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.

Why you should hire the professionals!

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One of the usual things clients will take for granted when they enter any premises of a business, unless they have seen otherwise, is the cleanliness of the facilities.

When we usually enter an office, storefront, or restaurant we will expect it to be clean. It’ll rarely cross our minds that there are people working on keeping this going and making cleaning a priority. Keeping premises clean is something no manager or business owner wants to worry about, especially when they need to focus on running their business instead. This can be a good a reason as any to hire a commercial cleaning company. But just in case your wondering, here are some more:

Managing client impressions

First impressions will rarely last for long, but they will certainly end up leaving a mark on clients. The more important thing is the fact that dissatisfied clients may easily consider dirty facilities as a reflection of the level of professionalism a business provides for their clients. Keeping your facility clean is something that needs to be a priority and a cleaning company will provide a professional approach you can count on, instead of having to worry about losing face in front of your clients. In many cases the lost clients will share their opinions with family and friends, further spreading the word and even worse – sharing their opinions online and escalating into a PR nightmare. This can be avoided with professional level cleaning services.

Prevention of health issues

Dust can easily collect and accumulate in a neglected workplace. Employees with allergies or even breathing problems may easily suffer as a result of poor cleaning practices. Since prevention will be more effective than any cure, it will be much wiser to ensure that this never happens by using a professional level cleaning company.

Sustaining staff satisfaction and productivity levels

Let’s face it – nobody likes working in grimy, dirty environments and maintaining a clean working area is something that helps improve morale among other situations. The best way to address sanitation issues is to work on them without placing a burden on your staff. Hiring a professional cleaning company will give you a chance to do just that without worrying about the details of the job. Businesses can also hire cleaning staff in house, but a professional company will have the benefit of expertise and scale that a company not dealing with this specifically will not have.

Why not call the guys at The Organised Cleaning Company on 020 7458 4433 if you’d like to have a chat about cleaning your premises. Or you can drop them a line at iprefer@organsiedcleaning.com.

You touch these things every day…and they’re dirtier than your toilet!

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Good hand hygiene is extremely important in the workplace. Once you’ve found out where bacteria can be hiding you’ll see how washing your hands remains the best defence against bacteria and infections.

You’re probably aware of the germs and bacteria that lie in wait in the office washroom but did you know seemingly innocent and clean places in your workplace can have more bacteria on it than your toilet seat?

1.Desk 

Your desk is one of the main places bacteria like to lurk and in particular, on your computer keyboard. Your desk has 21,000 germs per square inch compared to just 49 germs per square inch on your toilet.

People spend all day at their desk so things like your keyboard and mouse are key germ transfer points, especially if you have a cold or flu – which can leave behind lots of viruses for up to three days.

Areas, like your keyboard, are not regularly cleaned due to risk of causing damage, so bacteria harbours there.

A typical worker can touch up to thirty objects in a minute and also touch their faces at least eighteen times a day so without realising, you could be aiding any germ’s journey into your body.

2.Mobile phone 

Yes, your trusty mobile phone is dirtier than your toilet seat with 25,000 germs per square inch!

With the touch screen feature, you are constantly touching the screen then answering a call, ultimately pressing the bacteria against your face, which allows any germs to get into your body.

People very rarely clean or disinfect their phones or wash their hands after using it, so the bacteria love it – especially if you use it often as they like the warm screen.

3.Fridge and microwave handles 

These are the dirtiest places in your communal kitchen due to so many hands touching it; after handling food, sneezing and coughing or even after the toilet (and remember 1 in 10 people do not wash their hands).

In a survey of around 5000 different workplaces researchers found that 48% of microwave door handles had an ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) count of over 300 – which shows that the surface is flourishing with bacteria and at a high risk of spreading illness. Similarly, 26% of refrigerator door handles had an ATP count of over 300.

Of course, not all bacteria is harmful but these areas in your workplace show how germs get around with your hands alone – in fact, hands are responsible for 80% of common infectious diseases.

To beat germs and sickness in the workplace we recommend promoting good hand hygiene with facilities readily available in the washroom and kitchen and also having educational posters at hand washing stations.

Always make sure you wash your hands after coughing, sneezing, touching and eating food – and especially after using the toilet!

Promoting property hand washing techniques in the office

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Promoting proper hand washing techniques can be a tricky topic. Office & Facilities Managers should focus on educating staff and clients on proper handwashing techniques, which, in turn, can help to ensure that they use the right amount of soap – not too much and not too little…

When you dispense soap into your hand, you are not looking for a specific quantity. A reasonable amount of soap would be about the size of a 20p coin and the user should have  enough soap in the palm of their hand to build up a good amount of lather to wash both hands and in between fingers.

While using the right amount of soap is important, proper handwashing techniques are equally important, if not more so. If you have the right amount of soap but you’re not washing your hands correctly, that can cause cross-contamination.

Research carried out by the American Institute states that the amount of soap used is secondary to good hand hygiene practices. Typically, it doesn’t take much soap to lather up and adequately wash your hands. It’s the mechanical action of handwashing — along with the formulation of the soap and rinsing with water — that can make the difference in a proper handwashing routine. Hands should also be washed for at least 20 seconds.

Water also plays an active role in making sure the user gets the most out of their soap and don’t overuse it. People should be wetting their hands before they apply the soap because that helps to distribute it. If you skip that step, you’re going to run out of soap, and you won’t have enough to cover your hands properly.

Encouraging people to wash their hands is a good investment for any office. If people aren’t properly washing their hands, that potentially leads to the spread of illness, which could potentially lead to absenteeism.

 

Useful flu facts and prevention tips!

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As much as it hurts, summer is coming to an end and the cold season will soon be upon us….

