Winter-Proofing your Business

Winter weather is right around the corner.  The New England climate and precipitation can be unpredictable and harsh.  While hardy New Englanders  know how to stay warm and  bundle up, don’t forget to winterize your workplace.  Here are some of our ideas for winter-proofing your business for safety and cleanliness.

  1. Duct Cleaning – Now that the heat is needed daily the duct work that brings the warmth to your office should be cleaned and checked seasonally for safety and for dusting.  Airborne bacteria, dust and mold can build up in the duct work and should be thoroughly cleaned
  2. Protect the floors – Whether your office has hard wood , tile or carpeting, keeping the floors spotless from the debris, mud, snow and dirt that is brought in from outdoors is just one of the things to consider when winterizing your business.  Regular cleanings, especially after storms is a must along with ensuring the floors are not slippery or unsightly.
  3. Sidewalk and Parking Lot winterizing – Snow, ice and salt are major parts of daily life here in New England.  Making sure your parking lot is free of hazardous conditions is important when hosting clients at your office.  Be sure to maintain the integrity of the outdoors as well as the indoors.  Professional cleaning indoors and out can make your business safe and inviting to clients and employees.

Forgotten Cleaning Spots

No one likes to hear, “You missed a spot!” when they have been dutifully cleaning whether it is the office or at home.  There are many spots however that most people, either accidentally or purposefully miss when cleaning.  Professional cleaners know not only how to clean but the where cleaning can sometimes be overlooked.  Getting all those nooks and crannies is important to keep the view of your business positive.  Let’s look at some of the places that many people miss when cleaning the office that could be detrimental to the way clients may perceive you and your company.

  1. Underneath furniture – While most clients will not move the furniture to check that it has been cleaned underneath, dust and dust piles can build up and create a dirty look around the footprint of your furniture.
  2. Behind Electronics – Most offices have desktop computers, servers, televisions, copiers and faxes that need cleaning behind and around to stop the build up of dust and dirt.
  3.  Light fixtures – These areas tend to be a haven for bugs and spider webs that can show up at inopportune times.  A thorough cleaning regularly will eliminate unsightly bug silhouettes
  4. Ceiling fans – Fans gather dust and can cause embarrassment if the dust flings off while a client is in the office.  Regular cleanings can stop the dust from building up on the blade.
  5. Baseboards  – An area that can gather dust and all sorts of stains are the baseboards.  Most people don’t even think about them until they start to notice the dirt and grim.
  6. Behind the toilets – The most overlooked area in the bathroom are the tiles and the floor behind the toilet.  This is mostly because they are hard to reach and require getting down on the floor to clean them.
  7. Plant Leaves – While plants can spruce up any office the leaves gather dust just like a piece of furniture.  While it is labor intensive, a damp cloth or a quick spritz of water can shine up the leaves and make a world of difference in the overall look of the office.

Why green cleaning is good?

While there are many green practices worth adopting, switching to green cleaning products is one of those actions that is fairly simple, cost-effective and can make a big impact.  What most people don’t always think about is the “why” behind their actions.  Let’s take a look at the reasons why green cleaning is good for you and the environment.

  • According to National Geographic, only about 30% of the roughly 17,000 chemicals found in household products, including those used for cleaning, have been sufficiently tested for their effects on human health.
  • Healthier and safer cleaning products offer natural, non-toxic, and biodegradable alternatives that are just as effective as synthetic chemical cleaners. Fewer rashes, and allergic reactions are reported in green products.
  • The use of synthetic cleaners has adverse effects on air and water quality. The disposal of chemical cleaners can also have an adverse effect on land fills and disposal areas.
  • Many of the chemicals in household cleaners are harmful not only in their use, but also in their manufacturing process.
  • Green cleaning can be cost effective if done properly.

Hard Water Stains

While rain water is incredibly beneficially to our environment, it can wreak havoc on cars and windows.   In some areas of the country, the water has a high content of minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. This water is called hard water. Hard water is a designation that means the Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) count in the water is very high. It also means that once the water has evaporated from the surface unsightly and hard-to-remove stains appear.  These spots can even cause irreparable damage to your windows if you don’t get rid of them quickly.

Bathroom surfaces, outside facing windows and car surfaces are the most common areas to find hard water stains.  Ordinary cleaning techniques usually don’t completely erase water spots caused by hard water, unless of course it is cleaned right away Let’s be honest,  who really has the time to clean every single time we use the water after we wash the dishes or water the lawn?   A professional cleaning company can maintain the beauty of your windows but you may want to also try some home remedies that may egin to solve the problem.

