Restroom Sanitation
Glossary of Terms

 This glossary includes information about:

 Restroom Sanitation Activities

Common Soils Found in Restroom Environment

Restroom Fixtures, Surfaces and Materials

Restroom Cleaning Tools and Chemicals

Restroom Safety Terms & Tools

Restroom Quality Standards, Tools, Measurements and Terms

Restroom Sanitation Scientific Terms

Common Restroom Problems and Complaints

Abrasion – Abrasion is the wearing away of a solid surface film by friction. For example, an abrasive hand pad can sometimes be used to remove stubborn marks from hard surfaces. It is important to use an abrasive material that will not damage the restroom surface being cleaned.

Abrasive Cleaners – Abrasive cleaners are products that clean through abrasive or scouring action. An example is a liquid cleanser with fine abrasives used to help break soils away from porcelain surfaces. 

Absorption – Absorption is a process in which one substance absorbs another substance onto or into its surface. For instance, a cotton cloth or wiper can absorb sticky soils and liquids transferring the soils from the restroom surface to the cotton cloth.

Adhesion – Adhesion is a molecular attraction that holds the surfaces of two substances in contact. For example, sticky soils adhere or stick to the hard surfaces found in restrooms. Adhesion makes cleaning difficult. The adhesion of the soil to surface must be broken to completely remove the sticky soil.

Air Vent Covers – Air vent covers are fixtures that cover and protect air vents. They collect dirt and soils. Regular cleaning and/or vacuuming of these covers is important to reduce air particles caused when air currents transport these particles throughout the restroom.

Antimicrobial – Antimicrobials are substances that limit or prevent the growth of microorganisms. See Disinfectants.

Bacteria –Bacteria are microscopic single-cell living organisms responsible for illnesses such as staph infections, strep throat and food poisoning.  Bacteria are the most common of infectious agents. They cause disease when they gain entry into the body and multiply rapidly.  Disinfectant cleaners are used when cleaning restrooms to kill these harmful bacteria. Killing the bacteria makes the restroom a healthier place.  See Germs. See Disinfectants.

Baseboards – Baseboards are also known as mop boards or floor skirts. They are located at the foot of an interior wall to improve appearance and protect the wall.  The baseboards collect soil and need to be cleaned regularly.

Basic Rules of Restroom Cleaning – Basic rules of restroom cleaning include cleaning from high to low, work from the back of the restroom towards the doorway and do dry work before wet work.

Benchmarks – Benchmarks are standards for measuring performance. Benchmarks are a tool for stating concrete objectives, setting program and budget priorities and measuring performance. Benchmarks give us something to achieve. Best practices used by the best in a field are often used as benchmarks. The best benchmarks are those with emphasis on measuring results rather than efforts.

Beverage Residues – Beverage residues are sticky deposits caused from spills of soft drinks, coffee, tea or other beverages.

Black Light (UV) – Black light is an ultraviolet light device that can be used effectively to locate flavins (food source for bacteria) on restroom fixtures.

Black Marks – Black marks are dark colored deposits on hard floor surfaces typically caused from shoes and equipment casters.

Blood – Blood is a body fluid that is difficult to remove from surfaces. Blood deposits or spills must be cleaned up properly and promptly.

Bloodborne Pathogens – Bloodborne pathogens are microorganisms that are present in human blood (or body fluids) and can cause disease in humans. Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) are of primary concern.
Body Fluids – Body fluids can be found on many restroom surfaces. Urine, perspiration, blood, saliva and vomit are examples of body fluids that are deposited in a public restroom. These body fluids can contain a variety of harmful germs. Care should be taken when cleaning up any body fluid.
Bowl Brush – Bowl brush is a tool used to scrub out toilets. It is more aggressive than the bowl swab, but is sometimes needed when toilets are heavily soiled. The first choice for scrubbing out toilets or urinals is to use the bowl swab. See Bowl Swab.
Bowl Swab – Bowl swab is a tool used for scrubbing out toilets and urinals on a daily basis. A bowl brush can be used when toilets or urinals before heavily soiled. See Bowl Brush.

Brush – Brush is a tool consisting of bristles or hair inserted into a block made from wood or plastic. This brush and block is attached to a handle and used for scrubbing and cleaning.  All brushes are not created equal.  The fibers, block and handle can be made from a variety of materials. The brush needs to be selected to be consistent with the specific cleaning or maintenance needs.

Bucket – Buckets are vessels, usually cylindrical, with a flat bottom and a semi-circular bail or handle for collecting, carrying or holding cleaning solutions. See Mop Bucket.
Build Ups – Build-ups describe an accumulation of soils or residues on a surface. For example, the toilets have a heavy build-up of mineral stains and will need special attention.
Bulky Trash – Bulky trash includes crumbled paper and other large pieces of debris found on a restroom floor. This bulky trash should be removed first when cleaning a restroom. 

