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Sanitizing Versus Disinfecting – What You Don’t Know Could Kill You

Understanding the level of cleaning required in your building could mean life or death. OK, that might be somewhat dramatic, but it could certainly be the difference between healthy or sick.

Now, more than ever, the cleaning industry is focused on cleaning for health as well as appearance. And that’s a good thing. Cleaning for health means professional practices and products are used to ensure the utmost health of a building’s people and assets.  As reported by Cleanlink Magazine, “Cleaning with an eye on health helps reduce sick building syndrome, infections and respiratory problems — and it benefits not only the building’s occupants, but also the cleaning employees, since cleaner and healthier workplaces tend to experience less absenteeism among workers.”

Whether you are in the food service industry, in an educational or office facility, it’s essential to understand when and how to treat surfaces to eliminate illness causing germs.

Let’s look at the various levels of cleaning (as outlined by Clorox Professional):

Basic Cleaning – Manual or mechanical removal of soil and debris from surfaces and equipment. Products used: Cleaner, detergent.

Sanitization – Reduction of bacterial contaminants to safe levels as per health requirements. Products used: Food-contact and non-food contact sanitizers, products labeled “kills 99.9% of germs”.

Disinfection – Destruction of pathogenic and other types of microorganisms, typically using chemical agents. Products used: Cleaner disinfectants, products labeled “kills 99.999& of germs”.

Technology has served up a variety of new systems for disinfecting and sanitizing. The system we use in our clients’ buildings is Electrostatic Disinfecting.  

Remember rubbing a balloon on your hair as a kid? The balloon and hair would have opposite charges that attract one another. Electrostatic disinfecting and sanitizing is a similar concept. It uses (+) charged particles, sprayed onto (-) charged surfaces, attracting the solution to every nook and cranny thus providing 100% coverage. A very cost-effective and time-efficient way to kill germs in any facility including health care, althetic, education, office buildings, etc.

Protecting your staff and patrons from illness is easier said than done. Knowing what level you should be cleaning at, and what products and methods to use, can be daunting and confusing. Take the time to ensure your cleaning staff or contract cleaner is properly trained to deliver the cleaning you need to make your facility a healthy one.

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A Clean Business is Smart Business. 

EFS Clean provides smart cleaning to Calgary’s commercial sector. Services include Contract Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning as well as specialty services; Ceiling Cleaning, Floor and Carpet Cleaning, Low-Rise Window Cleaning, Electrostatic Disinfecting and Quality Assurance Inspections. If you have a cleaning challenge, we have a solution. Contact us today at 403-949-3344 or request a cleaning quote/demo.

Why Customers Lose When Choosing the Lowest Price

It’s a common trick in the commercial cleaning industry, as well as many other service industries. Use a low priced bid to win the business, then under deliver your service (hoping the customer won’t notice) or ask for more money at a later date.

We’ve seen it time and time again. We’ve lost business because of it.  For us, one instance stands out as a shining example of this flawed strategy.

For six years, we provided the daily cleaning for a very challenging building and in general, had a very satisfied client for those six years. When the building came to tender, it became abundently clear the personel in charge of creating the scope for the RFP were uneducated, inexperienced and focused on trying to get more for less. What was created was a scope of work that would at least double their current budget. Yet, what was awareded was a contract to a company that bid amost half of the current budget. Sorry, the math just didn’t work and why the building’s managers couldn’t see that is baffling.

Follow these tips so you don’t fall victim to the low price trap on your next request for proposal.

  • Ensure the scope of work and the budget you have allocated are in sync. If you are not sure how to do this, ask a trusted advisor that has this experience.
  • Another option to ensure your work and budget are realistic, is to do a pre-proposal walk-through with the bidding contractors. Outline what your high/low priority areas are and then ask them to provide a recommended scope and price based on that. This strategy can be tricky to compare apples to apples but it allows the contractors offer up their expertise and provide a balance between performance and efficiencies.
  • Ask around, find out what companies your peers are using. What companies have proven to be trustworthy, which haven’t. Then compile a list of contractors you would be open to working with and invite them to bid on your work.
  • If you are already in a position where you are working with a contractor that played the low price trick on you and you’re seeing that negative results, start looking for alternative services.

Our company philosophy, as is for some other building service contractors, is to provide “real” pricing and work scopes that represent value and honesty. We may not always win business with this strategy, but when we are able work to with customers that understand it and hire us for it, we are able to forge an honest and respectful relationship from the start.

The low price option always ends the same way. The customer loses with poor cleaning performance and a dirtier building and added work load to manage a cleaning program that isn’t working and then having to repeat the RFP process all over again.

By the way, the building that we lost to the low baller is now looking like it. Don’t ever doubt the old adage, “you get what you pay for”. Especially when it comes to the cleanliness and health of your building.

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EFS Clean Building Services is Calgary’s locally-owned-and-grown commercial cleaning company and authorized dealer for Ceiling Pro International. Our services include Contract Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning as well as specialty services; Ceiling Cleaning, Floor and Carpet Cleaning, Electrostatic Disinfecting and Quality Assurance Inspections. Let us help you get a better clean by calling 403-949-3344 or by requesting a cleaning quote/demo.

