Park Bathrooms

Along with the rims of toilets and feminine-hygiene disposal units, other germ-hot areas in park restrooms may include:

· Partition doors and handles

· Bathroom sinks, especially inside the bowl

· Fixture handles on faucets, toilets and urinals

· Paper-towel dispenser levers

· Door handles

· Light switches

Addressing The Problem

With the location of the germ-hot spots clarified, park managers have two courses of action:

1. Emphasize cleaning where cleaning is most needed.

2. Find more ways to minimize the number of restroom surfaces that require touching, either by users or cleaning professionals.

As the name implies, no-touch cleaning systems–also known as high-flow fluid-extraction systems–help make this possible. They work well in park facilities, and have proven to be effective at removing soils and contaminants from surfaces. A machine applies cleaning solution to surfaces where it is allowed to “dwell.” After a few minutes the same areas are rinsed, which loosens the soils and contaminants, sending them down drains. Or a machine’s wet/vac capabilities are used to thoroughly remove the contaminants from the restroom.

Additionally, a new generation of microfiber cleaning cloths may be used, often referred to as the “smart towel” system. Recent studies have found that soiled cloths (microfiber or conventional) can actually spread as many contaminants as they remove. But because the smart-towel system can be folded into eight marked quadrants, it allows cleaning professionals to use a fresh area of the towel for each use, helping to prevent the spread of infection.

“Further, managers can continue to find ways to reduce the number of surfaces that must be touched in a restroom,” adds Calvert. “For instance, because it can be so highly contaminated, turning to touchless feminine-hygiene disposal units and companies that service these on regular intervals is a significant step in making restrooms healthier and safer for users and cleaning professionals.”

* An important exception to the stated longevity of germs and bacteria outside the body is MRSA, or methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that the bacteria that causes MRSA can live for several hours, and sometimes even days, on surfaces, depending on humidity, temperature, the amount of bacteria present and the type of surface. This is especially true if the surface is porous. However, toilet seats do not typically have a porous surface.

Beth Pullin is a writer for the professional cleaning, building and health-care industries. She may be reached at


Most Common Bacteria In Public Restrooms

According to one study, the five most-common bacteria found in public restrooms and the illnesses they can cause are:

· Pseudomonadaceae (urinary tract infection, blood poisoning)

· Streptococcaceae (sore throat, bronchopneumonia)

· Coryneforn (diphtheria, hepatitis)

· Micrococcaceae (boils/pimples, pustular infections)

· Enterobacteriaceae (kidney infections, typhoid/paratyphoid fever)

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