How do you show the Value of Cleaning? Start by understanding value-of-cleaning elements, then put it all together for a successful program.
Value of Cleaning – Elements
-Health and Safety
What are your facility appearance goals? Since it will be hard to hit a target you have not identified, be specific about “appearance targets” by working with the customer to “get the picture” ? literally. After talking with your customer, use a digital camera to capture the desired appearance of all important areas after the site has been serviced, and use those visuals as targets. Develop a scope of work to meet both appearance and other goals below.
Clean surfaces – both hard and soft – last longer.
According to the Tile Council of North America (TCNA), the “best way to clean grout is to apply the cleaner and then vacuum … the dirty water. This lifts the dirt off the joint. Apply rinse water and vacuum that water up.”
Field reports show dirty grout can deteriorate and need replacing, especially in corrosive, greasy environments such as kitchens, and in highly trafficked restrooms. This is no surprise since fatty acids make up grease and oils (e.g., carboxylic acid), and urine contains uric acid. The Tile Council notes that cementitious grout consists of cement and sand, and that cement is dissolved by acid.
Regarding textile surfaces, according to ISSA (the cleaning industry trade association) and the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) a properly cleaned carpet can last twice as long as a poorly cleaned one.
Carpet and other cleaning’s impact on asset preservation can be estimated using work loading tools such as ISSA’s Value of Clean Calculator.
Using reliable data, such calculators can show how effective cleaning can extend surface life, enhancing Return on Investment (ROI). Multipurpose integrated cleaning tools that enable cleaning of multiple surfaces (carpet, tile, fixtures, etc.) further increase ROI.
Health and Safety
At its core, facility cleaning is the removal of unwanted matter from buildings. Unwanted substances include organic soil (germ food and harborage, and germs themselves), dusts and pollutants; water, foreign agents, and liquids that can promote microbial growth or cause slips and falls; and superfluous chemicals, cleaners and fragrances.
Reducing human exposure to unhealthy substances or unsafe conditions is a key part of the Value of Cleaning.
Clean, healthy and safe environments enable people to function better while saving business considerable money.
According to the study, “How IEQ Affects Health, Productivity” (ASHRAE Journal, 2002) by William J. Fisk, improving the indoor environment to reduce respiratory illness (avoiding 16 million to 37 million cases of the common cold or influenza) would save the U.S. $6 to $ 14 billion annually. Reducing allergies and asthma by achieving an 8% to 25% decrease in symptoms within 53 million allergy sufferers and 16 million asthmatics would save $1 to $4 billion annually. While the study addresses gains from improving overall indoor environmental quality (IEQ), cleaning for removal of unhealthy elements plays a major role.
True Productivity isn’t about speed, it’s about performance. Working smarter not harder means using systems identified as better and faster at removing soil, not just faster as measured by a stopwatch.
ISSA’s 612 Cleaning Times explains that the following systems enable greater productivity when factoring actual cleaning performance:
- No Touch Spray-and-Vac vs Manual Cleaning of Restrooms by specialists can result in a 50% labor savings.
- Cordless Spread-and-Vac vs Mopping can result in 400 to 1,200% labor savings.
Labor-saving and Return On Investment (ROI) calculators and guides can help pinpoint the value of specific cleaning equipment choices and applications; including initial equipment acquisition cost; repair, service and training costs; labor and other expenses.
Multi-function tools that quickly, thoroughly remove contaminants and reduce human exposure to unhealthy conditions, also clean better than legacy methods.
In 2010, Time Magazine reported the results of an Indiana University study showing the physical activity associated with cleaning directly correlated with physical and other types of fitness.
Florence Nightingale, founder of modern nursing, showed how better sanitation saved lives.
American Laundry News reports that “better-maintained plants have the ability to produce better quality and realize a more efficient production stream. The employees are happier because they work in a clean, safe, organized environment that allows them to be more productive and a proud part of the operation that employs them.”
Putting It All Together
Putting it all together in true synergistic fashion - Appearance, Asset Preservation, Health and Safety, Productivity, and Morale - means the total Value of Cleaning is greater than the sum of the parts.
Understanding and showing customers the true Value of Cleaning is the key to personal and professional success.
Allen Rathey is the principal of the Healthy Facilities Institute (HFI), director of the Indoor Wellness Council (IWC), and author of articles about best practices in cleaning and indoor environmental management.
*The Healthy Facilities Institute (HFI) and the Indoor Wellness Council (IWC) do not endorse products.