Over the last couple of years we have experienced a cleaning problem which is becoming more prevalent. It is an irrational behavior among people who are mysophobic (germophobic). This particular behavior does nothing to minimize the spread of germs (it actually worsens the situation); yet, it creates a very frustrating experience for the person who has to clean it up.
The hand soap is spread in a thin layer all over the sink and in may cases the counter tops in the restroom hand wash area. This layer dries and becomes invisible; that is, until you try to clean it.
The Resulting Cleaning Problem
When you put soap on your hands and add a little water, it get sudsy. This is exactly what happens when the cleaner begins to wipe down this restroom surface. It creates the following frustrations for cleaning personnel.
- The first frustration is that you cannot see the film of soap; so, when you proceed to clean, with what you think will be a simple one wipe situation, you are presented with the opposite.
- The second frustration is that the more water you add, the soapier and sudsier the situation becomes. As your cleaning cloth becomes saturated with soap and suds the third frustration arises.
- You must repeatedly rinse your cloth as it becomes saturated with suds. Doing this over and over again and again takes an inordinate amount of time; especially, compared to the single wipe that it takes when there is NO soap on the sink or counter top.
- Lastly, as cleaning professionals we cannot ignore spending all of the time that it takes to remove the soap residue because the surface cannot be sanitized unless the surface is clean and all of the soap has been removed.
A Suggested Solution
Firstly, I urge all mental health professionals, who have clients with this type of malady, to get very specific with defining behaviors their clients participate in that are of this nature.
Secondly, I would suggest that you recommend to your clients that they carry sanitizing wipes. Instead of spreading soap all over the restroom surfaces, suggest that your client wipe down the sink and counter top with the sanitizing wipe. This action would in fact have the benefit that the person desires and not create havoc for cleaning service personnel.