Detroit Janitorial & Cleaning Services Blog

Safeguard Health With Green Cleaning

Posted by Mitch Hesson on Wed, Jan 16, 2019 @ 03:46 PM

15. safeguard health gree cleaning

At first glance it may seem like cleaning for health and green cleaning are two separate things. It even used to be the case that green cleaning solutions were less effective than your standard cleaners putting you in the position where you had to make a choice between safe but less effective cleaning products or potent but dangerous commercial cleaners. Green cleaning has come a long way since then, but it still has that negative association of less effective cleaning or much higher cost attached to it. We are here to tell you that you can have your cake and eat it too. Green cleaning has made real strides and can both help protect you from harsh cleaning chemicals while making sure that your facility is properly cleaned for the sake of your health, all at prices that won’t bust your budgets. Now you can have the benefit of better indoor air quality, environmental stewardship, and a high quality cleaning that you and your facility require.

 

Eco-Friendly Office Cleaning Now Versus Then

Green cleaning has significantly advanced in the last decade with advances in safety AND efficacy. By combining new advances in tools, training, and chemicals, new environmentally friendly cleaning solutions and techniques far surpass their predecessors. While you care about environmental stewardship, at the end of the day your facility needs to be cleaned at the highest level to both protect your reputation and safeguard the health of everyone who enters your facility.

The best commercial green cleaning services are going to utilize the best in green cleaning solutions like color coded microfiber rags, HEPA filtration vacuums, green cleaning chemicals, spray-and-vac equipment and other no touch cleaning systems. HEPA multi-filtration vacuums have been shown to improve air quality by up to 99% by removing allergens and other particulates. Additionally, color coded microfiber cloths are a good way to minimize cross contamination in your facility while remaining an effective way to remove dust and bacteria from surfaces. 

Another important aspect of environmental stewardship is water conservation and material conservation. There are a couple of green cleaning solutions that make this directive a reality. Low-moisture vacuum systems like the Whittaker carpet cleaning method have been designed to use less water in the cleaning process as well as improving the life expectancy of your carpets. Another good example would be flat-mopping, or a system of carefully dispensing water and cleaning solution onto surfaces to make sure it gets spread evenly and does not oversaturate specific areas while not cleaning others. Even newer mechanical hard floor cleaners are using less water than ever. Not only are these cleaning solutions effective for keeping your facility bacteria free and looking presentable but they are the best in green cleaning. As for material conservation, a cleaning company’s methods can help work to this goal. For instance, cleaning companies can opt to empty trash cans with mostly paper refuse without replacing plastic liners every time both cutting costs and plastic trash. Similarly, a cleaning company can stock restrooms with toilet paper and hand towels made with a high percentage of recyclable materials. These products, practices and equipment all add up to big green cleaning feats.

 

Green Cleaning Can Make Or Break Your Budget

With advances your commercial cleaning services can do more work in less time giving them adequate time to focus on cleaning for health and implementing green cleaning solutions that won’t break the bank. These professional cleaning companies are experienced in tailoring their cleaning solutions to your facility and determining how green cleaning best fits into the specific needs of your building. The fusion of all these green cleaning techniques, technology, solutions and training is what makes the best Detroit cleaning services miles ahead of the competition. By going green you not only get access to better cleaning products and cleaning equipment, but you get the benefit of better trained teams and specialized cleaning built for your facility and its unique needs. Not only will you get a superior cleaning, but it will be environmentally responsible and better for you and your staff. The right green cleaning companies use green practices, green products and green technology to drive a better, more efficient service at a better price.

 

Using CIMS-GB To Find The Right Green Cleaning Company

While green cleaning is top of mind for many a facility manager, is can be a challenge to find a green office cleaning company that has a serious commitment green cleaning that goes beyond marketing buzz words. More often than not, you are going to run into companies that try to use green cleaning as a way to get your business and take your money rather than giving you the effective green cleaning service you seek. Fortunately for you, there is a good way to sift through the many cleaning companies looking for the shining stars among them. CIMS certification makes that sifting process much, much easier. CIMS certification is a comprehensive industry certification done by an independent auditor and examiner that verifies that a company holds up the industries best practices. On top of this, the CIMS-GB is a sub-certification specifically for green cleaning. Starting your search for a new commercial cleaning company is much easier and more likely to net the right partner when you limit your search to companies with CIMS certification.

 

Is There a Trade Off Between Green Cleaning & Price?

We all want to protect the environment, but at the end of the day, we need our facilities to be cleaned properly and at a reasonable price. There is a trade off between environmental stewardship and our janitorial and commercial cleaning budget. Fortunately, with the rapid advance in cleaning technology, you can get an effective green cleaning that fits your budgetary requirements if you partner with the right Michigan commercial cleaning service.

It can be helpful during your search for janitorial service to ask prospective companies about their green cleaning programs. Do they have real practices, policies and systems behind them or are they just empty promises? If you are in search of green commercial cleaning services in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Royal Oak, Farmington Hills, Farmington, Dearborn, Livonia, Troy, Auburn Hills, Novi, Plymouth, Downriver, please reach out to us at Stathakis. With over thirty years serving the businesses of southeastern Michigan, we are a respected and trusted part of the business community.

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Tags: Industry Best Practices, Green Cleaning, Healthy Work Environment

‘Tis the Season of Flus and Colds

Posted by Chris Stathakis on Fri, Dec 28, 2018 @ 02:16 PM

5. tis the season 

'Tis the Season....For Colds & Flus

‘Tis the season for holiday cheer, merriment and celebration, but it is also flu and cold season. When a cold or flu gets a foothold in your facility, it can really dampen holiday spirits. According to the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this time of year has much higher rates of influenza and other respiratory illness than any other. Not only is the flu’s intensity much worse than any other time, the CDC tells us that “between December and peaking in January and February we expect to see the highest rate of respiratory illness and positive tests for respiratory influenza.”

The cold and flu season is a long one and can have a major impact on workplaces throughout the country. Federal and State governments spend a large amount of time and money trying to minimize the impact of colds, flus and other communicable illnesses, but what can YOU do to protect yourself and your employees to minimize the impact of the cold and flu seasons on your bottom line and staff? Absenteeism is a large problem on its own, so it can be especially damaging when it is exacerbated by illness. What steps should you be taking to mitigate the effects of colds and flus in your workplace and what can you do yourself to protect yourself and your employees?

