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Can the washroom malodour really affect your business?


Primary sanitation has become a priority since the arrival of Covid-19. Having clean washrooms is a necessity and not a choice or luxury. A recently released report by UN concerned the sanitation of public places including schools, hospitals, and workplaces. Providing clean toilets is an important element of physical user experience. Malodour is the key factor, which needs to be kept in mind, to improve user experience. 

When a person enters a place, first sense, which lets him judge the place, is the sense of smell. But how does malodour impact your business? Imagine entering a washroom with an unpleasant odour. How does it feel? 
A psychologist, David Pizzaro conducted an experiment. He asked random people to have a smell, recreated by him, which smelled exactly like a regularly used unclean washroom. He was surprised how people reacted and made a face of disgust. It is a general human behaviour to shy away from awful odours. 


How does odour affect human psychology?

A study conducted by Initial Washroom Hygiene titled ‘Washroom malodour: Experiences, perceptions, and implications for business’ inspected air care initiatives taken in the washrooms of several workplaces. They found out that 73% of the subjects accepted that unpleasant smell would impact them negatively about the place. 
As mentioned above, malodour directly affects the human emotion which leads to subject rushing out of the washroom without taking care of their hygiene. A person once disgusted with the experience of your washroom, won’t consider using it again or even visiting you again. Now, this can have a bigger impression on human psychology. These experiences travel along a chain of people affecting psychology of all and creating a bad image of the business. 

Effect on emotions

Experience of a smell tends to affect our brain in a certain way which helps it to recollect memories and emotions. This means that scents trigger memories. And nobody would like to arouse a memory of disgust in someone’s brain. So, here it can be concluded that smells affect our short term and long term moods.  A study suggests that people are more likely to share their negative experience than their positive one.

Air Hygiene at work place

Workplace hygiene

1. Disease spread 

A dirty or untidy washroom would make people more unhygienic, as they would be in a rush to get out and they may get out without flushing or washing their hands. A study revealed that 28% of the subjects accepted that they speed up their process instantly after they enter a foul smelling washroom. They even skip steps like washing and drying hands. This favours the spread of diseases through transfer of pathogens from that person to others. The growth of bacteria and fungi also results in malodour, which in turn results in the increased amount of pathogens in the air and hence increased risk of disease spread. 

2. Business reputation

Building a good reputation is the primary task for a business. According to a research conducted by Nielsen, more than 90% of the customers trust feedbacks from other customers or friends. A bad washroom experience can create a large reputational damage to the business. This could be the result of lack of air care facilities. 
Moreover, a business is more concerned about its productivity. 

3. Workforce hygiene

Attracting customers is not the only crucial part. If the washrooms are not maintained properly, it could lead to a less productive workforce which will be prone to diseases. The business could not sustain because of low employee retention rate. 
If you own a hotel, you know the importance of customer satisfaction and retention. No matter how much clean your plates, tables, lobbies and sofas are, the feedback will depend upon the washroom odour and cleanliness.

Understanding the Chemistry

One of the major causes of malodour is lack of air ventilation. Bacteria, fungi and other pathogens grow well in moisture due to which, a foul smell is released. Blend of these smells produces an extreme stink which ruins user experience. 
Urine contains ammonia, which has a pungent smell, and urea, which further breakdowns to release ammonia. In the absence or lack of water, urine becomes concentrated which leads to pungent smell. Diluting or washing away of the urine doesn’t mean washing away of germs. Several pathogens still remain and continue to grow.


Firstly, to provide smooth and pleasant washroom experience, it is crucial to provide a clean bathroom with no or minimal water pollution. Necessities like hand wash, toilet papers, and air fresheners should be installed. Wipes, tissues and sanitizers should be readily available. The person need not look for them. 
Secondly, air ventilation should be provided.

But only good air care is not enough, it has to be taken care of by cleaning and maintaining it regularly. Regular maintenance includes:

  • Removing stains
  • Uncluttering the floor
  • Drying off excess water
  • Rearranging toilet papers, towels, hand wash etc. 
  • Installing an air freshener with soothing aroma 

Use of anti-bacterial toilet cleaners and floor cleaners, a periodic release of fragrance and stainless floors would tend to bring calmness and satisfaction arousing beautiful memories.

The quality of your product or service is the key to drive-in new customers but every vastly established business needs higher customer retention. Employing people, who are trained in cleaning techniques, for disinfecting and cleaning and helping them implement a cleaning routine could lead to a fresh and aromatic work environment, which will eventually help in building trust, satisfaction, fewer complaints, and boosting brand awareness.  Every office can implement a cleanliness policy and ask their employees to strictly follow it. A scented washroom reflects your nature of taking care of the customer and employee experience, you give importance to health and hygiene and that you pay attention to details. Cleaner is your washroom cleaner is your business.

That’s the key to put a successful impact on the customer, now wear an optimistic smile and the rest is assured.


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