Why is cleaning a science and an art?

Clean Talk with Rose
By Rose Galera, CEH
Hawaii Hospitality Magazine, Sept/Oct 2013

Aloha Rose,
When visiting the IEHA booth at July’s Hawaii Lodging, Hospitality and Foodservice Expo, the question, “Why Is Cleaning a Science and an Art?” stumped me. As an executive housekeeper, will having a comprehensive understanding help me to be at the leading edge of the cleaning profession?

Aloha Lety,
Knowledge and understanding of the full scope of cleaning as a science and an art will place you at the leading edge as a professional cleaning master. The science and art of cleaning can best be explained through the triad of professional cleaning:

  • Administration — planning, organizing, budgeting, purchasing and legal updates
  • Management — philosophies, styles, leadership, supervisory and frontline training skills
  • Technology & Trends — updated cleaning processes, time and motion studies, and safety in cleaning, equipment, products, cleaning agents and other factors.

As a science, controlling contaminates is one of the most basic ways to manage our built (indoor) environments. Common contaminates that we encounter include dirt, soil, other debris and stains. Agronomy, the study of soil, is important in cleaning. We clean for health, safety, comfort, indoor air quality, appearance and to control replacement and maintenance costs.

Sanitizing, disinfecting and sterilizing surfaces, fixtures and textiles are part of killing germs and odors. Scientific cleaning factors are met with time, chemical action, airflow, temperature, mechanical action, extraction and disposal.

Cleaning as a science and an art ensures placing the environment into a state that will not harm human health. A major product trend that confirms cleaning is a science and an art is the microfiber cleaning cloth and microfiber flat mop. Considered a safe and best cleaning practice, the use of microfiber cloths and flat mops makes cleaning easier, more efficient and effective.

Professional cleaning today is big business. Knowledge, understanding and safety of processes, products and equipment and staying abreast of trends and technology are all reasons cleaning is a science and an art.

Happy learning & cleaning!
Rose Galera, CEH

Key topics to develop a supervisor training program

Clean Talk with Rose
By Rose Galera, CEH
Hawaii Hospitality Magazine, Jul/Aug 2013

Hi Rose,
Though rewarding with good opportunities, managing a hotel housekeeping department in Hawaii is challenging, with the many diverse employees to supervise and keep motivated. I must develop a supervisor training program and need advice on what would be key topics for such training.

Aloha Dina,
Supervisory training is essential to insure employee morale, motivation, productivity, efficiency and effectiveness and to maintain high quality standards. Training will enhance the mentoring process for supervisors to become successful housekeeping managers. Results-oriented training should focus on people skills. Following are highly recommended topics for supervisory training.

Every type of communication training is needed to include language, speaking or writing and nonverbal expressions such as smiles, gestures and body language that are important in communicating ideas and feelings to people. Emotions and gestures communicate “unspoken” messages. Successful communication is in the art of listening-listening not only with one’s ears, but also with one’s eyes to notice body language and facial expressions.

Coaching improves the performance of others. Supervisors who coach encourage their teams to learn from and be challenged by their work. Coaching is an unending process — each new achievement forms a platform for the next challenge.

Leaders are made, not born; they are molded by experience, helpful mentors and opportunity. As the author Leroy Eimes said, “A leader is one who sees more than others see, who sees farther than others see, and who sees before others do.”

In today’s increasingly competitive business world, a highly motivated workforce is vital for any organization seeking good results. Learning how to positively motivate others has become an essential skill for all supervisors.

Performance Evaluation
Performance evaluation is a responsibility of every supervisor. Evaluations provide for meaningful feedback and discussions, allows for management to make appropriate administrative recommendations and assist in determining where improvement is required. Performance evaluations serve a dual function: an employee feedback system and a management information system.

A game of excellence! There are no rules except for those that come from one’s own integrity and commitment to do whatever it takes. It is a very high-level game for those who are willing to play with an open heart. It is for those with a strong sense to praise the abilities of others.

Teamwork is a game of service. Teamwork creates miracles!

The Art of Smiling
Remember the poem, “Smile” (author unknown):
A smile is something nice to see,
it doesn’t cost a cent.
A smile is something all your own,
it never can be lent.
A smile is welcome anywhere,
it does away with frowns.
A smile is good for everyone,
to ease the ups and downs.

Cultural Diversity
According to sociology, psychology and political science theories, man is a creature of culture. By understanding the building blocks of cultural identity, we can approach others with greater sensitivity and understanding. All the above topics are essential to developing an outstanding housekeeping department.

