Making your Washroom Smell like a Rose (or whatever you want)

In my last blog I wrote about the various factors that cause malodours and the difficulties due to the location and materials within the washroom that can hinder the challenge to eradicate the bad smells.

You can imagine my relief when I opened my daily Toilet News to read:  WASHINGTON: Sick of smelly toilets, Microsoft founder Bill Gates has funded the development of an odour-blocking perfume.

Having read the story I think the Bill Gates Foundation could spend their money on something better, but hey, each to their own?

For those of us that don’t have a few billion lying around to eradicate smells, here are my thoughts on fragrances for toilets and some of the options that are out there for the commercial washroom space.   First and foremost, an air freshener, whatever the types work best with clean toilets.  So the less you clean the harder it becomes to hide the smells.

Air purifiers/ozone generators/odour eliminators

The manufacturers of these types of products will be aghast that I have lumped them together. The systems use one or multiple technologies to clean the air – in short destroying the organic particles in the air that cause the smell.  These can be great in high volume traffic areas, but they are expensive. They will reduce certain odours but leave a somewhat sterile smell.

Battery Operated Air Fresheners

The most common solution found in the commercial washroom space. There are far too many options to cover in this blog and I may do a product review page on all the brands I know at some point in the future but the advantage is that they are serviced regularly and a good service company will change the fragrance on every visit so that the toilets have a ‘new’, clean smell.  The fragrances will vary dependent on the service provider’s supplier, as will the quality of the fragrance but also it’s worth checking that the fragrance doesn’t clash with your cleaning products.  If you are using buckets of pine disinfectant to clean your toilets every day – best stick to pine.

Passive Air Fresheners

These are becoming more common, partially due to changes in the waste legislation.  Traditional dispensers have cans and batteries and both must now be accounted for as waste.  Passvie units use neither; they tend to have a bio technology which breaks down naturally over a period of time (A Gel or Oil) and releases fragrance as this process occurs.  It is key to site these dispensers where there is air flow i.e. next to a door or window so that the fragrance circulates but the difficulty is the consistency of fragrance.  These units will dry out quicker and be less effective dependent on the condition, temperature, air flow, etc.


New to the market is an Oxy-Gen fragrance dispenser.  This clever piece of equipment combines battery and passive. So it uses a battery to create a charge which displaces fragrance at regular intervals but relies on natural occurring airflow to circulate the fragrance.  It is a very clever system and the units are about 25% the size of a standard battery operated unit so very discreet.

Seasonal variants

Many independent washroom service companies will install a seasonal fragrance such as spiced apple and cinnamon, or winter berries or even tangerine – all smells associated with Christmas as part of your regular service call.

Whatever your fragrance needs I would recommend that speak to an IWSA member (Independent Washroom Services Association) to discuss what system works best for you, don’t be scared to ask for a 30 day free trial and make sure the fragrances work for you and your toilets!

Smelly Loo’s No More



The art of a clean smelling toilet starts with the clean.   Identifying the source of a bad smell can sometimes be very obvious, but when deciding on how you want your toilets to smell there are a lot of factors you have to consider.
I will cover some of them here but please, post specific questions if you have them.

A UV or blacklight is a great way to identify areas that are getting missed on the cleaning schedule
A UV or blacklight is a great way to identify areas that are getting missed on the cleaning schedule

Customer profile – male, female, adult, child or all?
Knowing the profile of the people that use your toilets will go a long way towards helping plan on how to keep the toilets smelling fresh. The profile can impact on how often the toilets are cleaned, but the composition of the toilet surfaces will have as much impact.

Age of the toilets
The older the facilities the more likely they are to smell.   Pipes leak, tiles crack, etc and these little things can create the opportunity for damp or algae and these can make toilets smell.

The fabric of the building
Tiles are great, but grout is not and then add in all the other surfaces in the washroom.     Most of these will require a different cleaning product – a toilet uses a more abrasive cleaning agent than a mirror does for example.     Add into this the organic matters that will be present in the washroom and that makes a lot of components that can combine to make a toilet ‘smell’.

The cleaning regime
Most commercial toilets are cleaned once a day.  Admittedly, many businesses now ‘check’ the toilets and have a dandy little signature sheet on the back of the door.  There is no guidance here on how often your toilets need cleaned but common sense should prevail.     I would recommend Delphis Eco cleaning products (   Personally, the smell of pine disinfectant or bleach fills me with dread and I find these mask smells and perhaps are hiding the issue..  By using a non or light fragranced smelling product you know when you have a problem.

Bacteria needs wet, dark and warm.   Many washrooms are wet and dark so by restricting the heat in a toilet you can reduce bacterial growth.  Turn radiators down and keep your toilet temperature a degree or two below your office temperature where possible.

Fix problems
Dripping taps not only waste water but help increase the humidity in a washroom which encourages algae growth.  A broken toilet seat is more difficult to clean. If your office printer was broken you’d get it fixed very quickly – the same should apply to a broken toilet seat.

These ideas are somewhere to start if your toilet is smelly, but if you need more advice just give us a call at Caledonian Washroooms – after all our motto is “If your Toilets Smell, give us a Bell”