How safe are public toilets?

If you’ve ever visited a public washroom – and especially if you’re responsible for maintaining one – you want to know that washroom hygiene standards are meeting public health and safety standards.

We all benefit from an improved public washroom experience – because many of us (if not all of us) worry about what we’ll catch from public washrooms that we use while out and about.

It’s natural to worry about contagious infections in busy areas – especially after the pandemic, and as we approach flu season.

It’s especially normal to worry about your private personal hygiene in shared public spaces.

Everything we’re told about highly uncomfortable illnesses — like hand, foot, and mouth disease (which is experiencing a resurgence in children and adults as of summer 2022), or gastrointestinal illnesses (tummy bugs), or respiratory illnesses (such as common colds, viral pneumonia, flu virus or COVID-19) — is that they live on surfaces, sometimes for days at a time.

But does worrying about these things mean you’re likely to actually catch them in a public washroom?

We’ve got the answers for you. Read on.

By the end of this article you’ll know:

  • What’s the dirtiest spot in a public washroom?
  • The facts about germs in public washrooms (hint: there are a lot of them)
  • What can you ACTUALLY catch from a public washroom?
  • Contagious illnesses versus well-maintained washrooms – who wins?
  • How to keep the public safe in public washrooms (it’s easier than you think!)

Now, let’s plunge in.

What’s the dirtiest spot in a public washroom?

Thanks to “toilet plume” (the spray of a toilet that contains particles when flushed), the floor is actually the number one dirtiest spot in any public washroom.

This is good news, since most of us don’t spend much time on public washroom floors. But – be warned – there are other places that bacteria like to hide, and some of them may surprise you.

Toilet seats, if they’re sanitized regularly, may not hold as many germs as you’d think. The rest of the toilet, however, picks up as many germs as the floor does thanks again to that flush plume, and therefore needs regular cleaning and professional disinfection.

If the facilities aren’t touch-free, flush buttons or handles become carriers of germs, since they’re touched before hand-washing is practiced.

Door handles and countertops are likewise impacted by plume particles and regular touch.

And then – unfortunately – there’s what can happen with hand soap dispensers.

According to research studies, as many as 1 in 4 refillable soap dispensers are contaminated with bacterial cells. How are we to trust that the soap we’re depending on to keep us clean isn’t actually making us sick?

Well, we rely on two things. First is the washroom owner’s commitment to regularly cleaning out, sanitizing, and refilling the soap dispensers, and the second is something we have on us at all times. Keep reading to find the answer!

Take a moment to read this article about not only meeting hygiene standards – but elevating the public washroom experience for your customers.

The facts about germs in public washrooms

In an article written by Live Science, researchers found that within an hour of regular use, people bring in up to 500,000 bacterial cells per square inch of washroom surfaces.

Although we agree that this sounds horrifying, the research also showed that the majority of bacterial cells that cling to washroom surfaces do not result in infections.

How can that be?

Simply put, it’s because your immune system is stronger than most of the watered-down germs that linger on surfaces or in the air (or in the soap dispensers) of public washrooms.

Now – onto the million dollar question.

Can you ACTUALLY catch contagious illnesses from public washrooms?

According to research findings published in 2022 in Science of the Total Environment, the answer is… not if you’re following the rules.

Let’s unpack this a bit.

It’s true that you can catch all sorts of illnesses through close proximity with infected people, inhalation of particles, and surface contact with particles in busy, high-contact areas.

The study shows that it is also true that washrooms probably do contain traces of many contagious illnesses on floors, surfaces, and soap dispensers.

But ultimately the report concludes that the best method to reduce the risk of spreading illnesses in public washrooms is a closely followed maintenance and sanitation schedule.

Solution: working with washroom hygiene experts like Citron Hygiene

Contagious illnesses versus well maintained washrooms

According to the study, public washrooms avoid the transmission of infectious illnesses with these simple steps:

  • Encouraging visitors to follow all hand hygiene protocols
  • Keeping up with frequent surface cleaning and disinfection
  • Regular maintenance of all washroom dispensers and equipment
  • Air ventilation and purification systems (especially in rooms without windows to help circulate fresh, clean air!)

Facilities maintenance managers: infection prevention and contamination control are within your grasp.

The mitigation of infectious disease transmission is entirely attainable – and here at Citron Hygiene we have all the tech and service solutions you need!

Keep your visitors safe and your own hands germ free with Citron Hygiene’s innovative washroom automation technology.

How to keep the public safe in washrooms

Public washrooms are cleaner, more hygienic, and safer when they’re equipped with smart, touch-free technology, regularly sanitized, and maintained by professionals.

If you’re a business owner yourself or you’re responsible for facilities management, touch-free technology should be added to your list of investments for the year, to keep everyone as safe and hygienic as possible.

Take a look at your cost-effective options with Citron Hygiene’s suite of products, sanitation, maintenance and hygienic waste-disposal services.

Added bonus: we offer free trials on some of our products! Don’t wait. Book your free consultation today at Citron Hygiene.

Find out how we can help elevate your washroom experience. Talk to us.

Tick here if you are a current Citron customer

Tick here if you are a current Citron customer