Sustainable Cleaning Best Practices

Sustainable Cleaning Best Practices

In recent years, sustainability has become a hot topic for consumers, especially those in younger generations. To put it simply, businesses everywhere can expect more customers when they pursue greener practices. This phenomenon holds true for cleaning services, so companies should quickly adjust to the growing demand for cleaner, greener products and methods. If customers and clients know you’re using sustainable cleaning practices in your offices and warehouses, they’ll likely be more inclined to do business with you.

Here’s an in-depth look at how to clean more sustainably as a business.

Essentially, customers and clients alike are more interested in green products and services these days.

The Trend Toward Sustainable Cleaning

While some elements of sustainable cleaning have existed for many years, they’re not always a part of mainstream standards, especially in the commercial cleaning industry. However, that’s rapidly changing, as sustainable cleaning practices are considered one of the most popular trends, leading to big changes. This trend is largely driven by consumer awareness of sustainable issues and a strong desire to have a smaller environmental footprint.

Essentially, customers and clients alike are more interested in green products and services these days. But aside from bringing in more money for businesses, sustainable solutions can also save them money. That’s especially true when it comes to cleaning. These methods provide tremendous benefits for the planet, all while reducing cleaning costs by using reusable materials, recycling containers and much more.

It doesn’t seem like the trend of sustainable cleaning is slowing down, so it’s the perfect time for your business to jump in.

What Does Sustainable Cleaning Look Like?

What is sustainable cleaning? These cleaning processes can be a huge part of a larger sustainability plan for any office or place of business. The idea of sustainability means preserving resources to reduce waste and emissions. It also has to do with reducing contamination and pollution. For cleaning, eco-friendliness requires you to use products that create minimal waste and don’t harm the planet or humans.

For comparison, older, more conventional commercial cleaning products use many harmful chemicals that contribute to air and water pollution. Plus, practices require disposable resources like plastic bottles, paper towels and water that contribute to waste. Essentially, sustainable office cleaning eliminates all of that.

How to Clean More Sustainably

Sustainable cleaning can involve different products and methods. The bottom line is that it comes down to the conservation of resources and supplies and doesn’t harm the environment. Let’s take a closer look at some of the options for sustainable cleaning best practices.

Microfiber Cloths

For all sorts of cleaning tasks, paper towels have been the norm for quite a while. While they’re effective, paper towels are a single-use item and are incredibly wasteful. One of the best alternatives to paper towels for cleaning is microfiber towels. These cleaning cloths are made up of very small fibers from a blend of synthetic materials, including polyester, nylon or polyamide. They’re incredibly strong and lightweight and the nature of the small fibers make it easier to pick up dust, dirt and grime.

Microfiber cloths work for both wet and dry applications, making them a versatile option. They’re also easy to wash, meaning you can use them over and over again without creating excess waste. Microfiber cloths also dry out quickly and are resistant to bacterial growth. Additionally, because they’re washable and long-lasting, you won’t need to buy replacements for a long time. In a financial sense, they’re a huge cost-saving measure over disposable paper towels.

Recycled Paper Products

While microfiber cloths are a more environmentally friendly alternative to paper towels, there may be certain jobs that still require the use of disposable paper products. For these jobs, you can lessen your impact by purchasing paper towels and other disposable paper products made from recycled materials. Doing so utilizes recycled paper instead of cutting down more trees to make new paper. While using recycled paper towels still creates waste, it’s a much better option than conventional paper products made from new wood materials.

Refillable Cleaning Bottles

Commercial cleaning generally requires a number of different bottles of cleaning solutions, including dusting solutions, window cleaners, floor cleaning solutions, disinfectants, all-purpose cleaners and more. Constantly buying individual bottles of each of these solutions can get expensive quickly and wastes plastic and water. However, having a filling station with bulk cleaning solutions and using refillable bottles can save on resources and create far less waste.

Rather than buying individual bottles of products for each cleaning session, bulk containers give cleaners a simple way to access the solutions they need. Cleaners access the filling station when they need more of the cleaning solution. When these bulk cleaning products run out, simply buy again in bulk. This strategy costs less financially and waste-wise, helping the planet and the business in question.

Many conventional cleaning solutions come from petroleum products and contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Green Cleaning Solutions

One of the biggest concerns for sustainability and environmentalism in the commercial cleaning industry is the use of harsh chemical cleaning solutions. Many conventional cleaning solutions come from petroleum products and contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These substances aren’t sustainable long-term to produce, and their manufacture and disposal contribute to air and water pollution, groundwater contamination, ozone depletion and more.

