Strip, Wax, and Start the New Year Right How Proper Floor Care Can Save Money

The New Year is a time for new beginnings. For many organizations, especially hospitals and life science laboratories, this fresh start begins with the floor, specifically stripping and waxing it to keep it safe, clean, healthy, and compliant. Doing the job right can also reduce labor and product costs and extend the life of floors. Yet, while many people and even commercial cleaning services companies talk about the need to strip and wax floors, not all know what it entails or how to ensure the job is done right.

“Many times people think stripping the floor means removing the top layer of wax or even just cleaning it before reapplying wax,” says Luis Ramirez, CEO and founder of Shine Facility Services, San Francisco, CA. “This is called a scrub and recoat, which should be performed for floors with average foot traffic every six months to a year. A full strip and wax requires removing all the layers of wax. If this is done correctly, and regular floor maintenance has been followed, including scrubbing and recoating in the suggested time frame, then full-scale stripping and waxing only need to be done every two to three years.”

By “all the layers,” Ramirez refers to the three to five coats of wax that should have been applied the last time the floor was completely stripped and waxed. If this deep strip isn’t done, the final finish will suffer.

“If you don’t perform a deep strip and only clean or remove the top layer of wax and apply more wax to the surface each time, you will see different shades in the finish. It won’t look as pristine, and it won’t last. The top coat will evaporate and erode, leaving imperfections in the finish. It will also be easier for scratches and scuff marks to mar the surface, ruining the overall look much quicker.”

 

Facts and Misconceptions

“People often wonder why certain floors need to be waxed,” says Ramirez. “It is because most surfaces, including vinyl composite tile (VCT), have little-to-no natural slip resistance. The slip resistance comes from the floor wax, which usually adds a coefficient of friction between 0.5 and 0.76 and makes the floor glossy. Another misconception is that the shinier the floor, the more slippery it is. It’s the opposite. Shinier floors have more slip resistance because the finish has a higher DCOF [Dynamic Coefficient of Friction].”

DCOF is the a measure of slip resistance.  The American National Standards Institute (ANSI)  considers a DCOF rating of greater or equal to 0.42 to be safe for both residential and commercial use.

 

Proper Procedure

Below, Ramirez outlines the steps to strip and wax floors properly.

Deep stripping a floor requires removing all levels of wax down to the surface. Before applying stripper, however, the floor should be thoroughly cleaned to remove all loose dust and debris that can make stripping it more difficult. The stripping solution is applied, and heavy gauge floor pads are used. At Shine, we are extremely environment-conscious and use green-certified products wherever possible. This includes floor pads certified by Green Seal, attesting to their ability to be used with water-based solutions and their durability, which means sending fewer pads to landfills. Some floors, especially those previously not stripped and waxed correctly, may require additional stripping.

Once all the old wax has been removed, the bare floor must be sealed with a sealer to fill in any cracks or crevices, including those between tiles. Without this step, the final finish will be unattractive and, worse, uneven, posing a potential safety hazard.

Once the floor has been sealed, three to five coats of wax with ANSI-approved slip resistance should be applied following all product recommendations. The higher number of coats is recommended to help create a hard, durable finish. It also helps save money in the long run by making the finish last longer between deep stripping and waxing.

Once the wax has hardened, a finisher should be applied for added protection against scrapes, scuffs, and other marks. Finally, the floor should be buffed using an automated buffer to remove any residual dirt and dust and let the floor really shine.

When the stripping and waxing project is complete, proper floor maintenance should be followed, which includes mopping the surface at least once a week and scrubbing to remove and reapply the top layer of wax every six months to one year, depending on floor traffic. If this process is followed, in most cases, removing all layers of wax is only necessary once every three years.

 

Stripping and Waxing Experience You Can Trust

 Are you in the San Francisco Bay area and need a commercial cleaning services provider with expertise in stripping and waxing floors? We invite you to discover the Shine difference! Browse our website or contact us today for more information or a quote.

5 Tips to Ensure a Cleaner, Healthier Carpet

If your facility’s carpet looks dull, feels sticky, retains dirt and stain, or worse, needs replacement every few years, chances are it is a result of less-than-satisfactory deep cleaning. Below are five conditions that can undermine proper carpet extraction and the health and appearance of your carpet.

 

  1. Don’t make waves.Carpets commercial spaces should be deep cleaned once a year using a steam extractor with proper care, including vacuuming and spot cleaning between deep cleanings. Many facilities opt for carpeting to be deep cleaned at night or over a weekend when there is less traffic to allow the carpet to dry on its own. Yet, many people don’t realize the importance of drying it properly and thoroughly vs. allowing it to dry on its own. When carpet is cleaned using a steam extractor, the carpet stretches slightly. Carpet left to dry on its own will contract, creating “waves” as it shrinks back that are unsightly and can create tripping hazards.

Solution: Make sure carpeting is thoroughly dried immediately after extraction using the appropriate number of industrial-size fans.

 

  1. Practice water conservation. While carpet extraction uses water in the form of steam, some extractors and/or their operators think the more steam, the better, especially for extremely dirty carpet. However, oversaturation can allow moisture to be trapped in the padding. When the top carpeting feels dry, this trapped moisture can go unnoticed and lead to mold, mildew, and an unpleasant scent, eventually requiring the carpet to be removed and replaced.

Solution. Ensure the carpet extractor receives regular maintenance and the operator is experienced in proper carpet extraction.

 

  1. Keep your guard up. Carpets are made of absorbent fibers that give them their texture but also make them susceptible to stains caused by traffic and spills. Yet carpets treated with Scotchgard® or other stain repellant are far less likely to retain stains, if stains are treated promptly. This helps maintain the appearance and extend the life of the carpet.

Solution. If your carpet has yet to be treated with a stain-resistant formula, one can be applied by an experienced commercial carpet cleaning service after the carpet is deep cleaned.

 

  1. Prepare for more traffic. With more people working from home, many companies have areas with little to no foot traffic and, therefore, see little reason to deep clean carpets. However,airborne dirt, dust, and bacteria continue to land in these areas, especially where cleaning frequencies have been reduced. This accumulation is unhealthy and make it appear dull. Moreover, once the foot traffic picks up in these areas, dirt can quickly become ground into the carpet fibers, making cleaning more challenging and reducing the carpet’s life.

Solution. Deep clean unused areas once a year with other carpeted areas and vacuum once a month to remove bacteria and other microscopic particulate.

 

  1. Keep it friendly.Some people believe that ensuring a carpet is thoroughly cleaned requires using harsh chemicals that “smell good.” This is false. Carpet extraction can be done with an environmentally, human, and even pet-friendly formula without added dyes and perfumes that can irritate the skin and respiratory passages.

Solution. Check the labels and material data sheet(s) for any formulas before application to ensure their ingredients are nontoxic, VOC-free, and otherwise safer for people, pets, and the planet.

 

Carpet Cleaning and Extraction You Can Trust

Are you in the San Francisco Bay area and need a commercial cleaning services provider with expertise in carpet extraction and other maintenance? We invite you to discover the Shine difference! Browse our website or contact us today for more information or a quote.

 

School Cleaning

Schools need more than custodian

It’s Time to Lend Your Custodial Department a Helping Hand.  

