In the early 1950s, when cleaning began to emerge as a profession instead of just “the janitor job,” I started a cleaning business as a college student to work my way through school.
I had not a clue how to clean.
My only teachers were trial and error, reading a few labels and some enthusiastic but rare sanitary supply salesmen who came on after-hours jobs to show us product use and some basic procedures.
Based on the amount of carpet shrunk, floors ruined using some killer strippers and many walls and ceilings permanently and ignorantly streaked, one could write a book.
In fact, starting about 30 years later, I did write over 30 books about cleaning.
Keeping It Local
There was almost zero information or publications available as our industry and many new associations were in their infancy.
Those days were truly the time of the “local custodian,” and newer and better chemicals and tools took decades to get to the cleaning crews.
Seminars and training were rare and scattered, if available at all.
Enthusiastic with the profession, I researched, wrote and spoke to as many companies and colleagues as possible from my distant Idaho location.
My cleaning company, Varsity Contractors, then doing some national accounts like the Bell System, discovered that training and educating our house service people really paid off.
Still lacking the needed penetration to change the efficiency of the industry, a publication put out by Charlie Wheeler appeared to answer a need.
I personally put in to buy it when Wheeler retired.
Dan Harris, an experienced publisher, ended up owning the publication and pioneered it to become the Cleaning & Maintenance Management magazine that you are holding in your hands today.
The publication provided what the industry was missing by gathering with the contractors, manufacturers and distributors and getting resources and information out to all of us.
The best thing it did was expand the dimensions of “facility maintenance” from cleaning floors and restrooms into different areas like safety, the environment, depreciation, energy, scheduling, production rates, etc.
The magazine tapped the champions of the industry — leaders and experts in the field — and featured years of “how-to” articles and counsel.
This resulted in considerable expansion of efficiency in building and grounds care across the country, and in my opinion, the manufacturers, distributors and building managers have almost perfected how to clean, when to clean and what to clean.
Selling The Value Of Clean
Thanks to better carpets, superior floor and floor finishes, better counters, paints, HVAC and wonderful equipment, the how to clean is 1,000 miles above where it was 50 years ago.
Now that providers, users, publishers and presenters have whipped the process of cleaning into shape, it is time to sell the value of clean as a condition.
I am convinced that once people know and accept the “why clean,” they will seek and figure out the how, what, when and who.
We need to take clean to its potential, showing the public and the still unconverted people in the industry that the purpose of cleaning is not so much a “do” as it is a “be” — be it clean language, clean glasses, clean arteries, clean carburetor, clean filter, clean air, clean teeth, clean water … a list of the results of cleaning with no end.
Selling what cleaning does for mankind is where our next 50 year needs to be spent; we have got to take it far past how it looks to what it does.
The Reach Of Clean
See the sidebar that can help convince people the value of clean.
I made it up years ago, and I find even seasoned cleaners were amazed by the reach of clean.
When society sees the value to themselves and their planet from the practice of clean procedures and principles, they will change behavior.
We, as professionals and publishers in a great industry, can influence the outcome of society more than any profession.
As for myself, I have put my life and resources into establishing a new world-known Museum of Clean (not a cleaning museum), extremely unique in the 17,000 museums in America.
It is a city block where one can witness in median of material machines, past and present tools, art, environment, music, stage and humor.
We feature over 8,000 cleaning-related items, and we have schools, public field trips and a flow of visitors from around the world.
We have been getting national media attention selling the value of clean daily.
Remember, this is your museum; come and visit or glance on the web.
Use it as a sales pitch, especially the CBS segment that went to 7 million homes.
After 60 years and still counting in a great profession, my thanks to all of you who share the love for clean.
We are making clean “uninvisible” to the public.