How to implement Green Cleaning at commercial facilities – Part 2

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Last week we posted Part 1 of this two part series on Green Cleaning at commercial facilities, covering offices and schools. This part will set out some of the challenges faced with introducing a Green Cleaning program at two other common types of sites:

Green Cleaning in Retail

Introducing a Green Cleaning program in a retail space comes with a different set of challenges as, other than the shop staff, facilities or building managers and the landlord,  you are not dealing with the same group of individuals day in day out due to the high footfall of people on the premises. However, this does not detract from the need to effectively communicate the Green Cleaning program at the facility with those occupants who are at the premises every day so that they fully understand the benefits and advantages, as well as the different types of cleaning equipment and procedures that can be used in a retail space to ensure the least disturbance.

Green Cleaning in Healthcare Facilities

Cleaning for healthcare facilities requires a greater amount of attention to detail than any other form of commercial cleaning. Unfortunately, poor cleaning standards at healthcare facilities have led to a rise in MRSA and other harmful, and sometimes deadly, ‘superbugs’. A good cleaning program, however, can dramatically reduce the risk of these bugs spreading.

As hospitals are active throughout the day and night, the Green Cleaning program must be flexible and adaptable to the facility. Cleaning work will normally need to be scheduled to take place during quiet periods but there are often emergency situations which require a greater amount of flexibility. Working with medical staff to draw-up a list of priorities of the most crucial areas that need cleaning at a facility should be a priority for the cleaning company implementing the Green Cleaning program. Prioritising areas according to potential risks allows a cleaning program to target the most important locations. It also increases and improves the amount of cleaning in high-risk areas that require the most attention. This factor in itself is one of the key elemental differences between a Green Cleaning program and using standard cleaning methods, as it enables the efficient allocation of cleaning resources.

The fact that Green Cleaning products are used in healthcare facilities speaks volumes for the effectiveness when compared with standard cleaning products. Not only do they perform as well as standard cleaning products, but Green Cleaning products also have the overriding benefit of not being harmful to the health of patients at healthcare facilities.

There are clear advantages to implementing a Green Cleaning at commercial facilities as it benefits both the occupants, the business and the environment. If you have any questions about introducing a Green Cleaning program at your facility, contact  The Organised Cleaning Company on 020 74584433 and talk to one of our team who will be happy to help!

 

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How to implement Green Cleaning at commercial facilities – Part 1

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Welcome to Part 1 of this two part series on how to implement Green Cleaning at commercial facilities. One of the keys to successfully introducing  Green Cleaning program on site is to ensure that you have an effective & efficient team implementing the program. Your team should include not just the cleaning operatives but also include members from key stakeholder groups on site (i.e. a representation on behalf of the landlord, the facilities manager and the building occupants) as well as someone from your janitorial supply company.

Although the principles to implement Green Cleaning at commercial facilities are similar when applied to different sites, each type of facility that requires cleaning presents its own unique set of challenges:

Green Cleaning in Offices

The size of the facility determines the application of the cleaning operations. Cleaning a smaller office enables a cleaning company to get to know clients & building occupants quicker. This makes it easier to explain the advantages of Green Cleaning and how it benefits those affected by the cleaning regime.

With larger facilities, the personal touch is lost as often the cleaning company liaises with the facilities manager. A short presentations by the cleaning company to the building occupants (and in most cases the facilities manager, landlord and parties associated with the offices) of large office buildings, explaining the implementation of the Green Cleaning program and its advantages enables greater acceptance and understanding of what the Green Cleaning program is trying to achieve.

Every office will contain people with different sensitivities, allergies and illnesses and a Green Cleaning regime will cater for all individuals as there is no recourse to cleaning chemicals.  Throughout the life of a cleaning contract it is crucial that everybody is kept in the loop and is completely aware of the environmental, financial and health benefits of implementing a Green Cleaning program to ensure effective delivery.

Green Cleaning in Schools

At schools, it is important to engage with all stakeholders – that is everybody at the school from the governs and teachers to the parents and children. All of those affected by a Green Cleaning program (either directly or indirectly) need to have a clear understanding of the new cleaning strategy being implemented at the school and the reasoning behind it.

Parents have their child’s best interests at heart so by understanding the school’s decisions to change to a Green Cleaning program and how this will benefit their child’s health (both in the short and long-term) makes parents feel that the school is mindful of their child’s health and  welfare.

