Are Your Restrooms Scaring Customers Away?
Bathroom Cleanliness

Are your building’s restrooms clean enough? Here is a good article from Dave Mesko, Senior Director of Marketing for Cintas, about cleanliness issues that can affect your business, and how to address them in your cleaning program.

Dirty restrooms generate building complaints and unsatisfied patrons, and are often a common cause of lost business. In fact, a recent Harris Interactive survey revealed that 94 percent of U.S. adults would avoid a business in the future if they encountered dirty restrooms. Similarly, it’s estimated that over 50 percent of complaints about buildings concern the upkeep of restrooms. With a high level of issues surrounding restroom cleanliness that can easily lead to lost business, facility managers must establish a comprehensive restroom cleaning program to generate a pleasant environment and keep businesses thriving.

To create a comprehensive restroom program, facility managers must determine the source of the issues. With germs and odors lingering throughout restrooms, building occupants have several reasons to be concerned with the cleanliness of surfaces throughout restrooms.

Factors that can lead to a negative impression of restrooms include:

  • Lack of supplies. Restroom supplies present a common source of frustration for restroom visitors. Empty toilet paper holders, paper towel, or soap dispensers prohibit visitors from using the restroom for its intended function. In fact, 85 percent of respondents in an independent survey listed full toilet paper dispensers as the top measure of restroom cleanliness.
  • Wet floors. Whether it’s a puddle surrounding the sink or wet floors in restroom stalls, people are automatically deterred from a restroom with wet floors. Ranking just behind empty toilet paper dispensers, 84 percent of respondents in an independent survey stated that no visible puddles on the floor is a direct measure of cleanliness.
  • Unappealing odors. Unpleasant smells are no stranger to restrooms and patrons are quick to judge the cleanliness of a restroom—or entire facility—based on its smell.
  • Dirty surfaces. A recent study by the University of Colorado at Boulder found 19 different types of bacteria commonly found across all restroom surfaces, including toilet handles, soap dispensers, door handles, and sink faucets. The locations of bacteria found were mostly as one would expect: skin bacteria were mostly found on touch surfaces, floors were commonly contaminated with soil bacteria, while gut and urine bacteria were found on seats and handles of toilets, sink faucet handles, soap dispensers, and door handles.

Steps to Success
The following tips help facility managers target problem zones, establish a daily cleaning schedule, keep essential supplies available, attack odors, and eliminate lingering dirt and bacteria.

  1. Provide the essentials. To avoid complaints surrounding the lack of essential supplies, establish periodic times throughout the day to restock restrooms. Be familiar with peak hours when restroom use increases, and check supplies more often. Identify all areas that are common touch points, including door handles, toilets, sink faucets, and soap and paper towel dispensers—and clean them frequently.
  2. Protect. Given the potential negative impact of odor, facility managers should implement an odor maintenance system and toilet/urinal cleaners into their restroom cleaning programs. By neutralizing odor-causing bacteria, fragrances last longer and eliminate odors rather than simply masking them. Select air fresheners made with essential oils that deliver the highest quality fragrance for consistent performance. Urinal screens help reduce lingering scents associated with urine.
  3. Utilize daily maintenance. Follow a checklist to ensure the following tasks are performed on a daily basis:
    • Clean and sanitize the floor to minimize puddles and remove visible dirt
    • Clean and sanitize toilet/urinal areas
    • Clean and sanitize sink areas, mirrors, and all dispensers
    • Confirm that the odor management system, toilets/urinals, sink faucets, drains, and lights are functioning properly
    • Clean and sanitize door handles, toilet handles, faucet handles, and light switches
    • Remove any trash
    • Clean and sanitize baby-changing areas.
  4. Establish a deep cleaning schedule. To remove the dirt and germs and to establish an exceptional level of clean, facility managers should schedule deep cleanings on a periodic basis. Deep cleanings sanitize restrooms to revitalize fixtures and floors and remove lingering bacteria and dirt.

Restrooms are a critical component of a patron’s impression of a facility. Developing a comprehensive restroom program can quickly create favorable impressions that lead to customer satisfaction and retention.


EFS Clean Building Services is Calgary’s locally-owned-and-grown Commercial Cleaning Company. Our services include Commercial Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Ceiling Cleaning & Restoration, Hard Surface Restoration, Quality Assurance Inspections and Efficiency Consulting. Let us help you get a better clean by calling 403-949-3344 or send us a message on our Contact Us page.