Cabinets – Cabinets are storage compartments with shelves and cupboards. They are sometimes found in a restroom above or below the sink areas.

Can Liner Disposal – Can liner disposal is important. The can liners should be removed from the trash container and tied properly before being transported to the proper dumpsite. New can liners should be installed correctly to allow for efficient trash containment and removal.

Can Liners – Can liners are plastic bags designed for inside garbage and waste cans to contain messy, wet and sticky trash. This keeps the waste containers clean and makes cleaning them up easier.

Capture – Capture means to catch, hold or grab onto a soil or substance. For instance, a sponge, wiper or cleaning cloth can capture and hold soils when used to clean a surface.

Ceramic Tile – Ceramic tile is commonly used for restroom floors. Ceramic tiles come in small square shapes and are installed with grout joints.

Chemical Cleaning – Chemical cleaning is a method that uses a chemical cleaning agent instead of mechanical or abrasive agents to remove soil.  An example of a chemical cleaning agent used for restroom sanitation is the toilet bowl cleaner. Most professional cleaning tasks require the combination of chemical and mechanical cleaning agents. For example, when cleaning a toilet bowl, a toilet bowl chemical is used to loosen the stubborn toilet stains or soils and the toilet bowl brush is used to mechanically scrub away stubborn stains.

Chemical Dispensing System – Chemical dispensing systems are mechanical mixing centers where concentrated cleaners are accurately blended with water with a simple push of a button.  These systems automatically produce a ready-to-use product that is dispensed into a spray bottle or directly into mop buckets, autoscrubbers or carpet cleaning equipment.  See Quick Mix Blend Center.

Chewing Gum – Chewing gum is a sticky and glue like substance that bonds to surfaces. It can be difficult to remove depending upon its location and length of contact with the surface.

Clay – Clay is a natural, earthy material that can tightly attach itself to surfaces making removal difficult.

Clean – Clean means free from soils, oils, grease, spots, smudges, smears, fingerprints, hand prints and dirt; unsoiled; unstained

Cleaner – Cleaner is a chemical or device used to help remove soils.

Cleaning – Cleaning is the process of removing pollutants from the environment and putting them in their proper place. Cleaning is the process of locating, identifying, containing, removing and properly disposing of unwanted substances from the restroom environment. It is our most powerful means of managing our immediate surrounding and protecting our health. 

Cleaning Objective – Our cleaning objective in cleaning is to reduce human exposures to soils and pollutants.

Cleaning Standards – Cleaning standards precisely identify what needs to be cleaned, how it needs to be cleaned, how to organize the cleaning, and what the object being cleaned should look like when cleaning is complete.

Clogged Drains – Clogged drains are a common restroom complaint. They are caused when hair and other substances collect and plug up the drain. 

Concentration – Concentration refers to the amount of dissolved substances in a given solution. For instance, Quick Mix products are highly concentrated. This means that they can be diluted with high levels of water to produce effective cleaning products.

Contact Points – Contact points are the locations in a restroom that are contacted by people regularly. These contact points can spread germs. Restroom contact points include door knobs/handles, soap dispensers, water faucet handles and light switches.

Contact Time – Disinfectants require a specific contact time to ensure that they kill the restroom germs. This is usually between five and ten minutes. It is important to plan your steps so the cleaners will have time to work.

Contain – Contain means to hold or include within its volume or area. For instance, the soil from the floor was contained in the mop fiber after wet mopping.

Contaminate – Contaminate means to pollute, make unclean or dirty.

Core Competencies – Core competencies are those things that a custodian MUST know to mean the cleaning and performance standards of your organization.

Corners – Corners are the meeting place of two converging walls or surfaces. They are often difficult to reach and clean. Extra care should be taken to see that all corners are properly cleaned.

Countertops – Countertops are commonly found in restrooms next to sinks or underneath mirrors. These surfaces can be made from a variety of materials and should be cleaned and disinfected at least daily.

Custodial Cart – Custodial carts are important mobile storage and supply stations to help improve efficiency and reduce travel time between supply closets and work areas. They should be kept clean and organized as well as properly stocked with the appropriate supplies.

Custodial Closet – Custodial closets are where all the cleaning tools, equipment, maintenance supplies and cleaning chemicals are stored. This area should be kept clean, neat and well organized at all times.

Custodian – Custodian is the name used to describe a professional cleaning person in a facility. See Housekeeper. See Janitor.

Custodian Self-Assessment – Custodian self-assessment is a process that encourages custodians to assess their own work at the time they complete it. This will allow them to evaluate and measure their own work and progress to improve their own performance.

Decontaminate – Decontaminate means to remove the contamination. See Clean.

