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CMM Online Exclusive

Insights From Restroom Care Experts

December 18, 2012
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Some of the expert panelists from our recent webinar "A Guide To Clean And Odor-Free Restrooms" offered to further lend their knowledge and answer questions submitted from attendees during the live event originally held on November 20, 2012.


  • Igor Bogdanovic asked: What is the best way to remove water rings inside the toilet? Also, what are the savings on foam soap versus liquid soap? Is there a definitive study or a ballpark percentage?

A: Agitate the inside of the toilet bowl with a nylon brush when cleaning and they won’t build up. — Rex Morrison

A: The best way to remove water rings in a toilet is with 500 PSI of water pressure.

And, by the way, it’s a blast!

Pardon the pun.

The cool thing about a 500-PSI spray system, which comes on a spray-and-vacuum cleaning machine, is that the pinpoint spray penetrates the toilet water and works on the porcelain bowl, removing water marks and any other marks in the toilet. — Tom Morrison


  • MJ Healy asked: How can I determine the pH of grout lines in a restroom?

A: Use a pH testing paper strip; ask your local supply company as to where to buy them. — Rex Morrison

A: In addition to paper strips, there are pH meters available.

They are small electronic devices that are fairly simple to use.

I noticed even sells them. — Robert Kravitz


  • Tony Johnson asked: Is the spray-and-vacuum system cost effective for a school setting?

A: Spray-and-vacuum restroom systems have become very cost effective, saving about half the labor costs in cleaning.

No school should be without one. — Rex Morrison

A: Yes, but it depends on how you look at it.

Spray-and-vacuum systems may have higher upfront costs, but they also reduce chemical usage, save labor time and can replace many other pieces of standard cleaning equipment that a facilities manager typically purchases.

For example, the Kaivac unit has a Silver rating from the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) as a carpet extractor.

It also is a great tool for stairwell cleaning.

It can replace a standard wet/dry vacuum extractor — and so on.

Take a look at return on investment (ROI) calculators at for more specific costing information. — John Richter


  • Kevin Manalili asked: Our restroom stalls are stainless steel, but are not waterproof (the cores are not water-resistant). What touch-free options are available for this type of situation?

A: Microfiber pole mops work very well and will not leave excess water on stalls.

I recommend an 11-inch head and pad with an adjustable handle. — Rex Morrison

A: Many users of spray-and-vacuum systems have similar types of restroom stalls.

A trained operator generally has no problem controlling the spray from a 500-PSI system.

If overspray does occur, users may employ a simple window squeegee to remove the excess liquid. — Tom Morrison


  • Laticia Annison asked: Is antibacterial hand soap necessary to use in a public facility versus a non-disinfectant hand wash?

A: The use of antibacterial agents in hand soap is just another tool to get the handwashing job done and has been proven to do a very good job at killing germs on hands. — Rex Morrison

A: This is totally up to the facilities manager.

Because some antibacterial hand soaps can be harmful to the environment, many facilities are providing greener soaps and offering sanitizers as an option. — Robert Kravitz


  • Laticia Annison also asked: What is the best possible way to avoid hard water buildup and rust stains during a daily cleaning routine?

A: Make sure you leave surfaces as dry as possible during a daily cleaning routine. — Rex Morrison

A: Hard water buildup can cause mineral deposits to cake on restroom fixtures and can even damage pipes.

Certain parts of the country have more problems with this than others; often, the problem is resolved by installing a water softening system for the building, facility or campus.

I believe some cleaning professionals use a pumice stick to remove hard water buildup.

I would advise a visit with your local JanSan distributor for more options. — Robert Kravitz


  • Thomas Farr asked: What's the most common cause for a restroom floor to be sticky?

A: Biofilm buildup is one.

Another, more common cause is that the floor has not been rinsed with enough clean water after mopping and the cleaning product was not diluted as recommended and left to dry on the floor surface. — Rex Morrison

A: Each situation is different; but, in my experience, sticky floors are most often caused by chemical residue left behind in the mopping process when we mop a floor, leave it wet and then say that it is clean.

as anything actually been cleaned or removed, or has some chemical just been painted on?

That is why vacuum extraction is so important.

