I do most of my computer work on the road and finding a clean and well designed restroom is very important. Of all of the places I’ve been to, one stands above the rest, Panera Bread. They are not perfect, but most of their restrooms are designed in a way where you touch the fewest surfaces and dispensers and fixtures are logically placed.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD PUBLIC RESTROOM?
Unfortunately, this is where most public restrooms fall short and I have rarely seen cleaning well done. I give Panera Bread a “B” for cleanliness. Most of their locations take care of the basic cleaning, but do not tend to the details, multi-touch surfaces, or floors.
I’ve never seen a problem with this at a Panera Bread and if you needed more supplies or saw they were running low, I bet their staff would jump right on it.
Hands-free hand towel dispensers
According to the research cited in the WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene, hand towels are more hygienic than blowers, especially the high speed blowers. You also need to use the hand towels to turn off the water and open the door, which gets me to…
Trash baskets should be next to the door and not require touching a lid, even with a foot pedal.
Bathrooms can be a huge waste of paper goods and water. Some flushing fixtures have reduced water flows and the Panera Bread on West Boylston Street in Worcester even has a “Water Saving Handle.” Up for liquid only and down for solids, brilliant!
They also set the hand towel dispenser to unroll the perfect amount of paper towel. Many businesses set it to the shortest amount, thinking they will save money, but the opposite usually happens and people dispense too many times.
WHAT PANERA BREAD COULD DO TO MAKE THEIR RESTROOMS PERFECT
Stop mopping the floors with a mop and bucket and switch to a microfiber mop pad set up.
There are a few reasons for this. When you look at a tile floor in a public place you will usually see the grout lines are unevenly soiled and there is dirty grout 2 inches up on the wall as well. This is not from use, this is from mopping. Also, the traditional mop and bucket does a better job spreading dirty water around, than it does removing soils.
Using a microfiber mop pad system will better clean the floors and greatly reduce the amount of soil trapped by the grout.
Regular staff training on how to detail clean a bathroom
Like I stated above, I believe they take care of the basics, but the devil is in the details. And by devil I mean, infectious diseases.
Almost every public bathroom misses:
- Knobs and push plates
- Tops of dispensers, fixtures, and stall dividers
- Stall doors, latches, and walls
- Exterior of light fixtures and vents
- Walls and baseboards, especially below hand towel dispensers
- Main door, especially below the handles
- Detail around faucets and soap dispensers
- Underside of toilets & urinals
Each one of these areas are perfect places for germs to colonize. In a 1-3 stall bathroom it would take 5-7 minutes to clean the above list. Time well spent.
Hire a professional cleaning company every 3 months to pressure wash and fully sanitize all surfaces
Manual cleaning and disinfecting can do an awesome job keeping a public bathroom clean and safe, for about 3 months.
Corners, crevices, grout lines, toilet seat brackets, etc. will trap soils no matter what tools or products you use. By pressure washing these surfaces every 3 months, you will prevent build up and help your staff maintain a high level of cleaning all year long.
These are services Absolute Clean provides, but I don’t care who they hire. Clean, well designed public restrooms will minimize the spread of infectious diseases and that is good for everyone.
Your turn, where do you go when you have to “go?”