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|Cleaning your office before the Christmas period||13/12/2017|
Before going away for the Christmas break, businesses often give their offices a deep clean, so that when the New Year comes, they are greeted with a clean, tidy and organised office.
For an effective clean, here are some top tips:
Give desks a deep clean
Keeping a clean and tidy office can help to reduce the likelihood of disease and infections spreading and contributes towards good hygiene practices.
The average desk is a prime breeding ground for infections and can have up to 10,000,000 of bacteria. Bacteria and viruses can multiply on hard surfaces, remaining infectious for up to 24 hours. So before offices are closed, it is important that this is wiped thoroughly.
Using a dry paper towel to wipe your desk is not enough as this simply will move germs around. It is best to wet a tissue or paper towel with a gentle disinfectant to eliminate germs and bacteria lingering on desks.
Other office equipment such as phones also need to be cleaned. Although this may look dirt free, studies have found as many as 25,000 germs per square inch on an office telephone. Many workers tend to forget about cleaning their phones despite using them regularly!
Anti-bacterial wipes are great for cleaning office equipment. The combination of chemicals and natural oils make them ideal for killing – or at least reducing – the number of harmful germs and bacteria on work surfaces and equipment.
Emptying food in the fridge is often overlooked. Nothing should be in the refrigerator past its expiration date. Take out all of the shelves and clean in hot soapy water, then dry with a disposable cloth or leave to air dry.
The next stage is to spray the inside of the fridge with a detergent and wipe down. Don’t forget to use an anti-bacterial detergent to disinfect door handles and door seals since these come into regular contact with hands.
For a tidy desk and environment, declutter any paper or items that you no longer need. Have separate bin bags for waste, paper, and recycling, and sort items as you go. Sorting out the waste as you declutter will get two jobs done at once, leaving you with a much clearer looking office already.
Don’t forget the toilet!
Cleaning the toilet is one of the things that you definitely don’t want to do on your first day back at work. Pour some heavy duty cleaner into the toilet bowl and let it do its magic. Also ensure that disposable hand towels, hand soaps and toilet tissues are topped up, if you’re using a hand towel swap this for a new one.
Shut everything down
Whether you have a laptop, PC and other electrical items, make sure when you leave they are all closed and shut down. Not only will this help you to forget about work for a few weeks and become refreshed ready for January, this will save power!
|England’s natural disasters: who cleans up?||27/11/2017|
Large-scale natural disasters hit the headlines in an instant, but are forgotten just as quickly by those not affected. Once the TV cameras and news reporters have left the scene, the real work starts in earnest. Who cleans up when the rest of the world looks away?
Fortunately, there are teams of experts who can be drafted in to help with disaster recovery. So what is required when disaster strikes?
As well as the initial emergency response, central government and local authorities have a pre-planned disaster recovery protocol. While the logistics of emergency recovery, including re-instating infrastructure, will have been planned out, many of the clean-up requirements aren’t as clear-cut. Most situations require heavy-duty equipment to clear debris and possibly even to seek out survivors.
This autumn was the 30th anniversary of the great storm. It’s a great example to look at in terms of a recovery operation because it was so widespread and unexpected.
The great storm and its effects
In October 1987, Michael Fish famously forecast "very windy" weather mainly over France. The weather turned out to be unusually strong, with wind speeds along the south coast of England reaching over 100 mph. The great storm killed eighteen people, and caused substantial damage, downing an estimated 15 million trees (including six of the seven eponymous oaks in Sevenoaks).
The south was paralysed with flying debris and collapsed buildings. Trees fell on roads causing major transport problems. A ship capsized at Dover and a Channel ferry was driven ashore near Folkestone. Damage to electricity and telephone lines meant thousands of homes were left without power for more than 24 hours.
The clean-up operation cost £1billion. A recent BBC report of the great storm’s anniversary told of the clean: "It was all hands to the pump, by everyone who could help. Builders, people, emergency services, it was the Dunkirk spirit." The biggest recovery tasks included clearing, removing and disposing of items like trees, parts of buildings, wreckage, vehicles, personal property, dirt and mud.
If ever there was a calling for the use of cherry pickers, MC Property Maintenance claimed in an interview with the author that the clear up following the great storm was one of them.
Other machinery called into action included cranes, chainsaws, and diggers. At the time, local authorities were expected to organise their own clean ups and told by central government to apply for an increase in grants when they had drawn up their bills. While local authorities dealt with the highways and infrastructure, such as transport routes and rail, private property owners were left to hire tradesmen to help with property damage and downed trees.
The aftermath of the Selsey Tornado: a surprising turn of events
Another disaster, which had far-reaching consequences into the quality of services offered by trades people in post-disaster clean ups, was that of the Selsey twister. In January 1998, the small West Sussex town of Selsey woke up to millions of pounds of damage caused by a freak tornado. The town’s most famous resident, the late Sir Patrick Moore, had one of his observatories obliterated.
At the time, The Independent reported that cowboy roofers, glaziers and builders began arriving in the village soon after daybreak. Although many local firms were present, others had come from London and as far away as Norfolk. Some locals were being asked for up to £60 per roof tile for repairs. The police drew up a leaflet with a caricature of a cowboy and it was circulated to all the damaged homes. It warned: "Watch out, there's a cowboy about. If in doubt call your local police station." Chief Inspector Harrison said: "We have uniformed officers out investigating the bona fides of some of these people."
Kevin Byrne, founder of Checkatrade, created his business as a direct result of the Selsey twister. In an interview with The Times Byrne explained, “Rogue traders came from all over, offering dodgy quick-fixes to damaged buildings. I wondered what trading standards was doing to protect people from dubious workers. It was doing nothing.” Byrne set out to do something about it and in September 1998 he published a directory of tradesmen willing to be vetted. This was the start of Checkatrade, which many tradespeople now sign up to ensure their business is seen as being trustworthy.
There is nothing we can do to tame the weather and when nature unleashes its destructive power, all we can do is ensure that we prepare for the worst and work hard to repair any damage. It is when we face a disaster that the human spirit kicks in. And as Kevin Byrne demonstrates, good things can come out of adversity.
Written by Mike James on behalf of MC Property Maintenance
|Preventing occupational lung disease||09/11/2017|
Lung disease remains a serious problem in the workplace. This years’ Workplace Healthy Lungs Summit, taking place on 22 November 2017, will describe what the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is doing about it, what you can do, and what science and evidence can tell us. Here, Summit speaker Lauren Kyle (Head of Cleaning UK & Ireland, Sodexo) speaks about the problem of work-related lung disease and what Sodexo is doing to prevent it.
Sodexo is a world-leading services provider, delivering a wide range of quality of life services to clients in the public and the private sector and in many markets including healthcare, education, corporate, defence, sports & leisure and justice. In the UK and Ireland alone Sodexo employs 34,000 people at some 1,850 locations.
At the heart of our business is the health, safety and wellbeing of those we serve and our employees.
Here in the UK and Ireland our HSEQ teams and subject matter experts work closely together with our frontline colleagues to identify improvements we can make in all areas of health and safety.
One of these areas is lung health. When we changed our cleaning chemical supplier we set up a working group of subject matter experts for cleaning and representatives from our health and safety team. They worked together to agree a range of products, which were not only suitable for our activities, but were also the safest products possible.
Within our business there are a number of services we provide and activities we undertake where lung health and pollution is an area of concern and, at Sodexo, we not only consider the health of our employees but we also recognise we have a responsibility to consider the communities we operate in and our environmental impact.
By the mere nature of our horticultural services business we have to consider changes we can make which positively impact the wellbeing of our teams and the environment. An obvious example is the regular use of chemicals in the form of pesticides; to address this we are actively working to reduce chemical weed control usage by increasing cultivation as opposed to spraying, reducing application frequencies and trialling alternatives such as hot foam weed control. Another is the use of equipment such as battery powered blowers and strimmers which reduce air (and noise) pollution.
This area of the business is reliant on its vehicle fleet and we are well aware of the adverse effect emissions have on lung health and, for this reason, we have now purchased 100 new vehicles which have Euro6 engines, designed to reduce the levels of harmful exhaust emissions with smart regenerative charging, acceleration control and auto-start-stop. They also require the use of the additive Adblu to reduce particulates going into the environment from the exhaust.