Happy training!
Rose Galera, CEH

OSHA safety changes

Clean Talk with Rose
By Rose Galera, CEH
Hawaii Hospitality Magazine, Mar/Apr 2013

Hi Rose,
I have been informed that there will be OSHA safety changes that will take place this year that will affect my housekeeping operations and training program. Please share any information on the changes that I should know about.

Aloha Ian,
At our International Executive Housekeepers Association (IEHA) Hawaii chapter meeting in January, information on OSHA’s safety changes for 2013 was shared with the members, who were advised to plan and prepare for the revisions that would impact their housekeeping employees. I’m pleased that others are sharing the information with housekeeping colleagues on the revisions of OSHA’s hazard communication standard (HCS).

The three major areas of change will be hazard classification, labels and safety data sheets (SDS).

Hazard Classification
The definitions of hazards have changed to provide specific criteria for classification of health and physical hazards, as well as classification of mixtures. These specific criteria will ensure that evaluations of hazardous effects are consistent and that labels and safety data sheets will be more accurate as a result.

The chemical manufacturers and importers will be required to provide a label that includes a harmonized signal word, pictogram and hazard statement for each hazard class and category. Precautionary statements must also be provided.

Safety Data Sheets
The SDS will have a specified 16-section format. It is important to know the phase-in period of the revised hazard communication standard. There are several dates that will impact the changes to take place but Dec. 1, 2013 is an important date because that’s when all employees must be trained by employers on the changes.

OSHA is requiring that employees are trained on the new label elements (i.e., pictograms, hazard statements, precautionary statements and signal words) and SDS format by Dec. 1. Full compliance with the final rule will begin in 2015. OSHA believes that American workplaces will soon begin to receive labels and SDSs that are consistent with the GHS (Global Harmonized System), since many American and foreign chemical manufacturers have already begun to produce HazCom 2012/GHS-compliant labels and SDS. It is important to ensure that employees, as they begin to see the new labels and SDSS in their workplaces, will understand how to use them and access the information effectively.

For more information, go to www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/ effectivedateshtml.

For planning and developing of a training program, mark the target date of Dec. 1. Begin research on the Internet, attend related safety seminars to attend and gather information to assist in developing a training program.

Consider joining our local IEHA Hawaii chapter on Oahu, or the recently chartered Maui chapter. The IEHA Hawaii chapter meets bi-monthly and has educational programs to inform and update members on the housekeeping industry’s management trends, technology, safety and labor law changes. Membership also provides important networking, fellowship and educational opportunities. Trade association membership provides professional, educational and personal growth for all housekeeping managers and benefits the employees, housekeeping department and the property’s overall operation.

For membership information, go to www.hawaii-ieha.org.

Happy New Year and Happy Housekeeping in 2013,
Rose Galera, CEH

Infection control and safety on the job

Clean Talk with Rose
By Rose Galera, CEH
Hawaii Hospitality Magazine, Jan/Feb 2013

Hello Rose,
In preparing for the 2013 Best Hotel Housekeeping operations and training, I’d like some information on the topics of infection control and safety on the job. Your assistance is requested.

Aloha Michelle,
Indeed it is a smart move to focus on the topics of infection control and safety programs for 2013. Both topics bring out the realization that professional cleaning is a science and an art. First, let me emphasize that safety training must include a focus on cleaning chemicals. Training on blood-borne pathogens and the processes of cleaning body fluids is essential and should be documented and held annually.

Community-based infections are brought into the hospitality environment every day, and the resulting effects can be serious for the hotel, its staff, guests and the public. Because viruses and bacteria spread from person to person and surface to surface, there is a great need for education and monitoring of general hygiene practices in hotels and their housekeeping, food services and other departments.

Hotels have an obligation to provide guests and employees with a safe and secure environment. Currently, housekeeping practices vary across brands and properties with little or no standardization industrywide. Generally, the validation method for hotel room cleanliness is a visual assessment, which has been shown to be ineffective in measuring levels of sanitation. A periodic performance and sanitation measurements is highly recommended.

A report last June noted that an experiment of surfaces in hotel rooms found television remotes to be among the most heavily contaminated with bacteria. Walls and table lamp switches and door knobs were also found to be highly contaminated with bacteria. Items on housekeeping carts carry the potential to cross-contaminate rooms. And, ironically, a major culprit in hotel cross-contaminate is the actual cleaning cloth that’s used daily to clean rooms.