Why Schools Need More Than Custodians

 

Feel-good stories about private schools honoring a custodian for decades of service are heartwarming, and the accolades are usually well-deserved. However, what some school administrations don’t realize is that more custodians would have impressive tenures if they had the assistance and resources necessary for them to do their jobs more effectively and efficiently.

 

Saying Goodbye

The days of single custodians with a mop and bucket swabbing down a school hallway are as antiquated as the clip art used to portray them. Today, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, health, safety, and infection prevention are top of mind for parents and children. The parents want to know their children are being protected; the children long to stay healthy to participate in sports and other activities and maintain the in-person social lives they had to forgo during the pandemic shutdown.

Also, today, most custodians are assigned tasks beyond cleaning and lack the bandwidth to perform all that needs to be done. This often leads to frustration, low job satisfaction, poor custodial engagement, turnover, and sometimes increasingly poor performance and worker-client communication.

Studies show that students are more creative and productive and teachers teach better in environments that are clean, safe, and healthy. Conversely, unclean learning environments have been linked to poor test scores and chronic absenteeism. Meanwhile, if all else is equal, parents choosing between schools are more likely to send their children to the one they perceive to have a higher level of cleanliness.

 

Adding Staff Is Not the Answer

A mistake some schools make when they realize the need for additional custodial assistance is assuming the answer is hiring more workers. In addition to wages, hiring workers incurs the expenses of insurance, vacation pay, and other benefits paid leaves of absence, and potential union problems should a layoff be needed. The truth is hiring more in-house employees is seldom the answer, not only for the reasons just mentioned but also because extra help is not usually required five days a week but on more of an as-needed basis.

With this in mind, below are a few ways hiring the right building service contractor (BSC) partner to handle special projects can improve your cleaning department’s effectiveness and efficiency, enhance custodial job satisfaction and engagement, and impress stakeholders.

Deep cleaning. When school is on break is a great time to do a deep dive into disinfecting. While many custodial teams are familiar with the day-to-day infection prevention techniques, the right BSC has the in-depth training, including a thorough knowledge of various viruses and bacteria, Including the COVID-19 causing SARS-CoV-2. Having and promoting this added precaution to parents and other stakeholders can go a long way to proving your team is going above and beyond to keep the school clean, safe, and healthy.

Labor-intensive tasks. Holiday and summer breaks are the best time to undertake deep cleaning, such as floor stripping and refinishing, carpet extraction, and other tasks that can be more easily and thoroughly completed when there is little to no traffic. Top BSCs have the expertise and the latest equipment to complete these tasks effectively and efficiently, leaving your custodians more time to concentrate on other vital cleaning and disinfecting responsibilities.

Events. Setting up and tearing down areas for events can be a taxing job, especially for schools that are shorthanded and use areas for various gatherings, such as gymnasiums for proms and graduation or cafeterias for testing or faculty meetings. These areas often must be set up and returned to their intended use quickly. The right BSC partner will have workers help set up and stay through the event to ensure a timely teardown.

Painting. When schools are on break is the best time to freshen up areas that may look worn with a new coat of paint. Yet, not all custodians are professional painters. The best BSCs have a painter on staff who can ensure a quality job in less time.

Emergency assistance. Most custodians are hired to clean and not to repair things like broken water pipes. Having an experienced BSC on call that has tradespeople, like plumbers, on staff or has close relationships with them to ensure faster service can be a saving grace in an emergency.

Sustainability. At most schools, the environment has returned to the spotlight after being temporarily upstaged by the COVID-19 pandemic. An outside contractor knows what has and hasn’t worked for other accounts and can bring fresh ideas and methodology to help your custodial staff develop and maintain an effective sustainability program. They can help with everything from developing a viable green cleaning program to helping implement an effective waste management program. Best, these programs can be created and maintained without taking valuable time away from your custodial staff’s day-to-day responsibilities.

Technology. While school custodians are busy maintaining schools, they don’t all have the time to research the latest labor and cost-saving technologies. Not all school districts have the funds—or the need—to buy the newest equipment, especially for tasks that are performed infrequently. The right BSC will have the latest equipment to produce top-quality results in fewer labor hours.

Balance. Your custodial staff wants what most workers do: a good work-life balance. This is especially true during the holidays and summer breaks, when they, too, want to enjoy time with their families. Dividing up the work between the custodial team and a BSC can create a positive working environment, leaving workers feeling happier, more willing to go the extra mile, and more satisfied with their jobs and employers. And that’s surely a nice reflection on you.

 

Shine Facility Services

7 Value-Added Services Cleaning Partners Should Offer to Help Bring Workers Back into the Office

While the debate over in-office versus remote work is far from over, it appears that eventually, employers will be calling their workers back into the office:

  • 90% of companies surveyed report they plan to have return-to-office policies in place by the close of 2024.
  • Nearly 30% of interviewed companies will threaten to fire employees who don’t meet the in-office requirements.
  • Three out of four companies with employees who have returned to the office report increased revenues, while 83% of company leaders believe coming back into the office by 2024 will enhance productivity.
  • Financial powerhouse Goldman Sachs wants its employees back in the office five days a week.
  • Google is incorporating employees’ in-office attendance in its performance reviews.

 

Meanwhile:

  • 66% of workers want the office to be cleaner than they perceived it to be in the past before agreeing to return.
  • 89.9% of employees believe workplace cleaning protocols are very or somewhat important.
  • 94% of workers reported they feel they are more productive.
  • 77% of workers say they produce higher quality work in a cleaner environment.
  • Surveys show employees want offices where they can connect with colleagues and that feel more like home.

 

These statistics make two things clear:

  • Offices may be filled less than five days a week, but most workers will be in the office at least two to three days a week. Their schedules will likely be staggered to ensure some workers are present each workday.
  • Encouraging current and recruiting new employees to an office is much easier when workers perceive it as a clean, healthy, and comfortable environment.

This means now is the time for company owners to ensure their offices are comfortable, clean, and healthy.

 

A Time to Delegate

Today’s employers are facing supply chain issues, staffing shortages, inflation, record technological advancement, and other time-consuming business concerns, all while trying to run their day-to-day operations. They don’t have time to chase down various vendors to ensure all aspects of creating a healthy, more appealing office environment are handled properly.

Many companies have a building service contractor (BSC) or in-house facility management team to perform “regular” janitorial duties. However, most lack the capabilities and bandwidth to provide the more in-depth cleaning and additional services a complete post-pandemic office reboot requires.

This calls for a cleaning service provider with the diverse competencies and/or outside vendor relationships necessary to efficiently handle 100% of these return-to-office needs so employers can concentrate on running their business.

 

Welcome Back Workers

Below are seven services beyond day-to-day janitorial cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting. If your current provider doesn’t offer these, you should be looking for one that does to ensure your space is ready to welcome your workers back.

