Periodically I like to get back to the basics of cleaning since we all need reminders along the way of the steps necessary to clean a facility effectively and safely. Remember:

Cleaning and disinfecting a rest room correctly is crucial to the success of any custodial operation. Of all the areas in a building that can make or break a cleaning service, rest rooms are up there with front entrances, break rooms and the CEO's space. A bad first impression for a visitor or tenant can result in increased scrutiny as well as possible loss of the contract. Remember the first maxim that if a rest room smells dirty it is dirty. Use of the wrong tools or failing to train are key factors in determining the outcome of a rest room.

1. Remember to use the required PPE's (personal protective equipment) and make sure all are in working order. If you are not sure what PPE to use, check with the SDS (Safety Data Sheet) and/or your distributor. Failing to provide the correct equipment can result in not only injury but also possibly an OSHA fine.

2. After placing wet floor/hazard signs at the entrance, knock on the door announcing yourself. This is very important for a person entering a different gender rest room. Give time for response and proceed with caution since a patron may not have heard or may not have responded loudly enough for you to hear. When possible, use a tape or other barrier to keep people out during cleaning.

3. Upon entering the rest room, make note of any and all apparent odors. An experienced cleaner can readily differentiate between old built up odors and recent odors. Do not let aerosols and deodorizes lull you into false complacency since many can mask a rest room in need of deep cleaning.

We will continue with cleaning rest rooms in a future article.

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