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.

Time to fight the flu!

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Seasonal influenza (the flu) is a serious and contagious respiratory infection, generally transmitted through human to human contact. People who have the flu often present with fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue. The impact on public health and businesses due to seasonal flu can be significant. Fortunately, there are a number of important measures that can help reduce the risk of spreading the seasonal flu.

Wash your hands frequently

Proper hand hygiene / hand-washing is essential to preventing an influenza contamination. Proper hand-washing helps remove most bacteria, viruses and other pathogens, so they can’t be spread to others. The European Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) recommends the following:

  • Hands should be washed thoroughly with soap and water
  • After washing with soap and water, dry hands thoroughly with single-use paper towels. Hand-washing with drying of hands should last for at least 40-60 seconds each time
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitisers reduce the amount of influenza virus on contaminated hands. When hand-washing is not possible, alcohol-based hand sanitisers are an option

Avoid others that are sick & stay home yourself when sick

For the flu to be transmitted the virus must go from an individual who has contracted the flu virus to another person, who can then become infected. Individuals who have contracted the flu virus are contagious at least one day prior to displaying symptoms, and up to seven days after they first appear. You can reduce the risk of this sort of transmission through social distancing by avoiding others who are sick and staying home yourself if sick.

Clean & disinfectant surfaces

The flu virus can survive up to 48 hours on stainless steel and plastic surfaces, and up to 12 hours on cloth, paper and tissues. Proper cleaning and disinfecting can minimise the chances of individuals contracting the virus from a contaminated surface. To properly clean, disinfect and protect your environment:

  • Clean any visible soil from surfaces before disinfecting. When cleaning and disinfecting, work from top to bottom and from cleaner to more heavily soiled surfaces.
  • Thoroughly wet the surface with a BPD-registered disinfectant with claims for Influenza A and follow label instructions.
  • Disinfect frequently touched hard surfaces often, including tables, chairs, light switches, door handles and restroom facilities.
  • Give special attention to frequently touched surfaces in food preparation areas, as well as the restroom, including light switches, taps, toilet flush levers, door knobs and handrails.

Get the flu vaccination

Getting a flu vaccine and taking antiviral medications as prescribed if you do contract the flu are two ways the ECDC advocates stopping the spread of flu germs. The flu vaccine is one of the most effective forms of protection against seasonal flu.

Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing 

Coughing and sneezing into your elbow or a tissue helps protect others. If you do have seasonal flu and do not cover your nose or mouth a person or persons within two metres can be infected.

Wash your tableware thoroughly

Eating utensils, dishes and glasses should all be thoroughly washed either in a dishwasher or by hand with water and dishwashing detergent.

How to find a cleaning company for your workplace!

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Want to switch the cleaning company you currently use for your office? Or maybe you’ve only just got round to investing in a professional cleaning service. There are many types of services to choose from and it’s important to pick one that’s right for your company’s needs.

Carrying out a few simple steps before you make a decision will increase the chances of finding a cleaning service that meets all of your requirements without the hassle.

Assess your needs

What is it exactly that your office needs? Does it need a deep clean with tasks such as stain removal and carpet cleaning? Do you need cleaners to come in everyday or just once a week? How long do you need them to spend there? As well as the main office space, you’ll also need to think about additional rooms such as kitchens and washrooms that might need cleaning too. Make a list of all of the services that you need so that when you start approaching cleaning companies you are ready to state exactly what you want without getting sold any unnecessary extras.

Do your research

Research is key, not only for finding the best value services but also for reading online reviews and making sure that you’re choosing a reputable and reliable cleaning company. First of all, take a look at cleaning companies that are within a close proximity to your workplace and make sure that they serve your area. Next, check out what services they offer – do they match what you’re looking for? View the website and see how experienced they are and if they have a registered address and contact details. Another vital part of the process is reading online reviews and ratings to assess them on criteria such as if they’re efficient and thorough, if current customers would recommend them, and if the service was satisfactory and good value for money.

Get a quote

Most cleaning companies will offer quotes either on their website pricing page, by getting you to submit a form, or calling a contact number. You should always double check what the quote includes, e.g vacuuming and mopping, stain removal services, dusting around computers and telephones. Once you have a breakdown of cost, you can start to compare with other services to get the best deal.

Read the terms and conditions

It’s easy to get tied into contracts with cleaning companies so make sure you read the terms and conditions to see what happens if you want to cancel at any time. Also read the small print on last minute cancellations, what happens if you’re not satisfied with the service, and if there are any extra fees or charges that you need to be aware of. Having this covered will mean avoiding any nasty surprises down the line.

Once you’ve assessed your needs, carried out the research and received some quotes, all that’s left to do is choose the cleaning company. Carrying out these steps beforehand should help ensure that you make the right choice for your company.

Good luck!

Do you use you’re phone on the loo? (You’re not the only one…)

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We’ve come across research which claims that a third of UK workers admit to being on their smartphone while using the toilet, and almost one in 12 even consume food and drink there!

The study questioned 1,000 office workers in the UK to understand the state of handwashing habits in office environments, and revealed some major concerns about the spread of germs in the workplace.

A third (32%) of UK workers questioned said that they use their smartphones while in the office washroom, with Facebook (60%), WhatsApp (36%), playing games and emailing (both 18%) the most popular activities. Also, 13% even admitted to making phone calls from the cubicle. Most worryingly of all, around one in 12 (8%) said they had eaten food in the office washroom.