  1. Floor stripping and waxing. Nothing can make an excellent first impression of a facility like clean, shiny floors. Conversely, a dull, scratched finish can tell employees and other visitors that cleanliness doesn’t truly matter to you. The COVID-19 pandemic placed a long overdue emphasis on cleaning for health and not just appearance. That’s not to say, however, that looks don’t still matter. They do. What people see when they enter a building gives them an initial perception of the facility, its owners, and the company overall, and a negative impression can be hard to reverse. Floor stripping and waxing can be a labor-intensive task. Yet a knowledgeable BSC trained in the proper process and using the right equipment will have the floor shining in no time, reflecting nicely on you.
  1. Carpet deep cleaning.Months of little to no foot traffic can lead companies to believe there is little need to steam and/or deep clean carpets. Nothing is further from the truth. Airborne dirt, dust, and bacteria have been landing throughout the shutdown, especially in areas where cleaning frequencies have been reduced. The accumulation makes the carpet appear dull. Once the traffic volume resumes, the dirt can quickly become embedded in the carpet fibers, making cleaning more difficult and reducing the carpet’s life cycle. Meanwhile, few things indicate negligence more clearly than having employees return to carpet stains and spots that existed before the shutdown.
  1. Painting.A fresh coat of paint is one of the easiest ways to spruce up a commercial space. It is also one of the most cost-efficient. Workers returning to familiar surface scratches and scrapes, or worse, peeling or chipped paint, sends a clear message that the company doesn’t really care about the healthiness or appearance of our office. Investing in a new paint job is worth it, especially in a different color to be more noticeable. Best-in-class BSCs have a painter on staff or close relationships with companies that do.
  1. Tile and grout maintenance.Dirty tile and grout can make a room look poorly cared for, especially in restrooms and kitchens, where employees and visitors are left wondering what invisible bacteria and germs may lurk if the walls are so blatantly poorly maintained. Yet, as many of us know from our homes, deep cleaning tile and grout is not always easy, so many BSCs stick to spraying and wiping the surface. Conversely, too frequent and overzealous grout and tile cleaning using the wrong product can damage the surface’s integrity. It is best to ask any provider you are considering to explain—and demonstrate—their tile and grout cleaning technique, including product and frequency.
  1. Pressure washing.When enticing workers (and visitors) back to the office, don’t forget the outside of the building or other surfaces that could use a good cleaning to look their best. Again, ensuring the cleaning partner you are considering has pressure washing experience is essential, as the wrong pressure can harm surfaces, leaving them less appealing than ever.
  1. Furniture assembly.Creating a more inviting office space often includes purchasing new furniture, and for many businesses with leftover funds that must be used or lost by the end of the fiscal year, this is the best time to do so. Yet most companies can’t afford to buy preassembled furniture, and as those of us who have tried it at home know, just the thought of assembling roomfuls with all those parts can be overwhelming. The right full-service BSC partner provides this service.
  1. Event set up/furniture moving.Many businesses have or are considering scaling back their spaces due to fewer people in the office. This can mean using the same areas for multiple uses, such as holding computerized training sessions in the cafeteria or opening sliding office walls to accommodate large events. Yet, taking employees away from their work to help set these areas up and break them down lowers productivity and morale while posing safety issues that can lead to injuries, workers’ compensation claims, and even lawsuits. The best full-service BSCs can set up these events for their customers and even leave staff on-site so the space can be returned to its desired use immediately following an event. Similarly, these top-quality service providers help customers move furniture and relocate partitions when an office rearrangement is needed.

Bringing reluctant employees back into the office and keeping them happy can be stressful. However, hiring an experienced BSC that can clean, sanitize, and disinfect your facility and provide the value-added services above can go a long way to helping ensure your efforts are successful.

 

A Full-Service Cleaning Provider

Are you looking for an experienced BSC that provides all these services and more? Browse our website or contact us for more information. Discover the Shine difference. You won’t be disappointed. 

 

Staying Sharp

5 Tips for the Safe Handling of Sharps and Bloodborne Pathogens

The statistics on sharps and bloodborne pathogens in healthcare settings are scary:

  • 385,000 injuries—or 1,000 per day—from contaminated needles and other sharps devices occur in the United States annually among hospital-based healthcare personnel.
  • Approximately three million healthcare workers worldwide are exposed to bloodborne viruses each year.
  • 8,000-10,000 people die in the United States annually from bloodborne pathogens.
  • An estimated one-third of nurses believe sharps injuries and bloodborne pathogens present a significant risk in their work environment.
  • 13% of nurses have sustained at least one sharps injury within the last five years.
  • 71.2% of bloodborne pathogen exposure incidents involve less experienced workers.

Perhaps scarier still is that sharps and bloodborne pathogen incidents continue to rise in many healthcare facilities. The good news? The right environmental services (EVS) partner can help reduce these incidents while helping healthcare facilities save money and reduce their carbon footprint.


A Major Source of HAIs

As the statistics above indicate, sharps and bloodborne pathogens are both a significant concern for healthcare institutions in their own right. However, bloodborne pathogens, and in rarer cases, sharps, can also cause healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).

The CDC estimates that 5 percent of all hospital admissions result in a HAI, culminating in approximately 722,000 infections and 75,000 deaths annually. Moreover, Medicare and Medicaid funding is tied directly to the number of HAIs reported at a facility. Added to this is the expense of workers’ compensation claims, healthcare workers’ absences, and patient and employee lawsuits. The CDC estimates HAIs to cost healthcare facilities $28 to $33 billion in excess costs.


5 Steps to Safety

A major opportunity for healthcare facilities looking to protect their workers from sharps injuries and bloodborne pathogen exposure, mishandling, and disposal in improper containers is often overlooked, according to Luis Ramirez, president of Shine Facility Services, a leading provider of commercial cleaning services for healthcare facilities.

“The right EVS partner can significantly lessen the chance of sharps and bloodborne pathogen exposure and accidents, thereby reducing the number of HAIs,” says Ramirez. “The best EVS teams are thoroughly trained in the handling of these medical materials. They also offer training in these areas for nurses, nurse practitioners, and other healthcare workers—including doctors—as part of their EVS commitment to maintain a clean, healthy, and safe environment for healthcare facility workers, patients, and visitors.”

The five steps below are the minimum Ramirez believes an EVS partner should be providing.


Start right.
 To improve the handling of sharps and biohazardous material, a facility must have a starting point. “We suggest customers let us help them monitor their current practices, including material handling and landfill tonnage and costs,” Ramirez says. “Sometimes we find improvements can be made by something as easy as moving the red bin used for biohazardous waste closer to the point of use or the ‘regular’ trash bin farther away to eliminate potential misclassification. It can also help identify wasteful practices, such as exchanging red bins based on a schedule versus when they are full.”


Set goals
. “This step is often overlooked but can greatly enhance buy-in from team members, especially in medical facilities where many who enter the field are goal-driven by nature,” Ramirez says. He suggests the goals can be as simple as decreasing the current number of sharp injuries, bloodborne pathogen exposure incidents by “X.” As for reducing landfill amounts, “This should only be done if the first step has been thoroughly performed and there is a solid understanding of how much is currently erroneously being sent to landfills, so that waste that needs to go to landfills is not overlooked just to reach a goal,” he warns.


Create a program
. Like most, if not all, new plans, Ramirez says expecting team members to adhere to proper medical waste handling practices requires developing a program that includes input from all stakeholders. “This is where the right EVS provider can shine, ensuring the plan meets all compliance regulations, follows best practices, and meets all the various teams’ needs,” he says.


