A building can often be judged by first impression areas such as front door glass, entrance area and rest rooms. These areas can leave a lasting impression on visitors and tenants. 


Rest rooms are ranked as No. 1 in most surveys regarding cleanliness.  Complaints range from supply stocking to odors to graffiti on walls to simply a feeling the room is not clean. Although the steps to cleaning a rest room are fairly straightforward, the challenge of keeping a high-use area like this can be daunting for many reasons. 


Upon entering a rest room, the first sign of trouble is any unpleasant odor that could be the result of incorrect cleaning or lack of regular maintenance. Lack of proper cleaning resulting in odors could include the following:


• Not inspecting and cleaning waste cans or sanitary napkin containers regularly.

• Not cleaning thoroughly around base of toilets and urinals.

• Not cleaning along walls and corners.

• Not using clean cloths, mop heads or mop solution resulting in a musky odor.

• Using the same product solution for extended period of time resulting in a stale odor.

• Not pouring solution or at least water down all open floor and shower drains to keep traps full.


Let’s look at this last cause for odors a little more closely. All sanitary systems have a U shaped drain (sometimes called a “P trap”) that captures enough fluids to prevent sewer gas from coming back into the rest room – especially at night when the door is closed and there is minimal ventilation.  When the rest room is entered after a period of time and there is a foul odor it can often be traced to the traps needing servicing more often. 


Although the ideal is to dump mop water or an enzyme product in the drains daily, observation can help establish the optimum times per week or month necessary to keep this from being an ongoing problem.


Of course, sometimes there are complaints due to overwhelming perfumes or fragrances that are usually designed to mask odors. One should be prudent when installing “odor control” systems that can cause allergic reactions from individuals sensitive to certain fragrances. Also, beware of using pine scent which has little disinfecting ability in its diluted state and can also cause slip/fall concerns due to its oil content. 


The bottom line is that a clean rest room does not have to smell good; but it certainly should never smell bad. Ideally it should not smell at all. 


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.