It’s Not That You Are Wrong…

…It’s just that you may not be correct. Well some of you may be, but chances are, many of you are not correct…on how cleaning is being accomplished in your facility. It is a mistake to assume that the role of a team member dedicated to maintaining cleanliness is an unskilled position. If you do have that assumption, then you do not understand that there is a science, and actual science, to cleaning.

You’ve seen commercials that proclaim the wonders of a cleaner that will clean every surface, kill every germ, write a term paper, and wash your car. That would work if every type of soiling agent that you encounter was the same pH and the same basic type of material. Yet last I checked, variation abounds. Soils can be acidic, alkaline, dry, morphing, or dyes and inks. Each of these soil types require a different and specific method of cleaning. This is where the science gets exciting!

It is a mistake to assume that the role of a team member dedicated to maintaining cleanliness is an unskilled position.

Just like the soils vary, so do the cleaners. Acidic cleaners have been developed for the more alkaline soils, alkaline cleaners for the more acidic soils. Best chemical for a morphing soil…nothing! Morphing soils react with water/moisture. Absent that catalyst they can be simply swept up and disposed of. Neutral cleaners are popular as well because they do not damage certain surfaces (like floor finish). What you need to understand is, the closer in pH that the soil and cleaner are to each other, the less effective the cleaner will be.

There are also cleaning actions that are not dependent on pH. Disinfectants are generally neutral, they are designed to kill the microorganisms that are listed on their label. Oh, and they are registered with the EPA listed as insecticides. Solvents contain chemicals that break down the elements of material to break their bonds, many can be harmful. Enzyme cleaners utilize live bacteria to eat organic material. Fun fact, if you clean a surface with a disinfectant and then try to follow-up with an enzyme cleaner it won’t work. Disinfectant residue kills the enzymes. Science!

Are you seeing how complex the science behind cleaning is? The real danger is in that not only can improper cleaning programs lead to dirty facilities, it can be hazardous to the occupants and staff. Training your team and providing the right information on chemical usage is not something you put off until there is “time”. Training should occur before the first task is performed. OSHA wants to see that hazardous communication class happen first thing as well, and where do the majority of the SDS originate from in your facility? The cleaning department.

Chemicals are an important part of a proper program. The equipment and processes utilized in conjunction with the chemicals make for a well-rounded program. Just like investing in training will provide dividends, so will investing in the right equipment to perform the tasks.

I hope at this point you are wondering if you have a clue as to what is happening in your facility. Not because I want to scare anyone. Rather, I want to impress upon everyone that our cleaning teams are being asked to perform an extraordinary task that can only be accomplished through research and training. Once the work has been done to provide the right chemicals, equipment, training, and processes, you can have a clean facility. We scratched the surface…want to get even farther ahead? May 24th Church Facility Management Solutions will host a FREE webinar on cleaning with an industry leader. We will make the science fun and meaningful. Join CFMS (free), sign up for the webinar (free). Isn’t the cleaning of your facility worth it?

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