Washroom cleanliness depends on custodians, users

Devan C. Tasa, News Editor Ω

A janitor closes the men’s bathroom in Old Main to clean it Nov. 14. – Photo by Devan C. Tasa

Walking into an unclean washroom on campus is something that’s happened to all students, but the onus is on everybody to make sure they don’t become that way in the first place.

Warren Asuchak, TRU’s assistant director of facilities, said the washrooms in Old Main are washed five times a day while other washrooms are cleaned three times a day.

During the day, custodians come to make sure the toilets, sinks, floors and mirrors are clean and the dispensers are full of soap, toilet rolls and paper towels.

At night, the custodians clean the washroom to an APPA level 1 standard, a common cleaning standard for universities. Level 1 states the washroom must have shiny clean floors, all surfaces have a polished appearance, washroom fixtures gleam and are odour-free and trash cans are emptied.

Unfortunately, the standards cannot change the behaviour of washroom users that don’t do tasks such as flushing the toilets and throwing used paper towels into the garbage can, Asuchak said.

“It takes one person to use the washroom to make a mess. We can send a cleaner at 10 a.m. to clean. At 10:05 it can be a disaster again. It’s the nature of the business,” he said.

“Having said that, I don’t want to leave the cleaners off the hook. They can always do a better job and we always need to push them. But as users, we are part of the problem.”

Asuchak said he regularly inspects the washrooms, which often meet the standards. If they don’t, he talks to the custodians involved. Improvements have also been made in the past.

“Over the years, we have increased our frequencies in how often we clean during the day,” he said. “I have added more day porters to go in and clean the washrooms.”

Facilities is also looking at long-term solutions to ensure the washrooms remain clean. A way to do that is to lower the water pressure in the sinks so the water doesn’t splash out.

Another way is to get rid of paper towels, but that solution requires the entrances to the washrooms to not have handles that people have to touch.

“We are looking at washrooms like that, that don’t require doors and not have paper towel and just have the hand driers, because that would eliminate a lot of the garbage,” Asuchak said.

For those who find a washroom that’s unacceptably dirty, they can let facilities know by calling the facilities help desk at 250-828-5388 or scanning one of the QR codes within the washroom.