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DISGUSTINGLY FILTHY NURSERY...what do I do? (long story, sorry)

41 replies

eachpeachnallyplum · 06/05/2007 23:32

I started a cleaning job this morning, at a nursery and out of school club. I had been to visit it previously and at a quick glance it looked ok. It's a big place, but thought I would give it a go as its good money.The staff are very friendly and when I turned up this morning, I was given my own set of keys and security details. One of the women showed me the cleaning cupboard and made me a cuppa then left me to it. I soon discovered the horrors that lay within. There was a strong smell of urine in the building. There were no rubber gloves, only one duster and no cleaning cloths. The bleach, antibacterial spray and grease remover containers in the cupboard were empty. The mops and buckets were filthy with brown salty sludge. I had to clean them before I could even use them. There were 3 vacuum cleaners. One didn't work, one didn't have attachments, one had attachments but seemed to be spitting out dust all over the place. I soon figured out that the last one was clogged and unclogged it. After a while it started spitting dust out again.

My first job was in the baby room, where I had to pick ground in biscuit and sick out of the carpet, then vacuum it. By the time I had done that I had lost a lot of skin off of my knuckles and had bruises on my fingers. As I was pulling things away from the walls I found the skirting boards were covered in thick dust, so I cleaned them. Cushions and toys had stains and crusty stuff on them. The shelves were very dusty, the Bumbos and swing chair had food and dirt all over them. The window ledges were dirty, bin tops hadn't been wiped, a big brown greasy mess on one of the counter tops had been covered up by a tupperware container and some paperwork. Bits of rubbish had been left in corners and on shelves (wrappers, tissues, etc). There was a bag of compost in the sleeping room that had spilled onto the floor. It took me 2.5 hours to get the baby room to what I would consider to be clean enough for any of my children, or my mindees.

I went into the next room and found a potty on top of a counter, which had obviously been emptied but not cleaned, as it had a salty residue and smelt strongly of urine (my eyes were watering); a nappy wrapper, complete with nappies and streaks of brown on the outside of it, also smelling strongly.The wooden bead toys were sticky and the beads were black with grime. More dirty window ledges, walls, some food behind a cupboard on the floor..

As I moved down the corridor the toys on each side were dirty. Little People toys with black sticky stuff on them look awful...and most of the other toys too.

The kitchens weren't too bad, although the lack of cleaning supplies was pissing me off a lot, as I had spent lots of time figuring out what I could use instead. Found industrial size kitchen cleaner bottle with pump (not with all of the cleaning stuff) and used that for pretty much everything.The children's toilets were gross. Someone had obviously put something in them to clean the bowls, but underneath and round the back were disgusting, there were dirty used toilet brushes on the floor next to them, the training seats and steps had sludge on them, another dirty potty was on the floor...

At this point, after being there just over 5.5 hours, I decided to call it a day, left a message telling them how much I had done and why I hadn't done more and went home. It was supposed to be a 5 hours job. I had not cleaned 2 main rooms at all, or the staff toilet. I had only vacuumed and mopped one other room. I had managed the office, foyer, baby room, kitchens, hallways, toddler room and kids toilets and that was it.

I would not send a child of mine there. I would not send a dog there (not that I have a dog). I was appalled by the level of dirt, and shocked that they would ask someone to do the job without providing the proper cleaning products and surprised that they would want anyone to see how bad it was.

So, my questions are: a) do I go back there next weekend? b) do i report them?
I almost feel like I should go back because I want the place to be clean. DH says that is not my responsibility and that I should tell them that I am not coming back. But the woman who showed me around and trusted me with keys was friendly to me and obviously knows that it needs sorting out..she mentioned about what if Ofsted were to turn up..

OP posts:

misdee · 06/05/2007 23:35

is it only cleaned at weekends? or do other cleaners do after the nursery shuts each day?


Nikki76 · 06/05/2007 23:36

I would report them to be honest - if you were cleaning a restaurant that had disgusting standards, there would be no qualms about reporting them and I think its the same with a nursery tbh. They are getting paid by parents to provide a clean, safe environment for their children and its so wrong that they aren't doing it

I would feel like going back as I would worry about the place being kept clean for the kids and would feel guilty if wasn't doing it - iyswim?


TheArmadillo · 06/05/2007 23:36

could you report it to Ofsted?

I wouldn't like to send my child to a nursery that filthy.

I think the health risk would make it important enough to report.


Pimmsontherocks · 06/05/2007 23:37

If i was you and wasn't desperate for the work i would report them!


eachpeachnallyplum · 06/05/2007 23:37

apparently they have a cleaner who does 2 hours a night during the week. tbh i can't see that she does anything at all!

OP posts:

eachpeachnallyplum · 06/05/2007 23:41

I am not that desperate, so not having the money wouldn't be a problem, but I don't like letting people down and it felt nice to get the baby room spotless today. It felt safe in there when I had finished.

OP posts:

eachpeachnallyplum · 06/05/2007 23:42

Can you make an anonymous complaint to Ofsted?

OP posts:

TheArmadillo · 06/05/2007 23:42

Have you told them all this? That their cleaner obviously isn't enough and that you are seriously worried/angry about the disgusting state of the nursery and are considering reporting them?

I would make it clear that you require proper cleaning products. MAybe they don't know there isn't enough as the other cleaner might be slack and not asked for more.

Whether you continue the job is up to you. YOu can always change your mind later if you continue now.