 

Enlist Your Office Cleaning Company to Help Prevent the Spread of Illness in the Workplace

When your facility is getting cleaned, especially during cold and flu season, it cannot simply be to make it look nice. Your office cleaning company isn’t very effective if your office looks good but is teeming with disease causing germs. Your cleaning company needs to actively invest in making sure your facility is properly sanitized to protect you and your employees from the various colds and flus that makes their rounds this time of year. Cleaning for health has measurable, positive outcomes in your facility that can affect the morale, productivity and attrition rates of your staff.  Cleaning for health has very specific meanings with methods and procedures attached to it. So, what kinds of things do commercial cleaning companies do when they clean for health?

  1. Cleaners observe dwell times and other relevant product instructions so that cleaning products work as intended to eradicate disease causing germs.
  2. They use a color-coded rag system that helps minimize cross-contamination between different cleaning sites.
  3. Cleaners are familiar with different areas of your facility and apply the correct cleaning method to each area.
  4. Cleaners understand the importance of touch points and hotspots and how to properly clean them to reduce the risk of illness around the workspace.

But what are touch points and how does a color-coded rag system help reduce the spread of disease? First, touch points are areas around the office that are touched more often than any other. Some examples might be: light switches, work phones, computer mice, and door handles. Because of the high traffic they receive, they store exponentially more bacteria and other pathogens than other surfaces and are responsible for the majority of illness around the office. Understanding which objects are touch points and how to clean them is critical to employee health. Second, the color-coded cleaning cloth system is as simple as it sounds. Your cleaning staff has a number of different colored rags that are designated for specific areas around the office so that the rag used on the toilet seat isn’t used on the conference room table. While not the only methods your commercial cleaning company should be using to protect your health, they are both good starting points for keeping you and your employees healthy during the cold and flu season.

 

What Definitely NOT to Do When You’re Sick

Many of us feel that missing a day of work is unthinkable, especially with large workloads and important deadlines to meet. But coming to work sick is a pointless endeavor. Not only are you going to be unproductive and get little work done, you are risking getting your peers sick and further reducing productivity in the office. No one will think that you are tough or strong willed when you come to the office sick, when your feeling sick, stay home and rest so that when you come back your ready to work.

 

What You CAN Do to Prevent Illness in the Workplace

“Make sure to wash your hands” is a phrase most of our mothers harangued us about constantly, but it isn’t bad advice at all. What's unfortunate is the number of adults that never learned how and when to wash their hands properly. Your hands are the perfect carrier for all manner of bacteria and other pathogens that make people sick. So, it is important to wash them before eating, after using the restroom, and after touching high traffic objects. Effective hand washing should be your first line of defense against workplace illness and should be done by all employees throughout the day. Another important step to keeping you and your staff healthy is coughing or sneezing into your arm instead of your hand. While you shouldn’t be at work if your coughing or sneezing with any degree of frequency, this simple change in habit can help protect others from illness.

Knowing that hand to hand contact is such an easy way to spread illness, another common sense thing to do is keep your hands away from your eyes and mouth at all costs. It is impossible to make sure one's hands are clean all the time and putting them near your mucous membranes is the perfect opportunity for bacteria to invade your body. Finally, when a sink and soap aren’t available, make sure that you have some hand sanitizer on hand (no pun intended). Hand sanitizer solutions with a least 60% alcohol content are effective at removing all manner of bacteria from your hands and can help keep you clean when you can’t wash your hands. Keeping in mind these simple tips about your hands can help spare you and your co-workers illness during the peak of flu season.

 

When in Doubt, Vaccine it Out

Another basic step you can take to help keep yourself healthy during the cold and flu season is the flu vaccine. While it isn’t and never has been a sure fire way to completely protect yourself from the flu, it has been shown to be upwards of 90% effective. It's a cheap, safe way to protect yourself against the season so it might be a good idea to ask your doctor if the flu shot might be right for you. Getting the flu shot can help protect you from the most prevalent strains of influenza as well reduce your chances of getting your co-workers sick.  

If you need help with medical cleaning, day porter services, school cleaning, commercial handyman services, restroom sanitation services or more, please call Stathakis at 1-800-278-1884.

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Tags: Industry Best Practices, Office Cleaning, Healthy Work Environment

Is Poor Office Cleaning Can Making You Sick?

Posted by Mitch Hesson on Mon, Aug 27, 2018 @ 02:39 PM

office cleaning, poor office cleaning, office cleaning and absenteeism, office illness

Are Your Office Cleaners Making You Or Your People Sick?

Regardless of how clean and seemingly healthy you and your employees are, the office will always be one of the perfect locations for disease causing pathogens to stake out. There are a number of people in a small space frequently touching communal objects. Office break rooms, restrooms and other highly trafficked spaces can set the perfect storm for the spread of colds, flus, and worse. Of course, colds, flus and stomach bugs are virulent all year long but cold weather brings the cold and flu season in full swing as more and more people spend more time indoors spreading more germs.

Unless your commercial cleaning company is prepared and on their A-game, your employee count is going to take a hit and subsequently hurt your productivity and mess with your bottom line. The best protection against the seasonal upswing in illness is to minimize the transmission and pay particular attention to those areas most likely to serve as breeding ground for disease causing microbes. Is your office cleaning company doing everything in their power to make sure that your office is healthy and that employees aren’t getting sick?

 

When Cleaning for Health, What’s Most Critical?

Innovation and research has helped explain many of the mysteries surrounding the causes and spread of disease. For instance, did you know that every minute, a working adult can touch upwards of 25 objects in close proximity to them contaminating them with bacteria and other pathogens. According to a recent and reputable workplace study, desktop surfaces such as computers, keyboards, mouses and telephones can have more germs than a toilet seat. This might sound counterintuitive because we know bathroom business can be germy but think about it, it’s done in one place whereas your hands touch everything.

