4 Smart Design Decisions to Keep Your Bathroom Germ-Free
Choosing the right fixtures and fittings can go a long way in ensuring a safe and sanitary bathroom, powder room and kitchen.
Although nothing’s ever going to take the place of regular scouring and scrubbing, certain design decisions can actually make a space easier to keep clean. We asked Toronto-based decorator and design blogger Tim Lam to highlight how a thoughtful renovation can actually help combat germs and reduce contaminants in the bathroom and kitchen. Here are his top five tips for designing a space with cleanliness in mind.
Photo: Tim Lam
1. Start with easy-clean basics
When devising a plan for a bathroom, powder room or kitchen reno, Lam starts with the ceiling, walls and floor, wrapping the space in an easy-clean surface. Shop for mildew-resistant easy-wipe paints or vinyl wallpaper, which come in solid colours, dynamic patterns or even prints that can resemble a painted wall. “Easy-to-clean design choices can still be chic,” he says. On the backsplash and shower walls, opt for large-format porcelain tiles for less grout to scrub. Choose a non-porous stain- and scratch-resistant countertop material like quartz to keep germs at bay. For flooring, waterproof vinyl and porcelain tiles are available in various treatments that will deliver wow-factor. And for fixtures from toilets to sinks, American Standard offers exclusive EverClean® Antimicrobial Technology that mitigates the growth of mold, mildew and bacteria resulting in more hygienic surfaces from the outset.
2. Go for touch-free faucets
It’s the catch-22 of hand-washing: You turn on the tap with dirty hands, then, you have to touch that same tap with clean hands in order to turn it off. American Standard offers an elegant solution with hands-free faucets in their Avery and Beale collections, which turn the faucet on and off with a quick wave of the hand. The next-best thing to hands-free operation are lever handles, such as those in the sleek Studio S Collection, which are easy to flick on and off with your elbow or forearm.
3. Think sleek and seamless décor
According to Lam, smart bathroom and kitchen designs minimize those hard-to-reach places where germs, grit and grime can build up. In the kitchen, that means taking upper kitchen cabinetry right up to the ceiling so dust doesn’t collect up top (bonus: extra storage!), installing built-in appliances, and carrying the same material from your countertop up to the backsplash. This final trick is one that Lam highly recommends in small kitchens in particular, due to the illusion of space it creates. “You’ll be amazed how much bigger your kitchen looks,” Lam says. In the bathroom, a floating vanity makes for easy sweeping and mopping underneath, and fixtures with a modern, minimalist aesthetic like those in the Studio S Collection are a breeze to wipe clean. To cut down on lingering moisture (and the germs that love high humidity), trade the shower curtain for a glassed-in shower—wiping it down after each use will help maintain cleanliness, while also making the bathroom feel bigger and brighter.
4. Take your toilet to the next level
An upgraded toilet also plays a role in curbing the spread of germs, not only in your powder room and bathroom, but also throughout your whole home. American Standard’s New Studio Touchless Toilet and SpaLet® technology gives users the freedom of hands-free flushing, while the VorMax collection offers a different luxury altogether: advanced toilet bowl cleaning with every flush via powerful jets that target the toughest spots. If an upgraded toilet is more of a long-term goal, though, you can still safeguard your current set-up by adopting a few hygienic habits. Always close the bowl when you flush to prevent toilet plumes of microscopic matter; disinfect the toilet at least once a week—even those hard-to-reach crevasses like under the rim, the exterior and surrounding surfaces; and don’t forget to sanitize even your toilet-cleaning supplies.