Tips & Resources

Residential & Commercial Cleaning Resources

At Band of Brothers Cleaning Services, we want to make sure you fully understand the importance of thorough cleaning and disinfecting and provide you with everything you need to know about the services we provide. Many of our commercial clients have a lot of questions about our services and cleaning and disinfecting in general. We believe in being transparent and want to provide you with all of the answers you need.

Band of Brothers Cleaning Services, LLC is happy to offer several resources to help educate you about our company and the services we provide. We also have provided helpful tips about how to protect your facility and everyone in it from the spreading of germs and bacteria.

Check out some of our tips & resources below:

You undoubtedly have questions about the various commercial cleaning services we provide. You want to make sure that the team you trust with the cleaning responsibilities of your facility is fully up to the task. At ServiceMaster Clean, we want to always be upfront and transparent with our clients. If you ever have any questions, we will be more than happy to answer them. There are some questions that we are asked so often, we decided to compile them together to help you find your answers quickly.

Check out the various FAQ pages for each of the cleaning services we provide. If you still have lingering questions or concerns that weren’t addressed, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local commercial cleaning experts. We’ll be happy to provide you with any additional information you are seeking.

You undoubtedly have questions about our residential cleaning services. Band of Brothers Cleaning Services wants to make sure you’re fully comfortable and confident in our services. If you have questions about one of our cleaning services, browse through some of our frequently asked questions below. If you still have lingering concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to our cleaning experts, and we will be happy to provide the information you are looking for

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Operating a business in the rough winter months can present additional challenges for companies, employees and customers. Luckily, there are a few simple things you can do to remedy winter weather situations and help keep customers and employees safe in the season known for slips and falls. All it takes is a little planning, vigilance and the cooperation of your staff and business partners. Use the simple checklist below of five top winter safety tips for the workplace from ServiceMaster Clean.

Winter Safety Checklist For Businesses

Clear walkways of snow and ice.
Make sure your parking lot, sidewalks and other outdoor passages are always free from snow and ice. Consider asking neighboring businesses to do the same to help contribute to the accessibility of public areas. If the weather calls for snow or freezing temperatures, put down salt the night before as a precaution, and consider hiring a snow removal service for heavy storms. Of course, you should also remind employees to drive cautiously on their way to and from work.

Have an emergency kit.
No one likes the idea of being stuck at work, but if you do end up stranded during a winter storm, make sure you have specific safety and survival essentials on hand. Along with a traditional first aid kit, your emergency kit should include a battery- or solar-powered radio, flashlights, thermal blankets, and clean water and non-perishable food to last everyone at least three days.

Use your caution signs and stay compliant.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has certain requirements and standards for walking and working surfaces and hazard signs. Make sure your walkways and signage are OSHA compliant so you can alert people when surfaces are wet or slippery. Put up caution signs as soon as a hazard is identified, and make sure they can be easily seen by anyone walking through the area.

Put down absorbent floor carpets and mats.
If you know your staff or customers will track in melting snow or ice, make sure your business is equipped to keep the moisture at bay with absorbent floor carpets and mats that can contain excess water and mud. Place mats at all entrances and exits to prevent as many slips and trips as possible. If you find standing water on the floor, have it mopped up right away.

Remind employees to wear the right footwear.
Remind employees to wear the shoes they need to stay safe in winter weather conditions. Insulated and water-resistant snow boots provide better traction and reliability in winter weather than regular shoes or sneakers, decreasing the risk of accidental falls. Remind employees not to rush and advise them that taking small steps can help them react to changes in traction with more control. Don’t let your business become a dangerous place to work in the winter. Put these five tips into action to help ensure your building and people are properly equipped to stay safe all season long.

At work, you may be exposed to a number of germs, especially when flu season rolls around. Sick coworkers likely touch a variety of surfaces on their way in and out of the office, including shared spaces like the kitchen, bathrooms and conference rooms. Their germs can linger on tables, office equipment, door handles and other surfaces for significant periods of time, putting you and other staff members at risk of getting sick.

Luckily, there are some things you can do to help prevent getting sick with the flu or spreading germs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Find out three cold and flu prevention tips from the professionals at ServiceMaster Clean.

Wash Your Hands

Washing Your Hands Regularly Is One Of The Best Ways To Prevent Getting Sick Year-Round. In The Winter Months When Viruses Can Remain Active Longer Due To Colder Temperatures, Proper Hand Washing Becomes More Important. Use These Tips To Wash Your Hands Correctly:
  • Wash your hands regularly throughout the day with warm water and soap. Dry your hands thoroughly with disposable towels.
  • Always wash your hands after using the bathroom. These spaces are havens for germs.
  • Wash your hands after coming into contact with any bodily fluid. This includes your own.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available. Keep an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you at your desk or in your personal bag or purse.

Cough Etiquette

Coughing is something we all do, and you don’t have to be noticeably sick to cough here and there throughout the day. Using proper techniques when you cough can help alleviate the spread of germs. Teach your staff members these tips to help remind them to cover their cough at work:

  • Cover your mouth with a tissue when you’re coughing, if possible.
  • Dispose of tissues immediately in a nearby wastebasket.
  • Cover your mouth with your hands or cough into the crook of your arm when you don’t have access to a tissue.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water immediately after coughing.