Any reputable, professional, experienced commercial cleaning companies should be familiar with how colds and flus spread in your facility and where germs like to hide and thrive as well learning terms such as hotspots, touch points, and dwell times. They must train their teams on safe and effective chemical usage and the best practices that we know decrease the spread of disease causing germs. See the ISSA’s Infographic on the real cost of substandard office cleaning. On average, absenteeism can cost businesses more than $225 billion dollars each year and results in as much as a 54% loss in productivity. Don’t settle for bad cleaning, it’s costing you more than you think.

  

Touch Points & Why They Matter

Touch points are critical for keeping your office clean and healthy, so it might be surprising how many office cleaning companies are unfamiliar with them. A touch point or hotspot is any area in you facility that hands come into contact with frequently. Some common touch points are phones, computer mouses, door handles, business machines, light switches, the office fridge handle, microwave handle, railings as well as a number of other office objects. Research confirms what seems pretty obvious, the areas that are touched the most are most likely to house and thus spread disease causing germs.

If these critical areas are not given proper attention they can be the perfect little disease hub in your office. Office cleaning companies that are unfamiliar with touch points in your office or inconsistent in they way they handle them will result in more illness and significantly higher rates of employee absenteeism, lower productivity, decreased satisfaction and engagement, and even increased employee turnover. Is your commercial cleaning company actively cleaning office computers, handles, mouses and other often used equipment? Effective office cleaning isn’t just about how the office looks afterwards, it is how clean the office actually is.

  

Cold and Flus are Bad for Your Health AND Your Bottom Line

We all know that poor cleaning can leave your facility looking dirty and unkempt, but it can also make your employees sick. We know that areas that have a high viral and bacterial load can make people sick easily and we also know that we can reduce this risk by treating such areas with the appropriate bactericides and cleaners. Studies confirm that when hotspots are cleaned frequently and with the correct chemicals, illness-related absenteeism have be significantly reduced. With fewer cases of the flu and the common cold lingering in the office, often employee satisfaction and productivity will increase. Further, as a result of increased satisfaction, employees are more engaged which helps increase employee retention rates. When you keep your office clean and healthy, the people that work there can focus on their jobs.

  

Is Your Commercial Cleaner Your Partner Against the Spread of Disease?

The best commercial cleaning companies not only clean for aesthetic appearance, they clean for health. These companies have a firm grasp of bacterial and viral transmission and are familiar with the difference between cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing. They are competent in realizing when to remove dirt from surfaces and when to sanitize to reduce the bacterial load. Finally, they know how to use dwell times to their advantage so as to effectively maximize the usefulness of their cleaning products to reduce the germ load in your facility and to keep everyone healthy. Cleaning for health and the concrete science behind effective cleaning has advanced, and if your commercial cleaning company isn’t keeping up advances, updates and innovation, they are leaving you open to exposure and failing to give you the value and return you deserve from your office cleaning budget.

What should your commercial cleaning company be doing? First, you need to partner with a commercial cleaning company that will actively put your employee’s health in the forefront of their cleaning. Second, make sure your employees are hand washing and following other cold/flu etiquette to minimize the spread of pathogens in the facility. Finally, make sure that your employees are not showing up sick to work. Sick employees not only won’t be able to work, they risk getting other employees sick and speeding up the cycle of colds and flus n your workplace.

  

Partnering With the Right Office Cleaning Company to Protect Your Health

The best way to make sure that you facility is a healthy work environment is to have a professional, effective, and most importantly responsive Detroit office cleaning and janitorial company. Here at Stathakis, we work with all types of businesses to keep their workplace clean and healthy. We have a thorough understanding and background of touch points and hotspots. We also understand that the people that clean your facility are as important as how they clean your facility. As such, we go well beyond industry requirements when it comes to screening and hiring our staff. Can we help you? If you would like to learn how we help Facility Managers just like you with effective janitorial services all while staying on budget, please contact us at (800) 278-1884.

Stathakis proudly serves the Southeastern businesses of Ann Arbor, including Detroit, Royal Oak, Farmington Hills, Downriver, Farmington, Dearborn, Livonia, Troy, Auburn Hills, Novi, and Plymouth.

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Tags: Industry Best Practices, Office Cleaning, Healthy Work Environment

Office Cleaning & the Dangers of Cross Contamination

Posted by Mitch Hesson on Tue, Aug 07, 2018 @ 10:38 AM

detroit office cleaning companies, office cleaning best practices, commercial office cleaning services, dearborn office cleaning companies

Isn’t Commercial Office Cleaning Supposed to Make Your Facility Cleaner?

The whole point of a commercial cleaning service is to make a facility cleaner, not dirtier. We want our office cleaning companies to keep illness and bacteria in check, not to spread them around. While it may seem like your commercial janitorial service is doing these things, if they aren’t using a color coded cleaning cloth system, then you aren’t really receiving a proper cleaning. A color coordinated cleaning cloth system helps prevent cross contamination in the workplace because it systematically targets and prevents the spread of germs from hotspot to hotspot and stops germs from one surface from easily traveling to another. If your commercial cleaning company isn’t paying special attention to these hotspots and touch points, nor using a color coded cleaning system, they are contributing to cross contamination hazards in your facility. We know that one sick person can spread pathogens everywhere they go, so imagine what one germ-infested cloth could spread. For you, this can mean higher rates of absenteeism, lowered productivity, and even high employee turnover.

 

How A Color Coded Cleaning System Can Protect You From the TOILET RAG

We all pick up our smartphones, turn lights on and off, and use the computer mouse without thinking twice about what bacteria and pathogens might reside on their surfaces. To reduce the chance that something is in fact, taking up residence on your switches and often touched surface, insist that your commercial cleaning service provider use a color coded cleaning cloth system and frequently clean hot spots and touch points. Not only is it easy to implement, it assures that cross contamination is minimized in your facility. Typically, the color coding system is as follows: red for high-risk areas like toilets and urinals; yellow for lower-risk restroom cleaning such as mirrors and sinks; blue for any other general cleaning such as dusting and wiping in your facility; and finally green for food-related services. Using tools to keep track of high-risk areas and keep them separated from lower risk areas can dramatically reduce cross contamination and significantly lower risk of transmission of colds, flus, and other easily transmitted illnesses. 

