Floor Maintenance: The Shining (or not)

floor maintenance

We walk all over them, we run on them, we scratch them and track dirt all over them, yet the only time we notice them is when they’re dirty, worn or uneven. We’re talking about floors, of course — and floor maintenance.

Shiny or matte?

Most people think that shiny floors are a sign of good housekeeping. They might be a bit slippery but at least they’re clean, right? As opposed to matte floors, which might not be as attractive to some, but offer better traction.

Shiny floors do tend to be the preference for most North American business owners because the belief is that if it’s shiny, it’s clean — and cleaning contractors deliver what the customer wants.

But according to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), European businesses prefer matte flooring. So it’s less about the look of the floor and more about safety. In fact, Europeans think that shiny floors are sort of odd.

So, which floor finish is better?

Clean vs. shine

When it comes to floor maintenance, the notion that shiny floors are cleaner than matte ones may seem like a no-brainer. But there’s a big difference between shiny-clean and shiny-dirty. If enough elbow grease and chemicals are used, you can always make a dirty floor shine.

The most important step in maintaining a shiny floor is the cleaning that’s performed before the shining. Filthy mop buckets and dirty equipment are a couple of the main offenders in this shiny-yet-dirty equation. Floors must be thoroughly cleaned before buffing — because buffing alone merely pushes the dirt around and can actually damage the flooring.

There’s no connection between cleanliness and shininess. And, of course, matte floors need to be cleaned just as thoroughly as shiny floors.

Endurance and shine

The greatest threat to floor maintenance is plain, old dirt. Once grit and grime is ground in to the surface of a floor the only way to bring it back is to completely strip and refinish it, which can be time-consuming and expensive. A consistent, thorough cleaning regimen is the best way to keep costs down and prolong the life of any flooring surface.

Shiny floors do marginally improve the durability and lifespan of a floor, depending on the various polishing sealants and finishes used. But the best way to prolong floor life, regardless of finish, is regular cleaning.

What about safety?

Whether dull or glossy, a clean floor is a safer floor because a clean surface improves contact between the floor and the soles of our shoes.

But even if a shiny floor is clean, it can be harder to see moisture on a shiny floor. Indeed, that beautiful shine can act like camouflage, leading to inadvertent slips and falls.

Floor safety can now be measured by using something called a tribometer. Developed by the NFSI, the Universal Walkway Tester (UWT) is a nifty piece of equipment that can determine how slippery a floor is. The UWT supplies cleaning contractors and their customers with measurable data in regards to floor safety. If a floor is found to be unsafe there are methods and various finishes that can be used to improve safety.

The Verdict

So, at the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter what kind of finish a floor has, shiny or matte — it really just has to be clean.

For the low-down on floor maintenance and cleaning options for your plant or office space, feel free to contact us.

At Allcare, we care about clean.

 

Zen and the Art of Spring Cleaning

spring cleaning

The spring is sprung, the grass is riz, time to get on the cleaning biz. The birds are singing, flowers are popping and the world’s getting a fresh start. Spring is the season of renewal and rebirth, so why not do the same for your home? The practice of cleaning is a powerful force for happiness.

If the mere thought of spring-cleaning seems overwhelming, take a deep breath and relax. Below are a few tips to help you establish a plan of attack.

Clutter Be Gone!

You know what we’re talking about. Clutter can cause stress, and dealing with it is instrumental in creating a calming environment. Om…

Now is a great time to purge your space of unnecessary stuff. So before you begin deep cleaning your home, first get rid of unnecessary clutter and voilà! Just the thought of spring cleaning becomes less intimidating. The less you have, the less you have to clean.

Room-by-Room

A smart, strategic spring cleaning battle plan is to methodically go through the house room by room. Make a schedule and start from the top to the bottom of your home. Be realistic and don’t try to tackle it all in a day. Make a checklist for each room, zero in on areas that have been neglected and deal with the easy stuff later. Here’s a terrific room-by-room cleaning breakdown.

Pay attention to the things that you normally wouldn’t bother with. Like the baseboards, cabinets, overhead fixtures and light switches. The Zen philosophy is to be mindful and present as you clean — that means noticing all the little details. It can be very relaxing.

