In my 12 years of experience working in the cleaning industry as a building services contractor (BSC), I have encountered many tough cleaning challenges.
However the restroom continues to be one of the toughest rooms to maintain in facilities, and their maintenance can involve everything from tackling odor to unsightly urine stains.
Survey findings also show that three in four Americans are disgusted by urine odors and stains, and more than one-third say they would leave a place of business because the restroom smelled like urine.2
These statistics indicate that the presence of urine odors and stains in public restrooms could have a real impact on a business’ bottom line.
Restrooms present problems because they are frequently used by building occupants, staff and visitors, and their condition is often perceived as a reflection of the business itself.
Urine stains and odors were a problem in some of our customers’ buildings that I oversee at TriStar Building Services.
Therefore, I knew we needed to re-evaluate our cleaning process and products to ensure we were doing the best possible job of keeping everyone’s reputations intact.
A Tough Problem
At TriStar, with more than 14 million square feet of A-class commercial office buildings to serve in and around the Nashville area, we knew that urine stains and odors are the toughest problems to solve.
There were urine stains on tile, grout, toilets and urinals in some of the buildings that we were not able to fully remove.
Part of the problem with urine odors and stains is that, if they are not dealt with quickly, it can be more difficult to remove them.
Urine odors occur when uric acid crystals become trapped in porous damp surfaces and are fed on by naturally occurring bacteria, causing the release of a strong ammonia-like odor.
If uric acid crystals are not fully removed, the odor can return during humid conditions or once the surface is wet.
Our goal was to find a more cost-effective, smarter solution to help us deal with this customer issue.
A Better Cleaning Process
After searching for a better way to deal with our customers’ persistent problem of urine odor and stains, we decided to try a new hydrogen peroxide-based product.
After testing the product in one of the buildings, we saw a dramatic decrease in the urine stains and odors present.
The new choice of product actually removed the stains and odors without simply masking them.
In fact, after using the products at our facilities, our customers were amazed at how clean their tile and grout became after being “stained” for years.
Based on the initial success of this trial, we plan to update our restroom cleaning process for our remaining customer buildings, paying special attention to hard-to-clean areas like floor grouting and urinal systems.
We are also beginning to preemptively clean facilities to address minor urine stains and odors before they become more significant problems.
If your facility or customers are also facing challenges with urine stains and odors, the solution may be to take a closer look at your cleaning process and products to evaluate options.
Take your buildings’ occupant and staff feedback into consideration to come up with an effective plan that best meets your needs and in the end leaves people with the best possible impression of your facility.
1Clorox Professional Products Company and ClearVoice Research (February 2012). Online Survey of Professional Cleaning Service Industry Decision Makers. (Survey of 933 cleaning industry decision makers across various industries)