Hand to mouth: Why portable handwash stations are valuable wherever people eat

Handwashing can prevent approximately 20% of respiratory infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Handwashing has never been more in the public eye than over the past two years, when the Covid-19 pandemic increased the general germ anxiety and public awareness of hygiene as a critical tool in preventing the spread of disease.

Science backs it up: clean hands are a critical component of good health. Handwashing can prevent about 20% of respiratory infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And the CDC identifies before eating as one of the key times to wash hands.

Making handwashing accessible and convenient in eating destinations can not only improve hygiene but also boost guests’ perception of a restaurant.

The current state of handwashing

Handwashing facilities are mostly located in public restrooms, but this arrangement can be problematic for a couple reasons.

First, restrooms have a potentially well-earned reputation for not always being the cleanest places. A 2014 study revealed that one hour of normal use can leave 500,000 bacterial cells per square inch on bathroom surfaces.

And restrooms’ typical locations — commonly in the rear of the building or along a far wall — aren’t particularly convenient and don’t promote or encourage handwashing at key times, like right before eating.

Expanding access to handwashing facilities can subtly influence people to wash up more frequently, boosting hygiene. Studies in healthcare settings have shown that increasing the number and improving the accessibility of sinks increases compliance with handwashing best practices.

Making a change

Increasing the number of handwashing opportunities is an important step, but installing additional permanent sinks can be challenging (or downright impossible, depending on the facility) or may be cost-prohibitive.

Portable sink stations offer a readily accessible alternative in standalone restaurants, food halls, college dining halls, school cafeterias, food courts, corporate cafeterias or anywhere people gather to eat.

Handwash stations placed in visible and easily accessible areas — near the entrance, in and around dining areas or in waiting areas — provide a visual cue to wash up prior to eating.

Additionally, providing clean and easy-to-use handwashing facilities, like a handwash station with a hands-free sensor faucet, can demonstrate that eateries are committed to their diners’ health and safety.

A survey conducted during the pandemic revealed that 76% of consumers say restaurant cleanliness and food safety will always matter more now than it did before the pandemic. Restaurants can further emphasize their commitment by hygiene by encouraging employees to use these highly visible stations for some of their regular washing needs.

Further details:

Portable handwash stations from T&S are available in a variety of models and can be installed in areas with or without access to water, sewer or electricity hookups. Discover the perfect solution for every need here.

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