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Janitorial Supplies: 3 Tips for Cutting Costs Not Corners

janitorial suppliesThese days just about every business owner is trying to cut costs. Unfortunately, cutting costs can easily snowball into cutting corners – especially for professional cleaners. And this challenge is becoming even more difficult as the total cost of janitorial supplies continues to rise across the globe.

So how can professional cleaners cut back on costs without comprising the health and safety of their facility? Check out our tips below!

1) Purchase Your Janitorial Supplies Online

Just like any other online shopping experience, purchasing janitorial products on the web is a great way to increase efficiency. You’ll have access to countless manufacturers, wholesale suppliers and big box stores – where you’ll then have the option to purchase all of your supplies in one fell swoop or pick-and-chose as you see economically fit. In some cases, you might also benefit from decreased costs. Most online stores have a lower overhead cost, which means you’ll also see a drop in your final bill.

2) Always Buy Products in Bulk

Assuming you have enough storage space handy, buying in bulk is by far one of the best ways to greatly reduce cost. Because they’ll be receiving a large influx of cash flow, most wholesalers are willing to give significant discounts on bulk orders. Never settle on the first bid though – shop around at different wholesalers to makes sure you’re getting the best prices possible.

3) Purchase Green Commercial Cleaning Products

While it’s not always possible to purchase all green cleaning products, you should when you can. The initial costs might seem higher, but in the long run you’ll save money in a number of ways:

  • First, green products use less packaging – which translates into lower shipping costs.
  • Second, environmentally-friendly cleaning products are non-toxic. As a result, professional cleaners are at a lower risk of work-related injuries (and subsequent workman’s comp).
  • Third, green cleaners are kinder to building surfaces. This means your facility will experience less wear and tear related to chemical cleaner exposure over time.

National Purity is a national leader in janitorial supplies. Contact us to learn more about our competitive prices and extensive product list.

Image Credit: Flickr

How-To: Sustainable Cleaning in the Workplace

green cleaning
Increased efficiency, reduced costs and brand enhancement are just a few benefits associated with going green. Unfortunately many small business owners fail to recognize that adopting a culture of sustainability begins with the cleaning process.

Sustainable cleaning in the workplace is an easy starting point for small companies that wish to reduce their carbon footprint without spending an excess of time or money. It’s a simple, cost-effective initiative that your company can implement right away.

So where do you start?

Cleaning Products

Most commercial cleaning products contain a brew of toxic chemicals that are harmful to both the environment and the health of your employees. Inversely, environmentally-friendly cleaning products contain fewer pollutants and subsequently clean more safely. They also require less packaging than traditional commercial cleaning products. When hiring a commercial cleaning company, make sure they specialize in certified green cleaning products and practices.

Daytime Cleaning

Traditionally most businesses have hired contract cleaners to address building sanitation and cleaning duties during off-peak hours. These days however, more and more companies are shifting towards a new daytime cleaning policy because it reduces both energy consumption and light pollution. If you can manage to implement a daytime cleaning program, your company will be considerably more sustainable and cost-efficient.

Waste Management

Every business creates waste, but many fail to realize that much of this waste is recyclable. Establishing a recycling program is the best way to make sure reusable materials aren’t ending up in landfills. A good recycling program requires effort from everyone on the team to be effective. If your business only generates a small amount of recyclables, you may want to consider partnering with neighboring businesses so that you can qualify for pick-up by a commercial recycler or waste hauler.

Struggling Restaurant Owner Makes Shift to Successful Restaurant Cleaning Business

restaurant cleaning
If you’re a small business owner in today’s gloomy economic climate, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have your own niche. Just ask Taylor Smith – a restaurant owner turned restaurant cleaner.

With years of restaurant experience under his belt, Smith knew the industry inside-out when he left in 2012 to pursue his own cleaning company.

Carving Out a Niche in Restaurant Cleaning

His company CJS Global, which focuses on in-depth restaurant cleaning, offers more than your average janitorial services company. They use green commercial cleaning products to service not only the dining and restroom areas, but also the commercial kitchen equipment as well.

If you’re in the cleaning business, you know that cleaning commercial kitchen equipment is a far cry from tackling a traditional office building. And unfortunately, most restaurant owners still lean on cooking and wait staff to do most of the heavy cleaning.

Not surprisingly, Smith’s specialized services, reliance on green commercial cleaning products and eye for detail have served him well. His team of 150 employees do it all – from oven cleaners to fryer degreasers.

Shaping Passion and Resilience into a Profitable Business

In the past year, he’s secured the business of more than 100 hospitality clients in the South Florida are. In fact, business has been so successful that Smith intends to expand his services to Los Angeles within the year.