It’s no wonder that British workers are concerned about their co-workers washroom habits. Almost half (49%) would be ‘disgusted’, and a quarter would be ‘concerned’, if they knew a colleague didn’t wash their hands after visiting the washroom. Almost four in 10 (38%) will avoid shaking hands with people they know have just left the washroom, while a quarter would be uncomfortable with a client or important business stakeholder using the same office toilets as the general workforce.

According to the World Health Organisation, hand hygiene is “the most important measure to avoid the transmission of harmful germs.” Thankfully, more than eight out of 10 (83%) of UK office workers claim to always wash their hands after visiting the washroom and 31% claim to wash their hands for more than 20 seconds every time. However, this good work could be undone by office workers’ unhygienic habits.

The survey also questioned office workers in Australia, France, Germany and Malaysia (1,000 in each country). The Germans lead the way in hand hygiene, with 87% of workers reporting to always wash their hands after using the washroom, compared with 83% in the UK, France, Australia and Malaysia. Brits are less likely to use their phone in the washroom than Australians and Malaysians (40%), but did not perform as well as the Germans (21%) and French (31%). Australians are the most likely to consume food and drinks in the washroom, with 11% of respondents admitting to that practice.

The research across the five nations also found 45% of workers who did not always wash their hands blamed external factors such as being in a hurry. The washroom environment was cited as the biggest contributory factor, with 50% of respondents blaming an aspect of the bathroom for driving them away. In fact, 16% said they avoid washing their hands when the smell is bad, 20% when there is no soap or towels, and 15% when the handwashing facility is not clean.

What’s your excuse…?

Five Tips To Becoming An Expert On Stone Floors

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Natural stone floors such as marble and granite were once rarely found in commercial facilities because they were expensive and they were believed to be “delicate” floors, needing considerable attention and care. That mindset has changed.

Because of their growing popularity, if you have a stone floor in your home or office, here are a few things you should know about stone floor care:

  • Closely examine the stone floor before performing any cleaning tasks. Look for wear patterns, scratches, or damaged tiles which may require could be cleaned out
  • Know an expert. While they may be hardy, stone floors can also be temperamental. An expert certified in natural stone restoration should be consulted whenever encountering a problem you are unsure of.
  • When it comes to chemicals, stay neutral. In virtually all situations, when damage is done to a stone floor after cleaning it is because the chemical used either had too high or too low a pH.
  • Avoid mopping a stone floor. As the mop and mop water become soiled, it can cause a soiled film to form over the stone floor, defacing its appearance. Consider an alternative system that dispenses neutral cleaning solution directly to the floor. The solution can be gently spread over the floor with a brush if necessary and then soils and moisture are vacuumed up.
  • Make sure you find a way to keep your stone floor looking its best. Whether it’s regular buffing & polishing or daily maintenance .

Good luck! 🙂

15 Office Cleaning Ideas Every Clean Freak Needs To Know!

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Yeah you read right, for all you clean freaks out there intent on keeping your home office or work office nice and clean, follow these handy tips:

  1. First, do a little bit of paper organizing so the surfaces you need to clean aren’t covered in actual work.  Get the paper into  neat piles that you can easily move on and off your desk as needed.
  2. Use a solution of 70% alcohol and water to clean your phone and tablet.
  3. Take a magic eraser to your keyboard’s keys. Just make sure to squeeze any water out completely, so it doesn’t drip between your keys.

  4. Then run the sticky edge of a sticky note between the keys to pick up any crumbs.

  5. Wipe the grime off your earbuds, then disinfect them with rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball. Earbuds are gross. Read more about cleaning them here.

  6. Wipe all of the parts of your computer that aren’t screens (including your trackpad or mouse) with a lightly moistened microfiber cloth. Just make sure they’re not wet, because you don’t want to damage your electronics.

  7. AGAIN, be careful with water around your electronics, especially their screens. Here’s a thorough guide that will help you clean your screen properly (guess what? It calls for microfiber cloths).

  8. Literally vacuum the tops of your books. Chances are, they’re pretty dusty, but it takes forever to thoroughly dust each one individually.

  9. Use a dusting spray to wipe down all of your wood furniture, like your bookshelves and your desk. You can just use a store-bought one, like Pledge, or you make make your own with this handy guide.

  10. Wipe down your air vent with the help of a butter knife or a ruler. Don’t forget to wipe down the walls around it too, if they’re dusty. (Obviously this is just for your home office. You probably don’t want to try this at work.)

  11. Clean your windows and the glass in any picture frames you have hanging on the walls. Here’s a DIY glass cleaner recipe — use it alongside a clean microfiber cloth.

  12. Scrub out stains in your office chair using dish soap and hydrogen peroxide. Just dab the formula gently until the stains are gone — here’s the cleaning recipe and tutorial.

  13. If you have a chair mat, make sure to at least sweep it, if not wipe it down with a damp cloth.

  14. Make the whole room smell good while you vacuum by sprinkling DIY carpet refresher. Here are a bunch of ideas.

  15. If you have indoor plants in your office, gently wipe off their leaves with a damp cloth. Dusty plants = sad plants.

Now enjoy your super clean work space and get stuff done!

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!