‘When Staff Training Goes Wrong’

While professional cleaning services (such as steam cleaners or carpet cleaners) rarely reach the headlines of newspapers across the world, this week the industry found itself the subject of many articles related to an over-zealous cleaner.

The determined professional was working in a museum in Dortmund, Germany when she came across what appeared to her to be an unsightly stain on a piece of artwork.

The art piece was a work by artist Martin Kippenberger and was valued at £690,000. It was made up of a tower of wooden slats with a plastic bowl painted brown at the bottom to give the impression of discolouration by water.

It was entitled ‘When it Starts Dripping from the Ceilings.’

Unfortunately a member of the cleaning staff mistook the colouring as a stain and scrubbed the bowl until it looked brand new.

“It is now impossible to return it to its original state,” a museum spokeswoman said.

This is an ideal example of what happens when cleaning staff are not adequately trained.

The cleaner claimed she was unaware of museum rules prohibiting cleaning staff getting within 20 centimetres of pieces or art.

The Dortmund incident is not the first time a piece of art has fallen victim to a cleaner. In 2004 a cleaner at the Tate Modern binned part of a work by artist Gustav Metzger.

Mistakes like these highlight the importance of investing in training for staff within the cleaning industry.

Also when contract-hired professional cleaning staff is used, it shows that they should be briefed on each particular venue as certain facilities require special precautions.

Even when using professional steam cleaners or professional carpet cleaners it is essential to make sure they have adequate experience.