Keep Your Surroundings Clean

A clean workspace can help keep germs to a minimum and potentially even increase worker productivity, especially if frequently touched items and surfaces like keyboards, doorknobs and phones are disinfected regularly. Help reduce the number of germs in your office throughout the day by enforcing these cleaning steps:

  • Clean and disinfect daily. Wipe down high-touch surfaces with disinfectant wipes or low-level disinfectant products to help kill germs in shared spaces as well as your own work area.
  • Stock up on supplies. Make sure your office has an adequate amount of tissues, paper towels, soap, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes to keep the office clean every day.
  • Allow sick employees to go home. If an employee starts feeling sick at work, let them go home before they have an opportunity to infect the staff around them.

Keep in mind that if your employees show cold or flu symptoms throughout the year, including fever, muscle aches, fatigue and bouts of coughing, ask them if they begin feeling better when they spend time away from the office. If so, your employees may actually be suffering from sick building syndrome.

Along with having your staff take an active role with cleaning throughout the day, a janitorial crew can help reduce the number of germs and infections lurking in your office. If you need help keeping cold and flu symptoms to a minimum while you’re at work, call on the experts at ServiceMaster Clean. Our commercial janitorial services can help keep your office clean and healthy. We’ll even work with you to create a detailed, comprehensive cleaning regimen that meets your facility’s unique needs and schedule. Contact us today to find out how we can help your business.

With some businesses opening as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, maintaining a clean workplace is critical to helping fight the spread of this disease.

Current data suggests that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, spreads through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person speaks, coughs, or sneezes. Transmission may occur directly, or it can happen through contact with contaminated surfaces, followed by contact with the eyes, nose, or mouth.

The first step in helping contain this new coronavirus is to try and reduce its spread through the appropriate use of protective equipment. The next is to take appropriate steps to clean and disinfect surfaces that may be contaminated. We’ll discuss how to do both.

COVID-19 Cleaning Tips And Prevention

There’s a lot of information—and even more opinions—floating around about the current pandemic. Here is some basic information to know and first steps to take in order to maintain the cleanest, safest environment that you can.

KNOW THE TERMS.

Knowing what you’re up against is a big part of fighting it. Let’s take a moment to make sure everyone’s on the same page.

  • Coronavirus is a broad category of viruses. There are seven known coronaviruses that can infect people. They were first identified in the 1960s. You may hear people call this latest one “the new coronavirus” or “the novel coronavirus” to specify which one they’re talking about.
  • SARS-CoV-2 is the name of the newest coronavirus, discovered last year.
  • COVID-19 is the disease that caused by SARS-CoV-2. The name tells you that it is the COronaVIrus Disease that was discovered in 2019.
KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CLEANING AND DISINFECTING

“Cleaning” means removing dirt and impurities from surfaces. It doesn’t kill germs, but it decreases the number of germs on a given surface, helping reduce the risk of infection.

“Disinfecting” refers to killing germs, usually with chemicals like EPA-registered disinfectants. The surface may not necessarily look cleaner, and the germs may still be present, but they will be dead.

The best approach is a cleaning/disinfecting one-two punch. Clean surfaces to remove the bulk of the germs and to get rid of dirt. Then disinfect the surfaces to kill any germs that may remain.

EDUCATE YOUR EMPLOYEES ON APPROPRIATE HANDWASHING PROCEDURES.

Make sure that employees wash their hands thoroughly, for the full recommended 20 seconds. There’s no shortage of 20-second songs people can use to help time this out. And there’s a lot of light-hearted signage you can find on the Internet to encourage good handwashing technique without feeling overwhelming or scary.

In situations where hand-washing is not an option, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content. You may be able to make a DIY hand sanitizer in a pinch, but make sure that it contains at least 60% alcohol, and use instructions from a reliable source.

ENCOURAGE YOUR EMPLOYEES NOT TO COME TO WORK WHEN THEY FEEL ILL.

There are many industries where coming in sick (also known as “presenteeism”) is an unspoken norm. In one study, 12% of restaurant workers said that they came to work despite experiencing diarrhea and/or vomiting. A different study of American workers in general found that 57% sometimes come in sick, while 33% always come in, even if they’re sick. All together, that means that 90% of American workers sometimes come in when they’re feeling ill.

Even healthcare workers come to work sick. A 2010 study of post-graduate residents found that 57.9% of them had come in sick. A study focused made during the 2014-2015 flu season found that of 1,914 health care workers, over 20% developed flu-like symptoms. Of those, over 40% came to work anyway, despite the risk of transmitting flu.

This obviously isn’t a best practice in any circumstance, but it’s especially important right now that those experiencing any symptoms of illness avoid others. Make sure your employees know that you expect them to stay home if they are feeling ill. Consider scheduling an “on-call” employee who can come in if there’s an emergency.

You should also be aware of the rules around paid time off around the Coronavirus. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act mandates two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid leave to anyone who is:

  • Quarantined due to COVID-19 symptoms
  • Experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis
  • Caring for a quarantined individual or a child whose school or childcare provider is closed for reasons related to COVID-19

The bill also includes paid expanded family and medical leave for 10 weeks at 2/3 the rate of pay for any employee who has been employed for at least 30 calendar days who cannot work because they have to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed for COVID-19-related reasons.

The bill doesn’t apply to every employer. But it does cover some public employers, and private employers with fewer than 500 employees. Some small employers (below 50 employees) may be exempt from parts of the Act.

Still, whether you’re mandated to provide leave or not, it’s worth considering the risks of an employee coming in under the weather out of financial necessity. Better to foot the bill for one person’s sick leave who’s feeling a little under the weather, than to risk a situation where you’re suddenly paying sick leave for your entire staff. This is just one of many ways that being careful with the new coronavirus makes good business sense.

