Too often the value of cleaning is overlooked. When budgets are tight, it is common that the custodial department is the first to be considered for cutting overhead in the form of people, hours, financial support to purchase tools and products needed to do the job. We must help our custodial departments advocate for themselves and the service and value they provide to all people that occupy all of the commercial buildings that are cleaned every day.
Cleaning can significantly impact (either negatively or positively) the following:
- Appearance levels: this is the most common intended impact of cleaning a building and will remain high on the list.
- Indoor Air Quality – People spend as much as 90% of their time indoors and some 100%. Indoor air pollutants include the dirt, dust and other contaminants that people bring in from the outside. Dust can be generated from our indoor activities also as well as gases that are released from furniture and building materials, the germs we spread as we touch things or cough and sneeze, and finally the products we use to clean the building can have a negative impact on indoor air quality. A widely used example is asthma in K-12 schools, an average of 3 to 5 kids in a classroom of 30 are affected by asthma. Children, elderly and those with health conditions are especially vulnerable to cleaning practices.
- By using safer chemicals in our cleaning practices, the health risks associated with the workers using the products is decreased as well as litigation risks.
- The environment whether it is from the ingredients used to manufacture a product, the off gasses that are emitted from use of the product or the waste generated throughout the lifecycle and disposal of a product. Using products with low or no VOCs, 3rd party certified products and choosing products that create less waste all helpful in reducing environmental impact.
- Reduce exposure of patients (in healthcare), students (in education), workers or building occupants of any kind to potentially harmful chemicals – especially those that are vulnerable
- Following procedures that reduce cross contamination can reduce exposure
- A reduction in dust particles and contaminants by implementing a floor care program that eliminates burnishing (and I hope none of you are burnishing floors today)
- Using disinfectants properly and where they are actually needed
- By having hand washing stations effectively placed throughout your facility