All posts by AQC Commercial Cleaning

Selecting Your Cleaning Company Is an Important Choice

When Selecting a Cleaning Company, Going for the Low Bid Gets You Cheap, But Not Clean.

Business often change cleaning companies, because they are unhappy with the services they are receiving. You truly get what you pay for in this industry!

So many businesses want the cheapest bid and then change cleaning companies so often it’s like a revolving door because they aren’t happy with the results. Reminds me of the definition of insanity: doing the same things over and over but expecting different results, right?

You’d think they would catch a clue and review why it’s important to partner with a company that values doing the job right and truly delivering ‘clean,’ not just going with the lowest quote all the time.

When shopping for cleaning services and getting price quotes:

  • make sure the price you pay reflects your unique needs,
  • that you partner with a company that values clean,
  • is responsive,
  • has through training, and
  • does multi state background checks on their employees.

These things seem like no brainers… but it’s how AQC does business. You’d be amazed how many companies don’t do these things.

Quotes can vary a lot even with the same square footage. For example, one office may get lots of customer, employee and visitor traffic each day, while another office has little traffic or daily dirt but has a lot of marble flooring that requires extra care.

In addition to the size of your facility, the age of your building, type of work you do, floor types, office layout and special requirements can affect the amount you pay for commercial cleaning. For example older buildings aren’t sealed as well as new buildings and require a lot of high/low dusting because of spider webs & bugs.

Here are a few important points AQC thinks you should know about when shopping for janitorial services:

  • Pricing plans should be flexible to match your unique needs and your cleaning company should be flexible to customize specific service specifications to fit your business.
  • Square footage is one of MANY factors making up a quote – not the only one.
  • Don’t accept a price quote until someone sees your facility in person.
  • The type of work you do (medical clinic vs. standard office, for example) will dictate the type of services you need.
  • Having a cleaning company that can cover all your needs like carpet, floor and window cleanings makes it much easier when you only have to coordinate with one company.
  • The lowest price shouldn’t be the deciding factor in choosing a cleaning company.

If you’re shopping for a cleaning quote, and want to partner with a company that values clean, please give AQC a call. We would love to show you what a passionate cleaning company is all about!

Flu Season is in Bloom

Oh for the love of pumpkin flavored everything! Don’t you just LOVE this time of year? The leaves are changing, the nights are cooler, and all the store ads are featuring boots and the much loved comfy sweaters!

Yes, Autumn is upon us! This means spending more time cooped up indoors.

For many, fall brings the dreaded flu. There is still no concrete explanation as to why flu season happens when it does but there are many theories. Did you know that researchers have found patterns in the survival of the virus in low and high humidity?

At low humidity (think indoors during Portland’s gorgous summer weather) viruses survive because droplets evaporate and the virus can survive in dryer conditions. Additionally, in high humidity conditions (think our 6 to 7 months of rainy season), the virus is exposed to high levels of chemicals in the rains and water, which is why the same affect happens in different environments. This may explain why in those two different environments viruses can spread.

Some attribute the increased chances of spreading the flu and germs to going back to school (little or no handwashing, coughing into hands instead of elbows), holiday gatherings (shaking hands, kissing and hugging), and more shopping. Public exposure means touching more surfaces that have been contaminated!

Here are 10 questions to ask about your indoor environment about germ spreading and the cleanliness of your home or office while you begin to spend more time indoors.

  1. What cleaning products do I use indoors? Are the touch points in my home and office getting disinfected, not just cleaned but disinfected?
  2. Improper cleaning products used in a closed space can increase the probability of getting sick! Glass cleaner is NOT a disinfectant!
  3. How do I feel when I spend more time indoors?
  4. Do you sneeze more, feel throat or nose irritation? You may be sensitive to indoor air pollutants. Remember, room ventilation can decrease (or increase) the amount of indoor pollutants that leak out from rooms and outside.
  5. When is the last time your furnace filters were changed and the duct system cleaned? We had ours done and I about got sick when I saw what came out!
  6. How am I contributing to indoor air quality?
  7. Does your vacuum have a HEPA filter? I am totally in love with my Dyson vacuum! I’m so amazed every time I vacuum how much dust and dander it picks up when I clean the filter after each use.
  8. Are the correct chemicals and procedures used to clean high traffic areas and small spaces? When was the last time your carpet was cleaned? All these aspects of a professional clean effect the quality of the air.
  9. Do you have more traffic at certain times of the year? Imagine holiday parties, extra meetings during the last quarter of the business year and the like. More activity means more germ hot spots that are office culprits during the year.
  10. Do you have a plan to reduce germ spread? How often do you schedule a “Deep Clean” of your space?

