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Restroom Care

Restroom Care In The News

September 19, 2010
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A small army deploys each day to fight dirty restrooms

BATON ROUGE — Many consider using public restrooms to be one of the worst experiences in college life and, to combat widespread fears, Louisiana State University (LSU) deploys a small army of 245 custodians each day to combat soils, germs and bacteria in campus restrooms, according to the Daily Reveille.

LSU''s custodial services team is responsible for the cleanliness of 886 mens'' stalls, 498 urinals, 975 womens'' stalls and 1,668 sinks that total 6 million square feet of cleanable space daily, the story stated.

According to the story, LSU annually spends $72,000 on paper towels, $23,000 on soap and $53,000 on toilet paper — in addition to countless thousands spent on labor and cleaning supplies.

Custodians, who exclusively use the Trusted Trio products — Comet, Spic and Span and Mr. Clean — from Procter & Gamble, rinse down the entire restroom and then close each for 45 minutes to an hour once a day to deep clean the whole room before using a black light to ensure that all soils and potentially harmful germs and bacteria have been removed, the story noted.

Because so much effort is put into cleaning and maintaining campus restrooms, crews, who use microfiber mops and towels, check the cleanliness of the restrooms two to three times per day so that any issues can be immediately addressed to protect the health and well-being of students and staff, the story added.

Building Services Assistant Director Kim Gardiner said: "The reason custodians use these products is because people can identify with these products. They use them at home, the only difference is that ours are hospital-grade. We try to be earth friendly. We use green chemicals that never have odors or mask bacteria."

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Toilet seat dermatitis is on the rise

BALTIMORE —Toilet seat dermatitis — once thought to be eradicated in developed countries — is making a comeback due to harsh cleaning chemicals and popular wooden toilet seats covered with varnishes and paints, according to a press release.

According to the release, children are susceptible to the irritation — which can cause painful and itchy skin eruptions — after repeated use of wooden toilet seats or those with harsh cleaning chemical residue.

Johns Hopkins Children''s Center investigator Bernard Cohen, M.D. said: "Toilet seat dermatitis is one of those legendary conditions described in medical textbooks and seen in underdeveloped countries, but one that younger pediatricians have not come across in their daily practice. If our small analysis is any indication of what''s happening, we need to make sure the condition is on every pediatrician''s radar."

Cohen says that toilet seats and cleaners, both at home and school, may be the culprit for the irritation.

To prevent toilet seat dermatitis, Cohen recommends using paper toilet seat covers in public restrooms, replacing wooden toilet seats with plastic ones, cleaning toilet seats and bowls daily and avoiding harsh cleaners containing skin irritants like phenol and formaldehyde, the story noted.

Lead researcher Ivan Litvinov, Ph.D. said: "Some of the children in our study suffered for years before the correct diagnosis was made."

Researchers also noted that persistently irritated skin is vulnerable to bacteria and may lead to more serious infections, the story added.

Click here to read the complete article.


Study links restroom cleanliness to norovirus outbreaks

BOSTON — A recent study found a link between improperly cleaned restrooms aboard cruise ships and the likelihood of an outbreak of norovirus, a highly contagious gastrointestinal infection whose eradication requires extensive cleaning of surfaces, according to the United Press International.

According to the story, the study by scientists from the Boston University School of Medicine, Carney Hospital, the Cambridge Health Alliance and the Tufts University School of Medicine is said to be the first environmental hygiene study aboard cruise ships.

Researchers inspected 273 randomly selected public restrooms aboard various ships and found only 37 percent were cleaned daily, the story stated.

The research, which appears in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, found baby changing tables to be the least cleaned object in cruise ship restrooms, the story noted.

Researchers said they found the thoroughness of cleaning did not differ by cruise line and did not correlate with U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Vessel Sanitation Program inspection scores that averaged 97 out of a possible 100 points for the 273 study vessels, the story added.

Click here to read the complete article.


Custodians complain of doing too much with too little

PULLMAN, WA — The custodians at Washington State University at Pullman are complaining that they have more work piling up than they can complete, according to the Daily Evergreen.

