With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic we have all become accustomed to using dispensers for hand sanitizer. Many businesses and institutions have turned to hands free or automatic dispensers citing safety, fewer touch-points and convenience as reasons for this decision. Let us take a look at the pros and cons involved in using hands-free dispensing and the ultimate question we will ask: are hands-free dispensers really a better choice?
The Need To Clean & Sanitize
Obviously, one of the more common areas where germs are spread is by the hands. Throughout the day we touch a wide array of objects and we come in contact with bacteria, viruses, and other germs along the way. So it is important that we wash our hands – not just sanitize - especially when in public places. The pandemic only made this even more important.
Let’s start by reviewing the options available:
Manual pumps or dispensers have been around for as long as we can remember. They exist in many household products, ranging from sunscreen, soaps to hand lotions. We use them every day in some fashion, whether or not we realize it. The irony is - we do not bother thinking about the lotion dispenser being contaminated, do we? Usually, we are the only ones to use it or another family member. But still when we used it last, were our hands clean?
Hand cleansing products like hand sanitizer and hand soap have also been used in pumps for many years. Many frown on using them because of the thought of the pump containing germs. When using hand cleansing products like sanitizer or soap, we are dispensing a product that is supposed to kill germs – if that is the case, any germs you perhaps could have gotten from being in contact with the pump would be cleansed, correct?
Automatic dispensers have the advantage of being just that, automatic, or hands-free. You don't have to touch anything, so not only do you not spread germs, you don’t pick up any either. You wave your hand and soap or sanitizer is released at a preset amount; It is safe, convenient, and easy.
However, when comparing hand pumps versus automatic, we have to remember that most hands-free dispensers use a cartridge or bag to replace the cleansing agent – these units generally lock you into only being able to use one particular style of replenishments, similar to the way printers only accept one type of toner. It’s no secret that manufacturers leverage this and it reflects in the higher costs when compared with standard bulk fill units. Further on, automated dispensers often drip and leak causing waste, generally cost more to purchase, and also require batteries to run on. That means, eventually the batteries will run out and it’s not uncommon for the dispensers to sit idle for long periods of time. This isn’t even considering the potential of the automatic machines having functional issues because of mechanical failure, and most name brand manufacturers do not offer warranty or quality guarantees.
Consider that you have to touch the pump to dispense the product in a manual dispenser, and you pick up more germs. But then you are cleaning your hands so this really is not a problem. While we avoid this with the automatic dispenser, what happens when you leave the restroom? Most of the time there is a door with a handle. The irony here is that the side that you push open is often on the side you came in from? You just cleansed your hands and now you have re-contaminated them by touching the door handle, or you go to the register and hand the cashier your credit card who gives it back contaminated.
There are so many areas we miss with sanitizing. We need to do it often, especially when we use the restroom. Being in public places means we must be aware of everything that we touch.
The irony of the touchless dispenser is that while you may not touch the dispenser in order to receive soap or sanitizer on your hand, you will touch something else that will recontaminate your hands. Also, the machine may be non-functional or may dispense a smaller than satisfactory amount to properly sanitize or clean your hands.
Before we throw out the automatic dispenser, remember that they still serve a purpose. They can be helpful in high-traffic areas that are maintained regularly to avoid long periods of nonuse due to malfunction or empty cartridges.
Which Is Better?
While there are clear advantages and disadvantages of using each type of dispenser, we at Checkers Cleaning Supply want you to use the product that you feel is the best for your situation. Please contact us for information on how we can fulfill all of your cleaning supply needs.