The importance of cleaning

British Cleaning Council (BCC) Chairman, Paul Thrupp, explains the cleaning sector’s essential role in the UK’s recovery from Coronavirus.

As we continue slowly along the road to recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic, a lot of thought is being put into how parts of the economy can reopen after lockdown and the cleaning industry will play an enormous role

in this.

Our cleaning teams around the country have made a huge contribution during the pandemic, with many of the staff going above and beyond to keep essential industries, such as the health sector, schools and the food industry, functioning.

The role of the cleaning sector remains pivotal to the reopening of pretty much every part of the UK economy including pubs, restaurants, hotels, tourist and cultural venues, offices, factories and workplaces and other premises besides.

Everyone is concerned about Coronavirus contamination. Employees, visitors, and customers will all need their minds put at ease in respect of the cleanliness of any interior space before they are willing to step inside.

All buildings should have risk assessments carried out before they reopen. This will allow a tailored, regular, and comprehensive regime of cleaning operations to be designed that will ensure maximum standards of cleanliness and reduce risk to a minimum.

Deep cleans, sanitisation cleans and decontamination cleans can be deployed, not just before reopening but regularly, as appropriate, with touch points such as door handles and light switches coming in for special attention.

To fully reassure people within any environment, cleaning will also need to be highly visible. People will expect to have access to handwash and sanitiser, and possibly gloves and wipes. They will also want to see visible proof of standards of hygiene, with labels, certificates and notices showing that areas have been maintained to a high standard.

But, most of all, the public will want to see cleaning operatives going about their work and they will expect them to have all the necessary PPE and equipment and be well- trained and qualified. It will be a total turnaround from the days of cleaning staff being an invisible workforce.

There will be some challenges in delivering the required high standards during the recovery period, with one of the biggest being that some cleaning staff will struggle to get into work because they will be reluctant to travel on public transport, due to fear of putting themselves at risk.

We will also have to ensure we communicate well and provide the correct level of training for everyone within the cleaning industry.


Another challenge might be the impact of the coming serious recession on cleaning budgets in some organisations though, overall, everything points to more investment in cleaning services in long term as a result of health and cleanliness having gone right to the top of the agenda.

I believe that the businesses that set the highest standards of cleanliness and hygiene will be the businesses that recover the quickest and attract the volumes of people and revenue to be successful.

One example of how the perception of cleaning has changed since the pandemic is the recent debate over the reopening of public toilets following lockdown. Raymond Martin, Managing Director of the British Toilet Association (BTA), a BCC member, has appeared repeatedly on national TV and radio and in the national papers, arguing the case for better provision of public toilets.

We at the BCC are delighted to see this well-deserved recognition of the work of our members and the cleaning sector more generally.

One of the BCC’s major aims has been to achieve improved recognition of the cleaning sector and we will continue to lobby government and speak out in the press in order to ensure the voice of the industry is heard and that it stays at the top of the agenda.

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