Posts tagged #Cleaning Services

How to Clean Carpet on Stairs

If you live in a multi-story home and your stairs are carpeted, or you have a staircase with carpet runner, then you will know that it doesn’t take long before the carpet starts to look tired and dirty.

Here is a quick checklist of the main steps involved in the best way to clean carpet on stairs.

How To Clean Carpeted Stairs

Stiff Brush - This will loosen any hardened debris and dirt on the stairs.

Vacuum - Use a powerful cordless vacuum to suck up the dirt from the carpet.

Shampoo - Give each stair a good scrub with carpet shampoo until clean.

Dry - Use a carpet cleaner, or absorbent towels to remove any excess water.

Vacuum - When the stairs are completely dry, vacuum again.

Step 1: Remove Dirt And Debris With A Stiff Brush

The first step to cleaning carpeted stairs is to remove any stubborn dirt and debris that is deep in the carpet and won’t come off with regular vacuuming. A good way to achieve this is by using a brush with stiff bristles. If you don’t have a stiff brush, then you could use a special attachment for your vacuum cleaner that helps to remove ground in dirt.

Always start at the top of the staircase and work your way down. Once you have worked on a step and loosened any dirt, use the brush to sweep the dirt down the stairs. This will make it easier to keep all the debris together and avoid trampling it back into the carpet.

Click here to watch a video on how to clean stairs with a carpet rake.

Step 2: Use A Powerful Vacuum Cleaner To Remove The Loosened Dirt From The Stairs

Once all the dirt in the carpet has been loosened, it’s time for the vacuum. The best vacuum for carpeted stairs is a cordless battery powered vacuum or a lightweight vacuum with a long power cord. The last thing you want to be doing is trying to balance at the top of a staircase with a heavy vacuum cleaner trying to pull you down. The best way to vacuum stairs is to start at the top and work your way down each step. This ensures that you don’t walk over and trample dirt into the carpet that has already been cleaned.

Step 3: Shampoo Each Stair

The next step is to give the stairs a really good clean with a cleaning agent such as carpet shampoo. The best way to shampoo carpet on stairs is by hand with a scrubbing brush, but this is also the most time consuming and labor intensive method.

Alternatively, you can use a carpet cleaning machine, but these are usually large appliances and are not really suitable for cleaning individual stairs unless they have specific attachments.

Step 4: Dry The Stairs

After shampooing your stairs they will have a lot of excess water on them unless you used a carpet cleaner that sucks up the water as it cleans. You need to remove as much as this excess water as possible because it will take days to dry naturally. In this time mold and other bacteria can grow in your carpet so it is in your best interests to get as much moisture removed as you can. The best way to dry carpet is with a carpet cleaner or a wet/dry vacuum. The alternative is to use absorbent towels or cloths to soak up the moisture. This can be very time consuming and I recommend using a machine.

Step 5: Final Vacuum

Once you have removed as much excess water as you can from the carpeted stairs, leave them to dry naturally over a period of time, preferably overnight.

When the stairs are completely dry, give them a final vacuum to freshen the carpet and remove and debris from the cleaning process. You should now have a very clean looking staircase!

Green Cleaning Survey Results

The CBT Green Cleaning survey results are in. Some generally accepted principles are validated, but the sample size is too small for a reliable statistical basis.

We believe the participants self-selected; the tendency to respond being stronger for those cleaning businesses cleaning green than not. 60% of participants regularly clean green, as opposed to 27% who clean green by request and 13% that do not offer green cleaning. Accepting the caveats of the small sample size and the high percentage of green cleaning businesses responding, the following results were collected. Most support previous survey results.

Green cleaning has a neutral to positive effect on satisfaction.

Microfiber is a major component of a green cleaning system, both mops and cleaning cloths.

Most companies use HEPA-equipped vacuums to maximize indoor air quality.

Two thirds of respondents purchase from distributors yet essential oils, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda dominate the ingredient lists of green cleaning businesses responding.

Few companies reported using water-only systems.

Customers seem focused on the safety of their families while employees seemed focused on the safety of all people before the environment. It’s important to note this is as reported by the cleaning business owner rather than the parties in question.

The survey is still open, you may click here to take the survey.

And, follow this link to view the results in real-time.

