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Semi-automated Spot Cleaning
of Washrooms

How might we semi-automate the spot cleaning of washrooms, so that the cleaning is less labour intensive?

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Challenge Statement Owner
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Hear directly from the challenge statement owners!

Review the presentation video and slides from the Q&A session.

Background and Current Practice

In order to uphold high hygiene standards for the washrooms in commercial buildings, cleaners are assigned to perform scheduled spot cleaning. A cleaner needs to be deployed for per-demand cleaning every time there is feedback that a toilet’s hygiene is unsatisfactory.   


During the scheduled spot or per-demand cleaning, the cleaner will need to perform the following activities:

  • Cleaning of washroom cubicles especially toilet seats, toilet bowls, and squat toilets

  • Cleaning of water basins

  • Damp floor mopping

  • Clearing of litter on the floor, and emptying rubbish bins and/or

  • Replacing toilet rolls or refilling soap dispensers as required.

There are difficulties in maintaining an affordable human workforce for such tasks.  

Opportunities and Key Challenges

A robotic solution that performs a good portion of the cleaning activities currently being done by human cleaners), could make the cleaning much less labour-intensive. In terms of priority, the robotics solution should minimally be able to clean washroom cubicles based on the following requirements:

  • Cubicle door management, able to push open the door and fit into the cubicles

  • Toilet seat cleaning, for example use of damp cloth or other equipment to clean the toilet seats and damp mop to clean squat toilets

  • Seat cover management

  • Urinal cleaning

  • Wash basin wiping

  • Damp mopping

  • Completing the task within stipulated timing

The washroom environment is dynamic, and the solution considerations are not limited to the above requirements. For a washroom with a floor space of 12 sqm and two cubicles, the solution would ideally be able to finish each washroom cleaning session within 10 - 15 minutes, so there is minimal downtime. 

For a robotics solution to be feasible for usage in a washroom, it should have the following specifications:

  • The solution is battery operated.

  • The solution must not have cameras or collect data that compromise personal privacy.

  • The solution can navigate within the washroom while the toilet is still open for usage and avoid/stop work when a human is nearby.

  • The solution must not be hazardous to the human operator and passersby.

  • Electrical protection (due to damp cleaning)

  • Manageable weight of machine (due to usage by mature worker strength) if solution transportation of the machine to the washroom

  • Sleek/slim design of machine to navigate washroom with people inside (due to toilet layout; tight space)

We expect the robotics solution would still require human assistance to operate. A cleaner could transport the robot to the start point to commence cleaning, and would inspect the results after cleaning is done.  

We are open to retrofitting cleaning mechanisms if the solution is capable of cleaning washrooms with high standards, and is cost effective for the initial setup and maintenance.  

Expected Outcomes

The robotic solution supports spot cleaning operations by reducing manual labour required and increasing the productivity of the cleaners. The time spent to complete the spot cleaning of one washroom is reduced by 30%.