March 16, 2011
If the prospect of spring cleaning brings dread, just be glad your home isn’t the Smithsonian castle. Or for that matter, any of the Smithsonian museums or its support facilities. Imagine cleaning up your house every day after guests pop in for some 82,400 visits. (The Smithsonian Institution says its museums recorded 30.2 million visits in 2010.) And the only day off you get is Christmas.
It’s housecleaning on a grand scale at the museums and support facilities, says Jeff Ridgeway, a manager with the Institution’s Office of Facilities Management and Reliability. Ponder these housekeeping numbers, while you sweep away the dust bunnies under your bed this spring.
244. That’s how many people each worker must tidy up after every day.
11. That’s how many 2,200-square-foot houses a Smithsonian worker would have to clean each day to match the square footage he or she keeps neat here at the Smithsonian.
12,633 miles. The visitors flush the toilets incessantly. They use 66.7 million feet of toilet paper a year, or 12,633 miles. That’s half the Earth’s circumference. BTW: to conserve paper, Smithsonian workers use a sly trick; they overhang the paper to slow down the toilet paper rolls’ momentum.
6,588. That’s how many restroom fixtures there are at the Smithsonian. Twenty fixtures per worker each day.
$868,617. That’s the annual cost of cleaning supplies, roughly equivalent t0 14 Cadillac Escalades, or 86 Kias.
by Jeanne Maglaty
Sign up for our free email newsletter and receive the best stories from Smithsonian.com each week.