The Problem with Indoor Air Quality

When we think about the amount of contaminants inside a home it is little wonder that asthma and allergies are on the rise. There is regular, tracked-in dirt. But there are also microscopic contaminants that make their way indoors on the bottom of our shoes as residues and particulates too small to see with the naked eye. Over the past few decades more contaminants have been introduced in the form of synthetic chemicals found not only in household products like cleaning solutions, paint and adhesive removers but also in home furnishings themselves. Mattresses, wood composite furniture, certain carpet and flooring materials, textiles and even some forms of lighting emit pollutants that linger over time. And then, there’s microorganisms like mold and bacteria.

Not only do soil and other contaminants degrade the value of your home if not addressed, they cause health risks to the inhabitants. All people have some health risk when exposed to VOC’s, pollen, dust, dust mites, pet dander, bacteria and mold. World Health Organization director general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, says air pollution is “the new tobacco.” However these pollutants “may be contributing to larger health issues or harboring contaminants that could cause serious problems for people with respiratory health conditions, autoimmune disorders or some environmental allergies,” according to the National Air Duct Cleaning Association.

What Cleaning Business Owners Can Do

You’re probably aware that our industry is trending from cleaning for appearance to cleaning for health. That objective implies both cleaning to restore the home to a sanitary condition by removing “enough bacteria to reduce the chance that germs will cause disease”[1] and cleaning to protect the indoor environment, including indoor air quality. Which is almost to say, things must be clean and they must be green. Perhaps better put, cleaning for health involves removing a reasonable amount of contaminants (beyond those one can actually see, to include microscopics) while not introducing new contaminants into the mix.

In terms of methodology, this involves cleaning with low VOC solutions that also include no toxins like carcinogens, neurotoxins, or endocrine disruptors. It also involves the use of microfiber cloths and mops to trap and contain particulate soils for thorough removal instead of cotton or paper cloth, which do a poor job of containment and often recirculate contaminants into the air. And finally, an advanced vacuum system with true HEPA filtration to contain and remove 99.97% of particulate matter that is 0.3 micrometers or larger (a thousandth of a millimeter).

Thoroughly dusting and vacuuming from top to bottom should eliminate most unwanted particulates and alleviate problems with airborne allergens but in homes where residents have allergy or asthma problems more in-depth or frequent cleaning should occur, where bedding is washed specially and upholstery and drapes are more regularly vacuumed. Maybe certain rooms or areas are deep cleaned every time. If a tailored cleaning program to address airborne particulates is not solving the issue stronger measures may be required. In extreme circumstances, you may find yourself advising homeowners to replace drapes with blinds and carpets with area rugs.

You may also find yourself coaching clients on other things they can do to help keep indoor air pollution at bay. As humans, it’s easy to agree with the practice that HVAC air filters should get changed every month. Yet many people don’t follow their own advice. With a little pre-planning cleaning business owners can incorporate filter change service in their offering once a month. And charge for it.

You may also advise your clients to have an HVAC duct inspection by a Certified Ventilation Specialist. The NADCA can help you find one in your area that you should meet and keep in your “rolodex” of cleaning-related subject matter experts. That is not to say that duct cleaning is a foregone conclusion. The CDC, EPA and NADCA agree that duct cleaning is warranted in situations where allergies or unexplained health problems exist. Interestingly, duct cleaning is not apparently viewed as a preventive measure by the experts. The EPA actually questions the practice asserting “duct cleaning has never been shown to actually prevent health problems.”

It is generally recommended that homeowners have the HVAC supply and return ducts inspected every two years and the air handling unit every year, in addition to annual cooling coil and drain pan cleaning. If there is unusual build-up of dust and other particulates a duct cleaning may be warranted. But duct cleaning done poorly can spread contaminants from the system into the rest of the home – the exact opposite result from what’s desired. The application of biocides or sealants to prevent home contamination through the ducts should be considered judiciously – they pose their own health risks. If mold is present, growing or dormant, a duct cleaning is probably in order. But if mold is present, an inspector certified in mold remediation should probably have a look to determine the health risks and whether mold is present elsewhere in the home.

The bottom line is that indoor air quality is a real concern of our business when an estimated 40 pounds of dust accumulates each year in the average six room home. Cleaning business owners who are attentive for the signs that deeper or more frequent cleaning or alternative chemistry or equipment is needed – and are equipped to provide these – to help support the health and well-being of their clients will foster more trust and loyalty from them. During the walk-through find out what health issues exist for residents and locate the areas within the home where they spend most time. Assess these for problem situations and possible cleaning customization. Review your equipment and methods to learn if individual or system-wide changes to your cleaning systems is needed. And finally, know which local subject matter experts to turn to when things are out of your scope. Having a strong “rolodex” is a great asset for any services provider.