ENCOURAGE OR REQUIRE THE USE OF APPROPRIATE PROTECTIVE PROCEDURES.

Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, is an important part of preventing the spread of infectious diseases. PPE includes face masks, gowns, and disposable gloves. These items are important, but they’re only effective if used well. (Please note that you should not be using medical-grade PPE if you are not a front-line worker. While it is more effective, it is also more desperately needed in situations where people are actively working to treat and contain this coronavirus. Consider instead making your own. There are many patterns and sets of instructions on making masks, for people of all skill levels.)

Masks are most effective when everyone is wearing them. People who are sick absolutely need to be wearing masks. And since so many people can carry the new Coronavirus with no symptoms, wearing a face covering is a best practice for everyone.

Another important part of wearing PPE is to use it appropriately. Get rid of gloves at appropriate intervals, or after contact with contaminated surfaces. If an employee preparing food wears the same pair of gloves all day, wipes away their sweat or scratches their nose with gloves on, and then goes back to preparing food, those gloves aren’t doing any good. The “disposable” part is just as important as the “gloves” part.

It’s worth noting that many health care facilities are still facing PPE shortages across the country, with workers using non-recommended PPE, or even being asked to reuse PPE that is meant to be discarded. While this is better than nothing, it isn’t recommended, and it’s critical for all other guidelines to be followed as closely as possible to help minimize the risk of spreading the new coronavirus.

Another important aspect is physical distancing. This was initially referred to as “social distancing,” but an increasing number of experts prefer “physical distancing.” That’s because “social distancing” sounds like people are supposed to isolate themselves socially, but that’s not truly what’s happening. We still have video chats, phone calls, and other ways to stay in touch. The physical distance of at least six feet (possibly more, as researchers learn more about transmission) is really the important part.

COORDINATE WITH LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENTS.

Take your cues from local health departments and CDC guidelines. Work with local health departments to better understand what preventative measures are appropriate and treat these guidelines as a minimum. That may include operating at a limited capacity, to make social distancing/physical distancing easier.

Caution is important not just for safety, but also to protect yourself. Right now, there are debates around the legal liability for businesses where the new coronavirus is spread. Congress is working to determine whether some liability protections should be part of the most recent relief bills. But those liability protections may only apply to businesses that do everything “right,” making it all the more important to follow directions. And even if businesses are offered blanket liability protection, that won’t save the reputation of a business where an outbreak occurs.

PPE And The Cleaning Process

Protective gear should be worn by everyone to help fight the spread of the novel Coronavirus. But it’s especially important while cleaning. This includes everything from disinfecting to taking out the trash. Face masks are the minimum, but additional gear may be necessary for individuals depending on the type of business you have, the type of work a person is doing, and their level of interaction with customers and other employees.

Wearing gloves while cleaning has always been important. It helps protect your skin from the harsh chemicals that many cleaning products contain. Likewise, eye protection can protect you in case cleaning chemicals splash or splatter towards your face. A disposable gown or apron is a good idea in order to protect your clothing.

But while protective gear has always been an important part of cleaning, it’s more important during the COVID-19 pandemic than ever. Once you’ve cleaned an area—especially an area you believe may have contained an infected person—remove your gloves and other protective gear. Throw them away and thoroughly, properly wash your hands.

When cleaning chemicals are not in use, store them in labeled, closed containers in a secure area. (This isn’t COVID-19 specific, but it’s very important.)

How To Clean And Disinfect Your Business Or Property

If you’re taking the time and effort to clean, do it right. Just like with washing hands, the procedures are there for a reason. If you skimp out or cut corners, you leave yourself at risk. Put together a cleaning plan to make sure you take care of everything you need to.

SORT THE CLEANING FROM THE DISINFECTING

Identify what just needs to be cleaned, and what needs to be disinfected, as well. Many surfaces and objects may be fine with a regular cleaning. But things that get touched a lot over the course of the day need to be disinfected. Here are some good candidates for disinfection:

  • Light switches
  • Doorknobs
  • Faucet handles
  • Refrigerator door handles
  • Handrails
  • Tables
  • Counters
  • Shared computer keyboards or touch screens
  • Any tools for work that may get shared from person to person
  • Any surfaces that come into contact with customers, such as gym equipment, or furniture in a dining or waiting room

Your list may look different, depending on what type of business you have. You’ll need to be thorough and thoughtful about what gets touched enough to need disinfection. When in doubt, err on the side of thoroughness.

Outside spaces require normal cleaning so they do not need to be disinfected. It hasn’t been proven that disinfecting sidewalks, playground equipment, or wooden outdoor surfaces is effective. Save disinfectant for places where it will help. Grab bars and railings made of plastic or metal should be cleaned routinely.

Likewise, if absolutely nobody has been inside your place of business for 7 days, your normal cleaning routine will be fine upon returning. The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has not been shown to survive on surfaces for longer than a week. However, once people return and begin to carry out day to day activities, regular disinfecting will be necessary.

USE THE PROPER CLEANERS

For cleaning, use a detergent or soap and water on every surface, starting with ones that are visibly dirty. Wash and wipe these surfaces thoroughly. Paying attention to high-touch areas is more important than the specific type of soap used. The type of product you use is more important when it comes to disinfecting than cleaning. Remember, the goal is to reduce the germs on a given surface, not to kill them.

For disinfecting hard, non-porous surfaces, choose a disinfectant that has been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency for use against SARS-CoV-2. You can find the EPA’s list at their website. The list is searchable. You can click “Other Search Options” to search for cleaners by name. You may already have a disinfectant that is approved for SARS-CoV-2.

