All posts by AQC Commercial Cleaning

Spring Cleaning… Going Inside

Let’s bring it inside, and give some attention to the mudroom!

For those of you who don’t yet have a mudroom or designated space, remember that any space that’s tucked just inside your garage door can be transformed into your mudroom. No you do not need to live on a farm to have a mudroom. It’s a de-staging area so the outdoors don’t get tracked indoors. As in kids and messy husbands/partners… oh, and we can’t forget our 4 legged friends!

This space can be a little more difficult because each home is so different. That’s OK!

Each project is going to present a new challenge, and I urge you to create a space or transform what you’re working with into a functional space.  It’s really up to you to make it your own. Make sure that whatever you implement really works for the entire family!

OK,  so are you ready? Let’s dive in.

  1. Think shoes first—keep the shoes you slip into often, as well as the ones that are go-to errand runners, right by the door in your favorite bin or basket. For a more organized look get an actual big shoe organizer, it’s like a piece of furniture and is actually attractive
  2. For backpacks, purses, and to-go bags, depending on your space, a nearby closet might be best for these items. If you’re going the creative route, find the best space on a nearby wall and get some sturdy hooks or pegs or make your own. Pinterest has some great DIY ideas. It’s always wise to make sure to have these items as close to the door as possible. It keeps them out of the way and they’re always handy when you’re in a rush out the door, and you know we are always rushing everywhere, especially if you have kids! Jeez!
  3. If you have a large enough space, create an individualized area to keep homework, paperwork, keys… in other words things that you need to be able to go right to and not hunt around for. Hey, that’s a time saver right there guys! Inside cubbies or shelving is a great option. I love bins and corkboards well! In addition to homework, whether inbound or stored to remember on their way out, this is a great space for you children to keep their favorite papers from school and special art they would like to display… and it doesn’t end up on your refrigerator, adding to cluttered look! Yuck!
  4. If you have space leftover, I love installing lockers or something similar to a mudroom. They keep things out of sight and can also create the perfect space for cleaning supplies, extra light bulbs, extra batteries, even your children’s electronics. The bins that fit above the structure are great for any of those items as well. The whole area will flow so much better and it eliminates the clutter.
  5. Last but not least is a bench if you have the space, we all need a place to sit to put on or take off our boots and shoes, right? Plus you can store hats and gloves in baskets under the bench, optimizing your storage

So that’s your mudroom tutorial, are you inspired yet?

How to Spring Clean Your Garage (and keep it clean!)

What comes to mind when we begin to feel the glowing rays of a hopeful sun and the rain subsides?

I hope your answer was SPRING CLEANING! It’s May and hard to believe that it’s time to start cracking your windows, some days it’s in the 80’s and the very next day is 60 and raining. Now it’s time to emerge and begin the spring-cleaning process.

We are going to start in your garage. Remember, the primary function of your garage is to store your VEHICLES. If you have a hard time fitting your car into the garage, raise your hand! Well I can’t even get 1 car in mine, but hey I have a 60’s ranch and the garages are small! There are so many of us who let the garage become the go to location for household storage. This month, let’s make room for both cars and storage! Follow along:

  1. First off, let’s  begin where we always do—de-junking! Proceed in gathering any unneeded items that have been taking up precious space and make your appropriate piles. I call mine donate, trash & treasure. Donate to a favorite charity, throw away or recycle the trash pile and sell the treasure on Craig’s List or a resale store.
  2. Next, stock up on my favorite bins from Walmart! They come in a huge variety of sizes, which is perfect for matching items you intend to organize and store.
  3. Sort the items you’ve chosen to keep. Go through all of the items, categorizing carefully. Get a label maker and clearly mark each box… it doesn’t make much sense to do all this work when you don’t have any clue what’s in the boxes, right?
  4. Get yourself a holder for your shovels, outside brooms, rakes and any other tools you use in your garage and home exterior. Most big box stores have what you need or order online. Organize mops and brooms inside, and shovels, rakes, and tools inside or outside!
  5. If you have bikes and scooters that you store in your garage, don’t be afraid to hang them from the ceiling or walls. For lighter items (scooters would fit this category), screws should be strong enough to get them off the ground for winter. Heavier bikes call for a sturdier bike hook. You’ll be shocked by how much space this frees up! It is actually better for your bike tires and will help to ensure your sanity when you’re free to roam without constantly tripping over pesky tires—and bicycles seem to accumulate in groups. For the whole lot of family bikes, Amazon has a great option at a reasonable price. If you’re not worried about the floor space and want to keep the bikes easily accessible to kids, try a bike rack.
  6. Now that everything is off of the ground, make sure to do a thorough sweep and spray out your entire garage. Once you’ve lifted all of the dirt and gunk (yes, take the time to remove built-up stains and residue with the appropriate cleaning supplies), I promise it will feel like a weight has been lifted off of you!
  7. Time to put it all back. But first go to a big box hone supply store and pick up some storage racks you install on the ceiling of your garage for those seasonal items you only use for 2 months out of the year. You will be amazed how much floor space it will free up! It might just mean you can get that 2nd car in!