Educate and train.
 Proper medical waste handling and disposal into appropriate containers can require increased interdepartmental awareness, education, and training to ensure the “how” and “why” are clearly understood. This is another area where contracting with the right EVS provider can make a huge difference. “At a minimum, EVS technicians should receive classroom, simulated, and real-life training to ensure a clear understanding of sharps and the vast array of bloodborne pathogens in a healthcare setting, Ramirez says. “This must be followed by a thorough training of best practices for its safe handling in accordance with state and federal laws. The best providers also offer this same in-depth training for other healthcare workers on site as needed.”


Monitor and record
. “Data is king and nowhere more so than in the healthcare sector,” Ramirez says. “Ensuring progress mandates a systematic, data-driven method for monitoring results. It requires tracking everything from red bag and sharp container purchases to reported injuries or exposure incidences to waste disposal fees—and lots in between. The tracking should be done by facility, department, and area to showcase improvement and discover where additional education and training may be needed to reach the desired results.”

Ramirez is confident: “Making healthcare facilities healthier, safer, and kinder to the environment while operating with fiscal responsibility takes teamwork. The right EVS provider can lead the charge.”


EVS Provider With Medical Waste Handling Experience

Is your EVS provider helping keep your healthcare facility workers, occupants, and visitors safe from sharps and biohazardous waste? If you are unsure, or they skipped a step above, we invite you to experience the Shine difference. Bbrowse our website or contact us for more information.

Cleanroom Cleaning: Where Expertise Pays Off

As anyone involved with cleanrooms knows, efficient and effective maintenance of these spaces is critical in healthcare and life sciences manufacturing, including biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and medical device manufacturing—and no wonder! Even the tiniest foreign particulate can cause a breach, compromising product quality and leading to potential health hazards, production delays, plant shutdowns, or even expensive class action and other product liability lawsuits. This is why the cleanliness of cleanrooms is heavily regulated. It is also why having a commercial cleaning services provider with cleanroom cleaning expertise is essential.

 

Cleanroom Defined

According to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14644, the standard that regulates cleanrooms, a cleanroom is “a room in which the concentration of airborne particles is controlled and which is constructed and used in a manner to minimize the introduction, generation, and retention of particles inside the room.” In other words, cleanrooms are spaces where even submicron-sized particles and microbes cannot be allowed to remain. Hospitals and healthcare settings have cleanrooms to protect patients with compromised immune systems. Cleanrooms are also found in food, life sciences, electronic, medical device, and other manufacturing facilities.

Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) are vital to manufacturing, and proper sanitation and hygiene play an enormous role in GMP. So, too, does the cleanroom’s International Organization of Standardization (ISO) number, which determines the level of cleanliness required.

 

The Good of GMP 

GMP is a system of processes, procedures, and documentation designed to ensure products are consistently manufactured according to set quality standards. GMP protects consumers from defective, potentially dangerous products, and while GMP standards can vary by sector and even facility, strict adherence to them cannot.

 

ISO Levels of Cleanliness

A cleanroom’s ISO level of cleanliness is based on the amount of particulate allowed in the room per cubic meter. ISO levels range from 1 through 9, depending on the room’s usage, with 9 being the “dirtiest” cleanroom and 1 the cleanest. An ISO 9 standard can harbor up to one million micron-sized particles per cubic meter. ISO 1 demands 1,000 or fewer micron-sized particles per cubic meter. Most cleanrooms fall between ISO 5 and 8, with ISO 7 and 8 being the most common.

 

The Right Stuff

Meeting the strict GMP and ISO requirements for cleanrooms—and avoiding the costly consequences of not following them—requires a cleaning team familiar with proper cleanroom protocol. With this in mind, below are five areas where an experienced cleanroom cleaning service provider can prove invaluable.

 

Product knowledge. “Servicing a clean room requires knowing what equipment and products to use, such as the special wipers or the right formula mix,” explains Luis Ramirez, president of Shine Facility Services. “This is especially important when there is a breach. The cleaning product that must be used depends on the type of breach; the cleaning formula needs to work against the specific bacteria or substance that has entered the clean room. The scientists test the cleanrooms and let us know if there is a breach and what it is. Then we work with our supplier to ensure we get the right product. And even if you use the right product, if you don’t mix it correctly, you may not remove the breach.”

According to Ramirez, a breach can be caused by anything as seemingly simple as a person entering the room with jewelry, a cell phone, or an unauthorized cleaning product to an employee wiping perspiration from his/her forehead and touching a surface.

 

Processes. Another reason cleanroom cleaning is considered a specialty is that it requires a specific cleaning sequence. “Our GMP cleaners know where to start and end with their cleaning procedures to prevent cross and recontamination of surfaces,” Ramirez says. “Using the right sequence gets a cleanroom up and running faster after a product switch or breach and avoids the time and expense of do-overs.”

 

Staffing. Ramirez says clean rooms are usually serviced by teams of two or four. “Suppose there are not enough trained employees to cover an unforeseen employee absence,” Ramirez says. In such cases, manufacturing facilities can be forced to halt production, which can prove expensive and trigger long-term effects including  supply chain shortages and canceled orders. At Shine, we have created a culture where people want to work, which breeds loyalty and reduces employee absenteeism and turnover.”

 

PPE and lifestyle. Ensuring all individuals entering a cleanroom wear full personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves, gowns, safety glasses, bonnets, and booties, is vital. Proper procedures for donning and removing PPE also must be strictly followed by all who enter the room, including cleanroom cleaners. “It takes a certain type of person who doesn’t mind working in full PPE,” Ramirez says. “Some people find it too restrictive, even claustrophobic. Some say it causes them to perspire, or they don’t like the feel of it. Others don’t want to remove their jewelry or give up wearing makeup or carrying their cell phones. We make sure to select technicians who are comfortable with these demands while possessing the temperament and patience to don and remove PPE often multiple times per shift.”

 

Attention to detail. Cleaning every centimeter of the same space, sometimes numerous times during a breach or product switch, can be tedious and monotonous. So, too, is the detailed reporting required every time a cleanroom is cleaned. “GMP requires a record of any actions taken, and it must be kept current at all times,” Ramirez says. “If an impromptu audit is conducted, and the records aren’t 100% up-to-date, the production can and will be shut down. It takes a special kind of person to perform these duties accurately and consistently.”

These are just five reasons hiring a commercial cleaning services provider well-versed in cleanroom processes and protocols saves time, money, and potential headaches. Contact us to find out more!

 

The Shine Difference: California’s Experienced Cleanroom Cleaning Service Provider 

Are you seeking a cleanroom cleaning provider in the San Francisco Bay area with GMP and ISO-level knowledge and experience? We are experts in cleanrooms for healthcare, life sciences, and other manufacturing industries. Discover the Shine difference. Browse our website and contact us for more information or to get answers to your cleanroom or other facility maintenance questions. At Shine Facility Services, we take care of the cleaning so you can concentrate on running your business.

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.

Shine employee cleaning up office space

Contracting a Commercial Cleaning Company or Hiring In-House: Which Is More Cost-Effective?

Running a business is a lot of work. You have meetings to attend, decisions to make and employees to oversee. You fill your time to its maximum potential, and sometimes, you wish there were more hours in the day. There’s always more to do tomorrow and more you wished to accomplish today. You have your hands full, but there’s something else you need to consider: keeping your place of business clean.

You probably don’t have the time to put on a pair of gloves and start scrubbing the floors. You need to spend your time focused on running a business. The question is, should you use a cleaning company or hire a janitor? There are pros and cons to both options, and what works for one business may be different than the next. This guide will help you learn more about hiring a cleaning company vs. an individual to clean your office or facility so you can make the best choice for your business.

