How the University of Michigan Makes Sure Custodial Workers Are Seen — and Appreciated

It started with a random Google search. Now it’s a growing program that unites building occupants with the people who clean their buildings, giving them an opportunity to connect and get to know one another. And most importantly, it gives the people who work in that building an opportunity to say “thank you” to their custodians.

Three years ago, when John Lawter, Director of Custodial Grounds and Services at the University of Michigan, began looking for ways to recognize his team, his Google searches led him to Custodial Appreciation Day, which is held annually in early October. 

“I never knew something like this existed,” he said. “I knew it could be a great way to say thank you to the people on our team.”

This team was presented with U of M scarves for chilly Ann Arbor winters.

Like many custodial teams, Lawter’s team works mostly at night when students, faculty and staff are out of the office. Very rarely do the building customers have an opportunity to see the hard-working people who clean their building, let alone meet them. So Lawter and his team decided to dedicate the entire month of October to the custodial staff at U of M. 

The key difference to this program compared to other Custodial Appreciation events? He encouraged their customers, the people in the buildings on campus, to develop their own recognition events—it wasn’t just an event coordinated and attended by custodial department.

“It’s been pretty amazing to see the response to this program,” he said. “Each year, more buildings organize and find some way to recognize the cleaners in the building.”

Last year, 27 buildings on the U of M campus hosted their own events to recognize custodial workers. Lawter says that the more the word spreads about Custodial Appreciation Month, the more buildings participate. 

These events might include a pizza party, a potluck or a short ceremony where staff are given school swag, including sweatshirts or other apparel. Lawter makes it a point to attend each event, so the team recognizes how valued they are within the custodial department too. Several deans at the schools within the University have also been known to make an appearance. 

Branded apparel, like these long sleeved shirts from the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute, are a great way to say “thank you” to your custodial team.

“When you attend these events, it’s always wonderful to see the response from the people on our team,” he said. “There’s no doubt that the recognition from the people in the buildings where they work has a big impact on them.”

In addition to boosting morale and making cleaners feel appreciated, Lawter says that the events also help improve communication and relationships with the building occupants. 

As the program evolves, Lawter and his team is working with other groups on campus to grow awareness and resources for recognition to encourage all buildings to participate. But no cleaner goes without a party or some token of recognition in October. Lawter make sure of that.

“We’ll have a pizza party for the team when their building doesn’t host an appreciation event,” he said. “But the longer we do this, the fewer events we host internally. The entire campus community really appreciates the work of our custodial team and does a great job of showing it.” 

The Power of the (OS1) Community


During a “normal” year, my schedule would start to fill around February. I’d plan trips to many of your campuses and facilities, excited to conduct audits, catch up with you and your teams, talk about what’s new at the office and in the industry.

But… we’re still not at normal yet. While I’m starting to plan travel for this summer, it’s all tentative. Sure, the vaccine is on the way and there’s a good chance that we’ll regain *some* form of normalcy in the next six months, we have no idea exactly what that will look like. Further blurring that picture is the fact that the virus continues to mutate and evolve. No one can say for certain how will that impact immunizations and transmission? 

But that’s not stopping us. We’re embracing the uncertainty and focusing on what is certain: YOU. The (OS1) community is the foundation of what makes this cleaning system so effective. So, from the newly reconstituted Simon Institute to the Cleaning Industry Trainer’s Guild, you are all working so hard to organize communication and empower (OS1) users everywhere.

You won’t find another community like ours. We share. We network. We build relationships and trust. And most importantly, we’re dedicated to excellence in everything we do. 

Helen Keller once said, “Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much.” 

As we’ve said all along, the pandemic has thrust cleaning and public health into the spotlight. People everywhere want better cleaning programs that effectively remove dirt from buildings and protect their health. We have a powerful message, and it’s time for our community to work together to share it. 

Your pal, 
Ben

Want to learn more about (OS1) and our community of users known as the Simon Institute? Drop me a line at ben at managemen.com—I’d love to tell you more about it.


P.S. Follow me on Twitter at @BenWalkerClean

If We Want Cleaner Buildings, We Need to Start Respecting Cleaning Workers

As of Jan. 30, it’s been exactly one year since the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global health emergency. At that point, we didn’t know much about the virus. No one had any idea how drastically their lives would change less than two months later.