The EPA’s list will tell you the active ingredient, the product name, and the contact time in minutes to leave the disinfectant on the surface. It will also help you navigate the disinfectant’s directions. Some disinfectants have different instructions for combatting different viruses. The EPA’s list tells you which set of instructions you should follow for SARS-CoV-2 effectiveness. For instance, if you’re using NeoSan Labs Part B Hydrogen peroxide, following the disinfection instructions for Norovirus will give you the best results against SARS-CoV-2.

For electronics—tablets, touch screens, keyboards, ATMs, remote controls, and more—use an alcohol-based wipe or spray with at least 70% alcohol.

For fabrics, wash them on the warmest water setting appropriate for the fabric in question. Dry them completely. (Sunlight and heat both reduce the time that SARS-CoV-2 survives on surfaces and objects.)

Be sure to also clean and disinfect any carts or hampers that carry laundry. It doesn’t do any good to wash a bunch of sheets and then put them right back into a contaminated hamper.

WHAT IF YOU DON’T HAVE AN EPA-APPROVED CLEANER?

Right now, cleaning products are at a premium. You may not have anything on the EPA list, and you may not be able to obtain them quickly. If you don’t have or can’t obtain anything on both lists, you have a few options.

For hard, non-porous surfaces, the CDC recommends diluted bleach solutions. Adding 1/3 cup of bleach to 1 gallon of water should do the trick. Leave the bleach solution on surfaces for at least a minute to disinfect them.

For other surfaces, try to still get appropriate cleaners (alcohol solutions for electronics, hot water and detergent for sheets).

Because of the intensive nature of the cleaning required, this may be a good time to consider commercial cleaning services. Professional cleaners already have the disinfectants needed to help keep businesses and workplaces safe. They have the protective gear that they need. They come in, do the work, and get out.

You don’t have to dig through lists trying to figure out which EPA-approved cleaner might be best. You don’t need to worry about an employee getting sick because they scratched their nose with their gloves on while cleaning. You can focus on making sure people stay safe in other ways, like enforcing mask use and physical distancing. You can also focus helping your customers and ensuring your business’s success. Bringing in the experts means resting secure in the fact that you’ve done everything you can to protect the customers and employees who are relying on you.

Cleaning And Disinfecting A Facility With A Suspected/Confirmed COVID-19 Case

One of the most important moments in containing the spread of SARS-CoV-2 is when you’ve been visited by someone who is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19. Taking appropriate steps to clean and disinfect after that visit is critical in keeping you, your employees, and your customers safe.

It is unknown how long the air inside a room carries the potential for infection after someone with COVID-19 has been there. Scientists know that SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted through respiratory droplets. (Respiratory droplets are the little bits of liquid that are exhaled when someone speaks.) But they’re not yet certain about infectious aerosols. (Aerosols are the smaller, much more numerous particles that people breathe out.) Research is indicating that there is at least a chance that these smaller particles of breath can carry the virus. If that’s the case, then it’s possible that the virus could travel further and linger in the air for longer than initially thought.

While researchers are still figuring the details out, there are actions you can take to protect yourself in any case.

  • Close off any areas the ill person visited. You don’t want people to be there. However, you do want air circulation. Open outside doors and windows to increase ventilation, while still indicating that people should not enter the area.
  • If you can, wait 24 hours before beginning cleaning and disinfection. If you can’t wait 24 hours, wait as long as you can.
  • Cleaning staff should clean and disinfect every area visited by the ill person, as well as anything they may have touched. That includes all shared tools, common areas, or electronic equipment.
  • PPE is always important, but that goes extra when you are cleaning in a place where there is a known risk of contamination. Use a disposable mask, gloves, and gown.
  • Call for expert disinfection assistance if needed.
  • Notify employees who may have been in contact with the person about the potential exposure, while maintaining the confidentiality of the carrier. Follow the CDC’s public health recommendations for community-related exposure.
  • If your employees are eligible for worker’s compensation, or for paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, begin any appropriate paperwork and proceedings.
Help Prevent The Spread Of Viral Infections In Your Business

It’s important to do everything you can to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2. That means enforcing rules about protective gear for your employees and masks for everyone. It means encouraging employees who feel ill to stay home. It means strictly following appropriate procedures for handwashing, cleaning, and disinfecting. And it means keeping the environment thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.

One way to reduce risk is to leave the cleaning and disinfecting to the professionals. Janitorial services can take a giant task off your plate and a giant weight off of your mind. Services like SaniMaster offer comprehensive levels of cleaning and disinfection for your facility, all with health-grade trained cleaning professionals. Whether you’re in retail, foodservice, an office environment, or even a hospital, professional cleaners have the training needed to keep you safe. They’re trained in best practices from groups like the CDC, EPA, OSHA and more. They have expertise in everything from HazMat procedures to HIPAA to microbiology.

When you have reliable professionals handling your cleaning, you don’t have to wonder whether the products you’re using will work, or whether disinfectants are being left on surfaces long enough to kill viruses. You don’t have to wonder if the cleaners are using PPE or if they’re remembering to throw it away and wash their hands when they’re done.

Instead of wondering, you can just know. And in an era where a lot of things feel uncertain, knowing can be a powerful thing.

The best way to keep your commercial building in tip-top shape is to address any maintenance issues quickly to prevent bigger problems from occurring. If you establish good communication with your cleaning staff, creating a stronger building maintenance strategy can be easier than you might think.

