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Washroom hygiene at festivals
By Jamie Woodhall, UK technical & innovations manager, Initial Washroom Hygiene:
As the festival season kicks off, festivalgoers will be making their way to locations all over to immerse themselves in some of the best music around. While these festivals will provide an exciting experience for many, it is no secret that in the past their toilets have earned a poor reputation for hygiene.
Few people would expect a five-star washroom experience in the middle of a field. That said, event organisers can help to protect their reputation through the provision of quality, hygienic toilets as well as providing adequate handwashing facilities and hand sanitiser stations throughout the venue, including in portable toilets, near water taps, food stalls and communal areas.
Hands are a natural breeding ground for bacteria and can be one of the principal carriers of disease-causing germs. As festival visitors often spend time in communal areas or shared facilities, germs can pass from one person to another through indirect contact with contaminated surfaces. For example, at a festival this can often happen in portaloos where multiple people touch the same door handle or toilet roll holder, or food stalls where people touch condiment bottles.
In addition to hand hygiene, festival organisers should also consider the option of surface cleanser wipes for those reluctant to use hand sanitiser due to allergies or eczema. Byotrol Surface Sanitising Wipes provide residual protection for up to eight hours, making them an excellent choice for maintaining high hygiene standards in communal areas.
In recent years the growth of movements such as Period Dignity has highlighted the reputational benefits of providing adequate period products and sanitary waste facilities. Research conducted by Initial Washroom Hygiene* revealed that the majority of individuals who menstruate (94%) expressed the desire to have feminine hygiene provisions made available within public washroom cubicles. What’s more, 55% of respondents also expressed the need for spare period products to be included in these facilities. It is important for organisers to consider providing both waste bins and period products.
Ideally, sanitary waste bins should be provided, in all permanent or portable toilet cubicles (male/female/gender neutral) - to help provide every festivalgoer with a dignified washroom experience regardless of their age, gender or needs.
Washroom hygiene at festivals is more than just a backstage concern, in reality it's a front-row priority that requires greater attention and action. Without doubt large numbers of people sharing temporary toilets and showering facilities presents a hygiene challenge but it is certainly not one that is insurmountable.
And finally, some hygiene tips for festivalgoers…
● Pack sufficient wet wipes, hand sanitiser, toilet paper, a toothbrush and toothpaste.
● The majority of infections which cause sickness and diarrhoea are spread through poor hand hygiene, so remember to wash and sanitise your hands at regular intervals and particularly before eating and after going to the toilet.
● Stock up with plenty of clean water in your tent, for drinking and cleaning bodies, cooking utensils and dirty surfaces.
● When using festival toilet facilities, use sleeves, elbows or toilet paper to touch door handles and taps, and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
● Avoid urinating in public as it unhygienic for yourself and others, and when done in large numbers can pollute the ground at the festival site.
● Pack towels (microfibre towels/cloths are lightweight and effective) to ensure you can dry off when you need to, to reduce the risk of fungal infections.
6th July 2023