The Importance of Handwashing During a Global Pandemic

August 14, 2020
Contributing Expert: Mike Shell | Elkay Commercial Systems General Manager, North America

The role of handwashing has always been a vitally important aspect of health and the prevention of transmitting germs, bacteria, and viruses to other surfaces and individuals.

According to the CDC, “Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water. CDC recommends cleaning hands in a specific way to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.”

Handwashing facilities are lacking in places where they are desperately needed. Almost half of all schools do not have handwashing facilities with soap and water, impacting 900 million children. Additionally, about 43% of health care environments do not have handwashing facilities at points of care where patients are being treated. With limited or no handwashing facilities or plans to improve standards, it's estimated that health care workers’ compliance with best practices for handwashing can be as low as 8% (WHO/UNICEF 2020).

Due to COVID-19, the impact of proper handwashing is critically important now more than ever to keep ourselves and our communities safe. 

Touchless, Mobile Wash Stations Make Handwashing More Sanitary and Accessible

The vast majority of handwashing stations out there are made with inferior materials such as plastic. Newly developed units are now being crafted with stainless steel - which is more durable and less likely to spot or stain and resists hard water stains and odors.

Another trend we see in the design of handwashing units are sensored features. Many units require you to touch surfaces on the faucet, soap dispenser, or paper towel dispensers, thus increasing exposure risk. Newly developed units on the market are now designed with this flaw in mind. They feature entirely touchless design, eliminate the need to touch any surface, giving you the confidence you require in a complete handwashing experience.

Mobile handwashing stations can be placed in various commercial environments, including schools, hospitals, stadiums, gyms, auto dealerships, entrances to businesses, and restaurant patios, to name a few. The options are almost limitless in terms of places to utilize these units to keep staff, guests, patients, and students safe and healthy with confidence.

Elkay Develops a New Handwashing Unit To Protect Communities During COVID-19

Elkay’s patent-pending Soapwell™ mobile handwashing stations fully comply with CDC handwashing guidelines, but we have taken it one step further. These units provide a completely touch-free operation in 3 simple steps: sensor-activated hot water, soap, and hand towels accomplished without ever touching a surface. 

These stainless steel handwashing units are made with 301 stainless steel, locking casters, internal plumbing for instant hot water. They require no external hardline plumbing, provide instant hot water, and are easy to set up wherever handwashing is needed.

We offer two solutions in mobile handwashing for various environments to keep people and communities healthy and safe. Our Soapwell™ Standard model comes with a 5-gallon capacity freshwater tank and a 6-gallon wastewater tank. It can accommodate up to 50 washings before refilling, perfect for low to moderate traffic environments. Our newly developed Direct Connect version can connect to a standard water hose or plumbing line and has an outflow connection for direct draining, ideally suited for moderate to high traffic areas without ever changing tanks. 

Elkay has donated units to frontline workers to help keep them and their communities healthy as they provide critical service during the pandemic. “The sinks have been an incredible asset in protecting our healthcare workers and patients in just the short time we’ve had them,” shared Millinocket Regional Hospital, one of the organizations that received a donated Soapwell unit. “We’re all very impressed with how sleek, efficient, and high tech they are. The ‘no-touch’ features are critical in our environment and were a pleasant surprise.”

The Elkay Soapwell Team has successfully engineered and developed this unit to aid in the fight against COVID-19 and to keep communities safe in virtually any environment now and in the future.