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.

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.

Top tips on how to improve the indoor air quality at home…

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It’s probably not something that we consider very often, but the quality of air in our homes can have a big impact on our health and wellbeing.We now spend 90 per cent of our lives inside buildings, so when it comes to the home, air quality isn’t something we can ignore, especially as new research from Velux revealed only a quarter of UK residents are fully satisfied with the air quality in their homes.

Not only does good indoor air quality improve concentration levels and helps us to get a better night’s sleep but it also reduces energy costs. WE thought we’d suggest a few simple ways to help you and your family breathe a bit fresher:

Consistent & adequate ventilation

Airing out your home by opening windows as much as possible means letting more oxygen in and removing things like cooking odours, gases and humidity which builds up over time.

An easy way to get the fresh air flowing in the right places is by opening windows in the bathroom every time you shower and in the kitchen every time you cook, allowing steam and odours to escape. Closing the doors to these rooms while they air out will restrict the cool air to these spaces in addition to stopping the steamy air from travelling to other places in the house.

If you find it difficult to open windows during the day because you work full time, consider leaving them open at night (as long as security isn’t an issue) or when you’re at home during the weekends.

Using naturally fragranced or fragrance free products

Many common household cleaning products and air fresheners use special chemicals to give them the characteristic fresh and fragrant smells that so many of us find appealing. There is growing evidence to suggest that once these chemicals are released into the atmosphere and react with compounds in the air, they produce formaldehyde as a by-product.

Formaldehyde, classified as a volatile organic compound (VOC), is a normal part of our environment in small concentrations but many experts have advised that indoor exposure to high levels of VOCs could be harmful. To limit exposure, consider using products which are naturally fragranced, fragrance free or even natural cleaning alternatives. Use essential oils as a replacement, diluted with water in a spray bottle, in a stick diffuser or burner – there are so many lovely natural smells to choose from.

Add plants!

One of the simplest ways to help improve the air in your home comes straight from the natural world. Beyond the aesthetic appeal, studies indicate that plants are highly effective air purifiers and can help to reduce chemical levels in enclosed spaces by filtering out potentially harmful compounds. This, coupled with the fact that they produce oxygen, means they have the power to make the air that we breathe indoors significantly healthier.

 Minimise dirt & dust

Even small amounts of dirt and dust can build up over time and impact the quality of air you breathe in. Keep surfaces and floors as clean as you can by vacuuming, damp dusting and mopping, not forgetting to get underneath furniture where dust might linger. Clear away clutter so that dust doesn’t have the chance to build up and change bedding regularly. To minimise the amount of dirt entering from outside, make sure you have a sturdy doormat or even consider making your home a shoe-free zone.

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!

The importance of applying cream (in the workplace)!

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Research has shown that occupational skin diseases are the second most common work-related health problem in Europe. Most cases can be avoided, however, by implementing an accessible skin management processes to reduce the risk of skin being exposed to irritating substances & hazards. 

To keep skin healthy and prevent the risk of work related skin disease, hand washing alone is not enough. Employees should use pre-work protection creams as well as after work restoration creams as part of a daily skin care routine.

Every day, hands are exposed to challenging substances in the workplace such as grease, oil, detergents, and soapy water. It is estimated that just one in 10 employees, faced with these difficult conditions, follows best hand hygiene practice in the workplace. Failing to do so can lead to the diagnosis of occupational skin disease.

For employees, the consequence is particularly costly, both in terms of a loss of income due to increased absenteeism from work, as well as the impact that it has on their personal life and self-esteem. When an employee contracts an occupational skin disease, it can be costly for employers too as productivity & profit margins are affected by employee absence and, in some cases, businesses can face compensation claims.

A healthy skin workplace requires a safety mind-set where employees provide staff with specialist pre-work creams before coming into contact with challenging substances. Research we have seen advises that employers should provide their staff with appropriate ‘restore’ creams, to be used after cleansing the hands at the end of each day. These products work by moisturising and conditioning the skin, improving its strength. This ensures that the skin doesn’t become dry, sore, and chapped, leading to occupational skin disease.