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What's your cleaning agenda?

September 19, 2010
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When I took over as senior editor of CM/Cleaning & Maintenance Management® magazine, I left behind close to 30 years of battling daily deadlines in the newspaper industry.

I had done it all when it comes to that noble profession — sports reporter, editor, copy editor and page designer.

There’s nothing like the feeling that comes with composing a Page 1 headline above the fold that grabs the eye of 50,000 or so readers as they sip their morning coffee.

So why did I turn to the world of B2B trade magazines?

I’ll be honest. It seemed like a good opportunity and the idea of putting together a magazine for a captive audience was fresh and new to me.

But a cleaning and maintenance magazine?

That’s exactly what old newspaper colleagues would ask me when we crossed paths.

After three or four weeks on the job, I decided I had to delve into the professional cleaning industry and find out what it was all about for this to really work.

What I quickly discovered is that the professional cleaning and maintenance industry is a fascinating one.

Carpets don’t get cleaned by accident, hospitals aren’t kept germ-free and safe by the luck of the draw, and floors in schools don’t get that shiny, see-your-face-reflected-in-them look on their own.

There is a whole set of methods and procedures — Team Cleaning, Day Cleaning and Zone Cleaning — to name a few.

There seem to be a hundred different ways to push a mop, wave a carpet wand, or do something simple like empty the trash.

When it comes to chemicals — traditional to green — there are thousands to help you get the job done. There are even chemicals to take care of chemicals.

Want to talk machines? Let your imagination run wild: I’ve seen everything in the way of buffers, burnishers, and backpack vacuums.

And how about those waterless urinals, those no-touch paper towel dispensers (they beat hot-air hand dryers, hands down — no pun intended), and those airport trash compactors that thank you for giving them an old coffee cup to digest.

Next, you’re going to tell me there’s a robot coming down my office hallway on its own to vacuum the carpet that leads to my desk.

At the same time, I’ve found that the people in the professional cleaning industry are a passionate bunch. For the most part, they care about their livelihoods and share a commitment to cleanliness.

A good custodian, for example, takes pride in a job well done just like most auto mechanics and school teachers.

There are responsible researchers and scientists who are all too happy to take some of the toxicity out of a floor stripper and replace it with an environmentally friendly alternative if they can.

And a consultant who can come up with a work loading plan to do more with less for the betterment of the entire industry — well, he’s like gold.

Of course, everyone in the professional cleaning industry has an agenda:

  • Manufacturers want to sell products, anytime, anywhere and anyway.
  • Distributors push those products and then push those products some more.
  • Cleaning consultants want to sell their services and advice to anybody who will listen.
  • Advocates are out to get their cleaning messages across to the companies and government agencies that influence policy making.
  • Public relations representatives want to do everyone else’s bidding by a getting a story or picture in print.
  • BSCs, in-house directors and custodians just want to make a decent wage to help feed their families and make ends meet.

But don’t misunderstand; there’s absolutely nothing inherently wrong with this process.

It’s what makes the professional cleaning industry go round. You just have to recognize it for what it is, with a healthy dose of skepticism and an equal measure of respect.

After all, I have an agenda, too.

My agenda is to sort all this out and bring you — the reader — the news of the professional cleaning industry, to delve into the issues that are important to BSCs and in-house facility directors, and to keep you informed on the latest in industry trends, equipment and procedures.

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

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