The Right Chemical for the Job

In this module, we’re going to review the different types of chemicals available in the yard and the best use for each.

Cleaning a portable restroom is almost impossible without having the right chemical for the job. This is especially true when you’re dealing with difficult stains left behind from graffiti, concrete, and iron ore. In this video, we’re going to review the different types of chemicals available in the yard and the best use for each. As always, remember to wear proper PPE such as safety glasses, and rubber gloves whenever handling any of these chemicals, as they can be irritating to the eyes, skin, and lungs.


Detergents are often mild chemicals and work best for removing dirt and grime; however, there are some are more abrasive as well. Let’s review the various detergents that we utilize from least effective to most effective.

Simple Green

Although only available in select yards, Simple Green is ideal when dealing with dust and mild dirt stains. Since it’s a mild chemical, it doesn’t always have the strength needed to remove caked on dirt in porous areas. Because of this, we recommend using it sparingly for special event grade units only. When using this chemical, you can use it in a bucket with a 50/50 solution of water and simple green. Some drivers at select branches have also been known to carry it in a spray bottle to wipe down the interiors. Once scrubbed, it can be easily rinsed away.


Powerhouse is a preferred cleaning detergent for most yards. It’s an industrial strength detergent and degreaser that effectively removes dirt, grime, and stubborn greasy soils. When using this chemical, you should never water it down. It’s preformulated for maximum efficiency. To effectively use this product, it should be added to 5 Gallon buckets or into a pump sprayer. It’s important that you always wear gloves when handling this product and wash your hands as soon as you’re finished. This is because this cleaning agent can cause skin irritation and painful rashes if applied directly to the skin for long periods of time. Once applied to the walls or floor of a restroom, we’ll provide light agitation with a scrub brush and any caked-on dirt should easily rinse away.


Citrasolv, a mildly abrasive detergent, is ideal for removing things like chewing gum, grease, tar, lipstick, tree sap, & permanent marker. This chemical is available in the yard only and can be applied with a spray bottle and sponge. Once applied, you’ll need to rub the chemical in and then rinse away any dirt residue with water as needed.

Blast/Crusty Oven Cleaner

It’s no secret that one of the most difficult parts of a portable restroom to clean can often be the urinal. This is because of the tough calcium build ups and unwanted odors that can come from urine. The two chemicals that work best for this tough task include Blast, and for some yards Crusty Oven Cleaner. These chemicals require no dilution and work best when applied directly into the urinal with a spray bottle. For the chemicals to work best, they should rest for a minute or two so it can penetrate through the stains. Once complete, some minor scrubbing and a quick rinse is all that’s needed to remove urine stains. When cleaning urinals in the field, it’s important to keep up on them each week. Stains will get progressively worse and more difficult in time the longer they sit. It’s also important to note that Blast or Crusty Over Cleaner can also be sprayed on the floor and areas near the urinal as well.

Windshield Washer Fluid

During the winter months, you may notice an extra bottle of Windshield Washer Fluid on your truck. Sure this works great for cleaning windows, but it also works great as a mild detergent for cleaning restroom walls and floors during the winter months. Simply spray on the fluid directly to the interior then wipe with a rag.

Premium Wash and Wax

Let’s face it, restrooms aren’t the only things that require cleaning in our fleet. Our trucks and trailers do, too! Most branches across the organization utilize Premium Wash and Wax as a Detergent on their vehicle to remove dirt, dust, and grease from our vehicles and trailers. It not only cleans great but leave a mild wax on the paint to prevent future water marks. Simply add a few ounces to a 5-gallon bucket and your truck will shining for days, unless of course you’re running a mill route.

Graffiti Remover

Portable restrooms and graffiti often go hand in hand, and can be quite frustrating when dealing with it on route. The good news is graffiti removing chemicals can quickly remove the stains with minimal elbow grease.


Banish is a user-friendly formulation that not only removes graffiti, but leaves surfaces protected from future graffiti as well. It’s easily applied as a concentrated formula and effectively removes markers, paint, pen, grease, tar, crayons, calcium build-ups and more. Banish is not only used by our yard team, but our drivers as well. Only a few quick sprays applied directly to paint or marker stains and it’ll quickly melt away. Don’t forget to wipe it too before it dries.

Adhesive Remover

When working in the yard, there are times when you’ll come across units with excessive amounts of paints or old decals that will need to be removed. Here at Service, we currently have two special adhesive removers that dissolves glues, resins, and most forms of paint.

Lacquer Thinner 50/50

Lacquer Thinner 50/50 is an ideal adhesive remover for paint and difficult decal adhesives. It works great for dissolving and breaking up paints, oils, and any other materials that have strong adhesive qualities. It works best when applied directly onto the surface of a restroom and rubbed in with a cleaning rag. After a few minutes of penetrating the stain, it’ll need to a quick rinse and the adhesives should melt away.

Stripper 7

Like Lacquer Thinner, Stripper 7 is also used to remove difficult paint stains; however, it works best for removing decals and other stickers on the outside of a unit. Apply Stripper 7 by spraying it directly on the unit. After a few minutes, the adhesive will melt away for quick and easy sticker removal.

Calcium Rust Lime Remover

For the yards that deal with industrial units returning from steel mills and industrial projects, it’s common to find units caked in rust, concrete, and other tough compounds. For these situations, Calcium, Lime, and Rust Removers are often the strongest and most abrasive chemicals needed to return a unit back to brand standards.

Lime Hauler

Lime Hauler is ideal for removing tough calcium builds ups and concrete. It’s applied by pouring a small amount of diluted chemical directly on the buildup and letting it eat away at the concrete for several minutes. As the chemical starts to eat away at the binding agents, you can pick away at it with a scrapper.

Muriatic Acid

If your yard deals with steel mills, there’s a good chance you’ll encounter units that are caked in iron ore. For situations like these, we’ll want to try using stronger detergents or Lime Hauler first to remove the iron ore. There may be times where these chemicals don’t quite get the job done. When that happens, we’ll resort to our most abrasive chemical, Muriatic Acid. This highly abrasive and highly toxic chemical will need to be handled with extreme care. This not only includes safety glasses and rubber gloves, but also a respirator as this chemical can burn your lungs if breathed in. To use, simply pour or spray the solution onto the restroom and then let it sit for a few minutes. After sitting, you’ll need to aggressively scrub as needed until the ore melts away. Lastly, we’ll need to rinse any residue behind down the drain.