How cleaning is changing – dimensions of clean that defines the new reality


With the arrival of COVID-19 in South Africa there were many predictions relating to the effects of the pandemic, from the number of infections and deaths, when the virus would peak, even down to national and provincial long-term projections .  

But as even pre-emptive modelling did not account for the different variants of the virus, we have come to accept that change is the only certainty when it comes to the virus.

“As the pandemic has fundamentally altered many aspects of our lives, it has made us more focused on cleanliness and hygiene. One certainty therefore is that cleaning is changing,” says Emma Corder, Managing Director of industrial cleaning products manufacturer Industroclean.

Cleaning companies, inhouse cleaning staff and facility managers need to navigate the changing demands, needs and standards of their customers. The adjustments are not minor, but a paradigm shift requiring companies to completely rethink how to approach the concept of cleaning.

There are four dimensions of clean that defines the new reality and assists cleaning companies to gauge how their cleaning programmes can leverage change for maximum benefit.

A new scope of cleaning

While cleaning still supports core business activity, it’s meaning has changed both functionally and psychologically. Stricter procedures and more frequent cleaning for high-touch objects are required on a functional level while cleaning now plays an increasingly vital role in building trust, demonstrating corporate responsibility and ensuring safety, on a psychological level. In addition to a spotless appearance, customers and patrons need to be reassured of a clean and safe experience while cleaning and disinfecting more surfaces, equipment and areas while at the same time cleaning staff’s safety needs to be ensured.

“Cleaning companies therefore need to re-look procedures to be implemented, cleaning solutions to be used and how they can support and keep cleaning staff safe,” Corder adds. Solving these challenges will require everyone in the cleaning industry – from OEMs to chemical manufacturers and cleaners – to work together.

Tech-enhanced cleaning

To thrive in the new reality where demands for stricter cleaning procedures and greater cleaning frequency meet time and cost pressures, technological innovation is key. Equipment that is designed to be time-efficient, high-performing and safe and intuitive to use can help meet the increased cleaning demands and (health and safety of workers)

“The potential for technology to automate mundane, but critical cleaning functions is wide ranging,” adds Corder. Autonomous floor scrubbers free up cleaners’ time to focus on critical areas that require manual cleaning.

Transparent and visible cleaning

Awareness of cleanliness and hygiene has increased and moved cleaning from back, to centre stage and with a spotlight on it. Cleaning has now become an essential aspect of brand experience and increasingly influential for a brand’s reputation while transparency and communication around cleaning have become indicators of the quality of a business’s products or services. As a result, cleaning thoroughly and professionally is not enough, companies need to show it.

Sustainable cleaning

With the rising demand for increased cleaning comes the continuing need for sustainable solutions. Whether driven by industry regulations or customer expectations the cleaning industry has a responsibility to create solutions that support a healthy future for the planet. Many businesses are under significant time and costs pressures which means that sustainable solutions must be cost-effective and able to deliver superior cleaning performance.

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