 

Pushing Your Janitorial Office Cleaning Provider in the Right Direction

If your cleaning services company isn’t already utilizing color coded rags, they aren’t aligning with the industry standard. If they aren’t, you should encourage your commercial janitorial services company to make color coded cleaning cloths a priority to help reduce cross contamination and keep your office safer and healthier. A color coded rag system will not only help cleaning teams keep track of their towels, it will quickly become a routine and habit to follow the industries best practices in cleaning. You get a cleaner, safer office as well as visual assurances that best practices are being followed.

 

Simple Ways to Implement the Simple Color Coded Cloth System

Normally, when a change is implemented to any service or process, time is needed to relearn and retrain. However, because a color coordinated rag system makes cleaning simpler, not more complex, this is not an issue. That being said, while this change is often a welcome one, it does require some basic training and on the job reinforcement to be effective. A good starting point is posting color coding chart that will give cleaning staff a clear visual to follow. If you make your office cleaner aware of the danger of cross contamination, most will take steps with this clear, simple system to avoid it. Color coding towels and cloths will even offer employees a sense of engagement and responsibility in keeping your office clean and safe, further protecting your facilities members.

 

Using Color Coded Cleaning Tools As a Management Strategy

As we’ve noted, color coded clothing makes cleaning easier, efficient and more effective, that isn’t the only benefit, however. Color coded clothing is a powerful management tool that makes it easy for supervisors to quickly get a read on what cleaning your facility requires, what is actually being done, what might be being overlooked and so on. For instance, say that  fourteen red mop heads are generally used to in your building and now there are only five mop heads to wash, an observant supervisor is made aware that either mop heads aren’t being replaced often enough or the area in question isn’t being cleaned as required. While this shouldn’t be the only quality assurance tool your commercial cleaning company has, it can be an effective one in their arsenal.

  

Protecting Your Facility From Cross Contamination So You Can Focus On Success

Color-coding cleaning tools may seem like a basic change in how we do things but it is a BETTER approach to cleaning. Not only is it a low cost, easy to train method of cleaning, it helps assure the quality and efficacy of the cleaning that your facility is provided by your commercial cleaning service. Any and all types of facilities benefit from this simple change to your cleaning practices. Everything from health care cleaning to school cleaning to industrial cleaning to office cleaning. Reducing the risk of cross contamination is a powerful safeguard against infection and give customers the quality that they deserve. Here at Stathakis, we use the color-coded cloth system company wide in an effort to further reduce the risk of cross contamination and systemize efficient, health conscious cleaning practices.

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Tags: Industry Best Practices, Office Cleaning, Healthy Work Environment

Commercial Cleaning 101: Clean, Sanitize & Sterilize Oh My!

Posted by Christine Duquette on Wed, Jun 27, 2018 @ 09:26 AM

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What is the difference between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting? You might be tempted to say that, there is, in fact, no difference between them. All of those terms basically mean clean something right? Hopefully you commercial cleaning company will disagree with you on this point. The language and science of cleaning has evolved, and will continue to evolve and grow more complex as the industry expands to meet the needs of an ever-changing marketplace. While it is the responsibility of your commercial cleaning company to keep up, as a Facility Manager, it is wise to have a handle on some of the basic terms. Should you be on the look out for a new commercial cleaning company, understanding some of the industry terms can help you keep prospective janitorial service companies on their toes and ask all the right questions. Have you ever wondered what the difference is between cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting? Want to know what pathogens are & why your commercial cleaning company should too? We have the answers to your burning cleaning questions.We’ve put together a list of some key terms that will undoubtedly be useful to know:

 

Cleaning: Most of us would like to think we know this one! But surprisingly, cleaning only refers to removing visible gunk from a surface.

 

Mechanical Cleaning: Good, old fashioned elbow grease. Mechanical Cleaning is when you put away the fancy tools and give the surface a good scrubbing.

 

Sanitize: Sanitizing isn’t the same as cleaning. Think about hand sanitizer for a moment. Put it on dirty hands and they aren’t magically clean, just de-germed if you will. In your building, before a surface can be sanitized it should be cleaned. Then, an antimicrobial solution is applied for a specific dwell time to achieve the desired 99.9999% bacterial and viral kill rate.

 

Dwell Time: This is a word you would only know if you spend your time reading the back of cleaning products! You might not do that but we do. Dwell times refer to how long an antimicrobial or disinfectant solution must be left on a pre-cleaned surface before it can be considered sanitized or disinfected. The product needs a specific amount of time to do its intended job. This one is important because if your cleaning company is rushing through their work and not following manufacturer recommendations, you will not get as safe, healthy and effective as possible.

 

Sterilize: To sterilize something requires the almighty autoclave or something equally as powerful to insure a 100% kill rate on microorganisms, viruses, and any type of fungal spore. For those of you that have seen an autoclave before, you know that this isn’t a practical cleaning solution for a big, busy building and for that reason is only used on medical and dental tools as necessary.

 

Microorganism:The word you missed on your high school biology test has come back to haunt you. All a microorganism is is any bacteria, virus, or spore that can’t be seen without a microscope.

 

Pathogen: When microorganisms turn evil. Any microorganism that can cause illness or disease is a pathogen.

 

Hot Spots: Similar in nature to the touch point. Hot spots are areas within a building that are frequently traversed and touched, like handles, shared business machines, any surface, knob, handle, switch or the like. These areas need extra attention to make sure that they are truly clean because as they are touched often and by many, they become the perfect little hubs for the evil pathogens, those microorganisms intent on making you, your employees and building’s visitors sick.

 

Bactericide: When life gets to be a little too much for the bacteria. A bactericide is any solution that is specifically targeted to destroy bacteria.

 

Touch Points: The locations in your office or workplace that are touched the most often. Knowing the touch points in your workplace lets you know which areas need special attention because these areas see many hands and many hands see many mouths and noses which see many microorganisms, many of which are pathogens.

 

Team CleaningWith http://www.stathakis.com/blog/janitorial-services-101-zone-cleaning-versus-team-cleaningt, a building is divided by duties, not zones so team members specialize. There may be one vacuum specialist, one restroom specialist, one duster and light duties specialist and similar. This specialization of members of a team creates more efficient, more consistent results and reduces training costs and equipment costs and well as increases accountability and professionalism.

