On a recent trip, for example, the lavish restroom at an American Airlines Admirals Club that I was visiting while on a layover didn’t have a trash bin near the exit door. Tissues people used to open the door—without having to touch it with their just-washed hands—were piling up on the floor nearby.
Some restrooms have found a way around the issue by simply placing a trash bin near the door. That’s easy enough. Others, like the restroom at the airport in Madrid, have the door opening completely automated. In fact, most everything was automated in that restroom,and it all worked. No frantic waving was involved to get something to turn on.
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Automation is so expected now that my 4-year-old was astonished when we went to the restroom on that same trip:
“Dad, how come that toilet isn’t flushing?”
“You have to pull the handle.”
“What? Why? Is it broken?”
“No. This one just isn’t automated.”
Get a handle on sanitizer
It was interesting, innovative and I would guess that it certainly cuts down on tissues being used to open the door. Thinking of it now, I can’t remember if the restroom even had tissues or if there were air dryers.
[On topic: 3 Tips for Better Facility Hygiene]
This method works as long as you have both hands available. As you can see in the video, it’s hard to do with just one hand (I hold the iPhone with my other hand to record.)
Nonetheless, it’s not a bad feature and an idea to consider when you are updating your restrooms.
A similar way to handle this is to have a dispenser immediately outside the restroom door. Of course, to apply the sanitizer you really always need two hands, so go ahead and put that iPhone away for a moment.
For a germophobe like me (I even wipe down my airplane seat before sitting down), anything that can help me be cleaner, especially after leaving bathrooms in commercial buildings, is something I’m happy to try.
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