Spring Clean Green

It’s spring and fresh, a new start to the year — you don’t want to expose yourself and your family to toxic chemical cleaners. There are so many ways to deep clean your house naturally, freshen the indoor air and save money by using easy-to-prepare natural cleaning formulas. Guaranteed, you’ve already got most of the ingredients for natural cleaners in your pantry.

There’s No Cheat Sheet

So, you’ve made up your mind and you’re bound and determined to tackle the job head on. No more procrastinating. But before you dive in and start the good fight, don’t make these common mistakes:

Wait: Just a quick spritz will do it, don’t rush and scrub — spray and walk away. Bathroom mold, grout buildup and rust may seem impossible to clean no matter how hard you scrub. Let the cleaning agent soak into the surface for a while before scrubbing, it works much better.

Make a Plan:  We’ve already mentioned the importance of having a plan, so do it! Why waste your time flitting from one job to the other, only finishing half of one and dashing off to another? Decide on the rooms you want to clean, in what order and on what day, and methodically do it. Hint: Clean the most difficult rooms first.

Sunny Day Window Cleaning: Nope, don’t do it when the sun is shining, do it another day. Window cleaner dries really fast in the heat of the sun, creating streaks across the glass and it doesn’t matter how fast you wipe it off. Wait until the temperature is below 18c degrees and a tad overcast.

Wait, There’s More!

As the sun shines through your crystal clear windows and the warm breeze wafts throughout your sparkling clean home, you hear the songbirds singing and you look outside  — remember, at Allcare, we care about clean.

Contact us to find out how we can make your business sparkle.

The Invisible Army: why it may be time to re-think your cleaning staff

cleaning staff

 

When they do it nobody notices, and when they don’t, everyone does. But just who are “they” and what do they do?

Your cleaning staff is the invisible army that sweeps in and cleans your workplace when you’re not there so the following day can begin smoothly and efficiently. Just imagine if there were no cleaners. What would your plant or office look, smell and feel like?

These nighttime ninjas are dedicated employees who take pride in their work, often for many years at the same location, unknown and unrecognized by the 9-to-5 inhabitants of the places they clean.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T  (just a little bit)

Not only are cleaners generally invisible to staff because they work at night, many staff members don’t even give them a second thought. But keeping your cleaning staff in mind isn’t just nice, it actually creates efficiency so you can get more for your janitorial buck.

Consider for a moment: when an employee leaves a messy work space, it’s sort of like your teen leaving their dirty laundry all over the place and expecting you to pick it up before you get down to the vacuuming and dusting. Frustrating, right?

Leaving a neat desk or work space at the end of the day helps your cleaners be more effective by allowing them to spend more time on the deep-cleaning jobs that keep your office super-spiffy, fresh-smelling and germ-free.

Over and above

In addition to their regular duties, your cleaners do a lot of things that aren’t technically in their job description.

They’re a Lost and Found department for stray wallets, jewellery and smartphones. They monitor the coffee machine that everyone forgets to turn off. They lock the doors, set the alarm system, and switch off lights when the last employee leaves the building. Your cleaners also alert office and plant managers to after-hour emergencies like flooding, electrical problems and other facility issues.

And because cleaning staff mainly work at night, they’re like de facto security guards for many companies.

Allcare founder Chris Kandelas illustrates the point: “We had a cleaner at a building that was working after hours and there was a female staff member working late. She was the only one in the building besides the cleaning crew. The cleaner took it upon himself to keep an eye on her while she got safely to her car in the dark parking lot. As the customer later said, ‘That was over and above what they’re here to do.'”

Your cleaning staff is part of the team

Human nature being what it is, cleaning staff are sometimes blamed when things go missing or something is broken. It’s easy to point the finger at someone from outside the company rather than take the time to find a plausible explanation. But remember: just like you and your co-workers, your cleaners never want to jeopardize their jobs by doing something unethical.

We really are a part of your team — whether you see us or not.

—–

“We care about clean” is Allcare’s motto. It reflects our philosophy and provides the direction for everything we do. Whether it’s our approach to cleaning or the way our clients and employees are treated, it’s all about caring.

And so far, it’s been a successful approach. Naturally.

Get in touch today for your no-obligation quote.