Nikki76 · 06/05/2007 23:43

Couldn't you carry on and report them annonomously? I couldn't leave knowing that it would get filthy again but thats just my personal feeling about it


pinkspottywellies · 06/05/2007 23:45

Perhaps they've had a problem with the previous weekend cleaner and the one in the week is doing as much as she can in the time available - ie kitchen, toilets, quick once over on the floors. Could you discuss your concerns with the manager. She might realise how bad it was and that's why they've got you. Perhaps they could give you or someone else extra hours to get it up to scratch, and talk to the weekday cleaner about exactly what she is expected to do. If you talk to her and it stays unacceptable then report them.
(Sorry bit waffly, it's late)


eachpeachnallyplum · 06/05/2007 23:46

I haven't seen them to talk to since they gave me the keys this morning. The woman that owns the place is apparently in Rome at the moment. I couldn't tell them that I am considering reporting them. I am too much of a scaredy cat. I did leave a message outlining my issues with mops, cleaning things and dirty potties etc.

OP posts:

eachpeachnallyplum · 06/05/2007 23:49

No, not waffly, that's fine. I don't think they have had a weekend cleaner before. What I think I might say to them is that they shnould get a professional cleaning company (molly maids?) to come in and do an initial deep clean, then they can use me and the other cleaner (I don't know her) to maintain it.

OP posts:

TheArmadillo · 06/05/2007 23:50

that sounds like a good idea. It seems that it needs a deep clean before any maintaining work can be done.


PinkChick · 06/05/2007 23:51

report them! stright away.resign and say nothing to your employer about it, then they cant warn nirsery..get ofsted/envrio health round sharpish!


eachpeachnallyplum · 06/05/2007 23:51

also because molly maids can bring a team of people in with all the right cleaning things needed.

OP posts:

MrsSpoon · 06/05/2007 23:55

After the worrying time felt locally in this town after an E coli outbreak at a nursery I would be inclined to report them too (however you may prefer to do this anonymously). The shockwaves of that outbreak were felt right across all nurseries and Schools and affected many families.


eachpeachnallyplum · 06/05/2007 23:58

yeah i think i should probably report them too it's a shame.

OP posts:

Londonmamma · 07/05/2007 00:00

Do report them - you owe it to the children and parents who are unaware of how filthy the place is.


mamazon · 07/05/2007 00:06

you should ask for a meeting with the manager and explain that you are deeply concerned about the state of cleanliness. you understand that this is proabbly why they felt it necessary to hire you but that the hours you have been allocated simply wont allow you to clean such filth properly and that it requires a severe blitz clean before youw ould be able to clean on a regular basis.

they can then either call in a team of cleaners or pay you the extra needed to cover teh hours it will take you to clean it thoroughly.

you could then work with the manager to set up a cleaning routine for the staff to follow on a daily basis so that it will not get into such a filthy state again.


Chandra · 07/05/2007 00:13

I think I would report them. When I first read your post I thought that there may be the case that the night cleaner was not doing the work properly but at the end of the day, the staff from the nursery should have realised about it, maybe that's the main reason to hire you but perhaps they should have taken more drastic measures like hiring a professional service to do a "spring cleaning" before handing the place to you.

FWIW I reported the cleaners at my work, because I noticed (and had enough evidence) they didn't vacuum clean for over 3 months and... because they were stealing from the office. One of them is gone, some things are being taken more seriously (I believe so because they now ask for gloves while before we never heard of them), but in general the place is still as dirty as it was before. Though, it's not a nursery nor the dirtyness comes from body fluids. So totally unaceptable and talking to the head about your concerns may be far from enough to kick them into action.


eachpeachnallyplum · 07/05/2007 00:19

it's so confusing. thanks for all of the advice. i haven't actually met the manager because i work all week and they aren't there at the weekends. i will decide what to do tomorrow.

OP posts:

eachpeachnallyplum · 07/05/2007 00:20

night night x

OP posts:

maximummummy · 07/05/2007 00:23

i'd inform ofsted of your concerns
also arrange a meeting with whoever hired you and hi light your concerns
why are the nursery staff not cleaning up as they go i can't believe they are not doing such basic stuff as cleaning out potties



pizzatopping · 07/05/2007 00:31

Sadly, the nursery I used to work at was just like this. And we didn't have cleaners - the nursery staff were expected to clean everything in the last hour of the day, whilst the children were still there and whilst we were extremely short-staffed.

There were little or no cleaning products/equipment and what we did have was broken, dusting never got done as things like hoovering and wiping surfaces were all we had time for, if the toilets got into a state in the morning they would have to wait until the evening, bodily fluids were only cleaned up with hot water etc etc.

You see, the really basic stuff was done most days so that it looked tidy for the parents but things like sterilising toys and scrubbing the windowsills etc were only done when we knew Ofsted were coming. You couldn't sit on the carpet on a normal day, for example, because the smell of urine would make you feel really sick...

We (the nursery staff, not the manager) always did as much as we could - we'd often stay behind, unpaid - but it was such a big job that we could never get it really clean.

However, there is absolutely no excuse for any child care setting to be in this state.
We begged our employer to get a proper cleaner in but she was an extreme penny-pincher and refused. I agree that you should ask the owner if they could get someone in to give it a really thorough clean before you report them. It may just be that they haven't realised it was quite so awful, being in it all the time...
The manager just might say "Gosh, I didn't realise it was that bad! Thank you for pointing it out"


Skribble · 07/05/2007 01:07

Agree report them what ever cleaning arangements they have are not working.

Where I have worked before cleaning was done by both child care staff and cleaners. Things like high chairs, tables, potties etc should be cleaned as they are used and never left dirty. Toys are cleaned on a rota normaly at the end of the day when some staff looking after the children still to be collected and some giving specific toys, table legs, chairs etc a good clean. Cleaners in after hours to hoover, dust, wipe skirting, clean and mop loos and deep clean carpets on a rotation. Even items like soft play blocks would be wiped over with disinfectant.

Seperate cloths and mops for toys and play mats etc. Plenty of gloves for nappy changing or dirty clean ups like sick.

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