 

 

 

 

Why You Need to Listen to Your Customer’s Complaints

Being in the cleaning industry, dealing with customer complaints is part of the job. In fact, the same can be said of any service based business. Some clients habitually complain. Some clients are more reasonable than others. But often, client complaints are valid. Nobody likes hearing criticism, but perhaps we are simply looking at it the wrong way?

I recently listened to an interview with actor Mandy Patinkin. If you don’t know him, then you are not addicted to the Showtime program Homeland like I am. Or perhaps you haven’t seen Princess Bride where he was Inigo Montoya in 1987’s The Princess Bride, in which he delivers the iconic line, “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” Anyway, I heard the passionate Patinkin talk about his appreciation of criticism and how it can make us better.  That statement got me thinking about how a paradigm shift in regards to customer complaints just might do us some good.

An article in The Guardian outlines some of the benefits of criticism like this;

Criticism is a form of communication – If someone has a criticism it means they want to give you feedback on what you’re doing for them – that means an opportunity to learn more about the person who you’re working for and how to convert them into a satisfied customer.

Feedback helps make your product/service stronger – Use that information to change your performance, service or event – sometimes it will make for uncomfortable listening but it can make your offering stronger.

It forces you to think about how you work – Constructive criticism can guide you away from bad practices and towards good ones. Try to be objective and look at what you’re providing as though it’s not yours.

The right kind of criticism can give you an advantage – If you can get a customer to tell you how to give them the perfect product or service, that’s information you’ve got that no one else has. That puts you at an advantage over anyone else in your sector and can be used again in the future to get things right, even faster.

Use positive language, elicit a solution – Try to avoid getting into an argument. Instead, turn the exchange into a discussion about how to resolve the problem. This way you’re still in a position to get paid and you’ll waste less time guessing how to put things right.

So next time you get a complaint, don’t take it personally. Instead, listen and then thank that customer for helping you improve the way you do business.

“Criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing,

doing nothing, and being nothing.” ~Aristotle

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EFS Clean Building Services is Calgary’s locally-owned-and-grown commercial cleaning company and authorized dealer for Ceiling Pro International. Our services include Ceiling Cleaning, Commercial Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Hard Surface/Tile Restoration, Rapid Disinfecting and Quality Assurance Inspections. Let us help you get a better clean by calling 403-949-3344 or by requesting a cleaning quote/demo.

Why “Cleaning for Health” is a Better Way to Clean

There’s a bit of a revolution happening in the cleaning industry. In the past, there was a demand for janitorial services that provided a clean looking building at a low price. With better education and a more sophisticated perspective, building managers are now looking for a cleaning program that focuses on cleaning for health.

A Contracting Profits survey of facility executives shows a majority — 64 percent — value a healthy and sanitary environment for building occupants more than a clean appearance (28 percent), an environmentally-friendly green cleaning program (6 percent), or a low price for cleaning (2 percent).

Cleaning for health provides the dual functions of; 1 . surface cleanliness, and  2. prevention and control of infections. So not only is the look of a building important but the health and productivity of it’s occupants is also addressed.

This approach to cleaning is important to any and every business sector, but is particularly vital to industries such as healthcare, schools, fitness facilities and restaurants where germs and infection are dangerous, sometimes deadly.

On 9th February 2011, the World Federation of Building Service Contractors (WFBSC) resolved to make Cleaning for Health a key priority in the coming years. Cleaning is our first defence against the ongoing threat of ‘super bugs’, influenza viruses, and more recently E.coli. In healthcare settings the importance of cleaning, disinfecting and sterilizing is widely accepted and its implementation is usually strictly enforced. However, outside the healthcare environment and within community settings such as schools, offices, retail, hotels, public transport etc; the value of cleanliness is less understood. (WFBSC Cleaning for Health Report – Cleaning for Health Report 2012/2013).

As an example of this misunderstood concept; commercial kitchens sometimes leave the job of cleaning to their staff to save money. The problem with that strategy is that these workers do not have the expertise, or when it is the end of their shift, do not have the energy to clean their facilities properly. This often comes to light when the health inspectors arrive. As in the case study of a restaurant in Las Vegas, there were numerous sanitation issues that were found including:

  • Stoves, ovens, and deep fryers were not properly cleaned.
  • Floor drains all contained grease and food particles.
  • Damp mops and rags were stored in the kitchen (and likely reused when needed throughout the day, causing them to become increasingly soiled).
  • Floors were not thoroughly cleaned. In some areas there was a film over the floor, indicating a grease residue.

Some recommendations to remedy these issues include:

  • New mops, and having a supply of new mop heads on hand. This will keep contaminants from being spread and will help rid grease build-up.
  • Consider using a wall-mounted system that mixes water and chemicals automatically to ensure proper dilution rates.
  • Use a food service steam cleaner that can release steam hot enough to melt down grease and oils and destroy many types of germs and bacteria.

