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Why cleaning and pest control go hand-in-hand

With more people returning to the workplace and offices opening up again for visitors and customers, maintaining good workplace sanitation has become essential for businesses. Proper hygiene practice involves not only cleaning but also pest control - the two go hand-in-hand. A cleaner environment attracts fewer pests. Likewise, having fewer pests results in a cleaner environment because pests spread dirt and bacteria around.

Although the Covid-19 pandemic seems to be subsiding, vulnerable people are still very much at risk. Maintaining proper hygiene practices is important for the well-being of employees and visitors to business premises. The reputation of a business can be damaged if clients or suppliers pick up an infection. If the workplace is noticeably dirty, or a guest sees a cockroach running under the table, it's likely that the business will be deemed unhygienic and unprofessional, thus resulting in reputational costs and a loss of revenue.

While it is legally required for the food industry to meet regulatory hygiene standards, all industries need to pay attention to cleaning and pest control. IWESCO offers professional pest control and cleaning services to South African businesses. Our teams take care of workplace hygiene so that companies can focus their attention on their customers and services.

The relationship between cleaning and pest control

Pests thrive best in dirty or untidy environments. All areas of the workplace, including outdoor spaces, need to be well-maintained and clean to ensure that they do not attract pests. Water attracts fish moths and mosquitoes. Piles of dusty papers that haven’t been used for months become comfortable homes for mice. Gutters that are filled with leaves are the perfect nesting spot for a range of critters. Unkempt gardens with long grasses are suitable hiding places for snakes and rodents. Messy kitchens are the ideal breeding ground for cockroaches and flies.

Despite their relatively short lifespans, insects have an active existence, quickly moving around from one place to another. As they land on different surfaces, they spread bacteria and viruses. When cockroaches or flies come into contact with food, they generally bring unwelcome germs, which can result in illness when ingested by an unlucky human.

Businesses should respond quickly to any pest sighting, calling on experts to tackle the problem. Pests are notoriously hard to get rid of once they have been enticed to a place. What’s more, certain pests such as cockroaches are extremely hardy, making it difficult to exterminate them.

Experiments have shown that roaches can withstand much higher levels of radiation than humans, leaving some to speculate that they would even survive a nuclear bomb. While poor cleaning procedures probably won’t result in a nuclear reaction, it certainly does mean that cockroaches will set up shop, breeding new life into the workspace.

Poor pest and hygiene equates to poor productivity

A healthy environment means better working conditions, which in turn leads to improved productivity. It is estimated that healthy workers are about 56% more productive. In South Africa, an SME with 50 employees must accommodate 150 sick days caused by infectious diseases that result from poor hygiene practices. Around 80% of infections occur because people touch contaminated surfaces. With a robust pest population, office spaces experience a vicious cycle of contamination.

Not only do insects carry germs around the workspace, but also dust and other allergens. Research suggests that around 10% of the world’s population are allergic to dust mites. Studies have also found that cockroaches typically carry around dust mites and this poses a serious problem for those with asthmatic conditions. Similarly, mice can transport infectious diseases, such as the Hantavirus and Salmonella. Insect bites can be extremely uncomfortable for some people and fatal for those with allergies.

There is a strong business case for having a healthy workforce and one of the first steps is ensuring the physical environment is well-kept and clean. Despite attracting pests, a messy environment can cause unnecessary distraction. Improving productivity and reducing health risks are two key reasons why cleaning and pest control go hand-in-hand.

Cleaning and pest control

Pests are destructive. Rodents can cause a lot of damage to premises, chewing through cables and upholstery. Insects can get into computer hardware, adding unnecessary expenses to the IT budget. The office can be a playground for pests, especially when the workspace is not properly cleaned and maintained.

While bugs and mice might attract birds, snakes too might be attracted by small rodents in the workplace. It is important to break the cycle before this happens. Keeping the office pest-free requires expert intervention, especially if infestation has already taken place.

IWESCO provides professional cleaning and pest control services that will help stop the spread of infectious diseases in the workplace. While the best approach to pest control is prevention, if any pests are spotted then it is essential that pest control services are called in. Maintaining proper cleaning and pest control results in more productive working conditions and supports a healthy workforce. For more information about our cleaning services or to request a quote, please contact us today.


IWESCO offers specialised cleaning and waste control services to industrial and commercial customers in South Africa. These services are aimed at minimising our customers’ impact on the environment. Our services also include pest control, garden maintenance, fogging and disinfecting. Our staff are highly trained to offer the most professional services. IWESCO is a Level 2 B-BBEE supplier with ISO 14001 certification for environmental management.

We are a one-stop shop for all your contract cleaning and waste control needs and have a national footprint. Our head office is located in Tshwane but we can provide services to any industrial and commercial client in the major metropolitan areas around South Africa, including Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, East London, Mbombela and more.

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