The restaurant ventilation system. Airflow fan for ventilate vacuum odor.

Contributed by Brad Pierce, owner of OSA Specialized Cleaning

High ceilings are one of the most overlooked areas of any retail shop, hotel or hospital. Grime, dirt and dust build up easily in hard-to-reach areas of a ceiling, making the job a challenge for any custodial staff. As a result, we have seen custodians clean in ways that are inefficient and unsafe.

Here are a three ways to become a more efficient and safe high-ceiling cleaner:

1. Clean With Daylight
Do your high-ceiling cleaning during the day.  Natural light makes it easier to see the dirt and grime you need to remove more than artificial light does.  However, doing high-ceiling cleaning during a client’s business hours may not be possible.  The most common solution is working during the day on weekends.  A typical nine-to-five office could accommodate weekend cleanings. Many businesses may not open until 11:00 o’clock or later in the evening making early morning cleaning another possibility.

If you have to clean at night, it is imperative that you use some sort of artificial lighting set up. LED lights on stands are the best artificial light source. They are brighter lights and they illuminate your cleaning space better than your typical halogen bulb.

2. Clean With The Right Vacuums
We see too many custodians either not using vacuums during high-ceiling cleaning or using the wrong vacuums. This is a huge mistake and fixing this issue will make ceiling cleaning easier.

Use a vacuum with extensions when you do high-dusting jobs. This will ensure you won’t have dust from the ceiling falling to the ground, which will happen when using dusters.

Preventing dust and debris from falling from the ceiling is a safety and efficiency issue. High-ceiling cleaning is often done during business hours and using a vacuum prevents dust from falling on customers or work areas. Cleaning with a vacuum also prevents a second step of cleaning the floor, since no dust is falling to the ground.

Your job is to get rid of ceiling dust, not transport it to the floor.

3. Invest In Lift Equipment And Learn To Safely Use It
Don’t miss out on a contract because you told a prospective client you won’t be able to reach an area. Limiting how high you can clean can hurt your business in the long run.

High-ceiling cleaners should invest in or rent lift equipment in order to qualify for the higher elevation and higher paying work. Reaching ceilings that are 20-stories or higher requires creative solutions, but clients will appreciate the effort.

I once did a job cleaning the ceiling and window wall in a hotel atrium that was 45 feet high.  The hotel had lost a rating from a travel agency due to cobwebs on the windows and ceiling.  We rented a lift, which allowed us to get creative about the way we cleaned the atrium and assist the client in regaining a positive rating from the travel agency.

Whether you rent or own the lift, it is imperative to provide and use proper safety equipment at all times. You must be safely secured to the lift and attached to a safety harness, according to OSHA regulations. Non-compliance could result in worker injury and hefty fines.

Implementing these steps during high-ceiling cleaning will help you clean more effectively and efficiently, meaning happier clients.

Brad Pierce is the owner of OSA Specialized Cleaning in Phoenix, Arizona. They specialize in open architecture high dusting and cleaning of food service kitchen ceilings and walls.