Its estimated that an average person spends upwards of 87% of their time indoors and that could increase during the rainy days when we’re holed up indoors with a hot cup of coffee or tea and binge watching our favorite shows.

Be smart and be aware of how you and your coworkers feel. Be proactive to avoid flu-related pit falls that can lead to illness… and wash those hands!

Window Cleaning Time!

An often overlooked but super important part of your office cleaning program is window cleaning!

We are talking interior and exterior windows here. Smudges, streaks, fingerprints, dirt and hard water buildup can make a clean office look dirty. Regular glass and window cleaning will not only brighten the appearance of your office and boost your company’s image, but clean windows allow more natural light in, and with winter looming ahead we can use all the natural light we can get, right?

Routine cleaning of your interior windows and office glass can really add that extra “we care” look to your office. Customers notice dirty, filmy, fingerprinted windows! Do you have odd sized or shaped windows? AQC can make them shine! Even those hard to reach windows are no problem. You should clean your windows, inside and out, every 3 to 6 months.

Hey, don’t forget outdoor windows need extra attention on a regular basis too! Do you really think the rain will clean your windows? NOT!

Blowing dirt, rain water, water runoff and sprinklers can cause major streaks and spottiness can send a message that you don’t take pride in your building! Hard water can leave mineral deposits and stains on windows that look like a whitish, spotty haze. Hey our Portland winters can be very dreary, let alone looking out a dirty hazy window. And when we get a break from the rain the sun can make these spots very difficult to remove, and over time your windows will develop a deeper cloudiness. Regular cleaning will keep buildup at bay and your windows clear.

Landscaping and trees can also contribute to those filthy windows. If your office is on the ground floor, grass, dirt and mud can get splattered on windows after landscapers cut grass or trim bushes near your offices. Just as susceptible are the second and higher floors. Wind and rain can cause dirt and leaves to get stuck on upper windows and sills resulting in a dirty unkempt look to your building.

The Cost of Not Cleaning Windows

Putting off or choosing to not clean your windows will drive up the cleaning costs when you do get after them. Why? The added buildup requires more scrubbing to get them to come clean… Setting up a routine window cleaning and maintenance program can drop your routine maintenance costs an average of 20-30%, if not more.

AQC can evaluate your window cleaning needs and design a schedule to keep your windows sparkling and your budget happy! Interested? Contact us at 503.516.2477 today for more information or to schedule your window cleaning!

Flu Prevention Starts with Cleanliness

It’s time to talk flu prevention!

Did you get your flu shot yet? Well you had better get on the ball as three accounts I visited last week had people out with the flu already, and it’s a nasty one this year!

The good news is the vaccine they have this year will actually work! Yay! I promptly went and got my flu shot last weekend – I hate being sick! And with it being flu season again, it’s even more important to stock up on hand sanitizer and sanitizing wet wipes.

I found this great article that speaks to how  flu vaccines & hand hygiene are keys to preventing infection…

From Cleanlink News:

Flu Vaccine And Hand Hygiene Are Key To Preventing Infection

Health professionals and organizations are encouraging the public to take preventative measures to decrease the spread of illness during cold and flu season. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends “3 Actions to Fight the Flu:

  • Take the time to get a flu vaccine,
  • Take everyday preventative actions, including washing your hands with soap and water and if soap and water is not available use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and
  • Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.


Bacteria, Viruses and Mold, Oh My!

Bloodborne Pathogens Are Scary Things… Let the Pros Handle Them!

