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Category : COMMERCIAL CLEANING TIPS

Cleaning The Green Way

Cleaning products are everywhere in our homes and offices: on dishes, countertops, furniture, clothes, floors, windows, and floating through the air. In our war on dirt and germs we may often actually be making things worse.

Most of the conventional cleaning products we all grew up with are petroleum-based and have dubious health and environmental implications. Instead of opting for cleaning products that annihilate everything in their path, there are plenty of natural products and methods that keep a house clean and fresh-smelling without the toxic side effects.

Top Green Cleaning Tips

Employ green cleaning products

As the health and environmental impacts of conventional cleaning products become more thoroughly understood, more and more brands of healthy, green, and effective cleaning products have started hitting the market and competing for that coveted place of honor under your sink. Many of these products are non-toxic, biodegradable, and made from renewable resources (not petroleum). But if designer labels aren’t for you, home-mixed cleaners can get the job done and then some. Vinegar and baking soda can be used to clean almost anything. Mix in a little warm water with either of these and you’ve got yourself an all-purpose cleaner.

Avoid poor indoor air quality

It is not uncommon for the air inside a home or office to be more toxic than the air outside. This is because of the presence of toxic materials and substances and the fact that homes and buildings are better insulated than ever before (which is a good thing from an energy standpoint). Keeping windows open as often as possible allows fresh air in and keeps toxins flowing out. This is especially important when cleaning your home.

Be careful with antibacterial cleaners

The antibacterial and antimicrobial ‘cleaners’ that many people think are necessary, especially during cold season, don’t clean hands better than soap and water, and also add to the risk of breeding “super germs,” bacteria that survive the chemical onslaught and have resistant offspring. The FDA has found that antibacterial soaps and hand cleansers do not work better than regular soap and water, and should be avoided.

Help your office smell baking soda-licious

Baking soda not only removes those strange smells coming from your fridge, it’s also a great odor-eliminator for your carpet. Just sprinkle on a little baking soda to soak up some of those odors and then vacuum it up.

Clean your indoor air naturally

Skip the store-bought air fresheners and instead try boiling cinnamon, cloves, or any other herbs you have a fondness for. Fresh chocolate chip cookies also have been known to create a friendly aroma. Also, plants may not make your house smell different but are good for filtering interior air–pretty much any broad green leaf plant will do. Peace Lilies are a favorite choice.

Toss toxic cleaners carefully

When replacing your cleaning products, don’t just throw the old ones in the trash. If they’re too toxic for your home, they won’t be good for the drain or the landfill either. Many communities hold toxics & electronics recycling days and will take all of these off your hands. Throwing chemicals in the trash or down the drain means they might end up back in your water supply and come back to haunt you.

Avoid conventional dry cleaners

Conventional dry cleaners are the largest users of the industrial solvent called Perchloroethylene, or perc, which is toxic to humans and also creates smog. The two most common green drycleaning methods are carbon dioxide cleaning and Green Earth. Seek out cleaners that use green methods. If you do take clothes to conventional cleaners, be sure to air them outside before wearing them or putting them in the closet.

Leave the toxins at the door

Imagine what’s on your shoes at the end of the day. Bringing that oil, antifreeze, animal waste, particulate pollution, pollen, and who knows what else into the house is not good news, especially for kids and other critters that spend time on floor level. Keep the sidewalk out of your home with a good doormat or a shoeless house policy. Many green buildings now include entryway track-off systems as a means of maintaining a healthy interior environment. Less dirt also means less sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming, which means less work, water, energy, and fewer chemicals.

Design with clean in mind

Designing houses and other building with cleanability in mind can create spaces that are cleaner, healthier, and require fewer substances to maintain. In larger buildings, good cleanability can also be a big money-saver as cleaning costs can often add up to as much as half of a building’s total energy costs.

Areas Missed By Most Commercial Cleaning Companies

All commercial cleaning companies are the same, right?

Well, not quite. Salesmen try to convince companies that they have the best commercial cleaning company on the market and go to great lengths to make them look like the best candidate.

