When it comes to brooms, the cleaning business would be lost without them. Around this spooky time of year though, brooms take on a magical meaning. Besides being a historical cleaning tool, folklore believed brooms had magical cleansing properties, possessing the ability to “sweep” out negative energy and bad luck.
Furthermore, It is speculated that the use of brooms date back to cave-dwelling times in a crude and primitive form. These were cobbled from a stick and twigs or straw and didn’t last very long. As of 1797, the quality of brooms improved drastically when Farmer Levi Dickenson of Hadley, MA crafted one for his wife with a variety of sorghum tassels. When the neighbors heard of the craftsmanship, word spread like wildfire, leading Levi to start manufacturing his handmade brooms .
We know that brooms are important, whether they are magical or not. But are you using the right broom on your floors? Let’s look at the right broom for the job. Tile floors have a glossy finish, keeping them resilient and looking nice. For this reason, it is best to use brooms with bristles made of flexible materials like rubber. Check out this broom made by EvriHolder.
Likewise, a soft bristle broom is recommended on hardwood floors to avoid scratching the finish. Horse hair bristles are fine and soft, helping your floors maintain a sparkling luster. This ergonomic Bissell broom will help you get the job done.
On marble floors, microfiber brooms and dust mops are designed to handle the brittle texture. Sweeping should be done on a fairly regular basis, as procrastinating will make the dust much more difficult to clean later. Here’s a nice one to splurge on from MicroFiber Wholesale.
For concrete floors, a more rigid bristle helps to sweep away large debris. Still, an outer layer of soft bristles are necessary to pick up fine dust particles, and a more lightweight handle mitigates sweeping fatigue. This one, called the “bulldozer”, lives up to its name.
For those on a budget, this all purpose broom from casabella will help you pick up any debris with its densely packed bristles. Pair it with this OXO dustpan to leave not a speck of dirt on the floor.
If you’re the type who respects a sturdy broom for both your sweeping and flying needs, make sure you know the floor you will be using it on. Happy Halloween!
When Labor Day comes to mind, many think of it as the end of summer: marked by back-to-school sales and the last day of open swimming pools. Its tribute to workers as the backbone of the economy and society comes as more of an afterthought.
There is some debate over who started the holiday (Some believe it to be Peter McGuire, General Secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters, while others think that Matthew McGuire, a Machinist was responsible), But we do know it gained government recognition in 1885, and was passed into national law on June 28th, 1894 by President Grover Cleveland. It is a holiday rooted in the grassroots movement of labor unions. So how have cleaners influenced Labor Laws? The most potent and notable movement started 30 years ago: Justice for Janitors. Labor Day 2019 was kicked off by unionized janitors in the nation’s capital negotiating contracts on behalf of the highly immigrant-employed industry. These very same janitors also initiated The “Fight for $15” rally cry in D.C., a movement that has gained momentum nationwide. Without the original Justice for Janitors assembly in 1990, these movements would have a significantly smaller platform.
It began as a peaceful strike for the right to organize in Century City, Los Angeles by immigrant janitors, but ended in a barrage of violence against the protesters: resulting in dozens of hospitalizations and 60 supporters of the movement being unlawfully detained. This act of violence against the vulnerable community only stood to strengthen the movement as they regrouped at a nearby park later that day, receiving press coverage of the violence they faced daily. Over the course of the weeks following the incident, public outrage incited its spread. L.A. Janitors won their union and inspired peaceful protests across the country, starting with the nation’s capital. Janitors in Miami used fasting to communicate their message: in wheelchairs from their famished state, they shouted in Spanish “Union or Death”. In Houston, 5,000 Janitors won their first time union contract in a “right-to-work” state, even though the participators of the non-violent demonstrations had their bail set to $20 million dollars for peaceful civil disobedience. By using multiple pacifist strategies, the janitorial labor force was able to succeed in obtaining fair treatment by targeting the real estate industry elites.
Kansas City Public School janitors have followed suit by voting to unionize in 2016. Union workers have addressed the problem of a decline in cleanliness due to under staffing, a problem solved by the formation of the KCPS janitors union. The custodians are now better able to care for the schools as members of the union SEIU Local 1. “My coworkers and I came together on the job so we could have a voice in keeping KCPS as clean and healthy as possible,” said Velma Chapman, a custodian at Lincoln College Preparatory Academy.
Labor Day is a holiday to celebrate all workers, but in a post Covid-19 world, front line workers deserve and extra special shout-out. According to NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard, “The best way we, in the occupational safety and health community, can honor workers today and throughout the year, is to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for every man and woman—young and old alike.” Let’s remember this on Labor Day, and every other day for that matter.
Other special days for cleaners: National Healthcare Environmental Services Week: September 13th-19th 2020 National Custodian Day: October 2nd, 2020
--Elizabeth Carter, Office Manager at Country Club Janitorial