What is the Speed Cleaning System? Why did you choose to review this specific program?
If you aren’t in the cleaning industry, you may not be in-the-know about this company. Speed Cleaning is a cleaning system/book/website/line of products pioneered by Jeff Campbell in the 1980’s.
Speed Cleaning has endured the test of time, and been a sort of cleaning training manual for millions of people over the decades. Many people use it for cleaning their own homes, and in recent years Speed Cleaning has expanded to the commercial sector and now offers training manuals for cleaning businesses as well.
One of the coolest aspects of Speed Cleaning is the history behind the company:
Some time around 2010 (we’re not sure of the exact date), Speed Cleaning was purchased by Debbie Sardone, a cleaning industry magnate and owner of Cleaning For a Reason, a charity with which we are partnered.
Debbie Sardone was a long-time fan of Jeff Campbell and his system, and eventual became his mentee. The fact that she worked her way up, and eventually purchased the company she had idolized for so long, is awesome.
It also means that even though the company has been around for about 3 decades, it is still in the hands of someone who legitimately cares about it on a personal level.
Currently, there is both the Speed Cleaning website listed at the beginning of this post, as well as TheCleanTeam.com for their cleaning product line.
You can also learn more about Debbie Sardone and her inspiring journey here, at her website.
This review will be focused on the original Speed Cleaning book, not the more current Speed Cleaning Employee Training Manual now offered on the site.
As such, the methods we’re reviewing are somewhat limited for commercial purposes. We will most likely be reviewing the PRO version of this system in the future.
How to Speed Clean
The Speed Cleaning book is both a step-by-step instruction manual, and a collection of general cleaning principles and guidelines to help maximize your efficiency while cleaning.
It contains a guide for single-housekeeper work, and a guide for crews of 2 or more maids. The system works either way. At it’s core, Speed Cleaning will teach you how to start cleaning if you don’t already have an organized system.
For example, some of the main tenants of SC is to work only from top-to-bottom, and go around the room one time without backtracking or “redoing” anything.
The book contains a very easy 1-2-3 checklist of things to do while you’re cleaning. It keeps things simple, and concise. If you want to take some of the guesswork out of cleaning and start getting organized, this book will walk you through it step-by-step.
Under the Speed Cleaning umbrella is a product line well-suited to the cleaning style.
In particular, SC’s proprietary blend of “blue juice” and “red juice” are available on their site, as low-strength and medium-strength cleaners.
For more difficult cleanings, you can also purchase scrapers and razor-holders, as well as tougher bleach-based and ammonia-based cleaning products.
They are fairly inexpensive, considering you can buy the concentrate and mix them yourself, and the pricing is even better if you purchase in bulk as a business off The Clean Team website.
Per the principles of Speed cleaning: you start with light cleaning products, and slowly ramp your way up to the bleaches and the scrapers of the cleaning world, as necessary.
This is a basic description of the SC method, and the book breaks all this down into tiny steps.
Now to the meat of the review:
How we tested Speed Cleaning
First, we bought a small arsenal of supplies from The Clean Team website:
Then, we cleaned the same home twice, 4 weeks apart, using the exact speed cleaning supplies and bringing the book with us as a manual.
Our goal was to determine how effective the system is, and incorporate its most useful features into our business practices.
Overall, we couldn’t be more excited about our experience. This experiment has shown us just how much we can improve our cleaning methods, and we will be incorporating HUGE parts of Speed Cleaning into our future employee training programs.
As to be expected, the first cleaning was a little shaky, and took longer than usual. This makes perfect sense, as we were constantly checking the book and reading during the clean. This first clean was essentially just to familiarize ourself with the process.
The second cleaning is where the Speed Cleaning method really started to shine. While our first cleaning took longer, in round 2 we actually shaved about 10 minutes off the normal housekeeping time for this particular home!
In terms of cleaning quality, it was almost exactly the same as with our normal products and methods, just more efficient!
We already had a good work ethic and cleaning service, so it wasn’t going to be easy to beat our normal quality. But, shaving a whole 10 minutes off our regular time after only 2 attempts is pretty incredible.
We expect that we will get significantly more efficient as we continue to practice.
There are hangups with SC that will disappear with experience (it feels weird slinging a rag over your shoulder as per the books instructions, and it fell off a lot). These are all minor complaints, and part of adjusting to any new cleaning strategy.
The products themselves are aweseome. Both red juice and blue juice are excellent, safe, eco-friendly cleaners that we will be using from now on.
Pros and cons of Speed Cleaning
The pros are numerous:
- Cheap, effective cleaning products from The Clean Team site
- Lightening fast cleaning process that builds with experience
- Extremely simple and easy to teach
- Organized and consistent
- Reduces workload on the body, less stress on joints
- Easily applicable to multi-cleaner teams
- Did we mention it’s fast?
There is a heavy focus on saving time, as this is a book primarily geared to help you clean your own home, rather than help you develop a commercial cleaning service. As such, some of the principles don’t necessarily translate well.
For example, SC’s principle of “if it doesn’t look dirty, don’t clean it” is excellent for home maintenance, but may concern customers if they are carefully watching.
While it’s true that this is a perfectly good way to do things, sometimes you need to cater to customers even if it doesn’t make perfect sense.
- Better suited for self-cleaning than professional cleaning
- Can’t address every scenario, provides a general overview of cleaning problems
- Some products listed in the book are hard-to-find or have different names now
With a few minor exceptions like this, the SC system is an invaluable series of ideas and methods that are sure to make you a more efficient, and more effective housekeeper. Once again, we want to remind the reader that we are not reviewing the Speed Cleaning Employee Training Manual, which is more directly applicable to commercial cleaning services.
However, the principles in the book are still directly applicable to any cleaning service.
Speed Cleaning is an excellent way to organize and systemize your cleaning. Even if you don’t want to follow it to the letter, absolutely everyone who cleans can gain quite a bit of insight from this book. Take what you like, leave what you don’t like! It’s certainly worth the money it costs, no question.
Speed Cleaning is definitely worth your time and money. We highly recommend it.
While you’re here, check out Debbie Sardone’s charity, Cleaning for a Reason:
We donate free cleanings to cancer patients every month through this organization. If you or someone you care about has cancer, please check out this page to sign up for a free cleaning through CFAR.