Published: 03 August, 2011
Air sterilisers are increasingly used to create a welcoming environment.
Keeping toilets clean is a must in any environment. In a shopping centre, the public will assume poor standards throughout the mall if they’re faced with dirty washrooms and the perception of hygiene and cleanliness doesn’t just come down to sight - smell can be equally off-putting. Cleaning the surfaces is one thing, but what about cleaning the air? Unpleasant odours can be a real turn off for shoppers but products are available to neutralise toilet smells as well as those from conflicting food and drink operators.
Poor cleanliness can be a real health hazard. The types of bacteria found in washrooms range from common cold, flu and Rhinovrius to Salmonella, Streptococcus, E Coli and Hepatitis A and recent research by Initial has found that only 64 per cent of people wash their hands after using the toilet and only 33 per cent of those use soap.
“The fact that only a third of people in the UK always wash their hands after using the toilet is a cause for concern,” says Initial’s technical manager, Peter Barratt. “Faecal micro-organisms are ejected from toilets and urinals into the air during flushing and settle on washroom surfaces. The spread of bacteria from not washing hands is a real health threat.”
McArthurGlen’s Bridgend Designer Outlet recently invested in Initial Washroom’s Air Steriliser – developed by Biozone Scientific - for their three public washrooms as part of an ongoing maintenance improvement programme.
The steriliser uses a combination of air cleaning technology to target and kill odour-causing bacteria in the air and on exposed surfaces.
Regular cleaning and the use of disinfectants goes some way to control bacterial spread but in eight hours one cell will have multiplied into 8m meaning that normal cleaning products simply can’t keep up.
The Air Steriliser creates a fresh-smelling environment, helps to protect users by removing viruses, mould and fungi and is environmentally friendly because it reduces the need for chemical solutions. It’s also energy efficient with low running costs equivalent to a 16 watt light bulb.
Since their installation, regular customer surveys at Bridgend have returned increasingly positive comments about the facilities, as visitors express their satisfaction at the level of cleanliness. With 80 per cent of the outlet’s visitors using the toilets, facilities manager Alun Rix stresses the importance of maintaining a fresh environment and says he is “delighted with the improvement.”
Bridgend also use Eco-Clear, a technique of controlling urinal flushing containing good bacteria to penetrate acid, salts and scale, preventing build-up in the pipes whilst making water savings of up to 90 per cent.
And Cornbow shopping centre in Halesowen recently installed the Ambius Microfresh ambient scenting system to neutralise the smell of conflicting food and drink aromas.
As Cornbow’s Eve O’Connor explains: “During the trial of the Ambius Microfresh solution, we were amazed by how well it solved the problem of food smells in particular areas. We were also impressed by the way the scent travelled to other parts of the centre.
“Ambius helped us choose the system and a fragrance called ‘Marine Fresh’ that would have the right impact for our space. We can already smell the difference around the centre, enhancing the environment for shoppers and boosting business for retailers.”
Ambius Microfresh behaves like a vapour and doesn’t fall to the floor after emission, remaining in the air for up to four hours. Because the diffusion of the scenting particles is controlled there are no wet deposits, making it safe and ideal for retail spaces.
“Ambient scenting can make retail environments more inviting,” says Ambius managing director, Jeanette Van Roy. “It’s not just about neutralising smells, in many instances it is used to enhance the shopping experience and create a competitive point of difference. The fact is that people stay longer in fragranced areas, increasing the likelihood of them spending. Scenting is certainly growing as a powerful marketing technique for retailers and clients across a variety of sectors.”
Used as a marketing tool, Ambius can be used to attract people to certain areas of the centre or to highlight seasonal promotions.