Thu. Dec 7th, 2023
What it's like to be a bathroom cleaner at Ontario Parks

In today’s post, our Algonquin-area marketing specialist, Andrea Coulter, shares how a summer cleaning bathrooms turned her into an advocate for public bathroom etiquette.

After more than 15 years at Ontario Parks, I still vividly remember my first position (you never forget to clean up poop from the beach…). I was eighteen years old and spent the summer working in maintenance at Ontario Parks.

After that season of cleaning footprints off toilet seats, cleaning clumps of hair from sinks, and scraping debris off the floor, there are a few things I started doing (and a few things I would never do again):

1. I will never flush anything that cannot be flushed down the toilet.

That includes wipes, tampons, diapers, and essentially anything other than human waste and toilet paper. Remember: a plumbing disaster could mean the entire comfort station is out of commission; Nobody wants that.

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wastewater from clogged pipesWhen pipes get clogged, bathrooms get gross!

When I worked in maintenance, we frequently removed “UFOs” (objects that cannot be flushed) from toilets. I pulled out everything from water bottles to bikinis.

2. I will never use my foot to flush the toilet.

It makes the handle more dirty for anyone else who uses that bathroom afterwards.

The “flushing with your feet” technique can also cause toilets to break and “out of order” signs to appear.

3. I will never use a large wad of toilet paper to avoid touching surfaces and then dropping it on the floor or sinking.

We’ve probably all seen or done this. This is a popular technique to avoid touching faucets, door handles, toilet handles, or sitting directly on toilet seats.

The problem is that the wad is then often dropped on the floor or counter, or even left on the toilet seat for the next customer or staff member to attend to, rather than flushed down the toilet or in the trash. , Where corresponds.

4. I will not spend too much time in front of the sink when people are waiting to use them or when staff are waiting to clean them.

This is especially important this year. We need to provide all visitors with access to restrooms and still allow for physical distancing and increased cleaning.

5. I will never use bathroom sinks to wash anything except my hands.

Bathroom sinks are not for washing dishes, babies, clothes, dogs, feet… you get the idea.

Comfort station on a sunny day

6. I will remember that clean bathrooms are worth waiting for.

As much as none of us want to wait for “nature to call,” bathrooms are cleaned and disinfected for our protection and comfort.

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Cleaning comfort station for masked staff members.

(When the cleaners are done, I will also thank them for their work. They are some of the hardest working people in the Ontario Parks organization.)

7. I will be understanding when the bathrooms are muddy on rainy days.

Rainy days mean messy bathroom floors. I remember getting complaints about muddy bathrooms within 15 minutes of cleaning them on rainy Saturdays.

Our staff does their best, but muddy floors are really difficult to maintain on busy, rainy days.

Help keep bathrooms clean

After that summer cleaning bathrooms, I quickly learned that the actions of a few could turn a bathroom into a disaster. And I would be stuck with the mess.

Masked staff member cleaning the vault toilet.

A little goes a long way to ensuring everyone enjoys clean, welcoming restrooms while visiting the parks.

Want to help spread the word about bathroom etiquette? Share this blog post on social media!