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Restroom Care

Restroom malodor is sign of bigger problem

September 19, 2010
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In any type of facility, the restroom is often the most visited area of the building.

Although building occupants may spend just a few minutes in the restroom, a lasting impression often lingers after the visit.

If the feeling is negative, this impression can contribute to an overall bad experience in the building.

This bad experience can lead to lost customers, a ruined reputation, and decreased profits.

Malodor is often a problem in maintaining restrooms and, if not properly treated, can lead to negative impressions of your facility.

Contributors of odor
Cleaning & Maintenance Management recently asked a group of readers, “Of the following, which do you feel contributes most to malodor in your facility’s restroom(s)?”

Here are the results:


Other contributing factors noted by readers include:
  • Improper cleaning

  • Age of buildings

  • People not hitting “the target”

  • Clogged toilets that we are not told about

  • Sewage drainage traps dry out

  • Air fresheners not getting changed frequently.
Odor control market
There are many effective odor control products on the market today.

These products digest, neutralize, or sanitize the air.

There are various fragrances available in many forms, including aerosol.

It is important to know your needs, say the experts.

An overpowering scent can lead to a bad impression as well.

Cleaning managers can gauge how much fragrance is necessary by evaluating square footage, traffic, and the number of toilets and urinals.

Experts advise end users to find the right match and adjust as necessary.

Device options
Metered aerosol odor control units are commonly used in such facilities as health care, educational and hospitality.

Today’s touch-free devices are versatile and can be easily programmed to match the facility’s odor control needs.

Manufacturers have responded to concerns about vandalism, employee safety, and maintenance.

If used properly, today’s “set it and forget it” devices offer cost and labor savings.

Sign of bacteria
In addition to setting up an odor control program with low-maintenance devices and effective products, ongoing cleaning should also be included.

According to industry experts, regular detailed restroom cleaning is necessary to control odor.

Since malodor is usually the result of bacteria buildup, cleaners should pay special attention to the following when cleaning: Attending to trash; cleaning countertops, toilets, sinks, and urinals; regular grout maintenance; keeping drains and pipes clear and clean; using clean water when mopping; color-coded rags and cloths; checking for leaks; and setting a schedule and sticking to it.

Reader odor control
In the aforementioned CMM survey, we also asked readers to share the details of their facility’s odor control programs.

“Disinfect, keep floor drains from drying, and detail to odor areas,” wrote one reader.

“Regular daily cleaning and sanitizing, some use of deodorant blocks, and sprays,” shared one of our education readers.

According to another reader, simply covering up the odor isn’t an option for his sports arena.

“Get it clean so that there is no odor,” he wrote. “If there is an odor, we then address it by detail cleaning the restroom and eliminating the odor at the source, rather than covering it up.”

Other products/processes our respondents use to control odor include:
  • Enzyme cleaners

  • Exhaust fans

  • Keep it clean and attention to detail

  • Bacterial digesters around fixtures and in the floor drains.
As with many other cleaning functions, odor control is successful when all components work together to achieve the common goal.

A customer’s perception of what smells clean will continue to change.

Therefore, when selecting a fragrance, for instance, find the right scent to match your facility’s needs and stay consistent.

First impressions are important and keeping restrooms odor-free makes a great first impression.

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