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Most Frequently Asked Hygiene & Washrooms Questions Answered

What are anti-ligature products?

Let’s firstly define ligature, this is something which binds or ties, in this instance we are referring to something that someone might use to tie tightly around their bodies with the intent of harming themselves.  Anti-ligature products are designed specifically to help prevent that something being physically attached to the product.

Many anti-ligature products use magnets or clips that release whenever pressure is applied to them, for example curtain poles or door hinges. For products that must remain secured to the wall, I.e., washroom dispensers, the product needs to be designed to fix as securely as possible to the wall and with specialist design details that ensure no ligature can be attached.

Where would anti-ligature washroom products be found?

Anti-ligature products are ideal in places used by vulnerable and at-risk people for example mental health facilities, police stations, detention centres, prisons etc.  Washrooms are often used without supervision to protect privacy so it is essential that all possible care is provided to users.

 When might you need to consider anti ligature products in your facilities?

If someone is intent on causing themselves harm, we should do all we can to protect them.  And no-where is this duty of care greater than in mental health facilities. So it makes sense to replace everyday essential items with products that are designed to protect the vulnerable and reduce the opportunity to self-harm.

This doesn’t need to be at the expense of style as many anti-ligature products are just as stylish as their standard alternatives.  It’s important that care facilities should be stylish and modern and feel like home and be safe.

If there is any risk or potential of your washrooms being used by vulnerable people a simple change of equipment could help protect them.

How to unclog automatic soap dispenser

This all depends on the type of refill the dispenser uses.  A cartridge type dispenser will normally use either a plastic soap pouch or a bag inside a cardboard box, usually these are supplied with a pump attached to each refill.  The most common reason for this type of soap to clog is if it dries out in the pump due to infrequent use.  The best way to avoid this is to ensure the unit is used regularly, in very quiet washrooms this might be best achieved by the cleaning team triggering the dispenser during the cleaning process.  It is best to replace a clogged refill with a new one.

Bulk fill or top up dispensers contain a reservoir in the dispenser which is filled by pouring in soap from a larger container, usually a 5L bottle.  These units the dispensing pump is part of the dispenser and not the soap refill.  If this is clogged removed the unused soap in the reservoir by pouring into another container.  Fill the reservoir with a little warm water and leave for a few minutes; this will help to dissolve the soap causing the blockage.  Activate the pump repeatedly until the blockage is cleared and the water has been dispensed. Refill the reservoir with the soap formulation.

Never push an item into the pump nozzle to clear a blockage this could damage the pump and also cause an accident.

How to clean brushed stainless steel?

Whilst specialist cleaning formulations are available we recommend just warm water and a soft cloth. Always wipe in the direction of the brushed grain and dry thoroughly.

If you do decide to use a cleaning formulation always test thoroughly in an inconspicuous area before cleaning all over.

How to stop condensation on a toilet cistern?

This is often a seasonal problem caused when the temperature of the cold water feeding into the cistern is lower than the room temperature on the outside of the cistern causing condensation to form on the cistern. This can be problematic if it builds up to a level where it drips on the surrounding flooring etc.

The problem is often lessened in cisterns that are concealed as they are protected from the higher temperatures in the bathroom.  But out of sight is out of mind and if the problem persists it can cause unseen damage.

It is also possible to insulate the inside of a cistern, there are DIY guides online that even use a yoga mat for this purpose. Insulating the pipework can also help protect the water feed from extremes of temperatures. Ventilation is imperative in bathrooms; extractor fans help to circulate the air and extract the warm air that has risen but also just opening a window each day will help regulate the air temperature and reduce condensation.

How to clean a toilet cistern?

In cistern blocks can be used to help treat the water and avoid limescale build up. Depending on whether your mains water is hard or soft can lead to varying deterioration on your cistern toilet.

Hard water i.e., where there is an increase level of dissolved minerals in the water such as calcium and magnesium. Hard water can leave build up in untreated areas, the white chalkiness is harmless but can be unsightly and cause potential blockages in pipes if left untreated for a long time.

Soft water areas tend to be where the ground is less permeable such as granite; here rainwater cannot be absorbed and therefore fewer minerals are collected as it moves through the water course. In cases where larger deposits need to be removed, we recommended cleaning with white vinegar or alternatively specialist cleaning products are available.

What height should washroom grab bars be installed?

Guidance for designing an accessible washroom is covered by the UK Building Regulations 2010, the approved document ‘M’ states the requirements access and use of buildings other than dwellings.  This is often just referred to as Doc M.

Drop down and horizontal grab rails around the toilet should be installed at 680mm height.  Vertical grab rails installed either side of the mirror should be at least 600mm long and the centre point to be 1100mm from the ground.

Please always refer to the detailed guidance provided in Document M when designing, specifying and installing accessible washrooms.

What height to install toilet paper holder?

Ideally a toilet paper dispenser should be installed between 800 and 1000mm from the floor.

What is a radar key?

The term RADAR originally came from the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation, now referred to as Disability Rights UK. The scheme refers to accessible toilets which are locked to prevent use by the public. The purpose being to help keep them free for disabled people to access more readily and also to help keep them clean and tidy by ensuring they are only being used by people who genuinely need to.

The key system is now referred to NKS – the National Key Scheme.

Keys are available to purchase and some local authorities provide them free of charge.  There are many copies available, and caution should be applied when purchasing to ensure the authenticity of the key as copies may not always work effectively.

For more information visit https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/shop/official-and-only-genuine-radar-key

What is a unisex toilet?

Unisex toilets can be used by anyone, regardless of gender identification.  Such installations can be very effective in locations that are limited in space to be able to offer separate facilities.  They also help to breakdown traditional boundaries of gender specific facilities.  They also support parents of young children who would rather take them into the toilets with them instead of letting them go in adult toilets unattended.

With that in mind, considerations must be applied in the specification and design to ensure that the privacy and wellbeing for all users is supported. The users’ preferences must also be given due consideration to ensure everyone feels as safe using a unisex washroom facility as they would same sex.

So, whilst there are lots of positives to providing unisex washrooms full thought and consideration must be given to all aspects of the location and who the facilities will be used by.