Spring Facility Maintenance: Key Building Areas to Check

commercial building that needs summer building maintenanceFacility managers, it’s time to grab hold of the opportunity that comes with spring. Spring is an ideal time for building system maintenance and facility cleaning. It’s time to remove all the grime, wear and tear of winter and prepare the facility and major systems for efficiency and minimal breakdowns over the summer. The spring is also a time to do exterior facility maintenance without the threat (hopefully) of snow.

HVAC

Even commercial heating and cooling systems are susceptible to the conditions of a hard winter. Every facility commercial HVAC system should be cleaned and key components checked. Filters should be changed and, periodically, a duct cleaning performed to minimize allergy issues. The level of the refrigerant needs to be checked. If there is a low level, the unit should be checked for leaks. For optimal operation, moving parts should be lubricated.

Flooring 

Spring is an ideal time of year to strip and wax floors, especially in high-traffic areas. A regular strip and floor wax adds shines to floors and extends the life of the flooring. Schedule floor cleanings for hours when the facility is at low-staff or empty to avoid interruptions in productivity. For carpeted areas, contact a professional floor cleaning service about an after-hours carpet cleaning. In addition to floor cleaning, all rugs placed by doors should be laundered to remove salt, dirt, and grime.

Exterior

While a solid facility exterior may seem infallible, winter conditions can negatively impact a building exterior. Every spring, inspect the building for cracks, holes in caulk around windows, and roofing for damage. Any damage found during inspection should be repaired. The facility should be power washed and gutters cleaned out. All light bulbs in exterior light fixtures should be inspected and light bulbs replaced as needed. The entire exterior maintenance process can be done in-house, outsourced, or completed by both staff and an outside service. (Contact a facility maintenance service for a quote.)

Grounds

Facility ground maintenance is an essential part of building maintenance, especially after a long, hard winter. In addition to being part of maintaining a professional appearance, ground maintenance is a preventative effort.  Trees should be trimmed and branches cleaned up. Maintenance should also be completed on lawns and floor beds. Driveways and sidewalks should be washed and sealed if needed.

Restrooms

Restrooms need a regularly scheduled cleaning and periodic deep cleanings. Spring is an ideal time for a deep restroom clean that sanitizes every surface. A deep restroom clean should be completed during times when the restroom is not utilized by staff or scheduled for off-hours. A deep cleaning is also a chance to do any outstanding scheduled maintenance or repair work.

Spring Cleaning: 6 Quick Tips for a FASTER Deep Clean

mop cleaning floors during spring cleaningSpring cleaning may be a necessary chore, but it doesn’t have to take up your whole day (or weekend). A good deep house cleaning certainly doesn’t have to keep you from enjoying the beautiful spring weather! Here’s how to make this seasonal clean a faster spring cleaning so you can enjoy a clean house and spring fun.

Make a list.

The fastest spring cleaning starts with an organized approach. Before you start your spring cleaning, do a little bit of prep work, such as moving furniture and appliances. Use a spring cleaning checklist so you can get through your tasks quickly and efficiently.

Gather your cleaning supplies.

Before you start wiping or waxing floors, gather all your cleaning supplies into a bucket or caddy. Move from room to room with the caddy and vacuum cleaner, cleaning as you go. This simple effort can save you a lot of time running back and forth for supplies.

Start at the top.

As you clean every room, start at the ceiling. Wipe down the ceiling, ceiling fans, cabinets, top of appliances and tops of doors. This simple step saves you time so you don’t have to clean surfaces twice as dust falls.

Make it a team effort.

If you have any family members assisting with spring cleaning, divide up the tasks on the spring cleaning checklist. For quicker spring clean, contact a cleaning service to do the more intensive deep cleaning tasks. Schedule a home cleaner to mop floors or deep clean the bathrooms.

Don’t wash windows on a bright sunny day.

Window washing is on every spring cleaning checklist. While it might be tempting to clean the windows on a bright sunny day so you can appreciate your work, the sun can dry the cleaner quickly and leave streaks. Though the sun gets the job faster, it also makes it slows down your progress because you have to clean it again.

Be extra careful about floor cleaning.