  • Water and Vinegar Solution – Prepare a mixture of 50% water, and 50% white vinegar. Soak a wash towel in the mixture and then press against the windows keeping the area wet.  The vinegar should soften the water water stains.  Wipe and press the towel on the window until the spots disappear. You may need to repeat the process several times for sites with a lot of water spots.
  • Toothpaste! Believe it or not white toothpaste can remove stains. Squeeze a dollop of toothpaste on a paper towel, add a little water, then apply the mixture on the glass as if you’re waxing a car. Thoroughly rinse the glass, then use a squeegee to remove excess water and toothpaste. The spots should be completely gone or at least reduced.
  • Steel Wool –  Steel wool doesn’t scratch glass, and actually polishes it. Lots of car owners use steel wool to clean their windshields when water spots form on them. You may use steel wool in combination with whatever cleaner you want, whether vinegar or a commercial window cleaner.

Costly Gutter Repairs

Preventing gutter problems is measured in pennies, fixing gutter damage is measured in dollars.  Preventing damage whether it is your business or your home may not be on the top of your list of fall maintenance but it should be.

Fall is the perfect time to think about gutters, since leaves dropping from trees are a main cause of clogging. Unfortunately gutters and downspouts can be blocked by other things, too, including pine needles, twigs, “helicopter” maple seeds and (if your have kids) tennis balls.

How often should they be cleaned? Experts recommend checking your gutter system at least twice a year, in the spring and in the fall after trees have shed most of their leaves and needles. If your property is populated by many trees that hang over the building your may need to clean the gutters every few months.  For gutters that are blocked by screens or a professional gutter protection once a year may be appropriate.

What is the potential damage of clogged gutters? Clogged downspouts and gutters cause water to overflow the gutter, which can damage fascia or soffit boards.  This can  erode landscaping, or cause a roof leaking. This, in turn may create additional exterior or interior damage. Clogged gutters can also be related to pest and rodent infestation.

A professional gutter cleaning company can remove all leaves and other material from the roof, gutters and downspouts, as well as a check of overall gutter condition and repair of any loose gutter spikes.

Benefits of Scotchgard

The first thing clients probably notice about your business are the pieces of furniture and carpeting in your lobby.  You probably spend  quite a bit of money to decorate this “first impression” area so that clients will have nothing but a positive first experience right? Well, if you think choosing the right carpeting and furniture was critical, maintaining the professional and clean look of that furniture should be of utmost importance as well.  That is where scotchgard can come in handy for your lobby pieces.

What is scotch guard? Scotchgard is a 3M brand of products, a stain repellent and durable water repellent applied to fabric, furniture, and carpets to protect them from stains. The original formula for Scotchgard was discovered accidentally in 1952 by 3M chemists Patsy Sherman and Samuel Smith.

Benefits of Scotchgard –

  • Helps protect against both oil and water based stains.
  • Help carpet fibers resist soiling.
  • Helps spills blot up before they become stains.
  • Helps stains release more easily when carpet and upholstery is professionally cleaned.
  • Helps Carpet and upholstery stay cleaner longer.

In all, Scotchguard is a very advantageous product to use to keep your office carp[et and furniture clean and sharp looking.  Continue to make a positive impression on your clients by maintaining your investment in your office furniture.

Importance of a Clean Lobby

A first impression can never be made again.  When a client visits your office you want that first impression to make a statement about the type of business you run.  What does your lobby say about you and your company?  Does it convey your organization, professionalism, and cleanliness?  Putting your best foot forward in your office lobby is one of the best ways to make a positive first impression.  Here are some easy ways to make a great impression in your customer reception area.

  • Keep high traffic areas clean – You know the areas in your reception area that see the most foot traffic.  These are the areas to keep an eye out for soil or other stains that can detract from the overall appearance. One of the best lines of defense is an entrance mat for your lobby. These are perfect for trapping dirt, debris, and moisture carried in from outside.  Mats can also be customized to include your company’s logo – adding to your lobby’s professional appearance.
  • Keep HVAC clean and working properly – Other than visual cues, customers rely on their sense of smell to tell them how clean an area is.  If your office has a musty smell be sure to have the HVAC system cleaned regularly.  Office deodorizers are also a pleasant way to have a client enter into a pleasant smelling lobby.
  • Dust, Dust, Dust – Keeping tables, lamps and nicknacks in the lobby free from dust is also an important part of leaving clients with a good impression.  As clients wait for appointments they have a chance to look around the lobby and may notice dust and unclean items first.  Make dusting a weekly ritual.
  • Windows!  If your lobby has lots of windows you will want to maintain them regularly.  Smudges, fingerprints and streaks can detract from the sun shining into your lobby.

