Barak Hernandez, owner of Clean Master in Fresno, has been busy since the beginning of March. Photo via Clean Master

published on March 18, 2020 - 1:54 PM
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Demands for sanitization have put another industry on the front lines of combating coronavirus — commercial cleaners.

Barak Hernandez, owner of Clean Master in Fresno, said the calls began at the beginning of March. The children of an 85-year-old man called for an extensive cleaning of what had become an almost neglected home. The job took more than two days to thoroughly steam clean the carpets, couches, walls and baseboards.

“I had no jobs scheduled for this month. Literally, it was the beginning of this month that the phone calls started coming in.”

Barak Hernandez


Since taking that call, coronavirus has turned what was a slow month into a frenzy, pushing his work out for the next two weeks.

“Every customer that has booked for this month has been concerned with the method that we use to clean and the disinfecting properties of the chemicals that we’re using,” Hernandez said.

He assures them that treating bacteria and viruses is nothing new. Cleaning agents he uses leave little moisture for germs to incubate, he said.

One change, though, has been in his own personal protection.

Before the coronavirus, Hernandez didn’t like to wear masks or latex gloves on the job site because clients were often alarmed at the appearance of a cleaner donning full protective gear. But with the coronavirus, he now goes to homes wearing gloves, mask, booties and a hat.

He’s also extended that concern to his two part-time employees. He’s leaving it up to them whether they want to take on work. One employee has a family with young children, and Hernandez has offered him work besides cleaning like handing out flyers or leaving business cards around town.

On the flip side of the coin, his other cleaner is single, and told Hernandez he’s eager to jump on all the extra work.

Taking these kinds of empathetic measures are important for the employer/employee relationship, said Hernandez.

“I don’t want you to feel uncomfortable going to a dirty job and then going home and caring for your kids,” said Hernandez.

Hernandez said on top of sanitation, his services also provide peace-of-mind. People are beginning to make proactive calls to get their houses cleaned to avoid all kinds of infection beyond coronavirus.

“Just having a company go in and vacuum and steam-clean, and it smells great,” said Hernandez. “You empty out the dirty water and show them what you pulled up — that in-and-of itself makes them feel better.”

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