Returning to London, The Cleaning Show 2023 surpassed all expectations, with more than 6,700 visitors ascending on the ExCeL, London for three days of unbeatable networking and product sourcing opportunities. The event, which took place from 14-16 March 2023, welcomed over 100 of the industry’s leading cleaning and hygiene suppliers to demonstrate the latest product innovations, many of which echoed the trends currently dominating the industry: sustainability, technology and recruitment.
Driving for change in the Conference Theatre
Throughout the show, industry experts took to the event’s packed conference theatre to emphasise this year’s theme: ‘The Cleaning Sector in 2023 – Driving Change’. The high-level programme explored a range of pertinent topics, from recruitment pressures, post-Brexit training and education, sustainability and climate change to employee wellbeing, technology and more. Attendees also joined the keynote sessions presented by representatives from Dettol® Pro Solutions and highlights from the Cleaning & Support Services Association’s (CSSA) ‘Innovation Showcase’ programme.
Formally opening the show, Nigel Mills MP and Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Cleaning and Hygiene welcomed attendees, stressing the ongoing efforts for recognition as an industry that is critical to the UK economy. He issued a call for delegates to lobby their local MPs to help enact change, acknowledging that there is more work to be done on all fronts.
Jim Melvin, Chairman of the British Cleaning Council (BCC), continued the conversation in his session on ‘The Cleaning Sector Post-Pandemic – Progress, Obstacles and the Future’. He highlighted how cleaning operatives are seen as the first required but last acknowledged, despite their proven value and importance to the general public. He continued, sharing exclusive insights with the audience, which revealed that 61% of consumers stated that cleaning and hygiene operatives made them feel safer in public spaces. He recapped on the BCC’s strategic objectives and ongoing work on the Apprenticeship Levy, reminding attendees that professional cleaning and hygiene operatives are no longer an invisible army, but instead a pre-requisite.
Addressing the problems facing young people looking for employment within the cleaning sector, Kelsey Hargreaves, BICSc youth ambassador led a thought-provoking session on ‘Youth employment: Less talking, more action.” As a plea for greater equality, Kelsey re-enforced the message that the cleaning industry is not a ‘one size fits all’: there is more than one career in cleaning, and the entire sector needs to be more active in its response to understand the needs of young people, utilising experience as a tool of development and not separation.
Speaking after the session, visitor Patricia Martinez Abella, Cleaning Supervisor at Sodexo, said: “I am a young person working in the cleaning industry and I want to find my place. Cleaning has always been considered a job that isn’t highly valued, however, it’s one of the UK’s biggest industry’s where there are lots of development opportunities.”
In another session, Paul Ashton, Chairman of the Cleaning & Support Services Association (CSSA) hosted a CSSA/CHSA Panel discussion focusing on data and technology – one of the industry’s biggest emerging trends, that is equally creating opportunity and anxiety. ‘The Future of Cleaning – The role of data in driving positive change’ welcomed representatives from Infogrid, Softbank and ICE to discuss the practicalities of data collection and the need to embrace technology to optimise time, efficiency and productivity. Attendees were also reassured that any implementation of data-driven cleaning systems would assist cleaning operatives in a dynamic way, rather than perpetuating the fear that technology will eliminate job opportunities.
Another big topic seen across the show was sustainability. Stuart Bainbridge and Dr Lisa Ackerley at Dettol® Pro Solutions – the event’s official hygiene partner – delivered the keynote on ‘Hygiene as the foundation for healthier business – the latest product innovation and research’. Stuart explained that with office occupancy returning to pre-pandemic levels and outbreaks of new illnesses on the rise, brands are increasingly exploring how they can deliver labour efficient yet sustainable business solutions.
Meanwhile, Ayesha Fordham, Membership and Partnerships Manager, and Natalie Curtis, Ambassador from the Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse (EIDA), delivered a personal session on ‘Recognising domestic abuse in the workplace’. Together, they educated attendees on how to build a trusted working environment where people can seek support through the four R’s system: Recognising; Responding; Referring; and Recording. By taking these effective measures, companies can break down the barriers and create an open culture which will allow their staff to recognise how their employers can support victims of domestic abuse.
Time for a greener approach
Across the show floor, exhibitors from all corners of the industry promoted newly launched products which have been developed to adhere to the environmental concerns of their customers. For example, BioVate Hygienics launched one of the world’s first plastic-free paper bottles for commercial cleaning products. With a mission to drive sustainable change in all markets that use cleaning products, its game-changing ‘Zero Compromise’ range – in which Biovate Hygienics has invested more than £100,000 – features a 500ml ultra concentrate of floor and wall degreasers as well as washroom and multi-purpose cleaners.
Celebrating its 40-year anniversary at the show, Cromwell Polythene showcased the latest products in its waste portfolio. Attendees were privy to the rUK Sack® – a refuse sack that has been recovered, recycled and repurposed entirely in the UK.
Elsewhere, hygiene industry disruptor 2Pure Products lured visitors onto their stand with its new OdorBac Tec4 rhubarb scent, which was unveiled at the show. 2Pure’s new closed loop recycling scheme, LoopBoxTM was introduced to help customers achieve their net zero ambitions by reducing single use plastic and slashing C02 emissions. Also promoting its range of sustainable solutions, leading manufacturer of cleaning and maintenance products for flooring and upholstery, Prochem Europe highlighted its Natural range of cleaning solutions, with eco surfactant formulations, packaged in 100% post-consumer recycled containers.
For Arthur Stucka, Carpet Cleaner at Juoda Deme, the show was very helpful: “I’m here as I have a business in Lithuania which focuses on carpet and upholstery cleaning. The show is important to attend, and it is the best way to source information from different companies. At the show you can touch and experiment with different products to make a decision, which simply can’t be achieved online.”
Working together with technology
As the cleaning industry continues to tackle the labour shortage and difficulties in the recruitment and retention of staff, many business owners are exploring how technology and the human workforce can work harmoniously. Across the industry, facilities managers are beginning to understand the benefits automated technologies can offer, saving time, reducing hours and simplifying largescale cleaning jobs.
New for 2023, a programme of demonstrations took place in the dedicated Robot Arena, showcasing the latest robotics and cobotics set to take over the industry. Cenozoic Robots, ICE, Killis, Karcher, Nilfisk and Softbank Robotics each took to the arena to demonstrate what the future of cleaning looks like and how cleaning cobots can be used to facilitate a time-efficient cleaning operation.
Speaking about the role of robotic technology, Stefano Bensi, General Manager EMEA, SoftBank Robotics EMEA, said: “Our main reason for exhibiting at The Cleaning Show is for successful lead generation and to raise awareness of our robotic technology. Learning about new technologies and industry challenges by attending the conference sessions is key to driving change and understanding the wider perspectives from industry experts.”
Demonstrating the expanding robotics market for efficient cleaning services, returning exhibitor Killis impressed attendees with the launch of its latest autonomous cleaning machine from LionsBot. The brand new R3 Vac – which brings a whole new dimension to autonomous vacuuming for cleaning teams – provides a quiet and efficient vacuuming, with a compact size and exceptional battery life.
Meanwhile, cementing its reputation in backpack vacuum cleaning technology, Pacvac returned to demonstrate three brand-new progressive backpack vacuum machines: the Velo, Velo Go and Superpro Go. Visitors had the opportunity to engage with all of Pacvac’s interactive displays and accessories which are designed to elevate the end user’s cleaning experience.
Speaking about this year’s event, Urvin Seeburuth, Head of Marketing at Pacvac, said: “Our key objective for attending the show is to create better relationships in the industry and coming from Australia, brand presence is crucial for us. Customers are at the centre of everything we do – we provide what cleaning professionals actually want. The show is a great place for innovative cleaning solutions and productivity, and this is the place to find that.”
Drawing in the crowds: the Window Cleaning World Cup returns
Adjudicated by the Federation of Window Cleaners (FWC), the annual Window Cleaning World Cup returned to the show floor to crown the fastest window cleaner in the country. Terry ‘Turbo’ Burrows retained his title of the window cleaning champion, scoring a time of 15.07 seconds. He was followed by Patrick Schaumacher from WEPA who came in second place (22.94 seconds), with Paul Geddes from Phoenix Cleaning Company taking the third spot. (25.7 seconds).
Proving it was a family affair, Terry’s daughter, Aliscia Burrows took the top spot in the women’s category, with a time of 17.08 seconds. Dominika Duda from OCS Group followed in second place (37.02 seconds), with Lider’s Grasiela Vincent finishing in third place (44.81 seconds).
Celebrating innovation at the CSSA
Back for 2023, the Cleaning & Support Services Association (CSSA) once again hosted the CSSA Innovation Showcase, which celebrated the cleaning industry’s most innovative products, services and initiatives, particularly solutions meeting social, political and environmental requirements, and existing market challenges.
Commenting on the showcase, David Walker, Business Development Manager at Cleannol Group Ltd., said: “The Cleaning Show is a well-run event with a good turnout. We come here for new business leads and this is what this show always generates for us. The key trends of sustainability and innovation are well represented and provide useful learning opportunities. The CSSA Innovation Showcase is a great feature of the show, and we are happy to have two of our products included as finalists.”
Jim Melvin, Chairman of the British Cleaning Council (BCC), said: “We are delighted with the success of this year’s Cleaning Show! Despite issues with train and tube strikes, the show was very busy with lots of interaction throughout the three days, which is reflected in the strong attendance figures. There was a real feel-good factor throughout the event and a lot of positive sentiments from attendees.
“It was clear that industry colleagues were thrilled to meet face-to-face after the difficulties of the past few years. Throughout the three days, a lot of business discussions took place, which was enhanced by the popular conference programme.
“We at the BCC were extremely pleased with the interest from visitors to the stand in our campaign to lobby MPs to make cleaning and hygiene a national priority. We were able to speak to a huge number of attendees about the project, and we’ll be looking to build on this strong performance when the event returns to Manchester in 2024.”
Commenting on the event, Paul Sweeney, Event Director of The Cleaning Show, said: “This year’s event offered an unmissable opportunity for the cleaning and hygiene industry to connect face to face, network and see and try the latest product innovations. The industry returned once again, with impressive demonstrations of the latest technology and solutions to meet the biggest challenges facing the industry, with ways to embrace sustainability really standing out. The show floor was inundated with visitors seeking new, sustainable solutions for their businesses, and as the organisers of the event we are so proud to be able to facilitate this.”
The Cleaning Show returns in 2024 to Manchester Central from 13-14 March. For more information, visit https://cleaningshow.co.uk/manchester