Deep Cleaning – Deep cleaning is required when the restroom environment is out of control and needs restoration. The need for deep cleaning can be caused by maintenance neglect or by heavy restroom traffic.

Defect – Defects or damage to restroom surfaces should be reported promptly to supervisors to allow for proper repair and servicing.

Degreaser – A Degreaser is a chemical that dissolves and helps remove greases and oils.  Quick Mix Heavy Duty Cleaner is an example of a degreaser.

Deodorizer – A Deodorizer is a chemical used to remove or eliminate unpleasant odors.  Quat disinfectants are very effective deodorizers when used according to label directions.

Detergent – Detergent is a chemical composition that cleans. Quick Mix General Purpose Cleaner is an example of a detergent. Detergents are also known as cleaners or cleaning agents.

Dilute – Dilute means to reduce the strength of a concentrate by adding water.

Dilution Ratio – Dilution ratio refers to the ratio of chemical concentrate to water, when diluted. For instance, when one part chemical is added to four parts water, we call that a 1:4 dilution ratio.

Dirt – Dirt is any foul or filthy substance. For instance, mud, grime, soil, and dust can be considered dirt. See Soil.

Dirty – Dirty means unclean, undesirable or unpleasant.

Disinfectant – Disinfectant is a chemical product designed to kill and remove most pathogenic microorganisms found on inanimate surfaces in a restroom.  See Disinfectant-Cleaner.

Disinfectant-Cleaner – A Disinfectant-Cleaner is any chemical used to clean objects while also destroying unwanted microorganisms. Disinfectant-cleaners are sometimes called one-step disinfectant-cleaners. Virustat DC is an example of a disinfectant-cleaner. It dilutes at ½ ounce per gallon of water to make an effective disinfectant-cleaner. See Disinfectant.

Disinfecting – Disinfecting is the process used to kill germs located on fixtures and surfaces in the restroom.  An appropriate disinfectant-cleaner like Quick Mix Virustat DC is used for this purpose. It should be mixed and used according to label directions.

Dispensers – A restroom contains a variety of fixtures for dispensing paper towels, hand soap, toilet tissue, toilet seat covers, feminine hygiene products and condoms. These dispenser not only need to be properly filled, but also must be thoroughly cleaned. See Soap Dispensers. See Towel Dispensers. See Toilet Tissue Dispensers.

Dispose – Dispose means to discard or get rid of unwanted soils or materials and put them in a particular or suitable place.

Door Knobs/Handles – Door knobs and handles are common contact points where germs can be transmitted from one person to another. They should be carefully cleaned and disinfected regularly to prevent infections. See Contact Points. See Transient Germs. See Resident Germs.

Doors – Doors are movable, usually solid, barriers intended for opening and closing. There are plenty of doors in most buildings. Care should be taken to clean both sides of bathroom doors and partitions.  See Partitions.

Drinking Fountains – Drinking fountains are water fountains that eject a jet of water for drinking without a cup. They are frequently located outside restroom entrances. Care should be taken to clean and disinfect them often. Disinfecting around the water jet area is important.

Dry – To remove moisture from a surface. For instance, wipe the mirror dry after washing it with a cleaner. 

Dust – Particles light enough to be suspended in air.  See dusting for more information about removal of dust.

Dusting – The process of removing dust particles from hard surfaces. A damp cloth, sponge or wiper can be an effective dusting tool. Wool dusters and wipers can also be used if approved by your supervisor. Be careful to use a dusting method that does not stir up dust particles into the surrounding air. These particles can be harmful to people with asthma or respiratory illnesses.

Elbow Grease – Elbow grease refers to a custodian using physical strength or exertion to help clean a surface. For instance, a cleaning chemical may loosen a stubborn soil, but a little elbow grease will help finish the job and effectively clean the surface.

Eliminate – To remove or get rid of an undesirable substance.

Empty – Dump or dispose of the contents of a container. For instance, empty the trash container or empty the mop bucket when the solution becomes dirty.

Enzymes – Complex proteins produced by living cells. These proteins substances are sometimes used to clean out floor drains to eliminate odors.  Enzyme Plus is an example of an enzyme cleaning agent.

Eye Wash Stations – Eye wash stations are locations in a building where special eye washing equipment is available.  It is important that all custodians know how to operate and know the location of the eye wash station located in their work area.

Fecal Matter –  Fecal matter is waste excreted or discharged from the body.  Feces contain fecal coliform bacteria that can cause diseases. It is important to wear gloves and use the appropriate disinfectant-cleaner when removing feces from the restroom.

Film – Film is a thin layer or coating of a substance on a surface. For instance, the mirror had an oil film on it.

Finish Mops -- Finish mops are made of rayon or similar synthetic blends to produce a fiber mop that will absorb the floor finish but then easily allow the liquid finish to transfer from the fiber mop onto the floor when finish is applied to the floor.

