Hand hygiene is the most important intervention to prevent infection in hospitals. Health care workers should clean their hands at least before and after contact with patients. And hand sanitizer dispensers are important to support hand hygiene because they can be made available throughout hospital units. Hand hygiene compliance can be influenced by visibility and accessibility of dispensers. The sanitizer location should be part of multifaceted interventions to improve hand hygiene.
Have you ever had problems with your hand soap or sanitizer dispenser? Don’t worry, some facilities do sometimes have issues with the dispensers installed, whether it’s a manual soap dispenser or an automatic sanitizing liquid dispenser.
Fortunately, there are a few easy ways to troubleshoot a soap or sanitizer dispenser that’s out of service. In many cases, the cause of the distributor failure can be easily fixed.
Keeping your hand hygiene dispenser in working condition at all times is critical to the health and safety of your occupants.
As we’ve been reminded during the coronavirus pandemic, hand hygiene is an integral part of fighting the spread of germs.
Promoting hand washing and frequent use of hand sanitizer will protect your guests from common disease-causing germs, such as colds and flu, that linger in your facility year-round.
Below, we’ll address the most common problems with hand sanitizer and sanitizer dispensers and provide insights on how to address them.
Before troubleshooting using the methods below, first check to make sure your soap or hand sanitizer dispenser is not empty and is in place. While seemingly simple, this is one of the most often overlooked things that lead people to think that dispensers are broken, when in reality they just need to be refilled or installed properly.
Problem 1: Broken outlet pump of hand sanitizer or sanitizer dispenser
On many manual dispensers, one of the most common reasons for the dispenser not to work is a faulty outlet pump in the manual machine.
Solution: How to Repair a Broken Pump on a Hand Sanitizer or Sanitizer Dispenser
When the outlet pump doesn’t work, it’s usually because of a bad spring.
On spring-loaded hand hygiene dispensers, when you push the pump down or in, air is pushed into the soap tank. This creates a vacuum in the reservoir, and when the pump retracts, the soap is drawn into the tube and released into your hands.
Over time, the springs can seize or break. They also crack with aggressive use.
If you find that the spring is not working properly, such as when you push the spring it locks up or provides no resistance, you will need to contact your sales representative or dispenser manufacturer for further instructions or potential dispenser replacement.
Problem 2: Sensors on automatic hand sanitizer or sanitizer dispensers are broken
An automatic hand hygiene dispenser may be malfunctioning if the sensor that tells the dispenser to release soap or sanitizer doesn’t sense a hand in front of it.
You’ll be able to tell if this is the case if you put your hand in front of the pump and it doesn’t release any soap or sanitizer.
Solution: How to fix the sensor on an automatic soap or sanitizer dispenser
If you encounter this problem, first troubleshoot if the battery is loose or low on power, then check the sensor area. The sensor area may be blocked by soap or disinfectant residue. Clean the area to remove any visible residue and test the unit.
Pro tip: Do not use abrasive cleaners on the dispenser or cartridge. They can cause damage.
Another simple and common reason a guest or staff member may think a hand hygiene dispenser is damaged is that the battery has run out of life or that the battery is not properly installed.
To avoid this, look for automatic dispensers with visual battery level displays or alarms. On some automatic dispensers, there is a visible light on the body of the dispenser indicating that it needs new batteries.
Other reasons the sensor might not work include that the user’s hands might be too far apart. Make sure to test the device by keeping your hands within range. In most cases, this is about 2-2.5 inches from the dispenser.
Finally, the lighting in the area where the bathroom or dispenser is located can affect how the sensor opponent responds. If the lighting in the area where the dispenser is placed has recently changed, try moving the dispenser or test with different lighting conditions.
Problem 3: No or too little soap or sanitizer dispensed
When soap or sanitizer is not dispensed in optimal amounts, guests may not respond well to having to wait or pump the dispenser multiple times.