A few years ago we introduced ‘engineered water’ solutions into the business primarily to reduce the environmental impact of using chemicals for cleaning, but the use of this has also had a noticeable effect in the reduction in upper respiratory tract symptoms. This technology is now often referred to by our on-site teams as ‘magic water’ - a compelling reason to continue with its use.
As a company that promises to improve the quality of life of people, corporate responsibility lies at the core of everything we do. I have talked about just some of the areas where Sodexo is taking action – we have a comprehensive strategy which outlines our ambition to create positive change for individuals, communities and the environment.
At November’s Workplace Healthy Lungs Summit I will discuss these areas and more as industry leaders come together to share best practice and show how we can lead the way in tackling workplace lung disease.
Lauren Kyle will speak at this years’ HSL Workplace Healthy Lungs Summit taking place on 22 November 2017. You can book your place here: https://www.hsl.gov.uk/health-and-safety-training-courses/workplace-healthy-lungs-summit-2017
|The easiest way to clean a bathroom||02/11/2017|
The bathroom is a vital part of a household or hotel room. However, while it is used for personal hygiene activities it can itself be neglected during cleaning time. To clean a bathroom can be an uphill task for some, but is easy when you have the right tools, explains walkinshowers.org
Have the right tools to clean a bathroom
Proper time allocation is also paramount for the task, ideally early morning or late evening when the bathroom is being least used. Averagely, to clean a bathroom can take 25-40 minutes when done well. Take your time in order to cover all areas.
|Save money, water and electricity by using environment-friendly wash systems||22/09/2017|
In any increasingly competitive industry, margins get slimmer and any advantage that helps your bottom line is vital. If your business involves cars, trucks, and vans that need to be cleaned regularly, you’ve seen quite a bit of your revenue go literally down the drain.
Installing eco friendly wash systems can help you save money while lowering your environmental impact, an increasingly important trait consumers consider. Not only can you save money, but you’ll also actively profit off of environmentally friendly systems.
All about the bubbles
While a few suds in a bucket may not make much of a difference, bubbling systems can save water, energy, and chemicals. Rather than a liquid spray that easily runs off of vehicles into drains, bubbles allow for optimal coverage with less waste. Bubbling devices are easily adjustable, unlike foam curtains, and bubble mixtures often require less water to thoroughly rinse off the vehicle.
Water so nice you use it twice
What if the water your facility drains away wasn’t wasted? A comprehensive water reclamation system recovers your waste water, then cleans and conditions it for reuse. This water is fed back into your system for reuse in the wash process. While this saves you money on your facility’s water bill, it also saves water, helping you to protect the environment.
Think efficient, not big
Modern wash facilities require less water, but the space and energy demands are also far less than in the past. As miniaturization continues to make waves in electronics and electrical engineering, today’s control systems and electric motors require less square footage, and electric motor efficiency allows smaller ½ hp motors to effectively drive brushes and other equipment. Brush technology allows for better chemical application with less chance of vehicle damage thanks to modern materials and coatings. Even wash frameworks have been improved using state-of-the-art materials and alloys that are strong and durable.
Improvement pays for itself
If you’re looking for a full vehicle wash system, the benefits of starting right with an environmentally friendly setup is apparent, but what if you have a system already in place? The good news is that there is a path forward towards saving money, water, and energy. While an entire system installation may be easier, it may not be within budget, however retrofitting your current system can be accomplished on a piecemeal basis, matching purchase priorities to financial situations. Water reclamation systems, bubbler devices, or better brushes can be upgraded at a pace you determine.
Your bottom line
Whether you’re a fleet manager keeping your cars in tip-top shape or a commercial car wash operator looking for a better margin, spending a little to save a lot makes good financial sense. The right system can lower your utility bills and become a basis for recruiting and retaining customers. Make the investment in an eco friendly wash system today.
Written by Ethan Smith – a former wash system operator based in Los Angeles who transitioned to freelance writing a few years ago. His experience of running a car wash in drought-ridden California has led him to write most of his articles about saving water and the environment.
|Dealing with office pests||29/09/2017|
How clean is your office really? What if it’s the one thing you didn’t think of? You live in a modern society where everything is clean right? Wrong.
