A Guide to Cleaning School Toilets Part 1

Your School Toilets are an important part of your school. So, it is important that we keep our toilets clean and that, is what this guide will help you do.

Prep your Cleaning Cart

  • Bottles Antibacterial Spray for all surfaces
  • Bottles of Toilet Cleaner \ Maintainer
  • Urinal Cakes
  • Bin Bags
  • Paper Towels
  • Soap Refills
  • Toilet Rolls
  • Air Freshener Refills
  • Female Products (Where available)
  • Red Rubber Gloves or disposables
  • Eye Goggles
  • Red Microfibre Cloths
  • Duster On a Pole
  • Blue Paper Roll
  • Wet Floor Sign
  • Red Mop and Bucket, filled with disinfectant
  • Red handled broom or static mop
  • Red Dustpan and Brush
  • Toilet Brush
  • Door Stop

Check the Toilets are Empty

Our 1st job, is to check that the toilet is not occupied. Slightly open the door and clearly announce your presence. “Hello it’s Mr Smith, is anyone in here?” I usually do this twice. Next, prop the door open, using the door stop. Now place a wet floor sign over the doorway. If anyone enters the toilet, explain your cleaning the toilets and direct them to the next nearest facilities.

Spray… Spray… Spray!

Next, get your bottle of antibac and give all surfaces a good spray. This includes the toilet itself, all cubicles, the sinks, mirrors, towel dispensers, hand dryers (where fitted) vanity tops, (where fitted) door frames, bins, urinals, and dispensers etc. Next is litter picking, while we leave the chemicals to cure.

Pick up any litter, such as drinks bottles, paper towels, loo paper etc and put that into the bin in the toilet. Next, empty the bin and replace the liner, remembering to give the inside of the bin a wipe with your microfibre cloth and spray bottle. Now give the floor a good sweep, either with your broom or the static mop. Work from the furthest point from the door and work backward. Use the dustpan and brush to remove the swept dust from the floor and dispose of it in the bin bag on the back of your trolley. Now replace all the consumables. – Toilet rolls, paper towels, female hygiene products, soap, air freshener refills etc. Also, if you notice anything broken or not working, now is the time to jot it down.

High Dusting – Getting Rid of Dust From Above!

High dusting is important, as lots of dust gathers on surfaces, such as window sills, the tops of cubicles and in extractor fans. For this, I use my duster on a pole. This saves me time, as I do not need to get up on a step ladder to high dust. Make sure any cobwebs are also removed from pipework and round the ceiling.

I also high dust the Urinal Tank and pipes, while I am at it. Next, make sure to wipe down the cubical walls, frames and doors, using your micropore cloth. If your cloth gets dirty, put it back on your trolley and grab a new one. I keep a nappy sack for my dirty cloths, so I don’t cross contaminate.

Clean the Toilets \ Urinals

Now wipe the exterior of the toilet. Pay attention to the base of the bowl, around the drain pipe, the cistern and flush handle, the seat. (on both sides), The porcelain top, outer rim, seat hinges and of course the drain collar. Sometimes, this needs extra antibac spray, so feel free to spray again, as you wipe.

For the inside of the bowl, use a loo brush to push as much water out the pan as you can. Now clean inside the bowl, using toilet cleaner. I usually let the toilet cleaner soak for a few mins, so we shall come back to that shortly. (Don’t forget to leave the loo seat up!)

Give the Urinals a good scrub too, with toilet cleaner and the toilet brush. Pay attention to the base of the flush nozzle and the drain. If there are any bits of debris, (Especially around the drain) get those out by hand, (making sure you wear gloves, while doing so) and don’t forget to replace the urinal deodorizer \ urinal screen, (If appropriate) while you are at it.

If a toilet is blocked, attack it with your plunger! Get a good seal around drain on the inside and give it a good push, to dislodge the blockage. If that is not possible, report it, lock the cubical \ toilet out of use and place a out of order sign on the door. Make sure that you report the blockage as soon as possible. The same goes for sinks and urinals too.

Cleaning the Sink, Mirrors and Tiles.