So what’s his secret to success? He simply doesn’t accept failure – even during tough times.

“No matter how much I lose, I know I can make it and wake up and it’s a fresh day.”

If you’re thinking about starting up your own business, or maybe you’re feeling a little disillusioned after a previous loss, Smith has a few words of encouragement to pass along:

“You always have to believe in yourself. If you do, you can get anywhere. It’s worked for me.”

Image Credit: Flickr

Cleaner Work Spaces Mean Less Sick Days

sick dayIf you work in an office, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve touched a doorknob, a keyboard, a copier and a whole slew of other germ hotspots today. And depending on how clean they were, you could be passing on harmful bacteria to your co-workers and family.

According to Stephen Collins, founder of a 35-year full-service cleaning service in Massachusetts, employee health is closely related to the cleanliness of their work environment – especially during cold winter months.

“Commercial buildings are buttoned up tight in the winter, but reduced fresh air flow along and the arrival of the cold and flu season means workplaces are an ideal place for the growth and spread of germs – and a dramatic jump in sick days. Besides a person’s health, cleanliness of the work environment has a direct effect on employees’ health, mood, productivity and attendance.”

Laboratory studies have shown that cold and flu germs can remain on surfaces for 48 hours or longer – especially on surfaces like stainless steel, plastic and similarly hard surfaces. Other factors such as temperature and humidity can have an effect of the life cycle of germs outside of the body.

If the conditions below sound like your office, then it’s time to clean up your act:

  • Employees work long hours in close proximity to their co-workers
  • Employees regularly eat meals in their work space
  • Employees sneeze, cough or yawn without covering their mouth
  • Employees don’t wash their hands after using the restroom

So what’s the best way to keep your employees healthy?

Though you can’t always control employee behavior, you can ensure a clean work space. Regularly cleaning and regularly sanitizing commonly touched or handled surfaces around the office are two of the best ways to keep your employees healthy.

Encouraging hand washing with hand soap is also an important way to prevent the spread of infection. Hands should be washed frequently with soap or with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (though hand soap is always preferable).

 

Reduce Chemical Cleaners and Increase Building Safety with Strategic Matting

building matsEntryway mats do more than just cover your floors. They absorb dirt and liquids as people enter and walk through your facility. This process not only keeps your floors clean, it reduces the risk of slip-and-fall injuries and decreases maintenance costs in the long run.

Think about all of the money you’re facility spends annually on chemical cleaners, mops, brooms, machines and labor. If you want to protect these investments, you’ve got to think strategically about floor matting.

We realize the idea of thinking ‘strategically about floor matting’ might sound silly at first, but check out the stats below:

  • When high traffic areas are left untouched, a square foot of carpet can easily accumulate one-pound of dirt per week (twice that in inclement weather).
  • ISSA estimates that the total cost of finding and removing one-pound of dirt will cost your payroll $600 on average.
  • According to the Institute of Industrial Launderers, 70-80% of dirt and grime is tracked indoors from the feet of individuals entering the building.
  • Without proper matting, the risk of falls and injury are significantly increased.
  • Nearly one-third of workman’s compensation claims related to slip-and-fall injuries – with the average cost exceeding $4,000.

Matting Location is Key

The first step to an effective matting strategy is proper placement. You need mats in the following areas:

  • All entrance areas
  • High spillage areas (e.g., near the coffee maker)
  • High traffic areas (e.g., elevators and hallways)
  • Reception and workstation areas

Determining the Best Type of Mat

Not all mats are created equal. There are several different categories – each serving a very different purpose:

  • Scrapers – These mats are designed to aggressively scrape grime and soil from the bottom of shoes. They belong outside of your facility.
  • Wipers – These mats absorb moisture and soil from the bottom of shoes. They should be placed inside of your facility before walkers reach the actual floor.
  • Wiper/Scrapers – These intermediate mats should be placed after a traditional scraper mat, but before a wiper mat (usually within a door entryway).
  • Ergonomic – These mats increase bounce, comfort and support. They’re intended to reduce worker fatigue and are ideal for internal, high traffic areas like hallways.

Though it’s a simple concept, matting is a frequently overlooked building cleaning and maintenance strategy. Implementing an effective tactic is a sure-fire way increase your facility’s bottom line.

Stay tuned for more cost-saving commercial cleaning and maintenance tips from the National Purity blog.

Restaurant Management 101: Employee Hand Washing

employee hand washing
It’s no secret that regular hand washing is essential to good hygiene. This is especially true in restaurant environments, where food contamination can run rampant under unhygienic circumstances.

