Friday, February 18, 2011

Minimize Costs with An Effective Floor Mat Program

An effective floor mat program is one of the most important ways of protecting the floors of any commercial building.  Walk-off mats stop dirt at the door and help keep building maintenance and cleaning costs to a minimum.  In offices, schools, industrial buildings, restaurants and theaters, mats should be a key element in any commercial building cleaning and maintenance program.  Here are a few facts to consider:
  • 70-80% of dust and dirt in a building is tracked in from the outside on people's feet, which has damaging effects on carpets and hard surface floors.
  • One square foot of carpet can accumulate 1 lb. of dirt in 1 week, and double that amount in inclement weather.
Entrance mats are the most common solution to help trap dust, grime and dirt before it comes in contact with your carpets and hard surface floors.  High traffic areas should be pinpointed and strategically placed for maximum effectiveness.  There are numerous options and types of floor mats available for consideration.  Seek the advice of a professional commercial building cleaning service to assist in recommending the proper floor mats for your building.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Lighting Maintenance - Relamping & Cleaning

Every commercial building has lights, and the chances are at least fair that they are not being adequately maintained. Once installed, lights tend to be forgotten. They are out of the way and dust accumulates so gradually that it is hardly noticeable. In some buildings, there may be no lighting maintenance plan at all. Lamps are replaced haphazardly as they burn out, with no records kept. Cleaning occurs irregularly, if at all. Many building owners and managers may not realize how much energy and, ultimately, money is being wasted.

There are many benefits of good lighting. The benefits of good lighting will, of course, depend on the type of commercial building. For example, in a factory, good lighting might increase productivity; in a retail store, it might increase sales. The following are some of the benefits of maintaining proper lighting.
  • Better Productivity - Numerous studies, in both factories and offices, have shown that improved lighting increases productivity; poor lighting decreases it.
  • Improved Quality - Proper lighting results in fewer errors, thus improving quality and reducing the need to do the work over. Quality control is also improved.
  • Increased Sales - Good lighting results in greater sales of merchandise or services, as well as increased rental of tenant space.
  • Improved Safety and Health - Eye fatigue and headaches occur less frequently, as do accidents with machinery, hazardous materials, etc. Job-related accidents and health problems can have a serious effect on medical, legal, and insurance costs.
  • Improved Security - Proper lighting, both indoors and out, reduces the likelihood of theft to the company and assault to workers and customers. Again, medical, legal, and insurance costs can be affected, and there can be the further costs of stolen material, lost business, and employee morale and turnover.
  • Improved Appearance - The appearance of a building, inside and out, can have an important effect on employee morale and community relations.
  • More Light for the Money - An old dirty lamp produces less light than a new or clean one, even though it consumes just as much electricity. Regular maintenance assures that maximum light is produced for the cost in energy. Furthermore, because lighting maintenance is frequently poor, some buildings are designed with more light fixtures than necessary. In such "over-designed" buildings, the required light is delivered even when lamps are old or dirty. If, however, lamps are properly maintained in these buildings, then it may be possible to shut off some lamps, saving money in energy and materials, while still providing the necessary light.
Group relamping for fluorescent systems is nearly always combined with the commercial building cleaning operation. With incandescent systems, these operations will sometimes be combined, though it will usually be necessary to relamp two or three times before cleaning is again needed, due to the shorter life of these lamps. 

Relamping Operation:
  1. Turn off the lamps.
  2. Remove the louvers and clean.
  3. Remove the lamps.
  4. Shock-proof the fixtures.
  5. Clean the outside of the fixtures.
  6. Clean the inside of the fixtures.
  7. Remove the socket covering.
  8. Insert new lamps.
  9. Replace the louvers.
  10. Straighten the room.
  11. Put lamps away.
When relamping is not combined with cleaning, the tube or bulb is simply replaced. Essentially, this involves turning off the lamps, removing the louvers (if there are any), removing the old lamps, inserting the new lamps, replacing the louvers, straightening the room (if necessary), discarding the old lamps, and putting any good lamps away in storage. Even when cleaning is not scheduled, it is a good idea to check the fixtures to see if they need it. This is especially true if access to the fixture is difficult or time-consuming, as it is with high-mounted fixtures. A lamp changer is particularly useful when relamping is not being combined with cleaning, since it is not necessary to have a person actually at the fixture.

