Keeping Public Restrooms Clean for Health

Clean Microbial Biography of Public Restroom Surfaces and the Role They Play in Protecting Public Health

Source Re-Post System4 7/12/2016

In any number of public and commercial settings—from office buildings, hotels, restaurants, and schools to health care facilities and other businesses—restrooms are consistently cited as one of the toughest areas for cleaning and maintenance professionals to maintain—and the No. 1 source of customer complaints. This is due in large part to the dual imperatives of clean microbial biography of public restroom surfaces maintenance: cleaning for aesthetics and cleaning for health.

Eliminating odors and maintaining a visibly clean restroom is extremely important, as research has shown consumer perceptions of facilities’ restrooms can impact bottom lines. However, restroom cleanliness is also very important to public health.


The following is an overview of the critical role restroom cleaning and disinfection plays in protecting public health, and steps that in-house custodial professionals and building service contractors (BSCs) can take to help control and prevent the spread of germs in their facilities’ restrooms.

Some people mistakenly assume that illness-causing germs and multi-drug resistant organisms (MDROs), or superbugs, are a healthcare-specific problem and don’t pose much of a threat in other public settings. However, there is a growing body of research that shows that many of these microbes are commonly found in public restrooms and are easily transmitted between individuals through contact with contaminated surfaces.

In a 2011 study published in the journal PLoS ONE, researchers took samples from 10 restroom surfaces on the University of Colorado at Boulder campus, including door handles into and out of the restroom, handles into and out of a restroom stall, faucet handles, the soap dispenser, toilet seat, toilet flush handle, the floor around the toilet, and floor around the sink in restrooms. The study, “Microbial Biogeography of Public Restroom Surfaces,” found that human-associated microbes were commonly found on restroom surfaces.

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