If you want to prevent the spread of microorganisms and bacteria in your restaurant, it’s important that your employees understand the basics of hand washing – before they begin serving your customers.

How should employees wash their hands?

Hand washing compliance starts with the right supplies. Your employees certainly can’t do an effective job without the basics:

When washing, your employees should begin by wetting their hands and forearms. Next they should add a pump of foaming hand soap. The soap should be rubbed over the surface of the skin – making sure to get the fingers, wrists and under the nails.

Approximately 20 seconds of rubbing and lathering should occur before rinsing. We’ve all heard tricks like sing happy birthday or say your ABC’s while you wash, but in most cases that’s doesn’t allow enough time for a thorough washing.

Once 20 seconds have passed, the soap should be rinsed away with warm running water, followed by a complete drying with paper towels or a hand dryer. It’s important to point out that employees should not dry their hands using their pants or apron. This can re-contaminate the hands.

When should employees be washing their hands?

  • In advance of food preparation. Food preparation is defined as working with any food equipment and utensils.
  • Any time the hands coming in touch with bare skin (e.g., touching their face or hair).
  • After using the restroom.
  • After touching or handling an animal.
  • Any time an employee sneezes or coughs.
  • Several times throughout the food preparation process to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Prior to presenting food to customers.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Preventing Harm: Tips for Cleaning Foodservice Floors

restaurant cleaning
When it comes to floor cleaning, restaurants, commercial kitchens, and other foodservice areas are some of the most difficult to handle.

Unlike restrooms, where contaminants are mostly water-soluble (and therefore easier to clean), foodservice floors are home to a variety of soils mixed with grease, oil and whatever else has been tracked in from outside. And because most foodservice areas are high traffic throughout the day, floors need to be cleaned multiple times throughout the day.

While the problem might seem simple for a commercial cleaning professional, most restaurants and foodservice providers don’t have the budget to hire a professional. Instead, they rely on regular employees (e.g., cooks, cashiers and servers) to do the brunt of the work.

Foodservice Employee Training Needs to Include Commercial Cleaning & Maintenance Education

In addition to purchasing the right cleaning products (every non-slip foodservice floor starts with a floor degreaser) and cleaning equipment (brooms, mops, etc.), you need to reinforce employee behaviors. A thorough cleaning education program should include the following:

  • Management should compile a comprehensive cleaning & maintenance guide
  • Employees who go above and beyond should be recognized and rewarded
  • Cleaning & maintenance best practices should be demonstrated though extensive training

Though many restaurant owners and managers might frown at the additional costs associated with comprehensive training, they could end up saving a lot in the long run. Many liability issues related to slips, falls and other cleaning dangers can easily be prevented through proper cleaning tools and preventative processes.

A working commercial kitchen environment will always be a dangerous environment, so it’s important to make employee safety and health a top priority.

If you’re looking for high quality degreasers for your commercial kitchen, you can count on National Purity. We carry an extensive line of kitchen degreasers and environmentally degreasers.

Image Credit: Flickr

Our Comprehensive Restaurant Kitchen Cleaning Checklist

restaurant cleaning
As we’ve previously discussed, there’s nothing more disgusting to a customer than a dirty restaurant – and the same goes for behind-the-scenes. If you want to keep your customers healthy and happy, you’ve got to keep your kitchen spic-and-span.

Checkout the checklist below:

Throughout a Shift Cleaning Checklist

  • Brush grill in between cooking meat, poultry and fish
  • Wipe down countertops and prep areas
  • Switch and/or clean cutting boards
  • Empty trash bins
  • Switch out cleaning rags and sanitizing water
  • Restock supplies

After Shift Cleaning Checklist (breakfast, lunch and dinner)

  • Clean fryers, grills, grease traps, slicers and other pertinent kitchen equipment
  • Change foil liners on stoves, grills and flattops
  • Run hood filters through dishwasher
  • Sanitize and wipe down all cooking surfaces
  • Sweep and mop the floors and wipe down floor mats
  • Place all aprons (and other kitchen-specific clothing) in laundry
  • Cover all food bins with plastic wrap

Weekly Cleaning Checklist

  • Scrub dirt and grime off of sinks and faucets
  • Empty out and sanitize coolers and refrigerators
  • Clean oven (always follow manufacturer’s instructions), coffee machine and other kitchen equipment
  • Use drain cleaners to clear out floor drains

Monthly Cleaning Checklist

  • Use degreaser behind ovens, stoves and fryers to prevent grease fires.
  • Clean out freezers
  • Calibrate thermometers and ovens
  • Scrub down walls, doors, cupboards and dry storage area
  • Empty out ice machine and sanitize

It’s important to remember that a cleaning checklist is only the first step to maintaining a clean kitchen. Your employees need routine training, the right equipment and cleaning supplies and of course regular encouragement to get the job done right on a daily basis, weekly and monthly basis.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Why Cleaning Trumps Cooking in the Restaurant Business

restaurant cleaningIn a high-production food service environment, it can be easy to let some things go unnoticed – especially in the cleaning department. If this sounds like you, you’re probably doing some serious harm to the long-term success of your restaurant.

