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Getting Real with Cleaning Myths

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By: Tom Bell, PhD

Effective, safe and cost efficient cleaning isn’t as easy as most people assume. Even within the professional community, many cleaning myths exist that perpetuate misconceptions about proper methods and procedures. Below I’ve outlined a few cleaning myths I hear most often. The more cleaning professionals know, and the better trained they are, the less likely they are to be swayed by misinformation, resulting in facilities being cleaner and more beautiful for employees’ and guests’ enjoyment.

Myth #1 – Everyone Knows How to Clean

This myth suggests that since cleaning staff likely clean their own homes, they must already know everything needed to clean effectively at work. This simply isn’t true. The step-by-step procedures required for cleaning the wide range of areas within professional facilities is far more complex than cleaning a home. Effective hands-on training, followed by consistent feedback and positive reinforcement is the best way to ensure staff is educated on how to clean effectively and efficiently to both reduce germs in the environment and create an aesthetically appealing space that guests want to enjoy.

Myth #2 – Individual Products Are Required to Clean Each Different Area

Many products are typically formulated to handle one particular cleaning job. However having a large arsenal of cleaning products doesn’t guarantee a staffer can tackle any problem. Instead, P&G Professional suggests deploying effective multipurpose cleaning products that can handle a wide range of surface types, and in turn help simplify cleaning routines by reducing the number of products needed to effectively clean and disinfect. For best results, the key is to always follow the instructions on the label and use the proper amount of cleaner, which will also reduce waste while increasing productivity.

Myth #3 – Employees Know What is Expected of Them

Another myth suggests that cleaning staff automatically understand the expectations and scope of their job based on past experience. Again, this is not always true. The desired appearance or specific cleaning requirements for various facilities/task areas can often vary greatly and must be communicated clearly in order to educate staff about what is expected in both process and outcomes.

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Myth #4 – It Looks Clean, So It Must Be Clean

Keeping facilities looking aesthetically clean is certainly important, but the goal of any effective cleaning program should be to remove all soils that harbor and provide a breeding ground for germs, not just the visible dirt. Further, effective cleaning regimens should also include disinfection. P&G Professional experts recommend using multipurpose products that both clean and disinfect in one simple step. A well-planned (or designed) cleaning/disinfecting regimen can reduce the transmission of infectious diseases, while positively impacting aesthetics by improving appearance and reducing odors.

Myth #5 – A General Multipurpose Cleaner Alone Will Achieve Disinfection

Unfortunately, to achieve the best results and reduce germs in the environment, standard multipurpose cleaning products are not always enough. For best results, look for multipurpose cleaning products that also feature hospital-grade disinfectants, which have been formulated to remove a broad range of target soils and disinfect simultaneously. P&G Professional offers several such products, including Comet® Disinfecting Bathroom Cleaner and Spic and Span® Disinfecting All-Purpose Spray and Glass Cleaner, helping cleaning staff to improve cleaning effectiveness, as well as process efficiencies.

Myth #6 – Spray & Wipe to Get the Job Done

When it comes to disinfection, cleaning professionals should avoid simply spraying and wiping. Disinfecting cleaners must be left on surfaces for a prescribed amount of time in order to destroy bacteria and viruses. It’s crucial to always follow each product’s label instructions, as kill times vary. High-touch contact areas, such as doorknobs, tables and chairs in dining areas, drawer pulls, bathroom faucets and toilet paper dispensers, also require careful and more frequent cleaning in order to minimize cross-contamination that can spread germs.

By clearing up the myths outlined above, and reviewing the tips outlined, cleaning professionals can continue to educate and train their cleaning staff to ensure facilities are as clean and germ-free as possible. For more information, please visit www.pgpro.ca.


About the author:

Tom Bell is an R&D Project Manager for Product Safety and Regulatory Affairs (PS&RA) and leads the regulatory team to ensure product safety and compliance with regulatory requirements. Tom joined Procter & Gamble in 2002 and worked as the microbiologist and a quality leader at the Lima Manufacturing Plant producing laundry detergents and fabric enhancers. Prior to joining P&G, Tom managed a commercial analytical laboratory serving the food and environmental communities and led the quality and food safety programs of a foodservice company. A graduate of The Ohio State University with a Ph.D. in microbiology and physiology, Tom worked in the clinical microbiology laboratories at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. He worked with public health issues and zoonotic diseases developing the understanding of causative agents and the pathobiology of disease. He has extensive experience working with food manufacturers and foodservice operations providing technical leadership for the improvement of cleanliness and sanitation practices. Tom is a registered sanitarian.

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