Quality of Clean

When it comes to cleaning your business, it’s not about checking off boxes and hoping for the best. You want your business to be spotless, especially if you’re going to be paying money for the service. Consider the quality of the end result for whichever cleaning option you choose.

Hiring In-House

You may feel more comfortable hiring an employee or team of employees to clean your business from within. Here are the benefits of doing so:

  • Control: You get to choose how and when your business space is cleaned. You set the schedule to determine who is cleaning your office and when they’re cleaning it. You can even tell them exactly what you want them to accomplish throughout the week. If you want full control over your building’s cleaning, then hiring in-house may be for you.
  • Convenience: When you hire employees committed to keeping your business clean, you’ll experience greater convenience. These employees can be around during regular business hours to clean spills and messes that occur at any time. Waiting until a cleaning crew arrives is not always a viable option.
  • Customization: Do your floors need unique care? Are you or some of your employees allergic to certain cleaning agents? When you hire an in-house cleaning staff, you get to customize the equipment and chemicals they use to meet your unique needs and preferences.
  • Security: The security of your business is one of your top priorities. When you hire in-house, you can know who is in your business at all times, even during overnight cleaning sessions. Have peace of mind knowing who is cleaning your business.

Hiring a Cleaning Company

Worker using industrial carpet cleaner machine in office

Hiring a cleaning company provides different benefits related to the quality of the clean. Here are some aspects to consider:

  • Specialized equipment and products: A professional cleaning service has various high-quality gear and cleaning products. Instead of stocking your business with cleaning supplies, let the cleaning company bring its own equipment for the job.
  • Expert techniques and processes: Great gear is useless without the skill to use it. Professional cleaning companies can clean more in less time and do a better job because they’ve honed their craft and know all the best cleaning procedures.
  • Fully trained employees: It costs time and money to train an in-house cleaning crew. You can save that time and money by hiring a professional cleaning company. They’ve done all the training in advance so they can complete the job right away. And since they’re trained, your business building will experience a high-quality clean from the first day. You get all the benefits of a trained cleaning crew without doing any of the training.
  • Level of experience: Professional cleaning companies have years and even decades of experience. They’ll be ready for the most unusual cleaning situations and leave you satisfied with the result. You can trust their expertise because they’ve seen it all, from the smallest accidents to the biggest messes.

Cost

How does the cost compare regarding hiring a cleaning company vs. janitors? Consider several factors to have an accurate idea of the differences in cost.

Hiring In-House

Here are some cost factors to consider when hiring in-house:

  • Liability insurance: When you hire new employees to clean your business, you’ll have to pay liability insurance. In-house cleaning can increase certain risks for your employees. Without liability insurance, you leave yourself vulnerable to costly legal fees and court battles. You can avoid this liability by hiring a professional cleaning company.
  • Workers’ compensation insurance: Accidents can happen on any day at any business. This is the reality when conducting business with hired employees. For that reason, you need to pay for workers’ compensation insurance for every employee you hire. This includes your new janitors and cleaning team. Factor this cost into the equation when figuring out how much it will cost to hire your own cleaning crew.
  • Paid benefits: Full-time janitors deserve full-time benefits. Many of these hold monetary value. Paid benefits can include vacation time, health insurance, dental insurance, eye care and paid sick days. Beyond your employees’ hourly wages or yearly salary, you’ll need to pay more in the form of benefits for your full-time, in-house cleaning crew.
  • Costs of equipment and supplies: You’ll need more than people to clean your business. You’ll need chemicals, cleaning supplies, products and cleaning equipment to get the job done. These can be costly, especially if you’re looking for a high-quality clean. You’ll also have to keep these items in stock and pay for equipment repairs if anything breaks. This can all become a hefty expense.

Hiring a Cleaning Company

Worker wiping up floor with cleaning brush

It’s easy to assume that hiring in-house will be more affordable than outsourcing your cleaning needs. While it’s true that you can cut corners to decrease expenses, it’s a difficult task to lower costs and still get a high-quality clean. Hiring a cleaning company might seem more expensive at first glance, but the following benefits can make the expense a good value:

  • Choose a service package that fits your budget: Professional cleaning companies offer various service packages to choose from. You can select a service that fits your budget, however large or small it may be. You’ll know that the services you receive will be high-quality for the amount you’re paying. And you can know exactly what services the company will provide based on the description of the package. Experience the benefits of a professional cleaning service at a price that fits your budget.
  • Scale service up or down as needed: Every business owner knows that there are seasons of high profits and low profits. As these times of year fluctuate, you may need to scale your cleaning services up or down to accommodate the changes in activity and budget. With a professional cleaning company, you have the freedom to make these changes as you see fit. Talk to the company’s representative and describe your situation and your desires. They’ll work with you to provide services that fit your needs as they change throughout the year.

Additional Services

Life likes to throw curveballs your way. As you’ve spent time running your business, you understand this all too well. When choosing whether to outsource office cleaning or hire an internal team, you need to consider additional services. When unexpected needs arise, can your in-house team handle it? Will a professional cleaning company have the flexibility to accommodate these curveballs?

Hiring In-House

When new needs arise, hiring in-house gives you some freedom to find a way to accomplish them. Here are some factors to consider if you decide to use your own cleaning crew:

  • Hire and train additional people: You may need to hire more people to complete certain tasks, raising your costs. If your cleaning crew cannot handle the volume of cleaning needed, you’ll need to bring on more team members. You may also need to hire different people for additional tasks. Maintenance and repairs around your business may fall outside the skill set of your cleaning crew. You could end up having two internal teams: a cleaning crew and a maintenance crew, which can become a costly solution.
  • Difficult and strenuous tasks: In some situations, your in-house cleaning team may lack the skills needed to clean certain messes. Tasks like power washing the building, cleaning your carpets, and deep cleaning tough messes can be too difficult for an inexperienced or undersized cleaning team, not to mention the need for additional equipment. You could end up hiring a professional cleaning team anyway in such situations.

Hiring a Cleaning Company

Professional cleaning companies can respond to additional needs in ways that your internal crew may be unable to. Here are some benefits of hiring a cleaning company that’s ready for every situation:

  • Maintenance services: Instead of hiring one internal team for cleaning and another for maintenance, choose one professional cleaning company to handle both. Some cleaning companies provide maintenance services for your business, making them your comprehensive solution. They can provide the handyman services you need.
  • Wide range of services and abilities: Professional cleaning crews are ready for many tasks beyond standard cleaning services. If the outside of your building is dirty, they can pressure wash it. Do your walls need a facelift? Cleaning companies can provide painting services. Some companies even offer graffiti removal services if someone vandalizes your building. You also need to keep your parking lot clean, so see if a professional cleaning company will maintain your parking lot as well.
  • Green cleaning: If you’re committed to preserving the environment, then make sure your business is staying green. Fulfill this commitment by hiring a professional cleaning company that offers green cleaning services. They may have access to the best environmentally-friendly cleaning products. Get a high-quality clean without any environmental guilt.

Peace of Mind

When comparing in-house vs. outsourced cleaning services, you need to remember the value of having peace of mind. Many people in business may say peace of mind is priceless. Make sure you’re making a decision that will reduce stress in your life.