First, develop your office building maintenance checklist and have it ready for easy reference. Then, schedule a meeting with your janitorial staff to explain your maintenance strategy and protocols. If your cleaning staff understands your maintenance priorities, they’ll be better equipped to alert you to potential issues.

Many of the biggest building maintenance risks can be identified by asking your cleaning staff a few key questions. After each visit, ask your office cleaning crew these four questions from the experts at ServiceMaster Clean to find out if they noticed any threats to your facility.

4 Questions To Catch Building Maintenance Issues:

HAVE YOU SEEN ANY SIGNS OF PESTS?

Critters tend to leave a trail of evidence. Ask your cleaning crew to report any sightings of bugs and rodent droppings. Remember, where there’s one pest, there are usually more, and they’re all coming from somewhere. Call an exterminator at the first sign of pests. After the area has been treated, sanitize all surfaces to remove any bacteria the vermin may have left behind and be extra vigilant to prevent reoccurrence.

DID YOU NOTICE ANY WATER DAMAGE?

It’s critical to catch, treat and stop water damage early to prevent flooding and dangerous mold growth. Regularly checking on vulnerable areas for signs of water damage could save you lots of hassle and keep your monthly water bill down – not to mention the money you’ll save on any costly repairs caused by not catching the problem early.

Make sure your office cleaning crew knows to look for and tell you about:

  • Pooling water on the roof
  • Clogged gutters or drains
  • Water stains on walls or ceilings
  • Leaks in plumbing and appliances, including faucets, sinks and toilets
  • Malfunctioning sump pumps, sewage pumps, water lines or pipes
HAVE YOU FOUND ANY ELECTRICAL ISSUES?

Reducing your risk for fires and electrical hazards can be as simple as keeping an eye out around the property. Ask your cleaning service providers to clean and inspect your outlets, panels and circuits once a month and alert you to any signs of damage or malfunctioning equipment. Someone on your staff should flip all your light switches and test any appliances plugged into outlets once a season, as well. Any frayed wires and damaged cords should be addressed immediately.

For more peace of mind, call an electrician once or twice a year to inspect the property and make sure your office’s electrical system and components are all functioning properly. Getting a professional opinion can also help you discover any inefficiencies or other issues that may be costing you money or causing frustration, even if they aren’t necessarily a safety risk.

ARE THERE CARPET OR UPHOLSTERY STAINS YOU CAN’T REMOVE?

While not always physically dangerous, unsightly stains or damage to your facility can be bad for business and morale. A poorly maintained building gives the impression that you don’t care about your space to tenants, employees and customers alike. If your usual office cleaning service is unable to remove tough spots, call an experienced team from ServiceMaster Clean to get the job done with superior results.

Check out our blog post 7 Property Management Tips & Tricks for Success for even more ways to effectively manage your commercial building’s maintenance and cleaning needs

With fresh buds on the trees and the first flowers in bloom, spring is truly a season for renewal. As the weather warms, there’s no better time for facility managers to freshen up their buildings with a few fixes and improvements, especially after a harsh winter season. Prepare your facility for this vibrant new season with these simple spring cleaning tips for facility managers.

Take A Good Look Around

Before the spring cleaning begins, pinpoint your facility’s biggest problem areas. Remember, small problems can quickly become big, expensive issues if they’re not addressed immediately. Be thorough in your examination and ask the janitorial team or a licensed handyman to take a tour of the facilities with you. Trusted experts are excellent at pointing out problems you might not have noticed otherwise.

After a long, harsh winter, several areas of a facility are prime candidates for wear and tear. Cold temperatures, excess moisture, and salt tracked inside from the street can damage many different surfaces and materials. Pay special attention to the following trouble spots:

Ceilings
Corner guards
Doors and cabinets
Fire extinguishers
Flooring tiles
Light switches
Storage shelves
Tiles and grout

Commercial Spring Cleaning Tips And Tricks

Did you know that having a clean workplace can actually help increase productivity and boost morale? Take the time to spruce up your space, and welcome everyone into a sparkling office this spring. Use these three simple spring cleaning tips to cover the most important areas:

DEEP CLEAN THE PROBLEM SPOTS

Since winter often takes its heaviest toll on flooring, it’s vital to shampoo carpets and properly clean hardwood, tile, and concrete floors on at least an annual basis. Commercial floor cleaning extends to washroom floors, too. Working with a professional janitorial team can often be the most convenient and efficient method of deep cleaning a commercial property’s floors and carpets. Winter boots bring the season’s road salt, dirt, and snow into all these spaces and can cause damage to surfaces and fixtures, and professionals can often help you identify areas in need of additional care or repair, as well.

IMPROVE YOUR FACILITY’S EXTERIOR

Put your best foot forward by freshening up your building’s exterior this spring. During winter, wood and cement work are particularly vulnerable to damage, especially around main entrances and other areas with heavy foot traffic. Beyond structural repairs, sweeping or spraying down exterior walkways, washing windows, and other basic commercial building maintenance can go a long way toward improving the impression your business makes on the outside world. Don’t forget to clean off and inspect your roof for damage, as well.

TEST THE AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEM

While spring may seem too early to turn on the air, we recommend testing these systems well in advance of when you need them. Once the summer’s heat waves arrive, a faulty A/C unit is the last thing your business needs. Since these cooling systems often go unused all winter, they are susceptible to dust and dirt buildup, which could lead to lower efficiency, unpleasant smells, increased allergens, and even unit failure.

