Cleaning routine for restroom facilities

March 28, 2018

caution wet floor warning sign with blurred worker mopping floor.

Maintaining clean and fresh restrooms is essential to any facility. They can often make a bad impression on guests and employees if not routinely cleaned.


Many facility managers (FM) buy products specifically designed to reduce odors in restrooms, like absorbent mats and odor-control items. But these methods are often not enough, and the challenge is to find effective chemicals that are affordable and environmentally friendly.


Cleaning products

To eliminate odors caused by bacteria, spray or mop the area with an acid neutralizer. Then apply a disinfectant to kill the odor-causing bacteria. For best results, allow the disinfectant work for at least 10 minutes. Pay special attention to the grout areas, as those can be perfect places for odor-causing bacteria to grow. These processes should be done daily.


Enzymes can also be used to destroy the bacteria, however, the process can take several days to be completely effective, and enzymes should not be used with disinfectants because disinfectants will destroy the enzymes before they have an opportunity to work.



Thanks to poor airflow in many restrooms, FMs often choose to use deodorizers. While some deodorizers merely mask odors, others actually eliminate them. The masking agents are usually gels or oils that are sprayed into the air with a time-release spray. Sometimes these very fragrances can be more odious than the odors they are trying to mask, and they can be a frequent source of complaints.


Glycol pairing agents are also sprayed into the air, but they actually bond with odor-causing molecules to create a new, odorless molecule. These new molecules are heavier than air, so they fall to the ground to be removed later by cleaning.


Some disinfectants contain counteractants, which also bond with the odor molecules to produce a neutral smell. These can simply be mopped onto floors, attacking bacteria at its source.


Cleaning considerations

Daily disinfection and application of some type of odor counteractant should take care of most odor problems. But if that’s not enough—especially if the problem has lingered for too long—you’ll have to resort to a heavy-duty cleaning of all grout, walls, and even ceiling surfaces, using a neutralizer and a disinfectant. Once you’ve cleaned the entire bathroom and finally eliminated the odor, you should be able to go back to your regular daily routine.


Floor drains

Floor drains are often overlooked as a source of odor. If the trap in a floor drain dries out, it will emit sewer gas. To prevent this, simply pour a cup of water down the drain once a month to keep the trap full and prevent gas from forming and escaping.


For more help in maintaining clean restrooms in your facility, contact Vanguard Resources.