Customer Perception: 6 Commercial Cleaning Missteps That Cause Instant Worry

Imagine you walk into your favorite grocery store. The floor shines. Signs let you know the staff disinfects on the hour. You’re pretty convinced the commercial-cleaning crew is on its game.

It’s nice to know you can count on things being spic and span … until you go to throw away your coffee cup and face an unemptied trash can piled high with junk. Now, in spite of everything else, you’re wondering if the rest of the store is just as dirty. What gives?

In short: perception is everything. It doesn’t matter how clean you keep your facility. Even with top-notch disinfection procedures, if certain essentials aren’t taken care of, people are going to perceive dirtiness. The little things can make or break an impression when it comes to commercial cleaning.

Here are some key things to stay on top of:

Lack of signage. Post information around about the frequency and methods of your cleaning program to stay top-of-mind for customers. Make cleaning logs visible in restrooms.

Not touchless? Post touchless hand-sanitizing stations at key points throughout your facility. Use touchless towel and soap dispensers in your restroom. Read more, here.

Overflowing trash cans. Make sure to keep the heap maintained.

Dirty floors, counters and windows. These are the first things customers will notice. Additionally, soiled surfaces don’t just look bad; dirt keeps disinfectants from reaching the surface, which means they don’t work. This blog has some great tips on how to protect your office mats.

Lack of visible cleaning crew. Seeing the process in action helps remind people you adhere to your cleaning program. If they aren’t clearly identified, consider uniforms for your cleaning crew.

Smell. This one is tricky, because some people are sensitive to certain smells – and even “unscented” cleaning chemicals can trigger headaches for some folks. With that said, a “clean” smell is generally a good thing. If you control how much chemical – and what type – you use, it shouldn’t overpower anyone. Check out “How to fix nagging restroom odors,” for some good tips.

Staying on top of the six perception basics is easy with a day porter. Porters are janitors who work during the day. From handling spills to spot vacuuming to emptying trash, they check all the boxes and are trained to do it all.

“With the added responsibilities your team faces, a day porter can also increase their bandwidth,” said Mike Staver, KleenMark’s director of operations. “Bringing in that extra person during the day is honestly one of the most efficient ways to quickly elevate your cleaning and disinfecting program.”

Understanding Coronavirus cleaning chemicals: How they work, why we use them

Commercial cleaning companies, including those describing themselves as a “coronavirus cleaning service” use a variety of chemicals in their daily efforts to keep facilities disinfected. Given the pandemic, it’s likely you and your employees have a greater interest in understanding just what they’re using to kill COVID-19. 

First and foremost, it’s important to understand what a disinfectant is. A disinfectant can be any EPA-approved chemical that has a 99.9% kill rate, meaning any bacteria or viruses it comes in contact with will die. Disinfectants are generally stronger than basic-cleaning products and require proper training to be used effectively and safely. 

“We always want to use the eco-friendliest products possible,” said Mike Staver, KleenMark’s director of operations. “When fighting germs, though, we often use high-powered disinfectants that meet stringent standards. When used properly they create a clean and safe environment for your employees, customers and clients.” 

Disinfectant essentials 

KleenMark experts always look for three specifics things when selecting which disinfectants to use. It’s important that no matter what you or your Coronavirus cleaning service uses that you ID and understand the significance of each point listed below. Disinfectants our teams trust can be found, here.

  1. EPA approved – Never use anything the Environmental Protection Agency hasn’t approved. This federal blessing ensures that the chemical has been thoroughly tested and research and that the safety and usage guidelines are accurate. Check out List N to see disinfectants for use against COVID-19.
  1. Kills COVID-19 – This may sound obvious but every chemical should have a label listing what it kills – that includes COVID-19.  
  1. Dwell time – Each disinfectant has a different dwell time, ranging from 1-10 minutes. What’s that mean to you? This tells you how long the chemical needs to remain on the surface you’re disinfecting and for how long that surface needs to remain saturated with the disinfectant.  

To understand how to use disinfectants, check out this article

“With dwell time, you may want a very short timeframe for disinfecting doorknobs and other surfaces cleaned multiple times each day,” Staver said. “In other instances, you may use a stronger chemical with longer dwell times, especially when doing a deep disinfecting after a positive COVID-19 case is confirmed in your facility.” 

