The UK's Local Government Association (LGA) has called on chewing gum manufacturers to help take a bite out of the costs of cleaning up discarded pieces of gum, or create a biodegradable alternative. The LGA, which represents over 400 councils from across the UK, says that companies who produce chewing gum - such as Wrigley and Orbit - should help cover the cleaning costs. Kris Hopkins, the local government minister tabled the idea this week and was backed by the Keep Britain Tidy campaign. Conservative estimates suggest cleaning up gum trodden in to pavements costs some £56 million per year - the LGA suggested that whilst gum costs as little as 3p per piece to buy, councils and authorities have to pay as much as £1.50 per piece to have it cleaned up. LGA spokesman and environmental councillor Peter Box said: "Chewing gum is a plague on our pavements. It is a blight which costs councils a fortune to clean up and takes hours of hard work to remove. It's ugly, it's unsightly and it's unacceptable. "The UK gum industry is a multi-million pound business and we believe in the principle of the ‘polluter' paying. We are calling for [firms] to show corporate responsibility and to contribute." Chewing gum isn't often thought of as a cleaning 'hot topic' - however, as a commercial cleaning company, we see more than our fair share of discarded gum end up in all sorts of places. With that in mind, we'd certainly see the appeal of a biodegradable gum. Mr Hopkins of the LGA agreed, saying, "We would be keen for manufacturers to take forward making their gum biodegradable." A spokesperson for Wrigley, said the company took the issue "very seriously" and were attempting to develop a product "that is easier to remove if disposed of improperly". She added: "The only long-term solution to this problem is persuading people to dispose of their chewing gum responsibly, as the large majority already do."
Whilst not something you'll find us using when it comes to cleaning offices in London, little robots like the Roomba hav started to invade living rooms and kitchens across the globe. And according to several manufacturers at CES '13, there could soon be robots helping out in more ways than just vacuuming by the end of the year. For those who don't follow it, CES is the Consumer Electronics Show, and is held every year in Las Vegas, Nevada. Typically held at the very start of a new year, CES gives gadget-lovers a chance to see the electronics that will be changing their lives in the coming year. This year, we're taking a look at the two cleaning robots that stole the show. iRobot Looj [caption id="attachment_523" align="alignright" width="470" caption="Cleaning Robots - iRobot Looj"][/caption] If there's one cleaning job many can't stand - it's cleaning the gutters. If you don't want horrible damp, overspill down your walls or moisture seeping into your roof, you're going to have to get the ladders out and get arm-deep in gunk at least once a year. But the iRobot Looj could be set to alleviate the most unpleasant part of that chore. Whilst it does need to be placed into the gutter by human hands (don't get rid of the ladders just yet) the Looj is capable of being submerged in up to 8 inches of water, and will scoot through the gutter displacing debris. Capable of changing its angle of attack and other cleaning factors by sensing the severity/density of the debris, the Looj can scurry up to 200ft off a single charge. We want one already. Ecovacs Winbot 7 [caption id="attachment_524" align="alignright" width="470" caption="Cleaning Robots - evovacs winbot 7"][/caption] Whilst the name is more reminiscent of a Microsoft operating system, the Winbot 7 from Ecovacs is most definitely geared to towards the more traditional type of Windows. Whilst we've seen window-cleaning robots before, most have been two-part systems that rely on magnets to 'sandwich' the glass to stay vertical - limiting how thick the glass can be before it simply falls off. The Winbot 7 uses two concentric suction rings to cling to glass of any thickness to provide awesome robo-window cleaning on any type of glass. With the windows, carpets and gutters now being taken care of by robots, we're counting down our days as London office cleaners until the robot-revolution! Just kidding! What robo-cleaning device do you want to see?
Whilst the glitz and glamour of the Oscars, BAFTA's Tony's and Emmy's might still be a month away, award season kicked off early this year as the 2012 Loo of the Year nominees were given their just rewards. Whilst they might sound like a slightly hokey ceremony, the Loo of the Year awards are actually serious business in the cleaning world. Having just celebrated their 25th year, the Loo of the Year awards reward excellence in maintaining safe, accessible and sanitary washrooms across several different categories. Previous winners include McDonald's, ASDA and The Trafford Centre in Manchester - as well as 2010's winners JD Wetherspoon's. This year, however, the spoils went to the hard-working contract cleaners at Staffordshire County Council, for their continued excellence across a wide range of council-operated facilities. Other nominated companies and commercial bodies included McDonald's in England, whilst JD Wetherspoon public houses scooped a prize for their accessibility and Eurostar Passenger Terminals bagged a prive for changing facilities. Here's hoping for a few more London councils and companies to get nominated in 2013!
