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Healthy & Happy Employees Need a Clean Work-Space

Employee morale sagging? They may love their job, but on those bad days, a bright and clean work-space can help lift their moods and keep them productive. Working in a clean, healthy environment can have a major impact on how people feel. (I know I love coming home after my housekeeper has visited. That clean smell that hits my nose when I walk in the door perks me right up.) In a dingy or cluttered work-space, frustrations can mount more quickly and bad days and problems seem to only get worse.

While your employees may be more concerned about pay raises, benefits and vacation time, one of the top issues affecting their overall performance is the state of the office environment. In fact, as study done by Harvard and Syracuse Universities ( https://phys.org/news/2017-05-air-quality-productivity.html )  shows that if you improve air quality at work, you’ll improve productivity too. It’s one of those things you don’t think about until it becomes a problem.

It goes beyond your employee’s moods, and can save your business money.

Going too long without a good cleaning can put the health of your employees at risk. A clean work-space improves air quality and reduces the spread of germs and bacteria. That cuts down on sick days and absenteeism. When your workers are healthy, they’ll have more energy and feel more creative, resulting in improved performance and a boost in business. Who doesn’t want that!?!?

A clean work-space benefits your customer service as well. A well-maintained and clean work-space will make your customers feel confident entering your business and working with you. A bright, clean, airy space is like putting out a welcome mat for your clientele and it demonstrates your professionalism and attention to detail.

The bottom line is that you want people, customers and employees, to feel good about your work. If you don’t have the internal resources to clean and maintain your work environment as well as you’d like, a commercial cleaning company such as Townsend & Styer Maintenance can help you put together a regular and affordable cleaning and maintenance schedule. Townsend & Styer Maintenance provides cleaning services for commercial, industrial and institutional work-spaces. Give us a call 510-597-7900 today for a free estimate.

 

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The low down on keeping your restrooms clean

Periodic Detail Restroom Cleaning

Your plan for maintaining clean restrooms should include periodic cleaning tasks that either take a little more time than daily cleaning or require the restroom to be closed for safety. These detail restroom cleaning tasks include but may not be limited to floor scrubbing, dispenser maintenance and high dusting. Detailed fixture cleaning is another essential task and steam cleaners are ideal for this task.

The reason it is a good idea to include these tasks in your overall restroom cleanliness plan is that they serve as preventive maintenance. By scheduling this periodic restroom ‘deep cleaning’ you reduce the chances of having to perform restorative cleaning, which requires more time and effort.

 When to Perform Periodic Detail Restroom Cleaning

Because many of the tasks involved with periodic deep cleaning of restrooms take more time than typical regular cleaning, it is a good idea to schedule this work when the restroom is at a low traffic time or when it is possible to close down the restroom all together. Wet floors and equipment can also be potentially dangerous for restroom users. Plus having the restroom closed allows the cleaning staff to work uninterrupted.

 What Should Be Included?

Periodic detail restroom cleaning should include anything that cannot be done during regular daily cleaning. There are always those tasks that simply are not possible to accomplish or do not need to be done every day. A perfect example is floor scrubbing with a compact auto-scrubber. Every type of floor requires some type of scrubbing from time to time. It is not usually practical to scrub a restroom throughout the day and for most facilities floor scrubbing on a daily basis would be overkill. But weekly or bi-weekly makes sense.

Every facility is different and has different traffic patterns. The times and the tasks that are needed will very. The important thing is that periodic detail restroom cleaning is included in your overall restroom cleanliness plan.

When it comes to deep cleaning restrooms, there are several tools that can make the process easier. Before mechanical scrubbers and high pressure cleaning systems, we were pretty much relegated to using a hand brush to deep clean floors and baseboards.

While the elbow grease methods still works, the use of restroom cleaning equipment makes the deep cleaning process much faster, safer and produces much better results.

Restroom Floor Scrubbing

Rotary floor scrubbers are very versatile when it comes to cleaning floors. In a restroom setting, they are able to quickly deep scrub tile and grout, loosening built up soils to be easily removed. For this application, it is most effective to use a brush rather than a pad. The longer bristles are better able to get down in the uneven surface of the floor. When partnered with the correct cleaning chemicals, a rotary scrubber can make a big difference.