 

Zone CleaningIn zone cleaning a building is divided into zones, sometimes floors or areas and there is one cleaner to one zone. This is an outdated cleaning style that is inefficient because it results in duplicated equipment and inconsistent results.

 

Cleaning for Health: Unsurprisingly, exactly what it sounds like. Cleaning for health is not only to clean to make something visually appealing, but also to sanitize a surface to prevent the spread of those pesky pathogens and other microorganisms.

 

Smart Cleaning: Smart cleaning uses a detailed analysis of your building to provide customized solutions to reduced budgets and cuts by optimizing services and identifying livable service cuts and scheduling services in a way that balances your budget and building maintenance needs.

 

Cross Contamination: When you use the same rag on to wipe the break room lunch tables that you used on the restroom toilets, things don’t get too clean. In fact, they get even dirtier are germs, microorganisms and pathogens are spread around the various parts of your facility. This is called cross contamination and the best way to address it is with a color coded cloth system, team cleaning, proper product use like utilizing dwell times and manufacturer recommendations and other janitorial best practices.

 

Hopefully with this improved understanding of key cleaning terms, you’ll be better able to understand what your commercial cleaning company is doing, should be doing and better able to communicate what you want and need from them.

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Tags: Industry Best Practices, Healthy Work Environment, Learn Everyday

What You Must Know About Superbugs & Medical Cleaning

Posted by Christine Duquette on Tue, Feb 13, 2018 @ 01:53 PM

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The Flu Is Raging This Season, And That’s Not All

This year is proving to be an especially virulent influenza season. Fortune magazine reported that according to the Centers for Disease Control, the flu is killing up to 4,000 people each week. “We have a lot to learn still about influenza. It’s a wake-up call about how severe influenza can be, and why we can never let down our guard,” said Anne Schuchat, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s acting director. But even beyond this year’s super flu, there are so many disease causing bacteria and viruses that lurk around just waiting to make people sick. Of course, medical facilities have a higher risk because of a recurrent influx of sick people. The risk of the flu and superbugs seems to be growing and growing with a host of frightening acronyms like MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), CRE (carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae), C. difficileEbola and more.

For instance, the frequency of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) has been on the rise in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and other health care facilities. Cases of C. difficile have been increasingly severe with further complications, deaths, and increased cost. The arrival of a hyper virulent strain of C. difficile and the rise in community-acquired C. difficile among healthy patients in the absence of traditional risk factors shows there is a new epidemiology that requires a change in how we do things. When patients require medical care, they understand there are real risks involved, there are also imagined fears that can further scare them and even distort their perception of the quality of care being provided. Cleanliness in your medical facility can both present a real risk to patients as well as set the stage for escalated concern about treatments and procedures. Think about it, if you are scheduled for an outpatient surgery and you come into the facility only to see old coffee stains on waiting area tables, full trashes and dirty bathrooms, how confident are you going to be feeling about the overall cleanliness of the rest of the facility?

 

Superbugs & Medical Cleaning, What Matters Most?

Current research tells us that we have cleaning products and methods that are effective in reducing the bacteria, fungi, viruses and more, all of which reduce the likelihood of disease transmission. But in order for these products and methods to be effective, they must be used correctly. We know what products work and how to use them most effectively, but if your medical cleaning companies front line cleaners are not sufficiently trained on how to use their products and methods, the result will vary and often leave much more room for disease-producing germs to spread throughout your facility fast.

Products that recommend dwell times and orders of steps have instructions that have been created to make these products most effective. Similarly, touch points and hot spots are a critical component of cleaning for health. You need a hospital cleaning service that trains medical cleaners to get you and your facility the best results for a clean and safe environment. So what matters most when it comes to medical cleaning services and health care cleaning? Essentially, it is the training of the people carrying out the cleaning. Unfortunately, not every medical cleaning company does what is needed to assure their teams are adequately trained in both the specifics of medical office cleaning services and the multitude of cleaning products they use to keep your health care facilities clean and safe. Even the best disinfectants, surfactants, fungicides, virucides and bactericides are significantly reduced in efficacy if used improperly. Hospital cleaning companies and medical office cleaning companies that do not sufficiently train their people are frankly not giving them the tools and knowledge to do their best in your facility, safeguarding patient health and the your facility’s reputation.

 

Don’t Let Your Medical Cleaning Company Put You At Risk

We understand that physicians and clinicians vary in terms of aptitude, effectiveness and overall care. Similarly, medical janitorial services vary with their ability to properly clean and maintain your facility. Many, many janitorial companies WANT your business but really, only a select few commercial cleaning companies are truly prepared to deliver a high level of cleaning in a healthcare setting. If you are evaluating your current medical cleaning company or considering alternatives, consider the following:

  • Does the cleaning company actually understand the requirements of medical cleaning?
  • Do they understand regulations and compliance issues connected to medical cleaning?
  • Are they aware of how their work cleaning and maintaining your facility contributes to HCAHPS scores?
  • Do they understand the science behind cleaning, the concept of dwell times and touch points?
  • Is their employee training program detailed, observable and offered for both general cleaning, medical cleaning and products and equipment?
  • Do they provide employees with safety compliance training for OSHA, HIPPA, & Blood borne Pathogens?
  • Do they have a green cleaning program to employ biodegradable, low allergenic, and non-toxic products where possible?
  • Do they hold current industry certifications like the ISSA’s CIMS?

 

Find the Right Medical Cleaning Company & Get the Protection You Need

The right medical cleaning company will not eliminate every risk related to HAIs, superbugs, influenza, C. difficile and more, but they can help you mitigate risk, reduce the likelihood of disease transmission and give your patients and providers an overall sense that your facility is clean, well maintained and healthy. The healthcare cleaning companies that have devoted time and resources into understanding your specific business and structuring their employee training and processes around the unique needs of the medical community will be excited to offer their partnership, knowledge and expertise in the service of your facility. Much like in medicine, there are specialists and generalists and really, when it comes to medical cleaning you need a specialist. Medical cleaning companies that want your business must be able to backup their assertions of great healthcare cleaning services with solid references, documented training and verifiable systems and processes that lead to measurable improvements in service delivery. Find the right medical cleaning company to partner with and so many facets of your operations and success become easier.