Need help implementing these tips? Contact the experts at ServiceMaster Clean to help you deep clean your facilities on a schedule and budget that works for you. Ready to handle even the toughest grime, we can polish and repair every inch of your building. Dirty carpets, cracked grout, and streaked windows are no match for our team members, because we’re never satisfied until you are. Contact us now to learn more.

Today’s businesses have options for reducing their energy bills and adopting more environmentally friendly practices at the same time. Even small changes can add up to cost savings when your business chooses to invest in energy-efficient initiatives. From switching to LED bulbs (and switching them off when not in use) to cleaning the vents to allow smoother air flow, the following measures will help your business save on operating costs:

Use The Off Switch

Businesses that want to save on energy costs must train employees to use the off switch whenever possible. Turn off lights, copying machines, computers, printers, and other electronics whenever they aren’t in use. In busy offices, it’s not always possible to shut down computers, but leaving them on overnight when no one is using them doesn’t make fiscal sense. Instead, look for energy efficient electronics and office equipment so you can use power management features and sleep modes when turning equipment off isn’t an option.

Switch To LED Light Bulbs

Many businesses can also save money on energy costs over time by switching from traditional incandescent bulbs to light-emitting diode (LED) or fluorescent light bulbs. These bulbs may cost more upfront, but they last far longer than traditional bulbs and require less energy to operate. You can also install motion lighting to reduce energy costs while maintaining optimum lighting in less busy areas.

HVAC Maintenance

Perform regular maintenance on your HVAC system to support its energy-efficient operation. When an HVAC system isn’t properly maintained, it may have to work harder to effectively heat and cool your building – not to mention the potential impact on air quality that a malfunctioning HVAC system can have. Replace air filters regularly, and remediate any buildup of dust and debris with regular air duct cleanings. Proper HVAC system maintenance can help indoor air quality, as well as improve system efficiency, which may also help your utility bill.

Use Ceiling Fans And Window Screens

If you can refrain from using your air conditioning system on cooler days, you’re naturally going to cut down on your energy bills. Businesses can often save on cooling costs by simply using ceiling fans. Ceiling fans that rotate in a counter-clockwise direction keep cool air circulating, so you may be able to adjust your thermostat a few degrees higher and still stay cool. When winter rolls around, adjust your ceiling fans to rotate in a clockwise direction so they push warm air downward to help combat the chilly temperatures. You may also be able to lower your thermostat and save on winter heating costs with this simple yet effective trick.

Install A Smart Thermostat

One of the most convenient ways to save on electricity bills and other energy costs is to equip your business with a smart thermostat. Like motion detecting lights, a smart thermostat offers specific features to limit energy consumption during off-peak hours. When employees leave for the day, your smart thermostat can adjust accordingly. Smart thermostats take the hassle out of climate control so you can focus on more urgent day-to-day operations.

Invest In An Energy Audit

Some of today’s businesses invest in energy audits to figure out just how much energy they may be wasting. An energy audit can be a great way to start building your energy-conservation plan, because these audits are designed to identify specific focus areas for more effective energy management.

Finally, don’t forget to implement routine training to encourage your employees to adopt energy-efficient practices.

Why Remove Mold From Grout

Molds Have existed for millions of years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – but that fact doesn’t make mold safe to have around. A good rule of thumb is if you see or smell mold, remove it.

As a fungus, mold thrives in moist spaces and can grow both inside and outside. The experienced cleaning professionals at ServiceMaster Clean constantly see mold in bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, basements and even garages so we have the tips you need to get rid of it safely and effectively.

Why Mold Develops On Grout

One of the most common places to find mold is between tiles, because the porous nature of grout is highly susceptible to microscopic growth. Whether part of a kitchen backsplash or bathroom detail, tiles usually see a ton of moisture. Rarely do we take the time to dry tiles or the grout between them completely after we cook or wash. If a damp room has inadequate ventilation and you don’t run a fan or dehumidifier, it quickly becomes the right environment for mold. Removing mold from the grout between tiles can be tedious, but it’s well worth it to avoid mold-related illnesses.

How To Remove Mold From Grout

Fortunately, there are several cleaning agents that work to remove mold from the grout between tiles. When cleaning the grout between tiles, first check to make sure the cleaning agent you use won’t cause any damage to that specific kind of tile. Some tiles should not come into contact with bleach or abrasive agents like baking soda.

Safety First

Always work in a well-ventilated space with an open window or operational fan. Wear non-porous gloves to protect your skin, and don’t forget safety glasses to protect your eyes from splash-back while cleaning.

Chlorine Bleach

Regular chlorine bleach works well to remove mold from white grout. Avoid bleach if you have colored grout, since it can cause fading, and never mix bleach with other cleaners. Wear a mask along with your other protective gear to keep from inhaling the bleach. Work in small sections and scrub the bleach directly onto the moldy grout using a stiff bristle toothbrush. Let the bleach sit for at least 30 minutes (keep the exhaust fan running), then rinse with warm water. Repeat as needed.

Distilled White Vinegar

Vinegar is a great, natural cleaning agent and generally won’t cause grout discoloration or deterioration. Using a spray bottle, saturate the moldy area with white vinegar. Let it sit for 30 minutes and then scrub with a bristle brush, being careful not to chip away at the grout itself. Spray again and let sit for another 30 minutes. Rinse with warm water, and repeat if necessary.

