Restroom care might not be the most talked about topic at school, but the right program can go a long way in keeping students healthy.
Most students, whether in elementary school or college, probably don’t think much about the restrooms. Faculty and staff probably don’t give restrooms a lot of thought, either, unless they need immediate attention. That’s part of the reason your restroom care program is so important.
High-quality restroom care does so much more than just keep these spaces looking nice. Restrooms can be hot spots for bacteria and viruses. They may be tucked into the centers of buildings and get little or no fresh air or sunshine. At the same time, they are high-traffic areas that get continuous visits throughout the day.
Your cleaning program already does a lot to keep students healthy. You ensure all those high-touch areas get regular attention, you keep the HVAC system as clean as possible, and you open windows to let fresh air into rooms whenever you can. But perhaps more than any other area in a school or college, the restroom has the most potential for transferring contaminants. That means it’s especially important that your restroom care is the best it can be.
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5 Ways to improve your restroom care program to benefit students and staff
One thing to remember in thinking about ways to improve your restroom care program is that little changes can make big differences. There’s a good chance you’re already doing some of the things on this list. However, take a close look, both at what is here and what is happening in your facilities. You might find that they don’t necessarily match, which is okay. We all have a tendency to need reminders here and there.
1. Close the restroom for cleaning. If at all possible, close the restroom when you clean. It’s easy to miss areas if people are constantly in and out. Plus, dwell time becomes an issue, especially with younger populations of students. There’s just no way to monitor every part of a busy restroom, and you can’t very easily keep students away from one area while you clean another. So, if you can, close the restroom for cleaning. You’ll be able to do your work more efficiently and thoroughly.
2. Pay attention to dwell time. Dwell time is important for disinfection on any surface, but especially in the bathroom, where germs can congregate and live happily in damp conditions until they can get picked up by students. While some products have short dwell times, others need to remain undisturbed on surfaces for five or even 10 minutes to correctly disinfect or sanitize. Build this into your timing estimates for restroom cleaning, and be sure to follow the times closely. Many bacteria and viruses replicate quickly, so the more that survive after cleaning and disinfecting, the more there will be to reproduce and spread.
3. Use color-coding. When you adopt a color-coded cleaning strategy, it’s much easier to avoid cross-contamination. There’s no question as to which cloth you used on the mirror or which was used on the toilet. Likewise, even if another team member takes over the job part of the way through, they know which cloth is for what.
4. Use QR codes. With QR codes, like Janitorial Manager’s Scan4Clean, you or anyone else on your team can find out when a restroom was last cleaned, who did the work, and what, precisely, they did. You can then use that information to determine if you need to clean more frequently. School staff can also use the QR codes to request specific work or to make comments regarding the cleanliness of the restrooms.
5. Adopt ATP testing. ATP testing is a way to verify the cleanliness of a surface beyond what the human eye can see. An ATP monitoring system can help detect contamination on a surface through rapid testing for organic material. These systems and tests strips very widely in price, from around $500 to more than $3,500, though the average seems to be between $1,500 and $2,000. In any case, this type of testing could give you a competitive edge in bidding for other jobs.
Small changes can turn your restroom care program into a boon for student health. Is your program where it needs to be?
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