Overcoming perception can be a daunting task for facility cleaning managers. For example, it’s taken time for the 650 people who work throughout the campus at the Southern Ute Tribe to get over the idea that a fragrance means clean, but Baidwan has successfully gotten the message across.

By working with the tribe’s information director and executive office, Baidwan was able to send out a newsletter three times a year that explains his custodial team’s initiatives and health impacts. For example, during flu season, the newsletter focused on handwashing and public health, but he also made sure to explain odors, the harmful effects of fragrance and the true way to tell if a restroom is clean.

The communication initiative has been successful in shifting perception, as well as expectations of what it means to be clean. Over time, Baidwan’s staff and the rest of the employees on campus have learned not to expect those pine or citrus scents in the restrooms.

In most facilities, communication such as this will be the key to success. Facility cleaning managers that are upfront about changes and explain why the updates are important will gain support of the staff and building occupants, and ultimately find success quicker.

“As with all training, when you simply tell people what to do, you are less likely get the results you want,” says Fellows. “But if you explain the reasons behind it, people are more likely to comply and jump on board.”

For restroom cleaning training, Fellows recommends going through the steps of what causes the odors, where they are likely to be found in a restroom and what it takes to clean it them.

“Training is critical,” he says. “Implementation and enforcement go after the fact.”

Often times, those in charge of custodial programs will have the most pushback from their own staff who were trained to associate fragrances with a job well done. Baidwan makes sure to keep weekly trainings in his staff’s schedule, and the topic of indoor air quality comes up quarterly. During that time, the trainers reiterate the need to target odors and the reasons they do not use fragrance. They also talk about how to make sure all products are always available to ensure follow through and the appropriate daily use of fragrance-free products that target malodors.

When it comes to choosing restroom cleaning products, Baidwan always tests them first. Even though they are fragrance-free, he worries about health effects on his staff and building occupants.

“Even with green or natural products, we always test,” he says. “I specifically test with my staff first because if they experience any bronchial tightening or an asthma attack, it won’t be an adequate solution. It is sometimes a challenge, but make sure you can find a solution that’s going to work for everyone.” 

NICOLE BOWMAN is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

previous page of this article:
Identify The Source Of Restroom Odors