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Tags: Commercial Cleaning, Industry Best Practices, Hospital & Medical Cleaning, Healthy Work Environment

Surviving the Worst Flu Season With Help From Office Cleaning Services

Posted by Christine Duquette on Mon, Jan 29, 2018 @ 10:44 AM

detroit office cleaning company, office cleaning services, office cleaning company, flu, flu season 2018Federal health officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cautioned that this year's flu outbreak is more severe than any other flu since 2009’s swine flu pandemic. Furthermore, CDC officials noted that this season’s flu intensity is still increasing with rising reported numbers of flu sufferers and flu hospitalizations. Not only is this season’s flu worse, CDC officials tell us there is no immediate end in site and many more weeks to come before we start to see a drop in cases. Kristen Nordlund, a spokeswoman for the CDC said, “hopefully we’re in the peak currently, since the data is a week behind, or that it peaks soon. Regardless, there is a lot of flu activity happening across the country and likely many more weeks to come.” From Michigan to Texas, health care providers and state officials are working hard to protect their patients and residents as well as diminish the negative impacts of a particularly rough flu season. So what can you as a Facility Manager do to reduce the spread of illness and the resulting losses in productivity and rises in absenteeism? As an employee who just wants to avoid getting the flu or an employer who wants to keep employees healthy and reduce absenteeism, what steps can you take to limit the impact of this year’s flu season on your facility, your people and your business?

1. Cleaning For Health Cannot Be An Afterthought

When it comes to flu season, especially an especially virulent one, Cleaning For Health cannot be an afterthought. What is Cleaning For Health? Cleaning for health isn’t just an industry buzzword, it is a directive with real outcomes for both office cleaning companies and the facilities they clean and care for. Cleaning for health utilizes industry best practices to effectively clean in a way that reduces the spread of disease causing germs. Furthermore, Cleaning For Health requires products and practices that safeguard the health of everyone involved: office cleaners, you and your staff and your customers. What kind of best practices fall under cleaning for health?

  • Color-coding cleaning cloths to avoid unnecessary and dangerous cross contamination. Color-coding can help make sure a towel used to clean a toilet isn’t used again to wipe down your desk
  • Correct labeling of cleaning products with specific use instructions to assure office cleaners knows exactly how each product is to be used.
  • Office cleaners must be trained on the use of contact times and dwell times to insure disinfectant efficacy in reducing and eliminating bacterial and viral loads.
  • Using widely accepted best practices like “touch point” cleaning for maximum impact where it is needed most.
  • Regular office cleaning equipment maintenance to assure optimal operation and effectiveness.

A healthy work environment doesn’t happen by accident, it happens by intention.  Keeping your workplace healthy and getting at least some protection from the flu requires that your office cleaning company put policy and training into place that insures that your office cleaning staff know how to clean to reduce bacteria, viruses and other common infectious diseases and limit the spread of disease in your facility.

 

2. Touch Points A Critical Part of Effective Cleaning & Disease Prevention

What are touch points? They are those most often touched surfaces in any office or facility. This can include phones, shared office equipment like computer mice, door and faucet handles, basically any surface that sees many hands and thus can be the repository for high loads of disease causing germs. To assure an overall healthy work place, public “touch points” like light switches, business machines, elevator buttons, stair rails, telephones, door handles and other surfaces that are frequently touched must get regular cleaning from your professional office cleaning services. Similarly, it can be useful to provide anti-bacterial wipes for employees to periodically wipe down work surfaces and such in between office cleaning.

 

3. Skip “Presenteeism,” When You Are Sick, Stay Home

While you might feel like a hero or feel the pressure to get your work done, presenteeism, coming into work ill, plunges productivity and just causes more absenteeism as one person can get an entire office sick. No one thinks you are tough or dedicated, they’re just going to give you the side eye for exposing them and their families to the flu. When you aren’t feeling your best, the best thing you can do is stay home, stay hydrated and get some rest. It is good for you and good for your coworkers.

 

4. Stop Coughing Or Sneezing Into Your Hands Already!

Has your mom ever told you to cover your mouth with your hands when you sneeze or cough? Well, you can call tell her she had it all wrong! Your hands are one of the worst places to sneeze and cough because they are what you use to touch everything else. The microscopic moisture that leaves your nose and mouth when you cough and sneeze is teeming with germs and either left to spread out on their own or coated all over your hands, they will wreak havoc. So what should you do? First, if you are sneezing and coughing, the chances are you are ill and should go home. Even on your best behavior, viruses like the flu are just too good at getting around. Second, if you sneeze, ideally do it into a tissue and then wash your hands immediately. If you haven’t a tissue and you feel a sneeze or cough coming on, cough into the sleeve and corner of your arm. While it isn’t as protective as just being home, at least you do not use this area to touch or handle things making it less likely you will spread germs. And for goodness sake, stop putting your fingers in your mouth. Don’t eat with your fingers, don’t lick your fingers and don’t pick you’re your nose. Viruses, bacteria and other contagions typically enter the human body through the eyes, nose or mouth, and your fingers touch objects and surfaces that may be teeming with disease-causing germs. Similarly, it can be wise to opt out of hand shaking during peak flu and cold season. If you feel impolite declining, make sure you have that hand sanitizer handy.

 

5. Proper Hand Washing Techniques Save Lives

You would think washing your hands would be a kindergarten level skill but you might be surprised how many adults aren’t doing it or are doing it incorrectly. When people aren’t consistently washing their hands, especially during a virulent flu season, germs spread fast. Hands are like high-speed rail for viruses like influenza, an ideal mass transport device for the viruses and bacteria that cause disease to pass from one place and person to another. Proper hand washing cuts down on the spreading of many contagions. You should periodically wash hands during the day but always wash your hands before eating and drinking; after using the bathroom, touching high-hand-contact surfaces, returning to your office or home, blowing your nose, assisting a sick person, and handling any chemicals. Don’t compromise your healthy workplace with less than effective hygiene practices.