The chemicals KleenMark’s coronavirus cleaning service uses 

So, what types of chemicals are commercial coronavirus cleaning services using? While varieties exist, KleenMark has established several disinfectants as their go-to weapons against COVID-19. All are EPA approved and have proven track records of success.  

“Each chemical we use is thoroughly vetted and tested,” Staver said. “If we’re using it, I can guarantee it’s been put through rigorous trials and is the best option available.” 

Virex II 256 

  • What it is: A one-step quaternary-based disinfectant cleaner that provides broad-spectrum disinfection. 
  • How/when we use it: Used to clean and prevent cross-contamination. This primarily is used for deep disinfection. 
  • What it does: Kills bacteria, viruses (including COVID-19) and fungus. Meets bloodborne pathogen standards for killing germs and viruses in blood and body fluids 

Oxivir wipes 

  • What they are: Wipes formulated to deliver broad-spectrum disinfection in one minute or less. 
  • How/when we use it: Often used for high-touchpoint surfaces (doorknobs, light switches) that require frequent cleaning on a daily basis. 
  • What it does: This multi-surface cleaner/disinfectant kills most bacteria and viruses, including COVID-19 


  • What it is: An excellent multi-surface disinfectant that’s safe for the environment. 
  • How/when we use it: Used for daily cleaning and disinfection needs such as  also be used on touchpoints and hard-surface sanitizing/disinfecting, except glass because it can leave a residue. It’s also used when we are responding to a confirmed COVID-19 case that requires deep disinfection. 
  • What it does: Kills bacteria and viruses (including COVID-19), and is a non-food contact sanitizer. 

Q&A: How to adjust your office cleaning program in the age of COVID-19

With cleaning, disinfecting and safety the top concerns of many employees as they return to the office, you’re probably asking the same question quite a bit these days: How do I adjust my office cleaning program to deliver a consistently clean and comfortable facility for my team, clients and customers?

We sat down with Mike Staver, KleenMark’s director of operations, to discuss what you should consider when developing a new or revised office cleaning program. Staver has extensive experience building holistic cleaning and disinfecting programs for every type of facility, from hospitals and clean rooms to manufacturers and schools.

What should I do to prepare my office for reopening?

Regardless of if a limited crew has been in the facility, or if it’s been completely vacant, we recommend a total cleaning and disinfection. When employees return, each person will have a varying level of anxiety or concern tied to being around others in a work environment.

A clean office is foundational. It’s important they know that you’re taking the proper steps to keep them as safe as possible.

If no one has been in the building, it’s likely no COVID-19 exists, but a deep disinfecting will kill other germs and bacteria, too, creating a healthier environment. Along with your essential vacuuming and cleaning, consider having carpets cleaned with an antimicrobial solution and have your cleaning team use electrostatic sprayers to do a full-building/large-area disinfection.

When should I add deep disinfecting to my office cleaning program?

Once people return to the office, frequent cleaning and disinfecting is critical. How often you do a deep disinfection is dependent on a number of things. What is your industry? Have you had a confirmed COVID-19 case? Do you have sick employees? Are people working in close quarters?

Intervals may range from daily and weekly to quarterly. The purpose of a deep disinfection is to provide more thorough and broader surface coverage. From keyboards to desks, you’ll want to hit every surface during this process.

How do I reduce the presence of germs and COVID-19 in between the more thorough cleanings?

We recommend increasing or adding high-touchpoint sanitizing and disinfecting during the day or hours of operation. In this case, things like door handles, light switches and other frequently touched surfaces are disinfected multiple times each day.

We also recommend switching general cleaning products to disinfecting products. Consider adding what surfaces are regularly disinfected. For instance, you may want to have spaces such as conference rooms and break rooms disinfected more often. Any space people congregate is important to disinfect, especially as we learn that close proximity to another person is a primary cause of COVID-19 infections.

Do I need an additional day porters?

This is dependent on your facilities specific needs. Often, an additional day porter can help ensure touchpoints and other key areas such as restrooms and common areas, are disinfected regularly. Again, it depends on the current responsibilities of your existing day porter.

One thing to consider is that having day porters also provides peace of mind to your employees and customers. Knowing and seeing that their facility is constantly being cleaned and disinfected is reassuring.

Also, with the increase in awareness and focus on hygiene, people are washing their hands more often (40-60% more than prior to the pandemic, studies show). This means soap dispensers will run out faster, and more towels will be used. Each has to be replaced and trash will have to be emptied more often. All are worthwhile reasons to consider a day porter or additional day porter(s).