When lamps are replaced, obvious or suspected electrical problems should be noted for repair. This can be easily done by putting a brightly colored tag on the fixture in question. Your electrician will then be alerted to the problem and can repair it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Removing Stains From Carpet

The rapid cleaning of spots and spills is essential in preventing permanent staining of carpet fibers. The use of a good universal spotter is recommended as a 1st approach on all types of spots. Read the instructions before using any product for safety and proper use, but the following procedure is typically suggested:
  • Remove any solids with a spoon/putty knife.
  • Blot up liquids with white terry or paper towels.
  • Spray the stained area with spotter.
  • Wait a few minutes for the product to dwell or work.
  • Repeat above until stain is removed.
  • If spot remains, then try set stain removal procedure below.
Some spots and stains cannot be removed using a universal spotter. The spot may consist of a very difficult to remove material, or it simply has been allowed to age for too long. There are two approaches possible in this situation. The first option uses the same universal spotter, but in combination with a steam iron:
  • Moisten stained area with universal spotter. 
  • Wait a few minutes for the product to dwell or work.
  • Place a white towel over the stained area.
  • Place a steam iron at medium setting on the toweling above the stained carpet (do not place on towel longer than 45 sec.).
  • Move toweling occasionally to provide a clean wicking area to absorb the stain.
  • Repeat this procedure until stain is removed.
  • Dry the area using a hair dryer after stain is removed to prevent the stain from wicking back into the surface of the pile.

Hardwood Floor Stain Removal

Hardwood floors are a very popular in many commercial buildings, apartment buildings, and homes.  Regular cleaning and maintenance by your commercial building cleaning service is crucial to maintaining the appearance of your hard wood floors.   There are some common stains that a commercial building cleaning service will confront during construction cleanup or move-in/move out cleaning for commercial or apartment buildings with hardwood floors. On wood floors, most stains can be prevented or minimized by keeping the floors well waxed and by cleaning up any spilled liquid immediately. When cleaning a stain, always begin at the outer edge and work toward the middle to prevent it from spreading. The following approaches apply to stains that have reached the wood surface, not just the floor finish:
  • Water marks - Rub the spot with #00 steel wool and re-wax. If this fails, sand lightly with fine sandpaper. Clean the spot and the surrounding area using #1 steel wool and mineral spirits or a proprietary floor cleaner. Let the floor dry. Apply matching finish on the floor, feathering out into the surrounding area. Wax after the finish dries thoroughly.
  • Dried milk or food - Rub the spot with a damp cloth. Rub dry and wax.
  • Dark spots & Ink Stains - Clean the spot and surrounding area with # 1 steel wool and a good floor cleaner or mineral spirits. Thoroughly wash the spotted area with household vinegar. If the spot remains, sand with fine sandpaper, feathering out 3 to 4 inches in the surrounding area. Re-wax and polish. If repeated applications of vinegar do not remove the spot, apply oxalic acid solution directly on the spot. (The solution should be 1 ounce of oxalic acid to 1 quart of water. Oxalic acid is a poison: Use rubber gloves.) Pour a small amount on the spot and let stand for one hour. Sponge the spot with clean water. A second treatment may be helpful if the spot remains. If a second treatment with oxalic acid solution fails, sand the area with #00 steel wool. Apply a second coat of finish, let dry and wax. If the spot is still visible, the only remaining remedy is to replace the spotted flooring.
  • Heel marks and caster marks - Rub vigorously with fine still wool and a good floor cleaner. Wipe dry and polish.
  • Animal stains - Spots that are not too old may be removed in the same manner as other dark spots. If the spots resist cleaning efforts, the floor will need to be refinished.
  • Mold - Mold or mildew is a surface condition caused by damp, stagnant air. See that the room is properly ventilated and use a disinfectant that is effective against mold.
  • Chewing gum, crayon, candle wax - Apply ice until the deposit is brittle enough to crumble off. Cleaning fluid poured around the area (not on it) will soak under the deposit and loosen it.
  • Cigarette burns - If the cigarette burns aren't too deep, steel wool will often remove them. Moisten the steel with soap and water to increase its effectiveness.
  • Alcohol spot - Rub with a liquid or paste wax, silver polish, boiled linseed oil, or a cloth barely dampened with ammonia. Re-wax affected area.
  • Oil and grease stains - Rub a high lye-content soap on the stain or saturate cotton with hydrogen peroxide and place the cotton over the stain. Saturate a second layer of cotton with ammonia and place it over the first. Repeat until the stain is removed.
  • Rust stains - Use baking soda and a small amount of water.