Evolution of Janitorial Services and What It Means for Businesses Today

Before 2020, most people rarely thought twice about janitorial services. Emptied wastebaskets, vacuumed floors, and washed windows all happened in the background to make office buildings, schools, and campuses look fresh and inviting. But everything changed when the pandemic struck.

Today, the cleaning industry has taken center stage in our daily lives. In the era of COVID-19, a clean environment is not just about looking tidy and organized. It’s about keeping buildings, businesses, and people safe.

Pre-Pandemic Janitorial Priorities

It’s hard to remember a time before hand sanitizer stations graced every entrance and hallway of our buildings. But less than two years ago, office hygiene didn’t register as a critical function for our health. Most businesses, except healthcare facilities, looked at cleaning as merely an aesthetic procedure.

At typical businesses, janitorial staff focused on surface cleaning, such as vacuuming, mopping floors, dusting blinds, and emptying trash bins. The only spaces that saw disinfection products were typically bathrooms and maybe the kitchen counter.

Pre-pandemic, only 25% of facility managers utilized commercial cleaning companies, compared to nearly 90% of hospitals, clinics, and schools. Most businesses relied on internal staff to maintain the property and rarely thought about their janitorial staff’s skills or qualifications.

Typical Janitorial Checklist Pre-COVID

  • Empty trash and recycle bins
  • Mop, sweep, and vacuum floors
  • Remove large trash items
  • Wash windows and walls
  • Replace air filters and dust vents
  • Clean and stock restrooms
  • Occasional deep cleaning, such as vacuuming behind large furniture, dusting blinds, and clearing out refrigerators

Post-Pandemic Janitorial Changes

When COVID-19 came to American shores in 2020, everything changed for the commercial cleaning industry. People started paying attention to cleanliness in a new way, and the distinction between surface cleaning and disinfection became critical.

Businesses no longer had the luxury of occasionally deep cleaning and sanitizing. Previously sporadic services became daily necessities. Janitorial staff who once operated in the shadows now played an essential role as frontline workers, responsible for stopping the spread of the coronavirus and other diseases.

Later, when the CDC issued guidance for businesses to reopen and operate safely, routine cleaning and disinfection became even more crucial to prevent outbreaks.

The New Cleaning Normal

Retailers, hotels, grocery stores, restaurants, and offices have exponentially higher commercial cleaning needs today. In fact, the majority have switched to hospital-grade disinfectants in all guest areas and public spaces. This new reality has made businesses rethink their commercial cleaning partners, seeking out cleaning companies that have the knowledge and training on how to mitigate pathogenic threats.

Today, businesses are willing to invest more in enhanced janitorial cleaning and disinfection services, however they also expect greater transparency and communication from their cleaning companies. Organizations want to know the products used are EPA-approved to fight diseases. They also want to work with well-trained, certified, and reliable staff and access tracking software that provides visibility.

The New Commercial Cleaning Checklist

Typical commercial cleaning services in the post-pandemic era for businesses, schools, and healthcare organizations now include:

  • Disinfecting high-touch surfaces, including tables, doors, light switches, phones, and other electronics
  • Cleaning and disinfecting high-traffic areas, including bathrooms, kitchens, and lobbies
  • Cleaning and disinfecting outdoor surfaces, such as grab bars, railings, and play structures
  • Enhanced cleaning of hard-to-reach spaces
  • Daily carpet care
  • Dusting and window washing
  • Floor stripping, waxing, and polishing
  • CDC compliant chemicals and PPE

COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere for the foreseeable future, so businesses must learn to navigate outbreak risks safely and create plans to limit pathogenic spread. Routinely cleaning and disinfecting high-touch point areas is South Florida businesses’ best line of defense against Covid, the flu, and other viral threats. Working with a highly skilled commercial janitorial company is critical to ensure that proper protocols are in place. Most cleaning happens behind the scenes, so businesses need to work with a trusted company that understands the chemistry of cleaning products and how to use them properly.


At Total Cleaning, we invest time and resources to train our staff and meet the stringent requirements to receive OSHA, GBAC, and ISSA CMI certifications. This allows us to better understand the latest health protocols and protect the South Florida clients we serve. We are also proactive communicators that keep businesses informed about what’s happening at their building while rapidly mitigating any concerns.

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