Periodically I like to get back to the basics of cleaning since we all can benefit from reminders along the way for the steps necessary to clean a facility effectively and safely.

As mentioned earlier, some readers have commented that doing every step every visit to an office or restroom is not feasible. I agree and highly recommend that management and supervision workload the area by worker so that only the necessary tasks are performed to keep the area clean, dust free and safe for tenants and visitors. One customer specified that ALL carpeted areas were to be vacuumed wall-to-wall five days per week whether the area was used or not. In spite of our protests they insisted that if they caught the service not vacuuming as per the contract they would deduct a certain dollar amount per square foot on the next payment.

I realize their intent was to make sure the carpeted areas were vacuumed with sufficient frequency to keep them clean. Carpet can tend to be a dirt sink-hole that hides a lot of soil until it is overloaded and then contributes to poor IAQ (indoor air quality). I have seen carpet kick off dust when people walked on it due to inadequate vacuuming. Unfortunately the customer's solution was prohibitively expensive in labor when tied to the reality that they wanted the lowest bid.

The BSC (Building Service Contractor) made the decision to schedule wall to wall vacuuming once per week and spot vacuum the other days. He instructed his workers to be aware of the customer observing their work and to give more attention in those areas. The only areas vacuumed wall to wall were key high traffic areas that captured more soil than a back office or hallway. So far, there have been no deductions and the facility is clean based on periodic testing and inspections.

Remember that YOU are the SME (subject matter expert) in custodial operations. Try to interpret what the customer really wants and then make sure to fulfill those needs.

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