How To Prevent Misuse And Waste In A School Washroom | Pinnacle Furniture

How To Prevent Misuse And Waste In A School Washroom


Misuse and waste within a school can take many forms, from vandalism and anti-social behaviour to water and electricity wastage.  Unfortunately, these issues occur in nearly every school and school washroom across the country.  Knowing how to limit misuse and waste can have a huge impact – both on the longevity of the area and the running and replacement costs.  In this article we take a look at the ways to combat this.

Bushey Meads Washroom


It may be difficult to fully eliminate vandalism in a school washroom, but it can be hugely limited with the correct fittings and knowledge.  Doors are often damaged by students hanging from them or mistreating them, so to prevent this, double-pinned bolts can be installed on the hinges.  Flooring in school washrooms should be a durable and long lasting material, such as non-slip vinyl or ceramic tiles.  The optimum wall finish is wall cladding, this is hygienic and can be easily painted over if graffiti or other vandalism occurs.   Any pipework within the washroom should be concealed so that students can’t kick it or stand on it, which may cause damage.  High ceilings are beneficial as this prevents damage to them, but this will depend on the layout and design of the area.  Toilet cisterns should be concealed to avoid possible vandalism, and hand driers ideally should be inset into the wall and be an all-in-one unit.  This will prevent them being kicked or knocked off the walls.

Anti-Social Behaviour

One of the best ways to combat anti-social behaviour within school washrooms is to make sure that time and effort is invested in keeping the washrooms in a clean and tidy state.  This will help the atmosphere in the room and potentially deter misuse.  Well monitored and clean washrooms send the right message that anti-social behaviour, bullying and vandalism will not be tolerated.

Gayhurst Community Washroom

Smoking is a common anti-social behaviour inside school washrooms which can be limited by anti-smoking devices that emit a message.  For instance, if the device detects smoke it could alert the users of the washroom that “the alarm has been activated and a member of reception informed”.

Installing full height cubicle dividers and doors can also deter anti-social behaviour as well as providing increased privacy for the users.  This is the best way to eliminate students taking inappropriate images in washroom or changing areas.


Toilets can be designed to limit vandalism and misuse.  A good example of this is the recent Pinnacle project at Blessed Hugh School where the washrooms were designed to be open to the corridor and therefore easier to monitor.

Blessed Hugh Washroom

The use of SGL materials will provide a durable and long-lasting washroom environment.  SGL is the preferred material for cubicle dividers, vanity units and duct panelling due to its water resistant properties.   MFC ceilings are the best option, as tiled ceilings can be used as a hiding place to conceal items above.  However, having tiled ceilings can provide easier access to services.  A well-lit bathroom can help with the aesthetics and also increase visibility and monitoring.


One of the most wasted resources within a school washroom are toilet rolls and paper towels.  By using an auto-dispenser, resources would be saved as students would typically use less sheets than when it was manually dispensed.  Another good way of reducing paper towel waste is to remove them completely and install a hand drier.  Not only is this better for the environment, but it saves money and bins will require emptying less.  While these may have a high initial cost, they will soon be saving you on the cost of paper towels.

Sensors can be used to save on electricity and water waste.  Lighting sensors can be set to only operate for a set time period from when movement is detected and sensor taps can be set to only run water when a hand is waved in front of the sensor.  Fitting sensor taps can save gallons of water every week and avoids misuse of the taps that may cause damage from flooding.  Sensor flushes for the toilets can be fitted, or an electronic flush that stops if it is pressed three or more times in quick succession.  However, it is best to use pump action dispensers for soap, as sensors on soap dispensers can be misused, leading to large amount of soap being spilt on the floor.

For more information on preventing vandalism and misuse, or to find out how we can help you with your washroom project, please contact us on 0208 641 4444 or email us at

To view our washroom project case studies please click here.

Click on the links below to view the other posts in the series:

How To Prevent Misuse and Vandalism in a Science Lab

How To Prevent Misuse and Vandalism in a Sixth Form Area

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