One of the challenges we face in the commercial cleaning industry is effectively defining the term “clean” since it is like “beauty” in that it is usually in the eye of the beholder. During my workshops I will ask a simple question: “Is this room clean?” and then allow the fight to ensue for a while. I then ask, if it is clean enough for a day care center and everyone will immediately say “no” since there are certain aseptic levels of clean expected in such an area. I then ask “Is it clean enough to make microchips?” and again the answer is “no” since such as area must be dust free to protect the chips and the manufacturing process. I then ask “Is this room clean enough to work on a pickup truck and the answer is usually “it is too clean for such a procedure.”

The point I am trying to make to my class and to you is that the term “clean” is relevant to the area being cleaned. One simple definition is “free from soils on surfaces” however that does not capture the whole picture that we deal with every day.

A good example is that if you cleaned a building very well but missed the CEO’s trash can, was the building cleaned to the customer’s satisfaction and the answer is no. If a backpack unit does not brush the cut pile carpet even though it picked up a lot dust, is it “clean” to the user’s satisfaction and the answer is no. If a customer walks into a rest room that has the odor of sewer gas due to the drain not being serviced, is it clean and again, the answer is no.

True cleaning not only has to do with using specified processes correctly but also leaving the area looking “clean” to the end users.

Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean…

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or