When facility managers hear complaints from building users about restroom odors, especially if it is coming from men’s restrooms, they should first look down at the floors and determine whether urinal mats are installed under the urinals. To understand why this is so important, we need to know a bit more about the effect of urine on floor surfaces.
When urine is first deposited on floors, it typically has a pH of about 5 or 6, which is on the acidic side. However, as it dries, it becomes more alkaline, often having a pH of 12 or higher. At this point, it can be challenging to remove, especially from a tile-and-grout floor.
The urine collects in and around the grout and, because the grout is porous, may even penetrate the grout. After a while, bacteria begin to grow, causing odors. More likely than not, these are the very same odors that restroom users are complaining about.
However, that is not all. Urine can react with certain floor materials, permanently staining the floor. So now, not only are odors in the restroom, but also the floor area beneath the urinals becomes discolored—and all too often—unsightly.
And wait, there is more. At this point, it can be tough to eliminate those odors and return the floor to its original appearance. If the urine, though dried, has not penetrated the tile-and-grout floor, it is possible to remove it through effective cleaning. If not, powerful acids may need to be used to kill the odor.
As for the discoloration, facility managers must always remember that there is a major difference between a spot on a floor surface and a stain. In most cases, a spot can be removed using various cleaning solutions and procedures. A stain, however, usually cannot be removed. A stain can permanently alter the appearance of a floor surface. In all too many cases, the only way to address this is to install a new floor.
However, all of this can be prevented. A new generation of urinal mats have been introduced that are specifically designed to do the following:
• tightly adhere to the floor, so facility managers do not need to worry about them being moved or out of place
• protect the floor from urine damage
• contain fungicides to fight germs and bacteria that cause odor
• have a mild but pleasant fragrance
• may be cleaned with a mop without being damaged
• last several weeks before needing to be replaced
Facility managers should view this new generation of urinal mats as an investment. They are inexpensive; help protect floors from discoloration; keep restrooms healthy; prevent odors; and, most of all, keep restroom users happy. That is an investment nearly any facility manager would feel comfortable making.
For more information on ways to keep your restrooms clean, healthy and odor free, contact Impact Products.