 

6. Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer Is An Effective Stop-Gap Measure

While not as effective as hand washing, alcohol-based hand sanitizers can contribute to a healthy work place. When hand washing may not be convenient or around counters with shared pens and more, hand sanitizer is a good, portable way to reduce the spread of germs. In order to be effective, hand sanitizer must contain at least 60% alcohol. While not a substitute for good old-fashioned hand washing, hand sanitizer can be a good tool in your arsenal against the flu.

 

7. It’s Not Too Late For a Flu Shot

It might seem late in the season if you haven’t already had a flu vaccination but there are weeks to go. The flu shot helps you build the antibodies you need to protect you from the flu. While the flu vaccine isn’t 100%, it has been shown in many seasons to be as much as 90% effective. Flu shots are safe for most people, effective and generally available free or at a very low cost. Ask your doctor if you might be a good candidate for a flu shot. You must get a flu shot every season as strains of influenza change year to year. This season’s flu vaccination is targeted the most prevalent flu strains.

 

If you need help with medical cleaning, day porter services, school cleaning, commercial handyman services, restroom sanitation services or more, please call Stathakis at 1-800-278-1884.

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Tags: Industry Best Practices, Healthy Work Environment

Celebrate Global Handwashing Day October 15th

Posted by Christine Duquette on Wed, Oct 11, 2017 @ 11:55 AM

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Global Handwashing Day is in a few days, are you ready to celebrate with a little soap and warm water? Yes, Global Handwashing Day is a real thing and with handwashing being such an effective and cheap way to prevent the spread of disease, it’s no wonder why. Global Handwashing Day is an annual day of global advocacy centered on increasing awareness of the importance of handwashing as an easy, effective, and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives. The 2017 Global Handwashing Day theme is “Our hands, our future!” reminding us that hand washing protects our health and the health of those around us.

 

The CDC, or Centers for Disease Control also are strong advocates of hand washing. As they say, “Handwashing is like a "do-it-yourself" vaccine.” They advocate five simple steps for effective handwashing- wet, lather, scrub, rinse and dry. Good hand washing techniques reduce the spread of the flu as well as stomach and respiratory illness and regular handwashing, especially before and activities like preparing food or using the restroom, offer one of the most effective ways to reduce and eliminate germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of disease causing germs to others. The CDC has a number of free and easy to print posters that you can use to help illustrate the importance of hand washing with your tenants or employees.

 

Here at Stathakis, we have long advocated reminding employees and tenants of proper hand washing techniques as one easy way for Facility Managers to reduce the spread of disease causing germs that can raise absenteeism and lower productivity in their facilities. Hand washing is quick, simple and it can keep many people from getting sick. It is a win for everyone, with the exception of the germs. Influenza, the common cold and other easily transmittable illnesses that can wreak havoc on an otherwise well maintained facility. Why are disease-causing germs spread so easily in offices, schools, retail businesses and facilities like them? Well, you have a great many people touching things and surfaces that many other people touch throughout the day. Just one ill person can spread disease causing germs all over your facility. It’s as easy as opening a door and then touching your mouth and bam, you have the flu! It is for this reason that frequent hand washing, especially after using the restroom, blowing your nose or coughing, can go a long way in reducing the germ load in your building.

 

Of course, most of the measures to reduce illness in your facility and maintain a healthy work environment are the responsibility of your janitorial services company. In order to assist in keeping your facility as healthy as possible your janitorial services company should:

  • Understand hot spots and touch points and focus cleaning on where disease causing germs congregate.
  • Follow cleaning product manufacturer instructions regarding dwell times and similar to assure the greatest efficacy of key products like disinfectants and sanitizers.
  • Store and use cleaning chemicals properly.
  • Frequently change mop water and mop heads to reduce the risk of cross contamination.
  • Utilize Team Cleaning where appropriate to reduce cross contamination & improve service through employee specialization.
  • Keep all cleaning equipment adequately maintained.

 

Do your part as a Facility Manager and partner with a commercial cleaning company or janitorial services company that is committed to a healthy work place and you can help reduce the spread of illness in your facility as well as reduce the negative impacts associated with it.

 

Here at Stathakis, we have spent over thirty years developing a standard of service that helps ensure a healthy work place. We have worked hard to develop and put into practice those systems and methods that help reduce and eliminate disease causing bacteria throughout our customer’s facilities. We utilize Smart Cleaning and understand the Science of Clean. We focus on touch points and hot spots to kill the germs where they congregate and spread most easily. We always follow the manufacturer recommendations for cleaning products and we train and manage employees in safe chemical storage.We utilize a host of practices that reduce cross contamination including color coded cleaning cloths and Team Cleaning where applicable. Not only do we follow industry best practices, we help create them through our own innovation and striving to deliver the best in facility maintenance for the businesses of southeastern Michigan. If you are a Facility Manager in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Royal Oak, Farmington Hills, Farmington, Dearborn, Livonia, Troy, Auburn Hills, Novi, Plymouth, Downriver or surrounding areas and you are looking for commercial cleaning services, office cleaning, school cleaning, industrial cleaning, medical cleaning or other building services, please contact us to learn more about how we can help you maintain a healthy workplace and make your facility shine.

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Tags: Cleaning Industry Updates, Commercial Cleaning, Industry Best Practices, Healthy Work Environment

Survive Flu Season With Help From Your Janitorial Services Company

Posted by Mitch Hesson on Fri, Oct 06, 2017 @ 01:25 PM

commecial cleanng comapnies, flu, influenza, janitorial companies and the flu, detroit janitorial compnay

Colder Weather & More Time Indoors Means Flu Season Is Here

October is upon us, which means football, Halloween, the leaves changing colors, and of course, the start of flu season. Cold weather doesn’t cause the flu and other common seasonal infections but it does mean more time indoors and increased transmission. This increased transmission is caused by little more than germy hands touching surfaces that other people touch. Take that hand and put it in your mouth or nose and boom, you are likely the flu’s next casualty. Even just one or two cases of the flu can spread exponentially in your facility. And when that happens, absenteeism climbs and productivity plummets. As a Facility Manager, you want healthy employees AND a healthy bottom line. It is for this reason that your janitorial services company is so critical in helping you stem the spread of the flu in your facility. Ineffective cleaning practices and an absence of cleaning for health can quickly turn your facility into a virtual petri dish. If your janitorial services company isn’t an active partner in safeguarding you, your facility and your employees from the flu and other common transmittable illnesses, you must find a building services company that is.

