Good Hygiene=Good Cleaning

In my last post I talked about the cumulative effects of good cleaning and how over time it actually takes less time to clean well than to clean fast and dirty.  Today I would like to expand on the concept of good cleaning and discuss what I believe is its most important element: hygiene.  None of us would ever think of attending an important meeting without making sure that we were well groomed and that our oral hygiene was impeccable.  Many of us keep dental floss and mints handy for those important moments when nothing can be left to chance.  Similarly, in the world of janitorial services, hygiene plays a very important role in providing excellent service. Sure, the cleaning solutions being used and the condition of the surface being cleaned also play an important role, but it is nearly impossible to provide excellent commercial cleaning services without good cleaning hygiene.  This not only involves the equipment being used but also the way in which staff go about their cleaning.  And it is something that has to be taught and monitored in order to be effective.  

My first pet peeve and probably the most visible is the condition of the mop head.  A dirty, smelly mop head sticks out like a sore thumb in a janitors closet.  It is usually face down in a mop bucket and is wet and dirty.  Typically, the mop bucket will be filled with water without ever rinsing out the mop, cleaning solution added and it’s off to the races.  This dirty, smelly piece of cloth with be pushed and pulled across floors until the “cleaning” is finished and then returned to the janitor’s closet, where it will once again sit face down in dirty, smelly water until it is time to “clean” again.  Thoroughly cleaning out the mop head before the bucket is filled with clean water would be a drastic improvement; however this is not good enough.  The mop head should not only be rinsed and rung out multiple times and hung on a rack or stood with head-up so that it can drip dry at the end of each shift but it should also be rinsed and squeezed clean when the mop water is changed during the shift.  Now this involves some real discipline and patience on the part of the cleaning crew.  Commercial cleaning companies will rarely train and monitor their crews on this so it is often left up to the discretion of the cleaner when to change the water.  Unfortunately, this most often means at the end of the shift.  Cleaners want to finish their job and they view stopping and changing water as impeding their progress.  

But what they often fail to recognize is that they are creating their own demise (and that of the cleaning company) by slinging a dirty mop and dirty mop water on a floor night in and night out.  The condition of the floor, especially along the edges of furniture and baseboards and in corners, deteriorates rapidly.  Grime lines and dirt accumulate and become very noticeable.  On certain types of flooring streak marks from the dirty mop will also appear like shadows, especially in the daylight.  As well the facility has no chance of ever smelling fresh and clean.  However, as common as bad hygiene is, creating good hygiene can be accomplished through proper staff selection, training, incentives and real time inspections.  The commercial cleaning companies that hire staff that are willing to part with bad habits and learn new, beneficial concepts and who are rewarded for consistently applying these principles will create good hygiene: and with it consistently good cleaning!