Lately, the custodians have been asked to complete more tasks in significantly less time, something they find troubling as it could easily lead to the campus becoming unsanitary, the story stated.

Because custodians used to have over nine hours to complete their daily tasks and now only have eight, corners are being cut to meet productivity requirements, the story noted.

Lawrence Davis, associate vice president of facilities operations, said: "This isn''t a problem unique to Washington State University or custodians. This is a problem across the board. We''re all stretched thin."

Custodians are no longer required to empty trashcans in offices and classrooms and the frequency of tasks such as sweeping and dusting have been reduced, the story added.

According to the story, numerous custodians have also complained that work assignments are not divided evenly among staff, making it increasingly difficult for those with time-consuming tasks to complete them in a timely and orderly fashion.

Click here to read the complete article.


Consumer confidence in cleaning products is up

WASHINGTON — A survey commissioned by The Soap and Detergent Association (SDA) found that consumer confidence in cleaning products is on the rise, according to a press release.

According to the release, 88 percent of the 1,008 survey respondents felt the cleaning products they buy are safe or very safe when used as directed on the label, up from a 2008 SDA survey in which only 85 percent of consumers were confident in their cleaning products'' levels of safety.

The survey also showed, however, that while 80 percent of American adults had read a label on a cleaning product at least one time, only eight percent read the label every time, the release stated.

Nancy Bock, SDA vice president of education, said: "The safety and usage information is the most important information on the cleaning product label. Additionally, consumers are finding more information than ever about what is in the product on the label and through company websites and toll-free hotlines."

SDA also encourages consumers to visit its Ingredient Central to find information about specific ingredients in member cleaning products, the release noted.

The survey was completed via telephone by Echo Research, and a summary of the results is available online, the release added.

Click here to read the complete release.


Cleaning is the ''most overlooked consideration'' of waterless urinal selection

VISTA, CA — A poll distributed to facility managers and building owners found that the understanding of how units are cleaned and maintained is the "most overlooked consideration" when selecting a no-water urinal system, according to a press release.

According to the release, 26 percent of respondents cited understanding of the cost of unit cylinders or traps, 5 percent cited whether or not users would accept no-water urinals and 2 percent cited how much water is actually saved with the units.

The poll included only one question — often referred to as a micro-poll — and was conducted by AlturaSolutions Communications for Waterless Company Inc., the release stated.

Klaus Reichardt, founder and managing partner of Waterless Company, expressed surprise that understanding the costs of the cylinders came in second, saying: "The charge for the cylinders/trap inserts [that must be changed every two to four months] can vary from as little as $7 to as much as $40. Facility managers need to know facts like this before selecting a no-water urinal system."

He also added that training on the proper cleaning and maintenance of the units are essential, the release added.

Reichardt said: "Managers and building owners typically select waterless urinals because they want to cut down on maintenance and save water. Although they are easy to maintain, some cleaning personnel may not be properly trained on how this is performed. Possibly manufacturers must work harder educating custodial workers on the proper care and maintenance of no-water urinals."

Click here to read the complete release.


School absenteeism down due to hygiene efforts

RICHMOND COUNTY, GA — Attendance at schools in Richmond County has remained constant despite flu season due to increased hygiene awareness, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

According to the story, Joy Miller, an epidemiologist with the East Central Health District, has been tracking the attendance rates in the schools and reports that there has not been the usual spike in absences associated with flu season, as well as fewer cases of norovirus.

Miller said: "Seasonal flu hasn''t really shown itself this year, not like it has in the past. Maybe the vaccinations hit it pretty well. So much attention was made to keep your germs to yourself. I think a lot of that helped, too."

Attendance records show that from December 7 to January 15, average attendance was at least 95 percent for elementary and middle schools, with slightly lower attendance for high schools and higher attendance for magnet schools, the story stated.

School board member Jack Padgett contributes the attendance to the abundance of flu prevention information available associated with outbreak of the H1N1 virus, the story noted.

"We may have prevented a pandemic," Padgett said.

Click here to read the complete article.

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