Can your home be too clean?

NO, it can’t. Why? The definition of “clean” as it relates to your home is “the absence of unwanted matter”. If there is a desirable benefit to dirt or soil, then it is not “unwanted”.

“Unwanted matter” is empty pizza boxes, soda cans and bottles. You get the idea. There is no sound argument for them decorating your home. Sorry. It is also soil (dirt and oils) that can cause excessive wear on carpet and hard surface floors. The grit in the soil can scratch and ruin surfaces. Oil traps soil in carpet.

Then, there are germs. Yes, there are good and bad germs. Bad ones are called pathogens. They are alive. They communicate with each other. They are designed to stay alive by defending themselves against threats, including chemicals. One defense they use is their formation of biofilm. Biofilm is often made up of many types of pathogens. They can include bacteria, viruses, protozoa and fungi.

The major surfaces where you do not want germs are kitchens, bathrooms and high touch areas. Foodborne illness in the home often comes from cross-contamination while preparing a meal. Bathrooms harbor bad germs too. Mold and fungus frequently cause illness and are not easy to kill or remove completely. Most people who get sick from this source do not realize or appreciate how or why they are ill. Other germs are transmitted from people. Avoid sharing towels and cloths. If someone has been in the hospital, it is highly suggested that they have exclusive use of a bathroom for a time when recuperating at home.  

Chemical disinfectants and biocides are regulated solutions that are designed to kill germs. They do not know the difference between good and bad germs. To protect you and your home it is not always necessary to kill germs. Germs can be removed from a surface and disposed of in a sewer or trash container. Germs can be killed without chemicals that can harm you or your home. Some ways this can be done is with heat, light and ozone. Ozone generators are dangerous, highly corrosive and recommended for professional use only and should never be used when people, pets or plants are present.

Chemical solutions are appropriate in some cases to restore the “clean condition” to a home. There may be a need to remove chemical residues after killing germs or pests. Bombing a roach infested home is one example of this. No, roaches are never “wanted”! They excrete an endotoxin that can cause illness in humans.

Some chemicals are frequently confused as cleaning solutions. Bleach is one example. Bleach does not clean. It oxidizes or corrodes. It kills and is regulated as a biocide.  Which kills everything, this is not good, a too sterile environment leads to multiple allergies, and a weakened immune system and homemade solutions can be very risky. Tests using vinegar and lemons have shown these recipes do kill many germs, but not enough. There are other factors to consider when using chemicals such as “dwell time” or sit time. To do their job, chemicals must be in contact with germs. They must be kept wet and allowed to react with the germs. This can take up to 10 minutes. A great way to remember this is when you eat out and watch your table being cleaned just before you sit down. Have you ever seen anyone let the chemical solution sit for even 3 minutes? Keep your tableware on your plate or napkin!

There is a place and time to be in dirt. Dirt and rich soil of the earth has many healthful benefits. Studies show working and playing in the dirt allows you to touch and breathe positive beneficial organisms. They help protect you from negative pathogens and build your immune system. Working and playing in the dirt with bare hands or feet has been shown to benefit the electrical activity in humans.  Helping the body to be more balanced, and transition into a more relaxed state.  With all these positive effects, this does not mean it is a good idea to bring a bucket of dirt in the house and let the kids dump it on the floor.

YES. Dirt is good for you. Just not in the house!

5 ITEMS TO KNOW FOR YOUR CLEAN HOME

  1. Understand the definition of “clean” for your home. This means realizing that there are germs inside your home that are a dangerous threat to you and your loved ones. A single person who travels and never cooks at home has different needs than a family of four with a cat and a dog.

  2. Based on your needs, establish a cleaning routine. Emphasis should be placed on kitchens, bathrooms and high touch surfaces like doorknobs. Some surfaces may require cleaning daily.

  3. Do not share personal items like towels, razors or brushes.

  4. Use cleaning solutions and disinfectants (biocides) responsibly. Many dangerous germs can be removed from a surface into the sewer. When using any disinfectant always follow the label directions. Follow the dwell or sit time instructions.

