Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

Restroom Cleaning: What You Need To Know

February 1, 2011

No area of a building will get complaints faster than a soiled restroom or one that lacks supplies.

Personally, I always liked being assigned to the restroom cleaning route, as restrooms are actually designed to be cleaned, which is not true with most other areas of a building.

One of the most important elements to effective restroom cleaning is frequency.

Heavily used restrooms must be at least spot or lightly cleaned several times a day.

It is unrealistic to expect a restroom to be clean, sanitary, well-stocked and odor free after multiple uses unless it is serviced after each heavy use period.

There have been a number of advances in technology that have made restroom cleaning easier and more effective than ever before.

Here are a few that you should be aware of:

  • Spray and vacuum systems
  • Bio-based disinfectants and sanitizers
  • Testing equipment
  • Foam and enzyme cleaners
  • Tile and grout cleaners
  • Oxygenated and ionized water
  • Micro auto-scrubbers
  • Training materials and programs.

Question: I have a bathroom with floor and wall tile that is not sealed and has become embedded with soil.

I have tried vinyl and stone strippers with a floor machine and it didn''t remove it.

Can I use steel wool under the floor machine, or will it scratch the tile?

Answer: You have a number of options, and steel wool is not one of them.

Steel wool would not scratch the tile, but it won''t remove the soil from the grout lines and may leave behind iron particles that could rust and turn the grout red or brown.

When stripping grouted and other types of floors, be sure to allow adequate dwell time — 15 to 20 minutes — before using the machine on the floor.

During this time, keep the floor wet with stripping solution and use a deck brush to agitate the solution and loosen the soil.

I''d probably use a soft, nylon carpet shampoo brush or a nylon grit brush with a specialty cleaner instead of a pad to strip/clean tile and grouted floors.

Other options include:

  • Any number of the high-alkaline specialty cleaners on the market that are made to remove soil, oil and buildup from tile and grouted floors

  • High-pressure wands that are available with spinning jets for use with truckmounts and some portable carpet extractors that use up to 800 pounds of pressure per square inch (PSI) on tile, grout, concrete and stone flooring

  • Dry vapor steamers that use high temperatures of up to 260 degrees Fahrenheit and pressure to effectively clean grout and other surfaces.

Your results with each process will vary depending on the type and amount of soil as well as the products and processes that are used for cleaning.

Talk with your local sanitary supply distributor for more information on the above mentioned products or search the Internet and you''ll find what you need.

The International Custodial Advisors Network Inc. (ICAN) is a non-profit association comprised of industry consultants with a wide range of expertise in building management, indoor environmental and service disciplines. This network provides free janitorial and building maintenance consultation service to the industry through the Cleaning Management Institute®.