Can You Smell That Smell? Tackling Locker Room Odors

by EnvirOx
Can You Smell That Smell? Tackling Locker Room Odors

If you're a cleaning professional who has cleaned locker rooms, you're likely very familiar with how challenging it can be. Whether it's custodians cleaning school locker rooms, or janitors at a private gym, these spaces can go from being thoroughly cleaned to disaster areas in no time at all. One of the more annoying aspects of cleaning a locker room is a reoccurring bad odor or malodor.

The first step, of course, is to make sure you're using an effective cleaning product that acts as a sanitizer. If you’re using a sanitizer but find that odors still return quickly, here are some other steps you can take1:

Keep Your Equipment Clean: Mops and buckets need to be cleaned daily and allowed to dry thoroughly. Mops, in particular, should be changed out often. If not, bacteria and other contaminants build up in them, and you're spreading them all around when you think you're cleaning.

Cleaning Ceilings: When you're cleaning a locker room, you've got floors, walls, showers, and fixtures to deal with already. So, you might not think of cleaning a ceiling right away. But, especially in locker rooms that get damp, humidity drifts upward. And that's where odor-causing bacteria can thrive. Cleaning ceilings can be messy work, but "spray-and-vac" solutions can be an excellent fit for this. The cleaning solution is sprayed on in a diluted form and then vacuumed up along with the contaminants.

Checking Drains: Pipes under drains are designed with bends in them to retain water, this stops sewer odors from working their way up a drain. But if you're cleaning a facility that's shut down for extended lengths of time (like a school) that water can evaporate. You might be tempted to grab the bleach and pour it down the drain. But there are better ways of dealing with the problem. You can turn on a faucet and let more water flow into the pipe, for one. A small amount of liquid primer can be used to prevent the water from evaporating over the summer.

Ventilation Systems: For the most part, a good HVAC is your ally in fighting against odors. That's because it helps locker rooms stay dry. This robs the most common causes of persistent locker room odors—bacteria, mildew, and mold—of their preferred damp breeding ground. However, the ventilation systems themselves can become breeding grounds for mold. Diagnosing and taking care of this problem requires specialized HVAC expertise, equipment, and cleaning agents. If odors are still common after taking the other steps, this is something you can recommend.

1. Kravitz, R. (2015). What's That Smell? Spaces4Learning. Retrieved from:

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