Cleaning and Disinfecting: The Truth About Multipurpose Products

by Michael Kupneski

Cleaning and disinfecting both are vital to an effective hotel cleaning program, yet many housekeeping staff members are unaware of the difference between the two and the importance of each task. Recent studies have shown that there continues to be a general lack of consistency and rather significant confusion within the professional cleaning industry about whether you can do both cleaning and disinfecting at the same time and the correct procedures to do so.

By definition, cleaning is the process of removing the soil from a surface. A soil can harbor germs such as E. Coli, Salmonella and Influenza. Disinfecting is the process of killing these germs. Cleaning removes the soil and dirt while disinfecting kills microorganisms that cause disease, odor and/or spoilage. Cleaning well allows the disinfecting agents to work more effectively than disinfecting alone.

In a recent survey conducted by P&G Professional™, 68 percent of respondents said that if you want to clean and disinfect a surface, you have twice as much work on your hands. And, while it is true that each act is important, they no longer have to be done separately. By utilizing multipurpose products, hotel housekeeping staff can effectively clean and disinfect in one step, which can save time, simplify training and reduce product costs.

Get the Job Done Right the First Time
A multipurpose product used properly gets the job done right the first time. For example, P&G Professional’s Spic and Span® Disinfecting All-Purpose Spray and Glass Cleaner, and Comet® Disinfecting-Sanitizing Bathroom Cleaner are multipurpose – for both cleaning and disinfecting on multiple surface types. Using products that can do more than one job can help hotel managers simplify staff cleaning routines. Also, housekeeping staff can stock their cleaning carts with fewer products, which can mean less hauling and less switching between products.

Increase Productivity to Save Time and Money
Labor typically accounts for up to 85 percent or more of cleaning costs. By using multipurpose products, hotel staff can be more efficient in their cleaning regime, which can translate to higher productivity for each individual and potentially lower labor costs. These products can help housekeeping staff do their job more efficiently and effectively.

A Customer’s Perception is Reality
It can be easy for any hotelier to lose sight of how great an impact proper cleaning can have on his/her property. Whether in the guest room or in the exercise facility, both cleaning and disinfecting are vital to a customer’s experience and a properties’ reputation. Studies have shown that the “perception of clean” can impact a customer’s perception about all other aspects of the business, whether related or not. For example, a hotel bathroom that has dirty mirrors or counters can affect the customer’s overall impression of the hotel.

The following tips emphasize best practices for hotels to optimize their cleaning program.

Simplify Cleaning – Multipurpose products, such as Comet® Disinfecting-Sanitizing Bathroom Cleaner, can make cleaning easier by reducing the number of products needed and minimizing rework. In addition to saving time by reducing the complexity of the job, these products can also make staff training easier and inventory management simpler.

Read Product Labels – Read labels carefully to confirm if the product is multipurpose and for instructions on usage. Make sure that the products you choose are from trusted manufacturers, and that they provide the right features to meet your specific needs.

Create Cleaning Protocols – Put protocols into place outlining how to clean and disinfect correctly. Ensure that all high-touch areas, such as exercise equipment, tables, counters, faucets, dispensers and door handles, are consistently and properly cleaned and disinfected. Check your staff and protocols regularly to ensure they are meeting your standards.

Recognize Employees – Management should give employees regular feedback and reward good behavior, helping to ensure all employees know the importance of their work. Setting up recognition and reward systems can help keep everyone motivated to follow cleaning guidelines.

Customer Satisfaction – Customers will notice if an area is not properly cleaned. It’s always a good idea to proactively ask guests about how your hotel is doing with cleanliness, and when they tell you, act on it.

For any hotel, cleaning and disinfecting are very important processes, but they no longer need to be done separately. They can effectively be completed as one task with multipurpose products. As more hoteliers discover the benefits of this one-step process, they’ll be able to cut down on costs and cleaning time while providing an atmosphere worthy of guest satisfaction.

About Michael Kupneski
Michael is the R&D Section Head at P&G Professional. He holds a degree in chemical engineering and is responsible for all formula design, technology development and process development for P&G Professional’s air care, hard surface cleaners and dish products, globally.