This is the first part of a three-part article about daytime restroom cleaning.

Bill Griffin of Cleaning Consultant Services Inc. in Seattle has noticed an increased demand for cleaner restrooms, from office buildings to airports.

“People take offense when the restrooms are bad,” he says.

As a result, building service contractors have turned to day cleaning as one way to keep restrooms cleaner, says Jason Lee, director of strategic alliances at New York-based Harvard Maintenance, a building services contractor that has provided day cleaning services for nearly 15 years.
“In a night cleaning operation, it’s common for a restroom to go without being cleaned until the night crew comes in,” he says. “But in a day cleaning operation, those areas are being cleaned every two to three hours.”

That kind of consistent restroom cleaning is far different than cleaning a restroom at night when a building is empty. To prevent a day cleaning program from receiving a bad rap, BSCs must adjust cleaning schedules, processes and equipment.

“You cannot take your same staff, on the same schedule, using the same equipment, and just change the hours and call it day cleaning,” says Lee.

Although day cleaning is performed during the day, it typically doesn’t follow the same hours as building occupants. It may start slightly before people arrive and continue shortly after people leave.

A split shift is often effective in an office building where work hours run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Some cleaners arrive early, say 5 a.m., and others arrive later and stay until 6 p.m.

Deep restroom cleans are difficult to perform with occupants around, so these must be done when the building is empty. Harvard Maintenance deep cleans restrooms first thing in the morning, though some clients prefer to have it done at the end of the day.

“We like to do it in the morning, because when people show up for work, they can tell the restroom has been recently refreshed,” says Lee. “If you do it at night, who knows what will happen before morning? We’ve found it causes more problems to clean at the end of the shift.”

Jim Vosburg agrees. He’s the regional vice president of BRAVO! Group Services, a nationwide firm based in Green Brook, New Jersey, that has provided day cleaning for more than five years. BRAVO! detail cleans each restroom in a facility at around 5 a.m. This minimizes security issues and provides the facility with the greatest utility cost savings.

Occasionally, however, a BSC has no choice but to clean a restroom while a building is occupied. Cleaning in such cases requires a set schedule.

“If you say you are going to clean a restroom at a specific time, it’s important to stay consistent with that time,” says Lee. “If it’s 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., then we need to stick to it.”

When a set schedule is in place, building occupants naturally adjust their restroom usage. They will know to “run in there before they clean,” says Lee. Janitors should never close restrooms during work hours, unless there’s an emergency, but they should spot clean at regular intervals throughout the day, he says.

The best way to set a schedule is to pay attention to the patterns of the people within the building, says Griffin. People typically use the restroom when they first arrive at work, during a mid-morning break, at lunch, mid-afternoon and then right before they leave at the end of the day.

“You’ll want to get the restroom ready for the day, then spot clean after that first rush, again after break time, right after lunch — the heaviest use period of the day — after their second break and then right after everyone leaves for the day,” says Griffin.

next page of this article:
Restroom Cleaning With A Day Porter