Extra Credit

Just a dab will do

Facing cuts to the custodial supplies budget, one Kanawha County school officials offered a handy money-saving technique. He sent the following email to teachers across the county:

The Purchasing Department and Maintenance have been working together in an effort to reduce our custodial cost for the coming year. One of our biggest cost is hand soap.

Have you noticed the pump on our hand soap dispensers, if you push the pump down all the way you get a considerable amount of soap. I am a large sized adult and one full pump on that dispenser, and I can almost take a bath. I know a five year old would be able to take a bath with that much soap and some left over in his ears. Our children are wired to grab hold of that pump and push all the way down and maybe twice. If we could reduce the amount of soap being dispense we could cut our cost by a third or half.

My wife is a small person and she always fills her hands with two pumps of soap. I am smart enough not to take on that discussion. She can use whatever amount of soap she deems necessary.

A retired custodian from Pratt Elementary shared her secret with me about reducing hand soap cost. She would take a rubber band and wrap around and around the pump mechanism to restrict its travel. Thus a smaller amount would be put in their hands, and children being wired to use the full stroke of the pump would get a smaller amount of soap, still enough to thoroughly wash their hands, but not enough to scrub their ears.

I encourage each of you to try this in your schools, experiment on yourself. Simply press out a dab of soap on your hands and wash as you normally would. See if you get the benefits of a nice soapy hand with much less soap. If you are comfortable with this and want to save your custodial budget: give it a try.

We have asked the soap supplier to see if they can shorten the stroke on the pump. We have to remember they are in the business of selling soap, they sell less if we use less and they are not readily agreeable to shorten these pumps. They want you to use more than you need.

Just a dab will do.