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Cleaning the cleaning supplies: New protocols for housecleaning due to COVID-19

Posted at 7:33 PM, Jun 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-15 20:33:04-04

Even the cleaning materials are being cleaned. As people start letting house cleaners back into their homes, there are new protocols you should know about and new challenges out there because of COVID-19.

The home cleaning industry was hit hard by the pandemic, because of everyone's fear. But as things start opening up, people want the service back. Brian Wiersma is a strategic initiatives and branch operations manager for Merry Maids.

“A lot of our customers, they need our help cleaning their home and when you look at the CDC guidelines, the first step in maintaining a healthy home is to clean it before you disinfect it,” said Wiersma.

He says, like everyone else, Merry Maids has had to adjust and adapt to every new recommendation from the CDC. No masks at first, and now masks all the time. There are new protocols for their team members and for their clients.

“If you’re sick please, let us know even if it’s not COVID,” said Wiersma. “Let us know if you’re sick, so we can reschedule you just to be overly cautious.”

They're asking employees to self-monitor, pay attention to everything they might feel, COVID-19 or not. They suggest clients either leave or remain in one part of the home. They bring their own equipment and clean the cleaning supplies when they're done.

“As the team leaves the home, they take off the mask, they disinfect the kit before they put it in their vehicle to go to the next home, so they’re not taking contaminants into their vehicle and taking it to another customer,” said Wiersma.

There are training videos, daily checklists, and they've even held meetings about how to take your gloves off.

“It’s little things but in the same respect, it’s important things,” said Wiersma. “You take all these steps to be careful and precautious and at the very last step, if you don’t take your gloves off right you, might as well not have done the rest of them as far as keeping the team safe.”

Angel Gatewood, 24, has been cleaning for Merry Maids for the past year. The hardest part for her, someone who loves customers and customer service, has been keeping her client relationships at a distance.

“I still try to maintain that personal relationship with my customers which I think is important because I’m in their house every other week touching their things,” said Gatewood. “Your home is your personal bubble. When somebody enters it, you have to have that trust and I like to maintain that."

She loves to connect with people and loves her detail-oriented job, but she has asthma and now has to be even more cautious than ever.

“I personally take those extra steps,” she said. “I take my inhaler in every time. I wear two pairs of gloves. I also have eczema. It’s a double problem. I wear two pairs of gloves and the mask every time.”

Wiersma says while COVID-19 has been challenging, it's about to get busier than ever as people realize health starts in the home.

"Merry Maids has been around for 40 years and Service Master for 90 years of cleaning and disinfecting, we'll stay who we are and that has helped us sustain through the crisis, but come out of it on a stronger footing."