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Restroom odor control: New Weapons
Building service contractors have a vast arsenal of products at their disposal to keep restrooms clean and odor free — urinal cakes and screens, fragrance dispensers, air fresheners, in-line sanitary conditioning systems and matting. Many of these products have remained static over the years, but if BSCs look hard enough, or ask their distributor, they will find some new product innovations to help combat odors.
When patrons walk into a restroom, they expect some type of fragrance — pine trees, mint, vanilla, fruit, or maybe fresh coffee. But some times they are only met with an unpleasant odor. That’s because scents from gel dispensers gradually fade over time and aerosol cartridges only spray at timed intervals.
One new innovative dispenser, however, features a fluid fragrance cartridge that can emit scent at a constant level, says Matt Miller, sales manager for B. Miller Products Inc., Hibbing, Minn. These systems create hydrogen that continuously pushes the fragrance out of the dispenser.
A plus to using hydrogen fuel cells is that the dispenser doesn’t require batteries, says Dan Ellis, owner and president, Juniper Paper and Supply Col, Bend, Ore. The fuel cell releases fragrance until the liquid cartridge runs out. Without batteries, BSCs won’t have to worry about the dispenser running of out of power unpredictably.
Another advantage is that the liquid lasts twice as long as conventional systems — 60 days compared to the typical 30, says Miller.
To accompany new dispensers, manufacturers also routinely introduce new fragrances. For instance, the latest smells include ocean breezes and the cold arctic air. While these new scents may be more exotic, the most popular fragrances continue to be citrus or cinnamon, says Miller.
Some fragrance cartridges feature scratch-and-sniff cards so contractors know what to expect when the product is in use. Scents are also being rated from mild to strong.
“If customers are sensitive to fragrance, you don’t want to get a strong one,” says Miller.
When choosing fragrances, it is important that air dispensers, urinal cakes and in-line conditioning systems all emit the same scents to present uniformity in the restroom, says Andrew Brahms, president, Armchem International, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Different fragrances can interact and the resulting smell can be offensive to restroom patrons, he adds.
A newer product gaining popularity among contractors is antibacterial matting. This product is placed under urinals and around toilets to collect urine dripped on the floor.
“Most restrooms have tile and grout flooring,” says Miller. “Anything [that] prevents liquids such as urine from spilling into the porous grout surface will prevent a lingering odor.”
The mat’s construction allows it to air dry quickly, helping to create an odor-free environment.
Brahms has introduced matting to BSCs over the past year and has gotten a very good response. Many customers appreciate that the matting not only captures urine, but deodorizes it as well, he says.
The matting also makes restrooms safer by preventing puddles of urine, which can create slip-and-fall hazards.
Daily maintenance The best way to ensure a odor-free restroom is to eliminate the source of the odor with daily cleaning. Unfortunately, many odor-control products only mask the odor instead of removing it.
Contractors who have embraced green cleaning will be encouraged to note that harsh chemicals and bleaches are not the only defense against restroom odors.
One option for green cleaning is oxygen cleaners that use hydrogen peroxide to clean. Hydrogen peroxide is an effective deodorizer because it breaks down the organic sources that create the odors, says Ellis.
Another alternative to using chemicals and bleach is biodegradable enzyme-based cleaners. These products use live bacteria that emit enzymes when breaking down the organic matter causing the odor, explains Brahms.
While there are additional products available to BSCs, these new solutions should provide a strong start for an effective odor-control system.
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