Janitorial Cleaning Audits: How to be objective

As a building owner or property manager, it’s in your best interest to do your own janitorial cleaning audits in your facility. But it can be challenging to be objective about the process because most cleaning audits are subjective. This means that one person may find the dusting satisfactory while another may not. But it is in your best interest to assess whether your janitorial service provider is meeting or exceeding the specifications in the maintenance agreement, and to make sure you and the janitorial management are on the same page with the expected results.

Identify the Goals of the Cleaning Audit

Start by clarifying exactly what needs to be achieved through this audit. Here you’ll find several guidelines and best practices for janitorial cleaning audits.

  • Audits must be treated as motivation for improvement for the janitorial staff instead of a list of everything they’re doing wrong. If all they receive is a list of negatives, it’s sure to de-motivate them and you won’t see the desired improvement.
  • The janitorial company must communicate to their staff why the janitorial cleaning audits are important. The cleaners must also understand the positive results of providing the client with a clean environment.
  • Establish whether there are going to be any rewards, re-training or penalties given once the audit has been carried out. By incentivizing your cleaners, giving immediate re-training, or penalizing for repeated poor performance, they’ll know you are treating it seriously and you act promptly.
  • Decide which areas will be checked on a regular basis, plan a schedule and get it on the calendar.
  • Decide who will be doing the audits and at what frequency. For example:
    • Supervisors – weekly
    • Janitorial Management – monthly
    • Client – quarterly. Also decide if the client do the audit with or without janitorial management. We recommend doing it with janitorial management.
  • Decide where the copies of the audit are going to be located so that managers or auditors have access. It can be useful to use an online program or app so it can be remotely accessed.
  • Consider how you are going to communicate the results to the cleaners. Also think about how you will use the outcomes to provide further training to drive improved performance. Don’t forget that audits are also a great way of assessing hygiene programs and infection control, so put measures in place to monitor these.

The goal of regularly scheduled janitorial cleaning audits is to set the cleaners up for improved long-term results. It also allows the cleaning contractor to identify which cleaners and areas of the facility need improvement. But avoid being too predictable with scheduling audits. For example, if the janitorial management always audits on the last Friday of every month, or the property manager audits on the first Monday of the quarter, it will alert the cleaners to go the extra mile in anticipation of the audit.

Be Objective with Your Janitorial Cleaning Audits

By documenting the criteria for the audits in your facility, you’ll be able to train all auditors so they understand what results need to be achieved. For example, assessing each area of the building with a pass or fail is simply too broad, and leaves it open for interpretation. Instead, give the criteria a clear description. For example, “The entrance should be free of dust, cobwebs, and soil. Door glass should be free of fingerprints. Mats should be vacuumed and free of soil.” Then, your auditor can give a pass or fail based on this detail. When you give a clear description of what is expected, it allows both the auditor and the cleaner to do their jobs better.

When giving feedback to your cleaners, consider subjective and objective conclusions. Subjective feedback would be, “It looks like you didn’t do any vacuuming in the office cubicle area.” Whereas, objective feedback would be, “The vacuuming was good except for one area; several trash cans had trash under and around them, which indicates you didn’t lift them up to vacuum underneath.”

Another consideration in being objective with your cleaning audits is to always do the audits as soon as possible after the cleaning has been done. The longer you wait after the cleaning has been completed, the more subjective the results will be.

Establishing a Rating System for Janitorial Cleaning Audits

There is a tendency for some auditors to over complicate the rating system by using 1 – 5 or 1 – 10 ratings, which end up being too subjective. What is the difference between a 4 rating and a 5 rating?

A simple Pass or Fail, using the criteria mentioned above is one effective way to audit, along with a Notes section.

Another effective way to audit is to list 3 options:

  • Completed and acceptable
  • Completed and not acceptable
  • Incomplete

100% rating isn’t a realistic goal, so you must decide upon what is an acceptable overall rating. In addition, you can score different areas in relation to their risk and/or importance. For example, a restroom will have more importance placed upon it than a conference room that is used infrequently, but the levels of measurement for cleanliness will remain the same.

Scores can also be weighted by task. For example, soil on entry mats will have a higher weight than dust build-up on high ledges.

Measurement Tools for Your Cleaning Audits

There are many tools available to assist you in carrying out the audit:

  • A paper checklist and clipboard, which is quickly becoming outdated, as the information needs to be manually transferred to a digital format.
  • Apps or Software to record the audit
    • CAP™ (CSG Auditing System) – this is the proprietary system created by Cleaning Services Group, used exclusively for their clients.
    • Cleantelligent
    • Orange QC
  • Products to use to rate cleanliness. Using tools like the ones listed here offer specific results, which you must apply scoring to. For example, with ATP meters, some auditors may consider any score of 12 RLU or less is a Pass, and any score greater than 12 RLU is a Fail.
    • ATP meter
    • UV markers/FM markers
    • Glo Germ powder with UV lamp

Carrying out the audit within your facility doesn’t need to be a time-consuming process, particularly if scheduled in advance and with the help of your janitorial service provider.

Here at Cleaning Services Group Inc., we’d be happy to discuss how we meet these needs and stay within your budget by using our audits.

Learn about CSG Auditing Platform (CAP™)


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