Build Your Facility Cleaning Plan Today:
The 7 Steps You Need for a Clean[er] Facility
***Note: If you don’t have the time to read this now (it’s larger than our other articles), download a one-page checklist here.
A Cleaning Plan: Creating the Blueprint for Change
A cleaning plan is like having the picture to look at while you’re building a puzzle: without the picture, it’s much harder than it needs to be. If you want to improve your facility cleaning, you must start with the big picture in mind.
Your cleaning plan will be an overview of what you will do, step by step. What tasks should be done and when? Who will do them?
If you don’t have a plan to clean, how can you expect a clean building? These seven critical steps will get you there.
A clean[er] facility is within your reach!
Note: Simply knowing these 7 crucial steps is not enough, you must take action. For that, you may need help. Go over these steps with a member of your team or bring in an expert.
Step 1 of 7 – The Decision: Commit to Improve
Wise decisions are easier to make when you have all the information at your fingertips. The steps we’re sharing below will either help you start a new cleaning plan or improve your current one.
But, this all starts with your commitment to improve. Are you ready to make these changes? Will you put in the work required? Will you reach out when you need help and see this through to the end?
If you’re still here, great! Let’s create our Cleaning Plan. Grab a pen and some paper.
Step 2 of 7 – The Dirt: Analyze Your Facility
You need to analyze your facility to understand how to clean it effectively. Every building is different. A proper facility assessment will help you see where the biggest problems are so they aren’t missed or put off until tomorrow. An in-depth analysis includes interiors and exteriors, along with a mapping of foot-traffic.
Here are a few questions to help get you started as you list your facility’s zones.
- Where is the dirt? Most dirt walks right in the door, so where are your main entrances? Areas closest to the entrance have more dirt.
- What are the busiest areas for foot-traffic? How do people travel throughout your facility? What would that room or zone look like from the top down? (Hint: this is where your floor and carpet need extra attention.)
- How do coworkers, visitors, or clients use your space? What type of messes are being made? How often?
- What are the busiest times of the day? Which are your busiest restrooms?
Divide your building up into zones based on usage and list them out as follows:
A. Areas with the highest use, the most foot-traffic, and plenty of mess
B. Areas with average use and average foot-traffic
C. Areas with the lowest use and foot-traffic — usually furthest from the entrance
Main entrances and any area where people visit often are good examples of ‘A’ zones, like restrooms, for example. These are the areas you need to make changes first for the largest impact. Keep in mind as you continue to Step 3 that different zones require different tasks and schedules.
Step 3 of 7 – The Job: List the Tasks Required
Based on your analysis above, you now know your priority zones — the busiest areas in your facility.
Each facility has different floors and surfaces to clean, and hundreds of tasks to perform. With the knowledge of your busiest areas, you can schedule the right cleaning tasks at the right time.
Cleaning falls into three categories. We’ve listed them below, along with some example tasks you might include in each category.
- Routine — Recurring tasks, often daily, that focus on light-duty cleaning
- Periodic — These tasks aren’t done as frequently and focus on medium-duty cleaning
- carpet encapsulation or spotting
- enzyme treatments
- Restorative — Large, heavy-duty cleaning jobs that should only need doing once in while. (Hint: the more effective your Routine and Periodic cleaning, the less you’ll have to deal with these time- and resource-consuming activities.)
- grout acid rinse
- floor refinishing
- carpet extraction
- floor stripping
NOTE: When tackling a facility that has been neglected, start with restorative tasks to establish a baseline of clean. Why? Because it doesn’t matter how much you vacuum a carpet if its fibres are stained.
Step 4 of 7 – The People: Assemble Your Team
Who’s on your team? How perceptive is their attention to detail? Do they create their own plans, or are they following yours?
It’s easy to think that the longer you’ve been at something, the better, but that’s not always the case. We’ve worked with 30+ year veterans who have been on autopilot for 30+ years: no changes, no improvement, no training to new standards. No matter how long your team has been cleaning, there is always room to improve.
Remember, products don’t clean buildings, people clean buildings. Invest in the people who do the work, and they will improve.
Step 5 of 7 – The Training: Do the Work Effectively
You’re over halfway to having a cleaning plan you can follow. You’re almost there!
The first time your teenager gets behind the wheel of the family car, you don’t just throw them the keys and say, “Be home by midnight”. A $30K tool (your car) without training is an accident waiting to happen.
Does your cleaning team have any training? If so, how thorough is it? More importantly, how recent? In the last decade there have been so many changes in the cleaning industry that most ‘industry experts’ are still behind the times. Unless you have staff who are reading janitorial books with their Sunday coffee, there’s room for improvement.
Can someone without training strip a floor, balance the pH level, then seal and recoat it? Can they safely disinfect surfaces and prevent cross-contamination? How about recognize the differences between Routine, Periodic, and Restorative tasks and when each is required?
Training has a massive benefit to any organization. When we learn from others who have been there, we can reduce future problems (especially long-term ones). As we said in Step 4, invest in the people who do the work!
Step 6 of 7 – The Tools: Prepare for the Job
You’ve located the dirt, listed the frequency of the cleaning jobs, and chosen your team. Now it’s time to arm them with the right tools.
You can’t clean a commercial building with household supplies. In an average week, how many people are in your home compared to your facility? Commercial buildings are much different.
Get the tools required. Buy them, rent them, borrow them. Whatever you need to do (please, don’t steal them).
Yes, you can build a house with just a hammer and a handsaw, but it’ll take you forever. (And you’ll end up with blisters) We have technology. Wouldn’t you rather use power tools? Yes, please!
Equipment. Chemicals. Supplies. Get the right tools for the job. Period. Empower your team to do great work!
Step 7 of 7 – The Supervisor: Manage the Process
This final step is the most important part of the puzzle. Why? Because everything above is useless without it.
Even if you’re only managing a cleaning team, you still need a basic understanding of cleaning. If you’ve read up to this point, you know there is much more to cleaning than, “Welcome aboard. Here are the keys. Start cleaning in Building A”. (This sounds strangely familiar. What was that about a teenager and a car?)
A comprehensive plan, sophisticated equipment, extensive training, and even the most talented people won’t solve your problem. In order for a cleaning plan to get results you must have someone responsible to ensure the tasks and timelines are carried out.
If you don’t hold the team responsible, who will?
As you work on these 7 critical steps, you may need help. Please, go over these steps with a member of your team. If there is someone else at your workplace responsible for its cleaning, send this to them and offer to help.
There is always room to improve your facility cleaning and, with the right plan in place, it’s within reach. Some of these steps will take more work than others, but they are all necessary.
Here’s a quick recap of the steps we covered:
- Commit to creating and following a plan.
- Analyze your facility and its patterns.
- Determine what tasks are required and when.
- Establish who is on your team and their tasks.
- Make sure they know the correct procedures.
- Select the best tools for each job.
- Hold the team accountable for results.
We’ve just scratched the surface here (that’s a floor finish joke). So, if you don’t want to miss future information about improving your facility, specialized tools, or cleaning techniques, sign up for an email alert when we publish something new.
A clean[er] facility awaits!
– The Team at Clean Answers
Note: We go through this whole process and more in our Cleaning Checkup: sometimes the best way for a breakthrough is to bring in an outsider (that’s us).
A comprehensive plan, sophisticated equipment, extensive training, and even the most talented people won't solve your problem.