From the start, the CDC has maintained that coronavirus can spread by respiratory droplets which can be inhaled, deposited on surfaces and objects and transferred by touch, or through airborne particles or aerosol transmission. While research has shown that transmission through hard surfaces isn’t as likely as previously thought, the potential for contamination has pushed many cleaning workers to the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19.

On March 18, a Bloomberg article asked “What about the Workers Cleaning Up Coronavirus?” Journalists shared Lilliana’s story, a day porter for a BSC who who was concerned about the lack of PPE and potential exposure to the virus. 

A BBC article asked, “Coronavirus: Are hospital cleaners forgotten heroes in this crisis?”

Journalist Marianna Brady writes, “Cleanliness and hygiene has never seemed of greater concern than it is now. So should the people making sure hospitals are free of germs be getting more of a voice?”

Yet as many worked in potentially risky situations to keep buildings, others lost their jobs. From housekeepers in hotels, resorts and schools to cleaners like Lilliana who cleaned commercial office buildings, when people stayed home, many cleaners lost. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Hawaii, where a report by the American Hotel and Lodging Association revealed that Hawaiian hotels would remain below 50 percent occupancy through 2021. 

Cleaner Buildings Starts with Respect

We’ve talked about showing appreciation for cleaning workers and elevating their visibility and profile throughout business operations, long before the pandemic hit. It’s the primary focus of our business—we believe all custodial workers should be treated like first-class citizens. This means providing training, living wages, opportunities for advancement, and most of all, decency and respect, for the people who clean our buildings. 

Sadly, despite all that custodians have given during the pandemic, we haven’t seen where that’s equated into more opportunity and respect. 

In a recent editorial for The Colorado Sun, Fátima Alhexia Boylen, founder and president of Boylen Cleaning Services in Denver, described a situation at a local grocery where employees were taunting a man who swept the grocery aisles. 

“Disrespect and invisibility is not something anyone should have to get used to. But sadly, for cleaning workers, it’s everywhere,” she writes.

Boylen’s experiences in the poor treatment of cleaning workers were reaffirmed by a recent study of environmental service workers (ESWs) in hospitals published in the American Journal of Infection Control. Lack of training and other barriers, including “low status” and lack of communication were listed as primary reasons why workers felt they provided little value to the organizations where they worked.

Study authors note that this lack of structure and poor treatment of ESWs can lead to the risk of infection. 

“To sustain improvements in disinfection practices, education/training sessions need to be continuous,” the study states. “The long-term commitment of an organization is also essential for continuous improvement in disinfection outcomes. While knowledge transfer is critical for behavior change, education/training also needs to focus on the skills and perceptions of ESWs.”

Jane Walker, a cleaner at a major pharmaceutical company, recently spoke to a journalist about the low morale of the cleaning team since the start of the pandemic. 

“The lowest of the low. I’ve never seen team morale like this. People call out [sick] all the time and their excuses are for the team, not management. But the whole team just doesn’t wanna be there. It’s funny man, we all say, “You don’t have to be here.”

A Better Clean for Us All

The pandemic will impact several facets of office life, with a demand for cleaner environments high on improvements. 

Mike DiBlasi, a managing director for CBRE in Tampa told a local reporter, “From better ventilation to greener cleaning procedures, everything’s on the table. A lot of the bigger landlords have already started implementing ways to provide a more sanitary and cleaner environment.”

But if we want cleaner workplaces, we need to start doing something about the way cleaning workers are treated. This starts with all of us.  

As research Zach Mercurio so eloquently shares in his editorial, “It’s Time to Stop Dehumanizing Frontline Workers”:

People in stigmatized jobs are part of your routine, their invisibility a byproduct of both their indispensability and good work doing the things most of us have the luxury of forgetting about, the work that enables us to live.

They comprise the workforces of the companies we love. They ensure safe roads to drive on, ship our Amazon packages, clean our doctor’s offices, ready our hotel rooms, decontaminate our drinking water, and dispose of our trash.

As individuals, organizations, and society, we should thank them, but above all, we should respect and revere them and their important occupations.

Join us for “DIY Workloading,” our next online mini-course class, next week!

“How long should it take a cleaning worker to vacuum the floors in a 1,000 square foot room?”

“How many custodians do I need to clean a new building?”

“How can I balance the workload to make sure that everyone has an equitable set of tasks?”

These are just a few of the common questions custodial managers have as they configure (or reconfigure) workloads within their buildings.

