Category Archives: Cleaning Tips & Advice

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.

It’s Time to Clean Your Bathroom!

Has the thought, “Maybe I should be wearing a bio-hazard suit,” ever occurred to you when you step into your bathroom?

If so, don’t worry. It’s nature’s way of telling you it’s time to clean up. Here are bathroom cleaning tips and the best solutions to use on fixtures, faucets and walls.

Sink & Counter Top

Do you find dried dribbles of toothpaste on your sink along with rings or over-spray from hair products? The workhorse of the bathroom, the sink,  endures a daily barrage of dirt and grime. Keep it sparkling with regular cleaning.

Start by using an all-purpose bathroom cleaner to remove light soil and film. For the more hardened or oily deposits, abrasive or soft-scrub cleaners may be used, as they will be easy to rinse from ceramic surfaces. Cleaners formulated with bleach will remove toothpaste dribbles and sanitize surfaces, too.

For green cleaning, use homemade cleaners. They’ll make your bathroom sparkle and shine without harsh chemicals — or a harsh price tag. One of my favorites to use is baking soda with a few drops of Tea Tree Oil. Just mix 2 Tablespoons of baking soda with 3 drops of Tea Tree Oil, sprinkle it on, scrub it in with a wet sponge, let sit for 5 minutes and rinse clean.

Another great solution for quick clean ups is a spray bottle mix of 1/3 rubbing alcohol, 1/3 white vinegar and 1/3 plain water. Just spritz and wipe clean. This works great for cleaning the rim, counter and fixtures. Buff fixtures shiny and dry with a fresh cleaning cloth.

Keeping disinfectant cleaning wipes for quick clean ups is always a good idea for heavy use bathrooms.

Shower and Tub

Eeeewww! Can you believe how that horrible soap scum, bath oil, hair products and body soil combine to make the shining surface of the shower and tub dull and hard to clean? It takes some elbow grease to get these clean while tub rims, fixtures and faucets provide hiding places for moisture, mold and mildew. If you procrastinate, deposits harden so mildew and mold can take up residence in dark corners. It’s a task we all dread so combine cleaning power to make short work of cleaning the shower and tub.

Spray and Stand

Before cleaning the rest of the bathroom, spray the tub area with a generous layer of all-purpose bathroom cleaner, and allow the product to stand while you clean elsewhere. The standing time helps the cleanser to dissolve oils and soap scum, so you’ll need less elbow grease to remove it.

If you have tough build-up you are going to have to get scrubbing. Use abrasive scrubbing pads to remove bathtub rings or deposits on shower floors. Sometimes you have to use a gel spray that contains bleach to get the caulking clean of mold and mildew. The baking soda and Tea Tree Oil mentioned above work really well on tough tub build up.

Tile brushes scrub tile grout and reach into cracks and corners, while the handle protects knuckles from accidental contact with the tub. Using an old toothbrush around tub fixtures is a great way to remove buildup deposits.

Rinse It Clean

Detachable shower heads allow you to rinse off the cleaner quickly and cleanly. If you don’t have one, stock your cleaning tote with a removable rubber showerhead that attaches to the bathtub tap. Commonly used for shampooing hair or bathing pets, they’re inexpensive and make it easier to rinse tub and shower walls after you clean.

Fiberglass Showers and Glass Doors

If you have hard water or sulfur in your well water you know how hard these are to clean, and it builds up fast. These surfaces need special treatment. Clean them with a nonabrasive cleaner such as an all-purpose bathroom cleaner, pine oil or the baking soda/Tea Tree Oil combo.  Avoid abrasive cleansers or scrubbing pads because they may scratch or dull the finish.

Something I find that works really well on glass doors is a used dryer sheet! I’m serious, it works and you are recycling something you would normally throw away. My favorite, the Magic eraser, cuts through pretty much anything your fiberglass shower will throw at you with ease.

The Toilet

Double eeewwww!!!! Don’t we all just love cleaning the toilet?

It isn’t most people’s idea of a good time, but where would we be without it? I’ll tell you: back in the outhouse… can you say triple eeewww!?!? Try these ideas to keep it clean and inviting:

Take your time. Place granulated or liquid toilet bowl cleaner into the bowl, and let the cleaner go to work. Standing time is necessary to dissolve deposits and kill germs, so don’t cut the time short. There are tablets you can put in your tank to keep build up at a minimum between cleans that I find work really well.

Replace your flattened or mashed, toilet bowl brushes, you need those bristles bristling to do a good job. Curved bowl brushes reach up and under the toilet rim to scour away hidden deposits.

Time to bring on the pumice stone. If the toilet develops a stubborn ring that regular cleaning won’t cure, bring on the pumice stone! This natural stone is porous and crumbles. Rub the stone directly on the ring to remove the deposit but don’t forget to put on your cleaning gloves!