One initiative which has been successfully introduced at schools in South London is Delphis Eco’s The Eco Turtle Project. The project aims to aid education surrounding sustainability in schools and also includes fundraising revenue for the school, enables pupils to learn business skills and gives the school a chance to uphold their environmental aims.

Part 2 of this series will be posted next Friday and will cover implementing Green Cleaning at Retail and Healthcare Facilities. Make sure you subscribe to our blog so that you don’t miss it!

If you have any questions about introducing a Green Cleaning program at your facility, contact  The Organised Cleaning Company on 020 74584433 and talk to one of our team who will be happy to help!

Want to stay up to date with the latest news from The Organised Cleaning Company?  Don’t forget to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter.

How to carry out an End of Tenancy Clean…

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Before you get started on the task of end of tenancy cleaning their are a couple of things you should do first:
  1. The main thing to do first is to decide who is going to be doing the actual cleaning work;
  2. If you have decided to do the end of tenancy cleaning yourself, it is probably a good idea to go around the entire property with a pen and pad and make a comprehensive list of all the items that require cleaning. By taking this approach their is less likelihood that any items or surfaces will be missed out and consequently picked up by your landlord or their managing agents when the property inventory check is carried out.
  3. Once you have gone around and are satisfied that you have a list of works that covers everything, the next step is to ensure you have all the required cleaning materials and equipment for the job. What will happen if you are not fully prepared is ie. that when it comes to removal of limescale from the taps and shower head or removal of burnt on grease from the oven, without the right products you will spend hours scrubbing to no avail.
  4. Before you actually schedule your work, you will want to make sure all the kitchen cabinets are cleared and also the fridge and that any other items are cleared off the surfaces. This will make the cleaning work much easier than if you try to move things as you go along. Once you are confident that you have all the cleaning products required you should be ready to start cleaning. 

If you want a tip from a professional London cleaning company on end of tenancy cleaning, the best one we can offer, is to tackle the hardest areas first. These are normally the kitchen and bathrooms as these take the most effort and time. Try to get these areas done first while you are fresh and have plenty of energy, you do not want to be tackling the heaviest cleaning tasks when you are getting tired. The bedrooms and living spaces should be lighter work so leave them to last.

Most landlords and their managing agents these days will expect the property to be cleaned to a professional standard. Failure to reach the standard will almost certainly result in financial penalties for the excess work that is specified, or the agents may well appoint their own cleaning firm to re-clean the whole property. This can be costly for the vacating tenant because management fees may well be added to the cleaning firms cost for the agents time. It will also render your own efforts a waste of time as you will be liable to meet the full cleaning costs.

Please bear this in mind if you decide to clean yourself, and if you follow the suggestions in this blog you shouldn’t run into these sort of issues.

 

8 cleaning problems you can solve with soda crystals…

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Soda crystals are a fantastic water softener and powerful multi-purpose cleaner, and they’re also great value at around £1 a kilo. Here’s how they can help tackle your toughest cleaning jobs around the house:

1. BLOCKED PIPES

Shift a build-up of trapped grease and debris from your kitchen sink, bathroom basin, bath, or shower waste pipes by pouring a mug of crystals down the plughole. Flush through with hot water.

2. SMELLY WASHING MACHINE

Low temperature washes using liquid detergent can allow bacteria and mould to grow, and give rise to unpleasant smells in your machine. To prevent this from happening, once a month run a hot wash with nothing but 500g – 750g of soda crystals added to the detergent dispenser.

3. HARD WATER

If you live in a hard-water area, as much as two-thirds of the laundry detergent you carefully measure out is simply softening the water rather than cleaning! Make it go further, and save money, by adding two tablespoons of soda crystals to your detergent dispenser. Then you can use the more economical ‘soft water’ dose of detergent.

4. GREASY PANS

Soak greasy pans or those encrusted with burnt-on food in a solution of soda crystals and hot water – the longer you can leave them to soak the better. And if your roasting tray is full of fat after cooking a roast, sprinkle on dry crystals while the tray is still hot. Leave to stand for a few minutes so the crystals soak up the fat, then scrape the mixture into the bin.

