Clean design matters even more during flu season
When it comes to designing clean and healthy commercial restrooms, AIA partner Zurn believes architects should focus on space, sensors, and surfaces
Commercial restrooms are shared spaces. When individuals are under the weather or getting over a cold, they’re sharing whatever is going around. Surprisingly, the biggest culprit can come down to the hand-washing station itself: a petri dish of germs, and even bacteria, during the cold and flu season.
There is, however, a remedy. A good hand-washing system can help deliver clean stations for the end users and clean lines to enhance your commercial restroom’s design. Before you grab the vitamin C, think of the three s’s—space, sensor, and surface—to impact restroom sanitation and aesthetics all year long.
Give people their own personal space. Incorporate a system that features individual stations, so people aren’t reaching into a shared water source above a common water collection point. The system should also contain the water and integrate soap, basin, and faucet fixtures. Personal space allows individuals to wash their hands without splashing or bumping those around them, which means they’ll feel better both during their experience and days later.
A big step towards germ-free environments can be made through hands-free performance. Sensors keep people from touching soap pumps or dispensers and leaving germs behind. Still, the sensors need to function properly for people to use them. When you mix and match units within a hand-washing system—faucets and soap dispensers, for example—the sensors may be incompatible.
At Zurn, we tested out what does and doesn’t work. In our research, we learned that some stainless steel bowls reflect light that impacts the sensors; in other cases, the sensors’ angles didn’t match up on a mix-and-match unit. The solution is an integrated system, one that is tested together to work together.
Water collects grime and bacteria, especially in cracks, crevices, and porous surfaces. When you select a hand-washing system, a non-porous solid surface offers the highest level of sanitary conditions. For example, an acrylic resin poured into a solid surface molding not only achieves aesthetics with stunning form and colors, it also delivers the cleanliness standards imperative to a high-traffic commercial restroom. If you want a marble or granite appearance, look for a designer or manufacturer who can offer those options absent of porosity.
A solid surface means it’s easy to clean because it is smooth and continuous. No cracks, crevices, or settled water means no places for bacteria to collect. It’s important to note non-porous is preferable to anti-bacterial. While anti-bacterial coating is a trend in the industry, some research suggests it may not have much or any resistance against today’s superbugs or newer strains of cold and flu. A solid surface offers effortless cleaning and sterilization to help combat superbugs and the common cold alike.
Eliminate water from splashing, germs from touching the soap dispenser and stations, and people reaching over one another. Take the sharing out of high-traffic commercial restrooms and factor clean design into every decision when selecting a hand-washing system for your commercial restroom space.
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