Straight Talk: Changes in the Cleaning Industry [Video]


NORTHBROOK, Ill.—April 27, 2020—In this edition of Straight Talk with Jeff Cross, Chairman Jim Harris and Executive Director John Downey of the Cleaning Industry Research Institute (CIRI) discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic is changing the cleaning industry. CIRI’s goal is to improve cleaning and restoration outcomes and indoor environmental quality through a science-based approach to cleaning, a topic that has never been more important to society at-large.

Harris notes that “We’ve been trying to sell effective cleaning, cleaning efficacy, and high-performance cleaning for years and years and years, and the customer in many cases sits back and says, ‘Okay, and what’s the price?’” However, now that the entire world is concerned about disease prevention through effective disinfecting procedures, Harris has an apt expression: “How do you like me now?”

As cleaning becomes a global concern, Harris notes that while people may appreciate seeing professional cleaners at work in buildings during the day, disinfecting high touch-points, a challenge to daytime cleaning is how to clean effectively while maintaining a safe physical distance from people in that workplace. Downey adds that cleaning disrupts the environment. For example, vacuuming can aerosolize contaminants in the carpet, so even though the visibility of cleaners may make people feel safer, being present during cleaning can actually increase possible exposure to the virus. “I think if we’re going to be most effective in our cleaning, most cleaning probably needs to be done when the building is not heavily occupied,” said Downey.

When it comes to concerns like vacuuming and using HEPA filters to trap the virus, scientific testing is needed to determine how effective these filtration systems are against SARS-CoV-2. Downey notes that the highest filtration vacuuming makes a significant difference, but “it doesn’t eliminate the dust cloud that follows vacuuming.” He adds that “Something as small as the coronavirus, once it becomes airborne, it doesn’t settle for a long, long time.”

Importantly, Downey notes that the coronavirus is “not a very hardy virus.” It survives well on some surfaces, but not well on others, and it degrades very quickly in sunlight. The knowledge we have about how and where the coronavirus is able to survive can help cleaners approach their protocols with a scientific strategy for the greatest efficacy of disinfection.

In the big picture, people are starting to realize how important the cleaning industry and the science of cleaning are. “You’re going to see things change in favor of the cleaner,” said Harris.

Watch the complete episode of Straight Talk with Jeff Cross below, and find more Straight Talk episodes on Take part in the engaging online conversations on industry topics by joining the Straight Talk Facebook group today.

Cleanfax Staff

Cleanfax provides cleaning and restoration professionals with information designed to help them manage and grow their businesses.

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