Odors can stem from various problems. For example, in the restroom, urine can be very problematic. What recommendations do you have for defeating odors that stem from urine build-up?

McGuire: First and foremost choose an odor eliminating product that is applied and attacks the odor at the source. Choose a product that can penetrate surfaces like grout and that is stable when used in the same area with detergents and disinfectants.

Ferris: Urine presents one of the toughest jobs in cleaning commercial facilities and it demands a smart and effective way to solve. In fact, another survey found that among cleaning industry decision makers, removing urine stains (47 percent) and odors (52 percent) from grout and other porous materials are most important, among various top restroom cleaning priorities. Yet, many cleaning professionals report they are not satisfied with existing products to tackle these issues.
To help, cleaning professionals should choose products specifically designed to eliminate odors on hard and soft surfaces. If the selected products cannot penetrate surfaces such as grout to eliminate the naturally occurring sources of odor, odors will return, undermining cleaning professionals’ hard work. It is also important to find products that require minimal training and are easy to use effectively.

Malik: Automatic cleaning and deodorizing drip systems for urinals and commodes eliminate odors at the source while keeping fixtures and pipes clear. These systems offer controlled and continuous dispensing of fragrance directly to the odor source via a secure wall mount dispenser. 
There are enzyme based “no fragrance” units that can be installed on flushers or designed to work automatically in urinals and commodes. Urinal screens, which mold to the shape of the urinal, also protect and deodorize.  
When cleaning existing odor-causing areas, it is key to scrub the source of the malodor and allow for the disinfectant, enzymes or live bacteria to work. Remember that rinsing the area with water or cleaner designed for the surface is an important step after working the area where the malodor is coming from.

Readers often complain about odor emitting from drains. What are the reasons for such odors and what are some best practices to controlling/preventing them?

McGuire: Odors in drains generally come from a build-up of various odor-causing materials such as urine, feces and food waste. Using an enzymatic odor digester can help eliminate the existing problem and regular use of a deodorizer in your cleaning solution can help prevent it from reoccurring.

Malik: The root cause of the odor can depend on the facility. In food service, a common cause is the buildup of fats, oils and grease in the drain. In other segments, the culprit can be a combination of mildewing dirt and hair debris, and a buildup of a bacteria-filled slime layer (biofilm) on the sides of the drain pipe. As water rushes past the biofilm and debris, odor-causing molecules dislodge and drift up out of the drain into your nose.
There are foaming drain maintainers that can be used nightly as well. These foaming enzymes and/or live bacteria products can be used daily. The foam allows for a longer dwell time around the drain and then assist in moving the enzymes and live bacteria through drain itself. As the foam turns into liquid, the foam has set-up the path for the enzymes around the entire circumference of the drain line. This will eat at odor causing bacteria.
There are also mechanical wall mount units that improve drain flow by dispensing continuous amounts of enzymes, antimicrobials that eat fats, oils and grease. Look for solutions that are safe for all pipes, grease traps, and sewers.

Odors can sometimes seep into carpeting. What recommendations do you have for solving these odor issues?

McGuire: Again you must treat the odor at the source. In carpets, this means applying a product in a saturation type procedure as most odor issues in carpets come from under the carpet and the pad. If cleaning procedures have been performed prior, be sure to pick a product that is not affected by the previously used detergents.

Malik: Carpet products must be formulated correctly to remove odors and stains but not leave behind residue in the carpet. A bio-enzymatic carpet cleaning product that uses a built-in odor counteractant is recommended for this purpose.

Michael McGuire
Thornell Corporation
Smithville, Mo.

Beth Malik
Director of Marketing
Amrep, Inc.
Marietta, Ga.

Amanda Daluga
National Sales Manager
OMI Industries/Fresh Wave IAQ
Long Grove, Ill.

Brad Ferris
Senior Public Relations Manager
Clorox Professional Products Company
Oakland, Calif.

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How To Remove Odors From Facilities