Hiring In-House

Consider the following factors regarding peace of mind when employing your own cleaning team:

  • More flexibility: When you hire in-house, you have control over your cleaning team. You know who is in your building, and you choose how your team cleans the building, so you know what’s going on at all times. Some business owners may find this level of control and flexibility worth the added hassle of hiring in-house.
  • More risk: When you hire your own cleaning team, you open yourself up to risks. Besides the risk of injured employees and needing to pay medical and legal fees, you risk a lack of efficiency. If a member or several members of the cleaning crew get sick, you could face gaps in your schedule. Then none of the work gets done.

Hiring a Cleaning Company

You can experience greater peace of mind when hiring a professional cleaning company. Here are some reasons why:

  • Trained cleaning crew: Handling your own cleaning team can be stressful. Hiring and training your crew takes time and resources, and managing their schedules, time off, sick leave and daily tasks can be a full-time job in itself. Professional cleaning companies handle all these stressors themselves, so you don’t have to. Plus, you can easily scale your services if needed.
  • Free up time: When you hand off hiring, training and managing a cleaning crew to a professional company, you free up your time for other tasks. You’re running a business, and you have a lot of work to do as it is. Spend your time doing what you do best and outsource your cleaning to a professional cleaning company.
  • Get reliable service: A stressful day can get worse when members of your internal cleaning crew start calling off. Professional cleaning companies have people on standby to fill in empty spots if someone can’t come in. They’ll clean your business when they promise to, guaranteed.
  • Experience a high-quality clean: When you hire employees to clean your building, you expect them to do a good job. It can be discouraging and frustrating if you’re unsatisfied with their performance. When you hire a professional cleaning company, you’re entering a partnership with people who will do a great job every time. You’ll get a high-quality clean without the stress of janitors underperforming, which is especially important during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Give a great first impression: First impressions matter in every industry. Your customers and clients will see if your building is clean, and this will shape their initial opinions of you and your business as a whole. Trust your cleaning to a professional cleaning company to ensure you give a great first impression every time someone enters your building, facility or office space.

Create a Clean and Healthy Workplace With Shine Facility Services

There’s only so much time in the day. With all the duties you already have, you may not have the time to add the responsibility of hiring and managing a cleaning crew for your business. When you hire Shine Facility Services, you’re investing in more than a clean building. You’re investing in peace of mind, more free time, first impressions and even the health of your employees and customers.

We commit to creating a healthy workplace for you and everyone who enters your building. Two former five-star hotel executives own and run our business, representing a commitment to high-quality service with stellar results. When you need a professional, comprehensive cleaning solution, Shine Facility Services is the company for you. Contact us today to take the next step toward a clean, healthy workspace.

shine employees

School cleaning best practices.

School Cleaning Best Practices

When students get sick, they miss school, and that can negatively impact their learning and grades. When faculty and staff get sick, you are stuck scheduling last-minute substitutes. But what if students or staff don’t realize they’re ill until they’re at school? Or what if they know beforehand and come in anyway? You’re left with a facility that needs to be cleaned.

Even with a healthy student population and faculty, your school facility needs regular cleaning. Doing so keeps everyone in your facility better protected from illnesses. So what are the best school cleaning practices? And what school cleaning and disinfecting recommendations should you follow? Below, you’ll find tips to add to your school cleaning and disinfecting considerations to make a cleaner environment for everyone at your facility.

Understand the Differences Between Cleaning, Disinfecting and Sanitizing

Before you learn about classroom cleaning tips for schools, you need to understand the differences between cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing. While we all often use those terms interchangeably, they refer to different levels of cleanliness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the differences between cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing are as follows:

  • Cleaning: This process uses soap and water — or a detergent and water — to physically remove dirt, impurities and germs. While it doesn’t kill germs, it does lower their numbers and reduce the risk of spreading.
  • Disinfecting: Disinfecting uses chemicals to kill germs on objects and surfaces. Disinfecting doesn’t always remove dirt from a surface, but it does kill germs and lowers the risk of them spreading.
  • Sanitizing: This process works with both cleaning or disinfecting practices. It reduces the number of germs on a surface to what public health standards deem to be safe.

Promote Personal Hygiene Among Students and Faculty

The best practices for school facility cleaning start with the students’ and faculty’s hygiene. While you cannot control all the personal hygiene habits of students and staff, such as showering and laundering clothes, you can help manage personal cleanliness in school. Promote these ways to help reduce the spread of germs and keep your school clean:

  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Wash hands frequently, especially after sneezing, after coughing and before and after eating.
  • Sneeze or cough into the elbow when tissues aren’t available.
  • Avoid sharing food, drinks or eating utensils.
  • Keep cuts or scrapes clean and covered with bandages until they heal.
  • Avoid sharing gym clothing or towels.
  • Avoid coming to school if you feel ill.
  • Maintain an appropriate social distance of 6 feet during the time of COVID-19.
  • Wear a CDC-recommended mask when required during the time of COVID-19.

Along with those rules and recommendations for students and staff, you can take additional measures. Promote personal hygiene in your school by providing:

  • Tissues in classrooms — you can also encourage students and faculty to bring their own.
  • Hand sanitizer stations for students and staff to use in addition to washing their hands.
  • Hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • CDC-recommended masks during the time of COVID-19.
  • Thermometers to monitor temperatures throughout the day during the time of COVID-19.

Use in-class lessons to promote personal hygiene or put up informative displays throughout your facility. Consider signs in bathrooms that encourage students and staff to wash their hands. Washing your hands is one of the most essential steps to maintaining an environment with fewer germs. The correlation between cleaning and hygiene in schools is clear, especially considering that hand-washing education can help reduce respiratory illnesses by 16% to 21%. It can also decrease school children’s absences due to gastrointestinal illnesses by 29% to 57%.

clean frequently touched surfaces throughout the day

Clean Frequently Touched Surfaces Throughout the Day

In addition to promoting personal hygiene in schools, you’ll also want to attend to frequently touched surfaces throughout the day. Staff should use cleaners registered by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Green cleaning products will still disinfect or clean while keeping your school, students and staff healthy.

Based on school cleaning and disinfecting recommendations from the CDC, daily cleaning is necessary for frequently touched items. You may also create cleaning and disinfecting protocols for your school that promote frequent cleaning throughout the day. Have staff focus on touchpoints that students and faculty interact with often, such as:

  • Doorknobs and handles.
  • Door surfaces.
  • Light switches.
  • Computer keyboards, monitors and mice.
  • Phones.
  • Desks and tables.
  • Chairs.
  • Toys for younger age groups.
  • Hands-on learning devices.
  • Lockers.
  • Soap and paper towel dispensers, if they aren’t automatic.
  • Faucets, if they aren’t automatic.
  • Water fountains.
  • Vending machines.
  • Counters and appliances in break rooms or cafeterias.
  • Stairway railings.

Using cleaning and disinfecting guidance for schools, you could encourage students to clean their desks after use. This works for older students in a school setting where they switch classrooms throughout the day. You may provide disinfecting wipes and instruct teachers to set aside a few minutes at the end of class for students to wipe down their desks and chairs. If students are younger, you may have teachers or staff wipe down the desks between classes.