  5. Spend time in the dirt. Outside. Plant something. Take a walk barefoot. Let your kids play outside in the dirt. Have some limits. Muddy shoes on the sectional sofa is not a good idea.

Spring Clean Tips For Your Facility

You can find a myriad of reasons an office manager or restaurant owner should undertake some “spring cleaning” of all spaces and places within their place of business.  There are health reasons, such as the prevention of virus’ spreading, as well as marketing reasons — for instance, you want customers to remember your establishment in a good way.  Or, you may just want your place to look better so you can boost employee morale.

Here are five tips you can use to get your workplace up to a higher standard of cleanliness:

  1. Pull out tables and furniture to get all dust buildups and dirt accumulations. In both offices and restaurants, you will be surprised how quickly the dust and dirt gathers. Often, when an employee, untrained in true cleaning practices, performs their daily mopping task they will mostly be just moving dirty water into corners and baselines.  When this muck dries the substance that remains can be a dark-gray or black scum that hardens like cement. A deep cleaning will rid the space of this eye-sore.

  2. Give hard floors a “deep cleaning.”  Floors see a lot of traffic in any business and dirt, debris, bacteria, allergens, and pollutants accumulate quickly over time. If your business is in the food or drink industry, additional food or drink spills can worsen the state of your flooring. If you don’t maintain it, you are putting your business at risk for a number of issues.

  3. Sift through and throw out unwanted boxes, equipment that doesn’t work anymore, and any unnecessary items that causes clutter to a storage space.  You want to remove unsightly items that can be seen by customers. Especially in restaurants, this kind of activity is necessary and needs to occur regularly.

  4. Don’t ignore your carpets. Moisture from rain, mud, debris, and dirt assault carpets and usually get ground in deeper after people wipe their feet upon entrance.  For restaurants, all mats or removable rugs should be taken out and brush through them after applying a pressure hose. Then, let them take in sunlight as they dry, and this will not only clean the fabric, but freshen the carpet.

  5. Restrooms in both restaurants and offices need a deep cleaning – at least three times a year.  You should also use disinfectants that will eliminate odors to ensure your bathrooms are smelling fresh.  Have someone thoroughly scrub the urinals, toilets, floor areas surrounding these receptacles, and even the walls.  The key word for this is disinfectant.  There are many products on the market that can get the job done but one of the best solutions (and a more natural, chemical-free approach), however, is white vinegar.

If your business does not have the time to spare to handle a deep spring cleaning of your office or restaurant, you can always count on the Empty Mirror Cleaners. We provide numerous commercial cleaning services from one time deep cleans to routine maintenance of your whole business. We not only ensure your place of business looks clean but that it is actually clean.

Cleaning a Medical Facility With Tips From The CDC

Medical facilities require extra care and handling when it comes to their professional cleaning services. In addition to the need to meet OSHA standards and HIPPA requirements, medical facilities must ensure that the commercial cleaning company they hire can also meet the standards and regulations recommended by the CDC to ensure that the facility maintains a low risk of spreading or exposing patients and healthcare workers to bacteria and disease.

Five of the top strategies recommended by the CDC are:

  1. Proper maintenance of all medical equipment.

  2. Appropriate use of cleaners and disinfectants.

  3. Immediate action against any water -intrusion into the facility.

  4. Strict adherence to water-quality standards for Hemodialysis (Kidney Dialysis).

  5. Strict adherence to ventilation standards for “Special Care Environments” (e.g. operating rooms, isolation rooms, etc.)

The goal of these CDC recommendations helps medical facilities to ensure that they take the proper measure to reduce the risk or prevent the spread of infections associated with water, air, or other environmental elements. These standards are recommended for all medical facilities that may provide any type of health care, including: hospitals, walk-in clinics, urgent care clinics, outpatient surgical centers, skilled nursing facilities, and physicians’ offices.

Other guidelines set forth by the CDC for proper facility maintenance include:

  • Using proven cleaning and disinfecting products and strategies, especially in respect to antibiotic resistant microorganisms.

  • Properly handling, transporting, storing, and destroying medical waste.

  • Thoroughly clean and disinfect carpeting and cloth furniture in addition to hard surface cleaning.

  • Paying special attention to detail in facilities that care for immunocompromised patients.

  • Special care of ventilation and water systems in order to ensure Infection control.

