Search Area

Please type into the box below to search the site for your required information.

Behind the Scenes – Filming Cleaning Matters Round Table

On Thursday 1 May we were invited to take a behind the scenes look at the filming of Cleaning Matters’ first round table discussion on ‘The Importance of Washroom Hygiene’. Denise Hanson, our Head of Technical Services was joined by Nikki Biggart, the UK Sales Manager for Evans Vanodine to answer some important questions on this area. Our Communications Executive, Rachael Giles shares her learnings from the day.

“Opening up the round table, Catherine Hackett, Editor of Cleaning Matters invited Nikki and Denise to share their views on the effect of social media on washrooms. It’s not something I had really considered before, but it made me think about all the times I’d been attracted to a new hotel or restaurant because I’d seen glamourous pictures of their bathrooms on Instagram – long gone are the days where washrooms are somewhere you go to just use the toilet. They are now an important part of the customer experience and require just as much attention to the décor, accessories and cleanliness as any other area of the business.

As Denise pointed out, the effect of social media can also go the other way – it’s never been easier for people to share their bad experiences and post pictures of dirty toilets, broken seats and flooded sinks for everyone to see. Making sure the cleaning operatives who look after these facilities are trained correctly is more important now than it’s ever been to ensure the customer experience is a pleasant one, and one you are happy to share with the rest of the world.

The discussion went on to talk about using high-quality hand products as a way to engage people with handwashing. I was shocked to hear Denise share that around 40% of people still don’t wash their hands after using the toilet. I’ll admit, even though I’m well aware of how important it is to use soap as part of a good handwashing regime, I still get put off from using cheaper hand soaps, which dry out your skin. Clearly, I’m not the only one, but if facilities provide high-end products which smell nice this can really encourage people to take the time to wash their hands and reduce incidences of cross-contamination and illness – a major cost-saving in the long run.

What was pleasing to hear, was the stress both Denise and Nikki placed on the importance of training for cleaning operatives who look after washrooms. Denise in particular shared her experience of visiting washrooms and seeing cleaning chemicals left in toilet bowls – something I often see myself but wasn’t aware of how dangerous this actually is. Did you know, something as simple as drinking a can of coke can cause your urine to become more acidic and react with these chemicals? – You certainly wouldn’t if you hadn’t been trained. Shockingly, 12 people a year die from mixing toilet cleaner incorrectly which shows just how serious the situation is. As Denise said, “Anybody can clean, but can they clean properly?” 

The round table also highlighted one the biggest problems facing the sector – cleaning is still not viewed as a career. Cleaning operatives are essentially the hidden ‘Cinderella’s’ of the industry, carrying out their duties often with little recognition, but these teams are crucial, providing essential services that our society cannot function without. Training has so many benefits but crucially it makes operatives feel valued, it increases retention rates and provides progression opportunities to those that show the skills.

As advancements in technology continue, Denise and Nikki went on to discuss the knock-on effect of this on the future of training for the industry. Would online training feature more heavily in the future? Of course, online training has its place and is important for supporting learning and refreshing knowledge but both Denise and Nikki agreed, when it comes to learning new skills there really is no substitute for hands-on, one-to-one training. As this round table made clear to me, cleaning is a science, underpinned by technical knowledge and practical abilities – when lives are at risk would you really rely on a video? I wouldn’t.”

Look out for the full write up and video from the day which will be released at the end of May on the Cleaning Matters website.