If you’re looking for tools that will help you develop meaningful data to workload to teams, you won’t want to miss our next Online Mini-Course, “Introduction to DIY Workloading” on Jan. 28, 2021, at 11 a.m. MST. 

This course is for supervisors and managers in cleaning organizations and is designed to provide a simplified, basic understanding of Workloading as it relates to Team Cleaning. After completing the course, you will be able to determine how long it will take you to perform a cleaning activity, including steps, variables and task times. If you follow a team cleaning format or are exploring how a team cleaning system might benefit your operation, this is the course for you. 

During this hour-long training course, you will learn:

  • How cleaning tasks and times can form the foundation of your custodial program.
  • How times and frequencies are developed.
  • How Team Cleaning standardizes the workload.

The tuition for this mini-course is $45.00. This includes 45 minutes of instruction by Ben Walker and 15 minutes Q&A period. All participants will receive an E-book version of 99 Workloading Times a DIY Workloading Times Guide by John Walker ($21.95 value). 

About the Speaker: 

Ben Walker is the Chief Strategy Officer for ManageMen. In addition to his consulting work, Walker compiled the data for 612 Cleaning Times and Tasks. Ben Walker performs progress and baseline audits for large cleaning operations. He has experience auditing the cleaning program for hundreds of buildings nationwide.

He specializes in the (OS1) cleaning process, safety, green, source reduction, public relations, training, and cleaning education. ManageMen’s clients include Sandia National Labs, The University of Texas at Austin, Texas Tech University, Kansas State University, Valparaiso University, Provo City School District, Michigan State University, The University of Michigan, Los Angeles Habilitation House (LAHH), US Postal Service, and GMI Building Services.

Is it really “Hygiene Theater”?

A few months ago, someone shared an article in The Atlantic magazine that discussed the extensive amount of cleaning and disinfection happening around the world, calling it “hygiene theater.” The author’s basic gripe is that too much of the focus of our COVID-19  prevention is on disinfection when it should be on aerosols or droplets that linger in the air.

“COVID-19 has reawakened America’s spirit of misdirected anxiety, inspiring businesses and families to obsess over risk-reduction rituals that make us feel safer but don’t actually do much to reduce risk—even as more dangerous activities are still allowed. This is hygiene theater.” 

Derek Thompson, The Atlantic

Over the past eight months, cleaning organizations have been unexpectedly thrust into the spotlight. Some, like (OS1) organizations, were prepared for attention and realities brought to us by the pandemic. Others were completely caught off guard. And others looked to capitalize on the opportunity. Some of it, as we discussed, was “hygiene theater.” Much of it was not. 

When you use a systematic approach to cleaning, how you clean doesn’t change whether you’re in a pandemic or not.

This was followed up with an article in Wired magazine, titled “It’s Time to Talk About Covid-19 and Surfaces Again.” Similar to The Atlantic article, this author expresses concern over the fixation over surface disinfection and fomites, saying that such efforts may give people a false sense of comfort when they really should be focusing on issues such as ventilation.

Current science tells us that there’s still SOME risk to the transmission of COVID-19 through hard surfaces. But disinfection is the only element of a comprehensive cleaning program and should be only one layer to your COVID-19 prevention strategy. 

Dusting, vacuuming, trash removal—these are all critical functions that cleaning departments perform that can further aid in controlling the spread of coronavirus. We don’t yet know how coronavirus might attach to a dust particulate that someone can then inhale and become infected. We don’t have science that speaks to dusting or vacuuming frequencies.

As Dr. Michael Berry once said, cleaning is the removal of unwanted matter. We need to continue cleaning in a comprehensive, systematic way to ensure the removal of all unwanted matter—including viruses such as the coronavirus and flu. 

That’s not theater, that’s cleaning.

title for blog post

Our Top 10 Most Read Blog Posts of 2020

2020: A year that will go down in the history books. That couldn’t be more true for custodial professionals who suddenly were thrust onto the public stage as a pandemic took hold throughout the world. The same goes for most of us in the cleaning industry—while manufacturers battled unprecedented demands on the supply chain, others scrambled to prepare training and new certifications. Us? Well, we were prepared. Our users were prepared.

Our founder, John Walker, had anticipated the potential for something like this to happen, going so far as to prepare a pandemic playbook. A lot of people called us, wanting to know how to better create systems around their cleaning programs. A lot of people combed our website looking for information.