With the high visibility of reality shows like Kitchen Nightmares and Restaurant: Impossible, consumers are finding it more and more difficult to turn a blind eye to mediocre cleaning standards.

Restaurant cleanliness “might be the most important marketing job in your restaurant”

In a recent piece published on QSRweb.com, Ed Zimmerman, founder of The Food Connector, elaborates on the issue of dining room and bathroom cleanliness.

According to Zimmerman, restaurant cleanliness “might be the most important marketing job in your restaurant,” especially with today’s fast-paced consumer review process:

“Great food paired with great service is not always enough to win great restaurant reviews. You must offer those items in a clean, safe environment where consumers feel comfortable. In these days of consumer safety and YELP, you cannot afford to be less than clean.”

Zimmerman’s Restaurant Cleaning Tips

#1 Survey Your Restaurant

Grab a clipboard and survey your restaurant. List all elements of operation e.g., hallways and entryways, host station and carryout area, dining room, bathrooms, all doors, tables and chairs (on top and underneath), salt and pepper shakes, etc.

#2 Create a List of Improvements

Walk around and rate the condition of each element on your list. Is there anything appears less than sparkling clean? Is anything in need of a fresh coat of paint? Is anything in disrepair? Though time-consuming, running through everything item-by-item will take the big picture out of focus so you can see the small details.

#3 Prioritize Your Time

Once you’ve got a comprehensive list in front of you, it’s time to prioritize. Clean/repair all of the small items first. If your staff is too busy – you need to hire an outside commercial cleaning company. Once the small stuff is taken care of, it’s time to shift your attention to areas that are visible to customers. Some elbow grease and a little paint can really go a long way.

#4 Shift Focus to the Exterior

Don’t forget the outside exterior of your restaurant. Upgrades like replacing light bulbs, re-striping lines in your parking lot and re-painting can dramatically improve the image of your restaurant and give customers a greater sense of safety. If you can, negotiate these with your landlord.

If you want to succeed in the restaurant business, it’s important to think like a customer. And really, nothing makes it more difficult to enjoy a good meal than a dirty or unkempt space.

When you’re ready to clean up your restaurant, you can count on National Purity. We carry all of the bulk cleaning supplies you’ll need to keep your restaurant in tip-top shape.

Image Credit: Flickr

The Hidden Dangers of Commercial Cleaning Residue

By now, most of us are aware that chemical cleaning products aren’t very good for the environment or for our bodies. But what about the residue left behind after cleaning, is that harmful too?

The vast majority of chemical cleaning products we use to maintain facilities are made from some type of soap, oil or surfactant. As a result, residues can gradually build up over time – though they may be hidden from the naked eye.

Whether or not these residues are harmful ultimately depends on the chemistry of the solution being used. Generally speaking, the more toxic a chemical cleaner is – the greater the health risk.

Risks associated with cleaning chemical residue:

  • Dangerously slippery floors or other surfaces – When a surface feels slick or slippery following a thorough cleaning, this is a good indication that residue has been left behind.
  • Food for microbes – Residual product provides a food source for microbes – which cause the surface to become re-contaminated – increasing the need for additional cleaning.
  • Indoor air quality issues – Chemical residues can become airborne, aggravating asthma, allergies and other respiratory issues.

Chemical residues not only pose health and safety risks for building occupants, they also might contribute to building degradation over time.

So what can you do to prevent chemical residue?

Environmentally-friendly cleaning products!

Unfortunately there aren’t many chemical cleaning products that are residue-free. But there are a variety of green commercial cleaning products like soap-free detergents that can service as a great first step towards eliminating safety and health risks. Some solvents and team vapor systems are also good examples of residue-free chemistry, but they may not be as kind to the environment.

Cleaning with green rinse-free products from the start is the best way to eliminate build-up over time. At National Purity, we carry a variety of green all-purpose cleaners, green soaps and green degreasers. Learn more about our products.