The Goods: Restrooms

More and more, users say they want touchless design elements in commercial and public restroom spaces, proving we are still in an elevated state of germ consciousness.

Face masks and six-foot distancing may be in the rearview mirror, but not every impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has passed. It is 2023, but most people continue to be in an elevated state of germ consciousness and don’t like touching things in public restroom spaces, often going out of their way to avoid surfaces in these shared spaces.

According to the Healthy Handwashing Survey from Bradley Corporation, 62 per cent of respondents use a paper towel as a barrier to avoid touching flushers, faucets and doors. Women are even more likely to use the “paper towel as a glove” approach, with 67 per cent taking this evasive measure. Others employ sheer physicality to steer clear of germs. 43 per cent of respondents use their foot to flush toilets, 31 per cent hover over the toilet seat, and 27 per cent open and close doors with their backside in hopes of avoiding germy contact. Women are significantly more likely than men to employ these actions.

“For many, restrooms carry a certain ‘ick factor’ that impacts how they view – and use – these public facilities,” said Jon Dommisse, vice president of marketing and corporate communication, Bradley Corporation. “Understandably, people don’t want to touch things after somebody else touched them, especially right after they used the toilet.”

With so much effort going into avoiding germs, it’s no wonder that 82 per cent of respondents believe it is important to have touchless fixtures in a public restroom, a percentage that has remained high in the survey since the onset of the pandemic in 2020. As for the most desired restroom improvements, having touchless fixtures is once again among the topmost requests, along with keeping restrooms cleaner and better stocked, and always providing paper towels, even if there are hand dryers.

The survey found that the restroom features considered most important to be touchless are faucets, flushers, soap dispensers and paper towel dispensers, in that order. “The good news for restroom users and providers is that in just the past few years, the mechanicals used in sensor technology have improved significantly, relieving some of the frustration of false or spotty soap, water and flushing activations,” he said.

Germ trepidation in public bathrooms and demand for touchless fixtures have likely been intensified by COVID. “For 14 years, our survey has consistently shown that people have always placed importance on clean restrooms but now there’s elevated and ongoing demand for increased hygiene and the use of touchless fixtures,” Dommisse added. “Similar to how the iPod changed music and 9/11 changed air travel, COVID has forever changed public bathroom expectations and design.”

Proximity | Delta Commercial

Automatic faucet and soap dispenser sensors malfunction for all sorts of reasons: clothing colour, reflections, skin texture or damage to the sensor (from misuse or even cleaning). Proximity with H2Optics technology turns the whole faucet into an advanced infrared sensor system using the principles of triangulation to measure the angle of the returned beam to detect the user, resulting in reliable performance.




Evero Matte | Bradley Corp.

A new option with a stone-like appearance for commercial handwashing basins, this highly resilient natural quartz will resist stains and cracks and is also nonporous and seamless, inhibiting mold and bacteria growth. GreenGuard Gold certified, Evero Matte requires no external finishing operations, showcasing a palette of eight organic colours in a natural finish that will not show fingerprints.

Top Fill Multi-feed Soap System | Bradley Corp.

Available with all WashBar models, this new top fill soap system features a large capacity 1.3-gallon (5.0 L) tank that can supply soap to up to three WashBars at once. A smart sense system with LED indicator on the fill port illuminates to indicate when the tank begins to run low on soap or battery power, taking the guesswork out of maintenance. Smart sensors also provide audible and visual indicators to prevent overfilling and mess.

Greenbrook Top Spud Urinal | American Standard

A large footprint vitreous china urinal with optimized surface contours and water flushing spreader that rinses inverted back wall for superior splash protection. The patented EverClean antimicrobial surface inhibits the growth of stain and odour-causing bacteria, mold and mildew on the surface.

Ultima Selectronic Touchless Flush Valve | American Standard

Advanced electronics gives this flush valve a 10-year battery life to reduce the downtime and maintenance costs associated with changing batteries. The Pressure Compensation feature ensures accurate flush volume regardless of inlet water pressure, and the Selectronic Proximity System provides “hands free” operation while preventing ghost flushing.

XLERATOR | Excel Dryer

Upgraded to electrostatic HEPA filtration and now available in surface-mounted, ADA-compliant ThinAir Hand Dryer product line that includes all the standard enhanced features—including adjustable sound, speed and heat controls—while also protruding less than four inches from the wall to adhere to ADA regulations. ThinAir dries hands in 14 seconds, operates on 950 watts and helps facilities qualify for several LEED Credits and WELL Points.