World Toilet Day is an international observance day which falls on the 19th of November and was first established in 2001 by the World Toilet Organization and later adopted by the United Nations Security Council as a call to action to tackle the global sanitation crisis.
This year’s (2018) Worlds Toilet Day theme is dubbed “When nature calls. United Nations Water estimates that 4.5 billion people globally live without a safe toilet and 892 million people still practice open defecation. Lack of proper sanitation often leads to waste returning to the environment which affects human health and degrades the environment.
Observation of hygiene in public toilets goes a long way in honoring the spirit of World Toilet Day. Let’s face it, public toilets are one of the nastiest places that we use on a regular basis. The thought of all the germs, maybe STIs, digestive parasites and poo are enough to make anyone want to cross their legs and wait until they get home. There is, therefore, need for proper sanitation in our public toilets.
Hand drying techniques. An aspect of washroom hygiene, often neglected is the hand drying technique. Assuming you find the toilet clean and decide to use it, European Tissue Symposium emphasizes the importance of proper hand drying techniques to complete a hygienic hand washing process and minimize the spread of infection.
Their research found that washroom bacterial contamination was higher in the washrooms, which were using jet air dryers to dry hands. The more powerful the air flow, the greater the dispersion of germ around the space in the washroom.
Mr Raj Bains of Kim-Fay East Africa, suppliers of hand-hygiene and washroom solutions says, “Washrooms equipped with single use paper towels for hand drying have significantly less bacterial contamination as this method transfers the contamination onto the paper towel and onto the dispense bin especially if the used towels are kept in a lidded bin. You should also use the paper towel to turn off the tap turn the door handle to avoid contaminating your hands all over again.”
Methods to improve toilet hygiene
- Loo Flushing. It does not matter if it was number 1 or number 2. Flush the toilet to keep the toilet sanitary for the next person. Someone who uses a toilet and leaves their ‘business’ floating in the pot is simply not showing care to whoever comes in after them.
- Hand washing. Wash your hands with soap after visiting the toilet. There is an art to washing hands clean which involves spreading soap generously while rubbing your hands for a recommended 20 seconds or equivalent to one round of the ‘Happy Birthday” song. Considering the fact that everyone who uses washroom taps was most likely from the toilet, taps are also home to a lot of germs. By turning off taps you re-contaminate your hands.
- Invest in Air refreshers. Toilet odors in most cases are because somebody just used the facility. Odors are expected in public toilets, however just because they are expected does not mean we get used to them. Odors are irritating and they make it hard to breathe. Sometimes odors are indicative of a more serious sanitation problem: either a clogged drainage; or uncleanliness. Which in either case translates to germs. Be intentional about keeping the air in the toilet clean and fresh.
- Invest in good quality tissue paper. What happens when you get to the public toilet and there is no tissue paper and you must use the facilities? Pray that you never have to find out. Tissue paper is important in a toilet and you do not want to use the type that break apart while wiping yourself, or use tissue paper that is so hard, it irritates your skin. A good quality tissue paper should have a minimum of two piles says Mr Bains of Kimfay, the first Kenyan tissue manufacturer to introduce quilted tissue papers in the market.
Finally, it’s important to note that good hygiene starts with cleanliness. Keep your toilet clean, sanitize taps, toilet handles and the toilet seat frequently.
To demonstrate your hospitality to your guests beyond your boardroom always have a pack of single use paper towel beside the toilet sink for proper hand drying. This completes the hand hygiene cycle, ensures you reduce the risk of infections and is the best bet to keep you, your guests and family protected.
Happy World’s Toilet Day