Commercial Washroom Maintenance: A Guide

January 25, 2022

Your bathroom maintenance should never be overlooked. Ensuring you provide people with clean and safe facilities is essential to managing any bathroom. We’ve created this guide for those of you in charge of commercial bathroom facilities so you can make sure that you are achieving the highest standard of maintenance. We will discuss the potential hazards of commercial bathrooms and what can go wrong. We will then provide you with all of the information you need to combat these issues. Your washrooms will be glistening and running like clockwork in no time.

Depending on the location of your washroom, there could be hundreds of people a day using its facilities, so maintaining a high standard of cleaning and repair is a priority. Ensuring you have the best possible facilities installed in your bathroom will help you keep a higher standard of cleaning. However, this will only solve half of the issue, so making sure that you are cleaning thoroughly and regularly will make your bathroom spotless. We’ve all been there, where we have walked into a public restroom and immediately walked back out. Don’t let this be the case for your users. Likewise, we’ve all been there where we have been in the most fantastic toilet and can’t wait to tell people all about it! If your washroom facilities are dirty or broken, or worse, both, then you can wave goodbye to anyone using them. 

The Coronavirus pandemic has called for stricter rules regarding cleaning in public bathrooms. If we have learned anything from the past year and a half, it’s that good hygiene goes a long way in protecting anyone from infection. As long as you stay on top of a thorough cleaning rota, your washrooms should stay relatively clean and easier to manage. Well-maintained washrooms are more pleasant and safer to use. Taking that extra care and attention can save you from making any costly repairs.

What Does A Well-Maintained Washroom Look Like?

We all have an idea of the kind of facilities we’d like to use when we are at work or out in public, but it is often the case that these ideal conditions are not met. There is nothing more unpleasant than using visibly dirty and neglected facilities. Bad smells, lack of toilet paper, and broken seats are just some of the many issues we can encounter daily. Be the one to put an end to the nightmares and make sure your washrooms are spick and span. The Health and Safety Executive advises the best practices for those who operate public facilities. 

These are the requirements for those responsible for maintaining toilets and washing facilities:

The Benefits of A Well-Maintained Washroom

As we have mentioned already, having excellent bathroom facilities can be the difference between somebody having a positive experience or a disappointing one. It seems strange as, on average, we spend a matter of minutes a day in the bathroom. Still, those few minutes have the potential to leave you in distress if they are unpleasant enough. What’s more, if somebody has used your facilities and had a negative experience, the chances of them returning willingly is slim. The best thing you can do for your washrooms is to provide a comfortable, safe, clean, and bright experience for your users. Yours will be their favourite toilet in no time! 

Your washroom facilities directly reflect your overall building, so make them something to be proud of. If they are broken, dirty, dingy, or not fully inclusive, visitors are likely to see this as a representation of those inside the building. This can be even more impactful if you are a business, as your reputation can take a hit with just one bad bathroom experience. Maintaining your washrooms to the same standard as your building guarantees you a better standard of cleanliness.

Accessible Facilities

To provide the best possible facilities for everyone, they mustn’t discriminate against anybody. Offering the appropriate accessible washrooms for wheelchair users is just one way you can ensure your facilities are meeting the needs of everybody. Disabled access toilets have gained a slightly notorious reputation for not being sufficient enough to cater to the often very complex needs of some disabled users. If you are non-disabled yourself, it can be challenging to know the full extent of the requirements that make a top-quality, fully accessible washroom. Don’t stay in the dark ages to improve your bathrooms. There are great organisations out there to offer advice and help so you can make the best possible, fully accessible washrooms in the game.

Changing Places Toilets is a great organisation that helps develop public washrooms to bring them up to date with their users. Over a quarter of a million accessible toilet users cannot comfortably use public facilities because they don’t provide them with enough space for their wheelchairs. In the instance where somebody requires a carer to help them use the bathroom, there needs to be sufficient space to move safely and efficiently. 

