Green friendly cleaning begins with the premise that a surface that is truly clean of soil (including food sources) while being exposed to light and air is a hostile environment for most microorganisms and pathogens. Many areas can be “cleaned” using relatively neutral products that help pick up soils (especially petroleum oils) that prepare the surface for disinfecting if that stage is required.

Most pathogens thrive at between 95 to 100 degrees, which means if they can survive until they get into a warm, living host (human or animal) they can reproduce and spread by various means including touch and the air. If we have the correct procedures in place we can have a leg up on the ongoing battle. Keeping areas/surfaces clean of “growth medium” can go a long ways in reducing the spread of many diseases.

I recently observed a worker at a restaurant wipe four tables, chairs and counters with the same, unturned cloth. I am fairly certain that all she was doing was transferring the soils and germs from the first table to the last while gathering more gunk in the process. How many people were impacted by this poor practice will never be known.

Well-trained, motivated, well-equipped clean crews are the first line of defense in protecting society from contagion and outbreaks that should never have gotten a foothold in the first place. If they are poorly trained and do not follow procedures, they will end up with unsatisfactory results. If they do not fully understand the importance of their mission and are motivated to clean correctly, including honoring dwell time, the battle can be lost. If they are not equipped with the best tools to perform the job the area can be left as dirty as it was before they started.

Cleaning can be as simple or as hard as you make it. Your comments and questions are always welcome. 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