 

Reducing the Impact of the Flu In Your Facility

It is just the beginning of the flu season and we are just seeing the first cases pop up. But flu season builds as more and more people get ill and spread the virus to others, who in turn, spread it to even more people. Influenza and other common bacterial illnesses and viruses have an impact on business owners and Facility Managers every season. You can’t completely eliminate the flu or it’s associated risks but you can reduce the impact of the flu in your facility with just a few measures you take internally and some help from your commercial cleaning company. The best defense is a good offense. What can you do to help reduce the spread of the flu in your facility? First, remind employees and tenants of proper hand washing techniques and sneezing, nose blowing and coughing etiquette. You would be surprised how many adults either don’t know or forget about easy practices like coughing and sneezing into your elbow rather than you hand and washing hands frequently, especially after coughing, sneezing or blowing one’s nose. Posting correct hand washing techniques offers a reminder to all of us to wash our hands and the best way to do it. Second, discourage presenteeism. Presenteeism is coming into work even when one is ill. On the surface, you might think coming in while sick is heroic and helps keep productivity inline but really, this practice does little more than speed up and increase the transmission of disease in your facility. Three days home resting and recuperating for one employee is far better than a sick employee at work with reduced productivity getting ten or more other employees sick.

 

Is Your Commercial Cleaning Company Part of the Problem Or Part of the Solution?

So you as a Facility Manager are doing your part to reduce the spread of the flu in your facility, is your janitorial services company? Is your Detroit commercial cleaning company following best practices to keep your facility clean and your employees healthy? Are they reducing the risk of cross contamination through color coded cloth systems and Team Cleaning? Color coded cloth systems mean certain colors are used for dedicated purpose assuring that the rag used to wipe the toilet isn’t also used to clean the break room tables. Team cleaning is a practice where office cleaners are given certain tasks to perform rather than areas to clean. So there might be a restroom specialist, a vacuum specialist and more. This delineation of duties can also reduce the risks associated with cross contamination. Is your Detroit commercial cleaning company frequently changing mop water and mop heads to further reduce the risk of cross contamination? Is your janitorial company knowledgeable about hot spots and touch points and are they concentrating on these spots where germs congregate? Do your office cleaners keep all cleaning equipment adequately maintained? Vacuum cleaners, mops, commercial floor cleaning equipment and more need regular cleaning, inspection and periodic maintenance in order to operate most effectively. Does your cleaning company store and use cleaning chemicals properly? Do they utilize dwell times and manufacturer instructions to assure the greatest efficacy from their efforts? If your commercial cleaning company is not doing their part to help stem the spread of illness in your facility, it’s time to rethink your cleaning.

 

Why Cleaning For Health Is So Critical

We all appreciate a facility that looks clean and well maintained. But as important as it is that a facility look clean is what is going on that you cannot see. Germs, bacteria and viruses are invisible. You could have a facility that looks perfectly clean but is teeming with disease causing bacteria. The various strains of influenza and the germs that cause the common cold are all invisible to the naked eye. That is why science based cleaning methods like Cleaning For Health and janitorial industry best practices are so critical. Which janitorial best practices are related to the directive of ‘cleaning for health?’ First, HEPA filter vacuum cleaners offer improved indoor air quality, which in turn may diminish the spread of germs and lessen triggers for building occupants that already grapple with allergies and related issues. Second, the research tells us that a focus on hot spots and touch points significantly reducing the transmission of the flu and common colds. Third, the implementation of a system of color coded cloths protects health by diminishing both the load and spread of disease causing germs from one surface to another. Third, utilizing cleaning products according to the manufacturer’s directions including using the right cleaner for the right purpose and following dwell times makes these products far more effective in reducing or eliminating germs on surfaces, door handles and other areas throughout your facility. If your cleaning company does not adhere to janitorial industry best practice, you do not have the partner you need in protecting the health and reputation of your facility.

 

Touch Points & Hot Spots: Eradicating Germs Where They Thrive 

Touch points and hot spots are so important because these areas are touched throughout the day by nearly everyone in your facility making the chances of transmitting a cold or flu very, very high. What are touch points and hot spots? They are those areas within your building that see the most hands throughout the day like light switches, door handles, shared computer equipment, phones, touch pads and more. So putting specific emphasis on these oft touched areas is a critical step in reducing the spread of illness causing bacteria and viruses. Cleaning the right way with the right cleaning products is an integral part of maintaining a healthy work environment. A professional, responsive and effective commercial cleaning service is knowledgeable in the science of clean, how germs are spread and eradicated and what their specific part is in helping keep your facility clean and reducing the spread of colds and flus.

 

Safeguarding Your Employees’ Health & Your Bottom Line

Your janitorial services can either be a big help or a big hindrance in keeping your facility clean and healthy over the course of the next few months of peak flu season. Of course you want your employees or tenants to be well, but there is also a measurable impact to your bottom line when the flu is allowed to spread like wildfire throughout your facility. Employees that become ill are less productive, transmit illness to other employees and take more sick days. When you partner with a cleaning company that does their part to safeguard your reputation and the health of your employees, you set yourself up for success with a true partner in your facility’s maintenance.

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Tags: Commercial Cleaning, Janitorial Services, Healthy Work Environment

Subpar Commercial Cleaning & Sick Employees Will Cost You

Posted by Christine Duquette on Thu, Sep 21, 2017 @ 02:03 PM

 

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© ISSA

Learn more about how your commercial cleaning company or janitorial services company can help keep your work environment healthy and the importance of services janitorial:

Are You Ready For Flu Season

Flu Season Survival Kit: Enlisting the Help of Your Cleaning Company

10 Tips for Avoiding the Flu at work for a Healthy Work Environment

 

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Tags: Cleaning Industry Updates, Commercial Cleaning, Healthy Work Environment

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