8 Best Practices for Outdoor Portable Sinks
Outdoor portable sinks have become even more practical since the arrival of the pandemic. As hand washing protocols continue to remain a priority, many facilities, commercial spaces and public areas have opted for this affordable sanitizing station to help reduce the spread of the virus. However, outdoor portable sinks have long been a practical choice for outdoor events and other locations where hand washing makes sense. Here we offer eight best practices for using outdoor portable sinks.
1. Pay attention to stock
Portable sinks are only as good as their stock. They require soap and paper towels to make them easier for people to use. This can be a challenge depending on the scope of your event or how much traffic your facility experiences on a daily basis. Keeping track of how much soap and paper towels are used helps you understand demand so you can maintain stock to service your visitors.
A plan is needed to make it easier for staff to restore soap and towels as needed. A good rule of thumb is to start the day with sufficient stock to avoid early issues. However, it also makes sense to ensure your portable sink comes with ample storage space, so the restocking process is easier. You can even place a sign on the sink telling people where to find soap and paper towels, although this increases the risk for theft.
If you don’t have cabinets for storage, find a spot nearby for storage to make it easier. For frequently travelled areas, have a schedule to ensure you have someone restock the sink to meet demand.
2. Daily cleaning
Since the whole point of providing outdoor portable sinks is to encourage proper hygiene, it follows that you maintain clean conditions, so people aren’t averse to using them. To ensure your sink is well maintained you should have it often wiped down to keep it presentable. If staff numbers allow, arrange for regular wipe downs of the sink throughout the day. This helps maintain the surfaces and also makes the sink more pleasant to use. If you are limited on staff, a thorough wipe down is required at the beginning and end of the day.
Be sure you disinfect your outdoor portable sink at least once a day or more frequently if you tend to see larger crowds. Remember disinfecting is not the same as just washing. You need to use a manufacturer-recommended disinfectant to eliminate germs.
To remain efficient, disinfectant, chlorine bleach, pumping wands, towels and brushes should be either kept at the station or carried by cleaning staff so they can easily clean before, throughout and after operation hours. Be sure to use dedicated towels and brushes for each hand washing station to prevent cross-contamination, as well as debris build-up and toxic mould growth.
4. Cold weather
Your sink will come with instructions on ideal temperatures for use. However, if you are facing freezing temperatures, you should bring the sink indoors to avoid damage. Events that take place in the spring and fall are at most risk for unexpected colder weather. Be sure to watch the weather reports so you are prepared for unseasonably cool temperatures.
5. Maintain the tanks
The freshwater tank of the portable sink should be kept filled for heavy traffic areas. Also, don’t forget about the wastewater tank. It will need to be emptied if you want to avoid leaks and flooding. If you don’t maintain the tanks properly, you can damage the pump.
As mentioned earlier, keeping track of sink use helps you create a maintenance schedule. When tanks are empty it’s a good time to look for signs of mould, algae or sediment build-up that must be washed thoroughly before you resume operation of the portable sink.
6. Sanitize the hoses
To maintain sanitary water conditions, make sure to dedicate hoses for fresh and wastewater carefully. Cap the ends to prevent cross-contamination and clean each hose using 10% household bleach and water solution regularly to eliminate any build-up, and to keep the water flow clean.
7. Have enough sinks
Each facility or event will have different entries, space and traffic. It is very important to understand traffic flow or attendance if you want to have enough sinks to accommodate visitors. Long lines can lead to issues. Therefore, you need to estimate how many sinks are needed and have a detailed plan for logical placement.
For example, if you have outdoor washrooms at an event, you should ideally have a sink for each toilet or at least one for every two toilets to reduce line ups, as well as lack of compliance to handwashing. Another reason you want to avoid line ups is that line ups signal crowds, which can deter people from attending your event and this will cost you money.
8. Strategic placement
Some logical places to place your outdoor portable sinks include:
- At restrooms
- At food and beverage stations
- Where messy projects might be planned such as arts and crafts
- Near picnic areas
- At entry points
- Where there is food prep
These are just a few examples, as placement should be based on the particular needs of your facility or event.
Where Outdoor Portable Sinks Are Used
Portable sinks can be used by a long list of organizations including:
- Farmer’s Markets
- Grocery Stores
- Parties and Concerts
- Bingo Halls
- Convenience Stores
- Outdoor Events
- Near Outhouses and Other Portable Bathroom Setups
- Physical Fitness Facilities
- Beach Change Rooms
- Construction Sites
- Conference Centers
- Small Airports
- And more