Consumer based cleaning advertising has unintentionally taught us wrong.
The majority of us clean and that’s good. At work you, your staff or an outside contractor cleans the office. That is also good. What I have noticed though is that the quality of cleaning in home and at work may not be up to the quality that it should be. No, I’m not talking about shirking chores or neglecting to clean, I’m talking about improper cleaning due to lack of training or failure to read instruction.
What inspired this post was a recent visit to a friend where I observed some household cleaning. Because this is what we do here at Corporate Facility Supply, I had to inquire why my friend made the purchase of the product and what was the goal trying to be accomplished. To simplify my observations and the explanation I received, a ready to use spray and wipe liquid disinfectant/cleaner was being used as only a cleaner when the goal of disinfecting was the intent.
In a household environment, in most cases, this is not disastrous. In a professional or commercial environment however, there cannot be any mix-up as to the proper procedure of chemical and cleaner use. What is the cause of this poor cleaning education? To be honest, there are probably many causes to this problem, but one that came to my mind, in this case with my friend, is the portrayal of disinfectant cleaners in media.
Consumer based advertising shows us that their products kill germs and have disinfecting claims. The nature of the advertising beast simply doesn’t
have enough time to demonstrate and educate on proper cleaning and disinfection technique. I do not blame them for the problem. The job of the Ad is to sell. However, for effective disinfection of a surface a dwell time of 10 minutes is usually needed. (Many ads do state this in the fine print on the TV spot and of course the labels have instructions, but who really reads those?)
I strongly believe that the perception of spray and immediate wipe disinfection comes from our exposure to TV based ads. I also wouldn’t be surprised if these habits are bleeding into professional environments. At the core of the problem, there is a lack of understanding the difference between cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting and to an extent sterilizing.
In the end I proceeded to give a helpful five minute lesson on the difference between cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting to my friend. With this being said and done, I now wonder, how many others out there do not know the difference? To educate others on the difference we here at Corporate Facility Supply (@CorporateFS on Twitter) have created a neat poster titled “Cleaning vs. Sanitizing vs. Disinfecting vs. Sterilizing” which you can download and view or print for yourself.
We hope it helps in educating the public and make sure to fully read and follow the directions of your cleaning products before use at home or at work. Did you know the difference? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter.