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.

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).

5 awesome bathroom cleaning hacks!

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Is bathroom cleaning seriously doubt the highlight of anyone’s day? Regardless of what you think, the bathroom needs to be cleaned. If you want to spend less time in the bathroom cleaning, here are five bathroom cleaning hacks that should definitely try!

1. How to Clean a Showerhead

To clean a showerhead, pour distilled white vinegar into a plastic bag big enough to fit over your showerhead. Put the plastic bag (with vinegar in it) over your showerhead and secure it with a rubber band. Allow it to soak for 1 hour. Remove the bag of vinegar and wipe the shower head with a paper towel or cloth. Voila!

2. How to Clean Shower Doors

The easiest way to clean shower doors is to use a squeegee after each shower. However, if you forget to use these, the shower door becomes covered in limescale, which then makes it a pain to clean. To remove the limescale from your shower door mix baking soda and water to create a paste. Rub the paste on to the shower door with a non-abrasive sponge. Rinse with vinegar and see through your shower door once more.

3. How to Clean Grout

When the grout in your bathroom starts looking a little grimey it’s time for some deep cleaning. To clean grout, make a paste out of baking soda and water, then line the grout lines with the paste. Spray a little vinegar over the paste and allow to sit for a minute. Grab an old toothbrush and scrub, scrub, scrub! Before you know it, your grout will be looking like new again!

4. How to Clean a Bathtub

Hmmm, orange or grapefruit and salt anyone? To clean a bathtub, cut an orange or grapefruit in half, sprinkle with coarse salt, and scrub away. Not only will your bathtub look sparkling clean, but it will smell lovely as well.

5. How to Clean a Toilet

Toilets can be nasty places and always need cleaning. Luckily, there’s an easy way to keep them sparkling. Pour ¼ cup of baking soda and 1 cup of vinegar in the toilet. Let sit at least 15 minutes, then scrub and flush. You’re left with a nice, clean toilet.

Now go and enjoy doing something fun!

Try these 7 home made cleaning products TODAY!

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We all have our favourite cleaning products that we like to use (Viakal springs to mind!). However, you can’t get away from the benefits of homemade cleaning products, so we’ve listed below 7 of the easiest and most commonly found ingredients in your home:

1.Wood polish – lemon juice & olive oil

Wood can easily lose its life and shine, and become stained by everyday items like coffee cups. To restore some beauty to your wooden furniture, use a bowl to mix 2 cups of olive oil with cup of lemon juice. Dip a clean cloth into the mix and apply to wood in circular motions. This has a moisturising effect and can also prevent splits and splinters.

2.Surface cleaner/degreaser – lemon juice

Lemons are naturally antibacterial so combine 1 cup of water with the juice of 2 lemons, and add ½ a cup of white vinegar into a trigger spray bottle. You can also add essential oils  – lavender and orange both work well.

3.Glass cleaner – cider vinegar

Combine 2 cups of water with ½ a cup apple cider vinegar into a trigger spray bottle (you can add a splash of citrus juice for a nice scent!). Once sprayed, use a microfibre glass cloth to clean mirrors, windows and shower doors.

 4.Stainless steel cleaner – olive oil

Use a soft cloth to apply olive oil in a circular motion, and use white vinegar to wipe the surface when you are finished. This works well on the front and hood of stainless steel cookers, kettles and appliances, and kitchen workstation handles.

5.Pan cleaner/degreaser – salt

It’s surprisingly simple to remove burnt on stains from the bottoms of pans and baking tins – just use salt! Pour salt over the area and leave for a few minutes. Scrub the bottom of the pan with a damp sponge and your metal will be clean and grease-free!

6.Bathroom cleaner – grapefruit

Use half a grapefruit and some salt to scrub bathtubs and wall tiles. The abrasive side will remove most tough stains, and will smell lovely afterwards. You’ll also benefit from the natural antibacterial properties. Make sure to rinse afterwards using the showerhead.

7.Fabric softener – white vinegar

White vinegar is excellent at softening fabric and preventing creases. Add about half a cap into your wash – don’t worry, you won’t smell like a chippy!

Happy homemade cleaning!

Work in an office? How productive do you feel in the heat….?

