What you need to know about portable handwashing stations

We don’t yet know how the government will take the UK out of lock-down. But we can be certain that guidelines will include more hand washing. Over the coming weeks and months, we expect to see more portable handwash stations appearing in unexpected places.

Government guidelines given to businesses staying open during lock-down suggest what we can expect going forward. The guidelines include:

  • Employees should be reminded to wash their hands for 20 seconds more frequently and catch coughs and sneezes in tissues. 
  • Frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, using your standard cleaning products. 
  • Make sure there are places to wash hands for 20 seconds with soap and water, and encourage everyone to do so regularly. 
  • Provide hand sanitiser and tissues for staff, and encourage them to use them. 
  • Provide additional pop-up hand washing stations or facilities if possible, providing soap, water, hand sanitiser and tissues and encourage staff to use them.

What is a pop-up hand washing station?

These sinks are often used where traditional hand washing facilities are not available, either because there’s no water supply or because they’re temporary. The benefit is that clean and dirty water, soap, and hand towels (dryers) are contained within one unit.

In San Francisco for example, hand wash stations have been placed on the street for its homeless residents. In Southeast Romania you’ll find stations in the central square.

Boeing recently installed handwash stations in its factories in Washington State to protect its staff. Before the UK lock-down, the high street retailer Lush provided free public handwashing facilities in some of its stores.

There are two types of mobile hand wash station: manual fill or plumbed in.

Manual fill

These are the most flexible but not the most convenient. Manual fill stations have two tanks: one contains fresh water, the other dirty.

They need an electric supply to run the pump and heat the water (where available), but not a mains or waste pipe connection. So, it’s possible to install a manual unit in more places.

Before rushing out to buy a manual system you need to plan how you’ll fill and empty the tank. You need access to a suitable tap to accommodate the bottle and somewhere to empty the used water.

We’ve designed our manual units with 12.5-litre tanks. This equates to around 62 washes. Any bigger and it would become more difficult to empty and refill. Where possible, we recommend installing a plumbed-in system as these are hassle-free and can work out cheaper.

Plumbed in handwash stations

Plumbed in systems use water pressure from the mains supply rather than an electric pump. They don’t need to be refilled or emptied so are less hassle than a manual unit.

Sterizen® Handwash Stations are straightforward to install, once the pipework is in place. The flexible piping clips to the mains water and waste pipe exactly the same as a washing machine or dishwasher.

Manual dispense or automatic

Like ordinary taps and soap dispensers, portable handwash stations come in both manual and automatic. Automatic versions like the Sterizen® Handwash Station Z1 and Sterizen® Handwash Station Z2 use infrared sensors to dispense both water and soap.

Touchless systems provide another line of defence in the fight against COVID-19 and other infectious bacteria and viruses. The Z1 and Z2 also include a digital display to guide users through the correct way to wash their hands.

Where might we see portable handwash stations?

We’re already experiencing growth in demand for hand washing stations and hand sanitiser. As the country begins its journey out of lock-down we expect further increase in demand. It’s likely you’ll see portable sinks appearing in places such as hotel receptions, building entrances, schools and universities, even theatres, or football grounds. 

Read full Government guidelines here >

For help choosing the most suitable hand wash station for your workplace or facility get in touch.