For your accessible washrooms to be up to an ideal standard, they should meet specific requirements. Changing Places advises that the standard room size needs to be at least twelve square metres to provide enough turning space for a wheelchair. Each washbasin should be high enough for a wheelchair user to comfortably fit their chair underneath so they can reach the tap. You can even go the extra mile and install adjustable features to be fully adapted to each user. The toilet should ideally be in a central location with room on either side for a wheelchair. There also needs to be easy to reach railing for additional support. Disabled bathrooms are often paired with baby changing facilities so having platforms available for changing is a must. In addition to a child’s changing bench, having a full-sized bench can be a beneficial addition for those who require being changed by a carer. 

Staying On Top Of Cleaning

You may need to make some adjustments and upgrades to your bathroom for it to be able to meet these higher standards of cleaning. By investing in more modern anti-viral instalments, you can make it easier to stay on top of all of the extra work. Sensor-operated soap dispensers and taps have become more popular than ever. They provide people with the luxury of not touching anything once they have already washed their hands. Offering hand sanitizing stations at the entrance to your washrooms is now essential, as these prevent germs from spreading via door handles. 

Read through our advice below if you aren’t sure where to start with your cleaning upgrades:

Prioritise Hygiene

Good hygiene is the essential feature of any commercial washroom. It keeps users safe from harm to their health. It is horrible to think that your facilities could potentially be responsible for somebody’s illness. Public toilets are breeding grounds for germs and bacteria. A study released by TIME magazine found that 64% of public bathroom users flush the toilet with their feet! There are so many different types of bacteria in the world, but more specifically, hundreds of different strains in one bathroom. These can be surface-specific and even gender-specific bacteria. 

Research carried out by the American Society for Microbiology found that thousands of germs and bacteria can accumulate on surfaces in just eight hours. They bleached each surface before the study to ensure no prior contamination, then took samples from each surface after the eight-hour window was over. The soap dispensers alone accumulated bacteria made up of approximately 45% faeces and 45% skin-related germs. If you are not regularly cleaning your washroom surfaces, you are severely putting people’s health at risk. Thoroughly cleaning down every surface with the appropriate bleach and germ-killing products will ensure you are regularly sterilising your facilities.

What Is the Ideal Cleaning Schedule

Increasing the frequency of toilet cleaning can mean that your washrooms are out of use more often throughout the day. This can become a potential issue for your users if you close your bathrooms each time cleaning is in progress. There are three optimum times to clean your toilet facilities throughout the day. It is best to do this once in the morning, again after lunch, and then at the end of the day. Since the pandemic, spot checks are recommended once an hour but don’t worry. This should be easy to maintain if you stay on top of your cleaning schedule. 

The government website provides a good guideline for the appropriate cleaning measures you should undertake. They openly state the risk of contracting COVID-19 in a public toilet setting due to poor ventilation, many transmissible surfaces, and dim lighting. 

The challenge of a more frequent cleaning schedule is practicality for those using your facilities. It is not ideal for somebody to come back later to use the bathroom, and sometimes this can negatively impact their opinion of your facilities. 

Keeping Your Cleaning & Maintenance Staff Safe

Before you can consider washroom cleaning and maintenance, you must consider those carrying out the work. Cleaning staff undertake a lot of strenuous and potentially dangerous work every day. Thankfully, you can avoid many of these potential dangers with the appropriate health and safety measures. To achieve consistently well-maintained facilities, you rely on those who are doing the work. Ensuring they are well and safe in the maintenance work they are carrying out is just as crucial as providing bathrooms that are safe to use. An average of three thousand cleaning-related accidents are reported to the Health and Safety Executive every year, which is an astounding statistic. 

Cleaning tasks are often strenuous, physically demanding, and need to be completed in a short time frame. Manual labour can also require a lot of heavy lifting, which increases the risk of injury. Your building should accommodate its cleaning staff with available first aid on hand if they need it. Working with hazardous chemicals can cause harm to respiratory health if used in poorly ventilated areas. Depending on the strength of the chemicals, they can be corrosive to the skin and cause a range of other health issues. Each cleaning chemical needs to be clearly labelled, so its potential risk is visible to any user. If you are uncertain about the safety of your cleaning staff, then you can take a look through The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 for guidance.

Common Washroom Maintenance Issues

Having clean toilet facilities will help make the most out of your bathroom hardware. By preventing a grime build-up, you can avoid costly repairs such as replacing tiles. You will spot minor maintenance issues and fix them before they become a more significant task by regularly cleaning your bathrooms. 

