Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

A little common sense goes a long way in the cleaning process

September 19, 2010

Every day, all across the world, people clean.

It’s a fact of life.

I’ve even heard it said, if you’re not cleaning, you’re polluting.

If you think about it, that statement makes perfect sense.

If you’ve got a teenager living at home, just check out his/her bedroom and you’ll see what I mean.

Cleaning projects come in all shapes and sizes — from a teenager’s bedroom to schools and universities, hospitals, hotels and motels, and large commercial high-rise office buildings.

How does it get accomplished?

All too often, building service contractors and in-house facility directors hire big staffs, buy the most potent cleaning chemicals and floor finishes, invest in the fanciest vacuums and autoscrubbers and generally throw plenty of money at the task at hand — all at the expense of the client or the facility’s budget.

Then, after the dust settles (pun intended), you’ve got to wonder if the facility in question has been cost-effectively cleaned.

In reality, what we are talking about here is productivity, better known in today’s professional cleaning industry, and the business world in general, as: Doing more with less.

Cleaning consultant Perry Shimanoff, president of San Carlos, CA-based Management and Communication Consultants (MC2), offers a reality-based approach to the issue of productivity.

Shimanoff, who works with school districts and community colleges by conducting cleaning audits, staffing analyses and hands-on workshops, calls it the “work smarter, not harder” policy.

I call it, let common sense prevail.

The first work smarter, not harder principle that Shimanoff offers is: Clean water will serve you well.

Think about it for a minute. It seems obvious that using fresh water throughout the cleaning process is important, but how many times have you watched a custodian stretch that now dirty liquid as far as possible to avoid a trip to the utility sink?

Another of Shimanoff’s work smarter, not harder principles is: Don’t let it get dirty in the first place.

Maybe it’s me, but it seems obvious that if you don’t let the dirt and debris into your facility you won’t have to clean as much. Somehow, that’s not always the case.

But my favorite of Shimanoff’s principles is: Duct tape isn’t always the answer.

I won’t spoil the fun of reading Shimanoff’s entire article by telling you in this space what he discovered in his consulting travels.

Suffice to say, common sense, not duct tape, should have prevailed.

Send comments or thoughts on this topic or any other article that appears in CM/Cleaning & Maintenance Management® magazine, to