A new approach to room cleaning is the “charging bucket” system, using micro-fiber cleaning cloths and flat mopheads. Proper training and application with a color-coded cloth program will improve cleaning processes and reduce cleaning chemical costs. Understanding epidemiology science and communicable diseases is a “must” for hotel executive housekeepers, housekeeping managers and directors of housekeeping services.

All should be aware that in the hospitality industry:

  • The spread of communicable diseases is a fact of life. On-going training is essential.
  • Illnesses spread because of close contacts that often take place by the senses of touch (feeling), taste (eating or drinking) and smell (breathing).
  • The spread of communicable diseases has a high impact on the health and well being of employees, staff and guests.
  • The spread of communicable diseases can be reduced, by way of prevention and managing of the environment and the application of proper cleaning chemicals and processes.
  • Communication, cooperation and training must be established.

Mahalo and Happy New Year,
Rose Galera, CEH

Cleaning management and technical courses

Clean Talk with Rose
By Rose Galera, CEH
Hawaii Hospitality Magazine, Nov/Dec 2012

Hi Rose,
Having worked in hotel housekeeping as a manager for three years, I would like to take cleaning management and technical courses to build on my cleaning knowledge. What training or cleaning school information can you provide?
Valerie TJ

Aloha Valerie,
Mahalo for your inquiry on training. Working in the field of professional cleaning for 50-plus years, I work with a passion to raise the standard and level of cleaning as a science and an art. Education, training and keeping abreast of management and technical trends and technology is essential to meet the challenges and demands of professional cleaning today and tomorrow. Well-trained, effective, resourceful, decisive and knowledgeable personnel contribute to an organization’s growth, viability and profitability, as well as to an employee’s personal growth.

While the International Executive Housekeepers Association (IEHA) can schedule professional education credential program (PECP) certification training and proctored exams when requested, anyone interested in it can go online for the home study program. It consists of 16 modules, five of which cover the management series, while 11 cover the technical series. The IEHA Hawaii chapter also sponsors mini training programs at its bi-monthly membership meetings, with guests who speak on interesting topics related to housekeeping management and technology practices. Membership in IEHA is a great venue and resource for all housekeeping professionals. The association offers training and ongoing global updates on trends and technology in professional housekeeping.

Presently, I am providing consulting and training services for the Professional Cleaning Institute Hawaii (PCIH), developing certified professional cleaning curriculums for frontline, supervisory and management training programs. The institute provides excellent training for anyone wishing to build a future career or business in professional cleaning today. The PCIH program categories are: certified cleaning professional (CCP), certified cleaning specialist (CCS), certified cleaning expert (CCE) and certified cleaning master (CCM). All programs will prepare students for employment in the areas of hospitality, schools, health care, foodservice sanitation, business offices, residential, care homes and retirement facilities cleaning.

For PCIH training schedules you may contact me (information listed below), or visit www.pcihawaii.com. Best wishes for successful professional growth.

Rose Galera

Carpet cleaning

Clean Talk with Rose
By Rose Galera, CEH
Hawaii Hospitality Magazine, Sept/Oct 2012

Dear Rose,
Carpet cleaning is a challenge that I’m faced with at my hotel. Please share some information or advice on carpet cleaning processes. Also, please explain what encapsulation is. Thank you,

Aloha Matt,
Indoor cleaning quality is often related to dirty carpets and can be solved through cleaning, maintenance and restoration programs. Carpets will attract all kinds of particulate matter. The cure includes frequent and daily use of a top grade vacuum cleaner on high traffic areas. Shampooing carpets quarterly, semi-annually or as needed is recommended. Three distinct cleaning stages for carpets include:

1. Routine cleaning: spot and spillage maintenance – vacuuming, carpet spotting

2. Interim cleaning: frequent maintenance of heavy traffic areas – vacuuming, periodic pile lifting, carpet shampooing processes, encapsulation process; and cleaning of entire carpeted areas – movement of furnishings, vacuuming, carpet shampooing processes

3. Restorative cleaning: carpet cleaning methods or systems – absorbent compound (powder or solvent), rotary bonnet, dry foam shampoo, hot water extraction

This does not limit other methods or the combination of methods.