 

Planning with Tomorrow in Mind: Developing a Sustainability Committee

A sustainability committee is a group within an organization whose mission is to find solutions that make it greener and more environmentally responsible — and put these ideas into motion. The committee has to work to mobilize people to make sure the best sustainable practices are implemented throughout the organization.

Once an organization is convinced that it’s in their best interests to strive to be more environmentally friendly, creating a sustainability committee is a great next step. Typically, the team will have two elements: a steering committee, which consists of management, and an action team that implements the plan.

The Sustainability Steering Committee

A steering committee is comprised of senior management as well as other key stakeholders (such as department representatives, and operations) who have the authority to make major decisions. The steering committee is responsible for maintaining project momentum, which is important especially when facing political hurdles brought on by change. They are also responsible for providing support to the action team and keeping them on track.

When building a steering committee and action team, their needs to be a coordinator who works with both teams. (In some cases, an outside individual such as a vendor, consultant, or green cleaning advocate can serve as the coordinator, but frequently these people play the role of key advisor to the coordinator.)

The primary role of the coordinator is team management and leadership.  Their specific functions include:

  1. Leadership: Coordinating the steering committee and action team.
  2. Communication: Ensuring the two groups have the information needed to make timely and informed decisions, while the management is kept aware of progress and that questions are answered quickly and accurately.
  3. Problem-Solving: Being aware of any problems that may be developing, coordinating efforts to deal with them quickly, and calling for outside assistance when required.
  4. Point of Contact: Serving as point of contact for all questions, communications, concerns, or other issues between the implementation teams, management, administration, staff and employees.
The Action Team

The action team (or green team if you prefer) includes the people who are responsible for the day-to-day activities and details involved in implementing the plan. They’re involved in everything from collecting the initial information that reviews the current situation to reviewing results and modifying procedures to achieve the desired results.

It can be difficult to choose the members of your action team. We recommend the following tips to help you come up with the best group:

  1. Include members from all aspects of your organization. This does not only include your office employees, but those who work in your plant or warehouse. Or those in the maintenance department, your contract service providers (i.e., cleaners, HVAC company, lawn maintenance, property managers, health and safety officers, waste management, pest management, etc.).
  2. Include employees who have expressed an interest. Those who are interested in improving the indoor air quality of your building and saving the environment should be highly motivated.
  3. Try to get those who are hesitant about the idea on board. These reluctant or skeptical folks could turn out to be the project’s biggest supporters.
  4. Invite customers or regular visitors to your facility to become members. Those with an outside perspective of your building bring a valuable perspective to your project.

Having the right members on your sustainability committee can make it easier to roll out sustainable practices across every segment of your organization. And having a sustainability coordinator who can work with the steering committee and the action team can help the groups work together.

Sustainability committees are capable of tremendous change within their organization and the greater environment, and creating a formal structure helps them make their biggest impact.

Get in touch

Allcare has the experience and expertise to advise your organization’s Sustainability Committee and even help facilitate its start-up if you don’t currently have one.

We advise on establishing Green Housekeeping programs as part of your organization’s sustainability efforts and assist in optimizing its institutional capacity around sustainability.

Clean Building = Productivity

Building related illnesses affect many Canadian workers. Many experience respiratory complaints, asthma, and allergies. This causes lost work times and poor productivity in employees.

Improving indoor air quality fights building related illnesses and saves organizations money.

Providing a clean and safe workplace encourages employees to maintain their premises. Intern, this too saves the organization money.

It also encourages employee moral and is a good representation of your company to your customers.

Spring Cleaning

With spring around the corner, it’s time to start preparing.

It’s around this time of the year that the snow has finished and is melting away. Your building has taken a beating because of the salt and dirt being tracked in.

It is very important to start scheduling that spring cleaning now!

The following are services we provide to get your building back up to beautiful.

Carpet Steam Cleaning: It is important to remove all the salt and stains to your carpet to extend its life expectancy.

Stripping and Waxing of Floors: Salt fades the shine on floors and damages the floor finish.

Window Cleaning: We offer both interior and exterior of windows

Painting: Rejuvenate the appearance of your office and improve employee moral.

Light Fixture Cleaning: In the fall, flies and bugs hibernate into offices and end up in your light fixtures near the heat. These can be vacuumed and washed.

Call us today to schedule your spring cleaning!