Flavins – Organic matter commonly found where high levels of bacteria are present inside a restroom. They are easily seen with the naked eye when exposed to ultraviolet light (black light).  These are great indicators for the presence of bacteria.

Floor Drain Cover – The protective cover installed over the drain hole located in the restroom floor. The holes in the drain cover allow water to drain from the restroom floor, but keeps larger materials from entering the floor drain.

Floor Drain Problems – Drain problems are commonly caused by buildup of soap residue, body oils and dirt that become sticky and attract other materials going down the drain.  Paper, hair and debris are all examples of residues that can cause drain problems.

Floor Drains – A hole or opening located on some restroom floors to allow water to drain from the floor surface into the sanitary sewer.

Flush – To wash away. For instance, flushing the toilet washes away the water and all the contents and sends them down the drain.

Fungi  -- Fungi are advanced multicellular organisms that can be infectious and harmful. Mold and mildew are examples of fungi.  The fungus, trichophyton mentaprophytes is commonly known as Athlete’s Foot.

Germ – Germ is a simple name for small microorganisms including bacteria, viruses and fungi. These microscopic organisms are found throughout the restroom environment. See Resident Germs. See Transient Germs.

Germicide – Germicide is another name for disinfectant or biocide.

Glass Cleaner – Glass cleaner is a light to medium duty cleaning agent designed for cleaning a variety of glass and window surfaces.

Gloves, Rubber – Gloves provide hand protection and must be worn when using all restroom sanitation cleaners. 

Goggles, Safety – Goggles provide eye protection and must be worn when using all restroom sanitation cleaners. 

Graffiti – Graffiti are words or phrases written on public restroom walls and surfaces.

Grease – A sticky soil sometimes found in restrooms.

Grit – Fine, abrasive particles can be deposited onto a variety of hard surfaces including floors and walls. 

Grout – A thin, coarse mortar poured into various narrow cavities, as masonry joints to connect restroom floor tiles.

Hand Held Mirrors – An inspection and training device that can be used to inspect the underneath lip of a toilet or urinal. This mirror allows us to inspect hard to see areas inside the restroom environment.

Hand Prints – Handprints are caused by body oils or perspiration transferring from hands to hard surfaces. For instance, hand prints are frequently found on glass entry doors and mirrors.

Hand Soap, Bar – Hand soap bars are a solid bar of soap. They are typically found in hotel guest rooms or shower rooms. They are slippery and can leave soap buildups when they are left in a soap dish or shower wall soap dish.

Hand Soap, Liquid – Hand soap liquids are found in a variety of restrooms. These liquid hand soaps can be dispensed from wall-mounted, countertop-mounted or individual containers.

Hand Soap, Powdered – Hand soap powders are sometimes used in restrooms adjacent to garages and engineering areas. The powdered hand soaps are more aggressive than liquid hand soaps. They are effective for scrubbing stubborn grease from hands.

Handicap Rails – Handicap rails are found in a variety of modern restrooms. They are metal rails installed next to toilets to assist handicap users. They can collect dirt and need to be cleaned and disinfected routinely.

Handwashing – Frequent hand washing is the single most effective strategy in reducing the spread of germs and disease. Proper handwashing includes vigorous, rubbing together of all surfaces of lathered hands, followed by rinsing under a stream of water.

Handwashing Facts – A European study confirmed that only 53 percent actually washed their hands with soap; 20 percent merely rinsed their hands with water; and 27 percent didn’t wash at all.

 Health – Health is the state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.  We should keep in mind that when we properly clean restrooms, we make them healthier.

Housekeeper – Housekeeper is the name used to describe a professional cleaning person in a hospital or health care facility. See Custodian. See Janitor.

Housekeeping – The routine daily and weekly activity of keeping things in their proper place. It includes such periodic tasks as properly storing things, emptying trash, cleaning toilets/urinals, washing walls and mopping floors.

Housekeeping Carts – Housekeeping carts are important mobile storage and supply stations to help improve efficiency and reduce travel time between supply closets and work areas. They should be kept clean and organized as well as properly stocked with the appropriate supplies. See Maid Carts. See Custodial Carts.

Infection – Infection is the invasion and multiplication of germs in the body.

Inspect – Inspect means to look carefully at something. For instance, all custodians should inspect their work carefully before they go onto the next task or project.

Janitor – Janitor is the name used to describe a professional cleaning person in a facility. See Custodian. See Housekeeper.

Kick Plates – Kick plates are metal or durable material plates fastened to the bottom of a door to resist blows and scratches.

Labels – The document attached to chemical containers that provide details about the product, safety precautions and application procedures.  Be sure cleaning workers read, understand and comply with cleaning product labels to ensure safety while working.

