Businesses, schools, hospitals and other facilities risk reputational damage or even potential lost business if they fail to maintain clean, fresh-scented restrooms. For example, one survey found that two-thirds of restaurant customers said the mention of unpleasant restroom odors in an online review would give them reason to avoid the business altogether. A key to offering visitors to any facility a positive restroom experience is eliminating the inevitable malodors that arise.
What’s at Stake
If facilities allow foul odors to linger in their restrooms, these odors can affect occupants' opinions of the organization and their willingness to use its restrooms. One study of high school students found that while 81% of them use school restrooms on a daily basis, nearly half describe the condition of their school restrooms as poor or fair. More than half said they leave an unclean or foul-smelling restroom without using it, but just 20% of students said they would take action to address the situation by notifying a teacher or school management, leaving odor control solely in the hands of custodial employees tasked with managing many other aspects of the building.
Generally, restroom guests quickly notice a foul odor upon entering and associate with a lack of cleanliness. One way to create a more positive perception of a facility’s restrooms – whether in a school, an office, shopping center or elsewhere – is to implement a consistent and reliable odor elimination system. To accomplish this, not only do facilities need pleasing scents, they need a way to eradicate malodors completely, rather than simply covering them up.
Elements of Restroom Odor Elimination
Creating a positive restroom experience requires zero malodors. To accomplish this, facility managers should apply an odor elimination strategy that uses the right products to deliver on a few crucial points: consistency, effectiveness, safety and eco-friendliness.
Consistency. Traditional aerosol air fresheners cover up odors temporarily, then fade and require near-constant attention and replacement. It’s important to look for a system that uses a reliable oxygen fuel cell to continuously emit fragrance over the life of the cartridge. Choose your preferred setting to allow for 30, 60 or 90 days of uninterrupted freshness. Look for a system that provides audio and visual alerts to alert employees when it’s time to change the cartridge.
Effectiveness. There are products on the market that use unique neutralizing agents to eliminate malodors by working at the molecular level. In additional to removing malodors, an effective program may include urinal screens that also help eliminate odors, as well as ready-to-use air freshening sprays that successfully eliminate restroom odors rather than briefly concealing them.
Safety and Eco-Friendliness. These two qualities are distinct yet related. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – such as propane and butane – that some aerosol sprays release into the air can have both negative health effects and cause environmental harm. The U.S. Environmental Protection Association (EPA) notes eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, loss of coordination, nausea and damage to liver, kidney and the central nervous system as potential health effects of VOC exposure. These chemicals are also pollutants that negatively affect indoor air quality, which is detrimental to both the environment and building occupants. Facility managers should seek out a product with no added VOCs. In addition, avoid propellants like butane that power some aerosol systems and can produce negative health affects as well.
The Impact of Fresh-Scented Restrooms
Every day, unfortunate restroom experiences occur in facilities around the world, many of them involving unpleasant odors. Guests may leave a restaurant, retail store or hotel disappointed or even angry after enduring a poorly maintained, foul-smelling restroom.
Fortunately, innovative odor eliminating solutions can empower facility managers to create fresh-smelling restrooms and positive experiences. They should take care in choosing the right products that provide consistent, successful and safe odor elimination. If a facility’s staff successfully executes a proper odor elimination strategy, the restrooms can become an asset to the building, rather than a liability.