Antibacterial Cleaning Products

Use a disinfecting spray cleaner or all-purpose bathroom cleaner to spray toilet rims, seat and lid, tank and bowl exterior. Be sure to check the label for the recommended standing time; antibacterial cleaning products require a certain amount of wet exposure to kill germs. Wipe clean and dry with fresh cleaning cloths.

Dreaded Drips and Dribbles

These are a predictable hazard in a home containing boys… of any age. They can cause odor problems, and urine can cause floor damage if it is allowed to stand at the base of the toilet. Use disinfecting cleaner and the cleaning toothbrush to scour out stray dribbles. You can set disinfectant wipes next to the toilet for the offenders to use, just make sure they throw them in the trash can and not the toilet, you don’t want clogged pipes!

So there you go, now get past the eeewww and get down to cleaning!

Spring Cleaning Checklist

You Might Miss Some of the Grossest Things When Spring Cleaning

dirty-keyboardHave you ever really thought about what could be on (or in) your keyboard?

Spring cleaning usually means organizing closets, driving all those boxes labeled “donate” to your local clothing drive, washing down patio furniture, and other big, highly visible projects. So it’s easy to forget about the little things that keep cluttering our lives in our work environment. Here are some unexpected items you should organize, purge, check or spruce up this spring.

Cleaning Supplies

Before you dive into spring cleaning, focus your energy on clearing out your actual cleaning supplies. Good Housekeeping notes that household items actually have shelf lives:

  • Laundry detergent keeps for six months
  • Fabric softener keeps for one year
  • Dish soap will last up to a year and a half
  • Dishwasher detergent lasts three months
  • Disinfectant lasts two years
  • Multi-surface cleaners keep for up to two years
  • Metal polish lasts for two years, but throw it away sooner if it’s lumpy
Emergency Kit

Everyone should have an emergency kit, whether you live in a place with hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, or any possibility of an unexpected disaster (i.e., every place on earth). If you checked that off your list a few years ago, make sure your batteries still work and your food and medical supplies haven’t expired. Today many of us work from our vehicles so while you’re at it, make a similar emergency kit for your vehicle in case you ever get stuck in an emergency situation.

Your Purse/Bag/Briefcase

Purge your bag of the receipts, gum wrappers, empty mascara tubes, broken hair ties, stale protein bars, receipts, old papers & files and the entire GDP of California in pennies (your back will thank you). Then wipe out the inside & outside with a sanitizer wipe & refill with the essentials.

Car Trunk and Glove Compartment

Empty your trunk of the bag of ill-fitting clothes you meant to take to Goodwill, water bottles, shoes you forgot you owned, and clean up any spills or whatever else landed in there. While you’re at it, it’s time to face the music and pay those parking tickets you shoved into your glove compartment.


Do your employees remember buying the mustard, catsup, mayonnaise, etc. that are sitting in your break room fridge door right now? Probably not… can you say YUCK!?

Make it a company policy that everything needs to be marked with a permanent marker the date it was placed in the refrigerator. Keep a marker on a string attached to the refrigerator for this purpose. Here’s a list of food shelf-life, that you might find handy & can laminate to post next to the marker:

  • Jams/jellies last one year
  • Mayonnaise lasts two to three months after the use by date
  • Hot sauce lasts five years
  • Pickles last one year
  • Soy sauce lasts two years
  • Mustard lasts one year
  • Ketchup lasts six months
Your Keyboard and Mouse

Not to gross you out, but your keyboard and mouse are cesspools of germs and bacteria. Give your keyboard a full clean (not just a cursory wipe-down), and place some disinfecting wipes on your desk to remind you to make this a regular habit.

Your Computer Files

Unless you’re incredibly disciplined, your computer could probably use some organization. Clean up your desktop, but then go deeper: Put completed projects onto external hard drives or the cloud, go through the hundreds of screenshots you can’t remember why you saved, and clean up whatever app you use to keep random notes.

Benefits of Entrance Mats

We all know floor mats can minimize slip hazards but they also help to keep your place of business clean. Having entrance mats at every entrance, and making sure you keep it clean will go a long way toward that goal. Mats are available in many different shapes and sizes to choose from so you can customize them for your space, and you can have one custom-made with your logo on it.

Here are several advantages of using a door/entrance mat…

1)   You can’t ask people to take off their shoes.

According to studies by ISSA (the Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association), about 80% of all the contaminants affecting any facility come from the shoes of people in the building. Now you can’t exactly ask your visitors to take off their shoes before they go in any room of the building. By having entrance mats at every door, you ensure that they at least have a way to wipe their shoes before entering and/or walk off some of the debris.