Simple right? Now get started! It’s the perfect cloudy/rainy weekend!

Spring Cleaning Bill of Rights

Since we’re in an election season and it’s Spring time, you should know your rights!

aqc-hopeA clean office is more than a beautiful thing, it’s your right come every spring… okay, so maybe I’m not a poet laureate. Anyway, we all love clean (a quality clean) especially at the office, because we spend so much time in one!

Here are 8 things you have a right to, not just at spring time but year around…

  1. Hand sanitizers – Portable, handy (no pun intended), and they kill germs. What’s not to love, right? A quick swipe on the phone, keyboard, and the places you touch helps you avoid the creeping crud. While you are at it take one with you as you walk through the office and a give a quick swipe to all the surfaces you would touch like door knobs, light switches, the copier, etc.
  2. A tidy desk – Seriously? Yes, less clutter means less germs to spread and less frustration.
  3. A fresh smelling break room fridge – Every fridge should have a laminated sign saying everything left in the fridge on Friday will go into the garbage, containers and all. Then have someone designated to do it, because no one wants to open the door to icebox halitosis and hairy science experiments on Monday morning!
  4. A clean floor – Yes that means vacuuming, sweeping and mopping! This really helps reduce dust and allergens, it’s a must do! And, regular maintenance on your floors also preserves them, reducing the frequency of costly services like stripping and waxing.
  5. Hand washing posters – Yes, people do need to be reminded of this! Amazing in this day and age!
  6. A clean microwave – It’s downright gross – you open the microwave to find someone’s food explosion. Keep it clean, people! Better yet, get a cover to put over your food and it won’t splatter all over… they sell them at the Dollar Store… for a dollar!
  7. Plenty of toilet paper in the bathroom – You can never have enough toilet paper… “can you spare a square?” Do you remember this from Seinfeld?
  8. An empty trashcan – ‘Cause who wants to have their junk all over the place? Yes, trashcans should be emptied nightly, along with recycling (this is Portland after all!), and it will reduce pest control issues and bills.

If your office needs help in any of these areas give AQC a call! You do what you are good at and let us do what we are good at, and we can help you defend your rights and keep your office “Spring Clean!” VOTE FOR AQC!

Checklist For Professional Janitor Behavior

If your cleaning company doesn’t have any set guidelines for proper, professional cleaning staff and janitor behavior, it can lead to some big headaches.

The following are some of AQC’s standards:

