Do Not Go In There! Why Public Restroom Cleaning is a Job for the Professionals

Cleaning a public bathroom is a dirty job. And not just anybody should do it. 

Bathroom surfaces are consistently coated and recoated with germs. In fact, one study found 77,000 (!) distinct types of bacteria and viruses in public restrooms. Removing those nasty bugs without the right tools, techniques, and training becomes a literal crapshoot. 

True, most of those 77,000 bacteria and viruses are relatively harmless. But a few strains can make a person very sick if accidentally ingested.

Germs, Germs, Everywhere

Illnesses like shigella, E. coli, hepatitis, salmonella, and norovirus are transmitted through the fecal-oral route. This happens when someone touches a contaminated surface and then touches their eyes, nose, and mouth—or prepares food—before thoroughly washing their hands. 

Unfortunately, it is too easy to touch germs in the bathroom. The nasty pathogens are found on nearly every surface, thanks to the toilet plume. This disgusting phenomenon describes the aerosolized droplets forced into the air every time a toilet is flushed. FYI: It’s not just toilet water in that plume; those droplets contain microscopic particles of EVERYTHING in the bowl.

Eventually, the droplets fall out of the air and settle everywhere—floors, walls, toilet paper holders, and garbage cans. Depending on the size of the restroom, the state of the ventilation system, and the age of the toilet, the plume might regularly reach out to the sinks, mirrors, soap dispensers, towels, and hand dryers. 

(This phenomenon happens at your house too. Experts recommend putting the lid down before flushing and regularly washing your toothbrush holder.)

What's the Germiest Place in a Bathroom?

But when it comes to germs, what happens in the bathroom doesn’t stay in the bathroom. Pathogens happily hitch a ride on shoes, bags, or anything else set down on a filthy floor. Hands that touch germy areas, like flushers, sink taps, and doorknobs, pick up soils and spread them to desks, computer keyboards, elevator buttons, and communal kitchen areas. 

According to the National Science Foundation, the germiest place in a bathroom is the toothbrush holder. However, commercial bathrooms lack this amenity, so it then becomes soap and towel dispensers and door handles. 

Interestingly, a study also found that hot-air hand dryers spread germs 1,300 more than paper towels. Moreover, hand-drying facilities in public bathrooms have been found to harbor bacteria resistant to at least one antibiotic.  

Most studies show that germs and viruses found in bathrooms cannot seriously harm humans. However, this comes with a big asterisk of “as long as people wash their hands.” It bares to mention that recent studies show that one in four Americans don’t wash their hands with soap after they use the facilities. 

How much do you trust your coworkers? 

Daily bathroom cleaning cuts this risk drastically, as long as the cleaners know how to do the job. Professional cleaners understand the science of cleaning and how to effectively remove dirt and disinfect surfaces. 

They pay special attention to touchpoints like flushers, taps, and light switches and know how to use and dispose of Personal Protection Equipment. 

Leave it to the Professionals

Cleaning professionals also know how important it is to avoid cross-contamination. This happens when incorrectly used tools spread more pathogens than they remove. For instance, a properly trained cleaner would never clean another space with a rag or mop that cleaned the bathroom. In fact, mops, buckets, and towels are often color-coded to avoid that dangerous mishap. 

The stakes are high when it comes to cleaning the bathroom. Some companies may cut their cleaning crews to save money (We’re looking at you, Twitter) and ask their workers to do the task. But if they clean incorrectly, that decision may cost a lot more.


At OpenWorks, we pride ourselves on being more than a provider; we’re a partner. By aligning with your building’s goals and sharing your same high standards, we bring a careful, conscientious approach to our work that only comes with experience (especially in the bathroom.) Our service providers consistently train in the most up-to-date and effective cleaning methods available. Get your free facility management estimate today!




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