In addition to the environmental concerns, harsh cleaning chemicals are a health hazard, irritating the skin and eyes, causing respiratory damage and contributing to other long-lasting health issues. Eliminating these chemicals helps to protect your employees, clients and anyone else who uses your building. Luckily, there are a plethora of green cleaning products on the market made from more natural materials. These solutions clean just as well as their harmful counterparts, but without all the negative consequences.

Hand Dryers

Paper towels used for hand drying in restrooms and other hand washing stations are wasteful. Even with washable hand towels, you need water, laundry products and electricity to wash and dry them frequently. Electric hand dryers are generally regarded as the most environmentally friendly way to dry hands after washing.

Hand dryers use little electricity to operate, meaning they’re one of the most cost-effective solutions, too. Once you install the machines, there’s no need to purchase extra supplies, unlike the constant ordering of hand towels and paper towels. As a result, you have a low-energy, low-cost, environmentally friendly way for everyone using your restrooms to dry their hands.

Waste Handling

In commercial cleaning, one of the biggest problems is dealing with the massive amount of waste. Cleaning processes generate plenty of their own waste, but the cleaning companies are often the ones dealing with all the waste material for a building or business they serve, too. Handling waste management for a commercial property in a sustainable way can make a difference in terms of environmentalism.

The EPA has some guidelines and helpful resources for managing waste for commercial buildings, and it includes reducing, reusing, recycling and plenty of other specific ideas. One of the most important things a business or office building can do is to have clearly marked recycling bins widely available on the property so it’s easy for employees, guests and clients to consistently and properly recycle. Signage and other information about what materials are recyclable are also good ideas.

For a commercial cleanup crew, ensuring they handle recycling and trash properly is important. Reducing waste products from cleaning goes a long way towards the building’s overall waste management, too. Another simple contribution from cleaning crews is reducing the amount of plastic garbage bags they use. For waste receptacles that mostly handle paper products, plastic bags can sometimes be avoided altogether. For other receptacles, if the trash isn’t full, workers can dump the garbage into a larger bin, saving the plastic liner for next time.

Water Conservation

Water usage is huge for the cleaning industry, as various cleaning methods use up a lot of water, ultimately having a large impact on the environment. To make commercial cleaning better in terms of water conservation, it often comes down to the cleaning supplies and products workers use. From the cleaning cloths to the vacuums, mops, floor cleaners and more, certain equipment and supplies simply use less water.

Carpet cleaners called heated extractors are one example. They use heat to enhance the effectiveness of the cleaning chemicals, requiring far less water than other types of carpet cleaning machines. Other carpet cleaning machines can recycle the water in the system, needing far less water overall to operate.

Mopping floors is usually a large part of a commercial cleaning crew’s duties, and the old-fashioned string mop with a bucket of water uses up a lot of water, especially for a larger commercial building. Flat mop systems are a good way to get around this issue and effectively clean hard flooring without numerous buckets of water. Another simple fix for mopping is to simply use less water in the buckets.

Another way to save water is by switching the types of cleaning products you use. Cleaners can purchase many products in highly concentrated solutions, saving water and bulk transportation costs. Auto-dilution stations for cleaning teams can give precise amounts of cleaning chemicals, blended with just the right amount of water needed. Some even use compressed air to make the solutions foamier without extra water. This concept also eliminates any guesswork and excess water usage from hand-mixing cleaning solutions.

Benefits of Sustainable Cleaning

Switching to sustainable cleaning methods for your business is straightforward when you adopt the right practices. When you pursue the methods listed above, your business and the planet can enjoy numerous benefits. Here are some of the main advantages of adopting more sustainable commercial cleaning methods:

More Environmentally Friendly

The top benefit, and the main point, of switching to more sustainable cleaning is the environment. More conventional cleaning products and methods are damaging to the air, soil and water of the surrounding areas. Excessive product usage creates more landfill waste and depletes natural resources. Harsh, or even dangerous, chemicals leach into the ground, contaminating soil and water, and endangering plant and animal life.

However, employing practices and products that are more eco-friendly alleviates much of this environmental burden. Any business or office can have a much smaller environmental footprint by implementing more sustainable cleaning practices. Fewer chemicals are released into the environment and less waste ends up in landfills.

Conventional cleaning solutions can be very irritating to the eyes, skin and respiratory system and contribute to long-term health issues. When an office or business uses more sustainable cleaning practices, it shows they care about their cleaning crew's health and the employees, clients, customers and others who use the facility.

