Commercial bathrooms have a simple purpose. Office complexes, retail stores, municipal buildings, and theaters all have central areas such as lobbies or reception areas.
But restrooms are easy to overlook until they have fallen below acceptable standards.
Whether the ventilation unit is in disrepair or the hardware is rusting, restrooms require a lot of maintenance.
This guide gives you a little knowledge about what’s involved in cleaning restrooms and how to make your building’s standards just a little bit higher than before.
Hardware can be prone to rust, especially when ambient moisture isn’t kept under control by a properly ventilating HVAC unit.
Humidity also affects restroom partitions, which tend to take the majority of the abuse with graffiti, carvings, and markings.
Assessing what material your bathroom’s toilet partitions are made of is the first step to addressing the issue.
Air filters and intake vents are part of the cleaning process. HVAC units do an important job of ventilating bathrooms.
If air quality is compromised by dust particles to begin with then your customers aren’t going to have a good experience.
Make sure restrooms have good heating and cooling to ensure everyone has a comfortable experience.
Know Your Toilet Stall Material
Professional builders, contractors, construction workers and maintenance staff can all benefit from being knowledgeable in this key area.
The type of material the partition is made of will help dictate the cleaning and scratch recovery methods to use.
There are several common partition materials listed below:
- Powder-Coated Metal – These cost-effective partitions typically start with a lightweight honeycomb cardboard core with a covering of a thick sheet of metal. The metal is then covered with a powder that is baked into the metal. Powder-coated metal partitions come in a variety of colors as the coating can be colored.
- High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) – These durable, and easy-to-repair partitions are cut from a single piece of HDPE. The surface is typically textured, which makes it resistant to graffiti, cuts, and dents. This partition will be easy to identify by its feel and robust look.
- Laminate – Most professionals are familiar with laminated surfaces. Laminated partitions are made of a particle board core, which is then covered in a layer of laminate. You will see these in a vast variety of colors and textures.
- Stainless Steel – Their honeycomb core adds to the strength of these partitions. You can identify the stainless steel shells by their gleaming and often elegant appearance. They are easily distinguishable from powder-coated metal surfaces by their appearance.
- Phenolic – Some people confuse this material with HDPE. They are different. Phenolic partitions are made of a melamine sheet surface and multiple layers of craft paper that have been saturated in a Phenolic resin. This transforms it into a high-density and water-resistant material. You will find these in a wide range of colors.
When Graffiti Happens, Act Quickly!
Graffiti of any type invites more graffiti. Having fully trained staff members who are ready to address and repair the markings or carvings can minimize the impact of the defacing.
Carvings, scratches, and notches can be a maintenance person’s worst nightmare.
For metal surfaces, depending on the depth, scratches can often be buffed out or minimized. Using a polish per the manufacturer’s instructions can give the best results.
Laminate partitions are probably the most vulnerable to permanent defacing.
Obviously, the surface is not solid and penetrating, therefore a deep scratch can cause appearance and structural concerns. If the scratch cannot be effectively repaired, replacement may be necessary.
Depending on the frequency and level of the vandalism, it may be appropriate to replace the partitions with a more resistant material.
Phenolic partitions can hold up to a higher level of abuse since the surface is more difficult to penetrate.
If you do discover scratches, they can be addressed with your favorite surface cleaner and polish. Be sure to use non-abrasive cleaners to avoid making the scratch deeper.
You may be surprised by how many stains soap and water or your favorite general cleaner will remove.
Using a soft cloth or brush should be your starting point. Being conservative with cleaning chemicals can help preserve the surface being cleaned. This is especially true for laminated and powder-coated metal surfaces.
Circular rubbing motions versus side-to-side rubbing motions on all surfaces can make the successful stain removal less distinguishable.
Follow Guidelines for Cleaning and Stain Removal
Each partition material has its cleaning advantages and trade-offs.
According to the Bobrick Advisory Bulletin TB-60 Toilet Partition Cleaning & Maintenance, “Most stains can be completely removed with the cleaning methods listed. However, if the laminated plastic surface is scratched or badly worn, stains may be more difficult to remove and some may leave a ghosting effect.”
This bulletin also draws attention to the risks of laminate surfaces swelling over time.
Laminate and powder-coated metal partitions should generally be cleaned with non-abrasive cleaners using a soft cloth or brush.
As you look at cleaning frequency and possible partition replacement in commercial buildings, builders, contractors, construction workers, and maintenance staff should consider the building’s purpose and type of business.
Bathrooms in schools, entertainment venues, and bars can be at a higher risk for marking and carving abuse.
HDPE and phenolic partitions are heavier duty solutions that landlords, building owners, and maintenance staff will be pleased with going forward.
Although most people associate stainless steel as being almost indestructible, it is not impervious to rust.
Exposure to cleaning solutions containing bleach, water containing iron, and salt exposure (from snow boots or any other contact) can all cause rust.
It can get out of hand if not removed. Fast Partitions has an official guide on how to clean your bathroom partitions that goes further into the specifics for each material type.
Mirrors Are a Reflection of the Bathroom
One of the last things a person looks at in the bathroom is themselves. Mirrors can get damaged and develop black spots.
Other than regular cleaning, glass repair should be left to the experts. Your local glass company can be a trusted source.
If there are continued damage risks, there are damage-resistant mirrors or anti-scratch films that can be applied.
Building maintenance crews can make recommendations to the building owner or management company.
Touch Up Bathroom Hardware
Brackets, locks, and door handles also need to look their best.
First, you should ensure there are no sharp edges or burrs; it is possible to file some burrs off.
Occupant safety is obviously a first priority. Your favorite polish can bring back near-original luster. You can also use special types of hardware paint.
By far, the best way to deal with commercial bathrooms is to prevent problems from building up and becoming unmanageable.
Keeping a steady schedule of maintenance and cleaning will provide a better experience for customers, as well as your staff.
Hopefully, this guide will help you get the job done as effectively and easily as possible