Restroom Air Quality

Restroom Air Quality

Restroom issues make up a substantial percentage of facilities maintenance and janitorial requests--much of which originates from odors emanating from bathroom stalls.

Restroom Air Quality

The Impact of Restroom Odors on Indoor Air Quality

Restroom air quality directly impacts how occupants view a facility, the facilities management, how that management treats their employees, and the probable quality of the goods and services sold at that establishment.

Foul odors signal poor facility care and safety, which drives away business and skilled laborers.

Conversely, pleasant scents are typically associated with cleanliness and, more often than not, go unnoticed.

Good or bad, the perception of a restroom is often dictated by the way it smells.

Normally, the odors are foul, caused by standing water, urine, soiled papers or various bacteria.

Other times, a fragrance designed to help control odors ends up being the cause of complaints.

Either way, it’s in managers best interest to control smells stemming from restrooms.

According to a 2017 Contracting Profits survey, malodors are the second most common restroom complaint in any facility.

For most building occupants, a malodor will indicate immediately that a restroom is not clean.

Alternately, the vast majority of individuals also associate pleasant scents with cleanliness.

Impact Of Poor Indoor Air

However, the method of achieving the pleasant scent is problematic--air fresheners are commonly associated with the release of volatile organic compounds, which also negatively impact indoor air quality, resulting in a host of occupant health issues.

The list of volatile organic compounds that are emitted by common air fresheners is both surprising and worrisome.

Chemicals found in these fresheners include formaldehyde, benzene, and acetaldehyde, among others.

Effects of these VOCs can include headaches, upper respiratory irritation and, in some rare cases, neurological problems.

It should also be noted that individuals already suffering from asthma or other existing disorders may see much worse effects than otherwise healthy individuals.

Sensitive individuals are more likely to experience severe coughing or lung irritation from chemicals like the ones found in air fresheners.

Do Air Fresheners Reduce Indoor Air Quality?


Eliminating Restroom Odors While Improving Indoor Air Quality

Eliminating restroom odors is a three-pronged approach.

  • Eliminate the source of the odors.
  • Clean and disinfect with products that do not diminish IAQ, and;
  • Increase air flow through the restroom.

Odor sources typically stem from:

  • Standing water.
  • Garbage cans.
  • Urine.
  • Feces, and;
  • Bacteria.

These can all safely be eliminated through standard cleaning and disinfection methods.

The "trick" with restrooms, particularly in high-traffic facilities, is to:

  • Spot-check them several times per day.
  • Perform any basic maintenance immediately.
  • Empty trashcans.
  • Identify any leaks and schedule repairs as soon as possible.
  • Stock supplies as needed.
  • Wipe down all horizontal surfaces and restroom fixtures with a microfiber towel and a commercial-grade soap-based detergent or multipurpose cleaner--preferably one listed on the EPA's Safer Choice database.

Additionally, increase airflow through mechanical ceiling supplies and wall-mounted exhaust systems, or, preferably, open windows and allow for natural remediation.


References & Resources



Restroom odors negatively impact consumer impressions of the facility and the managing organization, as well as occupant performance and health.

Eliminating restroom odors is widely considered the most difficult task to handle by cleaning professionals.

A restroom that smells bad is usually thought to be dirty and unsanitary by the user, leaving behind a bad impression of your business.

Equal to hygiene and sanitizing practices, proper restroom air care and odor elimination have become top of mind for public facilities.

In fact, 79 percent of cleaning professionals say that air odor elimination is their toughest job according to Clorox Global Insights Odor Defense Research.

Restroom Air Care Technology Evolving to Meet Higher Standards

Eliminating restroom odors and improving indoor air quality while ensuring occupant safety and protecting the natural environment requires a combination of:

  • Day porter services.
  • Ongoing enhanced environmental cleaning practices.
  • The correct products, processes, and tools, and;
  • A trained and skilled custodial service department.

Onboarding the requisite material resources and skilled labor to ensure high-level outcomes may prove cost-prohibitive for many organizations.

Outsourcing is a proven method for onboarding highly in-demand cleaning and disinfection services and experience for a fraction of the price of maintaining a similar service in-house.

If you would like more information regarding the effectiveness of high-performance infection prevention and control measures, or if you would like to schedule a free, no-obligation on-site assessment of your facility's custodial needs, contact us today for a free quote!

In Bakersfield, CA, call (661) 437-3253

In Fresno, CA, call (559) 206-1059

In Valencia, CA, or Santa Clarita, CA, call (661) 437-3253

In Palmdale, CA, or Lancaster, CA, call (661) 371-4756