Spray antibac onto a microfibre cloth and give the entire sink a good going over, paying special attention to the taps, the overflow and the outlet. Next, clean the vanity top and the tiles the same way. For the mirror, spray glass cleaner onto the surface and use a blue paper towel to wipe downwards. This will give you a smear free finish.

Back to the Toilets and the metal monstrosities we call the “Trough Urinals!”

Now that the toilet cleaner has soaked for a bit, get your loo brush and give the toilet a good scrub, paying special attention to the waterline and under the rim. Once cleaned, give the toilet a flush and lower the seat. Don’t forget to disinfect the outside of Sanitary Bins while you are at it!

Give the floor a good moppin’

Wash the floor, using a mop and bucket, working from the far corner, working in a figure of 8 pattern. When it comes to the cubicle, make sure that sanitary bins are moved , as you mop. Also move the litter bin, so you can mop underneath it.

Check your work

Check that everything is ship shape and go back to fix any issues. Now remove any cleaning items used. Leave the wet floor sign in situ, until the floor is dry and return your trolley to your cleaning store.

In Part 2, we will look at cleaning a Hygiene Room, also known as as a Changing Places Toilet. These facilities need a higher level of cleaning, which we will go into next time.

A Guide to Hazchem Symbols

Hazchem symbols give an indication of the hazard you may find in cleaning products, you use on a day to day basis. They can warn us about various hazards, such as flammable chemicals, chemicals which may explode if subjected to heat or chemicals which are harmful to the environment. When ever using chemicals, you must always wear the correct PPE. (Personal Protective Equipment)

In this guide, we will look at the symbols and what hazard they present.

Flammable

the Flammable Hazchem Symbol is used for products that may easily catch fire, when exposed to heat or a naked flame. Items that may be flammable include: Aerosol Canned Polish, etc. These chemicals need to be kept in a cool and dry environment, away from heat sources and naked flames. Petrol and Diesel are a an example of a chemical which catches fire very easily. It must be stored properly and away from naked flames or electrical equipment.

Corrosive

Some chemicals are corrosive to the skin and can cause chemical burns. A good example of this is the Acid Based Toilet Maintainer we use on our toilets and urinals. The chemical uses Hydrochloric Acid to burn away limescale. Hydrochloric Acid can burn the skin and cause lasting damage. It can also cause blindness, if you get it in your eyes. It’s strong stuff, so the correct PPE must be worn.

Toxic to the Environment

Chemicals that are toxic to the environment, can cause long term ecological damage, if it enters the ground or is allowed to enter a water passage, without being diluted first. Oils and Petrol are a couple of good examples of chemicals cannot be put down the drain, even if diluted. They require specialist disposal at a specialist facility. Asbestos is another substance that is toxic to the environment.

Respiratory Sensitizer

I mentioned Asbestos above and that it is dangerous to the environment. It is also a Respiratory Sensitizer and can cause long term damage to your lungs.You only need to inhale micro particles for it to cause problems. Thankfully, the effects are not immediate, but may appear in later years.

Explosive

I don’t think I need to go into detail on chemicals that are explosive, if exposed to fire (and or) high levels of heat. However, chemicals in aerosol cans are likely to explode if exposed to high heat or are punctured.

Oxidising

Oxidising products may cause or intensify fire. Oxidising materials can also cause explosions; therefore, they should be treated as flammable. Oxygen tanks and some cleaners, such as Ammonia and turpentine, will bear this symbol.

Flammable Gas

Flammable gasses, such as Butane, will easily catch fire and also may explode, if allowed to heat to a high temperature. Butane should be stored in it’s own cage, well away from the buildings if possible and smoking and naked flames must not be used in the area where the cylinders are stored.

Under Pressure (Compressed Gasses)

Containers bearing this symbol are pressurised, such as fire extinguishers and gas canisters. They contain gases that can explode if heated. It also applies to products containing refrigerated gases, which can cause serious cryogenic burns when exposed to skin.

Irritant

Chemicals that are irritant, may cause itching to skin, It may also irritate the eyes, should the chemical is allowed to get in your eyes.

Toxic

Chemicals that are toxic, may cause severe illness (or even death) if swallowed or allowed to get into your bloodstream. Chemicals that are toxic, may include Rat Poison, Bleach, Caustic Soda, Acids, etc. These chemicals can cause a severe risk to your life or may cause severe and irreversible damage to your body.

