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Teach Educators the Five Lessons of Cleaning Schools

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Everyone remembers their favorite teachers. Maybe they helped you really understand math for the first time. Maybe history seemed relevant and interesting because that’s how it was taught by a talented instructor. Maybe it felt like they were picking on you until you realized how much they cared. Maybe the best teacher simply spent a little extra time with you.

We hold teachers in high regard—even the strict ones we appreciate later in life.

Student attendance at almost every school is tied to federal and/or state funding, so educators have a specific interest in limiting student illness, as well as that of staff and faculty. Because the best commercial cleaning companies clean for health over appearance, we play a unique role in the educational system.

It’s our turn to educate the educators.

In order to win the business of a school or an entire district, cleaning companies must demonstrate that they share the school’s goals. Cleaning is fine, but creating healthy atmospheres is the goal. Below are some helpful lesson plans cleaning companies should use to pitch their business to a school.

Lesson 1: We Clean for Health, Not Appearance

I repeat this because it is that important. The best cleaners are cleaning for tomorrow or the next week. In traditional office buildings, the focus of a cleaning company must be to create healthy offices, meeting rooms, etc.—to make sure the environment the following day does not promote illness in any way. Schools are similar, but more urgent.

Because schools are high-traffic facilities full of children, cleaning companies face tough challenges in ensuring not just a clean, but also a healthy, campus.

Lesson 2: We Know the Difference Between High-Risk and High-Touch Areas

High-risk areas are rooms and areas of the facility prone to collecting germs, bacteria, and parasites. These include nurses’ offices, cafeterias, restrooms, and locker rooms. High-touch areas refer to objects that are the most handled during the day—door handles, light switches, teachers’ desks, staircase handrails, etc.

Both categories require special attention—they should be cleaned and sanitized each day. They should be disinfected regularly as well, but not every day. The reason schools should not disinfect every day leads us to the next lesson.

Lesson 3: Disinfection 101

Cleaning for health is at the heart of the disinfection discussion.

High-touch and high-risk surfaces are not disinfected during every clean, in part due to costs. But more specific to schools, disinfectants can exacerbate allergies and asthma in some children. These surfaces are cleaned and sanitized daily to remove a majority of the bacteria and to dispense of the organic substances that organisms require to survive and multiply.

Regular disinfecting then kills any remaining bacteria, viruses, and pathogens. This is an important lesson to give the educators.

Lesson 4: ROY G BIV and Bucket Lists

When people envision mopping the floor, they likely think about a janitor’s large bucket that we’ve all seen used to clean floors. But the truth is that bucket might be doing more harm than good.

All school cleaning personnel should be using a dual-chamber bucket that separates the dirty water from clean water. Using one bucket for mopping a floor promotes cross contamination, but it’s something a school administrator may have never given any thought to.

Avoiding cross-contamination in the cleaning process is easy to achieve, and the best cleaning companies have processes that should be communicated to schools. ROY G BIV is not only a way to teach the colors of the rainbow, but also might be a good way to keep a school clean and healthy.

Make sure school officials know that the same cloth that cleaned the boys’ bathroom is not the same one that wiped off the teacher’s desk. If your cleaning personnel are using color-coded microfiber towels that are replaced frequently, you can have greater confidence that cross-contamination is being avoided in the building. Communicating those type of details to schools will give them greater confidence in your abilities to keep students healthy.

Lesson 5: The Doctor Is In

It’s a simple rule, but an important one:when they are disinfecting, schools should be using “hospital grade” disinfectants which are registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These are highly effective in killing bacteria, pathogens, virus, and fungi.

The goal of any school administrator should be to provide a healthy building first and foremost. Cleanliness might be next to godliness but keeping children in school and germ-free is the most important goal of any cleaning crew. While there are financial implications for each school’s attendance, keeping the educational atmosphere healthy and productive is of higher importance.

In order to achieve the healthiest environment, the best cleaning companies must teach the teachers and educators what it takes to keep the building germ-free, healthy, and conducive to continual learning.

Adam Povlitz


Adam Povlitz is president & CEO of Anago Cleaning Systems, a franchised commercial cleaning company that is a leader in technological advances relating to business operations and janitorial services.

A previous IBM executive, Povlitz holds a number of business degrees and certifications, including an MBA in Marketing and Finance from the University of Miami. He is a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, an IFA-certified franchise executive and an ISSA cleaning industry management standards expert.


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