Ultimately, it comes down to the people cleaning your building.  Do they have an extensive commercial cleaning background?  Are they familiar with what to do and who to contact when emergencies happen?

Most commercial cleaning companies hire employees with little or no background in cleaning and attempt to teach them the tricks of the trade in a couple of weeks.  Hiring employees with little to no experience results in lower wages and more profit for the cleaning company.  However, many areas will never be taught to the employee.  Here are some common areas that most commercial cleaning companies miss when cleaning offices.

1.  Bottom of the urinal

Men’s bathrooms normally have a reputation for smelling bad.  Most commercial cleaning companies will clean the mirrors, countertops, polish chrome accents, wipe down the toilets, and disinfect the front of the urinals.  When the smells persist, they resort to other measures, like urinal cakes or toilet deodorizes.  If you can still smell urine after these items have been installed, chances are that the janitors are not cleaning the flat surface directly under the curve at the base of the toilet?  Why aren’t they being cleaned?  Because the janitors simply can’t see them.  We toured a building recently with this issue and used a razor to scrape off about 1/8″ of dried, caked up urine from the bottom of the urinal.  The smell from the bathroom greatly improved overnight.  Even janitors with years of experience are proned to miss this area, but they should all be aware of it.  And the good ones will clean it and maintain it.

2.  Elevator Tracks

Most large office buildings have elevators and these elevators are generally used heavily.  Contracts typically specify that the elevators are to be cleaned each night, but the tracks typically get skipped.  Although very easy to clean, most janitors will skip cleaning these tracks because they don’t notice the amount of debris in them or they fear the loud buzzing sound the elevator makes when the doors are held open too long.  Cleaning elevator tracks typically involves spraying degreaser directly onto the track, then wiping side to side until the stains are gone.  Most commercial cleaners are either unaware, or unwilling, to clean this very simple area.

3.  Inside Microwaves

Most office buildings have break rooms, which in turn have microwaves.  Many times the outside of the microwave is simply wiped off, but the inside is skipped.  Why?  Many janitors feel that cleaning the interior of the microwave encourages workers not to cover their food, thereby causing more food buildup.  Cleaning the inside of microwaves is very easy, if you know the trick of the trade.  Fill up a coffee mug with water and heat it up for about 2 minutes.  Remove the mug, then use a de-greaser/disinfect to wipe out the microwave.  Heating up the water re-hydrates the food particles left in the microwave, which makes it easy to clean.

4.  Tops of Bathroom Stalls

Bathrooms seem to be the source of most office cleaning complaints.  Even if the bathrooms are being cleaned properly, many janitors forget to dust the tops of the bathroom stalls.  If these areas are not maintained regularly, an accumulation of dust will occur, causing extra dust to circulate throughout the bathroom.  Make sure to check the tops of the stalls in the bathroom for excessive dust.

Ask lots of questions of any company bidding your cleaning services.  Tell them you want to know the background and other offices that the new janitor has cleaned.  Check the references from the actual janitor, as well as the commercial cleaning company, before you decide on the right cleaning company to clean your office.

If you’re interested in visiting with Elite Clean Co about your commercial cleaning needs, give us a call at (913) 713-9579.

How To Cut Down Your Small Business Energy Bill

Small businesses use energy mostly for heating and cooling, lighting, office equipment, and any specialized machinery required for the business. Outlined below are six basic steps which a small business can take to reduce energy consumption and lower energy bills.

1. Track your energy costs.
Take time to review your energy usage and understand how your business consumes energy.

2. Pay attention to how you use energy.
You and your employees can do a lot to save money simply by turning things off when they are not in use. Keep up on routine maintenance. By maintaining and cleaning equipment, you can ensure the safe and efficient operation of your energy consuming systems and appliances.

3. Troubleshoot problem areas.
If you suspect equipment is malfunctioning, running too long, or not operating properly, get it fixed quickly. Install more efficient equipment.

