Prior to 2020, you might have been hard-pressed to find hand sanitizer out and available for public use. But thanks to COVID-19, now hand sanitizer dispensers are everywhere we go—from the post office to the grocery store, restaurant, and gas station. While it’s true that hand sanitizers will be part of our lives from here forward, it’s up to businesses and public-facing entities to know where they are best used, and how to best provide hand sanitizer for employees, students, and customers. This means, of course, knowing how to place sanitizing stations for maximum benefit, what kind to use, and the pros and cons of different types of dispensers.
What is a hand sanitizer dispenser?
A hand sanitizer dispenser is any mechanism that serves to dispense hand sanitizer to a person. While it can come in various forms (usually depending on the type of hand sanitizer being used), it most often will look like a spray bottle, a squirt dispenser (like a countertop soap dispenser), or a mounted unit (like a mounted soap dispenser one might use in a public restroom).
Types of hand sanitizers
There are different types of hand sanitizers, and that decision may affect what type or brand of hand sanitizer dispenser you can also use. Although all types of hand sanitizers are equally efficient at killing viruses, germs, and bacteria (provided it includes a base of 60% or higher ethanol content, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control), how each can be applied is the main difference.
Typically, gel sanitizers are most prominent in public locations, as well as in portable options that someone might carry with them in a bag. While a gel solution does take a little bit longer on average to dry than a liquid might, there are studies that show that they may kill germs faster. However, liquid sanitizers can be sprayed on surfaces around you, as well, like door handles, steering wheels, or other items that require hands-on contact.
Finally, foam hand sanitizer is another option, and one that you’ll probably see in a variety of public locations. Foam is a great option for public hand sanitizer dispensers because unlike gel, the foam doesn’t slip or move as easily, and can be more easily worked onto the skin.
Types of hand sanitizer dispensers
Just as there are different types of hand sanitizers, there are different types of dispensers, as well, but there are different types and qualities to be aware of before you decide which one to use.
Mounted – As the name suggests, a mounted hand sanitizer dispenser is one that is mounted to a wall in some location, providing a permanent location.
Freestanding – Typically on a stand (or platform, if on a tabletop), a freestanding dispenser is mounted to some sort of mobile unit that can be moved around.
Automatic / Touchless – You can find an automatic, or touchless, hand sanitizer dispenser in either the mounted or freestanding options; the primary feature is that sensors determine when sanitizer will be expressed, instead of physical contact required to push some sort of dispensary lever. This ensures that less contact is required for access—a great option in the days of surface-borne viruses and germs.
Best Types of Sanitizer dispensers for commercial or school use
Although it is arguable as to what type of dispenser is “best” for any given situation, there are some common issues to consider when choosing a hand sanitizer dispenser for commercial or public use. Here are some questions to ask when narrowing down your options.
Is it easy to use?
Choose a dispenser that is user-intuitive and doesn’t require a lot of contact—reducing the need to sanitize the dispenser.
Is it easily accessible?
Is the dispenser easy to access for your employees or customers, and easy to replace or refill? If freestanding, is it high enough to be away from small children, but low enough for access for those with disabilities? Finally, ensure that each dispenser is selected for the area of your building or school that you wish to use it in; some areas may require a freestanding dispenser, while others require something to be mounted.
How much maintenance will it require?
Based on your current traffic flow, determine how often you may have to refill based on the reservoir size. Balance the cost of the unit—and its refills—against your own budget to see if it is feasible. Also, consider your organization’s shopping habits, and determine if you can get an auto-shipment, or if you’ll have to keep reorders top-of-mind.
Where should hand sanitizers be placed?
Although there is no “rule of thumb” as to how many you should have around, ensure that you have enough dispenser units to provide for “rushes” in traffic—at a public event you may want to consider how many entrance points you have; at a large office building you may also want to consider how many people will be entering or exiting at similar times, to ensure you have enough dispensers to go around. You’ll also want to consider how much sanitizer each unit’s reservoir can hold, and make allowances for refills accordingly.
Because—technically—hand sanitizer is considered an over-the-counter-drug, there are some things you’ll want to consider as you place them around your school or building:
- Hand sanitizer is flammable, so ensure any placement is not in direct contact with heat or flames.
- Keep dispensers out of reach of pets and children, as ingestion can be very dangerous.
- Place dispensers in places to encourage use, and in places where they are needed most. That may include near a checkout kiosk if people have to use a pen or keypad, or near the front door where they enter and exit.
- If using a stand—whether indoors or out—be sure that the mount is stable and placed appropriately. Similarly, for mounted units, ensure that they are securely attached to the wall.
- If using a hand sanitizer dispenser with an attached digital display (like the Clear Digital Gel Sanitizer Station), take note of the specs for power to determine if additional cable hookups are needed, and how those cables can be concealed or safely utilized.
The Clear Digital Gel Sanitizer Dispenser
As you shop around to find the perfect hand sanitizer dispenser, make sure you take a look at Clear Digital’s Gel Sanitizer Station. With a touchless dispenser that can be mounted or freestanding, the Gel provides an added benefit: customized digital signage. But that’s far from everything that the Gel offers:
- Settings to determine how much sanitizer to dispense based on the type of sanitizer used
- A large reservoir to prevent constant refilling
- Indicator lights to tell you when sanitizer supply is low
- Clear Digital Media Player to upload content seamlessly
- Analytics of how frequently it is used
- Subscription-based refill orders
Whether you decide to promote the day’s agenda, incoming guests at an office, or use it to advertise a sale in your store, the Gel Sanitizer Station is a great way to provide sanitary measures for your customers and employees, as well as inform them of new and upcoming things they should be aware of.