A new survey asked approximately 700 facility managers, jan/san manufacturers, distributors and building service contractors their thoughts on restroom odors.

What was most notable about the responses was how strongly the respondents feel regarding odor issues.  For instance, when asked if an odor present in a restroom made them more concerned about germs, nearly 85 percent vociferously said yes.

Among the other noteworthy results from the survey include:
•    Seventy-one percent believe restroom odors are a sign of improper cleaning.
•    Conversely, no odor or a fresh smelling restroom is a sign of a well-maintained restroom, say 81 percent of the respondents.
•    Sixty-six percent indicated that an unpleasant restroom odor would deter them from returning to a restaurant or store and 47 percent said they would tell a manager or “someone in authority” about the odor.
•    Sixty-eight percent said that a pine odor does not mean clean when it comes to restrooms.

The “Where’s” of Odors
Some of the questions focused on where odors are most typically found, for instance in what types of facilities.  

Restaurants were at the top of the list, with 53 percent indicating this is where they most commonly notice malodors in public places.  This was followed by large public places, such as airports, sports stadiums, and convention centers.  At the bottom of the list were libraries and “where I work.”

About half of the respondents believe restroom odors come from floors; twenty-five percent said odors come from toilets and urinals, and a small percentage indicate odors come from sink and floor drains.  

“In fact, many restroom odors are the result of sewer gasses coming up through the drain,” says Klaus Reichardt, managing partner of Waterless Co LLC, a leading manufacturer of No-Flush™ urinals and other restroom products.  “This happens when the water in the drain’s u-tube or trap evaporates.  Fortunately, there are products now available that prevent this evaporation, essentially ending this as a source for restroom odors.”

The survey was conducted by AlturaSolutions Communications for Waterless Co LLC.  About 700 people were invited to take the online survey with more than 100 completing it. The survey was conducted in mid-January 2008 and has a confidence rating of 95 percent.