Funky Smells in your Restaurant Bathroom? Here are Some Fixes.

In the restaurant world, bathroom cleanliness plays a major role even when people don’t think about it. Many patrons walk into an establishment and judge a restaurant on the cleanliness of the bathrooms.

However, sometimes even deep cleaning isn’t enough to keep funky smells out of the bathroom. These smells may be caused by underlying issues in the plumbing or due to inadequate maintenance. Deciphering which of these issues is important for restaurant owners because no one wants bathroom smells seeping into the dining room.

Most smells from these areas can be treated and taken care of quickly, so let’s look at a few reasons why these issues might come up.

Plumbing Issues

Sometimes the odor issue goes beyond just being clean. Plumbing issues can be the source of the problem thanks to leaky pipes, nasty clogged drains, and sewer gas from toilets. These smells are all difficult to get rid of. The important part for any restaurant manager is to listen to the staff they are working with and the customers. If the manager hears about even a whiff of some odor in the bathroom, they need to check it after service ends. If the smell is still there, it could be due to a backup in the plumbing system causing sewer odors due to leaks in the pipes. Do not let these issues linger—take care of them immediately. If they last, it means more money to fix. Contact a local plumber and fix the issue.

Occasionally, the P-traps in the toilets may become dry. A P-trap is a specialized fitting that creates a barrier to stop sewer gas and odor from entering your establishment. When they become dry, sewage smells may seep up into the toilet, causing an unpleasant smell to spread into the air.

If this becomes an issue, management will need to hire a plumber to fix the issue. It is always best to have a plumber inspect your plumbing systems at least twice a year to make sure your toilets, sinks, and any water fixtures are working properly. Remember, being proactive with plumbing issues will help you save money.

Ghost Odors

Outside of these common issues, restroom smells can also be due to the presence of hidden odors that may not be obvious when doing a typical plumbing inspection. For instance, urine may be seeping into tiles and grout on the floors, which may have cracks that create a breeding ground for bacteria buildup, which in turn creates nasty smells. Older bars and restaurants may have old wooden floors, which provide a perfect breeding ground for bacteria to grow. These areas need to be thoroughly cleaned.

Being a restaurant owner requires understanding all aspects of the business, down to the plumbing. Keeping bathrooms clean and all plumbing systems in check will keep the facility running properly.

If there is ever an issue with plumbing, it is always best to speak with a professional. Trying to fix issues yourself is likely to cause even more problems. 

Joe Hammer is the owner of SAK Electric Plumbing Inc., a Phoenix-based plumbing company serving the area for over 30 years. SAK is proud to serve area business with affordable and friendly plumbing repair and installation.


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