Back at the beginning of the 20th century, when cholera, influenza, tuberculosis, and many other infectious diseases were outbreaking, bathroom design transformed drastically. Today, a century later, we’re going through a very similar scenario where a new disease is affecting everything from the way we live, shop, eat, bathe and go to the bathroom. While the COVID-19 pandemic is still in effect, designers across the world are already coming up with innovative bathroom design that will make the spread of this virus as low as possible to the point where we won’t have to worry about getting infected anymore.
Vestibules as transition zones
One of the most revolutionary ideas for washrooms includes the one where you’d be washing the bacteria you picked up outside, even before you enter your home. Washing your hands, taking off your shoes and coat will potentially all be done in one designated area. Think of it as a vestibule for washing up. Entries are precisely the points where you transition between the outdoors and indoors, so it’s no wonder that designers are considering entryways to become places of disinfection too. You can simply enter your home without any risk of transmitting the bacteria and viruses further. You’ll have the chance to come in from the outside world and wash your hands before entering the home.
Contactless bathroom entrances
Door knobs have come to the very top of the most frequently touched surfaces. When you think about the number of handles you touch on your way to work alone, it all starts to make a lot of sense. Have you ever thought about all the surfaces, doorknobs and doors you come in contact with while travelling, shopping or running errands? Now, think about the restrooms alone. The number of people using the airport or shopping centre restrooms is too high to make any of those places safe from bacteria and virus spread. That’s why minimizing the risk of touching a door surface will be one of the priorities post-COVID-19. COVID can spread through faeces in the bathroom because once the toilet is flushed, it spreads faeces even 6 feet away if there’s no lid on the toilet. If you have multiple doors everywhere, and you start from touching the ones on the cabinet, and then the exit/entrance one, eliminating doors becomes essential for preventing the virus from spreading.
On the flip side, we have an automatic door, which doesn’t require people to touch them in order to open or close them. That is another possibility for bathroom exits and entrances. To make the bathroom visit even safer, many have started considering S-curved doors to their restrooms. Widening doorways will be perfect for keeping the required social distance.
Touchless gadgets and bathroom fixtures have already gained popularity, but further years will take this kind of device to an entirely new level. Namely, designers are striving towards introducing hands-free sinks and toilets on top of contactless hand dryers, faucets, soap dispensers and more. If we’ve learned something from this pandemic, it’s that the way you wash your hands, matters. Only if we do it correctly and thoroughly will we be able to stay safe and healthy. Sensor-activated taps will be everywhere. You won’t have to touch them anymore, but simply motion your hand in front of them and let the water run. In addition, sensor soap dispensers, automatic paper towel dispensers positioned immediately next to the washbasin will be ever-present as well. That will both minimize the spread of bacteria and water all around the bathroom. For everyone who aims towards preventing the bacteria to spread, from wet paper towels lying in the bin, or on the floor after being dropped, investing in the best hand dryer will be a good option. Instead of risking leaving the virus on the wet paper towel for somebody else to accidentally graze it while disposing of their paper towel, using hand dryers is a much safer option.
Flushing the toilet is another way to spread the virus. Coronavirus can survive up to 14 minutes on a surface such as a toilet, and if you touch the toilet to flush it, you’ll potentially get infected. Sitting on a toilet that hasn’t been cleaned thoroughly and properly also poses the risk of infection. Keeping the public restrooms sanitized is very challenging, which is why self-cleaning toilets will become our reality very soon. Japan has introduced this revolutionary fixture many years ago, and now it’ll become popular worldwide. The pandemic raised the need for toilets that sanitize the cubicle when a door is shut, and we’ll probably see them in many interior designs soon enough. In addition, the use of motion sensor toilet lids is also possible. The lids would pop open and close down once a person enters and exits the bathroom stall.
Improved ventilation systems
You can never have too much air in a room or too ventilated a space. The experts always advise us to let the fresh air in during the flu season, and especially so, now, during the pandemic. It is one of the ways to prevent the virus from surviving in that environment. That’s where the ventilation with outdoor air comes in. The coronavirus is easily spread indoors through close personal contact. When you add poor air circulation to the mix, another wave of the pandemic is closer than ever. That’s why experts advise people to turn to HVAC ventilation systems. They can significantly reduce the airborne concentration of SARS-CoV-2 by removing microbes and particulates from the air.
Bathroom design will change significantly in the following years. From introducing contactless fixtures to eliminating doors wherever possible, and ventilating the rooms as often as possible, improving the bathrooms everywhere will be of the essence. Stopping the current pandemic and preventing any potential future infection will be everyone’s priority, so starting from bathroom modifications will be vital. As soon as we start thinking about protecting ourselves better, we’ll be close to going back to our pre-COVID lives.