Making sure your lobby sets the tone for your clients experience with you and your company.  Regular maintenance from employees or a professional cleaning company can set you apart by making a positive impression right from the start.

Treating Hard-to-Remove Carpet Stains

A client spills his coffee on the white carpet at work. Your child drops his open sippy cup with grape juice on your den floor. The office luncheon ends up with splattered sauce on shoes that gets spread throughout the office.  We have all been there.  A small stain can send the wrong message to clients and can drive you just as mad at home.  So how do you treat hard-to-remove carpet stains?   Let’s look at some of the tricks of the trade that may help you.

  • Start by blotting (not wiping) the stain with a clean cloth and some cold water. You risk ruining the carpet fibers or spreading the stain by scrubbing.
  • Water Soluble Stains – for stains such as alcoholic beverages, berries, colas, food dyes, ice cream, jelly, milk, mud, washable ink or wet or latex paint use a simple cleaning solution made up of 1/4 teaspoon of non bleach detergent mixed with 32 ounces of water.  Again blot and remove working from the outside of the stain in.
  • Special Water Soluble Stains such as blood, coffee or tea try ammonia (1 Teaspoon) mixed with one cup of water .
  • Water but not too much – be sure not to over soak the stain as it may ruin the backing of the carpet pad.
  • For old Stains – for a stain that was hidden or not cleaned up immediately yu will want to choose a cleaning agent and let it set for a bit before beginning to work on rubbing gently at the carpet fibers.

Please be aware that not all stains are removable. Like everything its always best to call a professional even for some advice. All carpets are different, all stains are different. Cleaning carpets can be a chemistry game. Call us if you have questions or would like us to take a look at your hard-to-treat stain.

What is Green Cleaning?

We have all heard the term “green” when referring to recycling, automobiles and energy usage, but what exactly is Green Cleaning?  This is not a simple answer. Green Cleaning can have a lot of interpretations, but the main goal of green cleaning is to use cleaning solutions and methods that keep our environment healthy.

For some homes and businesses cleaning green means using only substances like baking soda, vinegar, and lemons to clean the home or business surfaces. For others it means using manufactured green cleaning products that are healthy for the environment. While for even others it means avoiding all phosphates, chlorine, artificial fragrances, and artificial colors. Some people look for biodegradable cleaners while others are looking for ingredients that are grown organically or using sustainable farming practices.  So as you can see “Green” may mean different things to different people.

No matter how you define it,the reason why people choose Green cleaning is fairly universal.  Most people would say that minimizing toxicity in the environment, and minimizing the consumption of natural resources, ultimately leaving the smallest ecological footprint possible during the cleaning process are the reasons they subscribe to this method.

The average worker spends 90% of their day indoors surrounded by the chemicals and solutions from carpets, upholstery, and cleaning products that can be hazardous to the air conditions. The University of Toronto reports that  exposure to hazardous cleaning products can range from eye irritation to coughing, chest pain, vomiting, cramps, and diarrhea. 11.6% of work-related asthma comes from cleaning products. In addition, people who suffer from multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome, a disease that is not fully understood or recognized by the medical community, feel that low level exposure to chemicals, such as cleaning products, cause them to feel sick.

Regardless of what your interpretation of Green Cleaning is, we can work with your company to clean in a way that is safe for workers and the least harmful for the environment.

Tips to Organize your Garage

Has your garage become the dumping spot for all the things that don’t fit into your house? Having trouble finding tools, equipment, toys, or bins of storage? Maybe it is time to organize your garage space to make it functional and (dare I say) attractive.  Here are some tips to help you get started organizing your garage.

 

  1. Start Sorting – Pull out items and group them in your yard by kind.  For example:  bikes, sports gear, garden tools, Holiday decorations, tools etc.
  2. Consolidate and Store – Sell or donate items that you really don’t need or are duplicates.  Once you have an idea of how many sports balls you have check out storage solutions online or at your local hardware store.  Here are some great ideas on Pinterest Storage Solutions.
  3. Install Storage – once you have a good grasp of how much stuff will be going back into your garage plan out your storage solutions.  For example don’t just think about the floors and walls remember a ceiling hook is a great place to hang bikes and save on space.  Invest in a peg board to hang tools, bins for toys and a rack for garden tools.  The more organization you use the easier it will be to find things when you really need them.
  4. Make it your own!  Jazz up the space with a funky paint on the floor or walls.  Install a speaker for music while you work or do something that shows off your personality.  The garage no longer has to be the dumping ground.