February is National Care about Your Indoor Air month, which is the perfect time for facility managers and cleaning professionals to take a moment and focus on the importance of improving the indoor air within their facilities.
Custodial personnel and the type of cleaning processes in place can have a large impact on the quality of indoor air. For example, using vacuums with filtration systems can reduce the dust and debris redistributed into the air from equipment exhaust. Chemicals with low VOCs can minimize what particles linger in the air. And potentially one of the most noticeable factors influencing air quality is odor, so it is important for custodial personnel to deal with odors appropriately.
Here are four tips that will help eliminate problem odors and improve indoor air quality:
Lose the mask
Many products simply mask odors with air fresheners and overusing an ineffective product can make the problem worse. The best way to remove — not mask — odors is to first identify the cause of problem and select cleaning products that can effectively eliminate the odor at its source.
Tackle tough restroom odors
Urine odors present one of the toughest challenges when it comes to maintaining pleasant indoor air and can make an otherwise clean facility seem unappealing and dirty, despite the hard work of cleaning professionals. The effective and lasting solution to eliminating urine odors lies in breaking down uric acid crystals in urine, removing the source of the odor rather than just masking it. Incorporate products that break down the odor-causing urine crystals as a regular part of your cleaning routine.
Don’t forget soft surfaces
Porous damp surfaces, such as grout, host bacteria, which feed on urine and humid conditions or wetting the surface can reactivate the odor. To combat this, look for products that are specially formulated work on hard and soft surfaces such as grout, carpet and mattresses.
Limit the spread of pathogens
Unpleasant odors can signal the presence of harmful microorganisms, such as Shigella, Salmonella, Hepatitis A, E. coli and Norovirus, which are routinely found in restrooms and are associated with outbreaks of illness. Remember to select products that are Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered to kill illness-causing bacteria. Bleach products are especially effective against multi-drug resistant organisms and are compatible with most hard surfaces found in public restrooms.
Prevent cross-contamination in restrooms and elsewhere by focusing on high-touch surfaces and objects such as counter tops, urinals, toilets, door knobs and handles, light switches and faucets.