Ledges – Ledges are narrow, shelf like projections. They can be found in a variety of locations throughout a restroom including the tops of partitions or along walls or above doorways.

Lifting Techniques – Proper lifting techniques are very important during cleaning operations. Bending your knees, keeping your back straight and maintaining a proper grip are all valuable tips when lifting heavy equipment or fixtures.

Light Fixtures – Light fixtures are the mechanisms that hold or contain the light bulbs or lamps. They usually have horizontal and vertical ledges that can collect dirt and dust.

Light Switch – Light switches are on-off controls that the power to the light fixtures. They can be found in a variety of restroom locations. Light switches are common contact points where germs can be transmitted. See Contact Points.

Linoleum – Linoleum is a floor covering formed by coating burlap or canvas with linseed oil, powdered cork and rosin. Colored pigments are added to create the desired pattern and color.  Because of its low cost, linoleum still sees wide use, but it is not durable and has a tendency to crack. It has been widely replaced with sheet vinyl in commercial buildings. Linoleum is very sensitive to alkalis, acids and solvents. See Marmoleum.

Maid Cart – Maid carts, custodial carts and housekeeping carts are mobile carts used to stock and transport cleaning supplies to and from the restroom during cleaning and servicing.

Maintenance – Care and upkeep of the surrounding restroom environment.  It includes care of custodial closet, cleaning equipment and tools.

Marks – Marks are visible impressions or traces upon a surface. Marks should be removed or repaired promptly.

Marmoleum – Marmoleum is a linoleum type floor covering formed by coating burlap or canvas with linseed oil, powdered cork and rosin. Colored pigments are added to create the desired pattern and color. Linoleum is very sensitive to alkalis, acids and solvents. See Linoleum.

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) – Material safety data sheets or MSDSs are important documents that provide valuable information about chemical products. The MSDS tells us the name of the chemical products, its hazards, how to protect ourselves when using the product and what to do in case of an emergency. You should read the MSDS before using any cleaning product. Ask your supervisor if you do not know where the MSDS for your product is stored.

Medical Waste – Medical waste is hazardous material that must be disposed of in biohazard containers. Special regulations and requirements control how this type of waste can be disposed. Never put medical waste in the normal trash receptacles.

Metal Fixtures – Metal fixtures can be found in a variety of locations within a restroom.  Soap dispensers, towel dispensers, tissue dispensers, doors, latches, doorknobs, handles, handicap railings, trimming and light fixtures are just a few of the many examples of possible metal fixtures found in the restroom.

Microbes – Microbes are microscopic organisms such as viruses, bacteria and fungi.  Disinfectant-cleaners are designed to kill disease-causing microbes.

Microorganisms – Bacteria, fungi and viruses are the pathogenic microorganisms that must be controlled through careful cleaning and maintenance, especially in restroom.

Mildew & Mold – A fungus that grows in warm, moist areas.  Some restroom floors and walls can grow mildew. It is difficult to remove. A disinfectant-cleaner combined with elbow grease and a brush or hand pad can effectively remove mildew.

Mineral Deposits – Mineral deposits can form on toilet, urinal, sink and shower surfaces and leave a hard, scaly residue that is extremely difficult to remove.

Mirror, Inspection – An inspection mirror can be used as a training device or to inspect the underneath lip of a toilet or urinal. This mirror allows us to inspect hard to see areas inside the restroom environment.

Mirrors – Mirrors are reflective surfaces usually made from glass with a silvery metallic backing. These surfaces can show fingerprints, streaks and spotting. Care should be taken when cleaning them to remove all smudges, streaks, spots and film.

Mop Bucket – Mop buckets are designed for a wet mop to we submerged and then wrung out in the mop wringer prior to being used to mop the floor. Mop buckets have casters to allow it to be easily moved around the floor. See Mop Wringer.

Mop Handle – Mop handles are made of wood, plastic or metal and are designed to hold a wet mop or finish mop head.

Mop Head – Mop heads are made of cotton, rayon or synthetic blends. They come in several sizes including 16 ounce, 24 ounce and 32 ounce. Wet mops are made of cotton fibers to hold onto the dirty mop solution. Finish mops are made of rayon or similar synthetic blends to produce a fiber mop that will absorb the floor finish but then easily allow the liquid finish to transfer from the fiber mop onto the floor when finish is applied to the floor.

Mop Wringer – Mop wringers are the devices that attach to the mop bucket and will squeeze excess solution from the wet mop heads or finish mop heads before they are used. They are commonly made from plastic or metal.

Mopping – Mopping is the process of cleaning the floor using a mop fastened to the end of a handle for washing floors.

Neat – Neat is a word that implies orderly and organized. For instance, the custodial closet should be kept in a neat, orderly and organized condition at all times.