4. Invest in systems or appliances with high energy efficiency ratings.
New equipment and appliances offer opportunities for improved energy efficiency. If there is an added cost for high efficiency equipment, be sure to factor in savings from lower energy operation costs over the life of the appliance. Here are some suggestions that provide a good return on your investment:

  • Install automatic, programmable, set-back thermostats to control both heating and cooling. Most offer flexible options that enable you to change settings for different days of the week, weekends and holidays.
  • Install occupancy sensors in hallways, bathrooms, meeting rooms, kitchens, storage rooms, and other areas where lights can be shut off for blocks of time.
  • Install photocells in outdoor entry, and security lighting to automatically sense outdoor lighting levels which turn on and off automatically.
  • Install light emitting diode (L.E.D.) exit signs in place of incandescent signs. L.E.D. signs last up to 15 times longer, and use much less energy.
  • When changing interior lighting, use energy efficient fluorescent T-8 lamps with electronic ballasts.
  • If you lease equipment, insist on energy efficient models to lower your operating costs. Check out our $mart Business lighting rebate program for small businesses. You may qualify for rebates on some of the above items.

5. Change Energy Usage Behavior
Significant energy savings can be achieved by simply changing how you and your employees use energy. Some of the fastest and easiest ways to save money typically cost little or nothing. If all of these simple suggestions are implemented, you could reduce your energy costs considerably.

  • Turn off lights, computers, and other office equipment when they are not in use. Have a procedure to ensure these items are switched off overnight and on weekends. Consider installing reminder labels.
  • Lower your heater thermostat to the lowest comfortable setting when your business is occupied. Set the temperature back further when the business is unoccupied.
  • In warmer months, raise your air conditioner thermostat to the highest comfortable setting. There should be at least five degrees F between heating and cooling set points.
  • Set back or turn off heating or air conditioning, a little while before the end of your operating hours. (Remember to maintain some heating in winter to prevent pipes from freezing.)
  • Let the sunshine warm your office during colder months by opening drapes or blinds. Close them at night to retain heat.
  • Remember to turn off outside safety and security lighting at the start of each day.
  • Keep doors and windows closed to prevent heat loss during winter or loss of cool air in summer. However, you may wish to keep doors and windows open to provide ventilation, instead of using air conditioning in summer.

6. Routine Maintenance
Maintenance of energy-consuming equipment is critical to ensuring optimum energy efficiency. Many maintenance items do not require specialized training and can be done yourself. Here are some key items to incorporate into your business maintenance routine.

  • Check to be sure all automatic controls are set and operating correctly.
  • Clean all filters in your heating and cooling system monthly.
  • Check and regularly clean filters if you use exhaust fans.
  • Caulk or weatherstrip any drafty doors or windows.
  • Remove unneeded light bulbs or use lower wattage bulbs.
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with screw-in energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs as appropriate.
  • Lower your water heater thermostat. Washington State law requires all new water heaters to be preset at 120 degrees F for safety.
  • Adjust outdoor lighting timer controls to accommodate daylight savings time changes, or install photocells to adjust automatically to changes in the season.
  • T-8 fluorescent tubes (1-inch diameter) last longer than the older T-12 lamps. You do not need to replace them as frequently as T-12’s. When you do replace them, be sure to buy case-lots from lighting supply companies to save money.
  • Regularly clean and maintain food refrigeration equipment where applicable.

Include Windows In Your Office Cleaning Routine

Interior and exterior window care is often overlooked but should be an important part of your office cleaning program. Smudges, streaks, fingerprints, dirt and salt can make a clean office look dirty. Regular window and glass cleaning will not only brighten the appearance of your office and boost your company’s image, but less window grime allows more natural light in.

Thorough top-to-bottom cleaning of your interior windows and glass can really add that extra sparkle to your office. No matter what size or shape windows you have, Elite Clean Co can make them shine! Even those hard to reach windows are no problem.

Because they are exposed to the outdoor elements, exterior windows need extra attention on a regular basis. Don’t think the rain will clean your windows!  Rain water, snow, road salt, water runoff and sprinklers can cause major streaks and spottiness. Hard water can leave mineral deposits and stains on windows that look like a whitish, spotty haze. If left alone, the sun can make these spots very difficult to remove, and over time your windows will develop a deeper cloudiness. Regular cleaning will keep buildup at bay and your windows clear.

