— By William Gagnon —
Hand dryers and restroom maintenance work well together.
These days, it’s increasingly uncommon to walk into a commercial restroom and find paper towels as the sole option for drying hands after washing. Especially in a larger, busier facility, one is bound to see at least one electric hand dryer on the wall — evidence of the number of retailers, restaurants and other businesses worldwide that are making a sustainably smart switch.
High-efficiency hand dryers not only provide unique benefits but address virtually all the problems paper towels present. For starters, there’s the consideration of cost. The original, patented, high-speed, energy-efficient hand dryer provides a 95% savings versus paper towels while eliminating their associated labor, maintenance and waste. In fact, a typical return on investment is less than 1 year from installation. Then there’s sustainability, a factor that any facility manager must consider when making decisions and, ultimately, purchases on a company’s behalf. This dryer reduces the carbon footprint of hand drying by up to 75% when compared to traditional hand dryers and even 100% recycled paper towels, making hand dryers the clear winner on this front as well.
Speaking of front, no one has quite the same appreciation for restroom operations (and electric hand dryers) as those on the front lines. These are the people who see and experience, daily and firsthand, the positive difference hand dryers make in the presentation and upkeep of a commercial restroom. These are the members of a facility’s maintenance staff.
Custodial Services Want Hand Dryers at their Service
Would a cleaning crew rather maintain a restroom stocked with paper towels, or one equipped with high-speed, energy-efficient hand dryers? It’s almost a rhetorical question, imagining a typical example of each environment. Following is a breakdown of just what makes hand dryers a maintenance pro’s natural preference.
- Litter Relief
This one needs little explanation. Where there are no paper towels, there is no paper towel waste. Where there is no paper towel waste, there are far fewer messes for custodial staff to have to address. With no realistic way to regulate towels per use or method of towel disposal, a paper towel dispenser can become tantamount to a confetti cannon in the restroom — with confetti landing often everywhere but the trash receptacle. With the assurance of electric hand dryers, staff can worry far less about the conditions they’ll confront at day’s end.
- Far Fewer Clogs
Ask any janitor about top restroom headaches, and clogged toilets are bound to make the list.
But that’s about toilet paper, one might think — and one would be surprised at the reality.
According to the Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE), paper towels and disposable seat covers are the most common cause of clogged toilets, which many facility managers cite as the most problematic and costly issue they face in the realm of restroom maintenance. Beyond its regular staff, a company may be calling in plumbing services, adding extra bills and unexpected hours for all.
In addition to clogs and other unsightly messes, today’s best hand dryers take care of those impurities you can’t see. The original, patented, high-speed, energy-efficient hand dryer offers an optional HEPA Filtration System that removes 99.97% of potentially present bacteria at 0.3 microns from the air stream. Further, anti-microbial wall guards, built specifically to fit under this dryer, have a special coating that protects walls from water droplets and inhibits the growth of bacteria, mold and mildew. Notably, what can create a lasting source of bacterial exposure if dirty water gets on the floor? That’s right: a clogged toilet.
- Cost-Effective Simplicity
When they replace paper towels with hand dryers, facilities instantly eliminate all the latter’s associated tasks. That means no more paper towels to buy, no dispensers to constantly monitor and restock, and no scattered, soggy paper waste to pick up and dispose of — not to mention far fewer plumbing calls. The maintenance demands of paper towels can literally add hours of extra daily labor daily, requiring enough available staff to cover them. In high-speed, energy-efficient hand dryers, you’ve got a sanitary solution that requires no supplies and keeps a restroom looking great — and that translates to a dramatic reduction in operating expenses.
- Happier Users, Happier Management
If guests, employees, students or anyone else complains about the restroom, the custodial crew is going to hear about it. But with high-speed, energy-efficient hand dryers (and, thus, reasons 1-3) securely in place, management and maintenance staff alike are sure to experience a new level of quiet satisfaction. Naturally, this consideration is particularly important for those in the restaurant industry. As one hand dryer customer, the manager of an upscale burger eatery, expressed: “Your bathrooms have to be as clean as your kitchen; that goes without saying. If you have a guest that goes in a dirty bathroom, they’re going to be scared. And they’re going to be wondering about what’s on the plate.” Talk about food for thought!
High-speed, energy-efficient hand dryers make for easier, more cost-effective maintenance. As frequent feedback and growing industry trends make clear, it pays to put paper in its place.
— William Gagnon is the vice president of marketing and sales at Excel Dryer in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts. This article originally appeared in the April 2020 issue of Retail & Restaurant Facility Business, which went to print before the widespread onset of COVID-19.