A reader asks: "I am frustrated with complaints from my customers that the restrooms are not clean. I cannot control odors that have built up over time, nor can I restore damaged grout. Any thoughts?"

If the restroom smells dirty it probably is dirty. Are you providing the correct tools to your workers to attack the different soils present in many restrooms?

We have already discussed the advantages of rotating cleaning products so that different soils are dealt with more effectively. Remember that urine residue is acidic when fresh and over time can become alkaline due to bacterial action. Taking into account pH, you may use a mild detergent (pH 7.5 - 10) on fresh floor and wall cleaning and switch over to a mild phosphoric type acid (pH 6.5 - 4.5) based on your best judgment of what soils you are attacking.

In most cases, the grout floors are in fairly decent shape except for the urinal and possibly toilet areas due to spills that are not promptly mopped. Use of a microfiber type flat mop will get into grout lines much better than a traditional string mops that simply float over the surface tiles. Another point to consider is contact or dwell time. I have observed many workers wring out a mop fairly dry, make a quick pass and go on to the next room. Periodically it might be wise to floor the floor with a good detergent, allow it to sit for a few moments than either wet vacuum or pick it up with a clean mop. Such a practice will result in more soil removal.

We will consider your concerns about aging grout in a future article. 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.