Innovation For Cleaning Toilets

We all have toilets at our campuses and businesses and we have read articles and attended seminars on how best to clean them.

If toilets are not clean, the rest of your restroom will not look its best and will become a source of customer complaints.

If your cleaners are using the “glug, glug, swish and flush” method, then they should stop immediately.

They are wasting two of your most valuable resources — labor and cleaning supplies — by not using them to their fullest potential.

Traditional Methods

New advances in product technology are saving time and money and are undoubtedly more environmentally friendly.

Toilet bowl cleaners call for lowered or empty water levels in the bowl.

In the past, lowering the water level in the bowl has been achieved by various means.

One way, using a short-handled bowl mop to push water down in the trap, required bending over, reaching down inside the toilet and moving the bowl mop up and down in the trap area of the bowl.

Another method was to pour a bucket of water quickly into the toilet bowl, which started a siphon action to drain the bowl.

This required carrying a bulky bucket to the site and increased water consumption.

One other manner involved a wet vacuum to remove water, then empting and cleaning the wet vacuum.

All of the traditional methodologies are labor intensive and not as user-friendly as we would like.

Take Advantage Of Technology

With pressures to keep operational costs down, we need to find ways for custodial staff to work faster and easier, giving them the opportunity to be more productive.

Given the limited and often non-preferable ways to lower or remove bowl water, a device was needed that could be easily used, was portable and serviceable, required no electricity or compressed air to operate and was compact enough to fit on a custodial cart.

After researching the market, such a tool was not found that fit the requirements.

This unmet need led to the development of a very innovative product category: Hand-held toilet bowl pumps.

With product technology today, you can now effortlessly lower the water level in a toilet bowl in seconds.

With one or two pumps of the handle, these lightweight, portable devices remove water from the bowl quickly and easily, without a splatter or splash.

In terms of ergonomics and safety, you do not have to lean down over or reach inside the toilet — unlike using a bowl mop as a plunger — which reduces worker strain and reduces the risk of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

The Results Are Beyond Appearance

The advantage to using such a device is that cleaning and disinfectant chemicals can be directly applied to the surface of the bowl, allowing complete contact with deposits that form.

Likewise, these chemicals work as the manufacturer intended because they are at full strength, not diluted by bowl water.

This leads to a cleaner, brighter toilet bowl and a reduction in the amount of chemical used.

Since less cleaning chemical is discharged into the sewer system, toilet bowl pumps are environmentally friendly and promote sustainability.

With less time involved to remove water before cleaning, substantial labor savings are possible, allowing more time for completing other tasks.

To give an example of savings in time and labor, feedback from schools, colleges and other businesses has indicated that

up to one-third less time spent is preparing toilet bowls for cleaning with the use of pumps.

Regarding bowl cleaners, as little as half of the cleaning chemical is used with this process.

There is a quick return on investment (ROI) based on the low cost of such devices.

Besides custodial staff, plumbers and other maintenance personnel will find similar advantages with this innovation.

That is, it makes short work of removing the water in a toilet bowl before the toilet is serviced or removed for replacement.

As with cleaning, the water is forced down the trap and time is not spent dipping or sponging it out.

This method is more sanitary because it eliminates the need to clean and disinfect the sink or shower/tub where the toilet water was discarded with traditional bowl-emptying methods.

Answering The Call

End users must make the best use of their cleaning resources.

This means receiving the most out of your labor force and the tools and products they use daily.

Having the right equipment, chemicals, training and support to work smarter is moving cleaning programs in the right direction.

At times, this requires the cleaning industry to invent or rework cleaning tools and processes to acquire desired results.

As long as there are cleaning and maintenance hurdles to overcome, there will be insightful solutions.

Toilet bowl pumps emerged out of a need to better prepare toilets for cleaning.

While the idea is revolutionary, the process is simple.

Some of the best inventions did not reinvent the wheel; however, several advancements did help it roll smoother and longer.


Posted On September 19, 2010

Les Ollinger

Associate Director of Procurement, Operations and Custodial Services for Grinnell College

Les Ollinger is the associate director of procurement, operations and custodial services for Grinnell College with 1.6 million square feet of buildings to care for. He has been at the college for 23 years. He is the inventor of the Dry-Flush® and the Wedge-Les™ from IK Corporation. For information about the Dry Flush, visit For information about the Wedge-Les, contact Les at [email protected].

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