We’ve all heard of influenza (commonly referred to as the flu), that respiratory illness which can range from mild to severe, and at times can also become fatal. It is highly contagious and is caused and transmitted by the flu virus.

The flu virus is spread by small droplets from an infected person’s sneeze and or cough. Those droplets travel through the air and can infect others. The virus can also be left on a surface and transmitted when the next person touches that surface with their hands, followed by contacting their eyes, ears, or mouth.

The flu poses the greatest risk to those who suffer from diabetes, extreme obesity, heart disease, asthma, and other lung problems. The elderly, children, and pregnant women are also in the greatest risk category. Those who either fall in one of those categories, and those who do not, should consider getting the flu shot.

One of the most common misconceptions we all face is a lack of understanding as to whether we have the flu virus or if we’ve just caught a common cold. Both are respiratory illnesses, with the common cold being milder than the flu. Symptoms alone won’t enable you to 100% determine whether you have a the flu or a cold, and a doctor would need to run a series of tests to accurately determine which of the two you have.

When it comes to an office environment, office & facilities managers may not have the ability to fully prevent fly from entering the building, but proven & effective measures can be taken to limit the impact of flu spreading amongst you and your staff. It’s a matter of encouraging healthy behaviours amongst staff, visitors, customers and yourself.

A simple way to try to prevent the flu virus from entering a facility is to encourage everyone in the facility to get vaccinated against the flu. Those who receive the flu vaccines not only help protect themselves, but they help others. When one’s chances of acquiring the flu diminish, so to do the chances of that person spreading the flu to others.

If the flu virus has already entered the facility, the top personal prevention method is simple, but often goes ignored. Encourage frequent hand washing and sanitation with effective hand cleaners and sanitizers. Washing one’s hands is the easiest and most effective defense against contracting the flu.

Which cloth should I choose to clean…?

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Microfibre has become the cleaning cloth of choice in both the cleaning industry and in our homes. It is effective and can be used to clean in almost every scenario imaginable.

However, there are still plenty of other traditional cloth options, which are still very popular. In this post we’ve considered a few of those other options, which we’re sure you still use!

  1. Dish Cloths – The general purpose cloth of choice as it’s suitable for a wide range of tasks.  They’re often made from cotton and are flat knitted and hemmed to keep their shape.
  2. Floor Cloths – Made from cotton and extremely hard wearing makes them ideal for takes which cannot be carried out by a dish cloth! Particularly effective for heavy soiled areas and cleaning floors when you cannot use a mop & bucket!
  3. Lightweight Cleaning Cloth – These are semi-disposable, non-woven cleaning cloths which are extremely effective in reducing the spread of bacteria. They are ideal for use in  the kitchen & food preparation areas.
  4. All-purpose Cleaning Cloth – Good for use for general cleaning tasks and are a suitable alternative to the more traditional cleaning cloth. Being sponge like they are ideal for collecting food and dirt as well as removing stubborn stains.
  5. Yellow Cloth Duster –  Dusters are made from cotton & hemmed to prevent from fraying. Mostly used for dry polishing hard surfaces and most effective when used with furniture polish or water applied in a mist, either directly onto the surface or onto the cloth itself. These cloths should only be used for general dusting and polishing, and need to be cleaned regularly.
  6. Flicker Duster – Made from pure lambswool, these are handy dusting tools for hard to reach areas. As they’re made from wool, these duster can hold a static charge and they are also fully washable.
  7. Chamois – These cloths can absorb up t six times their own weight in water and are extremely effective at soaking up large quantities of water. They can also leave clean and smear free finished on hard surfaces, particularly glass and high polished surfaces.

There are plenty of options to using microfibre cloths either around the home or in commercial properties – which do you choose..?

Carpet maintenance tips for commercial properties…

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Aesthetics and comfort are likely to rank high on the agenda when selecting floorcoverings for commercial properties. Maintenance and long-term performance will also be seen as key issues when it comes to determining the final specification – and the choice often comes down to carpets or some form of smooth flooring.

With a good cleaning regime, carpets will retain their appearance and be as hygienic as any other flooring material used in a commercial property, even though it holds dust, grime and associated bacteria in place, rather than that allowing it to float into the air to be inhaled.

From a health & safety perspective, carpets are soft should falls occur, and non-slip even when liquid is spilt. It also offers comfort underfoot and is an inherently sound absorbent material so is ideal where acoustics are an issue.

With a good upright vacuum cleaner, carpet maintenance is very easy. Models with strong suction and driven brushes are the most effective for carpets as they groom and lift the pile and remove dirt far more effectively than cylinder cleaners. A well designed upright vacuum cleaner offers the benefits of manoeuvrability, controllability and overall ease of use. Uprights also offer a very high level of productivity and can clean a carpeted floor rapidly and, as the brush roller agitates the pile, thoroughly.

Commercial cleaning is a regular task that must be conducted to the highest standards and any cleaning regime should take account of the fact that, when carpet is walked on, any dirt or grit trapped in the pile will be crushed against the fibres causing premature wear. This is a particular problem at entrances and other heavily-used areas so daily vacuuming is advisable in these locations. Entrance mats to protect carpeted areas are always sensible and it is vital that these are regularly vacuumed.

For removing soiling that a vacuum cleaner cannot pick up, carpet cleaning powder (also known as compound) is ideal. This consists of micro-sponges which contain a safe solvent for greasy soiling, a neutral shampoo for non-greasy soiling and an anti re-soilant to delay re-soiling. Unlike wet cleaning agents, which result in problems such as carpet shrinkage, adhesive damage, smell and long periods where the area cannot be used due to lengthy drying times, powder is simply vacuumed away leaving the carpet clean, soft and fresh.