5. SPATTERED HOB AND EXTRACTOR FAN

Wipe clean hobs, extractors and other greasy kitchen surfaces with a strong solution of 200g soda crystals dissolved in 1 pint (500ml) of hot water. Leave stubborn marks to soak for a minute or two, then wipe down with a clean cloth. But don’t use soda crystals on aluminium surfaces, it will discolour them!

6. TARNISHED SILVER

Bring your silver pieces back to their gleaming best. Line a bowl with foil and pour in hot water. Add 200g soda crystals to 1 pint (500ml) of hot water and wait for them to dissolve. Immerse your silver pieces (but not precious stones) in the solution. You’ll see a fizzing reaction as the tarnish dissolves. Rinse each piece and dry.

7. MOSSY PATHS AND PATIOS

Make easy work of removing unsightly moss and algae from paving by sprinkling soda crystals on the affected areas, then moistening with water using a watering can or hose. Leave the solution to soak in for 24 hours, by which time the moss will turn brown and be easy to remove.

8. SOILED BABY CLOTHES

Babies and young children have delicate skin that may be irritated by the enzymes and fragrances in many laundry detergents. You can remove dirt and stains in a way that’s gentle on sensitive skin by soaking clothes in a solution of 100g soda crystals to 1 pint (500ml) hot water. Leave to stand for at least an hour, but preferably overnight, then machine or hand wash using Liquid Soap Flakes.

The effect of cleaning products and how to reduce indoor air pollution

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Many commonplace cleaning products that are used at home or in the work place are thought to contribute to poor indoor air quality and health problems, with a high cost to people who already suffer from illness, to our health services and to businesses.

Indoor air pollution has been linked to cancer, asthma, stroke and heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and to changes related to dementia. A recent Royal College of Physicians report, Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution,examined the impact of exposure to air pollution across the course of a lifetime and highlighted an often-neglected source of air pollution –  our indoor spaces. The report specifically mentioned the following air pollutants:

  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are commonly found in cleaning products as solids or liquids, but readily evaporate and could contaminate an indoor atmosphere. VOCs can include, terpenes associated with fragrances; hydrocarbons, glycols, and glycol ethers associated with solvents; and chlorinated hydrocarbons associated with spot cleaners, degreasers and disinfectants. Breathing low levels of VOCs for long periods of time may increase some people’s risk of health problems.
  • Formaldehyde vapour is a colourless gas with a pungent, irritating odour used in the production of resins acting as glues for wood products, pulp and paper. It is also found in some plastics, coatings, paints and varnishes, and in textile finishings and can cause irritation of the lungs when breathed in a confined indoor space.

So how can these potentially harmful indoor air pollutants be avoided? One way is to carefully select the products we use, including our cleaning products, and a simple way to do this is to choose EU Ecolabel products, denoted by the recognisable flower logo.

A cleaning product awarded the EU Ecolabel logo has passed 11 stringent environmental, fitness-for-use, waste and health criteria, that incorporate the entire life cycle of the product. Importantly, VOCs are strictly limited to a maximum of 6% (by weight of the final product) and formaldehyde is excluded completely.

The EU Ecolabel criteria for cleaning products also restrict any ingredient that is REACH classified as having the potential to cause an allergy or allergic skin reactions, asthma or breathing difficulties if inhaled, and cancer. The competent body for the EU Ecolabel in the UK is Defra and the scheme is delivered by UK EU Ecolabel Delivery (UKED).

How to stay safe using when using cleaning chemicals

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When you’re cleaning professionally, you need to carefully consider your chemical and product choices. We’ve created a useful guide of things to consider and how to stay safe when using cleaning chemicals:

The myth of pH scales

Chemicals have a scale that tells you their qualities called the pH scale rating. The scale, which runs from 0-14, tells you how acidic a chemical is (0), whether it is neutral (7) or an alkaline (14).

Although the pH scale on commercial cleaning products will be displayed, they don’t determine whether you’ve got the right product for your needs. Instead, use the labels and pictograms on the bottles.

Know your labels and pictograms

Knowing your pictograms and labels is essential, as using products incorrectly can lead to accidents.

The labels

Sounds simple, but always read the label before use of a product. By EU law there will be information there about how hazardous the chemicals are, and suggestions of how you can use them safely. If there is nothing hazardous about the product, its supplier must still provide information about if the product can cause harm.

