By Trevor Bowers, director at Washroom Washroom
Washrooms can say a lot about an organisation. Ensuring facilities are clean and hygienic is a big part of creating the right impression as well as reducing the potential spread of bacteria. But the need to ensure washrooms are easy to clean needn’t come at the expense of design and aesthetics. By carefully selecting appropriate materials and utilising considerate design features, it’s possible to create a washroom that delivers the perfect balance of form and function.
When nature calls
Any surface a washroom user is likely to come into contact with, whether that’s cubicle doors, locks, vanity units or taps, must be cleaned regularly in order to reduce the spread of germs – something which is especially important in a high traffic environment such as workplace.
But it’s not just surfaces in the washroom area itself which need to be considered. Surveys suggest that many people regularly take their phone or tablet into the washroom with them, resulting in an alarming amount of bacteria present on the average phone. One solution is to provide special phone-friendly antibacterial wipes in washrooms to keep phones clean and germ-free and so reduce the potential spread of bacteria.
Washroom recently created a bespoke, specially designed ipad holder as part of the toilet door frame as a feature of the design for a recent office washroom refurbishment project. The idea is to provide users with a safe place to leave ipads or tablets outside the cubicle door but still within the washroom area.
Additionally, solid surface materials, which are also easy-to-clean, such as Corian and Staron have become popular for washroom vanities, especially in the office sector. That fact that they’re available in a wide range of attractive colours and textures, enables clients to create a functional washroom space that is as hardwearing as it is aesthetically pleasing.
Staron is a blend of natural minerals and thermosetting acrylic polymers, which is designed to be 100 per cent waterproof, hygienic and durable and being totally impervious to moisture it provides a smooth, grout-free surface. It’s also non-porous and stain resistant, making it easy to clean and maintain. When applied using a special unique Staron adhesive, it can be joined with no visible seams or crevices.
Next generation materials
Specifiers can opt to use advanced, next generation materials such as FENIX NTM which benefit from having anti-bacterial properties as well as being easy to clean.
A highly durable acrylic resin surface material which is mould resistant and boasts enhanced anti-bacterial properties, FENIX NTM is manufactured by Italian manufacturer Arpa Industriale using the latest nanotechnology.
Not only is it anti-fingerprint, hydro repellent and resistant to scratches and abrasion, it is thermally self-healing and light fast so it won’t fade over time. Extremely matt with low light reflectivity for a unique fashionable super matt appearance, FENIX NTM is available in a range of colours and is also soft to the touch, making it increasingly popular with architects and interior designers looking for a luxury high performance finish.
For vanity units, LG HI-MACS or Silestone both offer increased protection against the potential spread of bacteria for a clean and hygienic washroom. A solid surface material which consists of acrylic resin and five per cent natural pigments, LG HI-MACS produces a non-porous, visually seamless smooth surface that meets the most exacting hygiene requirements. It is impermeable to dirt, bacteria, viruses and countless chemicals.
Silestone, which is manufactured from 90 per cent natural Quartz, is extraordinarily hard and resilient and also boasts anti-bacterial protection. Like LG HI-MACS, Silestone is a non-porous surface and as such is highly resistant to stains from everyday products.
Reducing the cleaning burden
Washroom consumables such as soap and paper towels are an essential part of a creating a clean and hygienic washroom space, but can sometimes cause more mess with unsightly bins overflowing or soap dispensers that are difficult to refill.
Integrated consumable units such as the innovative Alavo unit from Dolphin Dispensers provide a new solution to an age old problem. The modular unit incorporates all the facilities needed to wash, soap and dry, all concealed behind an attractive mirror unit.
Designed to save water and soap, they are also easy to maintain and refill, saving energy, time and money, while the use of infrared taps and soap dispensers limits the number of surfaces users need to touch, therefore reducing the spread of bacteria. These units can be combined with bespoke vanity units with integrated waste bins for a clear and clutter-free washroom space.