What should I cut or deprioritize from my existing office cleaning program if I need to control cost and resources?

We work with each individual client and facility to make sure they have the plan in place that fits their needs – and their budget.

A lot of times, we will recommend staggering services, especially those that are more aesthetic. For instance, we may switch from vacuuming five days a week to three. Or, we may extend periods between window cleaning.

Centralized trashing versus workstation trashing is another good option to consider, if it works for your facility. This will offset some additional disinfecting needs, but will also save money on small can liners and help lower your carbon footprint. Even as we work to address disinfecting needs due to COVID-19, we can still be mindful of maintaining sustainability efforts where it makes sense.

The options for designing a quality cleaning and disinfecting program are limitless. The important thing is to make sure you talk to your office cleaning company about your needs early, so they can address any questions and specific needs.

KleenMark Day of Service Spring 2016 at Easter Seals Camp Wawbeek

Using spring cleaning to create lifetime memories at Easter Seals Camp Wawbeek

KleenMark Day of Service Spring 2016 at Easter Seals Camp Wawbeek
On Mother’s Day weekend, 7 people from the KleenMark team traveled up to Wisconsin Dells and they weren’t there to visit a waterpark. Instead, our team was on a mission to do some spring cleaning at Easter Seals Camp Wawbeek.
If you’re not familiar with Easter Seals, they’re an organization dedicated to helping people with disabilities overcome obstacles to independence and to reach their personal goals. Every day their programs help children, adults, and their caregivers with everything from in-home therapy to job-services.
Here in Wisconsin, one of their major programs is Camp Wawbeek. For many people with disabilities having a great camp experience is difficult due to a lack of accessibility features or staff.

Fortunately for the hundreds of special needs campers that go there every year, Easter Seals Camp Wawbeek is specifically designed to provide a safe, accessible, and authentic camp experience for kids and adults.
However, running a camp like that doesn’t come easy which is why Easter Seals relies on lots of external support to be able to offer the experience their campers deserve.

KleenMark gives our corporate staff a paid day off each quarter to volunteer for a cause of their choosing.

So, we’re happy that the KleenMark team was able to provide some much needed cleaning assistance to get the camp ready for 2016.
Working as a well-oiled machine, we brought some professional equipment along to make their floors shine and their buildings look amazing. We were also proud to be able to provide Easter Seals with a ton of cleaning supplies that they had requested.

KleenMark helping out at Camp Wawbeek

Thanks to everyone from KleenMark that was able to donate their time!
How can you help Easter Seals?
Whether you have expertise, time, or money Easter Seals of Wisconsin could use your help! To see all of the ways you can make a difference in someone’s life, we’d highly encourage you to visit the Easter Seals of Wisconsin support page.

How to Hire Cleaners the KleenMark Way

5 steps that help KleenMark hire more amazing cleaners

If you’re a manager you know that even with the best processes, the maximum quality of your team’s work depends on the make-up and ability of your employees.
That’s a fact we take to heart at KleenMark. From our CFO to our newest cleaners, we depend on having a talented team that’s capable of consistently doing great work in a fast-paced environment.
For us, the wrong hires = bad business.
Refer your friends and get $75!
So we know that before our cleaners ever put on a backpack vacuum identifying a great person is the best way to make sure you smile every time you see a blue KleenMark polo shirt in your building.
Which is why after 60 years and thousands of hires, we’re (extremely) proud to have developed a modern hiring process that consistently that blends technology with people to identify applicants we’ll be proud to have on our team.
And today…we’re going to give you a sneak peak into the 5 steps in that process we use to hire more amazing cleaners every single day.

KleenMark’s 5-Step Process for Hiring Cleaners

How to Hire Cleaners the KleenMark Way

1. Recruiting Team.

We’ve built a dedicated, bilingual recruiting team that is relentlessly focused on one thing…finding and hiring great cleaners. With multiple decades of experience in this industry we combine our deep recruiting knowledge with the latest technology to constantly build a database of prospective talent that can support our growth as we need it.

2. Online / In-Person Assessments and Interviews.

Our number one goal is to place cleaners in your building you can trust to act as an extension of you and your company. That’s why every potential hire is put through a thorough screening process that includes a behavioral assessment, phone, and in-person interviews before an offer of employment is extended.

