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Tuesday's Ask the Experts: No-touch upgrades

February 10, 2009
Tuesday''s Ask the Experts question from a cleaning professional on the International Custodial Advisors Network (ICAN) "Ask the Experts" page: We are considering changing the restrooms in our classroom and administrative buildings to no-touch soap and paper towel dispensers, and no-touch flush systems. What are some issues we should be aware of before taking on the change? Are there products that are standing the test of time? Do these types of systems really save money?
The answer
1) Using hands-free paper towel dispensers are definitely a good way of reducing the potential for contamination to be passed through touch cranks and levers. I would in addition encourage you to use paper with a high degree of post-consumer recycled content to reduce the environmental impacts that are associated with making virgin paper by cutting down our forests. And as far as saving money, hands-free towel dispensers definitely reduce costs when compared to multi-fold towels, as they reduce consumption.
2) While hands-free towel dispensers are valuable from a public health perspective, I do not believe the same is true for soap dispensers.
While the use of a paper towel comes AFTER the hands have been washed, the use of soap comes BEFORE the hands are to be washed and rinsed with water. Thus, even if there is some bacteria on the pump mechanism, it will be washed off. I would also be concerned that the hands-free dispensers with require additional mechanical devices as found in many healthcare facilities or are battery operated with sensors. In both cases, these additional requirements to make them "hands-free" are things that can... — Stephen P. Ashkin, President of The Ashkin Group, LLC — The Green Cleaning Experts
3644 Tamarron Drive Bloomington, IN 47408
Voice: 812/332-7950 Fax: 812/332-7965
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