Odor Complaints – Odor is a common complaint in restrooms. Our sense of smell is very important to how we perceive clean. An unpleasant odor tells us that the area is unclean.  It may not be true that a bad odor means the area is dirty, but the perception of the occupant rules. 

Oil – Oil is a stubborn soil that is typically petroleum or vegetable based. Oils can be carried and transferred into restrooms on human hands, footwear or clothes.

Organize – We should organize and plan our work before we begin cleaning the restroom. See Preparation.

Paint – Paint can either be latex (waterbased) or enamel (solvent-based). Painted surfaces in restrooms should be cleaned too. Care should be taken to select cleaning agents that will not harm the painted surfaces.

Paper Towel Dispensers -- A restroom or washroom fixture or accessory designed to hold and dispense toilet tissue. They come in a variety of sizes, shapes and materials depending upon the specifications.

Paper Towels – Paper towels are supplied in restrooms to service the people that use them. Paper towels should be installed in the appropriate towel dispensers during each cleaning and/or servicing of the restroom.

Partition Door – Partition doors are the entry doors leading into the toilet stalls. The backs of partition doors are frequently missed during the cleaning process.

Partition Walls – Partition walls are the walls that surround the toilet stalls or separate the urinal fixtures.

Partitions – Partitions are walls or separators installed in restrooms to provide privacy or protection. They are commonly used as form toilet stalls and separate urinals and sink areas.

Pathogens – Microorganisms that can cause disease.  Public restrooms have plenty of pathogens.  Disinfectants are used in restrooms to kill these pathogens. Examples of pathogens commonly found in restrooms include bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Periodic Cleaning – Periodic cleaning refers to cleaning that needs to be completed on a periodic basis. For instance, air vents in restrooms should be cleaned once weekly is an example of periodic cleaning.

Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) – Personal protection equipment is designed to protect the worker from exposure to germs, chemicals and other hazardous substances. Rubber gloves, goggles and appropriate footwear are examples of personal protection equipment. All workers are required to wear appropriate PPE at all times during cleaning and  disinfecting.

pH – pH is a measure of acidity and alkalinity on a scale from 0 to 14 where 7 is neutral. A pH less than 7 is acid.  A pH greater than 7 is alkaline.

Pick Up – Pick up in cleaning refers to picking up trash, debris or soils.

Planning – Planning is an important part of effective cleaning. We should plan our work and work our plan.

Plastic – Plastics are used to manufacture a variety of surfaces found in a restroom.  Soap dispensers, toilet tissue dispensers, towel racks and door handles can all be made of plastics.

Police – Police in cleaning is a military term meaning to pick up or clean the area.

Polish -- Polish or polishing means to shine or make smooth and glossy. For example, he polished the sink handles and faucet after carefully cleaning them.

Preparation – Preparation is an important first step when beginning any cleaning task in the restroom. Gathering the proper supplies and making certain the restroom is unoccupied before entering are two important preparation steps when cleaning restrooms.

Procedures – Procedures are the act or manner of proceeding with a process. A process is a systematic series of actions directed to some end. For instance, the procedures used to complete the process of cleaning a toilet include flushing the toilet, pouring the toilet bowl cleaner into the toilet, allowing it to stand for five minutes, brushing the toilet bowl with a swab etc.

Putty Knife – Putty knife is a tool sometimes used by cleaning professionals for a variety of tasks including the removal of sticky substances like gum and candy found on restroom floors.

Quarry Tile – Quarry tiles are sometimes used for restroom floors. They are square stone tiles, commonly red in color and joined together with grout.

Quaternary Ammonium Chlorides – This is the chemical agent used to make the disinfectant-cleaner used to kill the germs in the restroom. They kill the germs by rupturing the cell wall of the germ causing it to die. Quaternary ammonium compounds, commonly known as quat, is a safer and more economical disinfectant than bleach or pine oil, which are harsh and can be corrosive to skin and surfaces.

Quick Mix Blend Center – Chemical dispensing systems are mechanical mixing centers where concentrated cleaners are accurately blended with water with a simple push of a button.  These systems automatically produce a ready-to-use product that is dispensed into a spray bottle or directly into mop buckets, autoscrubbers or carpet cleaning equipment.  See Chemical Dispensing System.

Remove – Remove means to take away, withdraw or eliminate.

Replenish – Replenish refers to filling the restroom dispensers. This includes replenishing toilet tissue, towels, soap, toilet seat covers and sanitary napkins.

Resident Germs – Resident germs are microorganisms that live, reside and multiply on the body or skin.

Residues – Residues are substances that remain on a surface after a liquid evaporates. Water spots and mineral stains are examples of residues. See Soils.

Restock – Restock refers to replacing supplies in the custodial closet as they are used. A minimum stocking level should be established for each supply item to indicate when supplies need to be ordered.

