Start-Up Tips

Start-Up TipsStartUp

When we talk about doing a start-up in janitorial, we’re talking about the initial deep cleaning that needs done before the regular maintenance schedule begins.  It’s really the only practical way to start a new account because it’s impossible to clean efficiently or cost effectively when buildup has not been removed.    When the deep cleaning is completed, it sets the bar for how clean the place should always look in the future.  It makes the client very happy, and it gets the regular cleaning person off to a good start.


Most of the time there is a charge for the start-up that is agreed upon in the contract, but that fee rarely covers the true cost of labor.  Depending on the amount of deep cleaning needed, start-ups can take anywhere from a few hours to many hours just to get a place in shape for regular maintenance.  If there are several people participating in the start-up and it is well organized, it can go smoothly.   In the Start-Up Sheet above most of the basic tasks are listed.  It isn’t always possible to clean everything at a start-up because of time or personnel limitations, but a list is helpful to ensure that everything gets done at some point in the following weeks.

A Few Tips029

Initial Dusting

The rule of thumb in a start-up is to begin with high dusting to get at the dust and cobwebs and work your way down, finishing with the floors and final wiping.  Theoretically, since dust settles, everything should be sucked up with the vacuum and wiped and cleaned at the end.


Deep cleaning of the bathrooms is a task that requires a great deal of elbow grease and descaling work and can sometimes take an hour for a small one toilet bathroom to several hours for multiple toilets and sinks.  It’s usually most efficient if one person is assigned to a bathroom or a kitchen so that the details are not missed.  Initially, most bathrooms require an arsenal of powerful cleaning products to tackle the buildup effectively, especially when the bathrooms have been neglected and the porcelain toilets and sinks are caked with black stains and rings.   Once the bathroom has been deep cleaned you should be able to transition to greener products if desired.Toilet Cleaning Supplies


Kitchens frequently need a lot of descaling as well and can require a great deal of degreasing because of the food environment.  An effective degreasing product is essential for removing grease and grime anywhere.  My favorite is the Super Clean in the photo.  We usually dilute it 4:1.  It is indispensable in shop offices, and on desks and other objects that are frequently touched.  Diluted Super Clean is very effective on door frames, light switches and walls.  Simple Green works well too, but it is more expensive and for some it has an unpleasant smell.


After the dusting is finished then comes the wiping, but not until the dust has settled.   Since the advent of the micro fiber cloth, wiping has become so much easier.   Whether you spray and wipe, or use a bucket with cleaning solution in it, the micro fiber is the most affective cloth material to use, and it washes out easily under the faucet and in the laundry later.  Phones should always be disinfected with a disposable paper towel so as to not cross contaminate.

Follow Up Cleaning

The basic cleaning should be finished at a start-up, but in the weeks following details that were missed can be addressed during the regular cleanings.  All cleaning products, tools and equipment needed should be at the janitor’s disposal in a designated area or closet.  Ideally, a fully stocked cart, mop and mop bucket, dust mop, vacuum, refill products and other tools should always be on site to enable the janitor to do the best cleaning possible.   And don’t forget a handbook with the specs, other essential information and the MSDS sheets.

SDS (Formerly MSDS)

Many businesses are not aware that SDS (Safety Data Sheets) are always supposed to be available to the cleaning personnel in the area where the cleaning products are stored.  If the SDS are missing, a business can be fined by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). SDS provide information on the chemicals being used, but most importantly they provided first aid instructions in case a chemical is ingested, inhaled or comes in contact with the eyes or skin.

This article only covers a few basic tips for a start-up.  Hopefully the Start-Up Sheet can be helpful to newbies who are interested in knowing how other cleaning companies organize their start-ups.    Good luck!

Staff writer, Jan Nash


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Nash Janitorial Company

89074 Bridge Street

Springfield, OR 97478

Phone: (541) 747-6947

Fax: (541) 726-7925