Encapsulation technology is a method of carpet cleaning becoming popular in commercial carpet maintenance. It should be an interim maintenance method and be followed periodically with a thorough hot water extraction system. The encapsulating chemical (a liquid cleaning agent) is sprayed on and then brushed into the carpet using a rotary brush machine or bonnet. The encapsulation chemistry surrounds each soil particle and crystallizes it so it can’t attract other soils. The encapsulated soil particles are removed by vacuuming done at regularly scheduled times. Carpets can be put back into use promptly since it is a low moisture system.

In addition, preventive maintenance, such as using walk-off mats at entrances and daily vacuuming of heavy traffic areas, can prevent dirt and soil deposits on carpets, improving carpet appearance and durability.

With the information provided above, plan today for your facility’s carpet cleaning programs.

Happy cleaning,
Rose Galera, CEH

Professional housekeeping as a career

Clean Talk with Rose
By Rose Galera, CEH
Hawaii Hospitality Magazine, Jul/Aug 2012

Aloha Rose,
As a front office employee for hotels, I have read your Clean Talk articles and have become interested in professional cleaning / housekeeping management. Please share information about training needs and also and also tips on starting a professional cleaning business.

Aloha MT,
Professional housekeeping/ cleaning management as a career provides for opportunities and growth in hospitality facilities such as hotels, resorts, timeshare properties, condominiums, foodservice establishments, retail and commercial businesses, and in many other facilities, including healthcare, education, government services, retirement communities — in contract cleaning, consulting services and more.

Professional cleaning is considered to be a very diverse and big business globally. A career at the management level requires an employee to have what is referred to as “ASK” — abilities, skills and knowledge, under the triad of “AMT” — in administration, management and technology. Success in the housekeeping/ cleaning profession also requires embracing an attitude of proprietorship and to be action and results oriented. Professional trade association membership and certification in the profession are also recommended.

All the above, when met, may also provide for a smoother process toward becoming an entrepreneur and business owner in professional housekeeping/ cleaning management. Here are some basic factors to consider: business attitude and passion; income potential; market demand for services offered; existing know-how, contacts and reputation; recession resistance; start-up cost and overhead; long range security; competition; hours of work and stress level; suitability to your personality; organizational skills; legal and insurance requirements; selection of a business name; pricing strategies; start-up costs; and expanding considerations through diversification.

Understanding and knowledge that cleaning is a science and an art is an important step toward business and career success. The cleaning industry generates billions in annual revenue in the United States alone and ranks as one of the world’s big 10 businesses. It is also nearly recession proof, due to the nature of cleaning as an essential and necessary part of daily life. As a growing industry — and with many seasoned cleaning professionals now reaching retirement age — there are plenty of opportunities and careers available in the world of professional cleaning today.

Best wishes in your search for professional growth and success.

Rose Galera, CEH

Seven steps in guest room cleaning

Clean Talk with Rose
By Rose Galera, CEH
Hawaii Hospitality Magazine, Mar/Apr 2012

Hi Rose,
As a reader of your articles, I wish to request your assistance for information you may have developed for a hotel guestroom cleaning process program. This will be for housekeeping operations for a new property my company will be managing.
Thank You, Jessie

Aloha Jessie,
To measure up to today’s performance standards, establishing appropriate cleaning processes is important. The following seven steps in guest room cleaning provides for a dynamic and effective system that will create quality standards and value results. It also will simplify and assist in the training process.

1 – Prepare the Room: update room status; remove food service trays; check lights, lamps, television, drapes and lanai.

2 – Removal of Trash and Soiled Linens: disinfect bathroom surfaces; collect soiled linens and used glasses; collect and remove trash.

3 – Make the Bed: strip soiled linens; prepare clean linens; make the bed and finish with bed cover.

4 – Clean the Bedroom: dust furniture and surfaces; wipe and polish surfaces; replenish or replace room supplies.

5 – Clean the Bathroom: wash, wipe and shine fixtures; replace bath amenities; replace bath linens.

6 – Vacuum Carpets and Floor Surfaces: start from area furthest from door; reset climate control on air conditioning; draw drapes to standard.

7 – Final Inspection Update: take last look and check; turn off lights; secure and lock door.

To further enhance the above program, proper equipments and tools are highly recommended. The microfiber cleaning technology is a best practice program. A color-coded program of cleaning cloths and flat-head mops should be applied to all cleaning tasks; for example, for cleaning cloths: blue – furniture dusting, red – bathroom cleaning and green – rnirror/ glass polishing. The flat-head mop system with an extendable handle and two heads should be used: blue for bathroom cleaning of tub/shower walls and surfaces and green for floor mopping. Add to the above as needed.

