Today’s point-of-use (POU) water coolers and ice machines offer sleek designs, modern features and ways to protect users from cross contamination at the water cooler.

In the June issue, which will be available in a few weeks on WaterTechOnline.com, we spoke with a few water cooler equipment manufacturers to find out the ways dealers can help maintain health around the water cooler.

Below are the five ways to help maintain health around the water cooler and minimize cross contamination issues.

  • Tip #1 to maintain health around the water cooler: Protection from inside-out. Advanced water treatment equipment, including water coolers, are being made today with cross contamination in mind. Some manufacturers are incorporating antimicrobial agents within the materials that are used to construct the equipment. This silver-based technology inhibits the growth of microbes on surfaces.
  • Tip #2 to maintain health around the water cooler: Understand the technology. Certain technologies, such as UV, are designed to destroy common bacteria found in water. Some manufacturers are using clever techniques to improve UV’s powerful disinfection capabilities in coolers. Regardless of the technology, dealers should help end users understand the benefits and setbacks of each technology for those interested in reducing cross contamination and maintaining health around the water cooler.
  • Tip #3 to maintain health around the water cooler: Stress the importance of hand-washing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends strict guidelines for proper hand-washing. The organization and many others believe that hand-washing is the number one defense against cross contamination. Consider spreading the word through signage around the water cooler or drinking water stations to promote health and hygiene. For more information about CDC’s stance on proper hand-washing techniques, visit http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/.   
  • Tip #4 to maintain health around the water cooler: Hands off. In addition to recessed spouts and controls that are easy to clean, some water cooler equipment manufacturers are also using hands-free technology.
  • Tip #5 to maintain health around the water cooler: Set a cleaning schedule and stick to it. When cleaning cooler equipment check the cleaning product’s manufacturer’s directions. When scheduling cleaning frequency, you will need to take several factors into consideration, such as use, location, equipment and other variables. The most important thing is to set the cleaning schedule and stick to it.

Maintain health around the water cooler and use these tips when talking with your customers. Other tips include: Promote the use of personal protection equipment when cleaning, such as gloves; keep areas around water coolers dry to avoid slips and falls; advise business owners to encourage sick workers to stay home; and post signage around the water cooler promoting health.