Better Health for Employees, Clients and Customers

Constant exposure to dangerous cleaning chemicals can be incredibly damaging to a person’s health. Conventional cleaning solutions can be very irritating to the eyes, skin and respiratory system and contribute to long-term health issues. When an office or business uses more sustainable cleaning practices, it shows they care about their cleaning crew’s health and the employees, clients, customers and others who use the facility.

These substances can linger in the workplace long after the cleaning work ends, possibly leading to health issues for everyone else in the building. A healthier working environment benefits everyone. Business owners should also remember that healthier employees mean less downtime and sick days and better productivity.

Increased Cost-Saving Measures

It’s a common misconception that green cleaning practices are more expensive. In fact, often the opposite is true. Sustainable cleaning practices usually use reusable products that reduce waste and eliminate the need to keep buying disposable supplies. Some changes may have a higher up-front cost, such as switching out cleaning machinery or changing to a refillable cleaning solution station, but these moves should all have great cost savings in the long term.

These switches can also happen over time when it’d naturally be time to replace the equipment anyways. Most other sustainable cleaning practices are comparable to, if not less expensive, than their more conventional counterparts. As a result, businesses have a chance to save money they can put toward other aspects of their operations.

Contact Shine Facility Services today to find out why we're the sustainable office cleaning experts.

Sustainable Cleaning With Shine Facility Services

If you’re looking for sustainable cleaning for businesses in the San Francisco Bay area, Shine Facility Services has you covered. Our professional cleaning team offers high-quality cleaning services for offices, businesses and other commercial buildings. When you work with Shine, you get the best professional cleaning and benefit from our sustainable cleaning practices. We proudly use eco-friendly cleaning supplies that are safe for human health and the environment. Ultimately, we focus on creating healthy working environments through our cleaning and maintenance services.

You can experience the peace of mind that comes with having all of your cleaning and maintenance needs taken care of by the professionals, with practices that aren’t harmful to the environment or your employees’ health. Contact Shine Facility Services today to find out why we’re the sustainable office cleaning experts. We’re happy to help with all of your janitorial and building management needs.

Man in protective suit cleaning and disinfecting table.

How to Prepare Your Facility for the Return to Work

2020 was a tough year for a lot of people. Employees had to get used to working from home, students had to learn remotely and everyone had to adjust to “a new normal.” However, as life slowly gets back on track, it’s time to prepare your facility for the return to work.

If you’ve been out of the office for over a year, your facility could likely use a check-up. Use this list to learn what you can do to ensure a safe return when bringing your employees back to the office.

1. Have Your Facility Deep Cleaned and Disinfected

One of the easiest ways to get your facility ready for the return of employees is to disinfect and deep clean the entire facility. Deep cleaning and building disinfecting are vital for ensuring a safe return. These services can be eco-friendly and help ensure that your business is doing everything possible to follow current CDC guidelines.

Deep cleaning services can include high to low dusting, surface cleaning, carpet cleaning, restroom disinfecting, and floor stripping and waxing. Professional cleaning services also include the cleaning of things like keyboards, door handles, elevator buttons and light switches.

After returning to the office, make sure you keep up with the proper cleaning practices by hiring a commercial cleaning service to provide dusting, vacuuming, mopping, and more. Proper cleaning will keep employees safe and help them feel healthier and happier at work.

2. Evaluate Your HVAC Systems

If your employees have been working remotely, it’s probably been a while since your HVAC systems have seen regular use. The CDC provides guidance on building ventilation, as proper ventilation is important for maintaining employee health and reducing the risk of virus transmission. Make sure that your systems are up to code to provide the best health conditions for your employees.

HVAC systems should also undergo regular maintenance. Replacing air filters and assessing your facility’s HVAC units and systems will help your business maintain higher air quality.

3. Check Electrical Systems

Just like your HVAC systems, your electrical systems should be surveyed by a qualified professional before employees return to work, as these systems have likely also been used less in the past year. Less usage means a smaller chance of detecting any problems and the possibility of problems arising when electrical systems are at full power distribution again.

Bring in qualified electricians to bring your office’s power distribution back to pre-COVID levels and ensure there are no issues with the system. It is also important to make sure that the electrical systems used in an emergency are functioning properly.

4. Prepare Water Systems

Water constantly running through your pipes keeps them cleaner. Water sitting in pipes for an extended period of time can lead to legionella and other bacteria growth. It can also lead to metals like lead and copper entering the drinking water due to corroded pipes. Because water has likely been stagnant in your facility’s plumbing system for some time, you need to prep your water systems for regular use.

