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Changing the Way the World Views Cleaning… Start With the People

No one would deny that the cleaning industry has made huge advancements in cleaning technologies in the 21st century. We have moved beyond the mop and broom and continue to advance green cleaning practices in chemical and equipment manufacturing. Yet, despite a pandemic that brought cleaning front and center worldwide, we are still struggling to recognize and appreciate the people who keep our facilities clean. Why and what can we do about it?

The reality is simple, most people do not think about cleaning until it is a problem. That is true when it comes to most service industries. However, when it comes to the cleaning professional, there is the added issue of undervaluing the work that is done. For example, most people feel that the only thing the janitor does is to take out the trash and maybe clean the restrooms and anybody can do that, right. However, is that the only thing they do for us? What is involved in cleaning a facility?

To fully appreciate and recognize a professional we need to understand more about what they do in their jobs. We know that a doctor is knowledgeable in human anatomy, chemistry, microbiology, and pathogens. They are able to diagnose a patient through an examination and a series of tests that then allow them to provide a prescription for restoring our health.

Similarly, a cleaning professional has to be knowledgeable in a variety of surfaces, cleaning processes, chemicals, equipment, materials, and even the spread of pathogens. They are able to identify different cleaning challenges and implement best practices to restore the surface to provide a clean and healthy facility.

No, I am not saying, that a doctor and a janitor, are equal when it comes to education or training. We all know the many years of education and training that are involved to become a doctor. However, we must also appreciate that both individuals play a vital role in keeping us healthy. The point here is not what they know or how much education they each may have, it is that we all have a role in society to help promote the health and well-being of our communities.

What would happen if our janitors stopped taking out the trash? Ok, you might have to take out your own trash. However, what would happen if they stopped removing the soils, disinfecting the surfaces, and removing our trash? Now we would have a serious problem. We saw that during the pandemic. We needed our cleaning professionals and we needed them more than ever. These people came in and cleaned our hospitals, our grocery stores, our schools and houses of worship so that we could live, work, play and worship in a healthy and safe environment and they continue to do so!

How can we show our appreciation for these cleaning professionals? Recognize them for the work that they do. Let them know we see them and we appreciate them. Most importantly, compensate them appropriate to the value they provide our communities.

March 26 – April 1, 2023 is National Cleaning Week. This week represents a unique opportunity to celebrate the value of clean, raise public awareness about positive impacts of proper cleaning, and promote the people who keep our communities clean and healthy.

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