  1. All cleaning crew staff must have passed a multi-state background check. In addition to employment verification, credit history & drivers license check, we also complete a multi-state Criminal Background Check before hiring on any new Cleaning Technician.
  2. We love kids and family… but the job site isn’t the place for them! Children, relatives and other people are prohibited from access to the building, only the Cleaning Techs assigned to that building are allowed on the property.
  3. Cleaning Techs are trained in appropriate janitorial best practices that include a 90 day, 5 point training program. At AQC we weed through the muck to find only the best candidates and invest in them for our customers. AQC Cleaning Techs are required to complete & pass (w/80% or higher) a 90 day, 5 Point Training & Certification program that includes 1) Janitorial Best Practices, 2) In-Field Training, 3) Safety, Security & Confidentiality, and 4) Cleaning Procedures.
  4. A clear check in/out system should be established with permission to use phones for check in/out at each facility. At AQC, as leaders in our industry, we use an automated timekeeping system.
  5. Breakage of any customer property/equipment must be photographed and reported immediately. We take our job very seriously here… AQC has a 4 Step process that each Cleaning Tech is required to complete when reporting any breakage or lost items that include sending in pictures to document, date & time stamp accordingly.
  6. Staff are adequately supervised by a competent management team member. AQC ensures our Cleaning Techs receive routine, in-field supervision by Management in a team-like atmosphere.
  7. We inspect what we expect! Our quality control program consists of routine inspections completed every 4-6 weeks for each customer & inspections are reviewed same day directly with Main Cleaning Techs & Back-up Cleaning Techs.  Our policy is that if 2 or more inspections fail (w/ less than 80% scoring) then the entire team will be required to re-enter their training program.
  8. All equipment should be clean and functioning correctly, and labeled as AQC property. AQC Cleaning Techs complete a 1x month equipment inspection to ensure the all Cleaning Equipment is in good working order, meets regulations & is properly labelled. It benefits our customers knowing that our mop buckets or roll carts will not be banging into their walls from broken casters or that our vacuums have bumpers as to not cause costly damage to walls.
  9. Mops, rags, etc. must be clean and laundered with dirties bagged in a separate area. We have a routine laundering system for our microfiber cloths, mop heads & dust mop heads that are monitored closely to ensure the cleanliness of our facilities.
  10. Our Cleaning Techs are Certified in WHMIS & HazCom for chemical safety to ensure our Cleaning products are used & labelled properly, and safety SDS sheets are accessible at all times.
  11. Our Cleaning Techs are considered professionals in their industry and want to be treated with respect. You will never see an AQC Tech eating leftovers, taking candy from a shared candy dish, using your fax machine/ copier, or changing the station on your radio.

If your current cleaning company is not meeting these standards, you need to work with a company that does… Give AQC a call today to schedule your free estimate – you’ll be happy you did!

Toilet Bowl – Super Bowl Correlations

The Super Bowl Means a Big Day for the Toilet Bowl!

browns to the super bowl

Click on this image… something every football fan should have! 😉

Did you know 90 million people will go to the bathroom during the Super Bowl halftime show? But how quick is their trip? Me, I don’t want to miss my favorite Budweiser commercials, I hear the new baby colt will be Making his appearance, I’ll hold it & go during the game!

The toilet is flushed more times during the halftime show than at any time during the year. WOW, who is the person that has to count this, sounds like a crappy job to me!

350 million gallons of water will be used to flush toilets during the game. Wow 350 million gallons?

After last year’s game, the water level at New York’s Hillview Water Reservoir decreased by 2 inches. Well I don’t know about New Yorkers but here in Oregon many a man has watered the plants or written his name in the snow if you know what I mean… hehehe!

It is believed that close to 58% of people would rather take their bathroom breaks during the game than miss the commercials… see I’m not the only one!

So get out your gloves, mask up and get to scrubbing! Oh, and make sure you get to Costco for the giant rolls of TP – you don’t want to have to run to the store in the middle of the game! Beer… that’s ok, but TP, no way!

Hopefully your toilet is up to the challenge. Enjoy the game!

Top 10 Embarrassing Bathroom Moments

OK, I’m in a silly mood today and was thinking about this… it made me laugh so I thought I’d share this with you.

We’ve all heard that many people are uncomfortable using public restrooms. If you guessed that this typically refers to the fact that they are concerned about germs and disease you are dead on! But public restrooms can also be the source of several embarrassing situations, and I have had my share. Here are my top 10 embarrassing moments… see if you can top these!

10) Finding there is no toilet paper in the stall… excuse me can you spare a square?
9) Not locking the door or stall door and someone coming in… hello, occupied!
8) Being physically sick in the restroom… sitting on a restroom floor with the sweats… nooooo!
7) Someone in an adjacent cubicle starting a conversation with you. Seriously? Yes the concert is wonderful but not interested in a new bathroom friendship!
6) Somehow getting locked in a stall and having to crawl under the door… so gross! This is where your Army crawl training comes in handy!
5) Entering the wrong gender’s restroom by mistake. Does this only happen to me… at the airport?
4) Clogging the toilet so it does not flush completely… and someone is waiting for your stall! OMG!
3) Having to listen to someone having a phone conversation while you are trying to do your business… and they are the quiet ones! Why did I eat cheese!
2) Dropping your phone in the toilet and saying really bad naughties and people ask if you are ok!

