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Public toilets need further investment from local councils

One in three UK adults are unhappy about the cleanliness of the public toilets in their nearest town or city, a new study finds.

In research commissioned by specialist hygiene services provider Citron Hygiene, seven in 10 Brits would prefer to buy something from a nearby coffee shop to use the facilities than visit a free public toilet, with more than three quarters (76 per cent) claiming to only use public washrooms if it’s completely unavoidable.

When asked why they would use a toilet in a hospitality setting, like a café or fast-food restaurant, 70 per cent claimed it is because of superior cleanliness. Thirty-seven per cent of UK adults prefer using these facilities as they have better hand washing stations.

Proper maintenance and repairs, having a regular cleaning schedule and more being available are the top aspects considered to improve public toilets, while a third (33 per cent) of UK adults would like to see more investment in touch free technology in their local toilets – such as flushes, taps and hand dryers.

The study also found that 76 per cent of UK adults believe a good quality public toilet is something their area can be proud of.

And with that in mind, those polled have called upon councils to prioritise funding for their public facilities, with 82 per cent wanting more investment to ensure their public toilets are clean and safe.

Robert Guice, CEO at Citron Hygiene, said: “Washroom hygiene has never been more important, and it is clear many towns and cities across the country need to do more to provide a better public toilet experience.

“When we are out and about, we shouldn’t dread having to find our nearest facilities, and when we do find one, the state of them shouldn’t make us think twice about using them.”

According to the research, more than half of UK adults (58 per cent) have not been able to use a public toilet because they didn’t have any change to hand, with just over 30p considered to be a fair amount to pay for the facility.

A medical condition, such as bladder weakness, has made being able to access public toilets even more important for 32 per cent.

Whereas, for more than a fifth (23 per cent), public toilets took on an extra importance when they were potty training a child.

Guice, added: “Despite often being overlooked, public toilets are a really important aspect to each town and city centre.

“Washrooms will come under high levels of scrutiny from the public as we continue to adapt to new ways of living as a result of the pandemic. Everyone deserves to be able to feel clean and safe when they need to use these facilities.

“Working with the right washroom partner, local councils can ensure their spaces are well-maintained and properly stocked in order to provide a safe and hygienic environment.”

About Sarah OBeirne

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