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Unknown-1According to a OnePulse survey of 200 office workers carried out by office fit out specialist Morgan Lovell, 90% of UK office workers feel less productive when it’s too hot in the office. 44% of workers claim that they move away from their desks to counteract the heat, 72 per cent said they’d move to a cooler part of the office, while 23 per cent said they’d go to a meeting room.

Other respondents (56 per cent) would leave the office altogether – 26 per cent said they’d work from home, 19 per cent would base themselves in a café, and 11 per cent would head to the local pub.

Sam Sahni, head of workplace consultancy at Morgan Lovell London, said: “It has been said before that an office that is too cold can greatly impact productivity as we focus our attention on warming up, rather than generating ideas (Cornell University research) and our survey demonstrates it’s the same in the heat. In general, any time the temperature is too extreme, our ability to focus is hindered.

“The fact that over half of our respondents say they would leave the office implies a break in collaboration and team cohesion during hot periods. This break in cohesion and lack of productivity can really impact a business, but there are ways employers can prevent this from happening. Firstly, by providing agile working capabilities that enable movement and flexibility through technology and flexible workspaces, so that employees are not just confined to one space.

“Secondly, it’s a good idea to provide options for staff, for example ‘temperature zones’ such as cooler breakout spaces so staff don’t need to disrupt their working day just to get comfortable.”

The survey also asked what employers are doing to counteract the heat. Almost two-thirds of respondents said they have fans or air conditioning, half said they have windows that open, 37 per cent are given a more relaxed dress code, while 33 per cent are provided with iced drinks or ice cream.

Six surprising toxins in everyday cleaning products

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UnknownTraditional cleaning products contain an average of almost sixty-two toxic chemicals each. In recent years there has been a growing trend towards using green cleaning products, which do not contain the harmful chemicals and clean just as effectively as their traditional counterparts.

We’ve compiled six surprising toxins that are commonly found in traditionally cleaning products which are being used from day to day:

1.Phthalates
Largely found in household products that are fragranced. If you see the word “fragrance” on the product label, chances are that there are phthalates present. Phthalates are known as endocrine disruptors and can affect men through inhalation or skin contact. They can also cause migraines and asthma.

2.Perchloroethylene
If you send your clothes to a dry-cleaning service or have professional carpet/upholstery cleaning done, it’s likely that you will encounter perchloroethylene (perc), a neurotoxin-chemical. Found in spot cleaners and used mainly by dry cleaners, perc is known for causing dizziness, loss of coordination and other symptoms associated with the brain. Individuals normally are exposed to perc through inhalation, often through the smell of freshly dry-cleaned clothes or the fumes that remain in the air after cleaning carpets.

3. Triclosan
Anything labelled as “antibacterial”, chances are it has triclosan in it. Triclosan is a toxin known for promoting the growth of drug-resistant bacteria that may also develop resistance to household bacteria. Continuous use of this toxin can actually develop resistance towards real antibiotics that humans may need from time to time. A study by The American Medical Association also indicated that there is no evidence these antimicrobials make individuals healthier or safer.

4. Quats
Another highly toxic chemical found in cleaning products with “antibacterial” labels are Quats. They pose the same threat as triclosan and are a type of antimicrobial. This means that they can irritate skin, create respiratory disorders, and develop asthma in individuals if used regularly.

5. 2-BUTOXYETHANOL
2-Butoxyethanol belongs to the ‘glycol ethers’ category and is found in many window cleaners. It is also found in kitchen cleaners and multipurpose cleaners and gives cleaning products a sweet smell. Since there are no laws that govern the products listing, companies are not required to list this ingredient on their label at all. When enclosed areas such as basements or bathrooms are cleaned with products that contain 2-butoxyethanol, individuals may experience dizziness, become nauseous and start experiencing slight headaches.

6. AMMONIA
Most polishing agents include ammonia, a highly toxic chemical that can especially affect elderly people with lung issues, and initiate  breathing problems that may lead to asthma-like symptoms. It can also create a poisonous gas if mixed with bleach.

Reducing exposure to toxins will be beneficial to your health and we will published a follow up post with some suitable alternatives to these toxins shortly. By significantly reducing the use of harmful cleaning products, you can turn your home or office into a more toxin free environment!