Hygienic door handles: the final frontier of bathroom automation?

Last year in Germs on the Brain I wrote about strategies patrons employ to avoid touching their clean hands to the bathroom door knob on the way out. Some use paper towels, some a “pinky pull,” and others wash up again once they leave. Then there are handles that can be operated with an elbow, automatic door openers, foot pedals, and sprayers that disinfect the handle on a regular basis (without dripping, of course.)

I got a note today from Purleve, which has developed a variety of automated bathroom devices including autoflush, autofaucet, autosoap, and autoclean. They’ve just introduced the Purleve Hygienic Door Handle, a line of push/pull and lock/latch door handles that provide “clean and germ free” exit and entry. According to their website:

The Pūrleve™ hygienic door handle was born out of public demand, pure and simple. In a world where an estimated 30% of bathroom users don’t wash their hands after using public restrooms, who wants to touch the shared handle that offers the only form of escape from the facility? And the fear is justified, since a typical restroom door handle is home to a multitude of bacteria —many of which carry disease-causing germs that continually multiply if not treated.

Employing a proprietary Automatic Sleeve Dispenser (ASD) technology, we created a replacement door handle that automatically advances antimicrobial* material to cover the handle, providing a refreshed, sanitary touch after each and every use. So visitors to restrooms and other public areas are no longer affected by the questionable hygiene habits of all the persons who have gone before them.

I’m looking forward to seeing one of these little items in action!

April 14, 2009

8 thoughts on “Hygienic door handles: the final frontier of bathroom automation?”

  1. Having a bathroom door that opens outward would allow someone to push the door without using their hands. This seems like a simpler approach when it can be used.

  2. I do agree with the comments, however, we are trying to develop something that will be an easier solution for facilities. Mass public education is not feasible, and no matter how much people clean and disinfect, a lot of the general public will still think that handles are “dirty”.

    How many people will touch a flush handle on a toilet now if it is not touch free? People still stick their foot up and kick the handle to flush because they don’t want to touch it. The Purleve system provides a clean and hygenic exit. It is also much less expensive than the “paper-towel” method many facilities have adopted and eliminates all the paper on the floor.

  3. This system seems to not only be quite easy to use (functions like any other door handle), but it looks like it works each and every time to ensure no ‘dirty’ door handle. My responses to the other comments:

    1. Doors swinging out could help, but so many doors do NOT swing out. Also, what about public bathrooms with Lock or Latch doors….This swinging out does NOT help. I would also argue I could use this on the OUTSIDE of the restroom door!

    2. Public Education: Wonderful concept but it takes only ONE person to contaminate a door handle.

    3. Surface Cleaning: Ofcourse this is a manual labor cost, cost of cleaner AND you have to TIME your exit PERFECTLY to ensure no cross contamination.

  4. if you haven’t already seen it check out the new hygienic door handle from pure hold (wwww.purehold.co.uk) – its different to the Purleve mentioned device and actually cleans the users hands – wicked! I was told about it a few months back and can’t wait to use one!

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