2)   Entrance mats guard your establishment from added dust and mud.

You may not be able to control what kind of dust and mud goes in but having an entrance mat by the door is a way to guard it from the unnecessary. Say for instance the person came from outside where it’s extra dusty. Having an entrance mat allows that person to remove some of that excess dust so that it won’t go inside your building.

3)   You don’t have to worry about rain.

Rain is a nightmare for those trying to keep a certain area clean, because with rain comes wet shoes and muddy floors. If you have an entrance mat welcoming each guest at every doorway, you don’t have to worry about rain and getting your floors all muddy. They can simply wipe their shoes clean and dry before entering.

4)   It can be useful and decorative at the same time.

What some people forget is that doormats don’t have to be plain and ugly. You can be as decorative as you want to be, matching the entrance mat with the decor of your establishment or office. You can even use it as a branding tool by having your logo or company name imprinted on the mat.

5)   It’s a way to minimize slip hazards.

According to the National Floor Safety Institute, “more than 3 million food service employees and over 1 million guests are injured annually as a result of restaurant slips and falls.” Clearly, slipping is a danger that’s quite common. With an entrance mat at every doorstep however, you can easily minimize the risk of people slipping as they navigate their way into your building.

6)   You can prevent floor damage.

With well-placed entrance mats, you can also prevent interior floor damage by protecting your floor surfaces. It’s not just the people that you protect from accidents, you protect your facility as well.

7)   It can help you with bacteria regulation.

Some doormats can actually be infused with microbe-killing powers that can help you with bacteria regulation. So not only do you keep your rooms clean as far as your eyes can see, you also keep them clean even on a microorganism level.

Workspace Spring Cleaning Tips

Whether you have a home office, or commute to a large building downtown, keeping a clean working environment is super important, here are some simple yet effective cleaning tips.

Supplies you will need:

  1. soft micro fiber type cloth
  2. alcohol wipes or rubbing alcohol & cotton swabs
  3. a swiffer hand duster
  4. spray disinfectant or wipes
  5. compressed air
  6. all purpose cleaner

In most office environments, computers and electronic equipment make up a large portion of the work space. Since many of these items are commonly used on a daily or even hourly basis, they often become one of the dirtier pieces in the office. Take the time to wipe down your computer screens with a soft fiber cloth. Use compressed air to remove debris from keyboards, and disinfectant everywhere. Dust your printers, computer towers, telephones, and faxes, and use alcohol wipes or a cotton swab and alcohol on the touch points to halt the spread of any germs going around.


At least once every month, take an hour and remove everything from your desk, including the top, and drawers. Next, apply a basic all purpose cleaner and scrub away. Dust any books, and throw your unneeded documents that have been piling up in the shredder. If you have leather chairs, be sure to wipe them down with disinfectant wipes. Dust where needed.


During your cleaning sessions, take the time to organize your documents and other papers that may be lingering around. As you know, it can be easy for random odds and ends to accumulate around the work place. Weed through these items and set aside the ones you will actually require in the future. The rest should head for the trash, recycling or the shredder. Books and other office items should also be kept in check and arranged accordingly.


Simple tips include keeping a few extra trash can liners in the bottom of the can for replacement purposes when the trash requires emptying. Keep a duster handy in your desk drawer for those days when you just can’t fathom where all the dirt is coming from. Hide a can of disinfectant wipes in a desk drawer as well to quick clean ups when spills occur, or to keep the mouthpiece of your phone fresh and germ free.

Save Lives: Clean Your Hands

The World Health Organization (WHO) has been actively promoting their Clean Care Is Safer Care program for 10 years. On May 5, WHO is asking for support of their Save Lives: Clean Your Hands program. Benefits of doing so include:

  1. Hand hygiene at the right times saves lives.
  2. Hand hygiene in healthcare has saved millions of lives in the last years.
  3. Hand hygiene is a quality indicator of safe healthcare systems.
  4. Healthcare problems, like HAIs which are often invisible but nevertheless still occur, are political and social challenges that we must address now.
  5. Infections can be stopped through good hand hygiene, and patient and health worker harm prevented for less than $10.
  6. Affordable life-saving technology is available. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can prevent HAI and millions of deaths every year.
  7. #handhygiene exists in the media, which means it exists as an important topic, whether due to HAI or outbreaks of deadly diseases like Ebola.
  8. Embedding specific moments for hand hygiene action into health worker workflow makes it easier to do the right thing every minute, every hour, every day.
  9. Infection prevention is at the heart of strengthening healthcare systems. Hand hygiene is core to all interventions, whether inserting an invasive device, managing a surgical wound, or giving an injection.
  10. The social epidemic has already begun to spread with SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands, a successful global campaign promoting hand hygiene action at the point of patient care.