Having clean, safe, well-maintained washrooms may not enhance a school’s reputation—the good maintenance practices may not provide any clues about the quality of the teachers or how well students are performing. But when an education facility neglects washrooms and lets them become unsanitary and unsafe havens for vandalism and bullying, that can affect the health and morale of students and staff.

At a minimum, schools and universities need to provide washrooms that are cleaned regularly to kill germs and prevent the spread of disease; that are outfitted with fixtures and equipment that ward off the temptations of vandalism; and that allow for a level of supervision that deters would-be bullies from using a restroom break to harass vulnerable fellow students. In addition, facility managers looking to save energy and cut costs should seek washroom designs that conserve water and rely less on artificial lighting.

Health focus

A poorly maintained school washroom can threaten the health of students and staff—even those who don’t even use the facilities. Without proper cleaning, washrooms can become breeding grounds for germs that can spread disease throughout the school population.

In addition to an effective cleaning strategy, schools can fight the dissemination of germs by selecting the right fixtures and equipment. Frequent and thorough hand washing is a critical step in trying to avoid contact with germs, but even with regular washing, restroom users can pick up germs each time they touch a door handle, a toilet-paper dispenser, a flush handle, a sink faucet, a soap dispenser or a towel dispenser. Equipment that is triggered by motion or is time-controlled enables students to use those fixtures without touching them.