Bathroom maintenance is essential because it contributes to the appearance and function of your facilities, which impacts the user. Depending on the scale of the issue, hardware neglect can lead to your bathrooms potentially becoming hazardous to those who use them. Broken doors, toilet seats, or damaged porcelain all have the potential to cause injury that you would be liable for due to neglect of your bathroom hardware. General wear and tear are unavoidable. There can be hundreds of people using your washrooms every day, and there is only so much they can take before they become damaged. 

Vandalism is another common cause of broken bathroom hardware. Many facilities cannot be monitored all the time. Due to the inside of each bathroom being completely private, there is no way to watch who cause the damage. Unfortunately, this is just something you will have to deal with when the issue arises. Having toilet stalls vandalised with graffiti can seriously damage the appearance of your washroom and can be potentially inappropriate for young children.

Ways You Can Stay On Top of Maintenance

Most maintenance issues are minor and only require quick fixes. However, if they aren’t monitored, they can become an annoyance for people using your facilities. Here are some great ways to keep your bathroom looking fresh and in complete working order.

Refilling Toilet Paper

This probably goes without saying, but you would be surprised how many times your toilet paper can run out during one day. This is especially the case if your washrooms are busy in shopping centres or other public spaces. Your supply of toilet paper should be checked and refilled if needed each time the toilets are cleaned. This will ensure that no cubicle goes without the essentials for too long. As long as you have a good supply of toilet paper stored away, you will be sure never to run out.

Unblocking Plumbing

A blocked toilet is useless to anybody wanting to use it. It is nobody’s job but the washroom maintenance company to resolve the issue. Blocked U-bends most commonly occur when too much toilet paper has tried to be flushed in one go. It builds up in the pipeline until the toilet becomes clogged. People may also attempt to flush items you shouldn’t flush down the toilet, such as sanitary products and wipes. As long as you have an excellent plunger handy, you should be able to combat any blockage. Still, it is worth calling out a maintenance company for an ongoing issue.

Combatting Mould and Mildew

Washrooms can often be poorly ventilated and damp environments, making them prone to dampness. As condensation builds up, tiny black dots form as the bacteria accumulate. Ensuring your washroom is well-ventilated is the best way to combat this issue, as this means the damp air has an opportunity to circulate. If you cannot improve the ventilation to your bathroom, for instance, if it is in an older building, you can install a good heating system to help dry out any excess moisture. When harmful bacteria forms, it can become dangerous to inhale, especially over more extended periods. If you see mould it is crucial to manage the issue immediately. An air purification system is also a good investment as it helps to ensure the air you’re breathing is safe.

Freshening Up

Aside from the more pressing maintenance issues, there are minor updates you can make to your washroom to maintain a fresh and clean appearance. Features such as soap dispensers, taps, and hand dryers can often become outdated when the latest innovative technology becomes available. This usually means that newly built washrooms have the advantage of being bolder and more appealing to use. Now, we understand that looks aren’t everything. Still, minor updates can do a lot to improve your facilities’ appearance. Even small jobs such as brightening up tile grout with a grout pen and a fresh lick of paint can bring an old toilet block back to life. 

It is becoming increasingly popular for public bathrooms to include a lot of living plants to improve air quality and bring the washroom to life. Some even incorporate speakers into their bathrooms playing peaceful sounds, helping to avoid those awkward silences! These are just some minor adjustments you can make to take your washrooms up to the next level.

Arrange Regular Waste Disposal

Disposing of sanitary products discreetly and safely should always be available in your washroom. Having overflowing hygienic bins and nappy bins can instantly make your toilets unpleasant and inconvenient to use. By organising a regular waste collection, you can be sure this will never happen. You can create your ideal collection schedule based on how frequently your toilets are used. 

Sanitary products are potentially harmful to health, so it is vital that they are stored correctly and disposed of regularly. The Department of Health deems used sanitary products as ‘offensive waste’ because of the health risk. Woosh sanitary bins are designed by women who have brought the outdated design into the twenty-first century. Our containers are bespoke, sleek, and stylish instead of being bulky and unpleasant to look at.

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