Cowardly_lion2Well, lions and tigers, and bears would be much easier to manage then the bloodborne pathogens of bacteria, viruses and mold. These pathogens are found virtually everywhere, and some are pretty benign but others carry nasty stuff you probably don’t want on you or near you. It’s important that you have a professional cleaning service like AQC on the job to help you clean them away the right way.

They’re Everywhere!

Pathogens are bacteria and viruses found on touchpoints like door handles, light switches and keyboards… but they can also be located in leaky ceiling tiles or the ever so common and hardy athlete’s foot! Think about that next time the shower at the gym looks like it’s been a while since it’s been cleaned.

So if your office has door handles, light switches, keyboards, ceiling tiles or showers available for employees, then this applies to you! All of AQC’s Cleaning Technicians are trained and certified in Bloodborne Pathogens… and that directly benefits the health of your office or facility and everyone in it!

CLICK HERE to download a presentation that gives you all the gory details of how the pros at AQC Cleaning are trained to keep your facility clean and clear of pathogens

A Clean Background Means Safety

Here at AQC we pride ourselves on doing a multi-state background checks on all our employees!

I know it seems like common sense but, seriously, many commercial cleaning companies don’t bother with background checks. Why? It can be a big added expense they don’t want to invest in because of the high turnover rate that comes within the commercial cleaning industry.

This is how we see it:

Though a potential employee might seem perfect for a job based on his or her qualifications, there are a wealth of other factors that an employer or hiring manager must consider. The qualifications provided by an employee are often questionable until verified, and other information such as honesty, credibility, or even legal issues may come into play during the hiring process. As a result, an increasingly high number of businesses and employers find that performing employee background checks are an essential aspect of the employee hiring process. As an employer or hiring manager, employee background checks ensure that you are hiring who you think you are hiring.

We clean in many high profile or highly proprietary businesses.

Here are some of the main reasons AQC conducts employee background checks:

Negligent Hiring – Employers are concerned about lawsuits that might arise if they do not check an applicant’s court or criminal record. By not performing an employee background check, many employers run the risk of assuming too much liability for the health and safety of the workforce.

Be in the Know – Think about it… It’s a new world and safety needs to be a primary concern. It’s critical to know if potential employees have a background of child abuse or abduction, are a registered sex offender or have a warrant out for his or her arrest; and yes, even if they are on a terrorist most-wanted list. Beyond all of those horrible things, the potential employee might also have been a part of a scandal in another company or have a long list of Worker’s Comp claims. Here are some of the things a background check will uncover:

  • Driving records
  • Financial records
  • Social Security number
  • Court records
  • Credit records
  • Personal references
  • Property ownership
  • Sex offender lists
  • Criminal records
  • State licensing records
  • Educational and certificate verification
  • Worker’s compensation records

False Information – Since the economy went south and is in a rebuilding stage jobs have been in short supply, many potential candidates are willing to commit resume fraud in order to boost themselves above the competition. Employers need to uncover false information, such as a false salary or job position, before the person is hired.

State and Federal Law Requirements – Depending on the nature of the business, many state or federal agencies require that employers perform background checks on all job applicants that reach a certain level in the hiring process. Consult with your attorney to find out what your business is required to do.

Here at AQC we’re not just focused on delivering the best cleaning services in the area, but we hold your safety (as well as ours) as a priority. That’s why we conduct a multi-state background check on all employees before they are in your facility!

Ah, now this actually makes sense, right?

As an AQC customer you have the peace of mind that our team members are fully vetted before they go to work. If you’re not, make sure that the company that is cleaning your facility is doing a comprehensive background check – you want to be sure the people you are letting in to your business after hours don’t pose any type of threat. And take the time to vet your vendors thoroughly as well – make sure all of their employees are background checked for your safety. Sure that other bid might be cheaper, but ask yourself what they’re cutting corners on. Safety should never be one of them.

If your cleaning company doesn’t do background checks, give us a call so you’ll not only benefit from a clean space, but from a team with with clean backgrounds!

The Office’s Dirty Little Secret

Here’s a dirty little secret…

Know what the dirtiest place in the office is?

Everyone will tell you it’s the bathroom. True, but let’s step out of the potty for a minute and think about this.

Did you know you are supposed to lather up for 15 seconds to actually get the germs, feces and bacteria off your hands? Think about it, how many people actually do that?