And my number one most embarrassing:

1) Realizing the weird noises in the stall next to you aren’t from someone eating cheese… you look down under the next stall and there are four feet there! What? Get me outta here!

So if you are concerned about germs and disease in your office restrooms AQC can help, as for the list, you are on your own my friends!

Are Polished Concrete Floors Lower Maintenance?

Is polished concrete floor maintenance a big deal? This is a question we get all the time. Here’s the scoop…

I love the look of polished concrete floors in industrial office spaces, restrooms and warehouses, especially when they have the color sprinkled on them. It brings out my artistic side! I swear I can see animals and faces, just like looking up at the clouds when you were a kid.

Actually polished concrete can be considered lower maintenance compared to other substrates depending on the level of appearance that the facility is willing to accept. There is no such thing as a “maintenance-free” floor. The proper processes need to be in place to protect the customer’s flooring investment from constant foot and equipment traffic, as well as weather implications like salt and sand. To give polished concrete floors a long-lasting clean, glossy appearance, it’s critical to implement daily maintenance, timely clean-up of spills and periodic restoration work.

It also depends on the appearance level the customers want to maintain. Both VCT and polished concrete require daily cleaning, which should consist of a dust mop and scrubbing. Because most soil is light, both of these surfaces can be cleaned with a water-only solution or a very light chemical dilution. So on a daily basis, the cleaning isn’t significantly different.

Some customers still burnish their VCT floors in order to achieve a higher gloss on their finish. This operation is not required on a polished concrete floor, so this would be an extra step in the floor preparation process. However, polished concrete floors do require specific treatments in order to achieve maximum performance. A hardener or densifier needs to be added to help make the concrete more resistant to surface breakdown and a special sealant is required to make the floor impervious to stains from spills. This is a definite “you’ll be glad you did expense!”

Of course you know that acidic liquids can cause erosion of polished concrete, so properly  sealing them is of critical importance to maintain the integrity and appearance of the floor.
We have several accounts that track grease, muddy foot prints, paint & ground metal findings into the office constantly and cleaning that up on polished concrete is way easier than on carpet! In fact some accounts are tearing out their office carpets and refinishing their concrete floors because of this.

When handled and maintained correctly it can be less maintenance than other types, and it certainly handles high traffic better than many other alternative

If your concrete floors need some love give us a call, Ilya our floor care expert can get you educated about exactly what your concrete floors need.

Top Five Reasons For Finishing a Warehouse Floor

At a time when many facilities are deciding not to apply a finish to their warehouse floors because of budget – or are selecting floors that do not need a finish, again because of budget – there is one type of floor that should be finished for a variety of reasons. And it’s a floor that is usually at the bottom of the totem pole even in those facilities where floors are stripped, refinished, and burnished on a regular basis, according to Ilya our AQC floor care expert.

The floor Ilya is referring to is the cement floor typically found in warehouses and other industrial areas of a facility.

There are actually several reasons cleaning contractors should advise their clients to apply several coats of finish to a warehouse floor.

Here are the top 5 reasons:

  1. Address repair issues. Typically when a cement warehouse floor is just cleaned and not finished, cracks and irregularities in the floor are allowed to develop, which get worse over time. These cracks and irregularities can become a safety issue. Typically, these problems are addressed and corrected before the floor is finished.
  2. Improves safety. By applying a floor finish with a high coefficient of friction (COF) rating it can help prevent slip-and-fall accidents.
  3. Brightens the location. A floor finish is designed to reflect light. The light reflection can make a warehouse area look brighter which provides a number of benefits: reduces lighting needs, promotes safety, and brightens worker morale.
  4. Easier maintenance. In general, it is easier to clean a floor that has a finish applied to it. The finish acts like a plate of glass, preventing soiling, stains, grease, and oil from penetrating the cement and making them easier to remove. Battery-powered sweepers and other floor care equipment are often more effective at collecting and removing dust and debris on a finished floor as well.
  5. Neater. Warehouse and other industrial locations have a tendency to get a little sloppy. However, with a high-gloss shine on the floors, workers tend to have more respect for the warehouse work area and ensure it is kept cleaner as well as better organized.

