Are you being deafened in the Washroom?

Comparison of decibel levels

Hand dryer manufacturers are as guilty over noise levels as car manufacturers are on diesel emissions.

Humans are born with only two fears, a fear of falling and loud noises.  Natural defenses built into our DNA from before we humans walked on two legs probably.

For those of you not familiar with how noise levels are recorded here goes.  If sound over a level of 70 decibels has just a small increase in the scale of +3 decibels (dB) this has double the noise impact. So 73dB is twice as noisy as 70dB.  76dB is twice as loud as 73 and so on.

With regard to hand dryers, some manufacturers put noise levels on their equipment like a badge of honour “only 95dB”.  Some manufacturers, like a good car salesman, have more refined tricks “30% quieter than our best-selling model” which sound amazing but that does not mean that the noise level has dropped from 95dB to 66dB more likely to have dropped from 95db to 94db.

This is not the only trick in the book. Noise levels should always be taken 1m from the source, but unless you have arms like an orangutan you will probably be closer than 50cm, even closer if you are under the age of 10?  So if noise concerns you download a noise meter app to your phone, and see what the results are.

Another reason that ‘claimed’ noise levels are actually much higher is that the noise is measured before hands are put into the air flow.  The faster the airflow the more impactful the noise level.  So newer models of both hands-in and hands-under dryers can force the air out at speeds of 400mph.  Manufacturers will try all sorts of tricks to get around this and a bit like diesel emissions in a car, whatever noise level you see you can be assured that the reality is very different.

The issue for me with noisy hand dryers, especially in very young children, is that they associate hand washing with something that scares them – noisy hand dryers.  Yes, I can hear the cries of “but children need to be exposed to germs and creating compulsive hand washers in the young could cause all sorts of issues in later life”.  I agree.  But that discussion has to be for another blog.

So with 18.6% of the population in the UK are under the age of 14, maybe it’s about time we considered this key demographic and, very surprisingly, there are only a couple of child friendly hand dryers out there in this $billion global market

My toilets – and other animals!

Close the lid | Washroom Advice

Whilst completing a site toilet survey of a large stadium the other week , I came across a dead rat floating in a toilet.

Rats are generally pretty good swimmers and have no issues ‘diving’ through the ‘S’ trap of a toilet bowl as a means of access to a property (another good reason to always put the toilet seat down).  The  link will take you to a great National Geographic video showing how easy this is.

4618022917I suspect this poor blighter had been partially caught by a rat trap – i.e. had a trap attached to his tail.   Whilst trying to make an escape through the waste pipe, the trap would have got stuck in the bend and the poor mite didn’t make it.


A day or so later my nephew Sonny, explained to me (using Skype) his encounter with a

redback spider on toilet seatRedback (nasty spider with hell of a bite) in a public loo at a beach north of Brisbane.  Poor lad, I don’t think he will go to a public toilet for a long time.

These two instances got me thinking about the obvious: toilets and animal connections. We had a dog that liked nothing better to have a drink from the toilet bowl. A quick online search will show plenty dogs and cats that have been trained to actually use the toilet (not sure if the animals are clever or the owners have too much time on their hands?). But excusing the invasion of the toilet,  other beasties  I have  personally come across hiding out in a toilet bowl are, of course, spiders and flies.   I have also fished a mouse out of a toilet (still unsure how it got there).  I must also plead guilty to having to having flushed a (dead) goldfish down the loo in my youth.

However my experiences are pretty tame compared to the results of a quick search on the web.

Snakes seem to be the most popular ‘wild’ animal – not in the UK obviously.  Spiders are a massive issue in Australia and parts of USA especially the ‘bitey’ poisonous ones!

Frogs and Toads are common but in the UK it seems to be rats that literally ‘pop up’ the most.

So my advice is simple.

  1. Keep the toilet lid down when not in use (good practice anyway)
  2. If you suspect you are getting a visitor through the toilet call in a professional pest control officer
  3. If something exotic turns up call the RSPCA
  4. Never flush any animal down the loo dead or alive

Of course if you have any pics or stories about anything unexpected turning up in your toilet please share them in the comments section