Cleaning Is About More Than Meets the Eye
When it comes to your janitorial service, cleaning is about so much more than just what meets the eye. In fact, a great deal of what makes cleaning for health so critical is about what you cannot see. You cannot see the ongoing threat of ‘super bugs’, influenza viruses, E.coli , C.difficile, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Vancomycin- resistant Enterococcus. You cannot see what germs are left behind if your janitorial company does not follow ‘dwell times’ that are required for germ-killing cleaning products to be truly effective. You cannot see the threat to your employees or customers when your cleaning service or janitorial company uses or misuses chemicals that might be toxic. You cannot see when rags that are used to clean toilets are then used to wipe desks creating dangerous cross contamination issues. The single biggest obstacle when it comes to insuring your janitorial service is cleaning for health is that you can’t see if they are doing any of these things unless you have an intimate knowledge of what products they use and how they should be used or you directly witness bad practices.
You Shouldn’t Have to Micromanage Your Cleaning Service
For most facility managers, following your cleaning team around is at the very minimum counterproductive. Didn’t you hire a janitorial service for the very reason that it would minimize your involvement in the day-to-day management of cleaning your building? So how can you as a Facilities Manager insure you are hiring a cleaning service that will make health a priority and safeguard you, your employees and your customers without you watching their every move?
You Depend on Your Janitorial Company to Keep You Informed
Cleaning for Health is a central concept within the cleaning industry. Through our high-density living in urban areas and the increased resistance of microbes to antibiotics, the role of the cleaning industry in curtailing public health disasters has never been so important. Cleaning companies have a critical role in the promotion of public health and any professional cleaning and janitorial service will not only know precisely what cleaning for health means, they’ll have a plan to be certain everyone on their team understands it and carries cleaning for health directives out.
Your janitorial service is a central source of information on cleaning for the control of infection. They have access to the latest peer-reviewed science from governmental bodies and international organizations regarding the most effective methods to prevent the spread of infection in the community. They have a responsibility to provide you with the most up-to-date and reliable information on each of the most prevalent disease-causing microbes that threaten community health, and recommendations on how to safely eliminate them from various surfaces and environments. Is your janitorial company using this information to create their own best practices? Or are they phoning it in with shoddy work that puts everyone at risk? You should be able to rely on your professional janitorial company to be up to speed on the latest cleaning for health recommendations and to put these recommendations to work in your facility.
Why Cleaning For Health Isn’t Just For Healthcare Settings
Because of the risk of infections, cleaning for health is strictly enforced in healthcare settings like hospitals and clinics. Of course, most of us understand that when we are already sick or ailing, exposure to additional bacteria and viruses can be risky at best, deadly at worst. Still, proper cleaning and disinfecting has applications beyond just the health care industry. Take schools as an example. When schools are not properly cleaned for health, student absenteeism rises and test scores go down. This isn’t just about nitpicking whether something is clean or not, there are practical outcomes at stake. Implementing cleaning for health in schools and even busy office environments isn’t just safe, it’s good business. Within community settings like schools, offices, retail, hotels, public transport and more, the value of cleanliness and cleaning best practices is less understood and less consistently applied.
The Basics of Cleaning For Health & What You Should Be Looking For
What elements of cleaning for health should you address and conquer first? For one, consider contact or dwell times. These are the times required for disinfectants to reliably kill microbes and germs. If your janitorial company does not strictly adhere to recommended contact times, they are putting you and your team at risk. The manufacturer lists the contact time of a disinfectant on the chemical container. Your janitorial service company should insure ever employee entering your facility understands dwell times and follows directions for individual cleaning products.
Likewise, contamination of cleaning equipment is a significant and often overlooked impediment to cleaning procedure best practices. Rags and towels used beyond a certain point will not only fail to clean surfaces, they can actually spread more germs from one surface to the next. Additionally, cleaning rags and towels improperly used for a multitude of cleaning tasks like wiping off toilets and wiping down phones creates dangerous cross-contamination issues and put your facilities at risk.
A professional, reputable and informed janitorial company will also know when a detergent based cleaner will suffice and when to bring in the big guns like disinfectants. Having a clear understanding of touch points (areas that see many hands over the course of a day like phone, rails, handles and doors) can help your janitorial company clean for health in an effective way that still conserves product and respects the environment. One of the important issues is toxic chemicals found in many cleaning products can jeopardize the health of janitorial workers and other building occupants. Several states and local governments have found that switching to “greener cleaners” has improved indoor air quality, reduced complaints among janitorial staff and even saved them money.
Finding a Janitorial Company That Understands Cleaning For Health
If your janitorial service doesn’t understand all of the elements of cleaning for health like dwell times, touch points, green cleaning products and cross contamination, you are not getting all of the benefits of a professional cleaning service. So how can you find a cleaning company that really gets it? Ask questions, ask to see training materials, ask if employees understand how to use the cleaning products they work with. Ask if they have a plan to deal with the risk of cross contamination. Some time spent upfront can save you money and time in the long run.
If you are looking for a way to shortlist prospective janitorial companies to weed out many of the companies that are more obviously failing to meet industry standards for cleaning for health, consider utilizing the industry’s own professional organizations. This can help you narrow the applicant pool to only the most knowledgeable janitorial service companies with a solid track record of best practices. For example, the ISSA, a professional organization for building services contractors offers CIMS certification in which cleaning companies are vetted to insure they have the systems and procedures in place to make good on the requirements for cleaning for health. With companies earning the ISSA’s CIMS certification, someone else has already asked the questions and demanded proof of compliance for you.
At the end of the day, you want your facilities to not only look clean, but also really be clean. That requires a reputable janitorial company that knows the ins and outs of cleaning for health and will center everything they do on keeping people safe and healthy.