Is your office mold-free? Here’s how to deal with this health-impacting problem

mold

Concern about indoor exposure to mold has increased along with public awareness that it can cause a variety of health effects and symptoms, including allergic reactions.

In the workplace, just like at home, mold growth needs to be strictly avoided.  Significant problems can arise if the growth is left unchecked, affecting the look and smell of your facility — and possibly even causing structural damage.

How does it grow?

Mold can grow on virtually any surface, as long as there is moisture or water, oxygen and an organic source.

These tiny toxic organisms reproduce by creating spores that are too small to be seen by the human eye — and these spores continually float throughout the indoor and outdoor air.  Exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose and throat in certain individuals, especially those prone to asthma or with weakened immune systems.

Don’t let the mold take hold

Moisture control is key to mold control.  When leaks or spills occur indoors, act promptly.  Any moisture problems should be addressed and cleaned properly.

Here are some key steps to avoid an overgrowth:

  • repair leaky plumbing or leaks in the building structure as soon as possible
  • look for condensation and wet spots, and fix the source of the moisture immediately
  • perform regular HVAC and roof inspections
  • maintain indoor relative humidity below 70%
  • be sure to properly vent moisture-generating appliances
  • provide adequate drainage around the building and slopping
  • pinpoint areas where leaks have occurred, identifying the causes, and taking preventative action to ensure that they do not re occur.
Get in touch

We can take care of any existing mold or mildew problems and show you how to avoid them in the first place.

Carpet Maintenance Programs

A successful carpet maintenance program begins with good housekeeping practices.  Commercial carpeting is a significant capital investment and deserves proper maintenance.  Regular and periodic cleaning of your carpets increases the life span and contributes to maintaining a great appearance. There is a difference between cleaning and maintenance.

When deciding on a maintenance program, there are several factors that need to be taken into account.

They are frequency of use, foot traffic, desired appearance, available equipment, and most of all budgets.

There are four different categories to carpet maintenance:

  1. Preventative Maintenance
  2. Regular Maintenance
  3. Interim Maintenance
  4. Periodic Maintenance

Preventative Maintenance: The more a carpet becomes soiled, the more difficult and expensive it is to clean.  Providing adequate entrance matting, good housekeeping, and providing spill kits to clean immediate spills.

Regular Maintenance: This consists of vacuuming all traffic areas regularly and spot removal as required.  Special attention to be paid to entrance and heavy traffic areas.  Also detailed vacuuming (corner to corner) on a weekly basis.

Interim Maintenance: This is used to clean or brighten the appearance of the carpet by removing the surface dirt.  This can be done by carpet bonneting or shampooing.

Periodic Maintenance: This is wet cleaning.  Typical practices are based on shampooing using a high foam carpet shampoo, or spray extraction cleaning using a low foam detergent. Shampooing involves the use of a rotary or cylindrical brush machine which brushes a shampoo solution (“wet” shampoo) or a shampoo foam (“dry” shampoo) into the carpet pile. After this is completed, the dirt-laden shampoo is either sucked out of the pile by means of a wet pick-up machine, rinsed out using a spray extraction machine (charged with water only). Spray extraction cleaning injects a detergent solution into the carpet pile, immediately followed by an integral wet pick-up system. Cleaning efficiency can be improved by pre-spraying the carpet with the low foam shampoo 10 minutes prior to spray extraction.

To discuss setting up a maintenance program for you carpets, please contact 905-856-8558.

Importance of Entrance Matting

Importance of Entrance MattingDirt, dust, and grime enter our workplace everyday.  Approximately 70 to 80% of the dust, dirt and allergens, enter through our front door.

It is important to have (where possible) 10-15 ft. of matting at all entrances to trap and reduce the amount of dirt entering your site.

Tracked in dirt can lead to premature destruction of floor finish, and your carpet.  It can cause stains on your carpet, track in salt, mud and moisture, therefore reducing the life span of your flooring material.  Matting also minimizes the slip/fall liability.

Entrance matting ranges from scrapper mats, wiper mats, and a combination of wiper/scraper mats.  They each provide there own function which is to trap and remove dirt and moisture.

To receive further information on protecting your employees and your facility, and to help you decide what time of matting best suits your building, please call 905-856-8558.