It is important to teach children how and when to properly wash their hands. The hand washing station design in the school washroom can also have a strong impact in the teaching process. This blog will take you through the various things to think about to ensure proper hand hygiene is implemented in the school washroom.

Why is Hand Washing Important in Schools?

In order for our skin to stay moist we produce natural oils to prevent from dryness. Although these oils are useful to us they also create the perfect environment for harmful microbes to grow and multiply. These can then be passed by touch from child to child, on surfaces or in crowded school environments.

Hand washing is the most effective way to remove these and stop them spreading further. Teaching children the correct way to wash their hands with soap and water can help to prevent sickness and bugs being spread around. Effective hand washing can contribute to reducing student absence throughout the school year.

Vanity and Wash Basin Heights

Department for Education regulations state that all sanitaryware provided shall “be suitable for different ages” [Generic Design Brief (b)]. Ensuring that you have suitable height vanity units will help encourage correct hand washing as pupils will be able to reach the taps and wash basin easily. Semi-recessed vanity units can also be specified to make it easier for younger students.

The vanity unit heights we recommend for schools are:


Bed Height










Washtroughs can be a useful wash station to have if there will be busy periods in the school toilets, such as after break times. The washtroughs can use the space more efficiently, by allowing for more taps encouraging multiple users to wash their hands at a time and reduce the time students spend waiting in line.

Soap Dispensers

Soap is required to break down the oil on the surface of our skin to remove any trapped, harmful microbes. Liquid soap is the desired choice and can be paired with a dispenser to make it easier for students to get the right amount on their hands with a push or sensor operation.

Bars of soap should be avoided in school toilets as they will be used by multiple people. Hand Sanitisers can be used if there is no visible dirt however it does not kill all types of microbes so soap is the best option to supply in the school washrooms.

Education Tap Choices

Sensor taps are an ideal choice for school washrooms to limit cross contamination, as students do not need to touch the tap to operate it. They can also reduce the amount of dirt and grime that can accumulate from unwashed hands touching the tap. Sensor taps have an automatic timed water flow, meaning they will turn off when hands are no longer present, making them great for water saving.

When looking to encourage younger years to use the school toilets on their own, then toggle taps can be specified. Toggle taps have a long lever that can be pushed in any direction to start the water flow. They are self-closing making them even more user friendly for younger children, also gives peace of mind to the school knowing that there won’t be any accidents!

Self-closing taps, which deliver pre-mixed water, provide precise control over the temperature and flow of the water. This ensures a constant, appropriate temperature for hand washing. It is recommended that children wash their hands with water around 37-38°c, this is lower than for adults. By providing self-closing taps you also reduce the risk of water wastage or even flooding, as well as limiting cross contamination, as again, the children do not have to touch the tap after hand washing.

School Washroom Colours

For younger years to make the school washroom an exciting, engaging place to be then child friendly colours can help. Opting for bright colours such as red and yellow will create a bright atmosphere making it more appealing to use. Try involving students in the school washroom design to get ideas of what they find exciting!

It’s also possible to have fun digital print washroom panels that can be used for education purposes too. For example, Bushboard’s Colour Creation digital laminate print aims to teach young children about mixing primary colours.

Teaching Hand Hygiene in Schools

Once the design of the school toilets has been considered, the next step is to teach the best hand washing practices to your students. There are various ways that this can be achieved. The UK Health Security Agency have some great resources for teachers

Promote frequent hand washing. UK Security Health Agency suggest that hands should be washed:

- After using the bathroom

- Before, during and after preparing food

- After exposure to animals or animal waste

- After coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose

- If you’re ill or have been around ill people

- After outdoor play

Incorporate hand washing instruction into the school curriculum. For example, teaching the importance of hand hygiene and proper hand washing technique into science classes.

We all remember the technique to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice whilst washing our hands. This actually a great way to teach your students, because the 20 seconds it takes to sing is how long you should spend washing your hands.

Use visual aids such as posters and diagrams in the school washroom showing the proper technique and reminding them the importance of hand hygiene.

Free Printable Hand Wash Poster

Practicing hand hygiene with pupils regularly paired with the right school toilet environment for the children can reduce absentees. If you are looking to update your school washrooms then becoming familiar with the Department for Educations school toilet regulations can make sure that your washrooms are compliant and effective in reducing the spread of germs.


Get in Touch

We pride ourselves on our experience within the Education sector, speak to one of our team today who can help you choose the right vanity unit and supplementary products for your school washroom project.

Telephone: 01536 533620

Email: [email protected]

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400mm deep white 'elysian' Solid surface washtrough with sensor premixed tap on a yellow underframe with 'Colour Creations' panels