The 5 changes that will bring your facility’s restroom into the future

Public restrooms put your building’s tenants into a tight, intimate space. As the U.S. dips its toe in the waters to determine if it’s safe to go into the public, the restroom has proven to be an obstacle of its own.

As we head into the future as a reunited society, here are 5 things to consider to change your building’s restroom for the better.

1. Hands-free fixtures

If you haven’t made the switch already, bring your restroom to the future with touchless fixtures. Hands-free fixtures prevent contamination and the spread of bacteria in your facility.

Hands-free faucets, soap dispensers, and retro-fit top mounts have been implemented in commercial restrooms for years. This is a benefit to you because there are so many design options to choose from now and the improvements made from early models have provided a better experience to users.

 Matching hands-free faucets and soap dispensers will not only improve your tenant’s experience in the restroom, it can also make a huge impact on your building’s restroom aesthetic and it is easy to maintain cleanliness. “U.S. businesses don’t seem to understand like European businesses that having clean, safe, nice bathrooms is better for their bottom line,” Steven Soifer, a professor of social work at the University of Mississippi and president and cofounder of the American Restroom Association said to Fast Company.

2. Lids

While we are heading towards a more health-conscious future, toilets without lids in typical public restrooms in the U.S. is becoming more startling to some people. Let me explain why, consider the stalls in commercial restrooms, they have large gaps of space on the top and bottom—meaning there is plenty of space for a “toilet plume” of droplets to aerosolize and coat the surroundings, including the person standing there.

But this has been the standard for decades and I haven’t gotten sick, so why fix it if it ain’t broke? Well, the corona could change that as we head into the future. “We also know that COVID-19 has been found in human poop, up to 33 days after infected people have recovered and tested negative for the virus,” a Fast Company story reported. “No amount of handwashing will remove a virus sprayed all over your body.”

Upgrading the restrooms in your facility to include lids on all toilets is perhaps one of the easiest upgrades you could complete. New seats can be easily installed and there plenty of options available to fit any toilet.

3. Full occupancy notices

A facility in Italy installed a traffic light system to “keep the bathroom safe,” a Reuters story said. The workers hit a switch upon entering and exiting the restroom and the color of the light lets people know if they can enter or if they need to wait.

The solution that low-budget UK airline, Ryanair, came to requires passengers to ask permission before using the restroom. This policy came along with other new measures to allow travel while maintaining safety.

Okay, let’s be honest, you’re probably not going to install a whole traffic light system in your facility or require tenants to ask permission to use the restroom. But, maintaining fewer occupants in your building’s restrooms will likely ease anxiety for some and provide an increased level of comfort for everyone.

Installing an indicator to allow people to see whether or not the restroom is occupied is a quick and effective way of controlling restroom traffic. Options for different latches are available to fit any building’s needs.  

4. Easier to clean materials

Speculation from multiple sources indicates that naturally antimicrobial materials, such as copper, may become more popular in a post-COVID-19 future. The new Sloan Cuverro antimicrobial handle is made from a unique class of copper that kills 99.9 percent of harmful bacteria.

Smooth, nonporous surfaces are also easier to keep clean and free from bacteria. If the surfaces in your building’s restroom are not smooth, or have wear and tear, consider the possibilities of upgrading to newer surfaces.

5. Hands-free entry

You wash your hands after using the restroom, now you have to ruin it by touching the door handle on the way out? Wrong. The new arm door pull is a hands-free solution for this type of situation, but it can also be implemented anywhere there is heavy traffic in your building.

The arm door pull has an antimicrobial coating, comes with hardware, and is easy to install.

There is a lot that could have already been improved upon in U.S. restrooms, but all those details are covered in a previous Best Plumbing Specialties blog post. But, consider the upgrades that could be made in your facility to bring restrooms into the future.

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