Contributed by Steve Attman, CEO, Acme Paper & Supply Co. Inc.
Think about how you feel when you use a public restroom. When you walk into a spotless bathroom, what makes it feel clean? While the absence of litter and an overall well-kept environment certainly make a bathroom look clean, it’s how fresh the room smells that people equate with overall cleanliness.
There is nothing worse than walking into a public restroom and being slapped in the face with bad smells. Let’s be honest, bad odors are bad for business. Consider this: The human brain can process approximately 10,000 different odors in an area the size of a postage stamp. Because the human sense of smell is often related to memory and how a person feels, many high-traffic, public-facing businesses such as restaurants, schools, hotels, recreational facilities, hospitals, and others make it a priority combat bad odors and create a better air care environment, especially in bathrooms. The user generally thinks that a smelly bathroom is dirty and unhygienic, which leaves a bad impression of your business. Like hygiene and disinfection practices, proper bathroom air care and odor removal have become top of mind for public facilities. In fact, 79 percent of cleaning professionals say removing odor from the air is their toughest job according to Clorox Global Insights Odor Defense Research.
Air care technology is renewed
Over the years, air care technology has undergone a major transformation. Bathroom air care in the past has focused solely on emitting scents to cover up the odor. Such air care options include fans and/or air fresheners placed in locations that do not reach the source of the odor, run out of scent after a short period of time, or stop working altogether.
End users have traditionally used multiple products to cover up odors, including cleaning solutions, sprays, and toilet clips. While these tools have been somewhat effective in removing odors from a small area, they have not been successful in removing odors from the entire space, especially since odors originate from multiple sources such as dumpsters, floor drains, urinals. and toilets.
As technologies continue to advance, there has been a clear progression from single unit air fresheners and misters to whole room air care systems that incorporate a more proactive approach to not only covering odors, but also to remove them at the source.
A more holistic approach to bathroom air care
Newer dedicated monitoring systems have been trending in the world of bathroom air solutions in recent years. Replacing outdated single-unit air freshener dispensers are automatic systems that are activated by light or motion, offering facilities a more holistic and effective approach to restroom maintenance.
The new systems offer a whole-room approach to air care that includes multiple products placed in strategic locations that work together to control odors. Motion-activated fans and air fresheners deliver long-lasting, consistent scents without using overwhelming or harsh sprays and liquids. Combined with smaller automatic units located in toilet stalls and deodorizing urinal screens that work to neutralize odours, these products provide a subtle yet effective room refresh. Additionally, most newer air care systems send alerts when scents inside the units need to be replaced to prevent room refresh failures.
While metered aerosol fragrances have cornered the bathroom air freshener market, these newer technologies that incorporate fragrances into light or motion sensing systems help ensure balanced fragrance release over time. These fragrance units provide targeted odor control only when the restroom is in use as determined by light and motion sensors. Certain technologies also use smart chip technology that operates these battery-powered fragrance units. The unit’s fan runs sparingly in the first week and gradually comes on more frequently over four weeks. These units release the same amount of air freshener daily for 30 days, compared to other metered fragrance spray units that typically do not release the same fragrance for a month.
Fragrance options get sophisticated
As restroom air systems have become more sophisticated, so have the fragrances used to provide a more pleasant user experience. Not only has the variety of scents grown, but the way these fragrances are derived has also evolved. Fragrances used in air care technology are now comprised of a blend of natural oils, essential oils, and synthetic scent chemicals that maximize performance and optimize safety.
Importantly, most of the scents used in these systems are manufactured within the safety guidelines set by RIFM and IFRA, two international associations that oversee raw material and manufacturing processes in the fragrance industries.
Eliminate bad odor, not just mask bad odors
Commercial odor removal products are newer alternatives in bathroom air care, which work to trap and remove odors from the air rather than simply masking them with a scent. Specially formulated to identify, capture and eliminate bad odors, these timed aerosol dispensers are designed to combat the worst odors and leave the air smelling fresh for up to six hours. Similarly, companies are beginning to explore the use of ozone technology to eliminate odors at the source. How this new technology is incorporated into restroom air care on a larger scale is something to watch in the future, as are products that remove odors while also disinfecting the air.
Air care is only as good as the disinfection and cleaning techniques used on a daily basis. Commercial cleaning products and solutions have also evolved with customer needs to include effective urine, biostain and odor removers. Since odor is a top customer complaint, urine eliminators break down odors at their source by oxidizing and removing uric acid crystals, eliminating, not just masking, unpleasant odours. The bio stain and odor remover product uses a unique formula specially formulated to clean, disinfect and eliminate odors in one step using the power of hydrogen peroxide and stain-removing surfactants. Other products include toilet and urinal drip systems that provide a steady drip of cleaner and deodorizer and disposable antimicrobial under-urinal mats to absorb moisture and keep urine off the floor.
At ACME Paper and Supply Company, we’ve heard from several customers that those customers who have implemented odor programs using air care monitoring systems and other solutions feel their restrooms are cleaner than before these technologies were introduced. As part of ACME’s Hygiene and Facilities Solutions division, being able to offer a broader variety of restroom air care products, along with commercial cleaning solutions, has been a game changer in delivering better overall restroom experience for customers.
Steve Attman is the Co-CEO of Acme Paper and Supply Company, one of the nation’s largest providers of sanitary solutions, disposable foodservice packaging, restaurant equipment and supplies, retail and industrial packaging, and custom designed packaging. Steve can be contacted directly at [email protected]