Last Updated MAY 2022

Perception is everything: The importance of the public washroom in any business

In business, every detail matters. From customer service to product quality, businesses are constantly evaluated by consumers, and perception often influences our buying decisions. 

One often-overlooked aspect that significantly impacts customer or employee perception is the public washroom. Despite being out of sight, the state of toilets and handwashing facilities can speak volumes about a company’s commitment to cleanliness, hygiene and customer experience, especially for a business that serves food, for example.

A trip to a coffee shop, a theatre or a restaurant can quickly be spoilt by visiting a poorly managed washroom. There’s little point spending time, effort and resources creating a wonderful front-of-house environment only for customers to have a terrible experience when entering the washroom facilities.

The large majority of people say they would avoid a business in the future if they encountered dirty or poorly maintained washrooms during their visit.  A clean and well-maintained washroom is a testament to a firm’s commitment to customer satisfaction and operational excellence. It’s not just about hygiene; it’s about demonstrating respect for your customers and people that enter your building. People subconsciously evaluate a business based on their entire experience of it, including using their washrooms. By creating a positive experience for consumers, companies can foster loyalty. Get it wrong, and negative perceptions can linger and deter potential future customers.

Beyond the immediate impact on customer perception, the state of public washrooms can have broader implications for businesses. Studies show that employees working in well-maintained facilities report higher job satisfaction and productivity levels.  This suggests investing in washroom facilities can also yield internal benefits by enhancing employee morale and well-being.

So, if your public washroom serves as a critical touchpoint that significantly influences customer perceptions and business outcomes, it had better look and smell good. 


Again, it is all about perception; a washroom that smells clean is perceived as being clean. The Kimberly-Clark Professional™ Aircare dispenser range directly deals with odour issues, offering a choice of five different fragrances to improve the washroom experience. The range features the Aquarius™ Aircare Dispenser which features a timer setting up to 90 days, enabling users to control and customise the system to their own needs. The Aircare range has also been harmonised with the Kleenex® Botanics Luxury Foam hand cleansers which helps you to personalise washrooms further with a selection of fragrances across hygiene products. Kleenex® Botanics Luxury Foam Soaps are made with botanical extracts, using naturally antibacterial ingredients in three uplifting fragrances. 

Interior designers have worked hard in recent years to make sure the more functional elements of a building, such as washrooms, are just as aesthetically pleasing as more public areas. The Kimberly-Clark Professional™ ICON™ collection of soap, skincare and towel dispensers offers the ability to coordinate the washroom design thanks to its bespoke faceplates, available in a range of colours and styles, from ebony woodgrain to cherry blossom. The market trend to move away from traditional white and stainless-steel dispenser options is also encouraging more interesting designs. The ICON™ range features custom faceplates allowing bespoke designs to match any company brand or message.

Controlled dispensing systems provide an easy way to keep washrooms tidy, dispensing just the right amount of hand towel, toilet tissue or soap for the user, minimising waste and mess.

And to solve one of the biggest ‘bug bears’ of washrooms – when dispensers have run out – businesses have plenty of options to streamline servicing to make sure their facilities are always clean. The ICON™ collection features visual lighting cues giving a clear signal when a dispensing unit needs to be refilled, avoiding unnecessary time checking. High-capacity systems can help to minimise servicing and refills too.

So, whether it's a fresh clean scent, the availability of hand towels and soap or the aesthetics of the dispensers, it's time to think about how your washrooms are perceived. Yes, they are behind closed doors. But together we can make sure the public washroom is never forgotten so that it gives the right impression, every visit.


1. Harris Interactive, 2011