The Art of Cleaning: Principles for a Pristine Home
Cleaning plays a pivotal role in maintaining a healthy and comfortable living and working environment. Whether you’re a seasoned expert or a beginner, adhering to some fundamental principles can help you achieve a spotless and well-organised home. Moreover, since this is part of a series of blogs on how to start your own cleaning company, understanding these principles is crucial for achieving effective cleaning results. A strong foundation in home cleaning will require minimal adjustments when transitioning to a commercial setting. Therefore, we begin with “the principles of a pristinely clean home.”
In the part 2 of this blog post, we’ll explore the key principles of cleaning and in part 3 we will provide you with clear steps by step guide for an effective and efficient house cleaning. Here are four key principles that apply to all forms of interior cleaning:
1. Colour Coding of Cleaning Equipment: Colour coding is a system that assigns specific colours to cleaning tools, equipment, and products to prevent cross-contamination, promote good hygiene, and enhance safety in cleaning operations. While this practice is widely used in various industries such as healthcare, food service, and hospitality, it’s equally applicable to your home. Here’s why:
- Preventing Cross-Contamination & Enhancing Hygiene: Cross-contamination occurs when bacteria, viruses, or contaminants unintentionally move from one area to another. By using colour-coded cleaning tools and products, you can designate specific colours for different areas or tasks. For example, red might be reserved for high-risk areas like restrooms, while green could be used for kitchen areas. This prevents the transfer of germs between spaces, reducing the risk of infections or illnesses.
- Simplifying Training and Improving Efficiency: Colour coding simplifies the training process for cleaning staff. New employees can quickly understand which tools and products to use in specific areas, reducing the chances of mistakes and errors. It streamlines onboarding and ensures that cleaning protocols are followed correctly.
- Safety and Compliance with Regulations: In certain industries, such as healthcare and food service, regulatory agencies may mandate or recommend the use of colour-coded cleaning systems to ensure compliance with hygiene and safety standards. Adhering to these standards helps establishments avoid unnecessary costs. An example of such a system is the NHS national colour coding scheme.
- Preventing Product Misuse: Colour coding can also be applied to cleaning products themselves. For instance, green might indicate an environmentally friendly cleaning solution, while red signifies a chemical that requires extra caution. This prevents employees from using the wrong product in a particular area, which could lead to damage or safety hazards.
Common Colour Codes in Cleaning:
- Red: Used for high-risk or sanitary areas like restrooms and toilets.
- Yellow: Designated for low-risk or isolated areas.
- Green: Often used in kitchens and food preparation areas.
- Blue: Reserved for general cleaning in common areas like hallways and lobbies.
In summary, colour coding in cleaning serves as an effective tool for maintaining cleanliness, hygiene, and safety in various environments. It simplifies cleaning procedures, reduces the risk of cross-contamination, and ensures compliance with industry standards and regulations.
2. Cleaning Is a Profession, Not Just a Job: While it’s no secret that cleaning jobs are often associated with low wages, it’s essential to recognize that cleaning is a profession that requires specific skills and expertise. To achieve the highest cleaning standards, professionalism is key. Cleaning staff need skills in quality control, attention to detail, communication, customer service, basic hygiene knowledge, and time management. These skills are essential for success in virtually any job.
It was a few years ago when I realised that in order to successfully train my staff to provide my high standard of cleaning, they need to realised that they play an important role in the operations of our clients and are therefore much valued by the client. This discovery was a revelation to me, this is true in the sense that a dirty home can lead to sickness, a dirty office can cause staff sickness and impact business operations. Investment in staff training (as well as improved pay and a better focus on management) made it possible to achieve a whopping 90% staff retention up from 45%. The industry average for staff retention is generally below 30%.
It’s important to understand that inadequate hygiene levels can pose a risk to institutions, potentially leading to closures. In short, the job of a cleaner is highly important to all organisations as probably only them is tasked to ensure the environment is clean, safe, and hygienic.
I remember a call from a doctor’s surgery some years ago, they failed their CQC inspection based on some operational matters but also for not meeting the standard level of cleanliness
3. Observation: Always remember that you can only clean what you see. Part of effective training involves raising staff awareness of their work environment. Cleaners must be able to identify four types of impurities on any surface and know how to remove them effectively: cobwebs, dust, splash stains, and touch-related stains. To deliver the best cleaning results, an eye for detail is crucial. Among all cleaning skills, attention to detail stands out as a deal breaker. In my 14 years of cleaning and managing cleaners, I found that in most cases where areas were missed during cleaning, the cleaners simply did not notice those areas in the first place. This is where professional cleaners learn the art of double-checking their work, as missing a spot is common, but learning to review and correct is instrumental in maintaining high cleaning standards.
4. Product and Equipment Knowledge: Rather than getting bogged down with what to use on specific surfaces, focus on understanding what cleaning solutions do and build from there. The fewer cleaning products in your arsenal, the better. A comprehensive cleaning guide will be provided later in this blog series. Knowledge of your cleaning products and equipment is crucial before launching your cleaning business, as some products are alkaline-based while others are acidic. Some surfaces require specific cleaning solutions to preserve their finish. Avoid the misconception that anyone can clean; you’d be surprised by the number of cleaners who use scouring pads on windows or scraper blades on painted surfaces. Cleaning is indeed a skill that must be learned to avoid costly mistakes in your cleaning business. Understanding how to use various tools and equipment is essential to your success.