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Strategic Janitorial Blog

Don't Take a Chance with the 5 Second Rule

We’ve all dropped a chip or other tasty treat on the floor, plucked it up quickly while disclaiming “Five Second Rule” to anyone within earshot, and then popped in our mouth. It’s totally safe, right? Bacteria can’t transfer to the food in just five seconds, right?

Wrong.

Science recently debunked the Five Second Rule. Researchers at Rutgers University tested how long it takes bacteria to transfer from floor to food. They covered four different flooring materials - stainless steel, ceramic tile, wood, and carpet – with the bacterium Enterobacter aerogenes. Enterobacter aerogenes is a kinder cousin of salmonella, a bacteria that is responsible for over one million cases of food poisoning each year. Researchers then dropped a variety of foods, like bread, watermelon, and candy, onto the bacteria covered surface. They let them sit on the surface for different intervals ranging from one second to three hundred seconds.

They did this 2,560 times. Results showed that bacterial transfer occurred at every time interval, with more bacteria transferred the longer that food was on the test surface. The research also found that bacterial transfer occurred more quickly with foods that had a higher moisture content, like watermelon.

Every day your office carpet or flooring comes in contact with bacteria like Enterobacter aerogenes, salmonella, or e.coli. These bacteria are tracked in along with dirt, chemicals, and debris by your employees and customers. They make their way down the hall to your breakroom and offices, where they wait to jump on your food when you drop something. While this isn’t exactly true - they’re not exactly laying in wait for your lunch, don’t take a chance with the Five Second Rule – and don’t risk having dirty floors! Toss dropped food in the trash and call a professional janitorial cleaning service to clean and disinfect your floors!


Fall is Coming

Fall means many things - the change of seasons, pumpkin spice everything, and - achoo!

And allergies. Fall brings more than leaves changing color - it brings pollen and other particles that make allergies flair up. Sneezing, sniffling, and coughing happen as a result of seasonal allergies. Sneezing, coughing, and people blowing their noses mean germs and bacteria flying all over your office.

While allergies aren’t contagious, no one wants to be exposed to other people’s germs. To minimize the spread of germs during allergy season, remind employees to cover their mouths when they cough and sneeze, wash hands frequently, and dispose of used tissues properly. You should also take steps to control germs by sanitizing high contact areas like door handles, countertops, and light switches.

While it is hard to control the pollen count, business owners can take steps to minimize allergy aggravation in the office. Changing HVAC filters and making sure ducts and vents are clean and free of dust helps allergy sufferers considerably. Employees can also make a difference by removing paper clutter. A thorough and routine cleaning and dusting schedule managed by professional cleaning crew makes an even bigger impact in battling office allergens.

There are several areas in the office that collect allergens may be overlooked when employees are tidying up. Electronic equipment like computer and cords attract dust and dirt particles. Baseboards and window blinds are also places that can collect dust and trigger allergies.

Carpets and upholstered furniture also harbor allergens. Pollen tracked in from the outside and ends up clinging to carpet fibers - not only does this pollen make carpets appear dirty and dingy - it also making noses run and eyes water. Professional janitorial services companies can remove this pollen and dirt to help minimize allergies and stop the spread of germs.


Medical Office Cleaning

As a healthcare provider or practice manager, you know first-hand that cleanliness can stop the spread of germs and illness. Did you also know that cleanliness is a factor in your reputation and patient retention? Patients trust and expect that their doctor or medical provider’s office and exam rooms are germ free. A dirty exam room or waiting room is off-putting, and can cause patients to look elsewhere for care. If your practice’s cleanliness level is less than pristine, it’s time to call a professional.

A professional janitorial services company knows that medical office cleaning is not the same as regular office cleaning and that requirements for medical cleaning involves more than wiping down surfaces and mopping floors. Medical office cleaning is serious, and commands thorough disinfecting and sanitation. Just like specialty medicine, proper and specific training is required for janitorial services companies that provide medical office cleaning. Janitorial service companies that provide specialized cleaning for medical offices are aware of protocols to follow while cleaning an environment with hazardous materials like blood borne pathogens, medical waste, and needle sharps, and understand proper sanitation needed to guarantee a safe environment for patients.