Conduct Thorough Daily Cleaning for All Surfaces

Incorporate daily cleaning for all surfaces with EPA-registered disinfectants into your school cleaning and disinfecting protocols. Daily cleanings are essential because the flu virus can live on surfaces for up to 48 hours. During that time, the virus can potentially infect others. Daily cleaning helps combat those viruses and germs. It also makes it easier to clean instead of letting dust and dirt build up on surfaces.

As you explain how to clean and disinfect your school, instruct your staff to follow directions on cleaning and disinfecting products. That practice promotes safe and effective use and helps ensure the product works as intended. Cleaning chemicals may have a recommended contact time, which is how long a product should sit on a surface to kill or remove germs.

During this daily cleaning, have your staff focus on all surfaces. Emphasize touchpoints they have cleaned throughout the day, so they can disinfect these again. You should also add floors, windows and stairs to this cleaning list. Don’t forget about areas that get more exposure to dirt, grime and germs, like:

  • Entryways.
  • Gymnasiums.
  • Cafeterias.
  • Locker rooms.
  • Nurse’s offices.

These school cleaning and disinfecting considerations are easiest to perform before or after hours. While cleaning staff should take care of emergencies as they arise, it will be easier to clean inside classrooms once students are gone for the day. After hours, personnel can also clean floors thoroughly without concern of students slipping.

hire professional janitorial staff

Hire Professionals

Hire professionals to clean and disinfect your school the proper way. Following cleaning and disinfecting guidance for schools is easier when you work with a cleaning company. Professional janitorial staff will bring:

  • Experience: Janitorial professionals have been in the business for years. They’ll know the best cleaners and practices to use to keep surfaces clean yet undamaged.
  • Versatility: Professionals have experience across an array of industries, and that makes them versatile. They can go from cleaning a classroom to a gym to a laboratory and all the areas in between.
  • Convenience: A professional cleaning company will staff your facility throughout the day to meet your needs. You can trust the professionals to take care of your school while you worry about your other duties.
  • Proper PPE: Fully trained janitorial professionals will be provided with personal protective equipment to protect themselves and everyone in the facility.
  • Up to date technologies and products: A professional cleaning company will constantly add the most up to date equipment and products to be more effective and efficient in providing a safe and healthy environment at school.

When you take care to clean your facility, especially with professionals, you help keep your students and staff healthy. In turn, that could reduce the number of absences you see throughout the year. It also shows off your school in the best way, making it clean and beautiful for visitors.

Hire Shine Facility Services to Clean and Disinfect Your School Facility

If you need help cleaning your school, we at Shine Facility Services will give you high-quality and customized janitorial solutions in the San Francisco Bay Area. Our experienced and specialty-trained team will bring the best school facility cleaning practices to you, including:

  • Electrostatic Disinfectant Sprayer
  • EPA-Registered 1-minute kill time of COVID-19 disinfectant
  • EPA-Registered COVID-19 day protective seal

We’ll talk with you to outline our tasks and discuss the time it will take to clean your school. Whether you need green carpet cleaninghard floor careeco-friendly cleaning or disinfecting and deep cleaning throughout your facility, we’re happy to help.

Contact us at 415-400-5671 to request a quote and learn more about our janitorial services in the Bay Area.

How-to-Reduce-Indoor-Air-Pollution

How to Reduce Indoor Air Pollution

You may associate air pollution with smog-belching smokestacks or bumper-to-bumper L.A. traffic, but harmful air pollution can affect an ordinary home or office space. Although we don’t discuss it as frequently as outdoor pollution, indoor air quality impacts our lives just as much, if not more. Office managers shouldn’t underestimate the importance of indoor air quality. In your role, you need to know how to detect possible indoor air quality issues and prevent potential health hazards.

With more and more studies directly connecting the quality of a building’s air significantly to its occupants’ overall health and ability to focus, office managers need to be well-educated on the effects of indoor air pollution and the importance of air filtration. For those seeking to understand how to improve indoor air quality, this article will explain the health effects of poor indoor air quality, explore what causes poor indoor air quality and offer tips to improve indoor air quality in office spaces.

How Does Indoor Air Quality Affect Your Health?

Before we can understand the effects of indoor air pollution and why you should focus on indoor air quality, we must first answer the question: What is indoor air quality (IAQ)? As its name implies, IAQ refers to the quality of the air within and directly surrounding a particular building. The nature of indoor air quality and its link to individuals’ health, productivity, comfort and well-being make the quality of a building’s air a major concern for building managers, tenants, business owners and employees alike.

Many of us spend up to 90% of the day indoors, so it should come as no surprise that the quality of a building’s air directly affects its occupants’ health and ability to function at their highest capacity. But the extent to which IAQ can impact health may be a bit of a shock — the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that some indoor environments can have levels of pollutants even higher than the pollutant levels outside.

Many people believe staying indoors is an effective way to avoid breathing polluted air, but inside air contains pollutants from outside, plus added contaminants from indoor activities, such as smoke from cooking or fumes from cleaning products and building materials. The EPA has said indoor air pollution is typically between two and five times greater than outdoor air pollution, with the potential of being up to 100 times worse than the outside air.

This poor quality of air is partly due to keeping office windows closed to shield employees from outside pollutants. Despite good intentions, closing windows cuts down on a building’s ventilation and means every breath an employee takes in a cubicle or conference room raises the carbon dioxide level. This high concentration of CO2 can lead to headaches and drowsiness.

Indoor air pollutants can also lead to more severe illnesses. Because of the potential health problems posed by poor indoor air quality, the EPA has consistently ranked indoor air pollution among the top five environmental risks to public health. Even carefully run buildings can unknowingly experience excess air pollutants indoors, so it’s essential to recognize the symptoms of poor indoor air quality.

Why is indoor air quality important? Here are three signs that poor indoor air quality is affecting your health.

1. Sick Building Syndrome

Sick Building Syndrome

Sick building syndrome (SBS) is just as it sounds: a sickness that stems from spending too much time in a building with poor air quality. Because of their similar symptoms, SBS is easy to mistake for a bad cold or the flu. Pay attention to whether your symptoms improve after leaving a specific building and return when you go back, which is a significant indication that SBS is to blame.

SBS usually includes skin, respiratory or neurological symptoms like these:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness and nausea
  • Difficulty concentrating or forgetfulness
  • Throat irritation
  • Chest tightness and respiratory illness
  • Runny nose
  • Rashes

2. Lower Productivity

According to the EPA, poor indoor air quality may cost the nation tens of billions of dollars every year in lost productivity and medical care coverage. That’s because conference rooms with constantly closed windows create increased levels of carbon dioxide in the room, resulting in drowsiness, headaches and trouble concentrating. The source of this productivity loss is a large number of pollutants in the air which reduces the amount of oxygen available to the brain, resulting in declined cognitive abilities.

On the flip side, the EPA has reported a direct connection between improved indoor and higher productivity and fewer lost workdays. Research also found that employees who worked in an environment with high-quality indoor air performed 60% better in cognitive tasks than those in a traditional office space. Because better air quality improves oxygen flow to the brain and cognitive performance, investing in better air quality will pay off for organizations in the long run.

3. Respiratory Problems

Severe indoor air pollution can contribute to more serious health issues, especially for those with underlying conditions. High levels or concentrations of air contaminants like dust, mold and secondhand smoke can exacerbate existing respiratory problems or cause new ones. More toxic pollutants, such as asbestos, formaldehyde or carbon monoxide, may result in severe health conditions.

