You know it’s one of the best ways to reduce the spread of germs, but how well do you promote proper hand washing? It is your job as a commercial cleaning company to promote proper hand washing. It’s an employee issue, for sure. Proper hand washing helps keep them healthy and safe. You may even have rules around employee hand washing. Indeed, good hand hygiene is part of your general workplace safety, and it’s an essential part of donning and doffing PPE.

What about your clients and their customers, though?

Promoting hand washing is probably not in your contract. However, you know that the secret to business success is providing excellent work and unbeatable customer service. You also know one part of your job is reducing the spread of bacteria, viruses and allergens. Put that all together, and you can promote proper hand washing to make your clients happier and safer.

How to promote proper hand washing in your facilities

First, let’s answer the question: Are you doing enough to promote proper hand washing? If you aren’t doing anything at all, the answer is no. If you are making efforts, are you going beyond the obligatory washroom sign stating that employees must wash their hands? I know what you are thinking. At least, I know what I’d be thinking if I was reading this. But how, exactly, should a contracted commercial cleaning company promote proper hand washing?

First, let’s assume you and your team are keeping up with hand washing. That would be the drill of warm water, soapy lather, scrubbing your hands (front and back), fingers and nailbeds for 20 seconds. That’s long enough to sing one verse of The Beatles’ ‘A Hard Day’s Night’. If soap and water aren’t available, use a hand sanitiser that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.

That’s not news to you, though. So let’s move on to why hand washing is so important and some of the ways you can promote proper hand washing in the facilities you service.

Jumping straight into the facts, here are three reasons from the CDC why hand washing and hand washing education remain essential.
• Washing your hands with soap and water reduces “diarrhoea-related sicknesses” in children by about 30 percent and up to 40 percent in the general population.
• Proper hand washing reduces respiratory infections like colds or pneumonia by about 20 percent. • Hand washing reduces school absences “due to gastrointestinal illness” by up to 57 percent.

Contrast that with the fact that “estimated global rates of hand washing after using the toilet are only 19 percent.” That doesn’t even count coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.

So, what can you do? After all, you are ‘just’ the commercial cleaning company. As long as you have buy-in from the facility manager or someone in a similar position, there’s a lot you can do.
• Add occasional sections to your newsletter that promote proper hand washing. A newsletter, in general, is a great way to boost your customer service levels. You can share updates on new environmentally friendly cleaning products, tips for people to use at home, updates on general cleanliness or health concerns, and, of course, hand washing education.
• Place posters in strategic locations, such as the break room where people will be eating or the washroom. Free posters can be downloaded from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
• Add fun graphics to your email newsletters. This strategy brings the visual interest of a poster or gif to the written sections of your email newsletter. You can get some of these from the CDC as well.
• Add sanitiser stations in heavily trafficked areas. While not as ideal as washing hands with soap and water, using sanitiser is infinitely better than not washing hands at all.
• Keep hand washing areas clean and well stocked. You can’t control whether or not people wash their hands regularly. You can, however, create the conditions that encourage and promote proper hand washing. By keeping soap dispensers and towels stocked, and faucets, handles, and counters clean, you offer people a welcoming space to approach and feel good about hand hygiene.

Again, it’s not necessarily your job to get everyone to wash their hands. But there’s a good chance you are the resident expert on bacteria, viruses and how germs spread, and you know how beneficial hand washing is. By trying to add some of these ideas to your processes you will enjoy the benefit of working in healthier environments, according to