We sometimes talk to clients who are concerned that waterless urinals might smell. Perhaps they’ve seen them onsite somewhere and found that there’s been an odour. Or perhaps someone has mentioned to them that they think waterless urinals smell. Or perhaps they think the only way you can stop urinals from smelling is to constantly be flushing them. The truth of the matter is that sometimes waterless urinals do smell, but when that happens the cause is always the same: they’re not being cleaned properly. If you clean your urinals properly then we guarantee that they’ll be odour-free. As one of the respondents to our recent customer survey wrote “anyone who has issues with odour cannot be maintaining the urinals correctly”.
What causes waterless urinals to smell?
The problem arises because waterless urinals need to be cleaned in a different way from traditional flushing urinals. Indeed, it’s critical that your waterless urinals must not be cleaned in the same way that you’d clean traditional flushing urinals. That’s because what works for flushing urinals is actively damaging for waterless urinals.
The good news is that the cleaning regime for waterless urinals is actually much less onerous that the equivalent for flushing urinals. The design of waterless urinals means they’re much easier to keep clean and odour-free if, and it’s a big if, your cleaners clean them correctly. That’s why it’s vital that when you install waterless urinals you also invest in proper training for your cleaning staff. Without that, you risk your staff damaging the urinals by cleaning them incorrectly and once that happens you can start to get issues with odour.
People often worry that if the urinal isn’t regularly flushed then this means that the bowl becomes less hygienic and will eventually begin to smell. However, the reverse is actually true. Every time you flush a urinal the limescale in the water used to flush starts to accumulate an absorbent layer in the urinal bowl. Bacteria can then develop in this layer and that results in odour. By contrast, the bowls of waterless urinals are made from a super-smooth polycarbonate or ceramic material to which deposits cannot stick. There’s nowhere that odour-causing bacteria can grow.
Make sure your cleaners don’t scrub the waterless urinals
All your cleaners need to do is spray the inside of the bowl regularly with MB ActiveCleaner, a microbiological cleaner that breaks down the urinal organically. It’s really important that your cleaners don’t scrub the interior of the waterless urinal bowls (as they’re probably used to doing with traditional flushing urinals) as doing this can damage the super-smooth surface and introduce microscopic cracks in which odour-causing bacteria can live.
Use the correct cleaning materials
It’s important too that you use the correct cleaning materials to take care of your waterless urinals. We recommend MB ActiveCleaner. That’s because MB ActiveCleaner has micro-bacterial spores in it which are activated as soon as they come into contact with anything organic, such as the fat, protein and other organic elements found in urine. As soon as the spores are activated they eat all the organic materials that they can find before falling dormant again. They then lie dormant until the next person comes along and uses the urinal.
Other non-biological cleaning products tend to mask odours by forming a temporary cover over the organic matter that can cause smells. This effect will only ever be temporary. In contrast, the bacterial agents in MB Active Cleaner are actively destroying the organic matter that causes odours and can also lead to blocked pipes. MB Active Cleaner also offers another benefit. If used regularly it starts to form a permanent protective layer on the surface that’s being cleaned, helping to further ensure that the area concerned stays clean and odour-free between cleans.
Sometimes people mistakenly think that MB Active Cleaner is more expensive than other cleaning products and so they switch to something they think is cheaper, not realising that the product is going to be much less effective and may even be damaging their urinals. In fact MB Active Cleaner is extremely economical as it can be used highly diluted. You can clean your urinals with a one to twenty solution which means that one bottle used on four urinals being sprayed twice per day will last for approximately four months.
Never put water down a waterless urinal
Another problem that can arise is when cleaners put water down a waterless urinal, perhaps when they’re cleaning them or perhaps at the end of their cleaning round when they have a bucket of dirty water they need to dispose of. It is absolutely critical that no water goes down your waterless urinals as water damages them.
When water and urine meet, the calcium in the water reacts with the uric acid in the urine and creates limescale deposits that block pipes. In traditional flushing urinals this problem is counteracted to some extent by the fact that there’s a continuous flush to wash these deposits away. However that’s not the case in waterless urinals. It only takes a small amount of water to hit a urine deposit and this limescale reaction will occur. Without a constant flush it won’t get washed away and over time these deposits will build up and block your urinal as well as causing issues with odour.
Treat your waterless urinals correctly and they won’t smell
If you’re investing in waterless urinals then it’s critical that you also invest in the training and education that’s necessary to ensure that the urinals are cared for correctly. If you clean your urinals correctly then we guarantee that they won’t smell. But the cleaning method for waterless urinals is different from that your cleaners will be used to using for your traditional urinals. You need to ensure that your cleaners understand how critical it is that they follow the waterless urinal cleaning instructions. The good news here is that the correct cleaning regime for waterless urinals is much less onerous and time consuming than that required for traditional urinals!
Watch our video guide to keeping your URIMAT urinals clean