Our lives are still littered with possible health dangers. You’ll only realize them once they start affecting you.
On commercial property these effects can impact your and other people’s lives. And what if you realize the problem too late?
Even if your premises’ health and safety guidelines are up to date you’re at risk. Pests and the dangers surrounding them have a knack of hiding until it’s too late to do anything about it.
Professional cleaning services are skilled to identify them. Are you?
It’s smart to listen to some clichés.
Prevention IS better than cure.
Well Known Pests
Out of sight out of mind right? This is unfortunately true. Many people delay dealing with potential threats because pests aren’t seen or heard.
This doesn’t mean they’re not there.
You’ll be smart to educate employees about identifying every day pests. They leave tell tale signs. Unfortunately they’re too small to notice sometimes. You have to consciously seek them out.
If you’re a nature lover you don’t like the idea of killing living things. But what if the backlash is too difficult to manage later on?
Here’s what you stand to lose:
These dangers are enough to call in cleaning services and pest control. They’re also quite common. Dealing with them is probably on your to do list.
Are you prepared for these following facts?
The Little Known—and even More Dangerous—Facts
I’m not trying to scare you. But we can’t ignore the consequences of certain facts. We tend to forget the close proximity of some highly unhygienic areas around the office. No employee can avoid these areas.
Managing commercial properties calls for adequate cleaning and maintenance to keep these consequences to a minimum.
Hygiene has a direct impact on your employees. Did you know over 90% of employees contract diseases from their offices? This impacts:
Your responsibility is towards your employees AND your business.
Employing workers for daily cleaning will save you money.
Each day communal areas aren’t cleaned you increase the risk of bacterial infections by 31%. This means employees may have to put in sick leave.
Office desks are known to carry many germs. But they’re less dangerous areas if only one person works there. We are usually immune to the germs we already carry.
But how clean is your communal areas:
Each time one of these items are cleaned the risk is minimised.
How long do you want to risk employees’ health?
Does your skin crawl as much as mine did when I first realized these facts? It required a huge clean up process to make me sleep sound at night. How do the employees at your office feel about the general hygiene? Their paranoia may not be displaced. If cleanliness isn’t a priority you won’t pick up on potential dangers.
Written by John Stuart on behalf of dailypoppins.co.uk
|Office cleaning checklist||05/09/2017|
When it comes to tackling office cleaning duties, create an office cleaning checklist like this. It's the first step to having a clean and tidy office environment. First of all, and before starting your office cleaning duties, tidy up, paying attention to floors and work surfaces.
How to keep your desk tidy
Be disciplined at your desk. Don't allow waste to build up.
Use accessories such as desk and drawer organisers to properly store pens, scissors, post-it notes and so on.
Keep surfaces clear, especially at the end of the day, so cleaning can be done.
File away paperwork in filing cabinets.
Wash up cups and plates.
Empty waste baskets under your desk every day.
Dust will accumulate in your office and, if you're not careful, it'll build up over time, lingering around your computer and wherever there's a flat surface.
Before vacuuming, surfaces should be thoroughly dusted on a regular basis. Office spaces can be more prone to dust, for example, if paper shredders are in use. Too much dust can aggravate, or even cause, allergies.
Only dust clear surfaces. You'll be wasting your time trying to dust around paperwork and general clutter.
Dust from top to bottom so you naturally catch dust falling from higher places, e.g. high shelves as you work your way down.
Use a microfibre duster for the best possible results. These pick up dust really well and you can machine wash and air-dry them easily.
If there's a heavy build-up of dust, make sure you use a damp cloth or duster. This will pick up thicker layers of dust without scattering it far and wide.
Don't neglect ceiling fans, vents and light fittings. Although these may not need dusting as often as desks etc., they still need regular cleaning.
Remember to clean door handles, light switches, window ledges and skirting boards. You can dust or vacuum these then wipe them down with a multi-purpose cleaner.
Pay attention to safety when dusting high places. Never stand on desks or chairs and always use suitable access equipment, e.g. step ladders.
For vents, use your brush vacuum attachment then wipe down the vent with a duster or cloth. You can get reusable, washable vent filters, which help to create a healthier environment.
