Cleaning for health in the PNW! Now more than ever people are much more aware and concerned about cleaning for health versus just cleaning to “look” good. While it is important to make things look good in your office, we maintain that if you are cleaning with the customers and cleaners health in mind you will have an overall better outcome while achieving a cleaner looking environment. Some studies claim that proper cleaning can increase productivity by 5%. This makes sense in the fact that you will have fewer people taking sick leave and feeling better, naturally resulting in increased production. While I’m not sure if this study is accurate I do contend that in general, customers want to know that their facility is being properly cleaned. There are a couple avenues I want to approach this subject with. Number one the customer’s health and number two the cleaners health. What do we mean by cleaning for health? Here are a few topics on the matter.

“Touchpoints”: touch points are simply the areas that get touched the most during business hours. For example, door handles, faucets, drinking fountains, toilets, keyboards, your computer mouse, light switch plates, and telephones. This is by no means an exhaustive list of touch points in commercial facilities but enough to give you an example of what we mean. These particular areas we want to target in our cleaning regiment and remove contagious viruses that may be residing. We do this by initially wiping down the surface area with a clean rag then applying a disinfect onto the surface.

It is important to remember that in order for a disinfectant to work properly it must “dwell” on that surface area for an extended amount of time to work properly. Having these key areas in your office disinfected properly will reduce that virus load on that particular surface. Thus stopping the transfer of virus and germs to fellow co-workers. The primary goal here is to eliminate and stop the transfer.

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Cross-contamination: I recently acquired a new customer solely because they witnessed their previous cleaning crew wiping down the toilets with a rag then using that same rag to wipe down the desks in the office. This is cross-contamination at it’s finest, in a nutshell taking germs from one surface area and transferring those germs to another surface area. I’m sure most would recognize that as bad cleaning technique.

I have also witnessed cleaners using their cleaning scrub brush to clean sinks with. Again another example of poor cleaning techniques. The idea of preventing cross-contamination is to use clean rags and periodically change them out when going from one task to another. In fact, we train our employees to use disposable paper towels to wipe down the toilets with. Doing this will prevent them from even mistakenly using a dirty rag on an area that should not be so. Sometimes and in some situations, it may be necessary to use color-coded microfiber rags. Each color has a distinct purpose. We use this strategy primarily in medical facilities.

Green cleaning chemicals: Nowadays I really can’t go into a building that isn’t aware of the term green cleaning. Why do we use green chemicals? for a couple of reasons, it used to be back in the day when I first started in this industry many if not most of the cleaning products contained harmful chemicals, for example, your acid bowl cleaners. These harsh chemicals released particulates into the air that were bad to breathe and many have been linked to cancer and other serious health issues. Using green seal certified products are much better for the cleaner, customer and the environment in general. I came to a point in my business where I did not want my cleaning staff around long-term exposure to these chemicals nor would I want any of my customers exposed to them.

With the advancement of cleaning technology, there has been developed wonderful products that can and will replace these toxic cleaning agents. I have also noticed in the last decade or so many more people have chemical sensitivities or allergies to harsh agents. It is our job to keep our customers healthy not make them sick. In my opinion, cleaning a surface is more friction then chemical and sometimes less is more.

Some of the advancements in cleaning technology are:

  •  Pumie screens which will remove hard water stains with no chemical needed.
  • Magic erasers work great for stubborn stains, It is important to note that magic erasers leave no chemical to be inhaled, however, I recommend using gloves while using them because they have a base of formaldehyde. We are striving for clean air quality.
  • Backpack vacuums also greatly reduce indoor air pollutants. They claim due to their 4 stage filtration process that it can eliminate 99 % of indoor air pollutants.I wanted to throw this concept in here because many companies don’t think of this as healthy cleaning. Properly vacuuming all areas of the office will reduce rodents. We all know that rodents are dirty creatures but if you have food on the ground or crumbs left behind garbage cans you can and possibly are inviting those little creatures into your office. vacuuming all the corners and edges of a facility will help eliminate the food source for rodents.
  • Microfiber mops: this is a relatively new approach to mopping. instead of using the old string mops where you dip your mop into dirty water then remop you are using replaceable flat mop heads that you replace after each area. For example, you should mop the bathrooms with one mop head then replace to another new mop head to mop the kitchen. Microfibers also claim to pick up more dirt due to the hook-shaped fibers in the mop head.

I hope this article helps you to understand what green cleaning really is. If a commercial cleaning provider is selling you on this term feel free to ask some questions as to what this means to them. Proper cleaning can and will make your office a healthier environment for your staff.

Article was written by Caleb Ferling- coowner of cleanstart-

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Cleanstart has over 20 years of experience providing PNW commercial cleaning services for a variety of industries and businesses of all types and our highly knowledgeable staff has the expertise needed to do the job right!

Our full range of commercial floor cleaning and restorationoffice cleaning & maintenancewindow cleaning; final clean servicespressure washing; and overall building cleaning services are competitively priced, fully insured, and come with quick response times! We service the following PNW areas: Auburn, Bellevue, Bremerton, Factoria, Fife, Gig Harbor, Lakewood, Olympia, Puyallup, Renton, Seattle, Tacoma, Tukwila, King County, Kitsap County, Pierce County, and Thurston County.

5009 Pacific Hwy E unit 17 Fife, WA 98424 • Phone: 253.921.2593 •