fixing restroom odors

Restroom Odors – First Find Then Fix

“I clean them, mop the floors and have air fresheners, but there are still restroom odors!”

This is a common statement from many who clean restrooms. It doesn’t have to be. Restrooms odors cause can cause an entire facility to seem dirty. It is common practice to try to quickly eliminate them by using sprays, air fresheners and applying disinfectants around the restroom. The bad news is, these steps have only a temporary effect, if any. Restroom odor must be address at the source. But where do you start?

 How To Put An End To Restroom Odors and Complaints

Find the Source of Restroom Odors

You can’t fix the problem of restroom odors until you know where they come from. This is why getting a blacklight should be the first step. These are a great tool for finding where urine and bacteria are being missed when cleaning. Just like in those news specials where they scan a hotel room to see what is lurking, the same can be done in restrooms. I have been using these for years to show people where their odor issues come from. Check the walls, grout and under fixtures to see where the build ups may be hiding. A portable blacklight costs less than $30, and will make cleaning so much easier!

Change Your Cleaning Chemical?

The second thing I would recommend is to evaluate your choice of cleaning chemical. There are many reasons why your cleaner may be working against you. If the dilution is too high, then there will be a sticky residue left. This residue will not only accumulate dirt, but also is a great source of food for bacteria. Most restroom odors are caused by bacteria byproducts as they feed. Reducing the food source for the bacteria, reduces the odors.

Also, make sure you are using a cleaning chemical to clean and a disinfectant to disinfect. And use them properly. Read the instructions on the label to ensure you are using the chemical the right way. Believe it or not, cleaning and disinfecting are two different things!

Cleaning The Grout

Most commercial restrooms have ceramic tile of some kind. The grout is a very porous surface that leads to a buildup of dirt, chemical and, you guessed it, bacteria. The grout should not be sealed due to most sealers being able to hold dirt as well.

Once you seal it, there is no practical way I have found to remove it. This leaves the dirt unreachable. Using a flat microfiber mop will reduce the amount of dirt that is left behind in the grout lines and in turn, reduce the odors from bacteria.  Use a deck brush or a low-speed floor machine with a grit brush to do periodical cleaning to remove any build up.

Even if your restrooms do not have grouted floors, they still need to be addressed. Areas behind and under fixtures are places that can harbor a lot of bacteria. These are often overlooked by mops during routine cleaning. turn off the lights and turn on the blacklight. Find out what is being missed.

Clean, non-offensive restrooms are not difficult to maintain. It just takes knowing where the problems are, making sure your supplies are working for you rather than against you and doing the routine maintenance needed to keep your restrooms odor, and complaint, free!

3 replies
  1. Gary Fage
    Gary Fage says:

    A Great Blog once again, thank you.

    Surface stains and deposits build up quickly around toilets and urinals, leading to an unsightly and unhygienic washroom. Most long-term bad odours problems in men’s washroom areas are due to bacteria that form in porous floors and the uric scale in waste pipes.

    Some kind of Auto Sanitiser is proven solution which breaks down uric-scale build up and prevents further build up from occurring, a major cause of bad odours in washrooms, especially where urinals are infrequently flushed or water saving systems are in operation. A descaler removes and prevents limescale and hard water deposits which cause leaks in trap washers forming.

  2. Larry Fagan
    Larry Fagan says:

    As always great information. When you clean a fixture in a restroom, ie; toilets ,sinks, urinals clean and disinfect the whole unit inside and out daily. Just a simple spray and wipe. And don’t forget to HUG THE BOWL!


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] There are 3 very common complaints people have about restrooms. Supplies are not stocked. The restroom is visible dirty. And the most common, restroom odor. […]

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