Sure: children need contact with dirt and germs to develop a healthy immune system. But in this context, we prefer to think of soil, stroking dogs or contact with peers. In the bathroom, we’d rather have things clean and hygienic – especially in old age, when we don’t want to train our immune system so much as go easy on it. How unfortunate, then, that water and steam are not only ideal for agreeable grooming but can create the kind of subtropical climate that is an optimal breeding ground for germs and bacteria as well. This and the debate about hospital bugs and flu epidemics is leading to a growing desire for even more cleanliness in the bathroom. Obviously hygiene precautions in a private bathroom are different than in the public sphere, but why not benefit from the advantages and achievements of modern sanitary technology at home too?
When it comes to general hygiene culture, Europe seems to have reached a turning point. For whilst hygienic finishes and products are already taken for granted in Asia and the USA, it is only now that the demand for innovative ceramic or glass finishes, rimless toilets or shower toilets has – rather belatedly – started increasing in this part of the world too – not just in the contract sector but in private bathrooms as well.
After all, as a potential carrier of germs and bacteria, the toilet is probably the focal point of any family’s hygiene measures. There are three potential lines of approach: opting for a hygienic ceramic finish or an appropriately equipped toilet seat is a good way to counteract soiling. Some of the innovative new finishes feature the nanotechnology known as the lotus effect and are designed to prevent anything adhering to the surfaces. Duravit is aiming to set a new standard of hygiene with its innovative HygieneGlaze for bathroom ceramics. This new development is not a coating applied to the surface but a ceramic glaze with an antibacterial effect that lasts almost indefinitely and is enriched with metal ions (zinc-tin based).
Then there are the rimless toilets that are such a talking point right now: by doing away with the rim, they also eliminate what can be a favourite spot for germs and bacteria. In the meantime, most producers of bathroom ceramics offer this type of toilet. Nor do toilet fresheners have to be hung over the rim anymore, they can just as easily be placed in the pre-wall installation next to the flush, where they are not only invisible but easy to refill. Finally, shower toilets go one step further: they have to do with personal hygiene per se. Various models are already available from several suppliers and promise a level of hygiene and convenience that sets itself apart from all that has gone before.
Flat, hygienic surfaces for showers and washbasins, with an optional antimicrobial coating if desired, further reduce the potential for germs and bacteria to gain a foothold in the bathroom. Touchless taps and fittings are also a sensible option for the private sphere – and not just for hygienic reasons. Besides minimising potentially infectious interfaces with other members of the family, they also help save water – not to mention the fact that they’re fun to use, especially for youngsters.