Time to read?

25th of November 2011
Time to read?

German correspondent Thomas Schulte-Marxloh explores the links between the cleaning sector, the media and literature.

At the beginning of November Germany celebrated the ‘Tag der Putzfrau’ or, even more ambitiously, the ‘Internationaler Tag der Putzfrau’ (international cleaning woman day) or ‘Welt-putzfrauentag’ (global cleaning woman day). The ‘Day of the Cleaning Woman’ was launched in 2004 by crime story author Gesine Schulz and supported by political parties and the media.

Karo Rutkowski - cleaning woman and private investigator at the same time – the fictional character of Schulz’ stories inspired the author to remind the public of the important work the (usually unknown) cleaning woman (and man, of course) provides to all of us.

However, smart clean 'n' crime hero Karo is not the only choice in terms of literature related to the contract cleaning business. A well-known online book shop shows hundreds of entries when looking for ‘putzen’ (cleaning) and 71 entries for ‘Gebäudereinigung’ (professional/contract cleaning), so we cannot complain about a lack of literature. Considering Christmas is not far away, we should start browsing through the huge range of books in time.

Open minded amateur cleaners will find a number of guidebooks, some of them revealing astonishing truths to the breathless public: ‘Men can clean’. Books like ‘Wellness through cleaning’ create a link between cleaning and work-out. Other authors focus on a number of interesting aspects of ‘cleaning’, like everyday hygiene, meditation, feng shui, compulsive hoarding, or simply give advice to students how to keep their halls of residence tidy. How-ever, there is also hope for
less talented people – 'Cleaning for Dummies'.

Books for professionals and experts might not be as entertaining as a crime story or amateur guidebook but can help to prevent the ‘sudden death’ of a customer relationship, employment or company and can help to ‘kill’ competition. Unfortunately, some of these books for professionals are not up-to-date and seem to have more of a historical value. Others seem to fit perfectly for the start-up or companies lacking professional structure or knowledge.

Apart from basic knowledge, countless books provide real expert knowledge regarding laws and govern-mental regulations, hygiene, chemistry, detergents, materials, machinery, accounting, marketing, customer relations etc.

Talking about customer relations, the BIV (German contract cleaning association) provides a helpful booklet to its members as well. The booklet is a collection of professional information for the potential customer which enables him to compare the various offers of contract cleaning companies; the booklet serves as a guide-line to define the customer’s requirements as precisely as possible. This is helpful for the contract cleaning company and the customer as well and, moreover, excellent advertising material at the same time.

Internet, Twitter, Facebook, Google and other modern electronic, virtual media seem to dominate and to replace classic media fast. They are said to be the new sources of entertainment and information. But sometimes it is simply more convenient to have a printed reference guide or journal at hand, and we are happy that books and papers have not disappeared completely. So hopefully we will not see a clash of media but a peaceful, complementary coexistence instead.  


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