Landscaping and trees can also contribute to filthy windows. If your office is on the ground floor, chances are grass, dirt and mud can get splattered on windows after landscapers cut grass or trim bushes near your offices. Higher floors are just as susceptible. Wind and rain can cause dirt and leaves to get stuck on upper windows and sills resulting in a grungy look to your building.

Keeping the Office Kitchen Clean

Working with others in an office environment can be productive and enjoyable, and you can build lasting relationships with the people with whom you work. Sharing a common area such as a break room or kitchen can pose some problems, however, if the area is not kept clean. Many times, germs and sicknesses can spread through the workplace kitchen because of the lack of cleanliness. People are often in a hurry at work and do not stop to take the time to clean up after they’ve eaten lunch or a snack. This is why it is very important that all employees pitch in and work together to ensure that everyone has a safe, clean place to eat and take a break. Often, employees become sick because of germs that have spread from person to person at work.

In most cases, people bring items for lunch into work and leave them in the refrigerator, only to forget about them, and they sit for weeks and even months without being thrown away. If you bring in food and do not eat it within the work week, either throw it out or bring it back home. This not only makes sure the refrigerator does not get overloaded, but it helps prevent the food from rotting and smelling up the refrigerator. If you bring in dry goods like crackers or chips, be sure to store them in cabinets or under the sink and not on countertops. Keeping the kitchen counters clutter-free is not only cleaner, but it is much more polite than crowding them with your personal food items. If you use plates, forks, spoons, or cups from the workplace kitchen, wash all dishes immediately after you use them with soap and hot water and dry them thoroughly. Make sure to put all dishes and cups away to avoid excess clutter.

Many people enjoy warming up a hot lunch in the company’s kitchen microwave. Food can splatter if a lid is not left on while heating it, so make sure the microwave is wiped down and cleaned thoroughly after each use. Leaving behind a dirty microwave for the next user is not only rude but also very unsanitary. Wipe down countertops as well with a clean paper towel or pre-moistened antibacterial wipes if you’ve placed food on them or spilled something on them. Never leave food out on the table if it is not being eaten, and make sure to also throw out discarded fast-food cups and containers. If you spill something on the floor, clean it up immediately and make sure the floor is dry to avoid slipping hazards. Always wash your hands with soap and hot water before and after eating to help avoid spreading germs.

Communicating about keeping the kitchen clean with your coworkers is very important, and it helps to keep everyone accountable. If you see someone who is making a mess or not cleaning up after themselves properly, ask them politely to try and clean up after they are done eating in the company break room or kitchen. If you see the behavior continue, talk to your supervisor about the problem. Signs posted in the break room, in hallways, or on company bulletin boards can be helpful reminders to everyone about the kitchen rules. Once a standard set of rules for cleanliness is put in place, it should help keep things running smoothly and help to ensure that the eating areas are sanitary for all to use. Pitch in if you see others who need help with cleaning, and offer to do things like empty trash cans or clean up coffee makers. By working together, everyone can ensure that the kitchen at work is a safe, clean place to eat. This will also help to minimize people getting sick and makes for a much happier place of employment for all.

Office Cleaning Mistakes

Today’s life is a busy one. Sometimes you have to spend extra hours on your job in the office, often times each day just to meet a deadline or finish an important project. What this goes to show is that practically your office is your second home at times or at least comes to a close second.

While you can do little about the situation but accept it, you can at least do something about the office environment and they way you feel there. Much like your own home, the office requires some maintenance and cleaning service in order to provide good living conditions. A clean office is not just a place free of dust and allergens, it is where you feel productive, inspired and you go there with a smile on your face.

