Once upon a time, there was nothing but bulk. Whether we were talking about public toilets or office restrooms, schools or hospitals, soap dispensers holding their products in a refillable reservoir were the only alternative to a bar of soap or lotion from a bottle.
This was for good reason: Bulk dispensers left far less mess than bar soaps and were inexpensive. However, budget-driven decisions in favor of bulk systems did not always take one issue into consideration that we now recognize as extremely problematic—bacterial contamination.
Bulk systems are not sealed, leaving the exposed soap vulnerable to contamination from the environment or from the hands of the person refilling and handling the dispenser system. The widely applied practice of “topping-off” dispensers—refilling them before they are completely empty and have been cleaned properly—means the old soap in the reservoir may already be exposed to germs, resulting in contamination of new soap. Even if your staff frequently cleans the equipment with aggressive products there is still a high risk of recontamination due to microorganisms that stick to each other and adhere to surfaces, according to a 2012 study analysis, “Evaluation and Remediation of Bulk Soap Dispensers for Biofilm.
Sealed dispenser systems offer a safe alternative to bulk dispensers. Here’s why:
An easy-to-use, sealed cartridge dispenser system can make a significant contribution to increasing hand hygiene compliance. Restroom users are much more likely to wash their hands with soap if the product is available from a pleasant-looking, clean, and tidy dispensing system.
Additionally, sealed cartridge dispensers are safer and more hygienic than their bulk counterparts; they minimize the risk of bacterial contamination and help to prevent infections; they save companies time and money; and they ease the burden on the environment. If you consider all of these advantages together, it really is better to be sealed than sorry.