Baking Soda Paste

Baking soda is a stellar lifting agent. To make a paste that you can spread over mold to lift it, stir together 1/2 cup of baking soda and several teaspoons of water. Adjust the combination until you have an easily spreadable consistency. Apply the baking soda paste directly over the moldy grout, let sit for 10 minutes, then scrub the mold away with a bristle brush. Rinse with water, and repeat as needed.

Baking Soda Plus Hydrogen Peroxide

Apply a thick baking soda paste to the area affected by mold. Spray or carefully pour hydrogen peroxide over the baking soda paste so it begins to fizz, which will help loosen the mold further. Scrub the fizzing paste using a stiff bristle brush, then rinse the paste and mold away with water. Repeat as needed.

Tip: If there’s mold on the caulk that seals around your tub, faucet, sink or toilet, the safest thing to do is remove the caulking. Sterilize the area with bleach or distilled white vinegar and dry it thoroughly before replacing the caulk. Opt for a mildew-resistant caulk to inhibit the growth of future mold. Some mold problems can’t be tackled with home remedies or commercial cleaners found at your local store. If you’re facing stubborn grout mold or too much mold to handle alone, call the pros at ServiceMaster Clean for complete mold removal from any area.

A patient’s perception of their healthcare environment will impact their overall experience and opinion of your practice. Patient satisfaction scores and health facility quality performance metrics, like the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) and Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS), include several questions specifically targeting facility cleanliness. You want top scores in these areas because higher satisfaction levels have the potential to translate into greater retention rates and reimbursement dollars for your practice.

So, how can you help improve your HCAHPS scores and maximize reimbursement money? Simple tweaks to your facility’s environment and appearance can create a significant impact on patient perceptions. Focus on five key areas to spruce up your facility and leave a lasting, positive impression on patients.

1. Organize Patient Areas

Starting with your receptionist’s desk and office space, store all files and excess supplies in cabinets or drawers so the area is not unnecessarily cluttered when patients arrive. The same goes for treatment rooms and pretty much any area patients can see – your stock of healthcare supplies should be kept within reach but out of sight. Cabinets and supply closets are excellent options for stashing necessities without crowding the patients’ space.

2. Focus on Flooring

Face it. Floors can get pretty nasty, especially in healthcare facilities. With lots of foot traffic and a range of treatments and procedures, your floors are sure to take a beating. Vacuum carpeted areas frequently and pay special attention to dirt and debris tracked in through the front door. Keep hard floors free of waste and spills. Bodily fluids must be mitigated immediately, not only for safety reasons but also because your patients definitely don’t want to see the mess. Keep scuffs from shoes and equipment in check for pristine floors your patients will appreciate.

3. Create a Welcoming Waiting Room

While waiting rooms require proper cleaning for health and safety reasons, it’s equally important to maintain appearances to promote patient comfort. Waiting and reception areas are typically the first spaces patients see when they enter your facility, so make a positive first impression. Regularly check that all upholstery is in good repair and stain-free and that magazines and other informational or entertainment materials are neat and tidy. You want the space to feel comfortable and clean, not cold and sterile. Add a few simple touches from home like artwork or plants to create a more appealing atmosphere.

4. Maintain Spotless Surfaces in Treatment Areas

Surfaces in treatment rooms come in contact with many patients, medical instruments and accompanying bacteria. You need clean surfaces not only to keep patients and practitioners safe from harmful pathogens, but also to create a spotless impression. Properly dispose of all trash, remove dust particles and clean away water spots and other residue using the proper cleaning solutions for sleek, sanitized equipment and countertops.

5. Promote Staff Presentation and Hygiene

Patients will notice the smallest of details, so your staff should look just as neat and tidy as your facility. Establish effective laundry procedures that ensure a full stock of fresh, unstained uniforms and scrubs is always on hand. Healthcare can be messy. Doing your part to keep staff feeling clean and fresh will demonstrate your attention to detail, help improve staff attitudes, and cultivate a culture of pride, excellence and professionalism.

You want your patients to feel comfortable and safe when they come to your facility. Implement the five practices above to outpace your competitors in comfort, cleanliness and patient satisfaction. If you partner with a professional cleaning service, choose one with industry experience and patient-centered values and protocols to achieve your health and safety goals with consistent results.

At Band of Brother, we’ve tailored our healthcare facility cleaning program to address patient expectations and industry requirements. Learn about our custom healthcare cleaning programs and how we can improve your facility’s environment, helping to boost your HCAHPS scores and see a greater return on your investment with well-deserved reimbursement dollars.

The risk of catching a cold or coming down with the flu can be high – especially in the winter months. If someone in your home gets sick, germs can easily and quickly spread to other members of the household. In just a few days, your whole family could be showing flu symptoms.

Luckily, there are a few ways to avoid germs year-round. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), good daily habits can help stop the spread of germs and prevent you from getting ill. Use this guide from the professionals at ServiceMaster Clean to learn common ways to avoid germs and keep them from contaminating your home.

Wash Your Hands Frequently And Properly

Washing your hands is a simple way to help stop the spread of germs and keep yourself from getting sick, whether you’re at home, at work or in public areas. Teach your family members the following handwashing tips and techniques to help avoid germs:

When To Wash Your Hands

According to the CDC, there are several times throughout the day that you should wash your hands properly. The best times to wash your hands to avoid getting sick and spreading germs include:

  • Before, during and after preparing food.
  • Before and after eating.
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick.
  • After using the bathroom.
  • After coming into contact with bodily fluid.
  • After coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
  • After changing a diaper.
  • After touching a family pet.
  • After taking out the trash or coming into contact with garbage.
  • After coming home from the germiest public places.
  • When your hands look visibly dirty.
Clean And Disinfect Common Areas Regularly

Cleaning and disinfecting your home regularly is important to help keep everyone healthy. When somebody in the house is sick, take more of an active role to combat bacteria and viruses before they are able to spread.

