Cleaning After COVID-19, what does that look like for the average house cleaner?
Is sanitizing enough to kill viruses while cleaning? Is it necessary to disinfect the house on a regular maintenance clean or deep cleaning? Worried house cleaners don’t have to panic anymore.
Find out how you can future proof your cleaning service moving forward for a much-needed sigh of relief.
Listen: Cleaning After COVID-19
Watch: Cleaning After COVID-19
Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer. You can find this and 400 other answered questions in this series on our YouTube channel.
Cleaning After COVID-19
Cleaning after COVID. What does that look like for your cleaning business? And are you going to be sanitizing and disinfecting? And how is it going to change things? We had a house cleaner that called in and asked this question.
“Could you share any important information with us about cleaning during COVID-19 as far as making sure we’re sanitizing and being safe, and all that good stuff?”
Cleaning after the COVID, what does that look like for you? Before we go into that, lets step back a little. The other day I was working in my home office and I got a telephone call and they said, “A tornado is headed straight your way.” I’m like, “What a tornado?” And I looked out my window and I could see the wind spinning in a cyclone coming down the street.
And I was like, “Oh, no. Okay.” Well, I don’t have any procedures in place for what I do if I’m in my house in a tornado heads toward my house. I never thought about that before. If you ever find yourself in an unlucky situation, you have common sense. It’s a God-given gift and it’s free, but it’s like a muscle. The more you use it, the better you get at it. So, in this one moment, don’t panic. Take a breath. Where do you need to be?
You Need Common Sense After COVID
The reason I tell you this is because of common sense. You have to have common sense anytime there’s a state of disaster, whether it’s a natural disaster or a man-made disaster. So, if you don’t have a plan in place, your first goal is common sense.
The second thing is after the rain and the storm and everything that happened that came along with the tornado, there was a lot of debris left in my yard. So, before I went out to mow the yard on the next sunny day, I had to do what was called a risk assessment.
This is where you walk the lot and you take a wheelbarrow with you and you pick up all the leaves and the broken trees and the broken branches. And you clean it up out of the yard so that it doesn’t damage the blades of your lawnmower as you’re driving around the top of your lawn, trying to mow your yard.
COVID-19 Was a Storm
The reason for this is, because when COVID that came through, it was a worldwide pandemic and it did a lot of damage across the country.
Now, whether it actually made you sick or it made your friends sick or whatever, we don’t know but what we do know is that it shut down a lot of businesses.
And right now, there’s a lot of debris. There’s a lot of fallout as a result of that. And so, what is different? What is different is before you can answer, you have to go do a risk assessment of your business.
You Need to Do a Damage Assessment at Clients’ Homes
You need to go back to your customer’s homes and you need to do an assessment of what their homes look like. Because a lot of people have been taking it easy for the last month or two months.
Their homes may be immaculate. They may not need you at all. Or their homes may be a mess and they may need a ginormous deep cleaning. So, you’re going to have to do a risk assessment of your business.
You’re going to have to find out exactly how much damage has been done. And what it’s going to take to get it back to where you can mow without damaging the blades of your lawnmower. Metaphorically for your business. So, what does that look like? Are you going to be disinfecting? Are you going to be sanitizing?
Do Not Disinfect
At Savvy Cleaner we recommend that you do not disinfect. The reason for this is that many homes do not need disinfecting. With sanitization, you can kill 99.9% of the bacteria in homes. And so, disinfecting was designed for hospitals.
Also, food prep areas like restaurants need to be sanitized and disinfected because you can’t have E. coli and all these different diseases. So that must be disinfected.
But for most people’s homes, the food that we’re eating, comes out of a jar, a bag, or a box. So, this is not an infectious situation.
Sanitizing is Good Enough for Most Homes
And so, to have everything sanitized at 99.9%, that’s going to be good enough for most homes. Now, the disinfection process requires three steps. And this is if it’s done correctly.
There’s a clean, which means you clean everything down. That’s the walls, the ceilings, the floors, all the vertical, all the horizontal surfaces. It’s all the stuff that you touch. It has to be cleaned. Then when you’re done cleaning, then you come in and you mist, or spray, or fog, or however you do it. And you need to be very clear about all the fancy gadgets that are out there.
Those are just fancy gadgets. So, whether it’s an electrostatic spray gun, a mister, a fogger, that is just the tool that gets the disinfectant to the area. It’s the chemical that disinfects, not the fancy sprayer.
You Have to Wipe Up the Disinfectants You Put Down
But the last part of the disinfecting process is you have to wipe up the disinfectants that you’ve been letting sit for two to 10 minutes based on the type of disinfecting that you’re using. And so, there’s dwell time.
And as a regular house cleaner, it’s not cost-effective to go in and let this wetness be all over your house for two to 10 minutes before you clean again.
So, it’s a three-step process in most homes, which is not cost-effective for most house cleaners at the prices that we charge.
Prices are Still Standard in the Industry
And so, for cleaning at the prices you charge, that’s still standard in the industry. And that is still standard for what most of the house cleaners will be doing moving forward. But you need to have a conversation with your customers.
There are a lot of companies that during the COVID-19 have gone out and they’ve become certified, bought the fancy equipment and all of those things. So they’re like a disinfection team. They’re going to come in with hazmat suits. They’re going to come in with fancy sprayers.
You can clean, they can disinfect and they can wipe up when they’re done. So, they can do the disinfecting part of it. It is recommended is outsource the disinfecting which is the last step. And don’t include that as part of your regular house cleaning for this reason. There are other elements to cleaning that you don’t do as normal house cleaners.
You Can Treat it as Post-Construction Cleaning
This would be like post-construction cleaning. It would be crime scene cleanup. It would be flood and fire restoration, mold remediation. There are a bunch of different elevated types of cleaning. And disinfecting goes into that category. It’s considered a forensic restoration.
If there are classrooms,subways, airplanes and places that are high traffic areas, where there can be a lot of people traveling through with lots of viruses and lots of germs, yes. But in a home where there’s one family that has been quarantined, it s a bit of an overkill.
So, going into the new clean, you need to do a lot walk, you need to do a risk assessment, and you need to have a conversation with your customer about what that looks like for you.
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