HFI - A Commentary on Cleaning Standards

By Allen Rathey

There has been much talk about establishing definitive cleaning standards within our industry, but efforts have met with mixed success.


Why?  I believe the reason is basic.


A cleaning standard must be defined by a cleaning purpose.


If to 'clean to protect or enhance health' is the purpose, the standard will be quite different than to 'clean for appearance'.


If to 'clean' within budget or to save time is the purpose, the standard will be defined in less ennobling ways.


Bottom Line: The cleaning industry--in its current state of thinking--cannot create one unified standard (though it can create 'specs' based on particular customer requirements) because the thinking about cleaning is not unified.


Domestic example: If a mother cleans because she doesn't want her family to become ill, or to optimize the indoor environment because she loves her family, that's a different motive and process than to clean because company is coming or because she wants to save time or money.


Simply stated, since cleaning is currently performed for different purposes, cleaning will consistently be measured by a variety of different standards.


In addition, as long as the customers of the cleaning industry think of cleaning in a variety of ways--many of them far less than optimal--the cleaning industry (a for-profit enterprise) will respond with a hodgepodge of 'standards' that reflect a variety of different customer demands (or purposes).


Thus, it is far more important to change the way people think about cleaning--starting first with the people within the industry and then embracing people (customers) outside the industry.


Since safety and the protection of human health are major standards drivers in other successful fields (from electricians to engineers) one of the industry's major initiatives should be to promote cleaning as an indoor environmental discipline (science) in the public interest. Once accomplished, a standard then becomes viable. Until that happens, no standard is possible.


Moreover, I simply believe that to 'clean to protect or enhance health' is the best foundation for the industry to build a lucrative and dignified future upon (with appearance, surface preservation, etc. as pillars of the structure).


Before such a dominant 'health philosophy'--that produces corresponding specs, standards, etc--can prevail, we must work at changing thinking.


We are all in the PR and marketing business, you could say...


More Dignity Please


Having cleaned for a living for many years (before becoming an 'armchair expert'), and witnessing the low self-esteem and lack of dignity afforded the cleaning worker in many instances, I have a personal axe to grind. 
Our industry lacks heart and a dignified reason for existence--a motivating core belief, if you will.


By stark contrast, the medical profession has a credo known as the Hippocratic oath ('Do no harm'). It is what inspires many young men and women to become doctors and nurses.


The ultimate standard of care is to 'do no harm' and to promote healing and health.  That philosophical basis is what motivates many healthcare professionals to work long hours (not to mention the need to pay off medical school bills and afford high liability insurance premiums).


Still, medicine is a business.  It must deal with many business realities, and for this reason care is not always optimal, and other standards (specs?) must be adopted to achievable a practical standard that is also affordable.


But, medicine--at its core--has its dignity.


The cleaning industry is not so fortunate. It is a much maligned field with a low place on the proverbial totem pole.


What the cleaning industry needs first and foremost--at its core--is an ultimate 'standard of care', a reason for being, the equivalent of 'do no harm', a philosophical foundation.


Just as it is very important to know *why* a doctor decided to practice medicine, it is also important that we know *why* we clean.


I believe that to 'clean to protect or enhance health' is such a core philosophy upon which an industry can redefine itself.


All the other standardization aspects will follow when the industry finds dignity and deep purpose--dare we say inspiration?--in its core beliefs.


The Healthy Facilities Institute (HFI)

Related Topics

Related Products

  • OmniFlex™ Spray-and-VacOmniFlex™ Spray-and-Vac

    When it comes to cleaning restrooms and other heavily soiled areas, nothing beats Spray-and-Vac cleaning technology. And the OmniFlex approach offers a cost-effective and easy way to get there. Just purchase a preconfigured 500 psi Spray-and-Vac system, or combine the 500 psi OmniFlex Pump System with the Wet Vacuum and the Trolley-Bucket for the ultimate cleaning experience. Modeled after the original Spray-and-Vac system, Kaivac’s No-Touch Cleaning® machine, the OmniFlex system is built for extreme soil removal. It empowers workers to clean hygienically without touching contaminated surfaces. Plus, it helps cut labor, chemical and equipment costs.

  • OmniFlex™ Dispense-and-VacOmniFlex™ Dispense-and-Vac

    The OmniFlex Dispense-and-Vac system offers a simple, fast approach to cleaner, safer floors. Its extreme cleaning capabilities achieve hygienic results in even the heaviest soil and grease conditions. In fact, like most Kaivac systems, it's up to 60 times better at removing soil and contaminants than mopping. That makes the Dispense-and-Vac is perfect for food service establishments, industrial facilities, light duty public restrooms and much more.Just apply fresh cleaning solution to the floor, spread and lightly brush into grout lines, and then completely vacuum away all soils and liquid, leaving floors really clean and bone dry. It's perfect for daily cleaning and degreasing of commercial floors. It's also great for applying and removing stripper on finished floors. The process is radically better, faster and safer than cleaning with a mop.

    Click here to see the compact Space Saver Dispense-and-Vac model

  • KaiVac 2750 No-Touch Cleaning® SystemKaiVac 2750 No-Touch Cleaning® System

    When it comes to restrooms and other heavily soiled areas, nothing beats Spray-and-Vac cleaning. Kaivac’s No-Touch Cleaning systems are built for extreme soil removal, empowering workers to clean hygienically without touching contaminated surfaces. Plus, it cuts labor, chemical and equipment costs. Achieving great, consistent results is easy with these patented systems. Simply apply automatically diluted cleaning solution to fixtures and floors in a low pressure fan spray, and then rinse surfaces and floors with always-fresh, clean water. The built-in power of the indoor pressure washer flushes soils out of grout lines and tight places that mops can’t reach. Finally, just vacuum the floor dry -- completely removing soils, moisture and contaminants from all surfaces, grout lines and crevices, leaving the floor virtually dry and soil free.The largest of the No-Touch Cleaning systems, the Kaivac 2750 is perfect for big facilities with high capacity needs. It features a 27 gallon fresh water tank, 500 PSI pump, 3-stage vacuum and the industry’s longest spray line and vacuum hose.

  • OmniFlex™ AutoVac™ Add-on KitOmniFlex™ AutoVac™ Add-on Kit

    The AutoVac Add-on Kit quickly transforms your OmniFlex into an automated high performance floor machine that rivals the performance of an autoscrubber - at a fraction of the cost!A really fast, simple approach to clean, safe floors, this system is perfect for high speed cleaning of hard surface areas, such as hallways, cafeterias, lobbies, warehouses, fitness areas and more. It’s as fast and effective as an autoscrubber without the added cost or complexity, making it perfect for building service contractors and facility managers alike.Simply combine this kit with an OmniFlex Trolley-Bucket and an OmniFlex Wet Vacuum and start cleaning!

Privacy Policy Terms of Service Return Policy
© 2001 - 2019 Kaivac, Inc.
  • 0
  • 0


Item removed. Undo