If this list is any indication, we can rest assured that people will appreciate the value of cleaning—and the people who do the work of cleaning—long after 2020 is over.

10. Cleaning Classrooms Safely – Teacher’s Checklist 

How can teachers make sure surfaces in their classrooms stay clean during  the pandemic?  We put together a checklist to help.

See the post and infographic here: https://managemen.com/cleaning-classrooms-safely-a-teachers-checklist-with-infographic/

9. Top 10 Frustrations of Custodial Professionals

The people who make it in this industry are problem solvers. Every day, they put together a new puzzle — figuring out which piece needs to go where to complete the puzzle of a clean building. It’s not an easy job, so to help others know they aren’t alone, we developed a list of the most commonly overheard challenges of custodial professionals.

Read the full list of complaints here: https://managemen.com/the-top-10-frustrations-of-custodial-professionals/

8. Coronavirus Communication: How to Tell Building Occupants We’ve Got This

To assist (OS1) teams with communicating their plans to key stakeholders and building occupants within their facilities, we developed a sample communication to help them understand that all of the necessary systems were in place for pandemic preparedness.

Read that post here: https://managemen.com/coronavirus-communication-how-to-tell-building-occupants-weve-got-this/

7. Why Cleaning Matters

It doesn’t matter where or what you clean, this is not an easy business. We’ve pulled together a list of four extremely important reasons why cleaning matters, along with a printable to remind yourself and your team just how important your work is.

Read that post here: https://managemen.com/why-cleaning-matters/

6. Applying Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to a Cleaning Operation

We can benefit from looking at a cleaning operation from the framework of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. There are certain fundamental needs within a custodial operation that must be met in order for the program to be effective and meet certain higher-level goals. Too often, our conversation about cleaning is just through a specific lens rather than looking at the operation as a whole.

Read more about how you can apply the Hierarchy of Needs to your cleaning operation here: https://managemen.com/applying-maslows-hierarchy-of-needs-to-a-cleaning-operation/

5. How the White Wings Cleaned Up NYC

Lacking any formalized sanitation and refuse system, New York City was drowning in garbage and filth in the late 1800s. Its current mayor, William Strong, called for Colonel George Waring to return and assume the position of sanitation engineer. The job of tackling the city’s overwhelming sanitation issues would be no easy feat, and Waring approached the job as he would approach combat on the battlefield. 

Read more about how George Waring and the White Wings cleaned up New York City here: https://managemen.com/from-the-history-books-how-the-white-wings-cleaned-up-new-york-city/

4. The Case Against Spraying Disinfectant Everywhere: Raise your hand if you’ve seen a picture of a heavily suited worker spraying what’s assumed to be disinfectant on sidewalks and streets in the past four months.

For cleaning professionals, this image might be somewhat alarming. Mostly because it demonstrates what we already know—that the majority of people throughout the world have a limited understanding of the science of cleaning. 

Read more: https://managemen.com/the-case-against-spraying-disinfectant-everywhere/

3. Please Take a Minute to Thank a Cleaner: While we rest, cleaners are lifting heavy trash bags and mop buckets, pushing vacuums and pulling overstocked carts. But this effort doesn’t come without a price. Due to the labor-intensive nature of their work, janitors have one of the highest rates of job-related injuries. Injuries from slips and falls or musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) that cause extreme pain in areas such as their backs (46 percent of all custodial-related MSDs), shoulders (15 percent of custodial-related MSDs), necks and legs. 

Read more: https://managemen.com/please-take-a-minute-to-thank-a-cleaner/

2. Think Janitor is a Dirty Word? No, and Here’s Why: If you trace the etymology of the word “janitor,” it doesn’t take much research to find that the term is tied to deity. “Janus” from which “janitor” is derived, was a Roman god of beginnings and ends; metaphorically he represented doors and passages. In images, he’s often depicted with two faces that allow him to look to the future and the past. 

Read why Janitor isn’t a dirty word here: https://managemen.com/think-janitor-is-a-dirty-word-no-and-heres-why/

1. Why Dirty Schools are a Big Problemand What We Can Do to Clean Them Up

The top post of this year looks at some of the most common issues that stem from dirty schools—things like poor performance and reduced morale. But it’s not just the issues—we dig into strategies that could help fix the problem of dirty schools. Spoiler alert: It starts with management.

