Contrary to popular misconceptions, waterless urinals reduce odors, save water, reduce germs and bacteria in the restroom, and reduce overall maintenance costs.
In this article, we’ll give you the lowdown on how waterless urinals work and how to keep them clean. We’ll also discuss how much you can save and why they are more sanitary compared to traditional flush urinals.
How does a waterless urinal work, and do they stink?
First, let’s talk about how they work. Urine flows down the bowl (thank you, gravity). Then it passes through a debris-catching strainer, which collects anything that doesn’t belong (dust, hair, spiders, trash—you get the picture).
In some older and more common waterless urinals, urine then passes through a sealing liquid, which is basically just oil or an oil-based fluid. That liquid prevents odors from escaping.
Acorn® waterless urinals do not require that layer of sealing liquid. Instead, our Dura-Ware® Waterless Urinal uses a one-way duckbill diaphragm. That diaphragm provides a physical barrier that lets the urine pass into the plumbing system while preventing odors from coming back out.
As long as you keep up with routine maintenance and daily cleanings, our waterless urinals will smell a lot better than a traditional flush urinal. Because our waterless urinal does not require special cartridges to replace or messy liquids to maintain, supply and maintenance costs remain low.
It still seems kind of gross. Are waterless urinals sanitary?
In many ways, waterless urinal systems contribute to a cleaner and more sanitary restroom, as well as reduce odors! How, you ask?
Urine is actually relatively odorless. When it comes in contact with water and air, a chemical reaction occurs, which can produce unpleasant odors. Without water, the waterless urinal bowl dries quickly between uses and has no discernible smell.
A flush urinal’s wet surface is a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses that thrive in moist areas. On top of that, not only does flushing not kill the bacteria and viruses, it can actually spread them all over the bathroom via something called the flush plume. Basically, microbial aerosols fly through the air every time you flush a urinal or toilet. Those aerosols have to come down at some point, and they end up on you, the countertops, and even the faucets.
Some of that bacteria, like the influenza virus, can live on surfaces for up to 72 hours. A waterless urinal is touchless—no levers to press or chains to pull, both of which may harbor more bacteria.
Not only are Acorn waterless urinals sanitary, they also have a positive impact on the environment. Because they don’t need water to operate, they don’t generate as much wastewater needing treatment. You also don’t have to use any special fluids or chemicals or risk oil getting into the sewer system and causing destructive and expensive clogs.
Have you ever heard this one? Back in old-timey days, the trough along the saloon bar in front of your stool was actually a urinal.
Well, it’s not true. Great story, but it’s just that—a story. In fact, that tiled trough was a spittoon, or cuspidor if you prefer. Men would just drop their cigar or spit their tobacco right into the gutter. Every now and then, the barkeep would pour water down it to clean it out. It’s still pretty unappealing, but not as disgusting as the urinal myth.
If a urinal is waterless, how do you clean it?
Let’s suppose you have one of those waterless urinals with an oil barrier. In that case, caring for it will be very different than what you or your cleaning crew is used to. You must follow the cleaning instructions that come with those urinals or you’ll be replacing cartridges left and right.
Acorn waterless urinals are easier to take care of. Still, it’s crucial that you understand what you can and should not use to clean them.
The good news is, you can put away the bottle of bleach and whatever other chemical you have on hand. All you need is mild soap and water to keep our urinal clean. Give it a quick rinse and then dry it off with a cloth, and you’re finished.
Chemical cleaners should not be used for cleaning because they can damage the diaphragm. Our silicone duckbill diaphragm will provide long-lasting service, from 6–12 months, depending on the frequency of usage and maintenance performed.
Daily Cleaning Procedures for Acorn’s Model 2159
- Wear gloves (and goggles) as you would to clean any restroom fixtures.
- Remove any foreign objects found inside the bowl.
- Clean the fixture bowl inside and out with mild soap and water.
- Rinse with clean water.
- Pour a mild solution of detergent (one gallon of water to 1/4C detergent) into the fixture allowing water to make its way through the drain. This will reduce the possibility of build-up that may result in blocked pipes.
Are waterless urinals more expensive than flush urinals?
Quite the opposite, actually! While the price of waterless urinals varies widely, the overall cost is much lower than flush urinals.
With no supply to rough for, no flush valve, no flush control hardware to provide, these waterless fixtures save a lot of installation time and money.
The absence of a flushing mechanism has savings beyond just in the installation. No flush valve means no valve repairs, and its absence reduces the opportunities for vandalism. Also, overflows due to clogged drains are not a problem because large amounts of water are not used.
Then consider the annual savings on your water bill. You are no longer flushing away 0.5–3.5 gallons of water every time the urinal is used.
If you’d like more information on Acorn’s stainless steel waterless urinals, or any of our fixtures, just reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org!