Take a look at your warehouse floor, ponder the 5 reasons listed here and give AQC a call if we can help you! Ilya would love to come out and evaluate your needs!

Can You Say – Deep Cleaning for the Holidays?

Many fans of AQC don’t realize that we also do residential cleaning. It’s not something we actively promote, but many of our commercial clients love the level of service we provide and the relationship that we’ve built with them so much that they request we continue that to their residence.

That being said many people think their homes are quite clean because they clean all the time, right? Mainly it’s surface cleaning; vacuum, dust, hard floors, bathrooms. Often times we have to start with a deep clean.

Most people don’t realize there’s cleaning… and then there’s cleaning. Yes, they wipe down their stove top and counter tops, maybe even clean behind their toilet from time to time. But there are lots of areas that aren’t as easy to get to that need cleaning.

You don’t think you need a professional cleaner?

Have you checked these areas lately? Put your glasses on and go take a little looksee! Get ready to make a list. These are areas you will want to tackle… or AQC can;

  1. Base Boards: I’d have to say this is the number one area that is often overlooked. Most of us (me included!) just don’t enjoy bending down to clean. Have you ever heard the term ‘strike zone cleaning’? It just means we tend to concentrate on the strike zone area to clean, and avoid over our heads and below our knees. Because baseboards are low to the ground, they accumulate lots of dust, and why oh why does dog hair cling to the baseboards like it does? It’s ridiculous!  It builds up quickly! Try to get to this area at least every two weeks. Hand wiping isn’t always necessary though. Just use a lambs wool duster and only hand wipe maybe once a month or so, depending on your particular needs and circumstances.
  1. Door Knobs: Think about it for a minute. How germy are these and how many times a day do hands touch the doorknobs in your home? If you have a large family, and snotty nosed, coughing children running around, the answer is A LOT! Disinfect/Sanitize these areas as often as you can.
  1. Light Switches: Same thing goes for light switches! Stop reading right now and go take a look at your light switches. Notice how they are looking a little worse for wear? Thought so. Get that disinfectant/sanitizer and give them a quick wipe. Takes just a minute and they’ll look so much better and be more sanitary too.
  1. Chair Legs: Remember that strike zone? Well, guess what? Chair legs are pretty low to the ground and are often overlooked. This is the time of year those pesty little teeny tiny spiders like to come inside and make their near invisible (except for when company comes) cobwebs everywhere. Chair Legs seem to be a favorite! Oh and did I mention dog hair?
  1. Under Couch Cushions and the Couch: If you have pets (dog hair is like a magnate under the couch) or small children (where did all those Legos & puzzle pieces go) go try to get to these area every two weeks. If not, once a month is perfect.
  1. Behind and Under the Refrigerator: This area is overlooked for obvious reasons. Who wants to move a refrigerator?? But ew, you will be amazed what you find there! If you’re able to get to the back without moving it, just use a duster to remove some of the dust bunnies. If you have to move it, let’s face it, once a year is good enough in my book.
  1. Lampshades and Bulbs: Lampshades attract dust like honey attracts ants. Ever bumped into your lamp and the dust goes flying? Dust these at least every two weeks.
  1. Grease Filters: Just make it easy on yourself. Put these in the dishwasher. If you cook a lot, do this every two weeks.
  1. Picture Frames: The tops of picture frames, especially if they’re hanging, get overlooked because we usually can’t see it. Take a few minutes once a month to tackle this job. Oh, and don’t forget to straighten them out when you’re done or I’ll have the picture police at your door (that would be me with level in hand!)
  1. Handles: The handles on your oven, refrigerator, microwave and cabinets take a beating. Clean these weekly, or better yet, every day if you touch particular ones repeatedly when you’re cooking, just make it part of your cleaning up after dinner.
  1. Windows: Here’s one area you don’t need to do too often, once or twice a year, depending on where you live, should be enough. But in the winter dreary Northwest if you have a day where the sun pops it’s little rays out you will wish you kept on top of this more!
  1. Shelves: A couple of times a year or more, take everything off your shelves and dust. While you’re at it, think about if you really need or even want the items you’re dusting. Now would be a great time to declutter! Make sure you move the items that are on your kitchen counter and wipe behind them too. While you are at it you might want to seal your granite counters if you have them.
  1. Mats: Just because you can’t always see how dirty your door mats are, trust me, they’re filthy. Wash the mats if you can, and shake out or vacuum the ones you can’t. Do this at least 6-12 times a year. Mats aren’t that expensive, so consider replacing them fairly regularly.
  1. Ridges on Cabinets: If you have raised door panels on your kitchen cabinets, armoires, etc., lots of dust settles there. Use a duster regularly, and hand wipe at least every 6-8 weeks.
  1. Under Beds and Furniture: There’s that strike zone thing again! Vacuum if you’re able, but be careful you don’t nick the furniture! Use a lambs wool duster for areas a vacuum can’t reach.  Every 2 months should be enough for most homes, but if you have pets that shed (again with the dog hair and the maginate effect) you might need to up that a bit.