Don’t be in such a hurry to get floors cleaned that you damage your floors in the process. Be careful not to leave puddles on wood floors which leave water stains. When moving furniture, place cardboard under the heavy items to avoid scratching floors. If you decide to hire a home cleaner for the floor cleaning, contact an experienced cleaning company with experienced cleaners (use these tips for hiring the right cleaning company for your home). The result is a faster spring clean that you can be proud of as you head outside to enjoy the spring weather.

Spring Office Cleaning: 6 Easy Ways to Boost Productivity and Morale

 

office worker working at computer after office spring cleaning

Spring cleaning the company office can be worth the effort, both for productivity and the mind. Just like the warm spring weather, a good company cleaning can be a real boost for productivity and office morale. A deep office clean can make managers and employees head into summer renewed and ready to tackle the work ahead.

Set time aside.

The biggest hurdle to a good office cleaning is time. The best strategy for addressing the effort is a combination of employee cleanings and scheduled cleanings with a professional service. For an in-office desk and file cabinet cleaning, let departments choose the optimal time for cleaning (ideally when there is minimal activity) or schedule a time for the entire office team to tackle the process. For cleanings that interrupt productivity, such as floor cleaning, schedule a commercial cleaning service that can clean during off-hours or weekends.

Organize paper and digital files.

Organization is the key to productivity, making this an essential part of any office spring clean. Managers and employees should take the time to clear out old files, both paper and digital, and organize files of existing clients and projects.

On the digital side, company drives and clouds should be cleaned out and organized. This cleaning task ensures employees find digital files quickly and efficiently without wasting time. Regular IT maintenance should also be part of the office spring cleaning checklist and can be scheduled for the weekends or overnight periods.

Clear away clutter.

In a busy office, it’s normal for clutter to accumulate on any and all open surfaces. A good spring cleaning clears all the clutter away and organizes it. Clutter can also collect in closets and supply cabinets. Once the clutter is removed, reorganize supplies and dust surfaces. Research and add baskets and other storage solutions that can prevent future clutter issues and keep the office look professional and organized.

Clean common areas.

Common areas attract dust and germs, making a deep spring cleaning a must. Managers and employees should regularly disinfect, wipe down, and dust machines and appliances in these areas, such as printers, water coolers, and coffee makers. Disinfection should be done properly without damaging machine key boards and other critical areas. Since these areas are frequently used, cleaning common areas can also be added to a regular cleaning checklist that is given to a commercial cleaning service.

Disinfect kitchens, restrooms, and conference rooms.

Spring is typically the end of flu and cold season, and the right time to disinfect and clean kitchens, restrooms, and conference rooms. All surfaces in these rooms should be cleaned and disinfected, either by office staff or a commercial cleaning service.

Clean rugs and floors.

Winter in Wisconsin is hard on office floors. Snow and salt can damage flooring and become a safety hazard. When spring hits, a deep floor cleaning removes the layers of snow and salt. On a hard floor, a floor waxing protects the floor and extends the life of the floor. A carpet clean eliminates salt build-up, revitalizes carpet fibers, and removes any deep allergens. For minimal disruptions, schedule floor cleanings with a commercial cleaning service during off-hours or weekends.

Your Complete Home Office Cleaning Checklist

Young business woman sitting at her desk in office with her legs on the desk. Caucasian female relaxing and looking up in home officeSometimes it can feel like we live in our home office, which is probably why our home work spaces are common residences for cobwebs, dust, and even (gasp!) germs. Computer keyboards, file cabinets, and printers can get incredibly dirty from all those long hours and all-nighters.

The old saying, “time is money” definitely applies to dirty home offices. Those hours cleaning an office aren’t billable, but they can be invaluable for keeping an office clean and organized. When time for home office cleaning is short, don’t hesitate to add it to the home cleaning list for your home cleaners. Your home cleaner can use this checklist, or use their own tips and tricks for an efficient and professional deep clean.

