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ProTeam Cleaning for Health® Tip of the Month

July 13, 2009
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By Hollis Welsh and Jessica Holmes

To get the most out of your commercial cleaning routine, how you clean is as important as the equipment you use. Professional janitorial closets today are stocked with state-of-the-art technology in the form of micro-fiber cloths, high efficiency machines and environmentally friendly liquid agents. But those innovations will only get you so far if they are not integrated into an effective cleaning system. To revolutionize cleaning results, many industry professionals have adopted a science-based cleaning system to improve cleaning efficiency, productivity and environmental health.

A sweeping cleaning movement

Team Cleaning was introduced more than 20 years ago as an alternative to long-held cleaning standards, where the focus shifts to cleaning for health with maximum efficiency and productivity. Developed by a contractor cleaner in Boise, Idaho named Larry Shideler, Team Cleaning ensures consistent cleaning quality throughout a facility while simplifying the work process.

Shideler found that traditional cleaning practices in commercial buildings required a different set of workers and a full set of equipment for each floor of the building. The result was high labor costs and varying levels of performance. He decided to try a new approach, where he assigned a specialist per task, with one person cleaning all the bathrooms in the building, another person vacuuming all the floors, another cleaning windows, etc.

At the same time, he got to work on a new invention, which has revolutionized the cleaning and maintenance industry. Shideler created the original lightweight backpack vacuum, which has dramatically shortened the time it takes to clean both carpet and hard floors. In 1987, Shideler took his invention and founded ProTeam, which today manufactures 19 different vacuums for all cleaning applications.

Commercial backpack vacuums like those made by ProTeam cover an average of 10,000 square feet an hour compared with the average 2,857 square feet a traditional upright covers. When incorporated into a Team Cleaning program, ProTeam backpacks significantly improve productivity and effectiveness, and are unsurpassed in durability, ergonomics, maneuverability and suction power. The Super CoachVac® backpack by ProTeam is a force for cleaning large spaces in less time, and the perfect fit for your Team Cleaning system. Its high-powered motor creates enhanced suction, and dust stays trapped by Four Level® Filtration and a 10-quart filter capacity. Perfect for commercial carpet and hard surfaces, the Super CoachVac is proven to be 70% faster than an upright, and has a 50-foot extension cord and integrated tool belt that help boost productivity.

Team Cleaning 101

Cleaning work can be assigned either by space or by task. In zone cleaning, a worker is given a certain area to clean, and performs all the tasks required in that space. In Team Cleaning, a worker is given one of four specialties. A light-duty specialist empties trash, captures dust, cleans chalkboards and spot cleans. A vacuum specialist vacuums, repositions furniture, checks the quality of the starter''s work, and turns off lights. A restroom specialist cleans restrooms and fills dispensers. A utility specialist vacuums stairwells, cleans brass, glass, blinds and carpets, does periodic specialty services as needed, and sometimes acts as a supervisor on the project.

In Team Cleaning, the worker is routed through a building on a set time-schedule with specific tasks. The cleanable space is typically divided into four sections, or quads. A specialist performs daily routine cleaning in each quad. So the vacuum specialist, for example, covers high-traffic areas in each room, everyday. Work that needs to be done on a weekly basis—vacuuming under furniture and in hard to reach areas—is performed in one quad a day. At the end of four days, all sections are covered. Work that should be done monthly—vacuuming upholstered furniture or the ceiling filter—is done in one quad on the fifth workday, usually Friday. By the end of the month, all detail work is complete. Job cards map out daily work paths and time frames, and help keep specialists and supervisors on track.

Making Team Cleaning a reality

If you''re looking to incorporate Team Cleaning into your facility but are not sure where to begin, there are training schools and programs across the country and internationally that will help get you started. Many now offer support programs and training kits to assist in teaching and implementation. On-site workshops are also available from many instructors. To learn more about ProTeam''s Team Cleaning system and upcoming two-day Team Cleaning seminars, visit

Hollis Welsh and Jessica Holmes are freelance writers in Boise, Idaho, and PR consultants for ProTeam.

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