I wonder how many custodian’s walk into the women’s washroom to do their regular clean…
Ah, spring. The time of year we all look forward to — especially after a long, snowy winter. The sun is shining, birds are chirping, and your janitorial closet beckons you. Yes folks, that’s right — spring means spring cleaning. I’m the kind of guy who doesn’t mind a good spring cleaning. It freshens up your space and makes it more inviting. But there’s one big problem I have with spring cleaning: it’s a little too focused on our homes, and not so much on our workplace and facilities.
It’s estimated that Canadians spend 90% of their time indoors — that includes at home and in the workplace. Just like your living space, your workspace needs a thorough cleaning after several long months of winter weather. With heavy foot traffic, floors can become dull and lifeless — not to mention the damage caused by salt and sand. Dust can collect and carpets can also show wear — there’s no shortage of areas that need attention in the spring.
Knowing where to start can be overwhelming, but my handy spring cleaning checklist will help you overcome spring cleaning nightmares and serve as your guide along the way.
Nightmare #1: Hard Floors
Imagine walking into a beautiful facility — it has a fresh coat of paint, exquisite lighting and sparkling surfaces. You pause to examine the pathway below you and struggle to suppress a shudder — your eyes are met by streaky, discoloured floors that crackle and crunch beneath your every step. Yikes. Your floors attract more attention than you realize. If floors are left out of your spring cleaning equation, the overall atmosphere in your facility will take a beating. Let’s get to work.
Sweeping floors should be your first point of attack. If we’re going to spend time cleaning, we don’t want any dirt to find its way back in to our facilities. Use a walk-behind sweeper to make the job quick and effortless: a dual-brush system means you can cover more area in less time. If you’re going to use a broom, pick one that is wide and dense to make sure no unwanted particles are left behind.
One of the most important things we often forget when sweeping — paying attention to the dirt outdoors. Sand build-up in front of entrances will find its way back inside on the soles of your customers and staff. Sweep your entryway as often as possible to limit what’s tracked back into your business.
Now it’s time to give your floors a makeover. My motto? “Scrub and recoat.” Spring is the perfect time to give your floors new life! Since you’ve already given your floors a clean sweep, scrubbing is the next task in order.
A riding auto scrubber like this one from Nobles is quick, convenient and easy to use. Unlike traditional hand scrubbing or mop-and-bucket methods, commercial floor scrubbers use 70% less water and dry immediately to keep your facilities safe and slip-free. No more need for yellow caution signs! I recommend re-finishing floors with a high-gloss floor finish once they’ve been scrubbed to keep them in good-as-new condition.
Nightmare #3: Dust, Dust, and More Dust!
What’s fluffy, dirty, and home to thousands of bacteria and allergens? That’s right — dust bunnies. They’ve gotten the best of all of us. Just when you think you’ve finished a cleaning job and dealt with all the dirt, you move a bookshelf or filing cabinet only to find a dust bunny hideaway.
In an office environment, dust can build up in places you never imagined — high and low, your facilities are likely covered in dust that goes unseen by the human eye. Businesses have tons of nooks and crannies that make a perfect home for dust: think baseboards, ledges, behind desks and on window frames.
Bring in the big guns with industrial cleaning supplies that will get the banish the dust. I recommend choosing a vacuum with a high filtration system that will ensure dust is trapped for good, not simply redistributed to other areas of your workspace. Traditional hand dusters are okay for small jobs at home, but when your reputation depends on the cleanliness of your facilities, bringing in the heavy-duty tools is the answer. Some of my favourite vacuums to bust dust are the “Henry” Dry Vacuum or Proteam Backpack Vacuum. Start up high and work your way down to baseboards and flooring. For hard to reach spaces like door frames and behind desks or shelving, use vacuum attachments to your advantage. Finish off by giving your carpets a thorough, overall vacuum to prep them for stage 3 of the spring cleaning smackdown: carpet cleaning.
Nightmare #3: Carpets
If you’re like most people, your carpets only get a refresh every couple of years. Why? A lot of the excuses I often encounter are:
It’s too costly.
It’s too time-consuming.
My carpets do a great job of hiding dirt. Why bother with what isn’t seen?
The truth is, carpet cleaning should be done at least twice a year to help extend the life of your carpets. Think of all the hard wear your carpets endure — especially in winter months. Even if you’re lucky enough to operate somewhere where salt stains aren’t much of an issue, your carpets still see a lot of dirt and water buildup with the foot traffic your customers and staff bring in.
For smaller facilities or spot treatments, I recommend something like the Spray Extraction Cleaner from Karcher. It makes deep cleaning quick and simple and its size makes it travel-friendly. For bigger facilities with more carpet to maintain, a Self-Contained Extractor offers the highest quality of cleaning with optimal ergonomic design.
Nightmare #4: The Windows
No matter how polished the rest of your business looks, dirty, dingy windows can affect its overall appearance. Picture a sunny spring day with warm sunshine streaming through your office windows. Your new customer comments on the beautiful day and heads over to look outside and enjoy the view. Instead of looking through a clear pane of polished glass, they’re distracted by hard water stains and yellow pollen residue. Not a great first impression.
The key to getting windows to really shine is cleaning them inside and outside. Our windows are more dirty inside than we think. Consider fingerprints, dust and dirt buildup that accumulates over the winter. Salt and sand residue can be a window’s worst nightmare, but luckily, this is an easy fix.
The tools you’ll need for window washing are a bucket, a high-pile synthetic washer and a quality window squeegee. I like to save outdoor windows for an overcast day — on especially sunny days, the sun’s glare can sometimes hide the spots that really need our attention. For tall windows, use a window washer extender pole to give you some extra reach. Just like dusting, start at the top of the window and work your way to the bottom. Voila! Sparkling glass in no time.
Check Off Your List!
Well folks, that’s it for your spring to-do list! Not so bad was it? Now you’re armed with the tips, tricks and equipment you need to usher in spring. Your customers will appreciate your dedication and commitment to facilities management. The even better news? The sooner you get it all done, the sooner you can get out there to enjoy the beautiful weather!
And while you’re at it, how about sending me some pics of your worst spring cleaning disasters? You can send them through Facebook or Twitter, if you dare to show the winter destruction. I’d be happy to help with tips and tricks.