Read the post here: https://managemen.com/why-dirty-schools-are-a-big-problem-and-what-we-can-do-to-clean-them-up/

Cleaning Conversations: Josh Sego, Michigan State University

When the pandemic started, everyone started cleaning but it became increasingly difficult to recruit and train cleaning workers. Josh Sego is an (OS1) Trainer and the 2019 (OS1) Trainer of the Year. He shares some of the updates he’s making to their training program along with advice for other custodial managers who are trying to evolve their training platforms in this new environment.

Join us for “Understanding Disinfectants” a FREE Online Mini-Course Class for Cleaning Professionals

The pandemic has put a spotlight on the critical importance of cleaning and disinfection, but when is the last time you had a refresher on basic disinfectant principles? Couple that with all of the new disinfection technology emerging, and now is a great time to make sure you’re up to date and that your team is following best practices for disinfection.

This mini-course will sift through the claims and dive into the latest data and research on disinfectant technology to provide you with a clear picture of modern disinfectants.

Topics of discussion will include:

  • Understanding kill claims
  • EPA registration and regulations
  • Daily disinfection frequencies
  • Proper mixing and dilution
  • Sequence of work

We will also cover information regarding electrostatic sprayers, foggers, DHP, surface coating and traditional disinfection methods.

Attendees to this complimentary session will receive a downloadable PDF Quick Reference Guide with links to informative CDC and EPA information. 

This is the first in a series of mini-courses on various custodial and cleaning topics. We will announce the full schedule following this session.

Interested in joining us? Seats are limited, so sign up now to reserve your FREE spot at this event!

New Workbook Provides a Blueprint for the Proper Handling of Cleaning Chemicals in the Workplace

With easy-to-follow instructions and engaging visuals, the resource guide is designed for anyone who responsible for cleaning or its management

SALT LAKE CITY—Oct. 21, 2020—In an effort to reduce worker injuries resulting from improper chemical handling, ManageMen, a business management consulting firm for the professional cleaning industry, has partnered with WCF Insurance and WAXIE Sanitary Supply to develop “Cleaning Chemical Handlers Resource Guide.” The nearly 100-page book is designed for any worker with exposure to chemicals used in the cleaning and maintenance of a facility.

The new Cleaning Chemical Handlers’ Resource Guide aims to reduce chemical-related accidents to cleaning workers.

“As many as six percent of janitorial workers experience a job-related injuries resulting from cleaning chemicals each year—that’s almost 400,000 people,” said Ben Walker, Chief Strategy Officer, ManageMen. “These accidents are preventable. We want to equip workers with the knowledge they need to stay safe.”

The need for chemical safety training has grown during the pandemic, due to increased disinfection efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19. In April, the CDC reported that calls to poison control centers for exposures to both cleaners and disinfectants had increased by 20 percent.

“We see too many incidents of chemical-related injuries that could have been easily avoided through proper education and training,” said Flint Belk, CIH, CSP, Manager of Industrial Hygiene at WCF Insurance. “Our goal is reduce avoidable risks, and we’re confident that organizations who follow the protocol specified in this program will help mitigate potential risks to their workforce.”

Designed to complement existing training programs or use as a standalone inservice for custodial workers, the resource guide provides a comprehensive chemical handling curriculum to help organizations make sure their workers understand the latest safety practices to stay compliant. It can also be used as an effective tool for businesses looking to differentiate themselves from the competition through improved safety training and reduce injury-related costs. 

The workbook offers an extensive overview of common cleaning chemicals and best practices for handling and storing chemicals. Topics covered within the study guide include: 

  • Tips to understanding the new Globally Harmonized System (GHS) Standards and Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
  • The importance of using proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Dangers associated with slips and falls 
  • Cleaning up bloodborne pathogens
  • Understanding the differences between cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting
  • An overview of the dangers associated with gasoline, battery acid and propane
  • Tips for effective training

To order your copy of the Cleaning Chemical Handlers Book, please click here. For more information about ManageMen, please visit www.managemen.com.

silhouette of a person mopping a floor with text Cleaning Conversations: Perspectives from the people who keep our buildings clean James Peel, Texas Tech University

Cleaning Conversations: James Peel, Texas Tech University

Looking for a way to schedule cleaning workers at Texas Tech University (TTU), James Peel reached out to the University of Texas at Austin to learn about (OS1), the System they follow for cleaning processes and measurement. They invited him down to see (OS1) at work and James jumped in the car with a few others on his management team.

