Restroom traffic and occupant needs will dictate how often restrooms should be cleaned and disinfected — and while some products claim to both clean and disinfect, Schneringer recommends considering the use of two separate products in high-traffic restrooms.

“Some facilities want to one-step clean and disinfect by using one product, while others want to clean first then disinfect,” he says. “Typically, the more broad the kill claims are for disinfectants, the less effective they are as cleaners. If you’re dealing with a lot of soil, it’s usually a better prescription to clean up soils, then apply disinfectant.”

McCannon agrees that a good disinfectant is a must for restroom cleaning. At UGA, general-purpose cleaners are combined with a neutral disinfectant to clean and disinfect restrooms.

“The disinfectant requires a 10-minute dwell time to work properly,” McCannon says. “A good disinfectant kills germs but doesn’t have particularly good cleaning properties for common dirt.”

Other chemicals used commonly in restrooms include glass cleaners, floor cleaners, hydrogen peroxide cleaners and bowl cleaners. Acid bowl cleaners do a great job, but are used more sporadically in certain facilities because of their high acid levels, Schneringer says.

“Some facilities choose to go with non-acid cleaning products not only for employee safety but for building safety,” Schneringer says. “These are specially formulated to do a good job on soils you would typically find in a restroom, such as hard water and mineral deposits.”

Acid cleaners have their place in custodial programs, but should be used carefully. If dripped onto certain floor surfaces such as carpeting, the chemical can burn or discolor the fibers, costing the facility more in the long run.

“It’s not uncommon for facilities to use a non-acid for daily cleaning and use an acid product once a quarter or periodically to deep-clean commodes, sinks and urinals,” Schneringer says.

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