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Handling cleaning chemicals could be tricky at times. A minute mistake or lack of knowledge about  cleaning chemicals or equipment could cause problem for both man and for material. A drop or more of the cleaning chemical when added to water could make the solution more soapy than required or an accidental usage of R6 (toilet cleaner) in place of R2 (floor cleaner) could spoil the entire flooring. Narayan Panchal, a Senior Supervisor with Mumbai based Ambience Hospitality Services narrates two on-job experiences.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a supervisor or a janitor, what counts is the work experience and the knowledge you gain over a period of time. Though I am a senior supervisor with Ambience, often I end up handling specialised cleaning jobs. Once I was assigned the job of mirror cleaning of the entire floors of a bungalow in Juhu. Mirror cleaning is the professional floor cleaning method to obtain a mirror-like finish. One needs to have a thorough knowledge about the cleaning agents and of course experience to take such type of assignment. Naturally, I was the strongest contender who had knowledge about the chemicals and more than four years of experience at Ambience.

“Generally, it takes two-three days to complete this type of cleaning. However, this particular project took me more than five days. Instead of using diluted R2, I poured the cleaning agent directly into the scrubber machine. The result: the marbonite flooring lost its regular sheen and turned white. I was shocked and was clueless… I wanted to narrate the incident to my superiors or to the house-owner but I was afraid of losing my job. Fortunately, the owner and his family were out of the house. I immediately called up one of my friends (who works as a senior supervisor in another housekeeping company) for his advice. After carefully hearing the problem, he suggested using diluted R3 (which is used for cleaning glass windows).

“However, the desired results were not achieved. While still trying to contact my friend, I decided to scrub the floor once again with the scrubber and perform buffing on the floors. I also prepared myself to confess to the owner and to my boss. I was about to call my manager, when the mobile rang… and it was my friend. Meanwhile, on learning that the floors were still same, my friend advised repeating the diluted R2 solution.

“The idea actually worked this time. The floors got back its sheen. It was only after two-three hours of hard toil, I could achieve the results. I learnt that sometimes it is not only your work experience but also the presence of mind that counts.”

There is yet another episode which happened at a residential complex in Thane. “I was on routine inspection round one morning; I was informed by the building security guard about a damage done by my housekeeper in one of the apartments. Apparently, after the cleaning service, the marble floor had turned black.

I rushed to the site and was really surprised to see the black floors. Siddharth, my colleague admitted that by mistake, he used diluted R6 (toilet cleaner) in place of R2. Immediately, I asked for the scrubber machine from our office and stepped into Siddharth’s shoe. It took me the entire day to clean the floors. My hard toil went down the drain, the flooring was still black.

Next day, I reached the site early in the morning with a polishing machine. It took the full day to complete the job. Thankfully, the results were better than before. Later, we checked with our chemical supplier who assured us that the chemicals supplied were safe and do not react unless there are some flaws in the floorings. It was after a thorough survey of the flat that we understood the floorings were indeed of poor quality.

After this incident, we have made training, mandatory for every housekeeping staff in our organization . We also ensure that every project is thoroughly examined before signing the contract.

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