Problem Solver - August 2009
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Eliminating Odors and Bacteria in Public Restrooms

Public restrooms usually smell and are not very well kept. On top of that, they remain a seriously bacteria-laden environment. You'll often see users approaching doors with tissue in hand to open and exit, to touch flush handles and to operate lavatory faucets—all just to prevent the transfer of bacteria from others.

Touchless facilities come with a higher cost, but you don't need to spend an arm and a leg to reduce odors and bacteria problems in your restroom.

New technology is now available to change the public restroom environment from smelly and bacteria-laden to a much more pleasant experience for your patrons. This new approach stops surface absorbency inside the restroom on walls and floors to prevent odor buildup. It makes door handles, flush valves and all other stainless surfaces anti-microbial. It also treats toilet seats with anti-microbial impregnation to make them safe.

Q: Why are odor and bacteria such a big problem in public restrooms?

A: In order to build public restrooms today, designers must use stronger materials of construction. This is done to protect the facilities from vandalism and ensure a long life. The use of concrete, steel and similar "hardened" materials leaves few options for the application of anti-microbial products.

In addition, these materials are often absorbent and thus can hold on to organic solids and liquids until they begin to break down and smell. This leaves the restroom interior noxious, odorous and unsatisfactory.

However, the real serious issue is the effect these contaminants can have on public health.

Q: What should we look for in public restroom structures to reduce the odor problem and also to protect our patrons' health?

A: The solution lies in new treatment of these hardened items to provide new measures of public safety and eliminate health concerns.

First, toilet seats are impregnated with anti-microbial chemicals that kill bacteria on contact. This leaves the surface safe to touch.

Second, all stainless steel, such as flush valves, door handles, grab bars, sink faucets and so forth, are impregnated with anti-microbial chemicals that can be absorbed by these materials. These chemicals will last for 50 years without retreatment. The system kills bacteria on contact to leave the surface safe to touch.

Next, new imported concrete chemicals are added to standard high-strength redi-mix to create a thermal catalytic reaction. Translation: The concrete slab is made totally non-absorbent for life. No absorption means no odors.

Finally, these same concrete additives are used for block mortar, concrete block and cell grout to achieve the same level of repellency on the walls as the concrete floor, greatly adding to the restroom building protection.

Your patrons may still use tissues to open the door—some habits are hard to break—but at least you'll know they're not in danger. And you'll know that your restrooms' odor isn't leading patrons to believe your facilities are not well maintained.

The Public Restroom Company: