The condition of a restroom speaks volumes about a business. Understanding how to clean a restroom and executing it properly can create a positive impression of the facility, while neglected restrooms often reflect poorly on the business and could potentially turn building occupants away.

Everett McDonald, manager of housekeeping at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, knows how important first impressions are when it comes to restrooms. With that in mind, he has identified successful steps in how to clean a restroom and minimize the impact such cleaning has on building occupants.

"The restroom is by far the most important room in an airport," he says. "Typically people don't like to use restrooms on airplanes, so when they get off the airplane at the airport, the first place they're looking for is a restroom."

Some businesses — especially those that operate 24/7 — have a limited amount of time in which to clean restrooms. At Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, custodians must work around the constant flow of travelers.

"We don't have a time that we shut the restrooms down and clean them, except for a short window on the third shift," says McDonald, "so cleaning is done while passengers are in there, and a lot of times it's crowded."

Because of the high volume of travelers visiting the restrooms, the department outlined how to clean a restroom around the building occupants. Custodial workers are constantly restocking while paying close attention to available opportunities to clean toilets, faucets and sinks.

"We don't have time to spray everything and let it dwell for several minutes, so we have to do repetitive cleaning more than most facilities," says McDonald. This constant attention has actually kept costs down and helped improve the perception of the cleaners and the work they do.

"Workers are in those restrooms every half hour," he adds. "We're cost effective because the more frequently you clean, the less effort is needed to do the cleaning itself. Plus, travelers see those stalls being cleaned, offering a sense of security."

That said, working around building occupants can be challenging and custodians must understand the delicate balance between when and what chemicals can be used, versus when it is best to stick to restocking. This is why proper training on when and how to clean a restroom appropriately is so important and something McDonald takes very seriously.

"We feel you can never get enough training," he says. At the airport, "the management staff goes through a training period every other month, and then they pass that down to their support staff on a weekly basis. From there, we have a daily five-minute training session every morning for our frontline cleaners before they go to work."

In addition to cleaning techniques, custodians are trained extensively in customer relations. This interaction can be as simple as a friendly "hello" or "How was your flight?" And although it seems straightforward, McDonald has found that positive customer relations adds to the user experience, and reflects favorably on the custodial department.

To learn about restroom cleaning in schools and around kids, click here.