Is There Such a Thing As Too Much Soap?

The school faces a serious cleaning conundrum.

The school faces a serious cleaning conundrum.

Anyone who’s attended Allderdice for any amount of time is familiar with this issue: You manage to make it to the bathroom, you find a stall with a working lock, and you come out to wash your hands feeling triumphant, only to discover that the soap dispenser is empty. You pump the plastic handle desperately, but it’s no use. Your only choice is to go water-only, or enlist the assistance of your nearest friend with a tiny bottle of cupcake-scented hand sanitizer.

However, it looks as though this issue has finally been resolved. In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the school has been keeping the restrooms well stocked with soap, ensuring everyone is able to “happy birthday” those germs away. Unfortunately, hardly any students have used those restrooms since March of 2020. Janitorial staff report being required to continue refilling the soap dispensers regularly, causing an overflow of soap. Apparently, word of this excess hasn’t reached the administration yet.

One anonymous sophomore came into the school several months ago to retrieve some items from her locker, and happened to use the bathroom. 

“I walked in, and at first everything seemed normal,” she says. “Then I looked down and realized that there was a thin layer of soap covering the floor. It seemed a little weird, but it had been so long since I’d been in school, I figured maybe it had been like that before, and I had forgotten. However, when I went to wash my hands and the dispenser was full, I knew something was up. That had definitely never happened before.”

As this experience occurred closer to the beginning of the school year, the soap situation has gotten exponentially worse since then. Sources say that the sinks and toilets are now full of old soap, and therefore the restrooms are even more unusable than before, if that’s even possible.

We reached out to the Allderdice administration, but they declined to comment. However, after extensive research and many Microsoft Teams messages, we managed to track down a Pittsburgh Public Schools insider, who chooses to remain unnamed. They agreed to shed some light on the sudsy situation.

When asked why the soap refills hadn’t been stopped, they said, “It is really an issue of time and resources. Administration has been so busy preparing for and then cancelling the return to school every couple of months that they ordered for more frequent refills and then…forgot, I guess? Now things have gone too far, and they seem to have just given up on the whole thing.”

However, some students think that this could actually be an improvement over the pre-COVID state of the bathrooms. One anonymous junior is optimistic about the circumstances.

“Honestly, the bathrooms were so gross before the pandemic, I don’t even think it’s a problem. At least now they’ll be kind of clean. Maybe they can use some of that soap to scrub the Sharpie off the stall doors.”

If students return to school this year, they may be able to use it up as well. Soap has an average expiration date of two to three years, sometimes even longer. As our anonymous district source says, “Students may have to prepare to use leftover soap until they graduate.”