Most men will see a urinal cake on a daily basis. This is the small tablet placed in urinal bowls that serves as a deodoriser in public restrooms.
Public restrooms without urinals cakes use waterless urinals. Waterless systems rely on biological treatments to stay odourless.
In the urinal, it plays an important role. However, if ingested, it can lead to devastating consequences.
Urinal cakes help in restroom hygiene with some advantages and risks.
What Are Urinal Cakes?
Urinal cakes resemble moth-balls. You will find them at the bottom of public urinals.
The urinal cakes reduce the pee smell in urinals and control bacteria.
The name ‘urinal cake’ comes from the shape of the cakes. It also borrows from the role they play in keeping public restrooms smelling good.
Before the 1880s, going to the bathroom was a private affair. There were no public restrooms.
As more people started vising towns and trade centres for business, using the restroom became a public problem.
This led to an increase in demand for better plumbing and sanitation. Gradually, people started building and using public restrooms.
This then created a big odour problem.
As towns, markets and urban centres became more popular, there was an increase in the use and demand of public toilets.
This led to the innovation of urinal cakes as commercial products.
Urinal cakes are made of para-dichlorobenzene, which acts as a deodoriser and disinfectant.
The name ‘cake’ comes from the round and colourful shape of the chemical block you will see in urinals.
Where and Why Do People Use Urinal Cakes?
You will most likely see ‘urinal cakes’ at the bottom of public urinals. They help disinfect the urinals and mask or reduce odours.
The chemical composition on most cakes may vary. But, almost all urinal cakes contain para-dichlorobenzene, which acts as the main deodoriser.
The para-dichlorobenzene in the cake helps it sublime when it comes into contact with urine. This means that it converts into a gas without going through the liquid state.
What Do Urinal Cakes Smell Like?
Most urinal cakes have a neutral or pleasant smell. It all depends on their function.
Disinfectant cakes tend to have a more neutral smell.
Urinal cakes meant to deodorise the urinal have a pleasant scent. This helps keep the urinal smelling fresh throughout.
Health Concerns Associated with Urinal Cakes
Once the cakes come into contact with urine, they turn into a gas, which you can inhale.
While there is no extensive study on the effect of the gas on humans, it has shown some negative effects on animals.
This unknown risk has led to a ban on para-dichlorobenzene in some countries around the world.
Many public restrooms today prefer para-dichlorobenzene free cakes as an alternative.
They are water-soluble and work well to deodorise urinals. They also improve the cleaning of the pipes to remove some of the odour-causing build up.
Recent formulations and innovations have created biological bacterial spores. When combined with surfactant cleaners, they eradicate odour in the pipes. They also get rid of any buildup likely to cause a blockage.
The only way around the smell and risks of using urinal cakes is waterless urinals. These require little maintenance. They also rely on biological treatments to stay fresh and odourless. This is a good alternative even for the environment.
Can You Eat a Urinal Cake?
Eating a urinal cake can kill you.
Anyone crazy enough to bite into a urinal cake is putting their health at risk. Ingesting the chemicals found in urinal cakes can lead to symptoms such as:
Over time, these symptoms can worsen, leading to hospitalisation.
Naphthalene, a common compound found in urinal cakes can also lead to the death of red blood cells.
Without proper care, your body may be overwhelmed by all the chemicals. This can lead to organ failure and other complications.
Alternatives to Using Urinal Cakes
The best alternative to urinal cakes so far is waterless urinals. Since you will not be relying on para-dichlorobenzene, you must keep them clean.
You can keep waterness urinals odour free by:
Investing in the Right Cleaning Agents
You should use biological treatments for everyday cleaning.
With these treatments, you introduce harmless ‘bugs’ into the urinals. The bugs eat away bacteria responsible for toilet smells.
These bacteria play a role in breaking down urea and uric acid, found in urine. Once the two chemicals are broken down, they produce the pungent smell found in toilets.
Over time, these treatments form a protective barrier on the surface of the urinal and pipes. This helps keep the urinal odour free between cleans.
When using biological treatments, make sure you find a reputable supplier. Alsco NZ offers some of the best biological alternatives in the market. They offer year-longy contracts to ensure your team never runs out of treatments.
Keeping the Urinals Water-free
Water will affect the integrity and basic functioning of a waterless urinal.
It reacts with the sealant to create limestone deposits on the urinal sink and pipes. These deposits can block urine from flowing down the drain.
You can use water to clean the pipes occasionally but never in the waterless urinal cylinder.
In a public restroom, make sure you have warning signs. Every cylinder should have a sign warning people against pouring water into it.
An Odourless Washroom
One of the biggest cleaning challenges is keeping the toilets smelling fresh.
A clean and odourless toilet can influence the morale of employees. In a public-facing business, it can make or break your reputation.
Make sure you get cleaning experts to help you with the installation and maintenance of waterless urinals.
After installation, get the right supplies to keep your washrooms fresh.
- Help you identify the right supplies for your urinals.
- Supply you with the chemicals you need.
- Refill your chemicals on a regular basis.
You can stop using urinal cakes and start running an odourless washroom today with Alsco NZ.