Cleaning electronic equipment
All electronic equipment has vents for cooling and it's essential that these remain clean, unblocked and not covered by paper, etc.
Dust vents on electronic equipment as well as the equipment itself. You can also (carefully) use a vacuum attachment.
Use a damp cloth or commercial screen cleaner to clean a computer screen or TV but, first, turn off the equipment.
Antistatic cleaners can protect against dust and are effective on audio and video equipment computer casings, faxes, phones, printers and TVs.
For keyboards, compressed air dusters are ideal but need to be used with care so the dust isn't pushed further into the device.
Turn keyboards upside down and blast with compressed air between the keys. Alternatively, a mini vacuum cleaner will do the same job.
Wipe the keys with a clean, damp cloth or cotton swabs. Don't spray cleaning products directly onto the keyboard as this will cause the keys to stick.
Vacuuming and mopping floors
After clearing rubbish, dusting and cleaning, it's time to vacuum. This not only removes dirt and loose particles but prolongs the life of office carpets and flooring.
Regular vacuuming increases the periods between essential carpet cleaning. The more foot traffic a carpet gets, the more vacuuming it needs. Therefore, vacuum areas in high use areas on a daily basis.
Vacuum thoroughly under desks, tables, chairs, waste bins and other easy-to-move items.
Don't neglect room corners, skirting and behind doors.
Use tools like the crevice attachment for detailed vacuuming in hard-to-reach areas.
For efficient vacuuming, start in one area and work around the room in a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction.
Vacuuming before you mop will save you time and energy.
Mop hard floors with a specialist floor cleaner or a multi-purpose cleaner diluted in water according to instructions.
For hygiene reasons, use a dedicated bucket and mop for general areas such as corridors and keep these separate from the mop and bucket for your kitchen and those for your toilet areas.
Cleaning toilet areas
Mop toilet floors and empty bins daily.
Wearing gloves, use a cloth and antibacterial cleaner to wipe down all surfaces, including sinks, toilet seats, flushes, cisterns and door handles.
Always use a separate cloth and floor mop for toilet areas to those that you use for all other office areas.
Thoroughly clean toilets and urinals using your cloth and cleaner around the lip and entire toilet bowl. Use the toilet brush to scrub particularly stubborn areas.
Cleaning kitchen areas
Wearing gloves, wipe down all surfaces and clean the sink and taps using a cloth and antibacterial surface cleaner.
Wash up or load the dishwasher on a daily basis.
Clean inside and outside microwaves and fridges and other appliances.
Empty rubbish and wipe down the bin.
Don't forget to wipe light switches and skirting boards.
Vacuum and then mop the floor using your dedicated kitchen mop and bucket.
Written by London and Manchester-based cleaning company Cleanology
|A short guide to conservatory cleaning||03/08/2017|
No matter where your cleaning company is based, there’s bound to be a conservatory that desperately needs cleaning on a street near you, writes Robert Findley, owner of Polished Plastics.
From my own personal experience with over a decade of business and becoming the leading UPVC cleaning company in the North East of England, I know that people pay considerable money to have wood replaced with UPVC in their homes. Yet all too often I see it left without proper cleaning care and maintenance, clogged up with dirt, stained yellow and a filthy habitat for moss and algae.
I have compiled this short 5 step guide from my own hands-on experience in the industry. I hope it helps other cleaning companies add conservatory cleaning or gutter cleaning services to their list of services. They are both a great source of repeat income and can often lead to being asked to quote for bigger repair or replacement jobs.
The professional way to clean a conservatory that I’ve split up into 5 stages is very simple and incredibly effective. Conservatory cleaning is a relatively easy yet great service that you can offer and it can be a terrific addition to a window cleaning round. When done properly the results can be stunning and a source of more referral work.
Find out how to give UPVC a like-new feel by following my 5 steps below.
The conservatory cleaning process
Step 1: Start by assessing the conservatory in question to figure out what tools you’re going to need. Power washers and telescopic poles are useful tools for the hard to reach areas. Power washers are also ideal for removing plant material and other loose dirt. Just be careful what setting you have the lance on as too powerful a setting can remove old window seals. The rest of your conservatory cleaning tools should consist of other general equipment you already have such as sponges, cloths and squeegees.
