Unger Professional Cleaning Blog
Lit up signs for restrooms. All about restroom cleaning products.

Why Commercial Restroom Cleaning Products Should be at the Top of Facility Managers’ Holiday Wish Lists in 2020

A September 2020 survey by Big Red Rooster, a JLL company, who partnered with ENGINE Insights, surveyed 1,000 American adults about what they expect of the post-COVID public restroom.  Why ask this question now while we’re still operating in a pandemic environment? According to Emily Albright Miller, vice president of strategy at Big Red Rooster, “Consumers are constantly thinking about safety…especially when it comes to the cleanliness of public restrooms.”

The survey found:

  • 98% of consumers believe restroom cleanliness is important
  • 42% have used public restrooms significantly less than they did before the pandemic
  • One-third have left a public restroom without using it due to lack of cleanliness
  • 36% have planned shorter shopping trips to avoid using public restrooms
  • 9% have used a portable toilet to avoid going into a public restroom
  • 15% report holding their breath during their restroom trip

The Importance of Clean Bathrooms, Especially Now

For the retail industry specifically, this means that bathrooms are now playing a larger role in whether a patron shops in your place of business. With 63% of consumers currently avoiding stores*, many retailers are already fighting to stay open as we push through the holiday season.   These retailers cannot afford to lose patronage due to lack of cleaning protocols and standards that are critical in helping consumers feel safe. The safer customers can feel, the more likely they are to visit and continue their shopping experience.

But these consumer concerns are not unique to the retail industry, you can apply to the same considerations to a broad range of industries trying their best to stay afloat during the pandemic, such as the restaurant, food & beverage and hospitality markets. The National Restaurant Association expects restaurants to lose some $240 billion by year’s end, making it critical to keep whatever customers they have walking through the doors coming back, and this entails cleaner, safer restrooms.

What We Know About Bathroom Cleanliness

As you probably can predict, most bathroom germs start in the toilet, but they easily spread to other parts of the room thanks to the aerosol effect that happens when a toilet flushes, sending germs to other exposed surfaces,  such as to door and faucet handles.

Typical germs found in public restrooms include Staphylococcus, human papillomavirus (HPV), herpesvirus and E. Coli, and now the additional threat of COVID-19. Faucet handles, when tested*, showed that 27% of them were positive for yeast and mold, 9% for coliform and 5% for staph. And once on the handle, the next place it travels is to the human hand, validating the concerns over restroom cleanliness.

What You Can Do for Your Facility

Facility managers, building service contractors and facility owners have a multitude of ways to help patrons feel more comfortable onsite and confident that they can rely on a clean restroom if needed.

#1 Clearly and Visibly Post Public Restroom Cleaning Schedules

Not only do routine cleaning schedules assist in maintaining a desired level of cleanliness, but by clearly displaying the schedule, they also help facility occupants can see the efforts being made to maintain a healthy environment.  Without posting a schedule that is actively used by staff every day to record the ‘who, what, when and where’, patrons could question the cleanliness of the restroom.

A master cleaning schedule should include what areas or equipment are cleaned, the time between each cleaning, and the person(s) responsible for the cleaning. Look into digital ways to post cleaning schedules like some airports are looking into now.

#2 Train Cleaning Staff Appropriately on Using Restroom Cleaning Products

Training workers to clean and disinfect is essential to keep a facility performing up to standards and retaining patronage. With proper training, cleaning staff can make more efficient use of their time if using modern cleaning tools correctly and following recommended methods, ultimately taking less time to perform restroom cleaning tasks with just as much effectiveness.

Additional benefits of proper training include increased worker safety, especially in restrooms where wet mopping can leave staff more susceptible to harm from physical or chemical injury. And when workers apply cleaning products properly, they efficiently remove germs and other pollutants without oversaturating the area with chemicals, keeping themselves safer in the process as well.

#3 Source Modern Commercial Restroom Cleaning Products

One of the most critical steps in ensuring clean public restrooms starts with selecting commercial restroom cleaning equipment designed to deliver the best possible level of clean, while keeping custodial staff safe.  In the field every day and talking with those responsible for cleaning to combat infectious disease, we recommend the following features when evaluating restroom cleaning products for your facility:

Microfiber Cleaning
Microfiber cloths, mop pads and restroom floor cleaning systems exceed cotton mops in longevity and cleaning effectiveness. In fact, replacing traditional cotton string mops with a commercial microfiber mop system can reduce bacteria by 96%.

Dual Chamber Buckets
Most commercial cleaning professionals utilize a single bucket mopping system, meaning they’re mopping restrooms with dirty water. We see this floor cleaning mistake all too often out in the field. And without clean water, the process aimed at cleaning is leaving behind potentially dangerous germs.  For a deeper level of clean, a dual bucket restroom cleaning system separates clean and dirty water, preventing contaminated water from ever entering the cleaning process.

SmartColor™ Cleaning Technology
A color-coded cleaning system keeps tools organized and separated into their correct areas of use or cleaning task, reducing bacteria and cross-contamination between high and low-risk areas.  So, as you move to and from restroom cleaning tasks, germs do not cross into your next area of work.

Ergonomic Design
With ergonomic, streamlined designed restroom cleaning tools and storage systems, custodial staff can get their jobs done faster with increase productivity.  In a time where cleaning frequency is increasing, keeping staff protected from injury and physical discomfort, while not jeopardizing cleanliness is a must-have.

Help Combatting the Public’s Restroom Phobia

The challenges of a pandemic are difficult to wrangle personally, let alone professionally when the health and safety of your facility occupants is challenged on daily basis as you strive to remain open and serving your community.  If we can help you evaluate your current cleaning practices and commercial restroom cleaning products, please contact us, or request a one on one consultation.

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