Shake Things up This Spring

By Lai-Na Wong | April 5, 2016

The term “spring cleaning” dates back thousands of years to an honored tradition shared by many religions at about the same time each year. In what is now March and April, these faiths instructed followers that this was the time of year for “shaking the house,” as one religion called it, and getting everything thoroughly cleaned. The underlying message was that areas of the house not normally cleaned would receive a bit more attention during this time of year.

Let’s consider some areas in facilities that cleaning professionals clean and maintain every day that could use a more attention—or shaking—this spring:

Intake vents. Located either in the ceiling or high on walls, invariably these get overlooked for months. The more soiled with dust and dirt the vents become, the harder it is for HVAC systems to operate effectively, increasing the energy required to keep air circulating properly.

Vacuum cleaners. Have you looked inside your vacuum cleaner lately? Hoses, brushes, filters (including HEPA filters), roller brushes, connections, wheels, attachments, etc., all get soiled and require cleaning. Now is the perfect time to clean them.

Custodial closets. You should always view the janitor’s closet as a reflection of you and your service. If it is disorganized, dirty, overloaded with items that haven’t been used in months, or smells bad, there is no better time to clean it up than now.

Shared touch points. More and more, offices are moving from individual to shared work spaces. This means more people will likely touch the same things and the same areas more frequently than ever before. View any surface—finger-operated controls, touch points on chairs, shared phones and keyboards, pens and pencils, handles, coffee pots, or electronics that may be touched by many people—as germ centers. Get in the habit of detail cleaning for the spring and continue this practice throughout the year.

Restroom partitions. Each time a urinal or toilet is flushed it can spray germs and bacteria on nearby surfaces. Some public health officials even refer to this phenomenon as “bacterial mist.” Since we are shaking things up, now is the time to clean and disinfect the entire partition. Instead of cleaning first and then disinfecting, consider an all-in-one cleaner/disinfectant, which does both in one step to enhance productivity.

Light fixture covers. These may get cleaned when bulbs are changed, but with most commercial facilities using florescent or low-wattage bulbs that last for years, light covers are rarely cleaned and can get very dirty and dusty. With a little building movement, that dust is released, becomes airborne, and can negatively impact indoor air quality.

Vending machines. These machines are more than just overlooked; in many commercial facilities, vending machines never get cleaned. Some surveys indicate vending machines are the most germ-laden surfaces in a facility. Cleaning personnel often view cleaning vending machines as the job of the vendor supplying the machine, while the vendor views the task as the responsibility of the cleaning crew. Stop pointing the finger; starting this spring, make cleaning all the touch points on vending machines part of your regular tasks.

Carpet. Because winter weather can wreak havoc on carpet, most facilities delay cleaning carpet during the winter months. Then, due to costs and possible disruption, many facilities try to delay carpet cleaning a few months more. Spring is the perfect time to tackle carpet cleaning tasks.

Dumpsters and docks. These areas rarely get attention, making them perfect for spring cleaning. They should be thoroughly cleaned as temperatures rise, as they tend to attract more rodents and insects when the weather gets warmer. Using a microbial cleaning solution in combination with a handheld spray and foaming dispenser can dramatically improve cleaning and help eliminate odors at the source.

Other factors. Spring is a good time to evaluate the products used for cleaning. Often, cleaning workers will become comfortable using the same cleaning solutions and products without investigating new products and technologies on the market. To ensure your customer’s facility is cleaned as thoroughly as possible, look into new green and sustainable cleaning solutions that are safer to use, better for the environment, and proven effective.

Finally, another thing that may need a little shaking this time of year is the entire cleaning and maintenance program for a facility. Each year—and spring is a perfect time for it—cleaning contractors and their customers should meet to review the entire cleaning program in a facility. During this process, you can evaluate what is working, discover where attention is needed, and make changes as needed. Not only will this help keep the facility cleaner and healthier year round, but it allows contractors to work as active partners of the building operation, which is one of the best ways to develop customer loyalty.