You should test your plumbing and water systems before bringing employees back into the office. CDC guidance suggests flushing the water system, maintaining a proper water temperature and regularly testing the water for bacteria. You should schedule plumbing maintenance and repairs regularly, as water is important for employee health.

5. Prep the Parking Lot

The last thing you should do before welcoming employees back to your facility is to prepare the parking lot. You want your employees to be confident about their return to work, and a clean, well-maintained parking lot will contribute to that confidence.

Parking lot maintenance is important for keeping the outside of your facility beautiful, but it also helps prevent contamination and improve drainage for your facility.

Prepare for the Return of Employees With Shine Facility Services

The past year has been long and difficult for many. As employees begin to come back into the office, it is important to do all you can to make the transition easy. Facility management and janitorial services offer a great way to get everyone back to the office efficiently and safely.

At Shine, we provide all of the facility management and janitorial services you need to get your facility prepared for a safe return to work. We are committed to green cleaning and provide a five-star experience for all of our clients. Our staff follows all current CDC guidance and strives to help you keep your employees healthy.

Ready to prepare for a safe return to work? Contact Shine Facility Services today!

Facility Management to Keep Your Building Grounds Safe

Facility Management to Keep Your Building Grounds Safe

Facility management is responsible for maintaining a safe and comfortable workplace. The safety of the building and its team members should be a top priority for all facility managers. But, when other responsibilities require your immediate attention, it can be increasingly challenging to provide the necessary dedication toward preventive facility maintenance. 

So, what is facility maintenance? Commercial facility maintenance is typically a proactive strategy that includes cleaning, repairs, adjustments and more. It is vital for maintaining safe building grounds, both indoors and out.

Recognize and address potential safety issues before they amount to severe hazards or damages with regular property maintenance. An organized plan for preventive property maintenance is one of the most successful ways to prevent safety hazards and provide ongoing care to your building grounds. You may even reduce the number of unexpected challenges you face!

Benefits of Preventive Property Maintenance

There are several benefits of regular property maintenance — from decreasing expenses to improving safety. When you take proactive measures to maintain your facility, you can expect:

  • More cost-effective corrective repairs.
  • Fewer total asset replacements due to frequent upkeep.
  • An increased amount of planned maintenance.
  • Enhanced beauty and visual appeal.
  • An extended lifetime for assets by preventing excess depreciation.
  • Optimized maintenance planning and use of resources.
  • Improved safety and a reduced risk of injury to team members.

Of the many advantages, the most significant might be improving safety and reducing hazards.

How Property Maintenance Can Improve Safety

Regular property maintenance can enhance workplace safety in the following ways.

  • Preventing hazardous situations: Various areas throughout your property may pose significant risks when left unchecked over an extended period. Dangerous gas buildups in the ventilation system can cause severe health issues, while pooling water on poorly maintained walkways can be a severe slip-and-fall hazard. Regular maintenance on your HVAC system and sidewalks can catch these concerns before hazardous situations occur.
  • Reducing sudden, serious repairs: Maintain a safe workplace by performing cost-effective adjustments whenever maintenance services detect them. Unchanged air filters may lead to HVAC system failure, while damages in a parking lot can create unsafe conditions for pedestrians and drivers. Corrective repairs that require immediate attention can be expensive. With a preventive maintenance strategy, you can significantly minimize sudden, serious repairs and keep costs low.
  • Establishing correct safety procedures: OSHA has many industry-specific guidelines and regulations for safety management that define safe workplace behaviors. OSHA advocates for hazard prevention and control, recommending practices that find and fix problems before they cause workplace injuries. A preventive maintenance strategy will facilitate OSHA-recommended safety procedures for areas that may not receive daily attention.

Preventive property management is necessary for your facility’s safety and comfort — inside and out.

Creating a Year-Round Facility Management Schedule

A year-round facility management plan can help prevent many potential problems. In addition to all the equipment and indoor workstations that must be well-maintained, various landscape features will need regular inspection and consideration, too. A comprehensive schedule for indoor and outdoor maintenance will keep your facility safe in all areas.

How to Keep Track of Maintenance Responsibilities

How to Keep Track of Maintenance Responsibilities

Take notes of what is working and opportunities for improvement. Detailed notes can help you determine the most efficient times to schedule maintenance, and you will eventually notice patterns in your facility’s annual wear and tear.

