A study conducted on behalf of the American Cleaning Institute and the American Society for Microbiology shows that the public is more vigilant about hand washing than ever before. During discreet observations at several locations across the United States, more than 85 percent of restroom visitors washed their hands. In some cases, hand washing was observed in more than 93 percent of visitors.

With so many people washing their hands as recommended, the pressure is on jan/distributors to supply the right kind of commercial hand soap. Of course, “having soap available, no matter what kind of soap it is,” should be the No. 1 priority, says Brian Sansoni, vice president of communication at the American Cleaning Institute. Beyond that, though, the types of hand soaps run the gamut. 

Sanitary Maintenance’s sister publications, Contracting Profits and Housekeeping Solutions recently surveyed its readers to find out end users’ top three priorities when buying commercial hand soap. The results, in no particular ranking, revealed that price, foam, and soaps with antibacterial/kill claims influenced purchasing decisions more than other motives, such as green certifications, skin sensitivity or fragrance. 

Squeezing The Most Out of Commercial Hand Soap 

The lack of facility resources is the overarching reason why end users place price high on the priority list when weighing a commercial hand soap purchase. In many cases, facility cleaning managers and building owners are on tight budgets and have to save every penny that they can. 

“When you run into smaller facilities, that’s where you run into price points,” says Brian Schindler, vice president at HOTT Associates in Cleveland. “They are the ones that tend to be budget driven.” 

The tension arises when a purchaser chooses to sacrifice soap quality in order to satisfy those bottom lines. 

For distributors, affordability continues to be the best lure in a sale. The survey showed that end users consistently refer to squeezed budgets when negotiating the price of supplies. That doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon. 

“Affordability helps sell the product,” says one respondent. 

“Price is a prime consideration; of course people want to get more bang for their buck, but they want quality, too,” says Sansoni. “You want to make sure that you deliver an easy hand washing experience in the restroom, as well as a quality product.” 

In school districts, where operating budgets are routinely slashed, low price points matter. For example, in Regional School District, in Litchfield County, Conn., the schools invest in hand hygiene education, rather than expensive commercial hand soaps, to keep costs to a minimum. 

“The nurses have signs, and in the elementary schools hand sanitizer stations are outside of the bathroom,” says Fran Odell, the district’s facilities maintenance director. “We’re hoping that by high school they get the point, and hope it carries out at home.” 


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End-Users Prefer Foam Hand Soap