Too many cleaning services and departments have too many chemicals to accomplish their daily tasks. Some organizations allow each building or worker to choose their own chemicals from a select group of products provided by their distributor. Others do not monitor their staff who will bring in their favorite cleaning products from home thereby violating OSHA regulations which require SDS information and product specific training. A typical example is the worker who sneaks in their favorite bleach or pine scent because they feel it is necessary to really do a great job. This error in judgment can have bad results.

Although different accounts may require different products, a cleaning business and department is best served by simplifying and standardizing the products used in their accounts and facilities. Simplifying the selection means to select task specific products that are necessary for the daily servicing of the area being cleaned. Of course, they should be safe for daily use. 

In most cases, an all-purpose cleaner, a glass cleaner and a disinfectant may be all that is necessary. In some cases, a quality wood polish for high end offices with wood desks and shelving may be necessary. This does not include special use products such as stripper, floor finish, carpet shampoos, etc., nor does it include restroom cleaning products. They all should be color coded, numbered and environmentally friendly.  

Some organizations have wisely conducted a roundtable encouraging workers to suggest products. By either vote or consensus, a product list is developed taking into account the need to use one product line in most cases. Once this list is developed, all workers are trained on these products. If another product is needed it must be approved by a third party who makes an objective decision based on the arguments presented. With all workers utilizing the same products in all accounts where possible, cross training is simplified and the SDS book shrinks to a manageable size.  

Although there may be some resistance from people who had a favorite product that did not make the cut, the benefits will outweigh such attitudes.  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