Top Cleaning Mistakes and How to Solve Them

Proper cleaning enhances the appearance of facilities and, more importantly, keeps germs from spreading from surfaces to people. While cleaning is an essential process, everyone has been met with an unclean facility, an overpowering cleaning chemical fragrance or even a slippery floor at least once in their life. There are certain mistakes that can negatively impact cleaning results, brand reputation, sustainability and the bottom line. Understanding these in more detail is crucial to running an efficient and effective operation.   

Everyday Errors that can Impact Cleanliness 

There are numerous missteps that can complicate the cleaning process, and in turn, the cleanliness of your facility. Be on the lookout for the following mistakes and lapses so that you can enhance your approach to facility maintenance, quickly correct bad habits and reduce overconsumption. 

Using chemicals that create risks. 

As people become increasingly aware of the impact that cleaning chemicals have on the air we breathe and our overall health, it’s important to consider whether your inventory is leading to unnecessary risks. Many conventional cleaning chemicals contain harmful ingredients that can irritate eyes and skin, cause headaches and nausea and even negatively impact indoor air quality (IAQ) by releasing volatile organic compounds (VOCs). 

With cleaning occurring more frequently than before the pandemic, using safe and effective products is more important than ever. Electrochemically-activated solutions (ECAS) generated using water, salt and electricity are powerful enough to tackle pathogens of concern, but are also non-irritating and safe for the environment.  

Cleaning in the wrong order. 

Cleaning should be an organized process that carefully considers high-touch areas and cross contamination risks. Approaching cleaning in the wrong order can actually spread germs and leave surfaces unclean.  

Always clean from top to bottom. This enables you to dislodge dust and other soils from higher areas that can fall to floors before you clean them. Additionally, cleaning from top to bottom maximizes germ removal. For example, you wouldn’t want to wipe a restroom floor or toilet seat and then address a stall door or counter.  

Only conducting floor care manually. 

Taking care of floors is a time-consuming process but an essential one. It’s hard to ignore the quality of flooring upon entering a facility. Whether tile, wood, concrete or another material, floors play a part in shaping first impressions regarding cleanliness. Plus, clean floors promote safety by helping to reduce the risk of slip and fall accidents. Relying solely on employees to conduct floor care can mean that other areas of the facility don’t have time to be addressed.  

Implementing robotic machines that can work alongside and support your team members helps take some of the burden of floor care off their to-do lists. Consider cobots that are easy to operate, safely avoid people and obstacles and provide detailed reporting. While some floor care tasks may still need manual intervention and oversight, having an automated helper can certainly improve the floor care process.  

Forgetting to consider sustainability.  

By its nature, the process of cleaning requires the consumption of many resources. Keeping your program from becoming too wasteful is essential as an increasing number of buildings look for ways to be more sustainable. By taking a closer look at your cleaning operations with a green lens, you can drive chemical, water and energy savings.   

Have durable tools and equipment on site that will effectively clean and also last for a reasonable amount of time to keep them out of landfills. Avoid single-use supplies wherever possible. As previously mentioned, ECAS are a greener option for cleaning and disinfecting. Plus, the on-site generators that produce ECAS enable you to eliminate purchasing replacement bottles made from plastic. Simply reuse a set of containers for each custodial cart in your facility.  

Course Corrections in Cleaning 

Commercial cleaning is easier said than done. The process requires dedicated employees who are knowledgeable about how to carry out cleaning and disinfection using the appropriate supplies, chemicals and machines. With all eyes on cleanliness in offices, retail stores, schools and other types of facilities, cleaning needs to be completed correctly. Cleanliness not only enhances visitor confidence and brand reputation, it is one of the best defenses against potentially harmful pathogens.  

To course correct common mistakes and even avoid them altogether, it’s essential to train staff so they can effectively and efficiently clean. Providing visual demonstrations and opportunities for hands-on learning and constructive feedback is essential to maintaining healthy and safe buildings. Both tenured employees and new hires will appreciate the time you take to guide their education and make them better cleaners.  

