Posts tagged #Office Cleaning

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.

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.

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.