While professional janitorial services trained in medical cleaning do perform specialized functions, there are also job tasks they perform that are similar to regular cleaning services. These tasks include dusting, floor maintenance, and trash removal.

When hiring a janitorial servicing company to clean your medical office, ask for references of other medical offices or facilities they have cleaned. Be sure check these references thoroughly and ask about their level of satisfaction and the vendor’s thoroughness in disinfecting and sanitation. Make sure your provider performs thorough criminal background checks on employees cleaning your office. As a best practice, you should secure patient files, and lock up medication, narcotics, and supplies.


Back to School Means Time to Clean

It’s that time of year! Kids are heading back to school, and that means homework, bustling hallways, and germs! We’ve all heard of back to school illnesses, like norovirus, strep throat, or the flu, running rampant through a school, and the resulting high numbers of students (and teachers) absent from class.

Back to school is also the perfect time to hire a professional janitorial services company to manage cleaning at your school, preschool, or daycare. Many schools districts and education centers are hiring professional janitorial services companies to clean their facilities because cleaning companies recognize cleaning schools is a serious responsibility, they clean efficiently and effectively, and they can cut overhead. Professional cleaning also protects kids’ health, minimizes sick days for both students and staff, and ensures that your school is presenting its very best to parents and visitors.

Janitorial service companies clean and disinfect classrooms and restrooms, and pay special attention to areas that may collect germs and bacteria, such as light switches, door knobs, and desks. Special rooms like computer labs, cafeterias and gymnasiums (and gym mats!) are areas of high use and need cleaning and disinfection thoroughly and regularly. Regular cleaning ensures helps to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria that cause illness such as the common cold, flu, or stomach illness. Professional cleaning companies also will make sure your floors are maintained throughout the year and can handle seasonal cleaning projects like window cleaning.

You can also protect students’ health by encouraging them to wash their hands. According to the Centers for Disease control, regular hand washing is one of the best ways to reduce germs and prevent illnesses. Also, teach students to cover their mouths and noses when they sneeze or cough, avoid touching their eyes or mouth, and dispose of used tissue properly.


Would Your Gym Pass a Fitness Test for Cleanliness?

Fitness centers and gyms can be contaminated with germs, especially during cold and flu season. Cold and flu viruses can live on surfaces like free weights, mats, and treadmill handles for minutes to several hours. Other microbes, such as staphylococcus and MRSA can linger much longer.

In many fitness centers, sanitation is frequently left up to the customer. Patrons are expected to wipe down machines post workout. Gyms typically provide sanitizing spray and paper towels for this purpose, and although many people do take a moment to spray down the machine or mat they’ve been sweating on, they may not do correctly or thoroughly.

Because customers don’t always do the best job, it is critical that facility management establish a regular cleaning schedule. Machines, free weights, and other common areas should be wiped down several times a day with paper towels and cleaning solution, or, ideally with pre-soaked antibacterial wipes designed to kill a wide range of germs. Locker rooms and showers also need a thorough sanitizing regimen, and towels need to be washed with hot water and bleach and dried thoroughly.

Some gyms and fitness centers employ a professional janitorial service company to ensure the facility is being cleaned thoroughly, as well as to ensure safety and prevent illness. However, cleaning and sanitation usually falls on facility employees, who may not be properly trained in sanitation and germ prevention. This means that machines, mats, and common areas are likely not being cleaned properly.

Whether you are utilizing employees to clean your facility, or employing a professional janitorial services company, it is important to make sure they are properly trained/licensed, and are maintaining a routine cleaning schedule. Also, be sure they’re covering all areas of the facility – including reception, saunas, and locker rooms.



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