So next time you are about to do a cleaning task, look at the bottle of the chemical you are using and check for the above Hazchem Symbols. You should also make sure you read the COSHH Data Sheets, to check if there are any special precautions you need to take, when using chemicals. Ultimately, you need to make sure that you wear the correct PPE at all times, when using chemicals and you must ALWAYS follow the instructions on the bottle \ COSHH Data Sheets.

A Guide to PPE

PPE, stands for Personal Protective Equipment and can be applied to many roles in the workplace. For instance, in the kitchen, PPE may include Chefs Whites or an apron, a hat or a hair net. The PPE is designed to protect you from injury or from getting messy. As a Site Manager, I wear PPE on a daily basis. My Steel Toe Capped Boots is the piece of PPE I wear the most.

So let’s look at PPE you may be using on a daily basis. (Please note, the below items are not a complete list of required PPE.

Cleaning PPE

  • Rubber or disposable gloves. (Rubber Gloves should be the correct color code)
  • A Tabard or Apron
  • Goggles
  • Comfortable fitting clothing
  • Flat comfortable shoes

Kitchen PPE

  • Chefs Whites \ Apron
  • Disposable Gloves for handling food
  • Hair net or hat
  • Flat comfortable shoes

Gardening PPE

  • Comfortable loose fitting clothing
  • Flat Comfortable shoes
  • Goggles for use with with lawn mowers and strimmers
  • Thick Gardening Gloves

PPE In Plant Rooms

  • Comfortable loose fitting clothing
  • Flat Comfortable shoes
  • A Hard Hat
  • Gloves for working with hot pipework or valves

PPE for use with Tools

  • Comfortable loose fitting clothing
  • Thick gloves
  • Goggles
  • Steel Toe Capped Boots

PPE is a legal requirement, under the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act. Your School insurance will not cover you, if you do not use appropriate PPE at work. If you are not sure what PPE to use, please speak to your School Headteacher or your Local Council’s Health and Safety Department for advice.

Cleaning Colour Coding

In a school or professional environment, it is important that we use the correct colour coded equipment when cleaning. This helps to stop cross contamination of germs and pathogens from getting to other surfaces in other parts of the building. This isn’t currently law, but is common practice in most workplaces.

So roll on the many colours:

Red Bucket \ Mops \ Cleaning Cloths: Red coloured equipment must only be used in bathrooms, (Including bathtubs,  taps, shower fixtures, Shower curtains, taps, sinks plugholes, pipes, mirrors, tiles, window sills, window frames, door handles, locks, and floor)  toilets, (Including the inside and outside of the bowl, cistern, chain, pipes, seats, basins, window frames, window sills, sink, taps and pipework, mirrors, tiles and the floor. Also red mops can be used in changing rooms too. )

Yellow Bucket \ Mops \ Cleaning Cloths: Yellow coloured equipment must be only used in areas of isolation. We only use those in single rooms in Sick Bay or in the event that Sick Bay has a Nova Virus outbreak. (This doesn’t happen often.

Green Bucket \ Mops \ Cleaning Cloths: Green coloured equipment must be only used in a kitchen on all surfaces.

White Dish Cloths with a Red Trim: x These cloths must only be used for washing up in a kitchen environment.

Yellow Dusters with a Red Trim: Dusters can be used universally, but must not be used in a kitchen \ bathroom \ toilet or isolation areas.

We also use colored Tabards too:

Red: Toilets \ Bathrooms

Blue: General Purpose

Yellow: Sick Bay Ward Areas \ Isolation Areas

Green: Kitchens

These guidelines are not law, (Apart from the use of green equipment being used in kitchens. ) but are recommended by the British Institute of Cleaning Science. These guidelines apply to cleaning cloths, mops, buckets, brushes, gloves (unless the gloves are disposable) and sponges. You will also need to change your PPE, (Personal Protective equipment) every time you switch areas. (IE: if you go from a bathroom to a general low risk area, such as a office.) This helps to reduce cross contamination.

So that’s Sam’s guide to cleaning colour coding for cleaning. 🙂