Extremely poor indoor air quality can lead to these long-term illnesses:

  • Lung cancer
  • Respiratory infections
  • Asthma
  • Rapid heartbeat and heart disease
  • Chronic lung disease

What Causes Poor Indoor Air Quality?

Indoor air quality is a complex concept. Many variables play a role in making up the air’s composition, such as a building’s design, maintenance and surrounding outside air, and they are always changing. Although the exact quality of indoor air at a specific point can be hard to pin down, the EPA has been able to identify which pollutants affect it the most.

What-Causes-Poor-Indoor-Air-Quality

These are the three primary indoor air pollutant categories to be aware of.

  1. Chemical pollutants: Chemical pollutants are often products of combustion, such as tobacco smoke and nitrogen dioxide, but can also include accidental chemical spills and emissions from products like cleaning products or office equipment.
  2. Particles: A particle is a solid or liquid substance light enough to hang in the air, such as dust and dirt. These tiny particles usually come from outside and can be harmful to human health.
  3. Biological contaminants: Contaminants like large concentrations of bacteria, viruses, dander, pollen and molds typically come from inadequate building maintenance or moisture from spills, humidity and condensation. This kind of pollutant is especially hazardous for those with allergies or asthma.

Within these categories, there are many different forms of toxins and pollutant possibilities. Depending on a building’s structure, upkeep, ventilation and location, its indoor air could have a variety of particles and pollutants. Not all offices will have the same variables, but there are some standard sources of air pollution for every building manager to watch out for.

Here are some specific factors that contribute to indoor air quality.

  • Smoke: Regardless of a no-indoor-smoking rule, smoke can still cling to someone’s skin or clothing and accompany them inside the building. Containing more than 400 chemical compounds, cigarette smoke is particularly dangerous to have inside a poorly ventilated space.
  • Dust: Dust and mites may seem tiny enough to ignore, but these minuscule particles can circulate around a building and set off a string of allergy symptoms.
  • Mildew and mold: A change in temperature can quickly lead to condensation and moisture, which serves as a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Buildings with water damage are especially susceptible to mildew and mold problems.
  • Chemicals: Chemicals can come from building materials, furniture, upholstery and practically every manufactured item, making proper office ventilation essential.

With all these microscopic causes of poor indoor air quality, it can be overwhelming to know when your building’s air quality needs a boost. In particular, it can be challenging to detect potential air quality issues within large commercial facilities. Often, health symptoms are the most reliable signs of air quality issues, but it’s always preferable to clear out air pollutants before sickness strikes.

If you notice your building occupants starting to show SBS symptoms, follow these three steps to addressing indoor air quality.

  1. Investigate: Before deciding there’s something wrong with your building’s airflow, look into whether other environmental factors like noise, poor lighting and thermal comfort could be affecting employees. Once you’ve eliminated these possibilities, it’s time to examine the quality of your indoor air.
  2. Inspect: Check out the building’s ventilation system to make sure it’s taking in the right amount of air from outside and distributing it throughout the building well. Also, make sure the filtration systems are functioning correctly.
  3. Test: Air testing kits are a great way to detect air pollutants within a space. You can submit samples to a lab for analysis of whether your building has high levels of mold, asbestos, carbon monoxide, toxic gases and other chemicals.

How to Improve Air Quality Inside Your Office

How to Improve Air Quality Inside Your Office

Now that you’ve seen the dangers and causes of poor indoor air quality, you may be wondering how you can improve your workplace indoor air quality. Luckily, there are many ways to purify your workplace’s indoor air and make sure your employees are comfortable. Putting a little extra effort into keeping your building well-maintained will go a long way toward eliminating air pollutants and increasing productivity.

Take a look at these top 10 ways to improve office air quality and protect employee health.

1. Test Regularly

Routinely testing your workplace’s levels of indoor pollutants, regardless of any SBS symptoms, will allow you to stay on top of your building’s air quality and detect any abnormalities before they become a problem. Air quality tests should include checking for mold, airflow, ventilation, odd odors, humidity levels and water damage. A professional air quality test will tell you exactly what you need to fix within your building to improve its indoor air.

2. Unblock Vents

Make sure your building’s air vents are fully opened and unblocked. Cabinets, storage boxes, chairs or other furniture in front of an air vent could disrupt the circulation throughout the building and negatively affect the quality of air, resulting in health issues.

3. Change HVAC Filters

To see the benefits of indoor air filtration, try to clean your HVAC system regularly as well as change its filters. A clogged HVAC filter can put a stop to your building’s airflow and speed up the rate at which pollutants collect in your enclosed space. Letting dust and debris build up within a clogged air filter will cause allergens to settle inside your air ducts and risk your employees’ health.

4. Check Air Ducts

You’ll need to inspect and clean your air ducts regularly, especially if you recently had a clogged air filter. To prevent any major health concerns, call in an expert to assess and fix your air ducts if you notice any signs that they may be interfering with your building’s circulation or air quality and in need of professional cleaning.

5. Freshen the Air

Use commercial-grade equipment, such as dehumidifiers, air purifiers and air scrubbers, to clean your building’s air. Investing in top-of-the-line air-cleaning devices will keep your indoor air quality at an appropriate level and save you from having to hire professionals to fix problems later.

6. Go Natural

Thanks to photosynthesis, indoor plants are a workplace’s secret weapon for pure air. Adding an office plant will decrease the amount of carbon dioxide in the air and increase the levels of oxygen released into the air to make breathing easier. As a bonus, the greenery will give your office space a more peaceful and pleasing aesthetic.

7. Open Up

Let fresh air in through an open window whenever possible. Windows are a great way to promote natural airflow and circulation throughout a building. If your office has windows, open them whenever the weather permits so that stale air has an outlet and fresh air can come in.

8. Monitor Humidity

A healthy level of humidity is crucial to indoor air quality. Make sure your building’s humidity level hovers somewhere between 30 and 50% to prevent dust mites, mold and other allergens from thriving. Air conditioners and a dehumidifier can be your allies in maintaining your workplace’s proper humidity.

9. Mop up Spills

To avoid mildew and mold from excess moisture, clean up any workplace spills immediately. Water damage and residual dampness support the growth of mold and mildew, which is detrimental to human health. Prevent this problem before it arises by taking care of leaks and spills as soon as someone brings it to your attention.

10. Keep Your Building Clean

Scheduling regular professional deep cleans for your workplace is the easiest way to maintain its indoor air quality. Thorough cleanings will keep contaminants and allergens from spreading through the air, get rid of dust and reduce the chance of mold growth.

Between cleaning appointments, keep a clean workspace by clearing away clutter and disposing of garbage before it has time to build up. Look for a cleaning service that uses eco-friendly cleaning products instead of harsh chemicals that could harm your building occupants’ health.

Contact Shine Facility Services to Improve Your Air Quality

If you need a one-stop-shop to sanitize your building and raise standards of cleanliness, contact Shine Facility Services. At Shine, we use green cleaning products and disinfectants to protect and preserve the health of your office. Our goal is to deliver top-quality commercial cleanings that are sustainable and effectively reduce air pollutants.

To get started on making your office a safer and more productive place to work, request a quote from Shine Facility Services today.

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