Regular training and investment in the right tools, equipment and chemicals helps employees uphold cleanliness every day. At GSF USA, we care about clean and the people behind clean. Contact our team here and follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook to learn more about our services and specialties.  

Cleaning vs. Disinfecting: Best Practices for Maintaining Clean Facilities

Since the onset of the pandemic, the frequency and thoroughness of cleaning and disinfecting has increased in public facilities as well as in our homes. While it’s great to be prepared against pathogens, it’s equally essential to not go overboard when it comes to these processes. To avoid hygiene theater, facility managers should have a clear plan in place for what to clean and disinfect and how, and to educate their staff on the key differences between these tasks.

Differentiating the Two Processes

Cleaning is the action that removes dirt, dust and other contaminants from surfaces as well as germs and impurities that we cannot see with the naked eye. Products labeled as cleaners or soap and water, which some may use to clean, may not necessarily kill bacteria and fungi or inactivate viruses. However, by addressing these visible and microscopic contaminants, cleaners reduce the number of germs on the objects and surfaces with which we come into contact.

Alternatively, disinfecting is the process of targeting pathogens and their ability to cause infections. Disinfecting chemicals kill bacteria and fungi. With regards to viruses, these solutions inactivate, as viruses are not living organisms and therefore cannot technically be killed. In order for a disinfectant to meet its claims against bacteria, fungi and viruses, it is necessary to correctly apply the product. The label will include “dwell time” instructions, or the amount of time the surface needs to remain wet. Following these directions will enhance the efficacy of the product.

It’s important to remember that before your employees disinfect surfaces, they must first clean them to take away soil loads that may inhibit the disinfectant from working at optimal performance. This is because the process of disinfecting doesn’t necessarily clean a surface.

What to Clean and Disinfect

When thinking about cleaning and disinfecting, we often consider these tasks as coupled, or a two-step process. First, employees clean. Then, they disinfect. It’s true that when disinfecting, you must follow this sequence. However, not every single surface needs to be disinfected. In fact, the volume of cleaner that staff members use should be much higher than the level of disinfectant that is consumed. Disinfectants are reserved for objects and surfaces that are considered high touch and would be most likely to pass infectious pathogens to people’s hands.

So, what surfaces might require disinfecting? In an environment such as a school where there are many people gathered and communal spaces, things like door handles, restroom counters, desks, cafeteria tables and fitness equipment will likely need to be cleaned and then disinfected. Meanwhile, floors, windows and walls can simply be cleaned.

Alternatively, in a commercial office, elevator buttons, appliance handles and cubicles should be cleaned and disinfected, while chairs, floors and other items that are not shared or are used on a less frequent basis can be thoroughly cleaned to save time and chemical.

Perfecting the “How”

Getting the “how” of cleaning and disinfecting right is paramount, especially when it’s our wellbeing at risk. As stated above, following a product’s dwell or contact time is key when disinfecting. However, it’s also important to carefully consider the types of solutions you’re using, as these can have long-term impacts on the professionals who perform these duties as well as facility occupants and visitors.

Select products that do not contain added fragrances or ingredients that release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air. Increasingly, facilities are adopting electrochemically-activated cleaning and disinfecting solutions that are generated on site using salt, water and electricity. These solutions are incredibly effective and safe, and support sustainability, making them an excellent alternative to caustic traditional cleaning chemicals.

A Smarter Approach to Cleaning and Disinfecting

In the face of contagious viruses like SARS-CoV-2 it’s crucial to have a sound process in place for cleaning and disinfecting your facility. An organized approach can effectively manage these infectious disease risks and enable your staff to adequately address the most important surfaces when disinfecting. Additionally, a smart strategy will enable you to limit wasting resources like chemical, water and energy, and enhance productivity while also reducing the risk of burnout among your cleaning staff. In turn, this will yield a more efficient, sustainable and safe operation as well as cleaner buildings.

If you’re looking to enhance the way you approach cleaning and disinfecting in your facility, contact GSF USA here and follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook to learn more about our sustainable and unique approach to facility maintenance.

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