The fault in our sinks

How some faucets around school make it hard to wash your hands

The villainess herself, the downstairs Building 9 sink

Ella Whalen

The villainess herself, the downstairs Building 9 sink

Ella Whalen, Staff Writer

Handwashing is a very important bathroom ritual, even more so with the ongoing pandemic. However, with some sinks at school, it is virtually impossible to do so effectively. Take, for instance, the sinks in the downstairs Building 9 women’s restroom. These sinks have a single faucet which is so tense, it requires one hand to hold it to leave it running. As expected, someone can only wash one hand at a time with a sink like this without assistance.

The CDC’s guidelines on handwashing require that every part of one’s hand to be washed thoroughly. This includes under the fingernails and on the back on the hand. These areas are impossible to reach with a single hand (unless you have very long fingers). As such, one person alone cannot wash their hands properly in these sinks.

Similar issues exist in the downstairs women’s bathrooms nearest Building 2. At the least, these sinks do not require as much force to turn the faucet. The water pressure is also higher in comparison, the Building 9 sinks mentioned before being just above a dribble. Still, the faucets here must be held in place, preventing both hands from being washed together.

Not all sinks in the school are like this, though. Those nearest the front office and those upstairs in Building 9, for example, have what could be called a button. Pressing this button turns on the water for a short period of time—somewhere between 5 and 10 seconds in my experience. This is still not perfect, given that the CDC also recommends hands to be washed for at least 20 seconds, but this can be excused for saving water. In these sinks, both hands can be washed solo, and the water pressure is acceptable. There are no ways to change water temperature in any of these sinks, but rarely is the water too hot or cold to be a problem.

One cannot rely on another person being present to hold these faulty faucets, so these bathrooms should be avoided when possible. If not, be sure to use hand sanitizer as soon as possible afterwards to make sure your hands are clean.