Monday, January 28, 2013

Parking Lots: More Than Just a Place to Park Cars

In today's fast-paced world, a parking lot is a place to park cars while individuals attend to their daily activities. While parking lots do serve this purpose, they are actually much more than that. A parking lot and its surrounding area are just as important as the facility attached to it, as it can serve as a customer's first impression of the facility. Cleanliness impacts this impression and, depending on the parking lot's appeal, may determine whether or not a customer returns.

From rocks and sand to leaves and beverage cans, parking lot debris can be plentiful. Failing to keep a lot swept and free of waste can also result in safety issues, in addition to interfering with lot usage, obstructing parking spaces or even causing vehicle damage. A well-maintained parking lot can have curb appeal and positively add to a patron's overall experience.

To ensure a safe, visually-appealing parking lot, it is critical for facility managers to use proper outdoor cleaning equipment to collect fine particles and litter alike — leaving a clean parking lot to welcome facility patrons.

Outdoor Cleaning Equipment

When selecting outdoor cleaning equipment, it is important to consider the scope and cleaning requirements of the parking lot. It is also crucial to assess labor needs, equipment performance and desired results in terms of sustainability, safety, durability and effectiveness. When conducting this assessment, there are a variety of outdoor surface cleaners available from which to choose.

Depending on the parking lot, operators can choose to employ any of the following cleaning machines:
  • Handheld pressure washers: With adjustable pressure sprays, these pressure washers reach deep into surface crevices, where traditional cleaning equipment may not. For example, handheld machines are optimal for curbs and tight parking lot corners. Their compact sizes make them simple to use and easy to store.
  • Outdoor power sweeping: Ride-on power sweeping machines offer wide broom capacities and dust-controlled operation to ensure effective debris pickup. With their comfortable, ergonomically designed operator compartment, these machines minimize physical labor. 
  • High-pressure operator-driven machines: These large, operator-driven cleaning machines provide deep cleaning capabilities, allowing users to remove dirt, tire marks and painted lines without surface damage. With high-pressure performance, these machines provide increased productivity by reducing time spent cleaning.

Read the full article to learn more about parking lot cleaning. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

ISSA Releases Value of Clean paper

This article was originally published in Cleaning & Maintenance Management

As the U.S. faces the worst influenza (flu) outbreak in the last 10 years, facility decision makers now have a new, free tool to help them prove not just the value of improved cleaning in protecting building occupant health, but also the financial benefit such steps can produce, according to a press release.

ISSA has released a new Value of Clean paper, which aggregates data from mainstream business, facility management and cleaning industry specific studies, quantifying the positive impact of cleaning on a business' bottom line, the release stated.

One of the key points the paper addresses is the increased productivity achieved in a workplace that takes additional cleaning and hygiene steps to avoid transmission of viruses and other illnesses, and how this can lead to higher business profitability, the release noted.

According to the release, the areas covered in the paper include:
  • Work-ticket resolution costs
  • Occupant wellness: Absenteeism
  • Occupant wellness: Improved productivity
  • Image enhancement: Customer satisfaction
  • Asset preservation
  • Energy savings
  • Reducing healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).
"Connecting cleaning to a business' ultimate bottom line is a new approach many facility managers haven't considered, because they frequently view this area of their operations as a cost instead of the profit center it can be," said ISSA Director of Industry Outreach Dianna Steinbach.

"The results we have gathered prove that reducing cleaning budgets, or avoiding requested increases in proper cleaning, can be penny-wise and pound-foolish. In fact, such cut backs usually prove more costly in the long run, a fact many organizations don’t realize," Steinbach added.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Can green, clean and cost control ever get along?

You’ve heard the old saying, “How do you want it—fast, cheap or good? You can choose two.” The message, of course, is that you can’t have everything. But cleaning professionals today are being asked to deliver “everything”—environmental sustainability, high levels of cleanliness AND cost efficiency. So how can they do it all?

According to Ciprus Ltd. LLC, nearly 69% of all commercial floors are hard surfaces. These floors are routinely cleaned and maintained with automatic floor scrubbers that, in the past, were not equipped to handle variable soil loads and different hard surface types. Similarly, buildings with carpet and hard floor surfaces have had to purchase both carpet extractors and hard floor scrubbers to effectively clean their floors.

Maintaining the flexibility to achieve the exact cleanliness level required for different areas, surface types and soil levels with the minimum effort, time and resources is a key to meeting the competing requirements for green, clean and cost-efficient floor cleaning. Three factors that contribute to a flexible floor-scrubbing program are:
  • Rotate solutions (water and detergents) for different soils, areas and surface types
  • Spend more time cleaning, less time getting ready to clean
  • Use fewer machines for more tasks
Download the white paper to take a closer look at these three factors and to learn more about implementing a flexible hard-floor scrubbing program.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Sensitive Occupants: Best Cleaning Practices

This article was originally published in Contracting Profits

By: John Garrett

Whether cleaning around hospital patients, children, allergy or asthma sufferers, effective cleaning procedures are increasingly important within healthcare facilities, K–12 schools and commercial offices alike.

Consider the following: It is estimated that 180,000 cleaning professionals are injured by the commercial cleaning products they use; respiratory system irritation and burns to eyes and skin make up the majority of these on-the-job injuries; building occupants and visitors commonly complain about odors and respiratory problems associated with cleaning products and processes; some occupants have asthma and other breathing disorders that are sensitive to particles in the air, volatile organic compounds and vapors produced by the cleaning process is being used around them; volatile organic compounds (VOCs) evaporate from cleaning products before, during and after their use, contributing to poor indoor air quality; and millions of dollars are spent annually for medical expenses and lost time wages due to these cleaning product chemical injuries.

With an increase in facility occupant sensitivities, and workplace accidents and injuries, building service contractors (BSCs) and industry professionals have and will continue to trend towards the implementation of green cleaning programs, with the results including lower risks for occupants and cleaner facilities. However, is greener really cleaner?

Oddly enough, traditional cleaning products are often more dangerous than the germs they are designed to kill. Indoor air pollution is as much as 2 to 5 times higher than outdoor pollution, on average, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The World Health Organization estimates that 30 percent of all buildings have problems with indoor air pollution, and further that 80 percent of cancers are related to environmental factors like toxins. At least one-third of cleaning products contain chemicals that are known to cause significant damage to occupants and the environment.

Studies demonstrate that chlorine bleach, ammonia and other cleaners release greenhouse gases and toxic vapors, many of which are suspected carcinogens. Hazardous chemicals have been known to remain on surfaces and/or airborne for hours, causing mild to serious symptoms including headaches, fatigue and asthma.

Green cleaning procedures are often quite similar to traditional methods. The differences are more a matter of focus and technique, and often rely upon understanding occupant needs and vulnerabilities, while incorporating the right products to mitigate exposure and unnecessary risk to those occupants.

Read the full article to learn about the best cleaning practices for cleaning sensitive facility occupants.