While many industries are facing an uncertain future, the cleaning industry is booming with online marketplace Oneflare reporting a 93 per cent increase in cleaning job requests since restrictions were eased in June.
Between mid-March and mid-June when lockdown started and ended, Oneflare reported a 98 per cent increase in requests for home cleaners and a 24 per cent spike in requests for commercial cleaners, according to Billy Tucker, CEO of Oneflare.
“This is a huge jump when compared to the same period last year which saw just a 5 per cent increase in home cleaning requests and a 14 per cent downturn in commercial cleaning.
“The ‘COVID-19 Standard Clean’ is now one of our most requested services and has become the ‘new normal’ for many families and businesses.”
Tucker said there had since been a 60 per cent fall in cleaning job requests in Melbourne after the stage 3-4 lockdown began but that he anticipated this would revert once restrictions are lifted.
Sheree Byrant, general manager of cleaning company, UrbanYou, said when COVID-19 hit, there was a significant decline in bookings as people panicked about the spread and having outsiders in their homes but this was followed by a huge jump in demand as restrictions eased.
“Before COVID-19, cleaning was a lifestyle and convenience choice – now it’s about health and safety.”
Byrant said UrbanYou were seeing many customers making specific requests around PPE, cleaning products and equipment.
“Some customers contacted us to ensure cleaners wear masks and gloves and to say they prefer cleaners use the customer’s cleaning products and equipment, so they are not shared from house-to-house. One customer requested they take the cleaner’s temperature as a precaution.
“Before COVID-19, most queries concerned our cleaning products’ environment credentials, now customers are more concerned about whether they’re antiviral and antibacterial. They are becoming more educated about cleaning, how it’s done and why it’s so important to help reduce the spread of the virus. Cleaning is such a big part of our COVID response.”
For those thinking about engaging a new cleaner but are unsure what to ask or what protocol to follow, Tucker offers the following advice:
- PPE: Your cleaner should be wearing a mask, gloves and maintaining good hand hygiene at all times.
- Socially distanced: Where possible, plan their workflow together at the beginning of the service so you can aim to be in a separate room while they work.
- High traffic areas: Request particular attention to high touchpoints: door handles, fridges, cabinets, and drawers as these should be wiped down at a high frequency. If you’re using a home office – ensure focus is spent here too on a regular basis with the mouse, keyboard and surfaces all wiped.
- Equipment: Request they use your own equipment where possible. Alternatively request either disposable cloths and mopheads used only within your household, or for a more environmentally friendly option – microfibre cloths for each room/space and a new one for each house. Microfibre is more economical and accessible, they should be washed at the end of each day ready for the next working day.
- Clean and disinfect: Not all cleaning products are created equal. Check with the cleaner which disinfectant product they use, ensuring it has “antibacterial” properties that the manufacturer states are antiviral. Disinfectant is most effective when surfaces are cleaned with detergent first. Cleaners should clean with warm water and detergent before using disinfectant. According to the Department of Health, manufactured products or homemade bleach solutions can both be effective against coronavirus. See here for more information.
- Symptom check: The cleaner should check with you that you are feeling well or have been in contact with anyone that may be at risk of COVID, as you should with your cleaner.
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