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What to Ask When Hiring a Cleaning Company for your Fitness or Recreation Facility

If you work in, or are a client of a recreation and fitness centre, you understand the importance of a clean environment. And so do we.

Fitness software developer Insight writes, “What do customers value? Above all, they value a clean facility! They aren’t overly concerned that you have the latest machines or flat screen TVs, what they want is an environment that makes them feel like they are safe and increasing their health. This is something on which they will vote with their feet and go elsewhere if they aren’t absolutely comfortable in the environment that you offer.”

These buildings see thousands, if not millions, of visitors from morning until night. Patrons are young and old. Many of them sweaty, all of them touching and handling fitness equipment, door knobs, faucets, etc. leaving a constant trail of germs behind. Add to that, the fact that recreation centres are made up of varying surfaces, wet and dry, which can lead to an array of dirt and contaminants building up over time. As well, most have childcare and seniors’ facilities which require the utmost caution and care with these vulnerable occupants.

So, as you can see, cleaning and caring for recreational facilities is very different than office cleaning. Most offices require basic cleaning tasks such as vacuuming, dusting and garbage removal with a team of cleaners working days/evenings. Recreational facilities require those tasks as well as cleaning and disinfecting many surfaces including wet, messy showers, germ-laden water fountains and specialized cleaning of tile and wood floor surfaces. And on top of those challenges, facility hours of rec centres require dedicated staff able to work overnight, with expertise in cleaning a challenging variety of areas and surfaces in a short overnight timeframe.

The health and fitness professional body, IHRSA, reports, “It goes without saying that, particularly in the locker room, cleanliness trumps all other considerations—design, furnishings, amenities. Cleanliness is right up there for most women when they make the decision whether or not to join a club,” says says Bryan Dunkelberger, with S3 Design tasked with designing ideal fitness locker rooms.

Who is cleaning your recreation facility? It’s an important question because as outlined here, it takes a cleaning contractor who understands the unique needs of these buildings and has the expertise to provide solutions.

In Calgary, our company has become a leader in this sector, providing daytime and overnight cleaning, as well as a whole host of specialized cleaning services such as hard surface restoration and electrostatic disfinfecting.

 

When choosing a cleaning contractor for your building, ensure you ask the following:

  • What is your experience with recreation/fitness facilities?
  • What process, equipment and chemical  is used to clean each different area and surface?
  • What is your quality assurance system?
  • Are your staff trained and prepared to do detailed overnight work as well as periodical tasks?
  • What is yor technical background and knowledge of best practices?
  • Can you present us with latest innovations in cleaning?

Cleaning performance and science advocates say, “While ‘cleaning for appearance’ is an obvious goal, science tells us that just because a facility looks and smells clean, it is not always clean, safe and healthy. Tools that enable more complete removal of contaminants, visible and invisible—and productively—should be part of the cleaning performance arsenal.”

Part of our company’s mission is to work with our clients to ensure their entire building not only looks clean but is maintained for the health and productivity of it’s staff and members, improving their bottom line.

This is why our portfolio of recreation centres in Calgary is growing and we’ve been chosen as the preferred cleaning services provider for centres such as Westside Recreation, Trico Centre for Family Wellness and Vivo for Healthier Generations.

 

 

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.

 

 

Dirty Ceiling Diffusers Can Put Health and Business at Risk

Imagine, you’re sitting in a shopping mall food court, eating your lunch, when you look up and above your head is a ceiling caked with a layer of black dirt and dust. Not very appetizing, is it? It’s also not good for your health as that ceiling could indicate air quality issues in that building.

These are the very reasons why we were recently called in to clean the ceilings in a shopping mall food court. The dirt coming from the diffusers was an on-going challenge to the property management company, knowing it was unsightly and unhealthy for their customers and staff.

Dirt coming from ceiling diffusers is often less about dirty ducts in an HVAC system and more about poor air quality in that room.

Investigations have shown that “smudging,” as we call the deposition of dirt particles on the air outlet and surrounding surfaces, is more likely to be generated from room activity that releases dirt into the room air rather than from dirty supply air. This dirt suspended in room air, called an “atmospheric aerosol,” can then be entrained (drawn) into the discharge of the diffuser. (Hart & Cooley’s Tech Talk August 2006)

Dirt particles can be composed of both natural and man-made materials such as dust, smoke, greasy fumes, lint and pollen. Areas with heavy foot traffic will stir up these fine particles and keep them in suspension contributing to the smudging appearing on the ceiling.

An indoor environment report by Cochrane Ventilation Inc. states, “If the air in the ductwork is clean and the air in the room is dirty, when air in the ductwork exits the diffuser and enters the room it displaces air already in the room. Clean, ducted air coming out of the HVAC system through a vent sets the already dirty room air in motion, forcing it to impact nearby surfaces, such as walls and ceilings.”

If you are challenged with dirty ceilings in your building, your first step will be finding the root cause of the ceiling smudging and how to address it. Enlist the help of an HVAC expert to examine your system as well as your diffusers.

The key to keeping a ceiling clean is to avoid induction of room air on the ceiling next to the supply diffuser. Various diffusers have much more dirt or more pronounced black areas around them than others. The design of the diffuser and the path of induction of the room air to the diffuser are critical. (The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration NEWS – Dec. 3, 2012)

Like our friends at the shopping mall, you will also want to have the unsightly dirt cleaned from the ceiling surface. Look for a qualified ceiling cleaning company that has the knowledge and experience to do this specialized work. Maintaining a clean ceiling will give your business a clean, professional look while ensuring your staff and customers feel good about being there.

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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.

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.

Office Cleaning Tips to Avoid Spring Allergy Symptoms

This spring we’re seeing an increase in allergy symptoms due to the dry winter and warm temperatures. You may have noticed this, either with yourself or your co-workers, suffering from sneezing fits and watery eyes.

Here are some tips to ensure your office is being cleaned for health, meaning it’s being professionally cleaned to a level that will help with allergies and sensitivities . . .

Avoiding Germs in Schools and Offices

Anyone with kids in school knows. Anyone working in an office knows. When cold and flu season  hits, kids and office workers are at high risk of bringing these illnesses home. Every day, there is a large gathering of people in schools and offices and some of those people will be sick. Fortunately, there are ways to ensure those buildings stay relatively free of germs and building occupants stay healthy.

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.

Plantar Warts and Other Risks of Unclean Public Pools

Public swimming pools provide hours of fun for kids, a great workout for swimmers and a nice escape from ugly outdoor conditions. Unfortunately, they can also provide an array of illnesses and unsafe conditions when the swimming pool decks and change rooms are not properly cleaned.

Mold and Health Concerns Follow Worst Floods in Alberta History

As those of us in Southern Alberta, Canada, come through the worst flood disaster in history we are left with not only a massive clean-up but the health concerns that go along with it. In Calgary, High River, Canmore and other communities hard hit by the flood water, many home and business owners are contending with water and moisture that has saturated walls and foundations for many days. Perfect growing conditions for mold.

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