Home Office Cleaning Checklist

Overall Office Cleaning

___ Clear away clutter, such as pens and piles of paper

___ Clean light fixtures

___ Dust fan blades on ceiling fans

___ Clean windows

___ Dust window sills and trim

___ Launder curtains and drapes

___ Vacuum and dust blinds

___ Deep clean flooring

___ Wipe down rug protectors/chair mats

___ Vacuum and clean rugs

___ Empty wastebaskets and recycle bins

___ Vacuum closets

___ Deep clean coffee makers and sanitize controls

Office Furniture

___ Remove books and items from bookshelves

___ Dust bookshelves

___ Dust top of cabinets

___ Clean file cabinet doors

___ Dust desktop

___ Clean table tops and other workspaces

___ Vacuum between office furniture and the wall

___ Wipe down and vacuum desk chair

___ Empty refrigerator

___ Clean top and sides of refrigerator

___ Wipe down shelves and refrigerator drawers

Office Tools

___ Wipe down staplers and other desktop items

___ Clean monitors and screens

___ Sanitize computer mouse

___ Clean keyboard (use these instructions for safe keyboard cleaning)

___ Sanitize key pads and controls on printers, scanners, fax machines, and other IT equipment

___ Clean telephones, headsets, and ear buds

How to Keep Your Office Germ Free (with Cleaning Checklist)

sick employee holding head at officeThe amount of money lost by US employers is staggering; sick employees cost the US more than 500 billion every year. Any business owner or manager can attest to the fact that sick employees are a major disruption. Sick employees can attest to the fact that sick days are no fun and that germs can spread like wildfire through the office.

Fortunately, there are strategic ways to prevent the spread of germs and stop the transmission of flu, cold, strep, and other illnesses. The easiest way is to make disinfecting wipes available to employees. Wipes can be stored with cleaning supplies and in common areas where employees can use them to clean equipment.

Hand washing is the next line of defense. In busy offices where employees can’t get away, strategically-placed hand sanitizer is an easy way to prevent the spread of germs. Hand sanitizer should be put out in areas where employees have convenient access, such as common areas.

When even the best efforts to stem the flow of germs fails, a full workplace disinfection is the only solution. Office cleaning can be done during by internal staff during business hours (using the workplace disinfection checklist below) or completed by a commercial cleaning service after-hours. A commercial cleaning service tasked with an after-hours disinfection minimizes disruptions and ensures that the cleaning is done all-at-once or periodically to rid the office of germs.

Office Disinfection Checklist

  • ___ Wipe down door knobs (exterior & interior)
  • ___ Disinfect printer, scanner, and fax machine controls
  • ___ Wash candy bowls
  • ___ Clean desktops and staplers
  • ___ Disinfect phone cradle, handsets, and headsets
  • ___ Remove germs from every computer keyboard and mouse (use this step-by-step guide on disinfecting computer keyboard)
  • ___ Disinfect trash cans
  • ___ Wipe down office chairs
  • ___ Clean all conference room furniture, including countertops, tables, and chairs
  • ___ Sanitize the kitchen
    • Kitchen faucet
    • Kitchen appliances (toaster, microwave, stove, etc.)
    • Chairs and tables
    • Kitchen refrigerator (door, handle & interior)
    • Kitchen cabinet knobs
    • Dishwasher controls
  • ___ Disinfect the coffee maker (all handles and controls)
  • ___ Sanitize the bathroom
    • Faucets
    • Paper towel dispensers
    • Counters
    • Bathroom door handles
    • Hand dryer controls
    • Toilet seats and handles
    • Stall door handles
    • Stall garbage cans
    • Soap dispensers
    • Bathroom waste receptacles

5 Cleaning Steps that Solve Dirty Winter Floors

snow covered backyard where snow is tracked in and makes floors dirtyWhile the winter snow may make for some beautiful scenery outside, the snow and ice can wreak havoc on all types of home flooring. Even the most durable floors are susceptible to long-term damage from dirty footprints and snowy puddles, but there are steps you can take to keep floors clean through all the wintry weather that Mother Nature throws at us.

Start outside.

The logical first step is to keep all the snow, ice, and gravel before it reaches the floors. Clean sidewalks and driveways as thoroughly as possible. Use salt to thaw remaining ice and snow. Put down doormats outside all doors to catch the snow, ice, and salt. The latter can be one of the chief causes of damage and dirty floors.

Put down rugs.

Interior rugs are a great way to add interest to a room, but they are also a safeguard that protects floors from damage. Place rugs by all exterior doors and in high-traffic areas, such as hallways and foyers. If you have pets in the home, train them to stop on mats and rugs inside the doors (before they track it in). Clean off their paws with a towel or rag (and any other parts that are covered in snow and mud) to minimize the mess.

Regularly sweep away debris.

