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That’s Not a Hard Water Stain —And 4 Other Things You Don’t Want to Know About Public Restrooms

When you walk into a business, the bathroom is not the first thing you see, but it will be the thing you remember if it smells and has questionable stains. A recent study revealed more than half (55%) of those surveyed said they would probably not go back to a business with dirty bathrooms. Some business owners may think they have their bathroom situation under control, but there are areas commonly overlooked.

Hard Water Stain or Mold?

Black stains under the rim of a toilet are probably not hard water stains. They’re more likely to be bacteria or mold. Bacteria starts out looking pinkish or orange and can turn harmful if left untreated. Mold spores thrive in dark, wet places, so toilets are a dream come true for these unwelcome bathroom organisms. Most toilets are made of porcelain, which has microscopic pores where bacteria and mold can hide and grow. This also may be where terrible smells are coming from.

Plus, what goes in a toilet, does not always go down. When toilets are flushed, feces, urine, and bacteria from inside the toilet spread all over the bathroom. This is called a “toilet plume,” and with every flush, microscopic water droplets spray several feet in every direction. The spray can coat sinks, faucets, walls, mirrors, and the floor.

Careful Where You Step!

After toilet spray ends up on the floor, it mixes with whatever dirt and germs that have been tracked in on the bottoms of shoes. Every person who walks into a restroom brings in tiny microbes from the outside world. And likewise, those same shoes are tracking bacteria out of the bathroom and back through the premises. If a restaurant has a dirty bathroom, it could signal cleaning issues in other parts of the business, like the kitchen!

Most public restroom floors are made of tile and grout. Those substances are porous. They absorb the water droplets sprayed from flushing toilets. Dark stains in the grout may be more than just dirt. They could be bacteria and mold. Even nightly mopping might not clean and disinfect floors. Traditional mops usually spread germs around and make matters worse.

Think Twice About Hanging Your Purse on that Stall Hook

Most public bathrooms do not have lids on the toilets, so the doors and walls of individual stalls are in the direct line of fire from airborne toilet water spray. That spray zone includes toilet paper, garbage cans, and those handy hooks meant for bags and purses.

Door handles and locks are also in constant contact with unwashed hands. So, while toilets and sinks are the primary focus of most cleaning efforts, stall walls, doors, and locks are probably not being cleaned often enough.

You Don’t Want to Know What’s Back There (But Now You Have to Look!)

The outside of urinals and toilets, including around the backside, are also at risk from tiny microbes expelled from flushing toilets. The spray can hang around in the air long enough to adhere to just about any surface. These areas also tend to get less attention during regular cleanings, allowing germs and bacteria to lurk and grow for longer periods of time. Customers might not touch those surfaces, but the lack of cleaning could make them ripe for odors and gross-looking stains

In extreme cases, like a gas station bathroom that looks like it’s never been cleaned, stains on the outside of a toilet can build up and take on a life of their own. In the restroom hygiene business, this is called a “toilet beard.” Trust us, it’s not anything you want to encounter in person.

Eye Level with Germs

Just like the underside of toilets and urinals, the underside of sinks is another area that may not have seen a cleaning rag in a long time. As we’ve mentioned several times, almost nothing is out of range for toilet plume.

For parents with small children, kids could be eye level with the countertop. Despite your best efforts and warnings not to touch anything, this could still mean little hands accidentally encounter the germy underside of the sink.

Professional Restroom Cleaning

We all have a “gross bathroom” story, but thankfully most public bathrooms don’t fall to the level of “toilet beards” and eye-watering odors. When the bathroom at one of your favorite businesses doesn’t meet expectations, it’s helpful to mention the situation to a manager who can do something about it.

There are professional cleaning companies who focus on these common bathroom cleaning needs. Enviro-Master Service targets unsightly stains and sanitizes everything from toilets and sinks to walls and floors. And technicians can coat bathrooms with Sani-Shield to protect surfaces from becoming breeding grounds for common viruses and bacteria. Contact us today for a free estimate.