Many facility services take advantage of apps to stay organized and communicate with team members. Several digital tools can help you plan your yearly maintenance and streamline the process. Facility managers must prioritize their focus, so each area receives adequate attention. Keep track of maintenance responsibilities with a year-round schedule to create a safe environment for employees and customers every day.

7 Areas You Should Maintain Regularly

Facility managers should consistently maintain the following seven areas for outstanding building safety and comfort.

1. Sidewalks

Repair uneven or broken sidewalks to minimize walking hazards and potential liability issues. High-traffic areas are more prone to wear and tear, so inspect your sidewalks seasonally for continued, safe usage throughout the entire year. Perform a fundamental analysis after large storms, too. Address any concerns you find during these checks — facility management services can assess and repair your sidewalks at any time.

Remember to avoid quick fixes, as these will not last long. Install sidewalks that can withstand the use they’ll endure. Then, perform regular sidewalk upkeep for an extended lifetime of use. Long-term solutions are cost-effective and minimize the chance of needing total replacements sooner than anticipated.

2. Parking Lots

Frequently check parking lots for damages and blockage, especially after large storms and snowfall. Ensure parking lots are clear of debris for safe navigation. Pressure washing and asphalt repair services can help you maintain a parking lot that is safe and comfortable to drive on.

Prevent contamination, erosion and infestations when you regularly clean your parking lot of chemicals, dirt, silt and garbage. Scheduled parking lot maintenance can also deter future littering and attract customers, passersby and business associates to your business.

3. Walkways

Walkways are high-traffic areas used by your team members. Regularly clear such areas of leaves, snow and debris, which may harm those attempting to navigate the property. These potential safety hazards can decrease the visibility of the walkway underneath, making it more likely for accidents and injuries to occur.

Lining walkways with greenery or lights can help direct occupants to safe walkways. If pedestrians are creating paths through your property, noticeable wear in the landscape can become unsightly. Consider adding a walkway wherever pedestrians seem to be forming their own, or limit this behavior with shrubs and railings when appropriate.

4. Water Drainage

Well-planned water drainage throughout your property can help prevent flooding in walkways and driveways where traffic is high. Even the smallest pools of water can create slip-and-fall hazards for your team members and passing pedestrians. 

When you plan water drainage areas, you minimize liability issues and encourage people to visit your facility in any season. Lawns and greenery will naturally absorb water, so direct the runoff through landscaped areas to avoid pooling water on solid surfaces.

5. Lighting

Hire electrical maintenance services to install and repair lighting fixtures on your property. Strategic lighting can improve your occupants’ safety and comfort. Allow people to navigate your property safely with increased visibility. When there is light drawing attention to the scene, obstacles become easier to see, and you are more likely to deter crime.

A well-lit environment is necessary for early mornings, nights and during low-visibility weather. Lights provide optimal safety for walkways with elevation changes or staircases that may present challenges. Use lighting to highlight any permanent obstacles, like benches or trash cans, which can be challenging to see in low light.

6. HVAC

Regular maintenance performed on your HVAC unit will ensure your team’s optimal health and well-being. Ventilation issues can quickly become more significant when dangerous gases build up in the system. Periodically have your HVAC ducts cleaned to prevent blockage and buildup that can circulate through your indoor air.

In addition to your regular cleanings, you should hire professional help a minimum of once per year to thoroughly inspect the system. The annual analysis performed by experts can prevent excess depreciation of the unit, increase the system’s efficiency and maintain a safe environment for your facility.

7. Tree Maintenance

If your property includes trees for their shade and natural beauty, you want to safely maintain these qualities all year. Provide your trees with quality care, so they stay healthy. You want to prevent tree limbs and branches from breaking and falling, as these situations can result in damaged property, injured occupants and blocked walkways.

Hired experts can maintain your trees so that the tree, your property and your team members remain safe. Consider installing protection if your facility is in an area prone to frequent lightning strikes. This preventive measure will protect your property and increase safety.

Partner With Shine Facility Services for Your Facility Maintenance

At Shine Facility Services, we want to help you maintain a safe facility. We pride ourselves on being a trusted partner for expert facility management and commercial maintenance needs throughout San Francisco. Our safe, eco-friendly approach to cleaning and facility maintenance is more sustainable and healthier for your property and your team members.

As a facility manager, you and your team must meet and uphold safety standards daily. Shine Facility Services is here to help you achieve and maintain your year-round maintenance responsibilities. Contact us for more information about the facility maintenance services we offer.

Partner With Shine Facility Services for Your Facility Maintenance