How COVID changed house cleaning forever and our expectations of what is or isn’t clean. Should your house cleaner be disinfecting your home? Is sanitization enough?
We can’t go back to how things were, so what is the new norm in the house cleaning industry?
Listen: How COVID Changed House Cleaning Forever
Watch: How COVID Changed House Cleaning Forever
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.
How COVID Changed the World of House Cleaning Forever
How COVID changed the world of housecleaning forever. This is a big topic. Lots of house cleaners, homeowners, and cleaning business owners have been asking how the world of housecleaning has changed since COVID.
So we’re all aware of COVID, it’s a global pandemic, everyone in the world knows about COVID, and we can’t pretend that there was a time where COVID did not exist. COVID exists and now there’s a new awareness.
What’s Different in the Industry Moving Forward?
So, what is different in the house cleaning industry moving forward? Firstly, what is different is there is now an awareness. We also had lots of media hype. Lots of people watch their TVs and they saw house cleaners going inside homes with full hazmat gear.
And so, in their mind, they thought that that was the new clean. That is not the new clean, that is called media hype. What we’re talking about for COVID is an envelope virus that can be contained with soap and water.
From day one we’ve been told, “Wash your hands with soap and water, keep your distance from other people, don’t spread the germs.” It would be great for us to stay on that same wavelength.
I Have Experienced COVID
Now I’m not knocking the people that have had COVID, those that have died from COVID, I’m so sorry. Myself and my household had COVID and so we have firsthand experience with it. It is awful. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. However, if you have someone come in your home, disinfect, fog, and spray, it might be overkill.
The reason I say it might be overkill is that right now there are no machines on the market that regular house cleaners have that can guarantee your home is virus-free. They don’t have the equipment. The next thing is they cannot guarantee you will not get COVID once they’ve come in disinfected, fogged, and sprayed your home. They can’t guarantee that.
If your home is disinfected, and it’s been cleaned and fogged, what happens is the next person that comes into your house contaminates the scene. That is the new norm. So, you need to be aware of that.
What Can We Expect in the Future
So, what can be expected moving forward? Well, what is expected is that every homeowner must have a new conversation with their house cleaner. And set new expectations.
So, what does that look like for your home? There are 74 and a half million households in America. Those homes need to be cleaned on a regular basis. That is cleaning up dog hair, cat hair, wiping out the bathtub, cleaning out the shower, sweeping, mopping the floors, doing dishes, wiping the countertops down, scrubbing out the toilets, and all the other things that need to be done to keep a clean home.
That is regular general maintenance cleaning and it still needs to be done, either by you yourself as a homeowner, or by your house cleaning company that you hire. Somebody has to clean the homes in order for us to have a nice clean environment.
Living in a Clean House Will Help You Fight the Virus
Living in a clean home is going to help your immune system fight off a virus, and you can avoid some of those germs by getting rid of the soil and removing some of them. So, for most of what house cleaners are able to do, moving forward, sanitization is perfect. It kills 99.9% of germs and bacteria in the home. And that is if they do a great job, they clean everything, and they wipe it down, with a disinfectant.
Now the disinfectants have a dwell time to disinfect. Your regular general average house cleaner is not going to disinfect your home. So, if you want to hire a forensic restoration specialist to come in and do a special package, it’s going to cost you a boatload of money.
That is not cheap. It is not affordable for most homes. But the sanitization is what your house cleaner is going to be doing and has been doing on a regular basis.
You Want to Sanitize Everything Now
They clean everything, wipe everything down, and now they’re going to hit the high touch areas, which are your door handles. It’s going to be your doorknobs, light switches, and all the handles like the refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher, and all the other high touch areas in your home.
That is new. And for a lot of house cleaning companies, it’s kind of norm, they’ve been disinfecting for years, but it is new and mandatory moving forward. Now, what else is new is personal protective equipment awareness. Homeowners are now aware that their house cleaners should be wearing personal protective equipment.
So, what does that mean? In the past, it’s always meant wearing gloves to protect themselves as a barrier from them to your home. And that means they don’t rub their eyes, they don’t pick their nose, they don’t move their hair, none of those things with their gloves on. So it’s a protective barrier from them to your home.
You Need a Barrier Between Us and Our Property
When they leave your home, they don and doff the gloves properly so that they don’t touch or re-contaminate anything. Then the gloves go straight in the trash on your property. Again, a barrier between them and your home. Now, lots of house cleaners are now wearing shoe covers. So, when they come into your house, they’re putting these shoe covers on over their shoes.
Its recommended that they wear shoes because it gives them the proper support they need for their back, neck, knees, and spine, so they can do a proper job, 10, 20, 30 years into the business. So, taking off shoes is not a good idea, but wearing shoe covers is.
Homeowners Should Provide a Vacuum for House Cleaners
One of the big things that have changed is at Savvy Cleaner, we highly recommend since COVID that the homeowners provide their own vacuum for the house cleaner. That might mean you’re going out and buying a new vacuum. So, for the price of one or two cleanings, you can have a high-end vacuum that stays at your home. We’re now training house cleaners to empty your vacuum before they leave for the day.
Now, the reason for this is, a house cleaner doesn’t want to be put in a situation where they have to clean and sanitize a vacuum when they have many houses in the course of a day. Because what happens is, maybe for a couple of weeks that would happen and then it might slip off. And you don’t want a house cleaner to come to your home and bring a contaminated vacuum from another home.
Maybe that home is not contaminated, but maybe they have pets, kids, food, or other things that they’ve been running over all these carpets. You don’t want them now running all that over your carpets. So, the wheels have to be cleaned, the faceplate of that vacuum has to be cleaned. The vacuum has to be emptied and the whole vacuum, including the hose and handles have to be cleaned.
You Have to Avoid Cross-Contamination
So, it is a good idea for your house cleaner to leave your vacuum at your house. And this is for this very reason; it prevents cross-contamination. What happens in your home stays in your home, those are your germs. So, get your own vacuum and work that out with your existing house cleaner.
Now, moving forward have a conversation with your house cleaner about face masks. Because lots of house cleaners are passing out inside people’s homes especially during the summer months where it’s 80 degrees outside, oftentimes it’s 80 degrees inside, they’re trying to wear a face mask because you’re at home.
They’re trying to do the right thing. But because it’s so hot, they’re working out, moving fast, and cleaning, there’s a lot of physical movement, they’re trying to breathe, it’s hot in the room, they’re passing out, and then they have medical issues.
When House Cleaners Should Wear a Mask
So, inside the privacy of your home it would be a good idea they wear a mask from their car to your home. If you are at the home, when they get there and you greet them, they will have a face mask on. Then you go to the other room so that you can distance yourself from them, they can then remove their mask so that they can breathe freely while they’re working.
Don’t put a house cleaner in a situation where because of your comfort of them wearing a face mask in your home, when all they’re doing is the cleaning and they’re sanitizing the area where they are cleaning. They’re cleaning as they go. So, it’s not like they’re dropping a whole bunch of germs.
But to have them in your home, wearing a face mask, that needs to be worked out between you the homeowner and the house cleaner. So, work that out amongst yourselves, so it’s safe for them to return.
Nuances in House Cleaning Have Been Affected
So, those are some of the changes and the nuances in a housecleaning that have been affected by COVID. And as you move forward, be aware, and work smart because to hire somebody to come in and do all this other unnecessary stuff is not going to make your toilets any cleaner.
You still need the toilets cleaned, you still need all the basic cleaning done in order for you to maintain a clean and healthy home.
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