Heavy dirt, algae, moss and more should be completely removed with water or a power washer before you move onto the next step. If you’re cleaning the conservatory roof as well as the windows, doors and sides, ensure that you’ve got a sturdy ladder or set of steps to power wash from – it’s not wise to be standing on the conservatory as you’re cleaning it.
Once you have removed the loose debris give the conservatory a little time to dry. This is an ideal time to clean other UPVC such as the front door or empty the gutters.
I’d always recommend keeping your conservatory cleaning tools separate to other cleaning tools you may use, simply because UPVC can be damaged or stained by abrasive cleaning materials if there are any chemicals left on tools after use.
Step 2: Once the conservatory has dried a little we apply an industrial solvent to the frames and roof panels. The reason we wait until the conservatory has dried is that the solvent works better when it is not thinned down by excess water. The solvent should do the work for you removing staining and stubborn dirt as well as scuff marks.
Step 3: Using your sponges and brushes, lather up a bucket of warm cream cleaner and sponge down the UPVC. Don’t worry if you’re getting it all over the windows and on the ground outside as your non-abrasive cleaner should be non-toxic and easy to rinse off with water once finished.
Step 4: Rinse off the cream cleaner, then apply a TFR cleaner with Aquawax to the frames paying extra attention to any lingering stains or marks that need a little extra work to lift off.
Step 5: Now it’s time to clean the glass, you can use the simple glass cleaner you’re probably already using with a squeegee to remove water from the windows, doors and UPVC and give it a good shine until it looks like new.
Using the glass cleaner on the UPVC as well as the glass gives it a real “like new” shine, plus most glass cleaners tend to be anti-static, repelling dirt and keeping the conservatory cleaner for longer. Lastly, we recommend drying the frames of the conservatory with a towel. If you want to go the extra mile like I do, you can use an additional wax to give that extra clean sparkling finish.
I’ve just got one last tip for you before you get going: if you plan to clean the interior of the conservatory too, you’ll need a set of step ladders to reach the higher parts of the roof.
And that’s it! A very simple addition to your cleaning services, but one that can provide clients with very impressive results when you clean like a professional.
|Is deep carpet cleaning possible without harsh chemicals?||03/07/2017|
Interior designers are well versed with the fact that carpets and rugs play a crucial role in decorating a house. Carpets are available in a variety of patterns and designs, allowing them to complete the overall decor and look that residents want.
Carpet can help to break up existing dull colours and patterns in a house or facility while providing good insulation and preventing the floor from becoming slippery. Despite all these benefits, it can be a hassle to clean carpets. It usually boils down to the owner not being able to keep it clean. It is common for people and children to bring in dirt and dust from outside and spill things on carpets.
While cleaning the stains and spills from carpets involves the use of harsh chemicals and toxins, it is not always a safe option, especially if you have children at home. Household cleaning products contain chemicals which may affect the eyes, airways, skin of young children and may lead to serious health complications. The good news is that there are ways to clean the carpets and rugs while being green.
There are eco-friendly carpet cleaning machines, vacuum cleaners and non-toxic home cleaners which can be used to remove the toughest stains and keep the carpet clean without using harsh chemicals.
People who find it difficult taking time out to dedicate to carpet cleaning may bring in a green professional to clean the carpets of a house using eco-friendly methods and cleaning procedures which are safe both for children and pets at home. They make use of chemical-free and organic solutions and products that clean the carpets and remove the stains, while keeping your house green and safe.
Optimal home maintenance is more than just knowing how to clean the carpets and rugs of your house and dealing with nasty stains. If you overlook the condition of the carpets of your house and don’t clean it on a regular basis, then you may have a hard time removing stains out of the carpet later. Specialised organic vacuum cleaners can remove dust mites, dirt and heavy stains from carpets without causing allergic reactions. These cleaners never use any harsh chemicals to deep clean the carpets.
The market is flooded with a complete range of eco-friendly carpet cleaning systems that are designed with high performance speciality technology and systems that are radically advanced compared to other cleaning systems. The advanced technology integrated in eco-friendly cleaners provide moisture controlled cleaning with increased cleaning productivity and impressive times compared to other carpet extractors in the market.