Restroom Closed Signs – Signs that are ready to be displayed outside restrooms informing people that the “Restroom is Closed for Cleaning”

Restroom Complaints – The most common restroom complaints include: unpleasant odors, dirty floors, unclean toilets and urinals, empty paper or soap dispensers, and dirty sinks, partitions or mirrors.

Restroom Facts --  Average Americans use the restroom seven times a day. American workers visit the restroom, at work, between 3 and 3.5 times per day. The typical female will spend about two minutes in a stall while a male will spend about four minutes in a stall.  Source: Scott Paper Company Study

Restroom Sanitation – The cleaning, disinfecting and management of the restroom environment.

Restrooms – An organized place where humans can wash their hands and use the toilets and/or urinals for disposal of human feces and urine. Restrooms are where cleanliness counts. Restrooms are one of the most heavily used areas in any building. 

Routine Cleaning – Routine cleaning refers to cleaning that is scheduled and completed on a regular basis.  Most restroom cleaning tasks are done daily.  Toilet cleaning and disinfecting is an example of a routine cleaning task. 

Sand – Sand is made of small grains of rock that are tracked onto restroom floors from footwear. Sand is difficult to remove because it is not water-soluble and cannot be easily picked up with a wet mop. Heavy deposits of sand should be removed by sweeping or vacuuming.

Sanitary Napkin/Tampon Dispensers – Sanitary Napkin dispensers are restroom or washroom fixtures or accessories designed to contain and dispense women’s sanitary napkins or tampons.  The dispensers are available in a variety of sizes, shapes and materials depending upon the specifications.

Sanitary Napkins/Tampons – Sanitary napkins or tampons are feminine hygiene devices that can clog toilets and sinks.

Sanitation – Sanitation is the process of putting an environment into a state that will not harm human health. For instance, properly cleaning and disinfecting the restroom will reduce the human health risks by killing the harmful germs.

Secondary Container – Secondary containers are containers or bottles that are used to hold and dispense cleaning products. They are called secondary because the cleaning product is dispensed from the primary (original) chemical container into the second or secondary container for use. Be sure to follow all secondary container label requirements.

Secondary Container Labels – Secondary container labels are required on all secondary containers of cleaning products. The secondary container label must include the name of the chemical product on the primary container and all warning labels located on the primary container.

Sequence – Sequence is the order that the cleaning activities are done.  Quality restroom sanitation can be maintained by following an orderly pattern of sequence and movement. The order of the jobs may need to be varied according to the characteristics of the particular restroom or cleaning schedules. But a pre-determined sequence of cleaning restrooms will improve efficiency and ensure quality.

Sheet Vinyl – Sheet vinyl is a flooring material sometimes used in restrooms. It has the appearance of linoleum, but is significantly more durable.

Sinks – Sinks in restrooms are washbasins, basins or receptacles usually connected with a water supply and drainage system for washing hands and face.

Soap Dispensers – Soap dispensers are restroom accessories designed to contain and dispense handwashing or antimicrobial hand soap. They can dispense either liquids or powders depending upon their design. The dispensers are available in a variety of sizes, shapes and materials depending upon the specifications.

Soils – Soils are spots, marks, residues or stains caused by soiling.  Soils can be caused by oils, greases, fires, clay, sand, dust, smoke etc.

Splattering – Splattering occurs when liquids are scattered in small particles or droplets onto restroom surfaces.

Sponge – Sponge is an absorbent tool used to wipe and clean surfaces.

Spot Cleaning – Spot cleaning refers to cleaning that is done in various locations where soils are readily visible. Spot cleaning is sometimes done between the times when full surface cleaning is scheduled. Floors and walls are sometimes spot cleaned during the day to keep them looking acceptable until the professional cleaning staff can complete the full cleaning.

Squeegee – Squeegee is an implement edged with rubber for removing water from the floors. A window squeegee is also sometimes used to remove water and cleaning solution from mirrors and/or windows.

Stainless Steel – Stainless steel is a metal used for expensive restroom fixtures including dispensers, safety bars, countertops and sinks.

Standards --  Standards communicate the acceptable and expected level of appearance and performance. Standards compare current appearance and performance to expected appearance and performance. Unless Standards are clearly stated and understood they can never be achieved. Standards define the level of quality expected after an area or object has been cleaned. Standards represent the “measuring sticks” to establish productivity and performance guidelines.

Sweat – Human perspiration that can stain or leave residues on a variety of surfaces.

Sweep – Sweep refers to the removal or dust, dirt etc. from the floor by passing a broom or brush over the surface and collecting it in a pile ready for disposal.

Temperature – Temperature is an important factor to consider when using disinfectants. Disinfectants are designed for use in all temperatures of water. A basic rule says, “the higher the temperature of the water, the more complete the disinfectant will clean. Use the hottest water available. CAUTION: Hot water can dull floor finishes.

