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What IS Clean?

What IS Clean?

Cleaning standards and how to measure them… 

For Facility Managers and cleaning companies alike it can be a minefield and confusing too. Let’s take a look at some of the options.


Some organisations devise their own internal gold, silver and bronze standards to work to. Some work to the BICS (British Institute of Cleaning Science) standard. Those in the Healthcare sector must work to CQC standards (The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England.) The food industry will work to the Food Standards Agency hygiene guidelines, there are many more. Whilst others might use simple specifications or their own or customers SLAs and KPIs. Target condition reports and assessments take things a step further and ATP test swabs will literally measure the cleanliness of a given surface, if that’s the kind of information you really want.

But what IS clean? It can be hard to measure. How do you define or set an expectation? Standards, or quality of cleaning are subjective, as everyone perceives quality from their own point of view. Yet the quality of a service must be measurable, or unmet expectations can lead to unwarranted complaints and dissatisfaction.

The difference between delivering a gold, silver or bronze service could simply be down to the frequency of a cleaning task. Would you be happy to have your desk cleaned once a week or once a day? Perhaps it is a hot desk and requires cleaning multiple times throughout the day. If your desk is to be cleaned once a week on a Monday but you spill coffee on the Tuesday, are you now dissatisfied with the cleaning service? If you audit your cleaning service at 9am after the morning cleaners have left, your scoring may be very different from an audit completed at 3pm in the afternoon. So, are audits simply not enough anymore?

There has been a clear shift since 2000, with an emphasis on quality, moving from products to services. Increasingly we are moving to daytime cleaning to pick up issues throughout the day. Using innovations in technology helps us to achieve improvements in quality by increasing productivity and creating improved reporting systems and processes.

All the technology in the world won’t help though, unless you can get buy in from the teams on site. Sometimes there can be reluctance from staff to embrace innovation and examples like this occur across our industry.

Case study


  • Heavy traffic site with multiple wide corridors and staircases being manually cleaned with traditional sweeping brushes, mops and buckets.
  • Scrubber dryer and various equipment remains unused in the cleaning store.
  • Cleaning standards along corridors below standard. Build-up of dirt in corners of stairs.
  • Productivity on site poor.


  • Kex mops provided to sweep corridors.
  • Training for Scrubber dryer provided for corridors and education re increased productivity rates.
  • Robotic stair scrubbers provided and training for cleaning team to clean into the corners of stairs.
  • Ongoing audits from onsite supervisor and area manager to ensure process is followed and improvements are maintained.


  • Improved cleaning standards across corridors and staircases.
  • 1-2 hours cleaning saved across 8-hour shift.
  • Choice to customer to retain cost saving or preserve existing cleaning hours and utilise time/budget elsewhere for additional cleaning tasks.


Additionally, digital reporting via sensors placed in meeting rooms and washrooms can be really useful. Wireless sensors provide flexibility for usage anywhere and can track trends for the busiest times of the day in specific areas. Over time, the information can be used to predict and plan for when a presence is required in washrooms for example. For any ad hoc needs, a sensor button can alert a member of the cleaning team that attention is required in that area. Companies providing this kind of service such as Infogrid, say cleaning can be cut by up to 40% just by ensuring the teams are focused in the right areas at the right times.

In conclusion

  • Find the right standard to work to for your business.
  • Assess when the cleaning should take place across the day.
  • Train and support your teams and “get them on board” with any innovation on site.
  • Audit often, give feedback to the team, adjust and retrain as necessary.
  • Report to the customer on issues, improvements, productivity, cost savings.


By Nina Wyers - Marketing & Brand Director at The Floorbrite Group.