The Importance of Restroom Cleanliness: How Bad Online Reviews Can Break Your Business

In a world where everything can be found on the Internet, the power of the review has become an increasingly prevalent factor in the success or demise of a business.

Word of mouth used to be the way things were passed on. But that was then.

Now, with online business review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google, and social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, customers are able to share their experiences instantly, helping others make decisions about restaurants, hotels, shops, and more.

Just how important are customer reviews? Very important. In fact, it’s said that 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business.

What’s interesting is, one might expect to see both positive and negative reviews. However, the truth of the matter is you are more likely to see a negative review than you are a positive review. Let’s face it, anyone can take a picture with their smartphone and upload it. But most people don’t bother for a good experience. And even when they do, research shows that positive reviews do not affect a business significantly. For instance, they do not boost hotel bookings.

On the other hand, negative reviews can tank hotel bookings—especially if someone is hellbent on slamming you. One 2016 study from Business Insider Intelligence suggests that one bad experience can require 12 positive experiences to nullify.

So, first impressions are key. And that’s especially true when it comes to bathrooms.

Think about that for a moment. What’s the first thing people do when they enter a hotel room? Most people check out the bathroom. A dirty bathroom will have them wondering if management cares about providing a safe and clean environment on the rest of the property—like in the restaurant kitchen, for example.

Clearly, the worst nightmare for a hotel is a picture of one of their bathrooms turning up online in a review titled “disgusting hotel bathroom.”

So, there’s a general understanding that bathroom cleanliness is important. However, it sometimes appears that management doesn’t always grasp just how important it truly is despite the fact that there is growing evidence that improving bathroom cleanliness can set a property apart and increase occupancy and revenue.

Perhaps not surprisingly, in a 2020 study by bathroom fixture manufacturer Kaldewei almost two-thirds of the people surveyed named a clean bathroom as the most important feature of a hotel. 

Actually, that makes perfect sense when you consider that people begin and end their day in the bathroom. Moldy grout, mildewy shower curtains, and dirty toilets make a terrible first impression. Hotel management must avoid these things like the plague. Same thing for restaurant operators.

According to a study published in FSR (a magazine for chefs, owners, operators, and other decision-makers in the restaurant industry), three in four Americans cite dirty restrooms as the top issue that would discourage them from visiting a hotel or a restaurant.

Of course, there are industry guidelines that outline how to clean a commercial restroom. But traditional standards mostly involve the use of bleach-based products that are tied to lung function decline in people who regularly use them. After all, bleach’s job is to kill bacteria.  

But bleach fumes also kill bits of your respiratory tract. It should come as no surprise that cleaning chemicals are the largest contributing risk factor for occupational illness and injury according to the Integrated Benefits Institute.

Let this sink in: According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), “…workers suffer more than 190,000 illnesses and 50,000 deaths annually related to chemical exposures.”

If that isn’t bad enough, chemicals disinfection is often ineffective. That’s because chemical disinfectants require that a surface first be cleaned before application, must be left on for minutes (dwell time), and leave a residue that must be rinsed off so it doesn’t breed more bacteria. 

Here’s the way the process often works now. To minimize exposure to toxins, cleaning staff wear—or should wear—personal protective equipment (PPE) as shown in the picture below. They load up with rags, brooms, mops, scrub brushes, and buckets, plus a cart full of expensive chemicals. They vigorously scrub the countertops and sinks. Then they clean the urinals and toilets before sweeping and mopping the floor. After that’s all competed, they go back over everything with a disinfectant.

As mentioned above, chemical disinfectants have dwell times (the amount of time the surface must remain wet for the disinfectant to be effective) and when they are not followed, the disinfectants are ineffective. You already know that. What you may not have known is that dwell times often exceed 10 minutes. This makes bathroom cleaning not only difficult but also time-consuming. So it is no wonder overworked cleaning staff take shortcuts, sometimes bypassing cleaning and going straight to disinfecting. But if you don't clean first the dirt and dust will block the disinfectants from doing their job.

Needless to say, Covid-19 has thrown the cleaning world upside down. Cleaning staff have been forced to dramatically increase how often and how deep they clean.

Now, just for a moment, imagine that cleaning crews are given a MondoVap® steam vapor system to help them do their job.

What does that mean? It means they can do their job faster and better. Without the harmful effects of toxic chemicals.

Imagine: An innovative nanotechnology called TANCS® that uses the mineral in tap water to disinfect thousands of time better than chemical disinfectants must meet to qualify as EPA registered.

Click here to watch a video that explains the science behind TANCS®.

Imagine no more chemicals, mops, scrub brushes, and buckets. Instead, staff use a MondoVap® to clean and disinfect all bathroom surfaces and high-touch areas. Instead of pushing around dirty water with a mop, they now clean, disinfect, and rinse—all in one easy step. And there’s no PPE to wear. Or SDS (Safety Date Sheet) to worry about.

Imagine cleaning showers, floors, and toilets with an EPA regulated device (EPA Est. No. 82121-WA-01) that is proven by science to kill more germ colonies (called biofilm) in 3 seconds that a 20-munites exposure to bleach. Incredible, right? Well…that’s exactly what the Department of Environmental Health at the University of Michigan found in a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control.

You should also take notice of a study where the University of Washington employed the MondoVap® to clean restrooms over a period of six weeks. In each case, the restrooms were markedly cleaner after steam vapor was applied as compared with traditional cleaning methods.

Click here to watch a MondoVap® training video from Kerry Rigg, an instructor for OSHA. Mr. Rigg has trained over 6,000 custodians during his career.

Even before the pandemic, one of the biggest challenges of running any business was keeping the restrooms clean. To be sure, clean restrooms have always been key to a loyal customer base and a successful business. But love ‘em or hate ‘em, online reviews have made clean bathrooms even more important.

With the majority of people reading online reviews before visiting a business and most indicating they’re more likely to visit a business that doesn’t have bad reviews, the impact of reviews on a business can’t be ignored. 

No business wants their guests to leave with a negative impression because of their restroom’s appearance. A bad review can stick around forever, even put a struggling business out of business.

Click here to learn more about the MondoVap®.

While much was written during the depths of the pandemic about updating cleaning procedures, and some businesses turned to fogging devices notwithstanding their questionable efficacy, the MondoVap® steam vapor system is proven by science to destroy a wide range of pathogens in mere seconds. And unlike foggers that spray chemical disinfectants, the MondoVap® cleans at the same time that it disinfects—using only tap water. In fact, the MondoVap® will get rid of mold, mildew and soap scum effortlessly. And unlike bleach, it will not degrade or discolor the surface of what is being cleaned. Or leave a residue that must be rinsed off. 

At the end of the day, not only will the MondoVap® improve bathroom appearance and increase customer satisfaction significantly, but it will also positively affect your bottom line.

Maybe it’s time you consider ditching your toxic bathroom cleaning products for a MondoVap®.