Whilst office cleaning in London is our area of expertise - we've got to extend some serious props to the men and women of Duggan & Associates - a company currently tasked with a mammoth task on the other side of the pond; cleaning the famous 'Hollywood' sign. The iconic 50-foot high letters celebrate their 90th anniversary next year, and - as with any big occasion - you want the guest of honour to be at their most presentable. Which is when the State of California has employed specialist cleaning and painting agencies - like D&A - to spruce up one of the most beloved landmarks in cinema history. Situated at the top of Mount Lee, workers will be working on platform lifts throughout the winter to get the sign ready for it's close-up. According to the Hollywood Sign Trust, the operation will take 8 to 10 weeks and use 275 gallons of paint to bring the sign back to it's best. A statement from the Hollywood Sign Trust described the commercial cleaning undertaking as the biggest maintenance operation the sign has received in over 35 years. Erected in 1923, the sign read "Hollywoodland" until 1949. It remained as 'Hollywood' until 1978, when the sign was demolished completely and a new sign revealed 3 months later.
Following the late 90's move away from chlorofluorocarbon solvents (CFCs to the uninitiated), another major shake up could be coming to every corner of the cleaning industry, as new regulations are being trialled in the US. The OTC - or O-Zone Transport Commission - has been tasked with achieving better air quality by the Federal Clean Air Act - and one of the ways it's aiming to do so is cutting down on VOC's - Volatile Organic Compounds. Whilst you might not have heard of the term VOC before, you will have heard of the compounds that fall under it's umbrella; Formaldehyde, Benzene and byproducts of seemingly innocuous appliances like office cleaning equipment and cleaners. In fact, anything that involves heating-up something to use it (laser printers, floor cleaners, carpet treaters) does have a chance to produce a VOC as a by-product/ Whilst only coming into effect in the US this month, it won't be too long before London office cleaning companies like ourselves will have to make the adjustments to our cleaning methods - but rest assured - we'll be fully compliant when it does arrive on our shores!
Mould - of all the signs that something is in need of a good clean, this is the one with the most negative attitudes directed at it. Whilst you can usually get away with a dusty surface or a mug that's seen one teabag too many, any visitor to your office is going to assume the worst if they see and mould growing on your window seals or ceiling. Which is a shame, as mould can grow essentially wherever there is moisture and it's a fairly common in just about every building. But the good news is, it's as clean-able as it is fast-growing - and we've got ten tips to help you break the mould when cleaning your office or workplace: 1. The Number 1 tip for tackling mould is knowing that it feeds on moisture in dark corners - In the words of Sun Tzu; know your enemy. 2. This means reducing humidity in the air. We know from working in London offices during the summer, the air get seem a little 'heavy' - invest in a dehumidifier, especially if you work in a basement. 3. Is mould growing in somewhere seemingly random? Check behind the wallpaper for signs of condensation - you might have a leak from an outside wall, or even worse - problems with a pipe inside your wall. 4. Crack open a window! The easiest way to prevent mould growing is be having fresh air circulating and a way out for moisture. Leave a window open during office hours - this is especially important in office bathrooms. 5. Don't leave any spillages! If someone spills a mop-bucket or there's a leak in the ceiling, you'll have about 24-48 hours before mould will start to take root - dry everything as best as you can, as often as you can to stop this happening! 6. Hard surfaces are just as susceptible to mould as anywhere else - but tend to be cleaned much more easily! A little detergent with warm water will get most spores off. 7. As for softer surfaces like ceiling tiles, your best bet is a thin-bleach solution. Handle with care and be prepared for discolouration on anything other than white, but mixing a thin (not thick bleach, like Domestos) with water will be absorbed more readily by the material - don't leave it on for more than a few minutes, though! 8. If you know a good janitorial supply company (hint, hint…) professional mould cleaner is your secret weapon. It's anti-fungal properties stop the mould growing back, making your cleaning a more worthwhile endeavour. 9. Never just paint over it! Covering a damp or mouldy spot on a wall might make you feel a bit better for a week or so, but masking it in this way only serves to hide a bigger problem. 10. Let the sun shine! Sunlight actually helps remove the staining formed by some strains of mould - so where possible, leave the curtains or blinds open and keep the room well-ventilated for an organic way to remove mould!
