Our team was meeting with a tenant this week to address a few building service concerns and we landed on the topic of bathroom odor. It was bad enough that the tenant had to resort to bringing their own air fresheners into the building, which should not be the practice in a Class A building. A few things we put on our list to follow up on this concern that may help you as well:
- Exhaust fans: Much like the fans in your bathrooms at home, commercial buildings typically have an exhaust system to remove odors from the building. There is usually a shaft connected to a mushroom-shaped fan on the roof that pulls the offending air out of the restroom. We have seen cases where this fan is broken or not properly sized. A simple test is the “toilet paper test” – take a single sheet of paper and hold it up to the exhaust vent to see fi the fan is working.
- Floor drains: Sometimes a sewer smell is not from the restroom at all, but from the connection to the sewer. Floor drains and even sinks have to have water or mineral spirits poured down them from time to time to fill the p-traps. If this is not done, the p-traps can evaporate, allowing sewer gas into your bathroom.
- Cleaning: Are the restrooms being cleaned often enough and with clean mop heads? Does the cleaning crew need to perform a deep clean? In the men’s room, do new urinal mats need to be installed to prevent excessive splashing?
- Air fresheners: Most commercial restrooms have air fresheners that are serviced by an outside vendor on a service contract. Is this contract being adhered to and are the fresheners fresh?