Waterless urinals are becoming more common in commercial restrooms, especially in areas with low water supply. Proponents of the systems say the fixtures are better for the environment than flushable urinals because they don’t require water to direct urine into facility plumbing.

“Waterless urinals can save thousands of gallons of water per unit if used and maintained correctly,” says Mickey Crowe, a cleaning industry consultant at CLEEnTech Consulting Group in Woodstock, Georgia. 

Installing waterless urinals may also contribute to energy conservation efforts, including in high-rise buildings.

“It takes a lot of energy to move water around,” says Keith Schneringer, marketing manager at Waxie Sanitary Supply, in San Diego, California. “Collecting water and then having to ship it to all the different buildings to flush urinals [uses a lot of energy]. If you are able to reduce the amount of water transferred it is better for the overall energy consumption of a region.”

Outside of waterless urinals’ environmental benefits, facilities are installing the units to maintain sanitary restrooms. Because they do not use water, there isn’t a need to flush the fixtures, which reduces touchpoints to clean and leads to fewer odor problems.

For facility managers, that also means less maintenance costs, as low valves and flush handles are often the root of urinal malfunction.

While waterless urinals look much like traditional urinals, they present their own unique set of cleaning challenges and protocols. Ignoring these differences can negate the benefits of waterless urinal units.

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How Waterless Urinals Work