Joe Tehan

By: Joe Tehan on June 24th, 2022

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How To Avoid Grout Odor: 3 Essential Commercial Cleaning Products

Grout can easily become the cause of a wide range of restroom odors.

Dirt and urine droplets travel down to the floor and make their way into the grout and cause odors that are hard to remove with regular cleaning methods. This is because grout is porous, and urine, dirt, and soils left on your floors can seep into the grout.

These contaminants become embedded into your grout, creating a breeding ground for odor-causing bacteria to grow. 

Cleaning and fully removing odors from your grouted floors is difficult once the dirt makes its way in, so you may want to avoid odors forming entirely. 

In this article, we’ll cover 3 key ways your facility can avoid odors from forming in the grout of your commercial restroom.

What Causes Odors In Restroom Grout?

Urine causes 90% of commercial restroom odors.

Urine contains uric acid, proteins, carbohydrates, and other byproducts that attract harmful bacteria. Whether urine is splashed onto the floor from toilets or is just from “bad aim”, once it settles into the grout, it becomes a host and food source for harmful bacteria.

Warm uric acid combined with the typical humid restroom environment makes it easy for the bacteria to continue growing. Harmful bacteria will feed on the urine and multiply for as long as the urine remains. As bacteria continues to multiply and grow, the foul urine odor will grow.  

As long as the urine is present in the grout of your restroom, the odor will also be present.

How Can I Avoid Odors in My Commercial Restroom Grout?

The easiest way to avoid odors in your grout is to prevent soil, moisture, and urine from seeping into the porous surface. 

We suggest 3 commercial restroom odor control products for keeping your facility’s  grouted floors free of malodors:

  1. Toilet/Urinal Mats
  2. Splash Guards/Urinal Screen
  3. Grout Sealer

1. Toilet/Urinal Mats

Not only can urine travel into your grout due to splashing or flushing, but your guests can track urine across your floor on the bottom of their shoes.urinal mat

Placing a toilet or urinal mat can help avoid this by holding any urine, moisture, and soils that may make their way to your floor. 

Toilet or urinal mats should be placed at the base of the toilet or beneath the urinal, where splashing is most likely to occur.

These mats can either be reusable or disposable.

The reusable toilet mats can be washed easily once they become soiled during use. Though these mats will not be a permanent solution, they can be replaced once they become too dirty.

Disposable toilet or urinal mats can be thrown out after a few weeks of use. These mats reduce the risk of urine seeping into the grouted floors and causing odors.

2. Splash Guards/Urinal Screen

Splash guards also commonly referred to as urinal screens,urinal screen can greatly reduce the risk of your guests splashing urine when they use the restroom.

A splash guard can be installed on the bottom of a urinal to keep urine droplets from splashing out of the toilet and onto the floors.

Depending on the type of odor control system you’re using in your restroom, you can use a splash guard that has a scent embedded in it. A splash guard with a scent can reduce the smell of urine in the restroom.

3. Grout Sealer

Another way to avoid odors in your restroom floor is to seal your commercial grout. grout sealer

Since grout is very porous, it is common for dirt, debris, moisture, and urine to seep into the grout and cause odors. This is why you should seal the grout in your restroom.

Grout sealer is a protective layer that is used to seal grout and help your cleaning staff avoid having to deal with odors. 

Instead of having to clean urine and odor-causing bacteria from your restroom grout, your janitorial team will just have to worry about cleaning the surface of your floors.

Grout sealer can also help prevent the growth of mold and mildew, which can contribute to grout odors in your restroom.

How Do You Get The Smell Out Of Grout?

If you don’t use the right product to clean your grouted floors, you could be facing a lingering odor that doesn’t go away with simple daily cleaning.

CERTO Odor Digester

Products, like aerosols, may help as a short-term fix, but you will want to get rid of the odor at the source. Odor control systems, like aerosols, simply cover the smell without addressing the cause of the odor itself.

To fully eliminate the source of the grout odor, you will need to clean your floors using a cleaning chemical designed to neutralize the source. 

This is because regular cleaning products do not effectively remove odors caused by urine and bacteria from grouted floors.

To remove odors, you should use an odor digester

An odor digester is a bio-enzymatic product that uses “good” bacteria to eat away at the bacteria that causes odors on the floors.

For the step-by-step instructions on how to clean urine smell from grout, read this article:

How to Successfully Eliminate Restroom Odors in 3 Easy Steps 


Final Thoughts

Preventing odors in your commercial grout is a key part of maintaining a good-smelling restroom in your facility.

You can avoid increased complaints and negative reviews by ensuring that your restroom grout isn’t holding onto smelly odors.

Using toilet/urinal mats, splash guards, and sealing your floors with grout sealer will help you avoid urine odors that are hard to clean and remove.

EBP and Imperial Dade have a wide range of restroom cleaning products and equipment for keeping your commercial restroom looking, smelling, and functioning at its best.

Contact an EBP specialist today for a review of your current restroom cleaning procedures to make sure you have the best products for your facility.

Interested in learning the 14 steps for cleaning a commercial restroom? Download our restroom cleaning checklist.

14 Step Guide to Cleaning a Commercial Restroom Poster-1

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About Joe Tehan

Joe Tehan is the Vice President of Services and Training for EBP Supply Solutions, with over 20 years of experience in the Chemical and Janitorial Industries. During the first part of his career, he primarily focused on helping customers solve their toughest warewash and laundry challenges. He specialized in developing effective warewashing and laundry programs that utilize one-pass washing, sustainable products & processes, and staff training to help customers achieve increased safety, improved cleanliness, cost-savings, & maximum operational efficiency. Today, Joe, who is an ISSA-CMI certified instructor, helps customers optimize their cleaning operation with innovative solutions, customized cleaning programs, and staff training.