Shaking Things Up for Spring
If you look up the origins of the term “spring cleaning,” you’ll find that it actually dates back thousands of years and is shared by major religions that all honored the tradition at about the same time each year.
In what is now March and April, these faiths instructed their followers that this was the time of year for “shaking the house,” as one religion called it, and getting everything thoroughly cleaned. The underlying message of “shaking the house” was that areas of the house – or any other facility for that matter – that were not normally cleaned were to be detail cleaned this time of year.
With this in mind, and in honor of this ancient tradition, what are some of the areas in facilities that cleaning professionals clean and maintain every day that could use a little “shaking” and attention this spring?
Intake vents: Located either in the ceiling or high on walls, invariably these get overlooked for months. The more soiled with dust and dirt they become, the harder it is for HVAC systems to operate effectively, increasing the energy required to keep air circulating properly.
Your vacuum cleaners: Looked inside your vacuum cleaner lately? Hoses, brushes, filters (including HEPA filters), roller brushes, connections, wheels, attachments, etc., all get soiled and need cleaning. This is the perfect time to do it.
Custodial closets: Always view the janitor’s closet as a reflection of you and your service. If it is disorganized, dirty, overloaded with items that haven’t been used in months, or smells bad, now’s the time to get it cleaned up.
Shared touch points: Offices are moving from individual to shared work spaces. This means more people will likely be touching the same things and the same areas more frequently than ever before. View any surface—finger-operated controls, touch points on chairs, shared phones and keyboards, pens and pencils, handles, coffee pots, or electronics that may be touched my many people—as germ centers. Start detail cleaning them for spring and continue throughout the year.
Restroom partitions: We know that each time a urinal or toilet is flushed it can spray germs and bacteria on nearby surfaces. Some public health officials even refer to this phenomenon as “bacterial mist.” Sometimes the lower areas of partitions are wiped clean but, since we are shaking things up, now is the time to wipe down the entire partition using an all-in-one multi-purpose cleaner disinfectant. Instead of cleaning first and then disinfecting, a cleaner disinfectant does both in one step, enhancing worker productivity.
Light fixture covers: These may get cleaned when bulbs are changed but with most commercial facilities using florescent or low-wattage bulbs that last for years, light covers are rarely cleaned and can get very dirty and dusty. A little building movement and that dust is released, becomes airborne, and can negatively impact indoor air quality throughout the year.
Vending machines: These machines are more than just overlooked—in many commercial facilities vending machines never get cleaned. Some surveys indicate vending machines are ranked as one of the “germiest” surfaces in an office. Often cleaning and maintenance personnel view cleaning vending machines as the job of the vendor supplying the machine while the vendor views the task as the responsibility of the cleaning and maintenance crew. Stop pointing the finger; starting this spring, make cleaning all the touch points on vending machines part of your regular cleaning tasks.
Carpet: Because winter weather can wreak havoc on carpet, most facilities delay cleaning carpet during the winter months. Then, due to costs and possible disruption, many facilities try to delay carpet cleaning a few months more. Spring is the perfect time for this to be performed.
Docks and dumpsters: These areas rarely get attention, making them perfect for spring cleaning. They should be thoroughly cleaned as temperatures increase because they tend to attract a variety of rodents and insects. Using a microbial cleaning solution in combination with a hand held spray and foaming dispenser can dramatically improve cleaning and help eliminate odors at the source.
Other factors to consider: Spring is a good time for evaluating the products used for cleaning. Often cleaning workers get “stuck” using the same cleaning solutions and products without investigating what new products and technologies have been introduced. A little shaking is needed here. In order to ensure your customer’s facility is cleaned as thoroughly as possible, look into new green and sustainable cleaning solutions that are safer to use, safer for the environment, and proven effective.
Lastly, another thing that may need a little shaking this time of year is the entire cleaning and maintenance program for a facility. Facility maintenance should be viewed as a journey. There is no end point.
Because of this, each year – and spring is a perfect time for it – cleaning contractors and their customers should meet and review the entire cleaning program in a facility, see what is working, where attention is needed, and where changes can be made. Not only will this help keep the facility cleaner and healthier year round, but it allows contractors to work as active members of the building operation, one of the best ways to ensure customer loyalty.