The Urinal Problem: (D)efficiency


Enter the male restroom at any establishment larger than a family restaurant, and one can expect to find a urinal awaiting them. Urinals have long been considered a quintessential part of the male bathroom experience, but why is that? The entire allure of a urinal is predicated on the perception of its efficiency. Supposedly, urinals are easier to maintain while saving money for businesses and time for customers. Let us take a look at the reality of the situation.

Cleaning a urinal may take slightly less time than reaching the nooks and crannies found in traditional toilets, but this is where the maintenance advantages end. For one, unkempt urinals can produce nasty odors if not regularly attended to. Businesses have shifted to using a “urinal cake” to circumvent this problem, but this comes with a major drawback, besides its cost. According to McGill University, the urinal cake produces “a recognized animal carcinogen and causes concern because it can be found in the blood of most people.” These cakes also fail to address the problem of urine buildup on floors from urinal use. Whether realized through additional costs, lawsuits, or labor demands, urinals simply do not save businesses on maintenance. 

Similarly, it is mostly a myth that urinals save money on water bills. According to the EPA, older urinals can use up to 5 gallons of water per flush compared to the modern toilet, which uses about 1.3 gallons. One engineer found that a urinal saves only about $40 a year in replacement of a toilet (Douban, 2014). Thus, the savings a urinal offers are minimal, if any at all. And that does not even account for the fact that a urinal can not fully replace a standard toilet. Any bathroom which has a urinal must also have a toilet to account for the fact that urinals are limited to only collecting urine.

The biggest sticking point in favor of urinals is that they lessen the overall type spent in the bathroom. What many businesses fail to consider, however, is that choosing to install too many urinals compared to toilets can decrease the efficiency of their restrooms by creating a bottleneck at the limited stalls. Another area where urinals can create these bottlenecks is the divide between male and female restrooms. As the defining feature of a male bathroom, urinals generally prohibit facilities from being gender neutral; something which is becoming increasingly in demand. Similarly, urinals disallow facilities from taking a gender-dynamic approach. AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys, is one of several stadiums which have introduced dynamic signage to their facilities allowing bathrooms to be made available to either men or women depending on the gender makeup of the audience (Fountain, 2019). As venues transition to restroom solutions that promote efficiency and inclusivity, urinals seem to be on a crash course with irrelevance. 

Replace urinals with toilets featuring the Cleana Self-Lifting Toilet Seat. Cleana Self-Lifting Toilet Seat automatically raises into the vertical position when not used. When someone needs the seat to be down, they can set it down using Cleana’s specially-designed antimicrobial handles. After standing up and walking away, the self-lifting toilet seat gently lifts itself back into the raised position, thus distancing the seat from any possible contaminants. With this technology, the Cleana Self-Lifting Toilet Seat prevents dirty toilet seats from ruining the guest experience.

Cleana Toilet Seat

Cleana Self Lifting Toilet Seat

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Andy Chang

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