Feature Article - November 2005
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HOW-TO GUIDE

Handy Solutions to Common Problems

By Stacy St. Clair, Jenny E. Beeh and Kelli Anderson



How To Keep Restrooms and Locker Rooms Clean

Almost nothing will turn off patrons quicker than dirty restrooms and dingy locker rooms.

The public demands restrooms and changing areas that are clean, comfortable and orderly in terms of its use. Restrooms that fail to meet these standards reflect poorly on your facility, leaving the impression that you don't care about quality customer service or a healthy environment.

With a little attention and the right furnishings, however, cleanliness really can be next to godliness.

PICKING YOUR PART

The road to a well-kempt restroom begins with the right partition. For example, toilet partitions made of solid materials are not conducive to any kind of absorption. If your partition allows odors or moisture to permeate into the core, it may result in delamination along the wall and a restroom that carries a strong, unpleasant smell. Partitions also must be made of materials that do not corrode. When it comes to public restrooms, few things are worse than partitions that are rusting and rotting away at the edges. The corrosion eventually will cause a blighted area that not only displeases users but also poses a threat to their safety.

LOCK IT UP

Along the same lines, the right lockers help keep a locker room looking sanitary and neat. Patrons do not want to place their clothes and valuables in lockers that are rusting or have paint chipping. Nor do they want foul odors to permeate their belongings. To meet their expectations, choose a durable material for your lockers. The industry has developed plastic lockers, for example, that clean up easily and are resistant to mildew, odor and graffiti.

HANDS OFF

Patrons want restrooms to be as germ-free as possible. In a perfect world, your custodial staff could work round-the-clock to eliminate every last germ and microbe. Of course, that's not—and never will be—an option. Instead, consider purchasing one of the many hands-free components on the market. The industry offers a myriad of electronic and infrared devices such as soap dispensers, toilets, water faucets, paper-towel dispensers and hand dryers. Depending on where they are applied, spray-on anti-microbial products generally are not effective. The treatments tend to wear off in areas where there are a lot of contacts such as door handles. It also remains to be seen if products marketing themselves as anti-microbial are as effective as their claims. In the end, nothing can take the place of regular and thorough cleaning.

KEEP A CLOSE EYE

Monitor your restroom at regular intervals to check on its condition. On a normal day, an employee should check public restrooms every two hours to ensure it's meeting facility standards. The frequency should increase to hourly checks during big events when restroom traffic is heavier and more eyes will be judging your facility. Post a checklist that includes tasks such as picking up debris, noting broken items, attending to trash overflow and refilling dispensers. To instill accountability, require employees to initial, time and date the tasks they have completed.

TEACH 'EM RIGHT

Educate your custodial staff on which cleaning products to use and where to use them. The most common cleaning mistakes are using products on the wrong surface, combining chemicals to create unsafe situations and cross-contaminating areas by using the same cleaning tool in different areas. Making sure easily ignored spaces—such as back sections or the outside of the toilet bowl—are attended to is key to going beyond a superficial clean.



  F O R   M O R E   I N F O R M A T I O N  

Comtec Industries 800-445-5148


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