Removal is the key to cleaning; in fact, the definition of clean is the “removal” of unwanted matter.

There are many machines that can do vacuum extraction, but I recommend a spray-and-vacuum unit. — John Richter


  • John Costigan asked: Is finishing with a spray sanitizer a good idea?

A: It depends.

If you use bioenzymatic cleaners, which have been consistently proven to reduce ATP levels as much as — nearly always significantly more than — many sanitizers, as well as keeping post-application ATP levels lower for much longer, then finishing with a spray sanitizer may not be necessary.

Finishing up with clean water will leave surfaces free of chemicals and safe for students, staffs and other building occupants. — Rex Morrison

A: I am an advocate of using sanitizers and disinfectants only as needed.

They can be harmful to the environment and you, the user.

I would suggest making sure the cleaning routine employed effectively removes soils and contaminants.

Spray-and-vacuum systems are effective at this when cleaning floors, restrooms, etc. — Robert Kravitz


  • Dina Gilbert asked: Is an acidic drain cleaner more effective in a foul floor drain than an enzyme digestant?

A: It depends on the individual products, and there are also several other considerations here:

1.      First is whether there are any environmental restrictions against the use of acid drain cleaners.

2.      Another is that acid drain cleaners do not always remove the source of odors in foul-smelling drains and, if they do, it may well be temporary because there are residues that can reform. Use products that are proven to address and, over consistent use, lower the sources of odor. A way of measuring this is to take an ATP reading of the drain at frequent and regular intervals to determine if the product being used is reducing ATP levels.

3.      Lastly, if the objective is to unblock the drain, then acid drain cleaners are necessary. — Rex Morrison


  • Ted Barklage III asked: Why mop with a disinfectant when the residue leaves the floor sticky, and the floor is re-infected when the first footsteps on the floor? How about using low-level ozone generators to destroy odors?

A: The only way a virus can live without a “host” is if it resides in a biofilm; this is noted by both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute for Health (NIH).

For a sanitizer/disinfectant to “kill” a virus present on a surface, it must fully dismantle and remove the biofilm in which the virus is residing.

The use of ATP meters can offer a highly probable indication as to whether a sanitizer/disinfectant has removed a biofilm; if the ATP meter reading increases within a couple of hours after a surface has been sanitized/disinfected, then it is indicating the likely return of a biofilm presence, so viruses may still or once again be present.

Ozone does not dismantle or remove biofilm, which houses bacteria that are the source of odors.

As such, the use of ozone is not an effective means of controlling odors in a meaningful or prolonged manner. — Rex Morrison

A: First, we don’t recommend mopping restroom floors other than in spot cleaning.

Besides the fact that mops remove very little soil, they also leave excess moisture and chemical residue behind.

Especially in the case of certain disinfectants, this can result in overly sticky floors.

To compound problems, this residue contains detergent, which can cause a resoiling of the floors from foot traffic.

Studies repeatedly show that vacuum extraction technologies such as spray-and-vacuum or dispense-and-vacuum machines are much more effective at soil removal than mopping.

As to whether or not floors should be disinfected, there are many factors that come into play, including the type of facility and the population that inhabits it.

However, studies confirm that many contaminants originating in the restroom ultimately make their way throughout a building, including those from the floor.

When it comes to the role that contaminated surfaces play in the spread of disease, it is better to remove the soil than it is to try to kill the microbes with disinfectant.

Disinfectants certainly have a role in killing the organisms that would sicken or kill humans but, too often, the efficacy of the disinfectant is compromised by soil burden. — Tom Morrison


  • Billy Daukei asked: For cleaning behind the toilet bowl, is it best to use a scrub brush or a cloth?

A: You may want to use a brush to remove any stubborn stains or particulates.

But, after an initial deep cleaning, daily cleaning with spray-and-vacuum machines should be enough. — Rex Morrison

A: In my opinion, neither is effective.

I prefer 500-PSI water pressure from a spray-and-vacuum machine.

I can stand back and let the water do all the work without getting my face down near the toilet.

By the way, I have conducted hundreds of tests showing that using a spray-and-vacuum machine to clean toilets and restrooms removes more than 95 percent of the soils.

That’s what I call cleaning. — John Richter

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