Square floor scrubbers are also a good option. These machines have an oscillating head rather than a rotating head. Providing more of a vibrating motion, square floor scrubbers make it easier to control when scrubbing in tight areas like restroom stalls. Also, because they are square, corners are much easier to get into. Turf pads are an excellent choice for grouted areas when using a square machine.

Edger scrubbers can be a big help as well. They look similar to a line trimmer, but have a small brush on the base. This makes it possible to get behind toilets and into other tight areas that a rotary or square scrubber cannot.

 Restroom Cleaning Equipment for Floors and Beyond

Another type of restroom cleaning equipment are touch free systems. These employ high pressured water, that blast away dirt and soils. Using a controlled stream of water, you are able to deliver cleaning chemicals directly to the areas you need to clean, both to the floor and to the fixtures in the restroom. Areas like stall walls, toilets, urinals and sinks can be quickly and easily cleaned without the user having to touch them. These systems use detailed procedures to do both deep cleaning as well as daily maintenance.

Steam cleaners are another method of deep cleaning. Using steam rather than water, difficult soils can be removed without chemicals. Although this is a slower method, it can produce great results on hard to clean areas.

Using mechanical equipment to deep clean restrooms provides a cleaner facility, extended maintenance cycles and happier, safer employees.

Every trade has its tools and restroom cleaning is no different. Having the proper tools will always make tasks easier, faster and provide better results. So when it comes to above the floor restroom cleaning, such as dusting, wiping and scrubbing, it just makes sense to have the correct cleaning tools for the job.

 Dusting Tools

I have always thought of dust as job security for cleaning. No matter where you clean, there will always be dust settling on surfaces. Restrooms have lots of places that dust can be found. Partition walls, window ledges, counter tops and fixtures are just a few of the examples. Controlling dust during cleaning is the key to overcoming it challenges. The old traditional feather duster is only a quick fix that usually just makes more work for later. The better option is to use a damp microfiber cloth or pad to grab and hold the dust. It is important to not use an overly oily chemical for dusting. The residue left behind by the oil can for a dust trapping film on the surface. This will build up over time and be difficult to remove. The film can also discolor surfaces.

If you are more of a traditionalist, there are microfiber dusters that look similar to feather dusters that work very well. But keep in mind, that they do not catch all of the dust. Much of it will still be stirred up into the air.

The best option for removing and controlling dust is to use a vacuum. Back pack vacuums make it very easy to remove dust from surfaces at all heights. By containing the dust in the vacuum bag, it will not settle back on to surfaces you will need to clean again later.

 Wiping Tools

There is only one type of material that is guaranteed to work for wiping surfaces in a restroom and that is microfiber. Because it grabs and holds dirt and soils so well, microfiber cloths, pads and mops make cleaning much more effective. Microfiber is made of synthetic fibers that can also help to prevent the spread of bacteria.

When setting up your microfiber cleaning processes, it is also a good idea to use a color coding system to reduce cross contamination. Designating specific colors for specific tasks and surfaces help with staff training and provide a safer working environment.

 Scrubbing Tools

Brush technology has come a long way in the last few decades. Synthetic materials provide a cleaner, more effective means of getting those hard to clean areas without the spread of bacteria. Because they use plastic rather than natural materials, soils can be rinsed away easily and bacteria cannot thrive on them.

Scrubbing pads are also a great option along with the newer technology Magic Erasers. These provide optimal scrubbing power without damaging surfaces.

Above the floor restroom cleaning is an important factor in the overall cleanliness of a restroom. Having the best tools for the job will make all of these tasks easier, safer and more effective.

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Summer Allergies – How to alleviate sniffles in the office?

Summer is just around the corner.  April showers gave way to May flowers and they brought with them a wave of summer allergies.  For some, this time of year can be brutally tough.  Here are some ways you can help minimize the effects of the season.

