A Decade of Cleaning

What a wild decade. 

In some areas, we’ve seen the cleaning industry advance. This is the first decade where we’ve experienced full blown automation. Robots are starting to clean floors. New chemical technology is reducing disinfectant dwell time and the Internet of Things (IoT) is expanding the visibility custodial professionals have over their operations. 

But as much as the technology has advanced, a few essential areas of our industry have not. 

  • Cleaning workers are still among the lowest paid in the country.
  • These workers continue to experience the most injuries of any occupation.
  • Organizations continue to use a “throw it on the wall and see if it sticks” approach to cleaning. 
  • There are fewer independent education and training resources available than ever before.

Where our industry was once filled with several non-profit organizations that dedicated themselves to providing education and training to cleaning professionals, many of these institutions have gone away. And while distributors are stepping up to fill that void, much of their training focuses on the product side of the business.

This is an issue, because products, as we know, only account for approximately 10% of a custodial budget.

Data-Driven Cleaning
“Without measurement, cleaning cannot be managed.” – Michael Berry, Ph.D. 

We’re starting to experience a shift. Because we live in an age where data rules, the need for better data around cleaning systems continues to grow. People are tired of hearing “because we’ve always done it this way” as a justification for using a certain process or product.

Many cleaning professionals realize that building an effective custodial program—one that truly cleans and doesn’t pollute—requires a hard look at both the training and systems in place.

It also requires doing the hard work to create the change we want.

That’s why Texas Tech University, Valparaiso University and Kansas State University are turning to (OS1). They want a proven system for cleaning—not just products with a promise.

2020 will kick off a new decade of growth in this industry. Growth that supports not only the products used in it, but the people who perform the work too. 

We’re excited. We hope you are too.

Wishing you, your family and your team the best this holiday season!


(Make sure you’re subscribed to Cleaning Matters, our monthly e-newsletter if you want to read more from Ben! You can also follow him on Twitter here.)