A common Asian saying goes that if one must know the class of a person, one should look at his shoes, not the clothes. The modern and corporate version of this axiom says that if one must assess the class of a company, look at its restrooms, not the boardrooms. Little wonder that a lot of corporate companies around the globe are giving particular attention to the aesthetics of restrooms. Fancy names like washrooms, powder rooms, men’s room and ladies room have replaced the more ‘sickly’ sounding restroom.
Whether ‘restroom’ sounds sickly or not, they sure can make one sickly. A study conducted by toilet sanitation products manufacturer Sani Seat revealed that 60% of Americans are paranoid of sitting on a toilet seat in public restrooms.
The paranoia is justified. Toilet flushing aerosolizes germs in water that is being flushed spraying them all around for a distance of nearly a meter. This means, the germs don’t stay in the bowl. They get spread through air to other parts of the restroom and cling to them. This can be a nightmare considering that human faeces can contain all of these germs and more:
- E. coli: Causes diarrhea and abdominal cramps
- Streptococcus: Causes sore throat
- Staphylococcus aureus: Causes skin infections and pneumonia
- Gastrointestinal viruses like noro virus that causes stomach ache
- Germs that come from contaminated food, such as E. coli, salmonella, shigella, and campylobacter
- Sexually transmitted viruses such as HIV, syphilis, Gonorrhea and Chlamydia
- Viruses that cause common cold such as rhino, corano and synctial
In 1993, a deadly strain of E. coli: O157:H7 killed four people and made several people ill at Jack-in-the-Box chain of restaurants in California.
If toilet flushing is a common cause for the spread of germs, unhealthy habits and incomplete washing contribute to the spread of germs to various parts of the washroom. Further, dripping water from faucets can pool up in places, contributing to the growth of mold, mildew and fungi which are excellent carriers for germs.
So which are the dirtiest and most risky places of a bathroom, other than the toilet seat?
- Floors: According to an ABC News investigation, there can be as many as 2 million bacteria per square inch of a bathroom floor. People must be careful not to drop their purse, wallet, keys or other belongings on the floor as picking them up is as good as picking up a few thousand germs. People who walk barefoot in washrooms can also pick up what is called dermatophitic fungi.
- Sinks and Faucets are the next set of offenders and are notorious for harboring germs. One must wash with soap to avoid contamination from them.
- Tissue/Soap/Paper towel dispensers that get contaminated from wet hands knocking into them
- Ceiling Tiles
- Trash Cans
- Entry Doors
- Hvac Fans/Vents
- Grouting In The Floors and Walls, Baseboards And Drains
- Stalls/Handicap Support Bars
In the face of such onslaught of germs, how does one protect themselves in the short and long term?
While one may follow healthy cleaning habits at home, commercial and public spaces are more challenged as these cleanliness norms cannot be enforced. A better alternative is to engage professional cleaning companies who follow the right techniques for deep cleaning, and trained staff to keep your restroom clean.
The Cleaning Partners has been retained by a number of companies to clean and sanitize hard surfaces located in restrooms. The hot water and steam eliminates dirt, stains and germs during this cleaning process.