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The Dirt on Office Cleaning

Dusting, vacuuming, mopping and cleaning bathrooms. You do these chores at home, but it's also important to do them at the office.

"It affects the mood of the people who work there. It gives a certain perception. When [customers] come in, they instantly judge what kind of company you are by the presentation of your office," says Jason Springfield of Delta Janitorial Systems, a professional cleaning service based in Irving, Texas.

Health benefits

If impressing your clients isn't enough reason to pull out your vacuum, consider the health benefits. "Wherever people work together in close proximity, there is always the possibility of spreading germs and disease. Cleanliness and proper office maintenance will reduce this problem considerably, [and] reduce absenteeism," states Robert Kravitz, author of The Janitorial Contractors Bible.

Hiring an outside cleaning service

If you haven't enough time (or the energy and patience) to clean your office regularly, consider hiring a cleaning service.

To find a cleaning service, ask other business owners what company they use, check the yellow pages, or search the Web. Even if a colleague has referred the company to you, ask for references. Inquire about the service's security policies and employee screening procedures, as you'll want to feel confident about having the service's employees in your offices. Forrest L. Farmer, author The Science of Professional Cleaning: Handbook for Janitorial Services, suggests checking into their cleaning methods, insurance coverage, and satisfaction guarantee.

Groan and bear it

First, create a cleaning schedule checklist. According to the article Custodial Assignment Guidelines by Ed Feldman, your cleaning priorities should be:

  1. Restrooms
  2. Waste removal and recycling
  3. Entrances
  4. Hallways
  5. Stairs and elevators
  6. Offices

Restrooms

Bathrooms that are used by several employees should be cleaned daily. The process should include cleaning all of the toilet bowls and other sanitary facilities, collecting the trash, refilling the soap dispensers, re–stocking the toilet paper and paper towels, wiping down the sink area, bathroom fixtures, and mirrors, as well sweeping and damp mopping the floors.

Waste removal

Trash should be picked up on an as needed basis. Rather than removing trash bags one by one, consider going around the office with a large barrel and dumping the garbage into it. This method will prevent bags from breaking and the contents spilling out onto your floors or carpets (creating yet another mess).

Foyer

"Since a foyer or reception area is one of the most visible and most used parts of a building, and potentially the most soiled, it requires more time per square foot than most other areas, " says Farmer.

Spot clean glass windows and doors daily. Dust mop, damp mop, and buff floors at least once a week, more often if needed. If your foyer is carpeted, vacuum daily. Also frequently wash walls to remove any grime and fingerprints.

One of the best tricks to minimizing the amount of dirt that makes it into your foyer is using entry mats. Springfield recommends placing approximately 15 feet of walk–off mats at all of the entrances to your business.

For best results, place a rubber mat with "fingers" outside your entrances. The "fingers" will help shake off excess dirt. Inside the door, choose a mat made of an absorbent material. Vacuum these mats nightly.

Vacuuming and mopping

High–traffic areas, and those seen by customers, should also be vacuumed or mopped daily. Other parts of the office can be done on an as needed basis.

Dusting

Use a micro–fiber cloth to dust, recommends Farmer. Micro–fiber cloths tend to work better than dusters because they grab and hold dust, rather than just moving it around the room. Farmer also says "keeping furnace ducts clean, filters changed, and outside windows and doors closed as much as possible will keep the office clean longer. Less accumulated dust in the office between cleanings requires less work."

Individual work stations

Encourage your staff to maintain neat work areas. Ask them to wipe down their telephones and desktops once or twice a week. Also consider handing out special, cleaning cloths for electronics so they can dust their computers, printers, and photocopiers.

Office kitchen or break room

Set a weekly time when the refrigerator will be emptied and cleaned to prevent "leftovers" from remaining indefinitely. Wipe down microwaves, counter areas, sinks, and tables at least once a day. Floors and cabinets should be cleaned as needed.

Cleaning T-A-C-T-ics

When cleaning your office, Springfield says do it with T–A–C–T.

  • Time – Let the cleaning solutions set
  • Agitation – Rub and scrub
  • Concentration – Use cleaning solutions with the appropriate chemical dilution
  • Temperature – The warmer the better

To speed up the cleaning process, consider purchasing a utility cart, so you can wheel all of your cleaning supplies around the office with you.


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