Women plugs her nose due to foul odor

Bio odors are nothing to sniff at. In schools and healthcare facilities, putrid smells, such as feces, urine and vomit, give occupants and visitors a negative impression of the building and call its cleanliness into question.

According to a survey conducted by CloroxPro, a third of respondents would be concerned for their health and safety when entering a room that smells like feces, while a fifth would feel the same way about a room that smells of urine. 

And people aren’t afraid to voice their concerns: In a long-term care facility, 78 percent of people would complain to administrative staff when confronted with bio odors. In a school setting, 60 percent would complain to a teacher, principal or facility manager.

The Rank Of Restrooms

Although bio odors are often the result of improper cleaning — or a lack of cleaning — sometimes the root of the problem is difficult to discern.

“There may be an odor that has nothing to do with cleaning,” says Rob Nestore, president of Daycare Cleaning Services Inc., Cherry Hill, New Jersey. “It could be caused by poor ventilation or a toilet seal that needs replacing. If the odor is still there after cleaning, you may need to go through a punch list to identify where it’s coming from.”

In schools and hospitals — as in most facilities — restrooms tend to generate the majority of complaints about bio odors. Nestore’s company services 100 schools, some of which have outdated plumbing and drains that compound the problem. 

“You’re looking at years of odors that get into cracks and underneath the floors,” he says.

Fortunately, Nestore’s distributor is knowledgeable about odor removal and recommended a new product line and cleaning procedures to address the issue. In restrooms with tiled and grouted floors, Nestore saturates the entire floor with an inch of water and then scrubs it with a slow-speed floor scrubber and a degreaser or grout cleaner. He removes the dirty water with a wet vac and uses an enzymatic cleaner to reduce drain odors. 

Like Nestore, Mervin Brewer, assistant custodial manager for Salt Lake City School District, Salt Lake City, had problems with bio odors in restrooms; however, the odors stemmed from improper cleaning rather than outdated plumbing and old flooring. Surprisingly, most of the complaints were about odors in the faculty restrooms.

“We found that because it was a faculty restroom, the tendency was to touch it up here and there rather than clean it thoroughly,” says Brewer. “Custodians would clean the toilet lid and a few other areas on the toilet, but when we got down to examine the sides of the toilet and the walls, we could see the splatter.”

Brewer resolved the issue by training custodians to do a thorough cleaning and outfitting them with the right tools for the job. 

“We got them flat mops on extension poles so they could clean an 18-inch section of wall with just one pass,” he says. “That made a huge difference.”

Drains are also a contributing factor to bio odors in restrooms, says Brewer. Rather than using chemicals to mask the smell, Brewer invested in an on-site generator that produces aqueous ozone. The engineered water is used in restrooms as well as locker rooms and has all but eliminated odor issues.


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Cleaning Carpets Of Bio Odors