If washrooms at home are an ideal place to read newspapers, it definitely serves as a safe place to have a private talk on the mobile too. But, once out of the washroom, that very mobile is not safe, as using a mobile in the toilet increases the risk of spreading germs. A vast majority of people are unlikely to clean their phone when finished, even though a sanitizer is kept handy in the washroom.
One of the largest surveys conducted on 100,000 people stated that a staggering 62% of men did not wash their hands after going to the bathroom, while women were slightly better at 40%.
Initial Washroom Hygiene had conducted this survey. Sensors were fitted on bathroom doors and soap dispensers to monitor how many people went to the bathroom and washed afterwards. The data collected was displayed on LCD TV monitor. This in fact, increased the hand washing by 50%.
In another case, to help remind people to flush and wash hands after using the toilet, there were sensors installed. These were capable of turning pressure and vibrations into a small electrical signal. Running some basic code, the system sensed the water running through the toilet’s pipes when it is flushed. It then waited to detect water running through the sink’s pipes. If the system does not detect the sink running water, the sign outside blinks and makes noise when the door opens. If nothing is detected five minutes after a flush, the system resets for the next use.
Ironically, many of the washroom hygiene products have come into existence because of the lack of hygiene practices being following at every level. Right from the entrance door of the washroom to the flooring inside to the flush, toilet seat, air quality… everything exists to ensure we leave behind a hygienic experience for the next user.
Washroom doors come with auto open-close sensor or a hand sensor which opens the door over the wave of a hand. Soap dispensers again came by as the popular cake soap lying damp in the washroom turned into a source of infection. Varied options of liquid soap, gel soap, foam soap and even powdered soap came into the market as per preference. To eliminate any kind of contamination, over and above washing hands, sanitizer dispensers were installed. Chlorine, iodine, ammonium… solutions were introduced into the market. Then of course, tissue papers for face, hand, toilet… wipes, tissue dispensers, towels, towel dispensers, hand dryers (that again has variations), then the toilet seat covers, auto janitors, air fresheners, odour control, odour eradicators, floor cleaners, cleaning tools, cleaning machines, feminine hygiene bins, waste bins… and more.
Product manufacturers like Kohler, TOTO, and other companies in the sanitary ware business have introduced intelligent toilet systems that include antimicrobial agents, to ensure hygienic and sterile systems, thereby, ensuring safety and health of the user. The antimicrobial agents protect the toilet seats from stain-causing bacteria, making the toilet seats germ-resistant and safe. The adoption of such toilet seats will increase in developed economies, which will bring in significant revenue to the market.
Paul Wonnacott, Managing Director & President, Vectair Systems, says, “Over the years, Asia has learnt a lot from the European washroom hygiene market. What is tried and tested in Europe is then capitalised on in the Asian market. Although innovation is widely welcomed in countries like Japan (some of their washroom technologies that are in use today are out of this world!), by the same token purchasing decisions are still very much reliant on price.
“In India for example, we have noticed that many decision makers still consider price over added value. However, we are seeing positive changes in the market, with a bigger demand from end users on factors like maximum hygiene and simplicity.”
The significance of washroom hygiene in India is likely to improve with “toilets for all” becoming a national agenda. The concern of maintaining the toilets being constructed across India is being voiced and in coming times, the demand for cleaning and hygiene products is likely to grow stupendously.
– Paul Wonnacott