Written by Bijay Ghimire from http://topcarpetcleaningmachines.com
|Cleaning London's building facades: the challenges and the solutions||23/06/2017|
London is an amazing city filled with beautiful heritage buildings, and an increasing array of modern builds and iconic skyscrapers (The Gherkin, Walkie Talkie, Shard and Cheesegrater are to name but a few). As with any modern city, traffic fumes and pollution, along with graffiti and excessive bird droppings make the job of cleaning building façades a truly difficult one.
While modern architecture does incorporate cleaning solutions into the building design, heritage buildings require ever more care to protect the integrity of their often intricate façades. Modern technology, advanced cleaning methods and increasingly efficient and effective cleaning solutions are enabling cleaners to keep the façades of London's trickier buildings cleaner than ever before.
Here are some of the challenges faced by London cleaning companies, along with some of their solutions...
City pollution and grime
Dealing with London's pollution and grime is an on-going challenge. Exhaust fumes and everyday grime is evident on many of London's buildings, especially those that don't get the luxury of a regular clean. It's not just the façades that suffer. Guttering, rooftops, windows and sills all require continuing maintenance and cleaning.
With air pollution an ongoing problem in London (air pollution levels earlier this year surpassed that of Beijing according to a report in The Telegraph, London's building cleaners look set to continue to have plenty of work.
Interesting developments were reported in The Evening Standard recently with news of a ground breaking building material that reverses the impact of air pollution by absorbing harmful airborne chemicals and releasing cleaner air.
Modern architecture has definitely proved a challenge for cleaning companies. It may seem that façade access isn't a consideration taken seriously by the modern architects of London's odd-shaped buildings, but it does in fact have a great impact on the design.
The Gherkin, formerly the Swiss Re Tower, was designed by Norman Foster. He consulted façade access company Reef during the development of the design. Its odd shape was a conundrum in terms of façade access. Architects don't like clumsy access equipment on show, because it messes with the sleek lines of their building design. Reef's solution was to create a device that slides out of a hole in the side of the building on rails that reaches both above and below for easy access cleaning.
Access is definitely a problem for many of London's cleaning companies working on the weird and wonderful shaped buildings across London's skyline. Abseilers, cherry pickers, cradles and hydraulic equipment are often required for hard-to-reach places.
And it's not just an issue with height. Awkwardly placed buildings can make access with cleaning equipment difficult.
Façade cleaning techniques have improved dramatically over the years. The DOFF and TORC cleaning systems are examples of technological advancement offering safe cleaning solutions for heritage buildings. Steam-based cleaning avoids the use of the heavy and potentially damaging abrasives used to clean building façades in the past.
The DOFF and TORC methods can effectively remove moss, algae, fungi and any biological matter. There's no use of chemicals and 150°C temperatures of the DOFF system kills any spores, keeping buildings cleaner for longer. The TORC system uses a small amount of water, a fine substrate and low pressure to create a swirling vortex suitable for cleaning a wide range of different stone. It is effective in removing carbon sulphation, paint residues, lime scale, oil based paints, bitumen and lime or cement based paints. Cleaning heritage building façades has definitely moved on with protective cleaning solutions playing a part in building preservation.
High rise issues
Cleaning London's tallest buildings isn't for those without a head for heights. The only practical way to clean some buildings is by using abseilers dangling from ropes attached to the building. This requires specialist equipment and specialist training. Some more modern high-rise buildings have cleaning solutions built into their design, as in the aforementioned infamous Gherkin building. The high level cleaning London requires is increasing as more high-rise buildings make their way amongst London's skyline.
New technologies are contributing to effective building façade cleaning solutions across the city, but with air pollution a continuing problem in inner cities, grime and pollution will continue to take their toll. As for the future…
A recent report in The Independent showcased an envisioned three-mile-high skyscraper built from materials that are either in-development or have already been brought to market, including smog-eating surfaces and retractable balconies. The design was concocted by Arconics, a materials science company, working alongside futurists to imagine the technologies that will be most useful several decades from now. The future of the modern building façade looks bright, and very shiny! As for now, London's cleaning companies have their work cut out.
Written by Mike James, in conjunction with Cleaning Industrial Solutions.
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