Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online
November 2012 Facility Focus

Airing Grievances With Restroom Odors

Preventing restroom odors can improve public perception and company profitability.

November 20, 2012

A facility’s restroom can be the defining factor for customer satisfaction and patron retention.

According to a recent Harris Interactive poll, as many as 94 percent of facility patrons are unwilling to return to an establishment if the restrooms are unsanitary; therefore, achieving a competitive edge begins with cleanliness.

Woman Plugging Nose Restroom OdorExperiencing a nose-assailing malodor upon entering a restroom can completely taint a user’s impression of the facility overall.

Restrooms can be a breeding ground for unpleasant aromas, as poor ventilation combines with confined spacing to allow foul odors to permeate the entire area.

Additionally, germs and disease-causing bacteria can collect on restroom surfaces, further adding to odor issues; the more bacteria a restroom harbors, the greater the likelihood of offensive scents.

Other conditions can also exacerbate bacterial growth, leading to strong smells.

For instance, in warm, humid facilities, any urine that has dripped onto the floor can create a strong ammonia fragrance, and water leaks from sinks or toilets can lead to mold growth.

With the average person visiting the restroom between six and eight times a day, the need for effective odor control and cleaning practices are crucial.

Utilizing products that provide long-lasting bacteria prevention and odor control can improve a business’ reputation while reducing health risks to employees and customers alike.

Tackling Odor Control

An initial and, of course, crucial step in achieving consistent restroom care and customer-approved cleanliness is selecting the appropriate odor control products and implementing proper cleaning procedures.

  • Air fresheners

Lingering odors can taint a customer’s experience — providing a negative view of the company as a whole.

According to the aforementioned Harris Interactive poll, more than 70 percent of all businesses receive complaints about the cleanliness of their restrooms due to odor.

Consequently, air fresheners need to be long-lasting with a pleasant, yet subtle, scent to provide a constant — never overpowering — fragrance.

To achieve good results, any odor control solution should be designed to eliminate odor rather than simply camouflaging it.Restroom Air Freshener

Also, to prevent negative environmental impacts, air fresheners are available that meet volatile organic compound (VOC) regulations by eliminating the use of ozone-depleting ingredients.

To achieve intense odor control, facility managers should consider implementing multiple odor-neutralizing tactics.

For instance, facility managers can install air fresheners, as well as utilizing bowl clips in stalls and lightly scented urinal screens to attack odors at their source for a comprehensive air care system.

Bowl clips and urinal screens should have a fragrance that is released over time, preventing oversaturation and promoting product longevity.

For fast-acting odor elimination, some urinal screens contain an optimized bacteria component that activates a powerful cleaning agent to freshen urinals after use.

Further, air fresheners that contain Metazene will actively eliminate odors by neutralizing odors at the molecular level.

Metazene evaporates the molecule to prevent it from re-entering the atmosphere and infiltrating the restroom environment.

To avoid air freshener overuse that reduces the product’s lifespan, which can leave the restroom with a heavy perfume scent, some air fresheners offer an energy-saving feature.

This not only delivers concentrated odor control when it’s needed most, but also avoids costly misuse.

These battery-operated air fresheners ensure that a fresh scent is dispensed only when the restrooms are in use.

The energy-efficient sensor triggers the battery-operated fan when the lights are on, not only extending the life of the battery but also ensuring that scents are dispensed only when the restroom is occupied.

  • Antimicrobial mats and mops

Effective air care requires more than just reactive products, and any odor control system should combine methods that eliminate smells as well as prevent them from occurring.Urinal Screens

Antimicrobial urinal and toilet mats are designed to break down urine and thwart the growth and spread of odor-causing bacteria.

By surrounding the splash zone to capture urine before it hits the floor, antimicrobial mats deliver odor and moisture control.

Made from a material engineered to kill bacteria, these mats also provide long-term odor prevention.

Plus, available in both disposable and fully washable options, antimicrobial mats accommodate diverse maintenance and cost requirements.

Frequent cleaning also proactively eradicates odor-causing bacteria.

With this in mind, facility managers should utilize mops that maximize cleaning performance without causing additional odor issues.

For instance, traditional mops suffer the “mop rot” stench after only a few uses and can leave an unpleasant mildew smell in their wake.

Antimicrobial mops are engineered to clean tough soils without becoming an odor or bacteria source.

Moreover, mops can become a breeding ground for bacteria growth.

Constructed of high-concentration synthetic fibers, antimicrobial mops contain a treatment that prevents the growth of pungent bacteria from flourishing, leaving a fresh-smelling, clean floor — even after numerous uses.

Managing Inventory

Odor control is a constant battle, and since air quality represents the initial first impression of any given restroom, implementing the proper products and cleaning frequency is only part of comprehensive air care.

In conjunction with these measures, facility managers should also employ consistent inventory management for continuous odor elimination.

This can guarantee that the products are always in stock, minimizing customer dissatisfaction while maximizing restroom appeal.

Further, to reduce labor and expenses, many facilities managers use an inventory management service to ensure that the proper products are there when they are required.

This not only eliminates the stress of re-stocking restrooms, but can also prevent excessive product purchases and expenses, all while reducing maintenance inconsistencies.

Neglecting to stock restrooms can have severe consequences, resulting in reduced sanitation and dramatically impacting customer satisfaction.

For instance, according to research from Harris Interactive, as many as 65 percent of people admitted to being upset if an establishment’s restrooms were out of essential products, while 17 percent claimed they would be unwilling to ever return after experiencing such conditions.

With facilities managers already plagued by a mounting list of responsibilities and various demands on their time and energy, maintaining restroom stock can quickly move to the bottom of any priority list.

Therefore, implementing an inventory management service will provide the comprehensive odor control tools necessary and maintain that supply.

Urinal Mats In RestroomWhen crucial products run low or are completely out of stock, restrooms can quickly become a breeding ground for germs and bacteria to form and multiply.

By outsourcing product maintenance to an inventory management service, facilities managers minimize stress and workloads while still ensuring their facilities never lack crucial restroom products and supplies.

An inventory management service will make regular site visits, monitor any and all inventory needs and replace any worn or depleted products — such as automatic air freshener cartridges or urinal screens — to guarantee consistent product quality and availability.

For continued odor control, an inventory management service can swap out air freshener scents while synchronizing them in the male and female restrooms.

This can prevent a scent from becoming stale or overused.

Another odor control strategy is implementing an alternating schedule for changing out the fragrance on a wall-mounted unit with that of urinal screens and bowl clips to provide a continuously fresh scent.

Moving Forward

Markets are more competitive than ever, and increasing employee satisfaction and customer retention are key strategies for achieving continued productivity and profitability.

The cleanliness of a facility’s restroom is a largely influential factor in maintaining customer and employee approval.

By implementing the appropriate products with dedicated inventory management, facilities managers can attack and eliminate odors at the source for consistent, effective odor control and prevention.

By doing so, they can ultimately improve company reputation and profit growth opportunities.