Happy Cleaning!
Rose Galera, C.E.H.

Helping senior housekeepers maintain productivity

Clean Talk with Rose
By Rose Galera, CEH
Hawaii Hospitality Magazine, Jan/Feb 2012

Hi Rose,
Please share best cleaning practices on how to assist our senior housekeepers with 20-plus working years to maintain their assigned room cleaning productivity level, within the company’s acceptable cleaning standards.

Aloha TM,
Your concern is shared by housekeeping managers in our Hawaii hospitality industry, given the many dedicated and loyal longtime cleaning attendants still in the workforce with high work attendance ethics.

Fortunately, with the ongoing increase in cleaning trends and technology today, there are solutions with processes, tools and equipment that housekeeping managers can turn to creatively. Traditional ways and methods must be replaced or be enhanced with today’s technologies. The following are creative ideas for consideration.

Microfiber cleaning technology:
1. Stained terry cloths cut, surged and used for cleaning rags are tools of the past and are to be replaced with today’s cleaning tools of the fiade, microfiber cleaning cloths and mops.

Microfiber cloths reduce time in dry dusting, damp wiping and wet cleaning of surfaces as they attract and hold onto soil and do not spread it around. When used properly, the microfiber cloth can have 16 folded sides to speed up the cleaning process. A color coding cleaning process for guest room cleaning will avoid the guesswork of which cloths to use. For example: blue for dry or damp dusting of furniture and fixture surfaces, yellow for glass/ mirror polishing, and red for bathroom cleaning of counter surfaces, walls and fixtures. Microfiber cloths are also excellent for carpet spotting processes.

2. Replace the old string mops or terry rags for mopping of floors with the microfiber flat mop system. I recommend two extendable mop handles with flat head attachments, 12-14 inches in size with four to six microfiber flat mop heads. With the microfiber flat mops, the following bath and guest room cleaning processes can be accomplished without bending, stooping or climbing for low and high area cleaning:
a) bathtub wall or shower wall cleaning
b) bathtub surround, outer tub surfaces, inner tub and shower floors
c) damp mopping of the bathroom floor
d) cleaning and polishing of bathroom mirrors with a flat mop head
e) dusting of walls, ceilings, vents, baseboards and ledges

Renewable cleaning with microfiber cleaning technology and proper training on the various processes will enhance and simplify guest room cleaning, save on body movements and safety in cleaning, that will assist in maintaining productivity and results-oriented cleaning, for senior employees still in the workforce.

Mahalo, Rose

Renewable cleaning

Clean Talk with Rose
By Rose Galera, CEH
Hawaii Hospitality Magazine, Nov/Dec 2011

Hi Rose,
At a Renewable Energy Conservation program I attended, the speaker emphasized the importance of the housekeeping department’s role in renewable cleaning, and its impact on energy conservation. Please share any information as I missed a workshop you once held.
A Neighbor Island EH

Aloha NIEH,
Yes, I’ve talked, trained and promoted renewable cleaning since attending the 2009 ISSA/ IEHA Convention held in Chicago and gained Trends & Technologies updates that are having an impact on our cleaning profession and industry today. Renewable cleaning is the removal, inactivation and/ or proper disposal of pollutant contaminants, pathogens, particles and chemical residues to restore our indoor enviromnents to their original or desired condition. Renewable cleaning works like nature does employing parallel methods. The process conserves resources (economic and financial) and focuses on cleaning for health and establishes a code of best cleaning practices to deliver high standards of cleaning services and environmentally sound standards.

Renewable cleaning is organized as green cleaning, which targets general sanitation using eco-friendly practices, products and equipments for a healthier environment. It is a program that utilizes natural cleaning products that are non-toxic, biodegradable, not tested on animals, and are renewable and sustainable. It uses cleaning equipment that clean better, faster and reduce the need for chemical application, and cleans surfaces, polishes stainless steel, cleans mirrors, or collects dust with microfiber cleaning cloths and flat mops. Water is a key medium for renewable cleaning as it is a universal resource, is benign, non-polluting and naturally replenished. Water plays an important role as a chemical substance, is one of our most plentiful chemicals. Its chemical formula (H20) is the most well known of all chemical formulas. Water’s many important functions include being a good solvent for dissolving many solids, serving as an excellent coolant both mechanically and biologically and acting as a reactant in many chemical reactions. When believed in, accepted and implemented, renewable cleaning will have definite and positive environmental, economic, financial and social impact for Hawaii.

Rose Galera