Why Do Urinals Stink?

by | Apr 9, 2021 | urinal odours


Commercial building managers too often accept urinals that stink. The reality is urinals that stink are not acceptable. Almost all urinals that stink are usually simple to rectify with essential maintenance and servicing.

Solving a urinal that stinks can be time-consuming if you don’t employ an experienced plumbing company to investigate the cause. Seldom is the stench or malodours a urinal issue.

The first step in solving that infamous male public bathroom malodour stink is to pinpoint the source of the stench.

Once the source is located, the best method for eliminating the source of the stink or malodour can be undertaken.

Male public toilets should not stink

Male public toilets that have the distinctive urine malodour generally only have that “charming” malodour for four main reasons:

  • inferior air extraction and ventilation systems
  • inferior cleaning procedures
  • floor waste traps that are inadequately maintained
  • urinals that are infrequently serviced and maintained

Inferior air extraction and ventilation

It is commonplace for a public toilet facility to have mechanical ventilation. However, inefficient ventilation systems that remove little air create hot and humid bathrooms.

You can check the extraction fans are working by placing a piece of toilet paper over the extraction grate. If the paper is not sucked into the extraction grate and falls to the floor, you have a problem.

If you believe you have poor air ventilation, you need to have it checked over by your air conditioning service company.

Inferior cleaning procedures

Non-compliant and fast-tracked cleaning procedures are the most common cause of urinal malodours.

Commonly this is a result of poor cleaning and low-cost chemical cleaning products such as bleach which only mask odours.

Poor cleaning procedures are easy to detect, with brown stains in and around the urinal. Generally, there will be urine stains on the floor because many males are bad shots when using the urinal.

Ensuring your cleaners receive training on cleaning urinals correctly will solve multiple odours and presentation issues in a public bathroom. In addition, trained cleaners combined with good quality urinal cleaning products such as Aquatemp Spray & Go Urinal Cleaner & Deodoriser will immediately eliminate urinal malodours.

Malodours emitted from the floor around urinals are common, especially with water-flushing urinals. This is created by water mist combined with urine settling on the floor in the tile grout. If the floors are not cleaned correctly, this bacteria will multiply continuously and rapidly. Cleaning the floors with specialist bathroom cleaning products such as No-Rinse Floor Cleaner will eliminate urinal malodours in the floor tiles.

Floor waste traps that are inadequately maintained

Floor waste in a male toilet should only be connected to the basins. However, this is not always the case, especially in older buildings.

One of the first things to check when locating the source of urinal malodours is to check that the urinals are not connected to a floor waste. If the urinals are connected to floor waste, then you need to install a one-way valve into the floor waste to stop odour emissions.

Another common malodour issue with floor waste drains is that the grates and pipe are never cleaned, allowing bacteria buildup. Frequently this will be accompanied by poor ventilation, which helps the odour-causing bacteria to multiply and thrive.

Unfortunately, this links back to incorrect cleaning procedures for toilet floors. That is why we recommend cleaning the floors with No-Rinse Floor Cleaner which will eliminate urinal malodours in the floor tiles and floor waste grates.

Urinals that are infrequently serviced and maintained

It remains our experience that too many building managers either fail to maintain their urinals or outsource their urinal servicing to cleaning and hygiene companies to reduce costs.

Not servicing urinals only ensures you will create more significant problems at some point in the future.

Outsourcing urinal servicing to cleaning and hygiene companies is illegal as they are not licensed to undertake any work on urinals besides cleaning them.

All urinals must be serviced and maintained correctly and legally compliantly as per the WaterMark certification for the urinals in accordance with the manufactures instructions.

Only plumbers are licensed to undertake urinal servicing by the Queensland Government plumbing regulator, the QBCC. This is because the QBCC are legally required to protect public health and safety under Queensland’s plumbing and drainage licensing system.

The outsourcing of urinal servicing to third-party suppliers such as Desert Eco Solutions. Desert use non-compliant, cheap, inferior substitute parts, which guarantees you will experience urinal odours. The photo below illustrates a Desert No Flush Cartridge installed in a ZeroFlush urinal.

Under Queensland law and the WaterMark approval system on all urinals, it is illegal to use substitute parts. This means any parts or components that are not the genuine WaterMark tested and approved components for each urinal model under their WaterMark approval.

Preventing urinal malodour

Aquatemp has specialist accredited licensed plumbers available to ensure your public toilet facilities and urinals are in a hygienic environment. Our product range and specialised services ensure your urinals are compliantly maintained, hygienic, and have an odour-free experience for your employees and clients.

We guarantee that urinal malodours can be eliminated by following simple cleaning and maintenance procedures.