How Often is “often” When It Comes To Washroom Cleaning? 

April 22, 2021

Facility management has a heightened responsibility during the current COVID-19 pandemic to maintain public washrooms to meet minimum Public Health regulations.

COVID guidance literature states to clean “as often as needed”.  However, what “often” means is very much left to interpretation. For remote washrooms, minimum of two times (2x) per day for public settings meets public health requirements. The ORFA reminds members that all regulations are minimum performance requirements. In our industry, “often” is usually best calculated based on user loads. Consider a use period that has the maximum COVID participation level every hour from start to finish of an opening and compare to an operation that may have sporadic rentals throughout the day. Each would need to meet the regulated minimum while considering if the busier facility might need attention more “often”.

A Public Health Fact Sheet states: In addition to routine cleaning, surfaces that have frequent contact with hands should be cleaned and disinfected twice per day and when visibly dirty.

  • Examples include, doorknobs, elevator buttons, light switches, toilet handles, counters, hand rails, touch screen surfaces and keypads.
  • In addition to routine cleaning, check with your local health unit for any specific protocols for cleaning for COVID-19 based on the type of building.

The aquatic industry is the best example of tracking this kind of data as they must dump water nightly based on the number of bather loads while meeting life guarding requirements as set out in the Public Pool Regulation. This approach can trickle down into washroom/changeroom cleaning schedules based on real time data to support staffing requirements. Post pandemic, proactive facility managers will then have the necessary support materials to request additional cleaning staff for other non-aquatic recreational infrastructure to meet users safety expectations. Not to be lost is the fact that proper cleaning is an essential risk management and asset management practice that will assist in exceeding building life expectancy. Log your cleaning activities daily in detail to demonstrate competency and support potential litigation challenges.