All posts by Shannon@kdinteractive.com

Home Water Damage Restoration Tips

room restored and repaired after water damage with new drywallFlooding in your home is never a welcome sight, but the mere presence of water should prompt immediate action. Quick water removal and restoration is the key to getting your home back to its original condition—and you back to enjoying a water-free home. Here’s why, and other water damage restoration tips for a smooth and easy recovery process.

Why do I need to remove water and clean up water damage right away?

It doesn’t matter if the water damage is from a leaky roof or heavy rainfalls. Water damage needs to be cleaned up immediately (or addressed by a water restoration company). The Environmental Protection Agency recommends throwing away items that haven’t been dried out and restored within 48 hours.

Delaying the water removal and restoration work can lead to health hazards, both in the long- and short-term. In optimal conditions, mold can grow as soon as 24 hours after a home is flooded. Over time, mold can spread, cause more damage, and even become a major health hazard. This process can also lead to more expense and repairs.

What should I do when I find water in my home?

  • Never enter a flooded room if the electricity and gas is still on. Always turn off the power and gas (without wading through the water) to prevent electrocutions and accidents.
  • Be very cautious about wading into sewage back-ups and water that could contain chemicals. These conditions can cause injuries and may need more extensive disinfection and clean-up.
  • Always take pictures of the flooding and water damage for future use. These photos can be invaluable when communicating with the insurance company.
  • Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to initiate the water damage restoration process.
  • Hire a water damage restoration company that has experience working with insurance companies; these businesses are familiar with the process and can make the recovery process easier with less hassles.
  • If the water damage is caused by a repairable issue, such as a leaky roof, take preventative measures (i.e. putting a tarp over a hole, turning off the water) to keep more water from coming into your home (if possible).

What is water damage restoration?

Water damage restoration and repair is more than just water clean-up. Reputable water damage restoration companies come into flooded homes, remove the water (if needed), and start the drying out process with fans and de-humidifiers.

Professionals start cleaning hard surfaces (and disinfecting, if needed) and removing porous materials that absorb water. Removal of these materials is necessary because these materials are more susceptible to microorganism growth. Specifically, removing drywall and sub-flooring boards is a way to find any hidden water damage (and mold) and dry out wet surfaces.

The last step is restoration and repair, which returns the space (and many of its contents) back to the original condition. In a flooded room, insulation and drywall are rehung. The drywall is mudded and textured. When completed, the space should look as “good as new”—or at least, as good as it was before the water damage.

Commercial Water Damage Restoration Tips

water splash from frozen burst home pipeAll those heavy rainfalls may seem innocent, but the result (flooding) can wreak havoc on business facilities. Flooded rooms can interrupt operations and service delivery and lead to extensive commercial water damage restoration services. If not addressed soon enough, water damage can also turn into a major health hazard and cost more for remediation.

Water damage can occur because of a:

  • once-in-a-hundred-year flooding or major weather system,
  • pipe break or leak,
  • sewage system malfunction,
  • sprinkler system leak or malfunction,
  • machine malfunction,
  • leaking appliance,
  • pump issues.

When flooding does hit, it makes financial cents to know these tips for water damage restoration and removal.

Be careful about entering a flooded room.

Even the clearest flooded water can be hazardous, especially if there is electrical equipment and gas lines present. Before venturing into the flooded area, the gas and electric in the room or building should be turned off—UNLESS it cannot be turned off without going into the water.

Evaluate the type of water.

The amount of clean-up that can be done safely depends on the level and types of contaminants in the water. A small amount of water without any or a low level of contaminants (i.e. chemicals, sewage, etc.) can be cleaned up with minimal risk. If there are a significant amount of contamination, contact the professionals to remove the water and clean up any damage.

Contact the insurance company ASAP.

Once the immediate threat has passed, the damage should be carefully documented for future use. In addition to initial photos, an additional evaluation should be done for hidden damage, such as foundation cracks. Be cautious about initiating the clean-up process without insurance company approval; an experienced commercial water restoration service can often assist with navigating through the process.

Make sure the clean-up is thorough.

When the flood waters have saturated any materials, such as batting insulation, the clean-up may involve some replacement and repair. If these materials are not completely replaced, mold can germinate in as little as 24 hours (in ideal conditions) and become a health hazard. Flooding can also permanently damage electrical systems and computers.

 

20+ Office Cleaning Tasks that Don’t Get Done

workplace with employees that needs deep office cleaningOur workplaces are full of furniture and spaces that we pass and use every day, but often don’t make the list for regular office cleanings. While these areas may seem like no big deal, the truth of the matter is that these spaces are often hot beds for germs and allergens.

Since employee sick days are a major interruption to productivity, it makes cents (pun intended) to invest in a regular deep cleaning. The exact definition of ‘regular’ depends on the amount of foot traffic and activity. These deep cleanings can be scheduled with a commercial cleaning service for after-hours or days when the office is empty to minimize disruptions.

When compiling a list of office deep cleaning tasks, include regular tasks, such as a regular flooring stripping and waxing, and any tasks from this office cleaning checklist that aren’t regularly completed. In addition, add these areas that often don’t get added to the list of office cleaning tasks.

  1. Behind kitchen appliances (i.e. refrigerator, toaster, etc.)
  2. Light fixtures
  3. Kitchen appliance handles
  4. Microwave
  5. Window blinds
  6. Window treatments
  7. Office chairs
  8. Counters in common areas
  9. Drawer handles on desks
  10. Supply cabinet knobs
  11. Interior door knobs
  12. Touch screens on printers and fax machines
  13. File cabinets (tops and handles)
  14. Light switches
  15. Elevator controls
  16. Phone headsets
  17. Exterior doors
  18. Ducts (and duct covers)
  19. Baseboards
  20. Tops of cubicles and cabinets
  21. Ceiling fans
  22. Building exterior
  23. Behind printers and office machines

Many of these areas are hotbeds for germs and can contribute to the spread of workplace illness. If there is a series of absences due to illness, facility managers and workplace managers should consider scheduling a full company sanitation to stem the spread of germs.

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.