Janitorial Cleaning & Lingering Bathroom Odors

Posted on April 9, 2019


Bathrooms aren’t known for pleasant scents and attractive aromas. But with proper maintenance and janitorial cleaning, the bathrooms in your workplace should be free of lingering odors. If your bathrooms have a chronic smell of urine, mildew, or sewage, that’s a problem.

At JAN-PRO®, we take lingering bathroom odors seriously. Other janitorial cleaning companies tend to focus on surface-level cleaning, which is adequate for short-term odors. But at JAN-PRO, we use technologies like EnviroShield® to deliver a deeper clean, targeting persistent odors at the source.

Wondering what’s causing such a stink in your workplace bathrooms? Below, we’ll take a look at three common reasons for persistent bathroom odors and how your janitorial cleaning team (or a plumber!) can solve the problem.

3 Causes of Lingering Bathroom Odors

Bacterial Colonization

Most lingering bathroom odors are emitted by bacteria, typically from urine and fecal matter. Both substances contain a spectrum of foul-smelling bacteria. Even in the tidiest bathrooms, these bacteria can easily spread to other surfaces, resulting in unpleasant odors.

Janitorial cleaning can prevent these odors from lingering by cleaning and disinfecting these surfaces. However, if urine or fecal bacteria get into deep crevices, hard-to-reach spaces, or porous surfaces like caulk or grout, it may be difficult for cleaners to properly disinfect and deodorize your bathrooms.

Fungal Growth

Another common source of lingering bathroom odors is fungal growth. Bathrooms frequently suffer from improper drainage, poor air circulation, and water spillage. This makes them ideal breeding grounds for mildew, mold, and other varieties of fungus.

As with hard-to-reach bacteria, fungal growth is often out of sight and hard to access. Worse yet, fungal spores can lie dormant inside porous surfaces, then reproduce weeks or months later when moisture re-occurs.

Sewage Fumes

If your bathroom smells like a sewer, it may be due to literal sewage. While water and waste travel down your pipes into the sewer system, sewage fumes head in the other direction. If there’s nothing blocking them, these fumes will travel up your pipes and into your restroom.

Typically, these fumes are blocked by p-traps and water seals. If either your p-trap or water seal is compromised, sewage odors can seep up your pipes and into your bathroom.

3 Solutions to Lingering Bathroom Odors

Air Fresheners

When faced with persistent and unpleasant bathroom odors, most people turn to air fresheners. This is typically the easiest solution. But it’s also the least effective. Air fresheners do nothing to actually get rid of bathroom odors. Instead, they simply cover up these odors with other scents.

That’s a problem for two reasons. First, because the unpleasant odors are still present. Second, because the actual source of these odors — whether bacteria, fungi, or fumes — hasn’t been treated, meaning the problem will either persist or get worse.

Deep Disinfection & Deodorization

In cases of bacterial or fungal growth, it’s better to eliminate these odors at the source. But if bacteria or mold have penetrated hard-to-reach spaces or porous surfaces, you’ll need to take special steps to neutralize the problem.

JAN-PRO is one of the few janitorial cleaning providers equipped for these kinds of situations. Our EnviroShield® disinfection and deodorization system uses a special ionizing applicator to neutralize odor-causing bacteria and mold spores in areas that other systems can’t reach.

Another great thing about EnviroShield® is that it’s 100% non-toxic. Other disinfectants and deodorizers rely on hazardous chemicals. But EnviroShield® is completely eco-friendly and safe for workplace use. That makes it the ideal janitorial cleaning system for unpleasant bathroom odors.

Plumbing Maintenance

If you suspect that bathroom odors are coming from sewage fumes, do a quick inspection of your bathroom. You might find the smell is strongest near a specific drain or set of drains. If so, you’ve found the source of the problem.

For sewage fumes in your workplace bathroom, there are two possible causes/solutions.

The first possibility is if the drain hasn’t been used in a while. In this case, the water in your p-trap has likely evaporated. Normally, this water forms a natural seal against fumes. To re-form the seal, simply re-fill the p-trap by flushing water down the drain in question.

The second possibility is a leaky p-trap or a compromised water seal. In either case, you’ll need to contact a plumber to diagnose the exact nature of the problem and repair the defect. Afterwards, it’s a good idea to check the area around the leak for bacterial and fungal growth. If you find either, have your janitorial cleaning team take care of the problem.

Dealing with persistent and unpleasant odors in your workplace bathrooms? Call 866-355-1064 to speak with your local JAN-PRO about our janitorial cleaning services, including deodorization of lingering bathroom odors.