In the spring, one’s heart is turned to…well, cleaning. April should probably be designated “National Cleaning Month.” Let’s do it. We’ll use the month of April to proclaim the abundant and important benefits of cleaning.

We’ll make sure that schools teach lessons on the importance of a Town Hall janitor in Delft, Holland named Anthony von Leeuwenhoek, who invented the microscope and the science of microbiology. Students will learn that janitors today disinfect and clean based on the knowledge derived from looking in microscopes at what von Leeuwenhoek called “animalcules” and we now call microorganisms.

They will learn about Dr. Semmelweis, who almost eradicated the deaths of mothers in childbirth by insisting that doctors and nurses washed their hands attending the birthing of a child. Also, that the medical establishment at the time hounded poor Dr. Semmelweis into a lunatic asylum because he insisted that cleaning was important to medical treatment.

They will also learn why Florence Nightingale added cleanliness and sanitary science to nursing, and they will hear about how important the cleanliness of amusement parks was to Walt Disney

A concerted effort must be made to go into many of the governmental and quasi-governmental agencies and explain that the cleaning industry is a responsible, hard working industry that is making the transition to becoming a profession.

Have you noted that all of the hoopla in the past few years about issues such as “green,” nosocomial infections in hospitals and IAQ have almost totally excluded cleaning professionals in the discussions? Agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and the medical community treat the cleaning function as simple and the cleaning industry as simpletons.

I think it’s time we have them do a little cleaning work to plant some reality into their ideas of what the cleaning industry actually needs to fix. They won’t find it reading scientific studies.

“National Cleaning Month” will be supported by special campaigns. Industry associations will run “Keep it Clean” advertising programs. Building service contractors will produce brochures about how cleaning benefits workplace morale and productivity. They will advertise a “Take a Professional Home” campaign to help with their customers’ own cleaning. The pitch line will be,“we do it for you at work, can we help you at home?”

Perhaps I’ll go on the “Today Show” and explain to Katie or Matt that it is time to “Hug Your Janitor,” and that “janitor” (or “housekeeper,” or “custodian”) is not a dirty word.

There you have it. A marketing and industry recognition program all rolled up in one. It’s past time for all of us to start getting some respect for the noble profession of cleaning. Let’s sell a Spring Clean.