Terrazzo – Terrazzo is a mosaic flooring composed of chips of broken stone, usually marble and cement. The floor is polished after being poured into place.

Time Standards – Generally accepted times for properly completing a cleaning procedure or task. Time standards are established by an organization like the International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA). For example, the ISSA time standard for general washroom maintenance cleaning, sanitizing and restocking of restrooms is 100 square feet per 90 minutes.

Toilet – A toilet is a bathroom fixture consisting of a bowl, usually with a detachable, hinged seat and lid, and a device for flushing. It is used for defecation and urination.

Toilet Bowl – Toilet bowl is the ceramic or porcelain bowl of a toilet.

Toilet Seat – Toilet seats are detachable, ringlike seats of plastic hinged to the top of a toilet bowl. They should be cleaned and disinfected daily using proper disinfectant-cleaner to prevent the spread of germs. Some toilet seats have a lid attached and others do not.

Toilet Seat Cover Dispensers -- A restroom or washroom fixture or accessory designed to contain and dispense toilet seat covers.  The dispensers are available in a variety of sizes, shapes and materials depending upon the specifications.

Toilet Seat Covers – Toilet seat covers are single-use, disposable, sanitary paper type products formed to fit the toilet seat to protect human skin from contacting the toilet seat surface.

Toilet Tank – Toilet tank is the reservoir or holding tank where water is held to allow flushing of the toilet.  Not all toilets have toilet tanks. Many public restrooms use water pressure to flush the toilet and do not rely on an attached toilet tank.

Toilet Tissue – Toilet tissue is a soft, lightweight, sanitized paper used in restrooms for personal cleanliness. It is also known as toilet paper and bathroom tissue.

Toilet Tissue Dispensers -- A restroom or washroom fixture or accessory designed to contain and dispense toilet tissue. The dispensers are available in a variety of sizes, shapes and materials depending upon the specifications.

Transient Germs – Transient germs hitchhike and transfer germs from one object or person to another object or person.

Trash Containers – Trash containers are the receptacles located in restrooms to allow easy disposal of used paper towels and trash. They are also known as garbage containers and trash receptacles.

Trigger Sprayer – Trigger sprayer is a device that attaches to a spray bottle to allow a cleaning product to be dispensed in a fine or coarse spray.

Trigger Sprayer Bottle – Trigger sprayer bottle is the container to which a trigger sprayer is attached to allow it to be used to dispense a fine or coarse spray.

Unclog – Unclog refers to removing an obstruction from a drain, sink or pipe.

Unpleasant Odors – Unpleasant odors are one of the most frequently reported restroom complaints made by customers that use public restrooms.

Uric Acid – Uric acid is a compound present in human urine that is left on the floor and other hard surfaces in a restroom.  Uric acid salts can be left on the floor and be difficult to remove. The use of a floor neutralizer can help loosen and remove uric acid salt deposits.

Urinal – Urinal is a restroom fixture used to catch, collect and flush urine. It is usually constructed of porcelain and attached to a water source and drain

Urinal Blocks – Urinal blocks are chemical blocks inserted into urinals to reduce unpleasant odors. They can become a problem when they dissolve and clog the urinal or make cleaning the urinal more difficult.

Urinal Screens – Urinal screens are plastic, perforated mats injected with pleasant fragrances to help control unpleasant odors. They do not dissolve and can be removed and disposed of as required.

Viruses  -- Viruses are very small. They invade the body cells and instruct the host cells to feed them and in turn they kill the cells.  Diseases caused by viruses include the common cold, influenza, hepatitis A and B, HIV-1, herpes, measles, mumps, rabies, rubella and small pox.

Wash Basins – Washbasins are also known as sinks. They are usually made of porcelain, porcelain enamel or stainless steel.

Washrooms – Washrooms are also known as restrooms.

Waste – Any unwanted material.

Water Fountains – Water fountains are also known as drinking fountains. They are often made of stainless steel and have a drinking water faucet.

Wet Floor Signs – Wet floor signs are warning devices to inform people of a potentially hazardous and slippery area. They should be installed outside all restrooms prior to any cleaning activities.

Wet Mop – Wet mops are made of cotton fibers to hold onto the dirty mop solution. They come in several sizes including 16 ounce, 24 ounce and 32 ounce.

Wet Mop Handle – See Mop Handles.

Wet Vacuum (WetVac) – Wet vacuums are sometime needed to remove large amounts of water caused by overflows or flooding. A wet vacuum or wet-vac is a machine that has the ability to suck up water from the floor using a vacuum motor and wet recovery tank. 

Wipers – Wipers are cloths or cloth-like materials used to clean soils and liquids.