What room tops the list for most complaints coming into the facilities department? Restrooms.
When I go to East Africa and need to use a restroom, the nationals direct me to the restroom that they prefer me to use. No matter what culture we are in, facilities people are concerned about the restrooms and their impact on users. So what can be done? Here are eight things you can do or install that will make a significant impact.
Post signs in your restroom with something like, “If you find an issue that needs management attention, please text [a code that specifies that specific room] to [a number your management staff will monitor].” This will give you faster notice of a problem and does not give room for the complainer to ramble on and on about their issues. Just make sure you have a system in place to immediately respond.
Solicit Better Design
When your building is going to receive a renovation, talk to engineers and architects about designing a room that is easier to clean. The floors are where bacteria grow, causing off gassing which then causes foul odors. By taking actions to make the room easier to clean you reduce mold and food sources for bacteria.
For example, one idea is to change the wall dividers. Instead of installing them to the floor, have your engineering department engage a contractor to hang them from the ceiling. That will allow housekeeping to quickly and easily clean every inch of the floor and not miss spots around the divider frames. You can also move other items off the floor including wall hung toilets and trash dispensers.
Use a Spray and Vac Cleaning System Like the OmniFlex systems from Kaivac
You can clean the rooms without touching them. Use what ISSA (the worldwide cleaning industry association) calls “spray-and-vac” systems. Not “spray-and-squeegee” systems which do not get into the grout where the real problems lie. One of the leading brands is Kaivac.
Kaivac’s No-Touch Cleaning® systems are designed to thoroughly remove potentially harmful soils, bacteria and other bio-pollutants in order to produce and maintain a truly healthy indoor environment. In fact, No-Touch Cleaning is 60 times more effective in reducing bacterial contamination than conventional methods – even without chemicals. They combine an indoor pressure washer, powerful wet vacuum, and when needed, automatic chemical metering and injection into an integrated system. No-Touch Cleaning systems empower workers to deep clean and sanitize without ever having to touch soiled, contaminated surfaces. You can see a 5 minute video at https://www.kaivac.com/cat_10-OmniFlex-Crossover-Cleaning to learn more about the concerns and benefits of leaving conventional string or microfiber mops in the restrooms.
Install an Ultra Durable Coating on the Floor like Pit Stop from Finish Line Floors
You can put an ultra durable coating on the floor that will provide a barrier to urine entering the grout in the first place. Finish Line Floors (www.finishlinefloors.com) installs a finish called Pit Stop that
- lasts much longer than competitors,
- is fully removable,
- is water based,
- has no VOC’s,
- has higher shine (or satin if preferred) and
- has incredibly high traction.
Their system completely removes stains and smells from restrooms and provides like-new floor appearance at a fraction of the cost of completely re-tiling. You don’t have to change cleaning processes or chemicals nor pay for a contract or maintenance plan.
No one wants a slip and fall incident in their restroom. Pit Stop dramatically increases the traction over naked tile and can be placed in wet areas like showers without an additive that feels like sand. Additionally, the additive will not rip up microfiber mops.
You can see a 90 second video at: https://finishlinefloors.com/tile-grout-restoration.
Create a Touch-Free Environment
Can you make an environment where the adherents do not touch any part of your restroom? Yes.
In many men’s restrooms, I notice urinals go unflushed because they do not want to touch the plunger. However, that leaves standing urine with causes smells and foul experience for the next attendee. Waterless urinals reduce the need to either manually flush or hope that the auto flusher works.
You can have touchless faucets and soap dispensers. In theory they work well. But how many times have you put your hand under a faucet and can’t activate the on function to get water? Due diligence in selecting a vendor that will supply a reliable dispenser and faucet is required but the work is worth the impact you receive.
Hands free dryers are gaining attention and momentum as an avenue to reduce paper waste and keep surfaces clean. They help the environment but often at the cost of adherents hearing. Many have an ultra-loud high pitched piercing sound when drying hands. Look for a product that can supply air dry at a low decibel.
Install Self-Cleaning Materials Where Clients Must Touch
If you have to have areas that people touch there is a new technology available that is a self-cleaning adhesive which fights germs. NanoSeptic (www.nanoseptic.com) has a variety of products for hospitality, janitorial, education, and even healthcare. Their nanotechnogy increases your sustainability efforts because you can reduce the amount of harsh cleaning chemicals you are currently using. The surface is safe to the human touch yet tougher than bleach. Since their products can be branded with your company information people will see your commitment to their wellbeing at every touch point.
From counter mats to simple peel-and-stick NanoSeptic skins for door handles, push pads and push bars, you can efficiently and cost effectively provide continuously self-cleaning surfaces exactly where they do the most good.
Change Your Trashcans
I don’t mean empty them on a regular basis. You are already doing that. I mean change the can itself.
- Many trash cans have too small of an opening for customers to easily dispose of their wasted paper towels. When people leave the room they often want to use a towelette to function as a barrier between the door and their hands. When they open the door, they want both a receptacle that is nearby and one that has a large and easy-to-open mouth to throw the tissue away. Otherwise, there is a pile of dirty tissues on the floor near the door way that is an eye sore and slip and fall hazard.
- Look at the size of containers compared to the amount of traffic per cleaning cycle. Too small of containers for the demand will result in one of two things: towelettes all over the floor or increased labor costs as you increase the service schedule.
Install Hands Free Door Opening Equipment
There is a growing frustration with restroom users since the recent trend of touchless hand dryers-no tissues to protect their hands while opening the door. According to a study reported by ABC news: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=117956 over 60% of men and over 40% of women do not wash their hands when they finish their work in a restroom. That makes door handles gross.
So if the door has to be pulled from the inside in order to open install either arm or foot hardware or the self-cleaning fabrics mentioned above. These inexpensive solutions put the minds of the germ conscious customers at ease.
These solutions will make a dramatic impact to both your cleaning staff, tenant, and executive team. If you implement these ideas, you phone will stop ringing with complaints and start ringing with compliments.