Wipe down high touch surfaces such as doorknobs, tables, chairs or other items that a sick individual has touched, with low-level disinfectant wipes. Infectious germs can live on surfaces for hours or even days, so it’s important to keep up a cleaning routine even in the days after an infected person starts feeling better. The CDC also recommended disinfecting the kitchen, bathrooms and other areas where potentially infectious germs can linger.

Avoid Touching Your Face

Touching your face is one of the easiest ways to get germs on your hands into your body. If you touch something that’s been contaminated with germs and then touch your face, you could be transferring illnesses through the mucous membranes in the eyes, mouth and nose. To help prevent illness, wash your hands immediately after touching germy surfaces and avoid touching your face as much as possible.

Avoid Close Contact With Sick Individuals

If possible, avoid spending time in close contact with sick individuals. If you’re caring for sick family members, always wash your hands after providing care. If you are the one feeling sick, keep your distance from others to help prevent them from becoming ill, too. Stay home from work, school and other commitments until you are healthy.

At Band of Brothers, we know how important infection control and prevention is. With decades of experience in janitorial services for healthcare facilities, our professionals follow best practices and procedures published by leading organizations like OSHA and the CDC to help ensure that hospitals, medical offices and other practices are cleaned and disinfected properly.

Emergency rooms see hundreds of patients daily. With so many pathogens floating around, it’s not surprising that sick patients can become even sicker while they’re in the ER. Sitting in waiting areas with contagious patients, being exposed to infections in examination rooms and even being treated with inadequately cleaned medical equipment can cause infections to spread fast. Even healthcare workers are at risk of being exposed to the infections and diseases around them.

So, how can medical staff and facility managers help combat the spread of illness? Infection prevention and control requires strong levels of diligence, foresight and attention to detail. Find out the 5 best ways to stop the spread of infection with help from the experts at ServiceMaster Clean.

5 Ways To Reduce The Spread Of Infection In Emergency Rooms

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1 in 25 hospital patients get at least one healthcare-associated infection (HAI) on any given day. Since the number of ER visits seems to be on the rise, it’s crucial that healthcare workers take the necessary steps toward keeping their facilities clean, sanitized, and disinfected as needed. Use the following 5 steps to reduce the spread of infections in your hospital.

1. Keep The Environment Clean

Crowded waiting rooms need to be vigorously and disinfected daily to help mitigate pathogens. While staff cleans, ensure that they fully document their routine so a record can be consulted. While thorough cleaning throughout the day does make a difference in reducing infections, nothing beats a professional clean. Have a reputable hospital cleaning company disinfect your facility daily, too.

2. Sterilize All Equipment.

Medical equipment that is improperly cleaned, sanitized and disinfected can also increase the spread of infection. Some of the most common HAIs include surgical site infections, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, ventilator-associated pneumonia and central line-associated bloodstream infections. To ensure that patients and staff members are protected from infections, sterilize all equipment before and after use. Disposable equipment should be thrown away immediately in the proper waste containers.

3. Follow Proper Hand Hygiene.

Handwashing with antimicrobial soap is one of the best ways to help control infectious bacteria. Healthcare workers should follow proper hand hygiene throughout the day, including washing their hands before and after treating each patient. Hand sanitizer should also be readily available to staff members for times that call for a quick refresh.

4. Isolate Contagious Patients.

Robust screening practices are beneficial in identifying individuals at risk of spreading their illness to the surrounding patients and attending staff. If a patient is coughing or displaying flu-like symptoms, it’s crucial that triage nurses provide the patient with a facemask and move them away from others.

5. Keep Staff Safe.

Don’t leave staff vulnerable. Facility managers must ensure that healthcare workers are equipped with personal protective equipment (PPE), including liquid-resistant medical gowns, facemasks, gloves and protective eyewear so they can safely interact with sick patients. Regular vaccinations against common infections and diseases are also strongly recommended.

For extra protection against the spread of infection, call on the experts at ServiceMaster Clean. Our healthcare cleaning services help with risk reduction, environment improvement and infection control and prevention. Using the best practices and procedures from leading organizations in the industry, our comprehensive, customized cleaning programs can help keep your facility’s environment safe for patients, visitors, and staff.

READY TO GET STARTED? MAIL US AT robert@bandofbrotherscleaning.com TO REQUEST YOUR COMMERCIAL CLEANING QUOTE!

Tips and Resources

You undoubtedly have questions about the various commercial cleaning services we provide. You want to make sure that the team you trust with the cleaning responsibilities of your facility is fully up to the task. At ServiceMaster Clean, we want to always be upfront and transparent with our clients. If you ever have any questions, we will be more than happy to answer them. There are some questions that we are asked so often, we decided to compile them together to help you find your answers quickly.

Check out the various FAQ pages for each of the cleaning services we provide. If you still have lingering questions or concerns that weren’t addressed, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local commercial cleaning experts. We’ll be happy to provide you with any additional information you are seeking.

You undoubtedly have questions about our residential cleaning services. ServiceMaster Clean wants to make sure you’re fully comfortable and confident in our services. If you have questions about one of our cleaning services, browse through some of our frequently asked questions below. If you still have lingering concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to our cleaning experts, and we will be happy to provide the information you are looking for

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