They are one of the biggest sources of cleaning complaints in most facilities. They receive the most attention from building occupants and the way they are cleaned is difficult for most custodial managers to get a handle on. It’s time to discuss the big pink elephant in the room — achieving an acceptable level of daily cleanliness in restrooms.

To make this happen, several factors need to be addressed within the custodial department. Managers must understand daily tasks, proper tools, effective workloading, managing customer expectations and required training necessary for cleaning assignments. Learning to address these elements in a manageable fashion is the key to success for sustaining a clean result in restrooms.

Daily Restroom Cleaning Tasks

One of the biggest obstacles in achieving predictable results in restrooms is that the benchmark for daily cleaning is widely misunderstood. In many cases, custodial operations have been left to fend for themselves when determining the best practices for daily restroom tasks. The way most restroom tasks have been established usually come from a combination of stamping out customer complaints, multi-vendor driven training on cleaning tools and chemicals, and legacy cleaning practices “because that’s the way we’ve always done it.” There is definitely a simpler, better way for managers to achieve success.

First, managers should address the balance of workload per custodian and establish standardized daily cleaning tasks for the facility. Second, ask yourself whether that custodian servicing the restroom areas needs to do so in a manner that reduces pathogenic microorganisms on fomites to safe levels. The best daily methodology for achieving these two key pieces are to complete the following tasks, in the following order, within each restroom, every day:
• Remove objects from urinals/toilets; flush each one.
• Dispense a germicide registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) into each toilet and urinal.
• Refill all dispensers and empty trash.
• Dust restroom from top to bottom and sweep large debris using a lobby pan and broom.
• Spray disinfectant and wipe mirrors, sinks, brightwork, door handles, dispensers and other touch points — top to bottom.
• Check areas for hard water deposits. If present, remove deposits using buffered safety acid.
• Scrub, spray and wipe toilets/urinals using a stiff bristle brush.
• Check toilets/urinals for hard water deposits. If present, remove those using buffered safety acid.
• Mop the floor using a properly mixed EPA-registered germicide.

On the surface, these daily tasks may seem simple. But it is important to note that these are the daily tasks that have been used to establish many of the standard estimates for cleaning times. Establishing these tasks are the first key to workloading restrooms. The second step is where many organizations struggle — outlining how to determine cleanable square footage for restrooms.

The simplest solution that has provided the most consistent estimate for restroom cleaning workload is to stop measuring the square footage of restrooms altogether and use fixture count instead. This is a method that will not only save time, but is also how most high-performing cleaning programs workload their restrooms, achieving great results.

Identifying daily restroom cleaning tasks and workloading properly can help the custodial department manage the customer expectation level, instead of the other way around. Once building occupants understand what tasks will be completed in the restrooms on a daily basis, the complaints tend to go down.

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Tips To Developing Restroom Cleaning Times