While it might not be as popular as Christmas or Halloween, National Cleaning Week is a holiday you should put on the calendar. Now, more than ever, it’s important to keep the spaces where we live and work disinfected to protect the health of those we care about.
As vaccines for Covid-19 become more widely distributed, the world will open back up again—but that doesn’t mean our cleaning routines should stop in homes, schools and large or small businesses.
Cleaning, disinfecting, sanitizing- they are all the same thing, right? Not quite, but all three are important parts of your overall cleaning and maintenance plan. The term “cleaning” can both refer to the holistic process of scrubbing and disinfecting a space, or in contrast, refer to a quick tidy-up organization session. Underneath that umbrella, you’ll find the following labels:
- Sanitizing: Removing and lowering the bacteria level with cleaning products to a predetermined safety level from public officials.
- Disinfecting: The process of killing viruses and bacteria via chemical products on nonporous surfaces. Disinfecting may require professional-grade products, while sanitization can be done with products found in the home.
Why is it a good idea to know these terms? For starters, it will help you understand the recommended guidelines of health officials when it comes to creating safe environments for others to occupy. This vocabulary will also help you clearly explain your individual space’s needs to potential cleaning professionals and/or staff members.
A regular cleaning process can take time to develop, but once you get into the right rhythm, it will feel like second nature. Whether you’re working from your new home office or preparing to open up (or reopen) a small business to the public, you can use the following steps to guide your cleaning roadmap:
- Create a cleaning schedule: The best way to build a habit is to be consistent, and for most cleaning routines, that means developing a calendar and schedule to follow. Map out a weekly and monthly calendar with pre-planned cleaning days and a subsequent task list to work through.
- Determine priorities: Not all spaces are created equal. Where are the areas that need more regular maintenance? What spaces only need maintenance once a month? Organize your cleaning schedule based on these priorities to make sure you’re not overwhelmed.
- Purchase the right products: As previously noted, cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing all require different tools and chemical products. Make sure you have the right set of supplies to match the needs of your task list. This can also include getting special solutions for high-value or tech items. For example, an OLED TV should be cleaned with distilled water and a microfiber cloth—and not your regular sanitizing wipes.
- Identify high-traffic areas: If there are areas in your home, office or business that receive more foot traffic than others, make these spaces a priority. Ensure that your task list includes sanitizing door handles or other common touch areas to maintain safety first.
- Plan ahead for hard-to-reach spaces: Do you need to move your desk or refrigerator to clean behind them? The answer is yes, a million times over. Even if it’s a little harder to coordinate, plan to clean behind and around these areas too. If it requires extra help, hire accordingly.
If you’re struggling to create a cleaning routine, start small and build yourself a daily checklist of simple maintenance. Once you’ve gotten into a rhythm, move to more complicated tasks (like moving and cleaning behind that desk that’s been sitting there for years).
Good cleaning and disinfecting practices don’t just protect your physical health. It’s important to talk about and recognize the general mental wellness benefits that come with cleaning, too. From increasing one’s sense of control to eliminating triggers for anxiety to creating spaces that heighten focus and calm, there are a plethora of reasons to focus on keeping clean.
It’s easy to get behind on tidying up when you’re not feeling your best. Never hesitate to reach out to a family member, friend, colleague or associate if you start to feel the chaos creeping in. More often than not, your support system wants to help you live your best life! That process can sometimes start with a good cleaning session.
If you’re interested in committing to becoming a cleaning professional, there are two routes worth consideration:
- Seek professional training: Want to do the cleaning yourself? There are plenty of cleaning courses and certifications available online and in-person that can guarantee you the education you need to clean like a pro.
- Enlist the help of the experts: There’s no shame in asking for a little help (and it just might save you a lot of time). Consider partnering with an company like SERVPRO that has professionals throughout the country that offer certified cleaning programs that include consultations and cleaning guarantees to give you the peace of mind you need.
At the end of the day, we challenge you to celebrate this year’s National Cleaning Week by recommitting to keeping your space a healthy environment for you, and those you share company with!