  • Keep air circulating in your area; perhaps use a small personal fan
  • Keep your area well dusted. This is where a good janitorial firm comes in. Using microfiber dust cloths helps to catch dust rather than spreading it around
  • Keep the carpets and upholstery well vacuumed. Again, a good janitorial firm uses triple-filtered HEPA vacuums that trap dust and not leak particulates back into your environment
  • Having the carpets professionally cleaned regularly is a good idea to keep summer allergies at bay
  • Make sure your janitorial firm is cleaning all the building’s air vents monthly
  • Clean the blinds. They are a huge collector of dust and are often overlooked

A few other tips from the EPA on how to help improve air quality in your office:

  • Do not block air vents or grilles
  • Comply with the office and building smoking policy
  • Water and maintain office plants properly. Healthy plants create healthy air
  • Dispose of garbage promptly and properly and keep a lid on it
  • Store food properly
  • Avoid bringing products into the building that could release harmful or bothersome odors or contaminants
  • Notify your building or facility manager immediately if you suspect an indoor air quality problem
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Clean Up Indoor Air with These Four Tips

February is National Care about Your Indoor Air month, which is the perfect time for facility managers and cleaning professionals to take a moment and focus on the importance of improving the indoor air within their facilities. 

Custodial personnel and the type of cleaning processes in place can have a large impact on the quality of indoor air. For example, using vacuums with filtration systems can reduce the dust and debris redistributed into the air from equipment exhaust. Chemicals with low VOCs can minimize what particles linger in the air. And potentially one of the most noticeable factors influencing air quality is odor, so it is important for custodial personnel to deal with odors appropriately.

Here are four tips that will help eliminate problem odors and improve indoor air quality:

Lose the mask
Many products simply mask odors with air fresheners and overusing an ineffective product can make the problem worse. The best way to remove — not mask — odors is to first identify the cause of problem and select cleaning products that can effectively eliminate the odor at its source.

Tackle tough restroom odors
Urine odors present one of the toughest challenges when it comes to maintaining pleasant indoor air and can make an otherwise clean facility seem unappealing and dirty, despite the hard work of cleaning professionals. The effective and lasting solution to eliminating urine odors lies in breaking down uric acid crystals in urine, removing the source of the odor rather than just masking it. Incorporate products that break down the odor-causing urine crystals as a regular part of your cleaning routine.

Don’t forget soft surfaces
Porous damp surfaces, such as grout, host bacteria, which feed on urine and humid conditions or wetting the surface can reactivate the odor. To combat this, look for products that are specially formulated work on hard and soft surfaces such as grout, carpet and mattresses.

Limit the spread of pathogens
Unpleasant odors can signal the presence of harmful microorganisms, such as Shigella, Salmonella, Hepatitis A, E. coli and Norovirus, which are routinely found in restrooms and are associated with outbreaks of illness. Remember to select products that are Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered to kill illness-causing bacteria. Bleach products are especially effective against multi-drug resistant organisms and are compatible with most hard surfaces found in public restrooms.

Prevent cross-contamination in restrooms and elsewhere by focusing on high-touch surfaces and objects such as counter tops, urinals, toilets, door knobs and handles, light switches and faucets.

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Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Go Hand in Hand

When you think about a deep cleaning of your office, what do you consider?  Dusting, strip & waxing of floors, machine scrubbing of restroom floors, shampooing and cleaning carpets?  However, upholstery cleaning may not be top of mind.  Have you ever stopped to consider those other germ-filled upholstery items, like cubicle walls, partition dividers or (gasp) your chair?

In the average office, you have sugars, starches, proteins, skin, perspiration, and germs circulating throughout the entire facility and collecting on furniture.  Cubicle walls often hide dust and stains by design, but are among the most neglected areas in an office building.   They are one of the biggest filtering medias that you have in the building.   Cubicles are commonly covered with a layer of woven polyester fabric that can become a collector of dust and other airborne debris.  They also collect stains associated with workers eating and drinking at their desk, from coffee spills to soup splatters.  Each person sheds about a gram and a half of dead skin cells every day.  However, the real concern lies with dust mites, who allergic droppings threaten indoor air quality.

Upholstery cleaning is a must in any building where indoor air quality is a priority (and it should be).  It’s also important to remove invisible stains or damage from foods, beverages, sweat, skin oils and more.

Talk to your janitorial provider about whether they offer upholstery cleaning in addition to the standard carpet extraction.  Hot water extraction provides a thorough, deeper cleaning.  A damp or dry shampoo can be brushed on, agitating the fibers and allowed to dry before being vacuumed away.

It is recommended to most commercial office customer that the cleaning of cubicles, partitions and upholstered furniture should be performed once every 12 to 24 months.  One rule of thumb to remember: “If you can see the soil, you’ve waited too long to get it clean”