They also cough & sneeze into their hands making it super easy to spread sickness. You’ve seen the “hand rinsers”… that does absolutely nothing! You have to actually wash your hands with soap to prevent spreading the nasties. Try singing happy birthday to yourself while you lather and rinse at the end.

Think about this scenario:
A person goes to the john and then, after, only rinses their hands. They touch the door handle to exit the bathroom. They go to the break room and grab the refrigerator handle while they get a snack out. Then they mosey over to the microwave, grab that handle to open it, stick in their frozen burrito (we won’t even go into what type of bathroom scene that causes) then press the button to warm it up. While they’re waiting, they grab the handle on the coffee pot to pour themselves a cup of coffee, and then go to the water fountain and press the button to get a drink. For a finishing act, they go over to the break room sink to fill their water bottle then turn the light switch off… these are all the public places they touch! To top it off, they then contaminate their keyboards, mice and phone. Think about all that sharing for a second…

How often are these areas getting cleaned and sanitized?

These are the office dirty dozen, the most contaminated surfaces:

  1. Break room sink-faucet handles
  2. Microwave door handles
  3. Keyboards
  4. Refrigerator door handles
  5. Water fountain buttons
  6. Vending machine buttons
  7. Key boards
  8. Computer mice
  9. Coffee pot handles or dispensers
  10. Desk phones
  11. Door handles
  12. Light switches

Invest in sanitizing wipes and sprays to keep these areas clean,  but don’t make them hard to find. How about bowls of sanitizing wipes instead of candy? Hey, everyone’s always on a diet anyway, right?

AQC specializes in routine cleaning and sanitizing of… well, everything, including all those dirty little secrets in the office! If your office is in need of a professional, call us! We would love to help make your office a healthier place to work.

Chew on That!

Gum Removal is Sticky Business!

So you’re assigned a new cube. As you’re settling in, you pull away from the desk and you’re tethered to a gummy, gooey mess. You remember the person who used to be in your new space… that lip-smacking, gum-chomping sound. Or, worse still, you grab your desk to pull your chair up and you feel a disgusting soft slimy substance that your fingers sink into… gag!

There’s even an urban legend that when President Obama first pulled himself up to the oval office desk, he found some of Bush 43’s gum underneath. And so we’re entirely non-partisan here, Obama’s been known to gnaw on a wad of nicorette himself – just as the Chinese!

For all those people who keep on sticking gum underneath desks, STOP! It’s disgusting and dirty. No one claims to stick their wads under the desk, but someone has to be doing it. Gum doesn’t magically disappear from your mouth and appear under the desk. If you’re a chewer, throw that wad in the trash when you’re done with it.

Have you ever wondered about how many germs are lingering on that piece of gum? Scientists have found that about 10 million bacteria are thriving in a gram of spat-out gum. Nothing is more unsanitary than used gum. And the worst part is, aside from the bacteria, that you don’t know whose gum it was.

When I was a child we were taught to save the gum wrapper to enclose the sticky remains. These days, I see conscientious building porters on their hands and knees scraping away all the unsightly blobs, only to have the newly pristine surface become a target again for the spitters. (Do they get points for distance covered?)

When I looked up “gum removal” on the Internet I found an entire industry. Not only do companies sell equipment to remove the residue, some send out cleaning teams to deal with it.

AQC Commercial Cleaning routinely schedules gum inspections, because after all, you need to inspect what you expect, and we use environmentally safe methods for loosening and removing gum from floors and surfaces. We use a variety of methods, depending on where the gum is, and a lot of elbow grease. We also always take care to keep the finishes of floors, counter tops and other surfaces free from scratches and other damage that a less careful removal process might leave.

Travel and research indicates that gum blobs are a worldwide urban issue — some cities have fined merchants, whose property is in effect vandalized, if there is not prompt removal. It is also a health issue because of all those germs, especially as flu season enters the picture.

Remember to wash your hands, sneeze into your sleeve, cover your mouth when you cough… dispose of your gum in the wrapper it came in!

Whose Bathrooms Are Worse – Men’s or Women’s?

