A reader writes: “I just took on an account with old restroom fixtures that are greenish and look worn out. The customer has complained that I am not cleaning them correctly since the specifications require a clean, shiny appearance. What can I do to satisfy him?”

Hopefully you conducted a pre-start site visit to document the condition of the entire building, including restroom fixtures, before you began operations. More and more companies are taking digital pictures with date stamps to document the current condition of the floors (especially carpet spots and hard floor appearance) so that they are not magically required to fix these problems left by the last vendor(s).

In this case, the restrooms were installed over twenty years ago and over time have worn out due to the misuse of pumice stones (there are evident scratches) and bowl acids designed for toilets, not sinks and fixtures. Without acknowledgment from the customer that these were preexisting conditions, you may have an uphill climb to satisfy them.

First of all, discuss their expectations of fixtures that are near (or beyond) their design life. Note that past service providers may have inadvertently (aka ignorantly) used pumice stones (too abrasive) and bowl acids (too harsh for chrome or enameled sinks) thereby causing the observed pitting and tarnished appearances.

Upon close observation it may be possible that you could use a mild phosphoric acid to remove some of the green spots but the faucet and flush valves need new rings to stop the leakage. If you use the mild phosphoric only allow it to sit for a few minutes at most and rinse thoroughly. Once dry, you may be able to apply a metal polish that could give it a consistent appearance. Be sure to follow all label directions carefully and do not over promise.

The ultimate fix is to replace the faucets, sinks, piping, etc. which would give the entire restroom a much new appearance at a relatively low investment.

Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean...

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net