3. Verification.

We’re committed to doing things the right way and to placing people in your building that you can trust. That’s why we perform thorough background checks – reviewing a seven-year period – through Consolidated Court Automation Program, E-Verify, and more if required.

4. References / Drug Testing.

We think that the past performance can be a good indicator of future behavior so we also verify a minimum of two positive previous employment references for every new hire. All KleenMark employees are subject to a random drug testing policy both before and during their employment.

5. Hiring and Training.

After an offer of employment is made and accepted every one of our cleaners is required to verify they have completed a thorough online training program that outlines our expectations and the ongoing resources available to them as a part of the KleenMark (and your) team.
Download This:
KleenMark's 5-Step Hiring Process

2015 InBusiness Executive Choice Award Winner for Building Maintenance

KleenMark is excited to share that we’ve been named the 2015 InBusiness Executive Choice Award Winner in the Cleaning/Building Maintenance Company category.
For the sixth(!) year in a row, a select group of Greater Madison business executives, gave us this honor.
With no names to choose from on this fill-in-the-blank survey, it is a huge honor that KleenMark was at the forefront of the mind’s of these executives.
As we approach our 60th anniversary next year, we’re so thankful to be consistently trusted to keep Madison’s best commercial, healthcare, and industrial spaces clean.
So, thank you to everyone that voted, our clients, and especially our great staff for all of the hard work to make this happen.

Getting to know Trina Keller, KleenMark VP of Finance

Getting to Know: Trina Keller, VP of Finance

“Getting to Know” is a series that tells the story of the talented people who make up the KleenMark team. Today we’re getting to know Trina Keller who is the Vice President of Finance for KleenMark. She combines her experience working with everyone from start-ups to one of the best CPA firms in the world to help make our finance department innovative, fun, and empowering.
Getting to know Trina Keller, KleenMark VP of Finance
Can you tell us a little bit about your career path before coming to KleenMark?
I was most recently a Senior Manager at Grant Thornton, a large, international independent audit, tax and advisory firm, up until 2009 when I left to work on my own and stay at home part-time.
A few months ago I had an opportunity to assist KleenMark in a temporary capacity with no intention of staying here on a full-time basis. However, as I got to know the organization better, it became clear that KleenMark was an organization that I could see myself contributing to long-term.
I have been fortunate to have a wide range of experiences over my 25 year career with roughly half of that time working in public accounting and the other half with private industry or self employed.  I have worked on both coasts and in companies ranging in size from early stage venture backed companies to Fortune 100 companies.

“…family owned businesses are one of the best fits for me – I enjoy and respect the boot-strap approach that must happen for those companies to be successful…”

Being in public accounting allowed me access to literally hundreds of companies.  That, combined with my naturally inquisitive nature and my private company experience, have taught me that family owned businesses are one of the best fits for me – I enjoy and respect the boot-strap approach that must happen for those companies to be successful, and I enjoy working with owners to build wealth for their families and their employees.
Do you have any accomplishments from your previous position that you’re especially proud of?
I have a variety of accomplishments I’m proud of in my career. A few that stick out to me are re-engineering an accounting and finance department for a $20MM company; being promoted to partner at a local CPA firm in Northern California; leading a work-out situation for a hotel management company, including successful exits for 8 out of 9 distressed hotels.
What are your biggest strengths? How do you hope to make an impact at KleenMark?
Some of my biggest strengths include strategic and entrepreneurial thinking, leadership, communication, and strong analytical skills.I also love new things and challenges, both of which I see in abundance here at KleenMark. Those qualities mean that I am excellent at getting things started, which is why I’m excited about the role of helping KleenMark with growth through acquisition as well as organic.
Plus, my depth of skill and experience in accounting and infrastructure will allow me to quickly navigate incorporating new systems as needed to accommodate growth and execute leadership’s vision.

Above: Tim Waldsmith, KleenMark COO, has a little fun during Trina’s photo shoot

Can you share a little bit with us about how you plan to approach running the finance and accounting department?
I would say my management style is hands-off. I believe in working very closely with my team to set mutually agreed upon goals and then I get out of the way and let them perform.
However, once they have been empowered, I am pretty strict on holding individuals accountable for achieving the goals they have agreed on. Ultimately I believe in treating people with respect and integrity, and expect the same in return.

“I believe in working very closely with my team to set mutually agreed upon goals and then I get out of the way and let them perform.”