I know this list seems pretty long, doesn’t it? But I promise most of these things can be done in an afternoon or two. I’m a big believer in doing a little at a time so it doesn’t get overwhelming and you end up doing nothing.

AQC can help if you don’t want to do it yourself and you can just let that be our little secret!

Protecting Pets from Illness and Germs: How Clean is Your Vet Office

Veterinarian Office Cleaning Services Make a Big Impact

Did you know that Americans spent $58 billion in 2014 on their pets?

Yes that’s billion with a “B!” It’s true, our pets are treated as family members, if not better!

After food, keeping pets healthy is the number two area of money spent. Vet visits raked in $15 billion!  Protecting our pets from illness and germs is important to us and I’m sure all agree the cleanliness of the vet office plays a big part in fighting viruses.

Did you know Parvovirus is a highly contagious disease that could bring about a life threatening illness to your dog?

How is it transmitted? This virus is transmitted by people, other animals or even objects like shoes or floors that come in contact with an infected dog’s feces.  The virus has the ability to live for months, there are different strains (like the flu) and as of now, there is no medication available that can kill the virus.  The best protection is not only preventative, through vaccines but proper cleaning and disinfecting, and it’s uber important in places where several dogs congregate, such as a veterinarian’s office, or doggie day care.

It’s important that products used to clean these areas have no dwell time. Meaning they don’t have to sit on the surface for 10 minutes before they are effective. Products containing Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide (AHP) technology are germ-killing disinfectants, excellent cleaners, non-toxic and safe for people and pets. This cleaner instantly kills harmful viruses such as Norovirus, Parvovirus and Poliovirus. It’s ideal for use in cleaning vet front and back office areas and boarding facilities, and keeping instruments, exam tables, lobby flooring and general areas clean and healthy. It  supports infection control and helps create a healthy, safe environment for pets and their owners.

Keeping a healthy facility also includes keeping it free of fur and dander. We all know animals shed but they can shed even more when they are nervous. Does your vet office have little tumbleweeds of dog or cat hair collecting in the corners of their examination rooms? Ew! What about dander? Those little flakes of animal skin that fly through the air and stick to many surfaces.

Rooms should always be wiped down with disinfectant and swept between patients and thoroughly vacuumed after hours with a HEPA-filtration machine.

Why use a HEPA filtered vacuum you ask? Because they are the bomb! Did you know they capture up to 99.97% of airborne particles as small as .3 microns and that makes it extremely efficient at removing allergens such as dust mites and animal dander and with some brands  you can empty the recepticle after every use. With continued use the HEPA filter can help improve air quality and reduce dust.

AQC loves pets and we take special care in cleaning Veterinarian clinics!

If you notice your pet’s special clinic is not as clean as it should be, mention it to them and let them know you would like to refer AQC, a cleaning company that cares and can make a big difference in the health of their patients! Your best friend will thank you, woof, you’re welcome!