  • Proper handling and cleaning of blood or bodily fluid spills.

  • Infection controlled laundry and bedding services.

Empty Mirror Cleaners takes pride in our management of medical facilities. We strive to always fulfill the recommendations provided by the CDC in order to reduce the exposure of patients and health care workers to environmental and airborne pathogens.

We have experience maintaining the following types of medical facilities:

  • Hospitals

  • Outpatient Surgical Centers

  • Urgent Care and Walk-In Clinics

  • Physicians’ Offices

  • Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities

  • Dental Offices and Vision Centers

A Clean Workplace Is A Productive Workplace

Most citizens of the U.S. spend more of their awake time at work than they do participating in any other activity of life. Because the need to be productive at our jobs is so profound, especially now, our work stations or offices should be well organized and neat.  Efficiency is the overall goal, it needs to be one of our highest priorities.

When desks and other surfaces become cluttered, it usually creates stress within the people who work in that area.  Stress leads to several health issues, in many cases.  Some of the negative outcomes are stomach issues among the staff or the use of drugs to relieve the symptoms of allergies.  Another health issue enabled by a cluttered work area is allergies. Dust or filth accumulates in messy areas and this helps to place allergens in the air.  Asthma attacks can result from these conditions as well.  Dry eyes, scratchy throats and other reactions are all more likely in environments where a cleanup is needed.

Employees who work in unkempt areas struggle to remain productive.  When you can’t find the necessary ‘tools’ to do your job, such as a functioning stapler for example, the wasted time adds up at the end of the day, limiting productivity.  Often, supervisors will walk by a cluttered desk and wonder how useful the person is that sits at that location.  Studies have shown that a tidy workspace helps a person keep his mind organized.  And a productive-minded employee should do everything within reason to maintain a neat, organized work space.  All employees should be encouraged to clean their entire areas, including shelves and desk surfaces, on a regular basis.

Of course, when germs accompany the dust and dirt is allowed to sit on surfaces around the office, health issues usually result.  People will begin to miss work when the flu resides in unkempt areas, when germs are ignored and left to reside on door knobs and latches.  Using good disinfectants and the proper chemicals becomes essential, if a company wants to limit all those absences from sickness.

Boosting morale around the office can be another goal of maintaining a clean environment.  When employees feel good about the sanitation procedures used in all areas they must work in, including the cafeterias and breakrooms, they tend to perform better.  All organizations with goals to raise productivity and gain competitive advantage should work to encourage clean habits among their staff. 

Why You Should Consider Commercial Hard Floor Cleaning

Although your company may have chosen to go with hard surface flooring to avoid special maintenance, it is still important to properly care for your hard surface flooring. Tile, vinyl, concrete, and even hardwood floors are less likely to retain dirt, debris, pollen, and other allergens that are trafficked into your office than carpet does – but that doesn’t mean they don’t ever need a deep cleaning. Over time, select hard flooring can lose its shine or finish, can become scratched, or the grout between your tiles can be noticeable (and not in a good way).

Routine sweeping and mopping can help keep up with some of the daily impact of traffic and what is trafficked in, but to maximize the look and lifespan of your flooring you’ll need the aid of a professional commercial floor cleaning company. Our cleaning crews can handle not only the daily upkeep of your floors, but we can also perform routine or one-time deep cleaning and care for your hard-floored surfaces. We have an advantage over your in-house cleaning crew when it comes to deep floor cleanings – we have the knowledge, experience, and the tools to properly and quickly get the job done. Our commercial cleaning company can handle any sized office space, medical facility, warehouse, retailer, restaurant, or financial institution to perform the following deep floor cleaning tasks:

  • Stripping, sealing, and refinishing tile floors

  • Scrubbing and buffing ceramic tiles

  • Scrubbing and recoating tile floors

  • Deep grout cleanings

  • Concrete floor cleaning and sealing

  • Concrete floor repainting

In addition to helping extend the life of your flooring, these services can reset your business’s image. Your old, aging tile will look new and inviting once more. A clean environment can have beneficial side effects on the psychology of your customers. If you’re willing to put that much effort into maintaining your floors, then your customers will only imagine the effort you will put into serving their needs.

As an added bonus, well maintained floors are less likely to cause a slip and fall injury. You can further prevent this issue by employing our business day porter services to make sure your floors, and the rest of your business, is spot free.