Once you accept that office cleaning will be part of your duties, you should try to learn more about how to be effective about it. It is also very important to avoid some of the common mistakes associated with office cleaning:

  • You don’t hire a cleaning service – let’s be clear on one thing: you are not a professional cleaner. It is absurd to think that you can devote as much effort and be as effective as those who are well trained and equipped to tackle office cleaning. It is by hiring a cleaning company that you can assure the place will receive adequate service and will be provided with clean and sanitized environment.
  • You don’t acquire adequate cleaning gear – it was already mentioned that sometimes the office is your second home. So everything you need there for effective cleaning, such as buckets, sponges, cloths and cleaning solutions, you will need during office cleaning as well. Make sure that such items are stored in your office so that every time you have to perform regular cleaning service or just deal with an accident they can be easily accessed and used.
  • You don’t clean in the right time – generally there is no right time for office cleaning, but there is most certainly a wrong time for this. Usually you never want to start cleaning at the start of the day. Not only will you be tired after it, but also some cleaning activities require time to pass before the room can become accessible again. Some office cleaning after work is fine, but you should also be prepared to make some intermediate breaks to perform cleaning service.
  • You delay cleaning for too long – it is a tiring chore, but someone’s got to do it after all. If you delay it for too long, chances are you will suffer from loss of productivity and effectiveness long before someone tells you your workplace is a mess. Office cleaning is not an activity that you should postpone for too long because nothing good will come out of it.

Office cleaning is what you definitely have to consider for your office. It is the only way to ensure the environment there is well maintained and perfect for working.

Recycling In Your Office Programs

Mankind has escaped the perilous claws of doomsday yet again.  But for how long?  As society continues its search for reasons that the world will end whether it is being the rapture or aliens coming to rule earth.  There is one culprit that must be examined in the midst of this chaos: ourselves.  Global warming remains a constant problem but there is a simple solution to help the cause.  Recycling waste in the office workspace can contribute to a healthier environment.  Cutting down carbon-absorbing trees contributes to global warming and other environmental problems.  A professional office maintenance company can provide the necessary recycling bins for a greener work space.

A simple way to reduce your carbon footprint is by recycling aluminum cans, plastic bottles, and paper that would normally end up in the trash bin.  Recycling can easily be integrated into companies’ normal business operations.  The most important factor to make a recycling program work in the office space is employee co-operation.  In order to encourage recycling, proper office maintenance recycling bins should be conveniently placed next to the trash bin.  Paper recycle bins should also be placed in areas where there is maximum paper waste such as: the printer and copy room.

Recycling waste doesn’t have to be boring.  To make things fun in the office, a professional office maintenance company can supply recycle bins of assorted colors to match the décor of the work space.  You may be currently working late in the office missing the big game but it’s alright because you’ve turned your recycling bins into a mini basketball hoop.  Have some fresh ideas to encourage recycling in the work space and to maintain a greener environment.

Further general steps to setting up an office recycling system for office maintenance are:

  • Label bins with clear information on what items can be disposed of in which recycling containers.  Having visuals on the bins will remind employees to separate trash and recyclables properly.
  • Keep track of the paper, aluminum, and plastics that are being recycled and purchased.  This will help see how far your company has progressed in its recycling efforts.
  • Just like any successful business, there is always room for improvement.  Your companies’ recycling program may need some new ideas and/or periodic overhauling.

Recycling is clear-cut and fairly easy to execute.  It can provide results in lowering cost and in setting an example to employees your company’s devotion to environmental responsible practices.

4 Common Challenges That Arise From Office Cleaning

Customer complaints are inevitable in any business. Most often, the overlooking of the smallest, but important detail is enough to damage or end a business relationship with a customer. This is especially true when referring to the janitorial industry. Attention to detail is a must. The best Kansas City commercial cleaning companies know the importance of always being two steps ahead. Those that excel, tackle problems even before a customer has the chance to notice something was wrong to begin with.

However, because office cleaning is not an exact science, hiccups and complaints are bound to present themselves along the way. On occasion, you as a customer may ask yourself, why did the cleaner miss such an obvious task?

Here is some insight as to what the most common complaints are and how to deal with them.

1. TRASH CANS AND RECYCLING

Who knew such a simple object could become such a headache? More often than some, trash is thrown away in the incorrect container, or in the wrong place altogether. Make sure your cleaning schedule specifically mentions where trash should be thrown away and if recycling need be considered. Also, if applicable, don’t forget to give cleaners access to dumpsters or trash sites to avoid excuses.

