In many public and commercial facilities — including schools, hotels, hospitals and stadiums — restrooms are often considered one of the toughest areas to clean and maintain. Dirty bathrooms aren’t just unsanitary; they are a hazard to health and can even cause harm to a business’s reputation. By following proper sanitary and maintenance protocols, custodial workers have the power to keep occupants healthy and happy. While cleaning your facility’s restrooms, take care to avoid these four critical cleaning mistakes.
Mistake #1: Cleaning restrooms, then using the same equipment to clean other areas of your facility.
As a rule of thumb, it’s a bad idea to use restroom cleaning equipment throughout your facility. While it may seem efficient to transport the same cleaning tools around with you, taking the time to set up new ones is necessary to prevent cross-contamination. Cross-contamination involves spreading germs and bacteria from one place to another within your facility. For example, a custodian may wipe down a toilet that has been exposed to norovirus, then use the same cleaning cloth to wipe down restroom sinks, thus spreading the virus.
Solution: Custodial workers can protect occupant health by providing a contaminant-free environment. To prevent cross-contamination, use microfiber cleaning cloths in a variety of colors. For example, use one color for toilets and urinals, another color for sinks and soap dispensers, and so on. Never use a restroom mop to clean other areas of your facility. Even better, invest in a spray-and-vac system, which dispenses fresh cleaning solution for each application.
Mistake #2: Cleaning areas of a restroom in no particular order.
Getting an entire restroom clean is a must. But does it really matter where a custodial worker starts and ends? The answer is yes! Without a plan of action, custodial workers can miss key areas of the restroom that still require cleaning. Workers who clean toilets first, then proceed to clean the rest of the bathroom, are unwittingly contributing to poor sanitary practices within a restroom.
Solution: Make sure custodial workers know what to clean and how to clean it by creating a custodial cleaning plan. (Tip: Not sure where to start? Here’s a free guide!) In the cleaning plan, emphasize sanitation of overlooked areas, such as light switches, partitions and stall locks. Workers should clean from top to bottom, starting on walls and mirrors, moving to countertops, then ending with floors. When mopping floors, start on the far side of the restroom and work towards the exit. This way, dirt and dust are not tracked throughout the restroom while floors are being cleaned.
Mistake #3: Spraying disinfectant on a soiled surface, then immediately wiping it off.
A common misconception is that cleaning solutions and disinfecting solutions perform the same jobs. The truth is that most cleaning solutions do not disinfect, and most disinfectants do not clean. Cleaning solutions are great for removing dirt and grime, while disinfecting solutions work to kill germs and bacteria. If you’re looking to properly clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces, you’ll need to follow a two-step cleaning process.
Solution: In the two-step cleaning process, start by using an all-purpose cleaner on the soiled surface. This will remove dirt, debris and messes. Next, apply a disinfecting solution to rid the surface of germs, bacteria, mold, mildew spores and other contaminants. Do not immediately wipe off the disinfectant. Most disinfectants need to sit for five to ten minutes to eliminate illness-causing bacterias. Check the label of your cleaning product to learn how long you should wait before wiping off the solution.
Mistake #4: Having an “out of sight, out of mind” attitude when cleaning.
When it comes to routine maintenance of restrooms, many custodial workers are detail-oriented and highly efficient in their methods. However, nobody is perfect. It can be incredibly easy to forget about cleaning areas of a restroom that aren’t immediately visible or noticeable to occupants.
Solution: When cleaning toilets, look at the underside of the rims for visible bacterial growth. Remove any tacky, brown residue that has accumulated near toilets, sinks and floor drains. Take precautionary measures when removing dust, mold and mildew accumulation in vents. And lastly, use a black light to locate urine and feces that haven’t been removed from walls and floors.
Harness The Power of a Clean Restroom
Providing occupants with superior comfort and cleanliness should be a high priority for facility managers and their teams. Stadiums and event venues, for example, can draw hundreds — or even thousands — of visitors on any given day. Event attendees expect a clean and well-maintained restroom when they visit. To learn more about harnessing the power of a clean venue, check out AkitaBox’s 2019 Guide to Event Venue Maintenance and Management. In this comprehensive guide, you’ll receive helpful tips and insight on promoting safety, security, cleanliness and productivity in your sports arena or venue. Learn more about the 2019 Guide to Event Venue Maintenance and Management here.
What are some tips and tricks your custodial crew uses to keep restrooms extra clean? Leave a comment below to let us know!