It didn’t take long to see what the hype was all about—when James and his team saw UT’s custodians line up to receive their daily supply kits and keys to the areas they were assigned, they were sold on (OS1).

That was in 2019, and despite the challenges of the pandemic, Peel has continued leading the custodial team through the (OS1) transition process. They’ve held socially distanced boot camps, multiple workloading sessions (which, he says are his favorite) and inspired dozens of employees with a renewed passion for cleaning and a commitment to providing healthy buildings for students, faculty and staff. We talk to James about this process and more, during this episode of Cleaning Conversations.

What’s the Difference Between Cleaning for the Flu and Cleaning for COVID?

With warnings of a “twin-demic,” and “mingling” of COVID with the flu during the upcoming winter, health experts are urging everyone to prepare for a tough season. While these respiratory illnesses are caused by different viruses, it can be difficult to distinguish between the two. To further complicate matters, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that it’s also possible to have the flu and COVID-19 at the same time. 

One thing we know is that both viruses can spread through contaminated surfaces. That’s why it’s critical that we pay extra attention to our cleaning and disinfection programs this winter. 

What We Know: The Flu
According to the CDC:
What We Know: COVID-19
According to the CDC: 
— The U.S. experienced 24,000-62,000 flu-related deaths during the 2019-20 flu season.— There have been approximately 180,000 deaths in the U.S. involving COVID-19.
— The flu virus can live and potentially infect a person for up to 48 hours after being deposited on a surface.— Coronaviruses on surfaces and objects naturally die within hours to days.
— Flu viruses are relatively fragile, so standard cleaning and disinfecting practices are sufficient to remove or kill them.— Normal routine cleaning with soap and water removes germs and dirt from surfaces. It lowers the risk of spreading COVID-19 infection.
— Special cleaning and disinfecting processes, including wiping down walls and ceilings, frequently using room air deodorizers, and fumigating, are not necessary or recommended. — EPA-approved disinfectants are an important part of reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19. 
— If disinfectants on this list are in short supply, alternative disinfectants can be used (for example, 1/3 cup of bleach added to 1 gallon of water, or 70% alcohol solutions).

So, what does the confluence of these two viruses mean for you? Well, as you prepare for the upcoming winter, you should get a flu shot—and you should take a good look at how your home or workplace is cleaned.

Where we’ve seen a lot of organizations err throughout the start of the pandemic is in their exclusive focus on disinfection. And it’s understandable. With all the images of heavily suited workers creating the perception that fogging and spraying disinfectant everywhere is how to best prevent the spread of COVID-19, a lot of people forget about the fact that cleaning and disinfection always go hand in hand.

Blue box with graphics illustrating the five steps of disinfection. 1) Clean the Surface, 2) Spray or Wipe the Surface with an EPA-approved disinfectant, 3) wait for the dwell time, 4) wipe the surface clean, 5) repeat on high touch surfaces.
CDC recommended steps for cleaning and disinfection to prevent the spread of viruses such as the coronavirus and flu.

But even before that, we should first make sure everyone has the proper training and personal protective equipment (PPE). 

So how does cleaning for the flu differ from how we clean for coronavirus and COVID-19? It doesn’t. 

Understanding the Terms

As we think about keeping surfaces free from viruses, another frequent area of confusion is distinguishing between cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting.

Again, the CDC defines these terms as follows:

Cleaning: Removes germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces or objects. Cleaning works by using soap (or detergent) and water to physically remove germs from surfaces. This process does not necessarily kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.

Sanitizing: Lowers the number of germs on surfaces or objects to a safe level, as judged by public health standards or requirements. This process works by either cleaning or disinfecting surfaces or objects to lower the risk of spreading infection. 

Disinfecting: Kills germs on surfaces or objects. Disinfecting works by using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces or objects. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.

It should be noted that if you are using a sanitizer to clean for COVID, there’s a chance it does not specifically eliminate coronavirus from the surface. Only EPA-registered disinfectants and germicides should be used. 

Spread Knowledge, Not Viruses

There’s a lot of misunderstanding around how to properly clean and disinfect for both the flu and COVID. Whether you’re in charge of a commercial cleaning operation or a teacher in a school, we’d encourage you to share this knowledge with others.

While it’s likely custodial teams will be increasing cleaning frequencies in your facility, we all can play a role in keeping surfaces virus-free and preventing the spread of illneses.