Solution: How to adjust the level of soap or sanitizer dispensed
A dispenser may dispense less product than usual for several reasons.
The most common cause of no soap dispensed or too little soap dispensed is an empty or incorrectly loaded refill. To correct this problem, replace the refill cartridge.
If there is a full refill that has been inserted correctly, the level of soap or sanitizer released will also be affected if the nozzle or nozzle is recording. Some liquid soaps and disinfectants can slowly dry out and clog the nozzle or spout, especially when used in small amounts. Check the pump for blockage.
Pro tip: Remember that the pump needs to be primed before dispensing.
On automatic hand hygiene dispensers, low battery power can affect how much soap or sanitizer is dispensed.
Problem 4: Hand Sanitizer Dispenser Leaking
Hand sanitizer dispensers, whether freestanding or mounted on walls or other areas, sometimes leak onto the floor. This is caused by a malfunctioning dispenser and when a user puts their hand under the sanitizer dispenser but pulls it too quickly.
Disinfectant dripping onto the floor or the area under the dispenser can be dangerous or even harmful. For example, it can corrode floor finishes, creating a costly mess.
Solution: How to Stop Hand Sanitizer Dispenser Dripping
Most dispensers will drip at one point or another, however, it is not normal for yours to drip continuously.
If your hand sanitizer dispenser is dripping frequently, there may be a problem with the way the cartridges or refills are inserted. Remove and reinsert the ink cartridges. If the ink cartridge continues to leak, you will need to insert a new replacement ink cartridge.
Sometimes, no matter how much time or effort you put into choosing the right dispenser, hand sanitizer will still end up on the floor and surrounding areas.
Disinfectant Drip Tray To prevent floor damage, consider installing a drip tray.
The drip tray is installed directly below the dispenser. They’re designed to catch excess disinfectant that drips when users remove their hands too quickly. The drip tray can also be used to collect disinfectant when the dispenser fails.
You might also consider pads designed to surround the bottom of the dispenser. These pads act like a drip tray to catch excess sanitizer.
Problem 5: The hand sanitizer dispenser is leaking
Unlike when hand sanitizer dispensers leak, they don’t drip onto the floor, but onto the sink or counter. This raises its own set of questions.
When soap dispensers start leaking, they not only create additional cleanup mess, they can also make your bathroom look messy and unprofessional.
Solution: How to Stop a Manual Soap Dispenser from Dripping
Soap Dispenser The soap dispenser can be installed above or below the pump.
If your soap dispenser has a soap dispenser above the pump, your soap dispenser may be leaking due to a loose valve or seal. In many cases, this can be due to improper installation or soap buildup.
Remove the soap dish, check for soap residue where the reservoir meets the pump, and remove.
If the soap dish is located under the counter or hand pump, the soap must be drawn to the nozzle or spout.
On these dispensers, the main cause of soap dripping is soap residue that builds up on the nozzle or spout and creates a poor seal. Replace the ink cartridge.
Addressing and/or avoiding the most common hand hygiene dispenser problems can help promote regular hand washing and encourage continued use of hand sanitizer to reduce the spread of germs.
Always check your dispensers to make sure they have enough soap or sanitizer. Many times, people or employees can mistake a damaged dispenser for one without soap or sanitizer.
One of the easiest ways to avoid empty soap or sanitizer dispensers is to look for automated, touchless solutions. Automatic touchless hand hygiene dispensers often provide a visible flashing or colored light to indicate to staff that the dispenser is empty, helping your cleaning team fix any soap or sanitizer outages faster.
Fewer empty soap and sanitizer dispensers encourage frequent hand washing and also reduce occupant or guest complaints.
Soap and sanitizer dispensers, like any other mechanical device, eventually wear out.
If the dispensers in your facility are prone to problems, you may need consider finding newer, more reliable dispensers. Even though the pandemic has highlighted the importance of good hand hygiene, we have long been partnering with people to equip them with hand hygiene solutions for different industries and applications.
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