Management should standardize the cleaning process and then teach workers well-defined steps. Create a flow chart detailing steps and sequenced tasks. Post the chart in the janitorial closet or even behind the restroom door. Accompany it with hands-on-training. A cleaning cart that is organized, with a specific place designated for each supply item and tool, will save time and make replenishing supplies easier.

Steps to Clean Spot-clean restrooms frequently during the day. Also known as portering, this includes the following steps.

1. Collect trash/litter from the floor and other surfaces.

2. Empty waste receptacles when more than 1/2 full; pack contents with tool, not hand; place feminine waste into hazardous waste“red” bag.

3. Inspect and fill toilet paper, paper towel, seat cover and soap dispensers when less than 1/2 full (as applicable); test for proper operation.

4. Spot clean mirrors.

5. Inspect all basins and counters and spot clean with a disinfectant solution.

6. Inspect all urinals/toilets, flush as needed and spot clean with disinfectant solution.

7. Spot clean dispenser cabinets, partitions, stalls, walls and doors. Check for graffiti and remove.

8. Using a disinfectant cleaner, wipe wet or soiled areas around sinks or on floor.

9. Check and report malfunctioning toilets, urinals and sinks.

Once a day, remove all trash, refill all dispensers, detail mirrors and other surfaces, scrub/disinfect the insides and outsides of sinks, urinals and toilets, and wet mop/disinfect floors.

Perhaps the greatest procedural fault in daily restroom cleaning is damp mopping instead of wet mopping. Disinfectants need 10 minutes dwell time to kill bacteria and to thoroughly dissolve soil. Damp mopping doesn’t allow enough contact time for proper disinfecting or cleaning, resulting in bacterial buildup, soiling and odors. Proper mopping involves two steps.

1. Applying cleaning/disinfecting solution liberally to the floor to enable 10 minutes of wet contact, and

2. Removing the soiled solution.

Since dwell time is important for the disinfecting/cleaning process, consider using adhering foam cleaners for vertical surfaces.

Deep Clean Periodically (Weekly or Monthly)

This includes the following:

1. high dusting;

2. lights, vents and ceiling washing;

3. partition washing;

4. wall and door washing;

5. mineral-buildup removal from fixtures;

6. cleaning undersides of fixtures and dispensers; and

7. scrubbing floors, including edges.

Servicing traps should also be part of a restroom maintenance program. Fill floor drain traps with water periodically to prevent sewer gas backup. Malfunctioning fixtures should be reported for repair, including inoperable exhaust fans.

Dean Goforth is CEO of SCSI, a maintenance consulting and service contractor in Birmingham, Ala.

Automation Reduces Restroom Maintenance

Everyone likes clean restrooms. Unfortunately, students aren’t known for neatness, and the janitorial services can’t be standing by to tidy things up as often as necessary. Automation can help. Touch-free flushers, faucets and soap dispensers are more than a modern convenience. They contribute to the cleanliness and freshness of restrooms, as well as reduce maintenance time and labor costs.

Automatic flushers eliminate the common and unpleasant problem of toilets that students fail to flush. They are activated each time a toilet is used and can be programmed to add fresh water at least once a day, including weekends and during holiday vacation periods. Combining them with automatic cleaning systems on toilets and urinals will prevent stains and scales, eliminating or shortening the time needed for scrubbing. Flushers and cleaning systems will also prevent odors and help keep traps and drains open.

In our increasingly germ-conscious society, even children and teenagers are reluctant to touch handles on toilets and faucets. A sloppy sink will further discourage them from washing their hands, especially if they don’t want to place their books on a wet counter. Touch-free faucets reduce the mess around sinks because dripping wet hands don’t have to reach up to turn the faucet handles. Automated counter-mounted soap dispensers that extend over the washbasin serve the same purpose, keeping both water and soap from accumulating on the counter and dripping on the floor. Automatic soap dispensers also eliminate the build-up of excess soap by providing just the right amount for a thorough hand washing.

Touch-free fixtures are far more reliable than they were years ago. They can actually save a school district money through water conservation, minimal maintenance and no costly repairs.

George Patrick Murph is president and CEO of Technical Concepts in Mundelein, Ill. He can be reached at .

Effectively Maintaining Tile and Grout

Maintaining a high level of appearance and sanitation in heavily used and abused school restrooms is usually a very difficult task for school custodial personnel. The combination of porous tile and grout, excessive exposure to moisture and contaminants and the extreme difficulty of keeping mop water clean, generally result in the tile becoming stained and the grout discolored and embedded with odor causing bacteria, mold and mildew.

Most grout is sealed when the floors are tiled. The problem is, sealers quickly break down and the discoloration and odors set in before the breakdown is detected. When this happens, the next logical step is to either acid wash or pressure wash the tile and grout, and either re-seal the grout or apply floor finish to the entire surface. If the grout is re-sealed, the breakdown and contamination cycle starts over immediately. If finish is applied, it is usually quickly destroyed by standing water, urine and harsh cleaning chemicals, leaving the tile and grout unprotected.

Within the last 10 years, a new tile and grout maintenance technology called“restorative bonding” was developed that eliminates the typical contamination cycle permanently. This maintenance methodology consists of a one-time restoration process and a periodic maintenance program. With this latest technology, embedded contaminants and discoloration are chemically extracted and the grout is covered with a permanent, non-porous glazing compound. After the grout is glazed, a semi-permanent, chemical and urine-resistant tile protective shield is bonded to the tile surfaces. The result is a “like-new” appearance and a surface integrity that will no longer absorb contaminants and resulting odors, or allow mold and mildew to grow. After the tile and grout has been restored, the surfaces can easily be maintained by periodic machine scrubbing and buffing, and less frequent rejuvenation of the tile shield. For years, there have been reliable systems for maintaining vinyl, wood, carpet and stone flooring. Now there is an effective system for maintaining ceramic tile and grout flooring.

Joel Mitchell is the vice president of SaniGLAZE International. He can be reached at.