We all Nose about it. Washroom blues revisited

In our earlier posts we discussed how even in this day and age of high tech cleanliness it was possible for men to give an instant judgement on the cleanliness or not of urinals simply by their smell.

We suggested the benefits of a microbiological led approach to dealing with the bacteria that are the source of urinal smells.

Since then we have carried out the first of a number of trials using these products on our own facilities. This three-month trial will be repeated over the coming months using a variety of competing though similar biologically based cleaning and maintenance products.

Our first test product was Eco-Cubes available from www.eco-works.co.uk and was tested 25/02/09 – 25/05/09

For a charge of £60+vat for a trial pack we received 50 Eco-cubes, 1 litre of biological cleaner, a normal trigger spray and clear, simply understood laminated instructions for use by our cleaner.

The facilities being cleaned consisted of two urinals currently being used 50+ times per day with 70% of users favouring one particular urinal. We had only occupied the premises for a short period of 5 months and previously the facilities were subject to two or three times this level of usage by the original workforce.

Prior to the trial the urinal bottle traps were removed and thoroughly cleaned to remove scale build up. The waste pipes leading to the drainage system were not de-scaled immediately as this involved removing pipework that had been hidden behind fitted sinks. The water supply to the header tank was turned off.

Following the easy to use instructions 1 cube was placed in each urinal and the diluted washroom cleaner was used to clean the urinal, wall and floor surfaces around the immediate area. The urinal was then flushed with 3 litres of water.

Within days a noticeable difference to the smell of the whole facility was apparent. In addition the cleaner sprayed on the wall and floor surfaces thoroughly cleaned the area and lightened the grouting (especially the horizontal areas due to the longer dwell time) and also an area of Altro flooring underneath the more heavily used urinal which previously was stained / burnt by urine.

toilet paper

Normal daily cleaning took place till 17/04/09 when it became apparent that the urinals were not draining properly. On removing the traps and pipework it became apparent that there was a massive build up of loose scale within the drainage pipework. This was manually cleaned away and the water flow returned to normal and remained so throughout the balance of the trial period.

We believe that we may have compromised the trial by not descaling all the drainage pipework from the start as it was apparent that the blockage was caused by scale being sloughed off the inside of the pipework in large pieces as the biological cleaner attacked this build-up daily.

On completion of the trial we had 20 cubes remaining and 250mm of Washroom Cleaner.


The product was clearly capable of performing the cleaning task and produced a pleasant fragrance. By not adequately descaling the complete length of the drainage pipework we compromised the initial trail. It is intended to maintain the test programme till the end of August 2009 at which point all the pipework will be opened up to see if the build up has returned. No water was added to the urinals other than the 3 litres used daily in the cleaning programme.

The only negative observation made was that the appearance of the cubes in the urinal soon changed from a dark green/blue cube to a washed out irregular shape as it broke down in the urinal which was not aesthetically attractive.

The trial will continue till all the product is used at which point it will be possible to give an exact idea of the cost per urinal per day.

Columbus Dixon

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