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How to Organize and Conduct Effective Cleaning Audits

How to Organize and Conduct Effective Cleaning Audits

Maintaining high cleaning standards in commercial facilities is crucial for ensuring a healthy and safe environment for employees, customers, and visitors. These standards are essential in preventing the spread of diseases, creating a pleasing aesthetic, and reflecting the facility’s commitment to quality and care. 

What is a cleaning audit?

A cleaning audit is a structured review process designed to evaluate the effectiveness and compliance of cleaning procedures within a commercial facility. Its primary purpose is to ensure that the facility’s cleaning standards meet or exceed the required industry benchmarks for hygiene and safety. 

Through these audits, facility managers can identify areas needing improvement, ensure regulatory compliance, and maintain a consistently high level of cleanliness.

Cleaning audits are typically conducted by a team that includes facility managers, cleaning supervisors, and sometimes external auditors. The composition of the team may vary based on the facility’s size and type, while the frequency of the audits can range from monthly to annually, depending on the nature of the facility, its traffic, and specific industry standards.

What does a typical cleaning audit cover?

A typical cleaning audit focuses on several key areas: the cleanliness of various surfaces, the condition and proper use of cleaning equipment, and the effectiveness of existing cleaning protocols and procedures. 

The assessment criteria in a cleaning audit typically include the thoroughness of cleaning, the appropriateness of the cleaning methods used, and compliance with health and safety standards. 

The individual performing the audit might look for consistency in cleaning across different areas of the facility and evaluate its effectiveness in reducing risks of contamination or infection. Auditors can also look at the efficiency and training of the cleaning staff, the adequacy of cleaning supplies, and adherence to health and safety guidelines. 

This comprehensive approach ensures that every aspect of the facility’s cleaning regimen is thoroughly assessed.

How do you conduct a cleaning audit?

Conducting a cleaning audit involves a structured approach to ensure a comprehensive and effective assessment of a facility’s cleaning standards. 

While some audits can be automated, this is not the case with cleaning audits. One way to significantly speed up the process is to use an online form builder to build a list of items that need to be inspected (instead of relying on pen and paper). This way, data can be collected and recorded via a mobile device and the report can be generated automatically. 

A successful cleaning audit entails four steps.

1. Prepare for the audit

The first step in preparing for a cleaning audit is assembling a team of qualified individuals who understand the facility’s specific cleaning requirements. This team typically comprises facility management, experienced cleaning staff, and sometimes even third-party experts. 

Setting clear objectives is crucial for the success of the cleaning audit. These objectives focus the audit process and establish benchmarks for measuring success.

Building a detailed audit checklist that covers all areas and aspects of cleaning within the facility will ensure that nothing is overlooked. It will serve as a road map for the audit, guiding the team systematically through each area of inspection.

Allocating the necessary resources—including time, personnel, and tools—is also vital for conducting an effective audit. This allocation ensures that the audit team has everything required to carry out a thorough evaluation and minimizes disruptions to the facility’s regular operations.

Scheduling the audit at an appropriate time and communicating it effectively to all stakeholders ensures minimal disruption to the facility’s operations and prepares staff for the audit. 

2. Execute the audit

During the audit, an individual or a team will conduct on-site evaluations, which involve a thorough examination of cleaning practices, equipment, and the state of cleanliness throughout various parts of the facility. 

Accurately and comprehensively documenting the findings is a critical part of the audit process. This includes taking detailed notes and photographs to substantiate the observations, as records are vital for reviewing the audit results and formulating improvement strategies.

Engaging with the custodial staff during the audit provides valuable insights into the practical aspects of the cleaning processes. Their input can reveal operational challenges and gaps in best practices that may not be immediately apparent. This approach leads to a more comprehensive understanding of the facility’s cleaning operations.

3. Analyze the results

After conducting the audit, it’s time to review and interpret the findings to identify trends, instances of noncompliance, and areas needing improvement. 

For instance, if a recurrent issue is identified in the cleaning of high-touch surfaces, the audit report might recommend more frequent cleaning or the use of different cleaning agents. 

After all, only precise, actionable recommendations can help fix identified issues and enhance overall cleaning standards.

4. Report and follow-up

Creating a comprehensive report of the audit findings is important for documenting the state of cleanliness and for future reference. This report should detail the audit process, findings, and recommendations. It is a formal record of the audit and a guide for implementing improvements.

Presenting the findings to management and staff is crucial for ensuring transparency and for garnering support for any required changes. The presentation should be clear, concise, and focus on actionable insights. It’s an opportunity to engage stakeholders in the process of enhancing cleaning standards.

Developing action plans based on the audit findings represents the final step in the process. For example, if the audit identifies a need for improved cleaning in restroom facilities, the action plan might entail additional training for staff, revised cleaning schedules, or the adoption of new cleaning products. 

What are the benefits of a cleaning audit?

Maintaining high cleaning standards is an ongoing commitment that requires regular evaluation and adaptation. Cleaning audits are a vital tool in this process, offering a structured approach to assess and improve cleanliness in commercial facilities. 

Cleaning audits are more than just a compliance exercise; they play a crucial role in the broader context of facility management excellence. The systematic approach provided by these audits is key to attaining and maintaining the highest standards in facility cleanliness and management.

Through dedication and regular auditing, businesses can ensure that their facilities not only look clean but also uphold the highest standards of hygiene and safety.

 

Kendall Kunz

Founder, Forms On Fire

Kendall Kunz is a five-time founder and business nerd with more than 30 years of experience in technology, marketing, and automation. Having held leadership positions across several industries, Kunz founded and continues to lead Forms On Fire, a solution for mobile forms automation.

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