by Brianna Crandall — December 18, 2019 — Each year, an estimated 32 million school days are missed from flu illness, while up to 180 million school days are lost due to the common cold. School administrators are well aware that increasing proper hand washing is effective in decreasing illness. The experts at Kutol Products Company, manufacturers of Health Guard commercial hand soap products, provide advice below on how schools can use custodial services and kid-friendly products to promote better hand-hygiene habits and help decrease sick days.
Dan Renner, marketing director for Kutol Products Company, explained:
We call it the “S.A.F.E.” approach, and it specifically addresses what school custodians can do to assure optimum hand washing habits. Many students are already aware of the basics of hand hygiene, like washing after using the restroom and singing “Happy Birthday” twice while lathering. However, S.A.F.E. goes further with these four easy steps that custodians can implement to promote better hand hygiene.
Kutol’s “S.A.F.E.” approach consists of:
- Sanitizers: Install hand-sanitizing stations throughout the building to supplement hand-washing activity. A study of school-age children (Morton, Schultz 2004) found that using hand sanitizer in combination with hand washing is effective in reducing absenteeism due to infectious illness by 43%. There are many sanitizers available on the market; however, non-alcohol-based hand sanitizers, such as Kutol’s Health Guard Foaming No Alcohol Hand Sanitizer, are much safer for school environments than alcohol-based products.
- Allergen-free: Avoid hand soaps with allergens. Custodians can stock hand soaps that are free of dyes, fragrances, parabens, sulfates, and peanut or tree nut ingredients, as these are best suited for users who might have allergic reactions. Add an extra dimension of security by avoiding products that use formaldehyde preservatives. Kutol’s Green Seal-certified Health Guard Foaming Ultra Green Hand Soap is formulated without any of these ingredients or preservatives.
- Foam for fun: Foaming hand soaps and hand sanitizers are more cost-effective, and children love them. The thick, rich foam is fun and easy to use, which encourages increased hand washing. It is very easy for custodians to switch out liquids for foaming products in most dispensers.
- Explain with posters or signage: Custodians can post signs to encourage proper hand washing. Studies show having signage in restrooms almost doubles hand-washing activity, as well as increasing the likelihood of using hand soap.
Following the S.A.F.E. approach, custodians can become important contributors to a comprehensive hand hygiene program to help reduce lost school days, says Kutol.
Free hand-washing signs for schools can be downloaded at from the Kutol website’s Tools & Resources/Window Cards & Signage page. Additional posters and educational materials are available from Healthy Schools, Healthy People, It’s A SNAP! (School Network for Absenteeism Prevention).
Kutol Products Company, founded in 1912, manufactures the Health Guard and Kutol Pro brands of commercial hand soaps, hand sanitizers and soap-dispensing systems in its LEED Silver Certified, FDA-registered facility in Sharonville, Ohio. Kutol’s extensive line of hand-hygiene products includes many Green Seal-certified, USDA BioPreferred and EcoLogo-approved products.