Washroom hygiene is of the utmost importance. Washrooms should be a clean, hygienic and safe place your staff and visitors to use. The COVID-19 pandemic did more to highlight the importance of hand hygiene, and how quickly germs can spread. Hand washing is vitally important, however, some washroom soap can do more harm than good. Research shows that 1 in 4 refillable bulk soap dispensers is contaminated with unsafe levels of bacteria, leaving hands with up to 25 times more germs after washing than before.
When it comes to soap dispensers, many clients we work with understandably did not realise how unhygienic bulk fill dispensers could be. If you regularly use a bulk soap dispenser in a public or workplace washroom when washing your hands, you are probably thinking you are eliminating germs, however, you may actually be increasing your risk of exposure to germs and infections
What are bulk fill soap dispensers?
Bulk fill dispensers are open soap systems where the cover or lid is removed and soap is refilled / poured from large containers into an open reservoir style dispenser. They may be the cheaper alternative to using luxury washroom products and leave less mess than a traditional bar of soap, but many aren’t aware that they aren’t always the most hygienic option. Whether it is public toilets or office washrooms, production facility washrooms, schools or hospitals – soap dispensers holding their product in a refillable reservoir has long been the only alternative to a bar of soap or a lotion from a bottle. When the lid of the reservoir is opened to be refilled, washroom germs in the air can find a place to settle, and bacteria and viruses from fecal matter and other sources can contaminate the soap. The germs will often settle on the top of the soap, then the next time the dispenser is refilled, those germs are buried and mixed into the soap.
The bacteria will also form a bacterial biofilm that coats the inside surface of the dispenser. Biofilms are very difficult to wash off or ‘kill’, even with bleach, and it is this staying power that means any new soap added to the dispenser is highly likely to become contaminated, continuing the unhealthy cycle. The threat that bulk fill soap poses to health and well-being has even been recognised by the World Health Organisation, which has issued guidelines against the practice.
The solution, or alternative, is a sealed refill system, like Hanzl Duroline. Find out more on this below!
How does bacteria and viruses get into washroom air?
Bacteria and viruses become present in washrooms from things like people not washing and drying their hands sufficiently. Worst of all however, is bacteria and viruses from fecal matter. Flushing the toilet can propel a plume of spray up and out of the toilet bowl, reaching head height and beyond. These droplets can travel up to 3ft – or 91cm – from ground level, according to the computer model used by the scientists from Yangzhou University. Flushing the toilet with the lid up is another way germs spread throughout the room – it creates a cloud of spray that can be breathed in and may spread infection, such as coronavirus, say researchers. The droplets are so small they typically float in the air for more than a minute
Bulk fill dispensers are a breeding ground for germs…
A recent study found:
- 25% of bulk fill soap dispensers contain unsafe levels of bacterial contamination
- Coliforms (illness causing faecal-based organisms), were found in 16% of the samples
- Average number of germs per wash was greater than the contamination level reported on the average toilet seat
- No bacterial contamination was found in soap dispensed from sealed systems
The main issue with bulk refill dispenser systems is that they are not sealed, meaning they are vulnerable to contamination from the environment, or from the hands of the person refilling the system. In order to prevent bacterial contamination, The Centre for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC) warns to not add soap to a partially empty soap dispenser. It is this practice of ‘topping off’ dispensers that lead to bacterial issues, meaning that the new soap can also become contaminated. Even where the equipment is cleaned frequently, using aggressive products such as bleach, researchers have identified a high risk of recontamination, due to biofilms – microorganisms that stick to each other and adhere to surfaces.
Risks of using a bulk soap dispenser include:
- The risk of airborne germs and bacteria contaminating the soap
- The increased risk of spreading germs and bacteria
- The labour and time involved with cleaning the messy refilling the systems
- The health and safety risk which may occur should there be a dripping or leaking dispenser
The super hygienic, sealed refill solution
The bacteria found in bulk fill soap dispensers are known as ‘opportunistic pathogens’, which can even cause respiratory, eye, skin, blood and urinary tract infections. The young and elderly are most at risk from picking these up, but no-one is immune, which has major consequences for business owners and facility managers. An outbreak of illness can obviously cause severe disruption to services, production and output, in any facility, however a solution does exist.
The safer, hygienic alternative to bulk fill dispensers are sealed cartridge systems, such as Hanzl Duroline, which offers many advantages, especially when it comes to health outcomes. Refills that are factory sealed mean that the soap formulation inside is never exposed to the environment, so cross contamination from the air or other sources is prevented. As there is no contact between the product and the environment before the product is being used to wash hands, it means that the risk of contamination is reduced to a minimum.
The safely sealed Duroline hand hygiene system, includes a range of available products which can minimise the risk of bacterial contamination and help to prevent infections; save companies time and money; and ease the burden on the environment. Benefits of using the Hanzl Duroline range includes:
- A reduction of contamination risks as cartridges are factory sealed
- A measured dose of fresh product dispensed every time
- A stylish, clean and secure, lockable wall mounted dispenser
- A cost and time-saving activity, as cartridges are quick and easy to change
- Less mess, drips and spills. Clean, hygienic, and so simple to use!
Investing in proper hand hygiene systems is invaluable, and essential for any organisation that wants to ensure the well-being of its employees and visitors. Offering less stress, mess and increased health, sealed refill soap / hand hygiene systems provide the ideal solution. In contrast to the re-filling procedure of bulk dispensers, sealed cartridges are quick and easy to change. Spills are no longer an issue, and sealed cartridge dispensers require minimal cleaning, thus saving companies time and money. The risk of contamination is also reduced to a minimum as there is no contact between the product and the environment before the product is being used to wash hands.
By having a systemised approach to hand hygiene, employers can provide a simple yet cost-effective solution to help all employees adopt good hand hygiene practices and ensure a safer environment for residents – it’s time to bin bulk fill dispensers once and for all.
Hanzl Duroline is a hand hygiene and skin care dispensers system that houses sealed refills. Using this system can help:
- Keep your workforce safe, healthy and productive
- Reduce skin problems such as industrial dermatitis
- Minimise risk of compensation claims & recruiting costs
- Increase productivity and reduce sick leave
- Ensure dispensers are placed correctly around the workplace to encourage the use of skin creams.
Products available in the range include:
Hanoprotect Before Work Skin Protection Cream
Hanoplus After Work Skin Reconditioning Cream
Hanofresh Light Duty Hand & Body Wash
Hanowash Light Duty Perfume Free Hand Wash (Perfect for food production facilities)
Hanolux Heavy Duty Hand Cleaner for Industrial Soiling
Hanzl Hanolac Extra Heavy Duty Special Hand Cleaner for Vey Stubborn Soiling
Time for a washroom dispenser upgrade? Hanzl Duroline could be the perfect choice for your organisation
- Elegant, Stylish white & black dispenser, compliments many washroom designs
- Made from robust and high impact ABS and polycarbonate plastic
- Easy to clean and quick to refill
- Lockable with key
- Lifetime Guaranteed
- Dimensions of dispenser: 265mm high x 100mm deep x 130mm wide
- Sealed refill system, much more hygienic than bulk fill dispensers, no germs able to enter the cream/soap/gel.
Other blog posts you may be interested in: