Cleaning has always been a part of home life. But if there’s anything we’ve learned in the last few years of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that knowing how to clean your home essentials and spaces properly is crucial to helping protect the health and safety of ourselves and those we love.
Good Housekeeping‘s Discover Cleaning 2022: The Clean, Healthy & Happy Home summit, in partnership with the American Cleaning Institute (ACI), focused on this increased need while highlighting the latest advancements in the world of clean. Industry experts, including Good Housekeeping‘s very own Carolyn Forté, Executive Director of the Home Appliances & Cleaning Products Lab, gathered for the two-hour virtual event on October 26 to focus on providing helpful, affordable solutions for consumers to clean kitchens and bathrooms, maintain good air quality, eliminate dust and conquer the laundry room.
For those who couldn’t attend, we have all the highlights right here. Stream the entire summit for yourself on our event site or watch the individual panels below.
Good Housekeeping‘s Carolyn Forté and ACI’s Brian Sansoni happily welcomed streamers to the third annual virtual Discover Cleaning summit. Brian introduced the wide variety of experts that would be featured spanning across industries including cleaning, medical, indoor air quality, apparel, appliance and home design.
Laurie Jennings and Melissa Hockstad began the summit by elaborating on the longstanding partnership between Good Housekeeping and ACI, and how cleaning has been a core part of the magazine brand’s 137-year history. Melissa made the note that no matter where you come from or what you do, everyday hygiene and cleaning practices are essential to our public health and our quality of life. She even touched on last year’s theme, Cleaning is Caring, a theme that will continue well beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
Monique Valeris led a lively discussion with Lisa Yakas, Adam Gibson and Heidi Kapust about germ exposure, specifically in the kitchen and bathroom, the hot spots for bacteria that can often be overlooked and home design trends that can make cleaning easier. Lisa discussed studies that show most consumers forget to clean the germiest areas, which are often places that are moist or dark and contain cracks or crevices. Heidi emphasized the importance of consumers understanding what their cleaning products actually do and using the right one for the surface they are cleaning. Adam shared insight on different home trends that actually make cleaning more manageable, like the use of copper, which is a natural antimicrobial. The conversation also highlighted the importance of understanding the difference between cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting, the high-contact areas that need to be cleaned more frequently, how new products are using less packaging to cut down on waste and the one cleaning tool that actually might be breeding more bacteria than killing it.
Carolyn moderated this panel, which tackled all things laundry — detergents, appliances, fabrics, clothing and more. Jennifer tackled the common mistakes many make when washing clothes. She highlighted that some use products incorrectly, like confusing fabric softener for detergent and over-stuffing the machine with clothes. Ken emphasized Heidi’s point from the previous panel about reading labels and touched on how smart machines have helped consumers wash clothes more efficiently by taking out the guesswork. Bethany discussed ways to lower your carbon footprint when doing laundry and the need to understand the fabrics of your clothes. The panel also addressed what consumers specifically look for and prioritize in their machines nowadays, how big brands use the power of social media to educate consumers and common questions about laundry safety.
ACI’s Safety Tips
The American Cleaning Institute shared a video message discussing the evolution of liquid laundry packets and safety tips parents and caregivers need to keep in mind to prevent accidental exposures from happening at home.
Those with sensitive noses were happy to get some answers on dealing with dust and allergens. Led by Jeffrey Phillip, this panel discussed the common problem and consequences of air pollutants within the home. Glory Dolphin Hammes shared that the air quality in most homes is actually five to 100 times worse than outdoor air because of some heating sources. She also revealed how using candles to make the home smell better can contribute to poor air quality and how some cleaning methods create more dust and allergens. Lenny Sciarrino shared the importance of using proper fabrics to dust and clean, like cotton rags instead of a feather duster. Dr. John Ryan went on to talk about the extra issues that come with pet dander. The panel also talked about “damp dusting,” whether you should vacuum before or after you dust and the need to focus on preventing buildup.
Jane Francisco had a one-on-one chat with Jan Heck. The two discussed what it is like being at the forefront of innovation in the cleaning industry. Jan talked about the need for better laundry care and creating sustainable practices and products. The two also chatted about the differences in cleaning patterns and behaviors among places like North America and Europe and how global data allows Miele USA to provide products that check the boxes for consumers across the world.
Carolyn and Brian returned to wrap up the summit. They recapped the panels and elaborated on new information they learned over the course of the event and again emphasized that when it comes to keeping ourselves, loved ones and homes healthy and happy, cleaning is a crucial way to show that we care.
Annie O’Sullivan (she/her) covers holiday, gift guide, travel, and lifestyle content at Good Housekeeping. She has a degree in magazine journalism from Syracuse University and previously reported for Runner’s World, NBC New York/NY 4 and Woman’s Day. Annie also has experience writing entertainment news and celebrity-focused content.