When dragged along the floor, gravel, salt, and ice can scratch the floor. Lessen your risk by regularly sweeping hard floors or vacuuming carpet to remove the debris (or include it on the list of tasks for your home cleaner, along with a dry mop). Be careful about cleaning tools that push the debris into the floor; this can also cause scratches on hard flooring.

Dry mop.

Salt and dirt can build up on hard floors, leaving a residue that can wear down the floor finish and wear down flooring. After removing debris with a good sweep (this prevents scratching), do a dry mop with a cleaner to remove any build-up. Choose the floor cleaner carefully; some cleaners may void the floor warranty, while others may not remove salt residue.

Schedule a floor deep cleaning.

All flooring, hard and carpeting, needs a regular deep clean. For carpet, a deep clean can remove allergens and revitalize carpet fibers. A tile cleaning removes stains from grout and makes tile look like new. Though deep cleaning is not complicated, it does take time. If you’d rather leave the job to the professionals, schedule a floor deep cleaning.

Hardwood floors need a deep clean to keep them from looking dingy, though the exact cleaner for a deep clean depends on the floor finish. Vinegar (diluted in water) has long been touted as the ultimate hardwood floor cleaner, but should only be used after consulting the manufacturer. If it is not recommended, don’t use it because vinegar can damage the floor finish. When deep cleaning hardwood floor, always be careful about not leaving puddles on the floor. Water left on the floor can permanently damage and stain the floor; use fans and dehumidifiers to control the humidity and prevent damage.

10 Cleaning Tips that Protect Office Floors from Snow

office space in a facility where they are analyzing outsourcing or in-house cleaningProtecting office floors from the ice, snow, and salt that comes with our freezing Midwestern winters is more than just an effort to keep your office presentable. Well-cared for office floors are an effort that also keeps office staff safe and lengthens the life of office floors.

The effort to protect office floors starts outside the door. Often, the culprit of dirty floors is neglected sidewalks and parking lots. Office staff and visitors track the grime in, creating a build-up that can be difficult (and more expensive) to remove.

For that reason and for staff safety, extra care should be taken to keep parking lots clear of snow and ice. Designate a staff member or service who is responsible for the task and ensure that the parking lot is cleaned prior to and whenever our snowy Wisconsin winter strikes.

Lobbies

  • Add rugs by all exterior doors to protect floors from salt and snow that is tracked in.
  • Replace rugs and mats as they get damaged and worn.
  • Vacuum and mop lobbies regularly to keep them clean and safe.

Carpets

Hard Floors

  • Use a light mop to remove melted snow and salt. (This is also an important safety measure.)
  • Mop floors regularly to remove salt, which can damage and wear down floors.
  • Schedule a regular floor stripping and waxing.
  • Don’t miss a deep cleaning, which can cost more if salt and dirt build-up.

How can I find a home cleaner?

home bathroom ready for spring cleaningA home cleaner can be the answer to all those times when you needed help cleaning the house or don’t have time for a deep cleaning. (And that’s not even counting all those times when you need to get ready for party guests or the in-laws visit.) Knowing when you need a home cleaner is easy. Finding and hiring a home cleaner can be more difficult.

The path to a good home cleaner is actually a series of steps that can take a family from in serious need of a cleaning to “oh, I’m so glad we have a home cleaner.”

Decide between a service or individual

There are two main kinds of home cleaners: cleaning services and individuals. Both home cleaning options come with pros and cons.

Cleaning services are available to clean as often and when is needed, whereas individual cleaners can usually come on a schedule that works for them. Both options should come with insurance (be very careful about hiring cleaners that don’t) in case of damage to items or property. Another advantage of a cleaning service is that they usually employ many cleaners, meaning that a cleaner is available in case another cannot make it.

The difference in price between the two depends on the individual or the cleaning service. Before contacting a home cleaner, make a list of cleaning tasks that need to be done and decide on how often the tasks need to be done (i.e. weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc.) Once the list is finalized, contact the cleaner for a free quote.

Ask for recommendations

One of the best and easiest ways to find a home cleaner is to ask friends and family for recommendations. Be leery of recommendations that aren’t based on personal experience. Often, people recommend their friend, family member, or a friend of a friend without knowing if they do a good job.

Research your options

Don’t be afraid to do as much research as possible about your potential home cleaners. Ask cleaning services and individuals for references. Check social media and review sites for positive and negative feedback.