2. SPIDER WEBS AND DUST BUNNIES

Often overlooked, the presence of spider webs and dust bunnies is a nuance that can easily be prevented by your commercial cleaning company. If you begin to notice them in corners or behind plants, voice your concern immediately. Even though it need not be specified in your cleaning agreement, spider webs and dust bunnies should not pop up and, unfortunately in most cases, are the result of poor sweeping and dusting.

3. DUST ON COMPUTER

Dust on computers and surfaces is another of the most frequent customer complaints. An unknown fact hover is that many cleaners will not dust a desk unless it is cleared off by the customer, as any moved objects may cause a complaint. Advise employees to clear their desks before they leave if they wish to have their surfaces thoroughly dusted.

4. MOVED OBJECTS

Objects being moved and not being placed back in its proper position is by far the most common cause for concern amongst customers when it comes to office cleaning. Instruct your janitorial company that under no circumstance should a cleaner move an object.

 GENERAL RECOMMENDATIONS

Your office cleaning schedule is your most powerful weapon, it clearly outlines your needs and the company’s responsibilities. Remember, what may seem basic to you, as with moved objects, may need be clearly stated in your cleaning schedule. If there are specific tasks you require, make sure it is included.

Most important of all communication is key, never hold back on a concern. All complaints, whether they simple or urgent, must always be handled immediately and efficiently by your janitorial company. If you notice a lack of communication, or are constantly finding yourself having to remind cleaners that trash was dumped in the incorrect bin, it may be time to move on and find yourself a new janitorial company.

How Office Odors Affect Your Bottom Line

Office odors are unpleasant, but did you realize they can have a negative affect on your company’s profits? The Sense of Smell Institute conducts research to help business owners and facilities managers better understand the powerful effects that the human sense of smell has on consumer purchasing decisions. If customers are confronted at the front door with a blast of malodor, they may forever remember your business as “that place that smelled like leftover fish,” choosing instead to patronize one of your less odiferous competitors.

Interesting Facts about the Human Sense of Smell

The sense of smell, more than any other of the senses, is directly linked to the memory and emotion centers of the brain. Smells affect people on a profound, often subconscious level. Think about how much the automotive industry relies on “new car” scent. Real estate professionals know that vanilla and cinnamon are effective for persuading home buyers to choose the homes they are selling. The powerful influence that smell exerts on purchasing decisions has created an entire industry based around “scent marketing.”

The Office Odors You May Not Notice

Prolonged exposure to a certain smell, especially an unpleasant one, causes the human smell receptors to shut down, making you unable to smell the odor. This is bad news for the business owner, because your clients have not had the opportunity to become immune to the smell. In the office setting, the most commonly reported odors are moldy or musty smells, strongly scented chemicals (including cleaning products), stale or spoiled foods and human body odor. Although you may have become immune to the accountant’s garlicky leftovers, your customers aren’t so fortunate. While the clerk with poor hygiene practices may be a sore spot for your HR department, you may not realize that your customers take issue as well.

Sniffing Out Off-Putting Odors

Believe it or not, you can hire expert odor sniffers — consultants with extremely sensitive abilities — to detect malodorous conditions. If that strikes you as overkill, experts recommend asking trusted friends or family members to drop by later in the day and give your office the “sniff test.” (The human sense of smell becomes more sensitive as the day wears on.) Request their first impressions as they walk through the office. You may disagree with their perceptions, but it’s likely your potential customers detect similar odors. Another excellent resource for rooting out and eradicating unpleasant odors in your facility is your cleaning company. Invite your account manager to drop by and evaluate the office air quality, then recommend strategies for mitigating any bad odors. Consider also adding a professional air freshener system in your office or facility to ensure a consistently pleasant customer experience.

Don’t put your company’s profitability at risk over office odors. Elite Clean Co understands the importance of offering your customers a sanitary and pleasant environment. Contact us today for help in tackling your unpleasant office odors.

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For more information please email or call us today! We will respond quickly and be glad to help with you any questions that you may have. If you are slightly outside our coverage area or have a request for a service that you do not see on our list, call anyway! Will will do our best to accommodate any reasonable request. We pride ourselves in being the best service and bringing you the best value for your money. Where the other cleaning companies fail, we succeed!