Finally onto some fun facts. Where did you go to college, what is your degree?
I graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder with a BS in Accounting and the New College of California, with a MA in Environmental Entrepreneurship.
Can you talk a little bit about your life outside of work?
I’m married with 2 step children; Nicholas (23) and Ally (25); and a dog named Jezzie who is a 13 year old Australian Shepherd mix .
Do you have any hobbies or other fun facts about yourself to share?
In my free time some of my favorite hobbies are golfing, cake decorating, rubber stamping, gardening and travel.
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Scott Stevenson at KleenMark Ops Meeting

Spring Operations Meeting Recap

Madison, WI – This past quarter at KleenMark has been one of the biggest growth periods in our company’s history. With several large new accounts starting up all over Wisconsin and the Midwest, this year’s Spring Ops Meeting was all about managing growth without losing sight of what really matter’s to our customers.

Meeting Highlights

Scott Stevenson, President and CEO, opened the meeting with a great retelling of the history of KleenMark while Tim Waldsmith, COO, took the opportunity to thank everyone for all of their hard work. Other highlights included a review of our past quarter, notes on employee and customer advocacy, and an update on our internal game, KleenMark Battleship, that is designed to keep everyone focused on our key company KPI’s while giving us a fun game to rally around.
Later in the meeting we were also treated to a visit from KleenMark Founder and Chairman of the Board, Jack Stevenson, who shared his wisdom from over 50 years in the industry and some great anecdotes from our history.
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Operations Town Hall

Finally, one of the best parts of the meeting was without a doubt the Operations Town Hall. Our goal at KleenMark is to make sure that our entire team is invested in our process and we know that can’t happen unless people feel like they understand why and how key decisions are made. So for the Town Hall everyone in the room was given the opportunity to ask our executive team ANY question they wanted to about our business…
…AND the leaders had to give an answer.
Fortunately we had several extremely intelligent questions from our operations team that lead to some great dialogue. Thanks to the candor of everyone in the room and the great results, we are excited to continue these events in the future.
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Scott’s Customer Appreciation BBQ 2014: The Recap


Thank You Attendees!

Every year KleenMark gathers nearly 100 of our closest customers, partners and friends to enjoy great food, BBQ and fellowship. This year was no different as we had a great crowd, good (but HOT!) weather and a brand new parking lot!

Most importantly, thanks to everyone’s generosity we were able to raise nearly $1000 for Easter Seals!

So once again, thank you to everyone that attended!

Thank You Volunteers!

On behalf of everyone at KleenMark, we’d also like to extend a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone that helped to set-up, tear-down, man raffle booths and otherwise take care of our guests! We also want to thank A&J Specialty Services for once again providing the excellent food.

See you next year!

Camp Wawbeek – KleenMark Day of Service

WISCONSIN DELLS, Wis. – This past weekend a number of KleenMark employees gathered at Camp Wawbeek for our 2nd Kleenmark Day of Service for 2014.

Located in the beautiful area around Wisconsin Dells, Camp Wawbeek is run by Easter Seals Wisconsin and provides a safe and accessible camp experience for children and adults with special needs.

In addition donating the cleaning items for camp staff to use throughout the year, every spring KleenMark employees have joined with other volunteers to help clean up the property in preparation for the summer.

KleenMark Day of Service at Easter Seals Camp Wawbeek

Above: Chad and Laura have different ideas about what a “stick” looks like.

This year we showed up armed with more cleaning supplies and equipment to tackle the interior spaces that had gone untouched since last summer.

When it came time to divide and conquer, only outdoor projects were scheduled since the weather was so beautiful. All of the KleenMark volunteers worked outside to help clear brush, pick up trash on hiking trails, stack firewood, rake leaves, cleanout flower beds and power-wash a concrete patio stretching the entire length of the main cabin.

Once we finished with our projects, we explored the camp a little and were treated to a lunch of hot dogs and hamburgers.  The traditional camp “bug juice” was a nice compliment to the lunch and much needed to quench our thirst.

We also had the opportunity at lunch to hear about other groups and individuals that had taken the time to come out and help with the clean-up. Incredibly, there were people from as far away as Texas and New Jersey who had come out to help after their children were positively impacted by the programs at Camp Wawbeek.

It was great to hear stories of how our work could help provide a safe and meaningful experience for campers.

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