facility, clientele, volume of use, traffic patterns, etc., and should be based on cost-per-use, not cost of product.” 

Getting Specific 

As mentioned, restroom needs will depend in part on the population a facility serves, with the suggested product bundles reflecting this. 

“For example, a healthcare facility may include people of varying levels of health from healthy to immunocompromised or actively suffering from an illness,” DiNicolantonio explains. “Education settings are going to cater to students and faculty of varying ages, while commercial office facilities will mainly cater to adults. The facility traffic will depend on the volume of people in any of these environments, however one can expect heavy traffic or should plan to accommodate heavy traffic.” 

She adds that because of their diverse populations, healthcare facilities may want and need the greatest number of options. So, bundles including foam or gel soaps, as well as paper and air-drying options would be appropriate, with unscented products likely the best choice. Sanitizers in the restrooms and around the facility in hallways and common areas would also be useful. 

For educational settings, she recommends foam soap rather than gel, which can drip or cause buildup, and air-drying rather than paper. Sawchuk seconds this notion. 

“In schools, hand dryers may be preferred over hand towels as some of the students may flush paper towels down the toilets, causing plugs and floods,” notes Sawchuk. “The dispensers for the toilet tissue and hand towels could have the school logo on them. In addition, there should be signage for the importance of proper handwashing complete with instructions 

He recommends the same kind of hand hygiene signage for healthcare facilities, along with toilet tissue and hand soap dispensers touchless being a viable option that help reduce soil and pathogen spread and are also easy to use and reliable. As for high-end commercial office buildings, they may require more premium products and attractive dispensers. 

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Factors to Consider When Bundling Cleaning Products