Listen to the podcast; join the follow-up teleconference at www.compression.org. This podcast topic is “What Does Clean Mean?” Learn how to address complex issues, think from alternate viewpoints, originate solutions, and dialog with others.
Teleconference: Can you be too clean? Microbiome research suggests that you can; that you need a strong immune system. A commercial movement called Scientific Cleaning to improve health while reducing waste in cleaning has been under way for years. The heart of it is to clean for health before cosmetic appearance. Suppress epidemics without using harmful chemicals. However, the notion that we must use harsh chemicals to exterminate every germ still prevails. All this prompts questions: exactly what is “clean” anyway? And why?
However, Scientific Cleaning in practice must satisfy institutional cost management, staying within budget, preferably a low one. Health is a budget concern only if a direct dollar payment is associated with it. Scientific Cleaning is “sold” because its standardization of work may reduce cost. Evidence from public schools is that both teachers and students have fewer sick days with Scientific Cleaning, but that does not help administrators coping with budget squeezes.
A second managerial belief is that anybody can clean well. That’s true, but only if they have been educated on why to clean as well as how. Educate yourself in cleaning, and you do not see it in the same way, whether working as a janitor, or cleaning at home. Cleaning is a good topic to which to apply all four Compression Thinking guidelines. How might cleaning help us live better while using much less? Here are a few more questions we can discuss:
- Can we be too clean? (Consider the effects of microbiomes, immune systems, and allergic reactions.)
- What does “healthily clean” mean?
- How can we break the belief that more harsh chemicals in high concentrations clean better?
- What are the effects of soaps and other cleaning chemical on sewage plants and the environment?
- Why must we occupy so much space, and therefore clean so much space?
- If we learned to clean much better, what would be the effects on the economy?