Immediately you would say Men’s bathrooms are unequivocally the worst.

Warning grossness about to be revealed!

They love to leave “surprises” for other guys to find… so I’ve been told. Especially if in a guys mind it’s “quite impressive” – volume & length seem to get the most locker room reverie going! Guys don’t aim to please, they are pleased to aim wherever they want as long as it’s in the general vicinity. Walls & stall dividers get a lot of splatter.

And hand washing? Well I’ve witnessed many women not washing their hands so I’m calling that a tie.

But OMG! The Women’s rest room is way worse, like resembling that pinkish animal that oinks.

Warning even more grossness about to be revealed!

Did you know that women, to avoid sitting bare bottom on the seat, do the squat & hover, leaving blood and urine on the seat! Told you!

Okay now it gets really bad, hold on, hopefully you aren’t eating your lunch while you’re reading this! I’ve seen bloody tampons wiped on the wall, just sitting in the toilet or even laying over the toilet paper roll. GAG!

There are always small pieces of ripped toilet paper on the floor or they use the toilet seat liners for toilet paper.  Women don’t always flush either. Maybe women make this kind of a mess to get back at someone because they have to always clean the bathroom at home and they want some revenge.

Well, some people are just slobs. But the class system seems to have a noticeable difference. What I mean by this is in the same building the office bathrooms are always cleaner than the warehouse bathrooms. Nicer bars/restaurants bathrooms are cleaner than the dives.

Some people never flush the toilet at home if they pee in it, have you ever heard this: If its yellow let it mellow, if its brown flush it down? Could this be California’s new state motto?

Hey we have a severe drought here in Oregon… naw, just flush it people! Oh, and please do watch your aim whether you’re standing or squatting – someone else is cleaning up your mess and it’s not your momma!

Pick a Winner!

Well… not really…. we’re talking about boogers people!

Crazy as it may seem, I had a conversation about nose pickers and booger flickers at a recent networking meeting! Yes you heard it here first, a new break through conversation starter.

Then, just yesterday as I was stuck in gridlock traffic I witnessed a man really digging to China for his prize, then he looked at it, rolled down the window, and flicked it out! I totally gagged. Usually they’re secretive about it and try to make sure no one is looking, but this guy, this booger flicker, had no booger shame!

I was in the car right next to him. He saw me and my horrified expression, laughed, and rolled up the window. I’m not sure what I would have done if his aim wasn’t so good and he flicked it on my car or… wait for it… window! Ewwwww! Seriously dude don’t you have a napkin in your Black BMW? At least you could have wiped it on your floor mat!

I see these booger picking  people all the time. Maybe I’m just ripe for it? (Get it?)
One person told me last week he was in a meeting in a conference room and saw a guy pick his nose and wipe it under the table! Yes, it’s true, another person chimed in. I see them in the bathroom stalls on the dividers. Really? There’s toilet paper right there for that, among other purposes.

I see construction flaggers wiping boogers on their jeans while I’m waiting for them to wave me through, Am I suppose to not notice? I mean really people have you no shame?

And then let’s regress to our joyful school days where you were always seated or paired with that nose picking, booger rolling, booger eating gross boy. I’m sure these are the same people, just grown up and doing it in their work place or car.

As we wander through the halls and rooms of our shared office, we might occasionally find some rather unusual “treats” left by those that have inhabited the areas before us. Unfinished drinks, food and paper are tolerable; still wrong but tolerable, though as adults we should be cleaning up after ourselves. What is intolerable, not to mention downright disgusting, is the amount of boogers found rubbed on the restroom partition walls, tile, grout, and occasionally the underside of conference room tables or desks in cubicles.

In the janitorial field one comes across some rather peculiar things in the workplace, gum is one thing, but boogers?

So please nose pickers if the world, do us all a solid: Please dispose of your boogers using Kleenex, toilet tissue, or paper towels, and please do not smear them on the walls of the restrooms or the underside of the conference room tables or your cubicle desks. Not only did someone see you do it, someone has to clean it up!

This is still and always will be socially unacceptable, uncouth behavior. Oh and did I mention it’s always men I see doing this? Hmmmmm…..

Signed, Grossed Out.