urine scale on tiles

Auditing Cleaning Standards in Bathrooms

We have conducted hundreds of informal and formal cleanliness and hygiene audits in many different organisations, everything from homes to hospitals. One of the most common observations we have documented is the lack of consistent cleaning standards in bathrooms. Bathrooms are arguably one of the most difficult and time-consuming jobs for cleaners to tackle, they are, however the most important in terms of hygiene and appearance to customers.

When we conduct audits we measure the standards of cleaning based on a number of factors, namely the expected type and quality of soiling, water quality, time between the last clean and the time of the audit, foot traffic flow and other metrics. When we conduct audits in bathrooms, the soiling is often hard to see, but the effect is highly noticeable as a lingering pungent odour.

The underlying problem with toilets and by extension all sinks, showers and water outlets is a combination of urine and hardwater scale. Sites with higher hardwater levels leads to scale precipitating onto surfaces as the water dries. Over time, the scale deposits increase in thickness becoming ever-increasingly difficult to remove, requiring ever-increasingly more aggressive methods of removal. Scale deposits are highly absorbent and will allow urine and soiling to absorb into the scale, preventing effective hygienic cleaning from removing these.

One of the main sources of bad ‘toilet smells’ is bacterial breakdown of urine and soiling (even old detergent) trapped in scale, which routine cleaning and sanitising are ineffective.

Excessive scale deposits provide a safe harbour for bacteria against most disinfectants.

To aid us we use a blacklight (a handheld UV torch) which helps luminate hardwater scale, dried urine scale and deposits of dried soap against the background, which would ordinarily be difficult to photograph. Fresh water, urine or soap does not luminate under UV light, it must dry first, therefore dried deposits on surface areas missed by cleaning will be a day or more old.

The following photographs present examples which illustrate the common observations we routinely find in bathrooms:

Are your cleaning standards up to the mark?

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