Conduct a thorough interview

Before hiring a cleaner or scheduling a cleaning, always interview prospective cleaners. Ask these questions over the phone or in-person:

  • “How long have you been in business? Can you provide references from past clients?”
  • “Can you provide proof of insurance? What is the process for reporting if anything is damaged?”
  • “Do you do background checks on your cleaners?”
  • “Do I need to provide any cleaning supplies?”
  • “How do I contact you to schedule a home cleaning?”
  • “Do I need to be home? Is there a process for giving you access if I am not home?”
  • “Do I need to secure my pet while the home cleaner is here?”
  • “What is the cost of your cleaning services? Is it an hourly or set amount? Are there any additional fees?”
  • “Are there any cleaning services you cannot perform?”
  • “Who should I contact if there are any issues? How should I contact them?”
  • “Do you provide a contract with all the terms and conditions on paper?”

Why are office floors stripped and waxed?

stripped and waxed building floorsDaily foot traffic can do a number on office floors, especially when debris, snow, and ice are tracked in by customers and employees. Rugs, regular mopping, and vacuuming can remove the debris, but floor maintenance is only a battle to keep floors safe and in peak condition.

What is floor stripping and waxing?

A floor finish protects the floor from the wear and tear of daily foot traffic. Floor stripping is the process of removing the finish. After stripping, floors are waxed to protect the floor and extend the life of the floor.

How often should floors be stripped and waxed?

The schedule for floor stripping and waxing depends on the amount and frequency of foot traffic. In a busy company, floor stripping and waxing should be scheduled monthly. When an interruption of company business and productivity is a concern, contact a commercial cleaner that can perform the floor stripping and waxing during off-hours (such as overnight or after business hours). For companies with light foot traffic, floor stripping and waxing can be done every 5-6 months.

Why should floors be stripped and waxed?

Floor stripping and waxing is a necessary part of building maintenance with several benefits:

  • Adds shine. Floor stripping and waxing gives floors a sheen, which plays an important role in creating a favorable first impression with customers and employees.
  • Extends floor life. A regularly scheduled floor waxing minimizes damage to floors, keeps floors in excellent condition, and extends the life of flooring. This important deep cleaning task lessens the need for and cost of new flooring.

When it’s time for a floor stripping and waxing, contact a local commercial cleaning service to find out options and get a quote. When trying to minimize disruptions to employee productivity and client visits, ask about scheduling the floor strip and wax for an evening, weekend, or overnight.

12 Floor Cleaning Tricks for Every Kind of Floor

living room with floors cleaned with floor cleaning tricksFloor cleaning may not be the most complicated home cleaning chore, but it can leave lasting stains and damage long after done. Of course, the easiest and most efficient way to get a clean floor is to hire the professionals; the biggest benefit of this home cleaning trick is that you can take all the credit for your sparkling clean floors.

To make the floor deep cleaning easier (and hopefully involving less elbow grease), use these floor maintenance tips:

  • Sweep or vacuum regularly.
  • If using a vacuum cleaner, purchase a vacuum that won’t void the warranty and won’t damage floors.
  • Place mats by all doors to keep debris from being tracked in.
  • When letting pets in, clean off their paws.
  • Teach kids to wipe their feet off after being outside.
  • Leave all shoes by the door.

If you’re still interested in rolling up your sleeves, use these big floor cleaning tips and tricks to get every floor in your home clean and sparkling.

Carpet

  • When cleaning a spot, avoid hard scrubbing (it can damage carpet fibers).
  • Make sure you are using a cleaner that doesn’t damage the flooring. (Test the cleaner on an area that is hidden.)
  • Don’t leave puddles when carpet cleaning.
  • Frequently change water during carpet cleaning.

Laminate & Wood Floors

  • Completely sweep or vacuum before a deep clean to prevent scratching from debris.
  • Use a fan to dry laminate and wood floors without leaving puddles.

Tile

  • Don’t use a sponge mop, which can dig the dirt into the flooring.
  • When mopping, change water frequently so you are using clean water.
  • Be careful about choosing soap for flooring cleaning; it can leave a residue.

Luxury Vinyl

  • Sweep or vacuum before cleaning.
  • Use a non-abrasive cleaner to avoid damage (make sure you use an approved cleaner to avoid voiding the warranty).
  • Grab the gentlest scrubber for a deep clean.