No matter what type of business you are in, cleaning for health is essential for happy staff and customers. If you haven’t already, consider using a cleaning services company to do your cleaning for you. They will recommend the best processes and equipment to ensure an attractive space and more importantly, a healthy environment. Yes, this will require an investment in your cleaning, but like any good business formula, the benefits will far outweigh the costs.

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EFS Clean Building Services is Calgary’s locally-owned-and-grown commercial cleaning company and authorized dealer for Ceiling Pro International. Our services include Ceiling Cleaning, Commercial Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Hard Surface/Tile Restoration and Quality Assurance Inspections. Let us help you get a better clean by calling 403-949-3344 or by requesting a cleaning quote/demo.

 

 

Industry Certification Takes Cleaning to the Next Level

There are two ways businesses can look at cleaning; as a “pain-in the butt” expense that doesn’t really make a difference to their business. Or, as a investment in their business that illustrates professionalism and success.

As a member of the ISSA, we take pride in working closely with cleaning professionals from all facets of the industry to learn what value we can bring to our clients when it comes to their cleaning programs.

Do-It-Yourself Cleaning in Restaurants Pose Health & Safety Risks

We were recently having a staff meeting at a well established restaurant in Calgary when we saw something we never like to see. With our table in direct view of the kitchen, we saw a staff member precariously perched on a ladder, rag in one hand and spray bottle in the other, trying to clean the kitchen ceilings (to no avail). Lucky for that restaurant manager, I do no work for Occupational Health and Safety as the placement of that ladder and the positioning of that staff member on it would have violated many safety codes! No only was there a risk of falling but who knows what the solution was being used to attempt the cleaning of that ceiling.

Post-Construction Cleaning – Know This Floor Care Question

We recently visited a construction site of a large retail building to consult on the post-construction cleaning needs. Most of the project was typical post-construction cleaning but then we started asking questions about the floor. An interesting discussion with the project manager and site superintendent for the building ensued. What soon came to light was the fact that the construction managers simply didn’t know what was required for the care of their client’s shiny new floors. By not being able to answer one important question, this construction company could have failed their client by providing a faulty floor surface.

How to Avoid the Flu Bug in your Office

It’s in the news. It might even be in your office or house right now. The dreaded flu bug is back with a vengeance in Alberta. With some care, diligence and good cleaning, there are things you can do to guard against illness as the flu season reaches it’s peak.

Public Washroom Tips: Of course, wash your hands thoroughly when using public washrooms. If possible, use paper towels instead of hand dryers as the air movement from dryers causes further spreading of bacteria. Take further advantage of your paper towel using it to turn off the faucet and pull the door open, avoiding post-washing germs along the way.

How to Properly Apply Ice Melt in Winter

Winter brings it’s usual challenges of extra layers of clothing and unpredictable driving conditions. And for those of us who are building service contractors (otherwise known as professional cleaners), it also means five months of cleaning buildings that are extra messy.

Cleaning up wet, muddy floors is a given. But to add “salt” to the wound (excuse the pun), we are often faced with extra clean-up due to misuse of ice melt. With of the huge liabilities that businesses face with slip-and-fall injuries, there is no doubt ice melt is a must have when the snow falls. What many people don’t’ realize is there is some knowledge required to using this product properly.

We got a call from one of our clients who noticed a white chalky residue left on their floors. Of course, the floors had been properly cleaned the night before but when daylight came the residue was noticeable. It didn’t take long to discover that around their building was an excess of ice melt on the sidewalks and around the doors.

The easy solution to the floor surfaces inside the building was to use a neutralizer.  It’s acidity has a chemical reaction to the salt residue and then this reaction turns the alkaline nature of the ice melt to a neutral pH. The result is that the residue will then have the same basic neutral pH state as faucet water and therefore becomes as easy to wipe up as water.

We then recommended to our client that less ice melt be used. Not only will this help with less of the product tracking into the building and causing havoc with the floors, it will also help prevent excess de-icer eating away at the metal trim on their building’s exterior. In addition, we mentioned that good quality tracking mats inside and outside the doors will help keep the ice melt outside, where it belongs.

The best way to ensure your de-icing efforts are doing more good than harm?  Do your research to find the right kind of ice melt and then make sure you are using the right amount. A simple solution to a common problem.

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EFS Clean is Calgary’s locally-owned-and-grown commercial cleaning company. Our services include janitorial services, construction cleaning, ceiling tile cleaning, electrostatic disinfecting, low-rise window cleaning, tile/hard surface deep cleaning and quality assurance inspections. Let us help you get a better clean by calling 403-949-3344 or send us a message on our Contact Us page.

 

 

Ceiling Cleaning Service Growing Internationally

Ceiling Cleaning and Restoration is a valuable service that is taking over the world! OK, maybe not “taking over”, but certainly “making over”.  We spend most of our lives under ceilings and this area of a building often gets neglected. Ceilings trap odors, dust, grease, and other pollutants, looking worse over time and becoming a health issue.

The cleaning process disinfects and deodorizes ceilings, extending the life of the ceiling system and brightening the space. And at 80% less cost than replacement, ceiling cleaning should always be a part of a comprehensive green cleaning program.

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