Pictograms

Pictograms on the cleaning product container are symbols, designed to indicate any potentially harmful or hazardous substances within the bottle. The full list of symbols can be found in the original article, taken from the Nisbets site.

How to stay safe

There are a number of ways you can stay safe when using cleaning chemicals and products, and all of them include using the correct PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). Make sure you have the following on hand…

Gloves

A simple pair of rubber gloves can stand effectively between the corrosive, harmful products you’re using and your skin. This type of substance can cause irritation and burns, so these are essential items.

Footwear

Wearing the right footwear should be another high priority when you’re cleaning with potentially dangerous chemicals. Make sure they are both water-resistant and slip-proof, to protect from the products penetrating your clothing.

Protective eyewear

Protective eyewear should be worn when you’re using chemicals like bleach, to ensure you have good vision and your eyes are protected from any splashbacks.

With the above points, you should be able to make more considered choices when you are working with cleaning chemicals in the commercial cleaning process.

There’s a Wrong Way to Dust? And 5 Other Cleaning Mistakes…

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The quickest, most efficient strategies to get streak-free windows, remove stains from a white sofa and more. Your welcome 😉

Mistake No. 1: Cleaning a Cold Oven

We’re not saying you should start scrubbing when it’s hot, but a warm oven is easier to clean than a cold one. Turn it on low (e.g., 250°) for 10 to 15 minutes. Then turn it off, spray a nonabrasive cleaner (or spread a homemade baking-soda-and-water paste) all over the inside, and let it sit for 20 minutes. Scrub with a nylon brush or pad and use a sponge to rinse it off.

Mistake No. 2: Washing Windows on a Sunny Day

A gorgeous spring morning may seem like the perfect time to wash your windows. But doing the job when it’s sunny out is a bad idea, since the windows will dry too quickly and probably streak. An overcast day is better. Make a solution by mixing equal parts white vinegar and  cups of white vinegar, 20 ounces of water and a few drops of dishwashing soap. Using a microfiber cloth (instead of a sponge) will ensure that you don’t use too much cleaning solution—it should coat the windows but not splash down them. A squeegee will make the job a lot easier too, run it over the windows after you wash with a cloth.

Mistake No. 3: Scrubbing Like Crazy

The first thing people do when they spill, say, red wine on their white sofa is douse a towel in water or soda water and furiously try to rub the stain out. While soda water can help, the last thing you want to do is scrub—that just does more damage. Keep a cleaner handy (see this guide for useful tips) then, dab it onto the stain with a cloth. Don’t scrub, since that will just ingrain the stain further. Keep using new sections of the cloth, and eventually you will get all or most of the wine (or other offender) out.

Mistake No. 4: Spraying Furniture Polish All Over a Table

Statistics are hard to come by, but we’re pretty sure 99 percent of people who set out to dust their wood furniture do the spray-and-wipe. However, if you spray your cloth instead, you’ll have to buff less, you’ll waste less product and you’ll avoid the sticky buildup that can come from using too much polish. (Hint: Ones with citrus oil will bring out the wood’s natural shine, and the oil tends to repel dust and dirt for a while.) And if your aim is simply to remove dust, you don’t have to use any cleaner at all— microfiber dusters pick up dust on their own and don’t need spray.

Mistake No. 5: Using an Abrasive Cleaner on Your Bathtub

The reason many tubs lose their luster is they’ve been scrubbed with cleansers that have granulated powders, like Comet and Ajax. They scuff the porcelain and take the glaze off. Instead, use a mild shower spray like Mr Muscles. If you’d rather not spray every day, just runs a bath towel—a dry rag would work too—over the tub after he showers and the water has drained as simply drying the tub is enough to prevent scum.

Mistake No. 6: Vacuuming Up Cat Hair

If you have a pet that sheds, you’re probably accustomed to rolling a lint brush over your clothes and furniture daily. But if you’ve been taking a hoover to your hardwood floors in an attempt to rid them of hair, chances are you’re just blowing the mess around instead of picking it up. Your hoover’s exhaust tends to push as much hair away as it cleans up. On wood and other hard floors use a steam mop or a flat mop pad, which won’t create a lot of wind, so you can push the hair into a big pile. Then, pull out the vacuum—but use the wand attachment—to suck it up. You can also use the vacuum to clean the mop itself, or just toss it into the washing machine.