Whilst it's been said that a bad workman blames his tools, here at Total Clean, we understand the value of high-quality janitorial supplies to help us in our office-cleaning duties around London (as well as good ol' fashioned elbow grease, of course!) So, here's a guide to a few essential janitorial supplies you'll never find us without... The Kitchen - Bactericidal Cleaner and Disinfectant
After recent studies have revealed just how much of a breeding ground for bacteria the office kitchen can be, everyone wants to be safe in the knowledge their theirs is safe. Whilst this is news to some, we've always known the value of a clean kitchen (it's where you make the tea, after all - and what's more important than tea?) which is why we not only use, but supply super-strength Bactericidal Cleaner and Disinfectant to offices throughout London. Why is the right cleaner and disinfectant so important? As well as making sure it kills 99.999% of bacteria - you also have to make sure your choice of cleaner won't leave a harmful residue when your staff come to prepare their food after use. The Windows - Specialist Window Cleaning Liquid Cleaning windows should be easy; they're big, flat and it's easy to see what you've missed a spot. But if you want streak-free, film-less and dermatologically-friendly clean windows, it sometimes feels like you're asking for the world. We make life as easy as it should be; if you know janitorial supplies like we do, we know exactly which brands and formulas to use for windows of every kind. Floor Treatments and Carpet Cleaning - Carpet Detergents & Rinse-Free Polish For something that gets walked on all day, there's a lot to be said for a clean floor. Which is why we use carpet detergents specially-diluted for high traffic environments like London offices. Team that with a combination of janitorial supplieslike chewing gum remover, spot cleaners and dry foam, and there's no floor we can't bring back to it's best!
Here's a bit of weird news for you, a former street cleaner in Carlisle has thrown down the gauntlet to his old employers claiming he can 'out-clean' any mechanical street sweeper. 46-year-old John Shaw is a formerly 'well-known' street sweeper on the Botcherby estate in Carlisle, recognised by the local council as 'enthusiastic about his work' and even honoured with an achievement certificate during his time under council employ. But relations turned sour after council authorities claimed he was collecting too much rubbish, and was going beyond the call of duty by cleaning up dog fouling. Mr Shaw said: “I was getting 20 to 30 bags full every day and would go home with blisters on my hand. “They said I was bringing in too much rubbish. They wanted me to cut down. In protest, brandished a bag of dog mess at astonished councillors and exchanged heated words with the environment portfolio holder Elsie Martlew before he was escorted from thew council chambers “I brought the dog fouling in to show them that their cleaners haven’t picked it up. It’s all what I collected in Botcherby the previous week. “I’ve been talking to some of the council lads who said it wasn’t in their contract to pick it up. “People pay their council tax and they should get a good service. I have apologised. I lost my cool." Responding to the outburst, Mrs Martlew replied that the council’s new Labour administration had made street cleaning a top priority and is investing an extra £85,00 for two years and buying new street-cleaning machinery. Mr Shaw said: “If it doesn’t get done right and she’s wasted all that money, I would like to challenge one of these new machines. I would go against a Scarab [a type of street cleaner]. I would show them - I’ll give her until next year." What will happen if the council don't respond to Mr. Shaw's duelling challenge is, quite frankly, anybody's guess. Quotes via newsandstar.co.uk
When we stay in a hotel room, the last thing we want to think about is it's cleanliness. But according to a report from the University of Houston, we might well do well to add a bottle of disinfectant into your travel essentials whilst we're taking a break. [caption id="attachment_476" align="aligncenter" width="470"][/caption] After diligently swabbing hotel rooms in Indiana, Texas and South Carolina, researchers have labelled the Television Remote and Bedside lamp topped the list of items in a hotel room most likely to be contaminated by bacteria. It seems that these two hotel room staples are most-commonly glossed over by cleaning staff, who might only give them a light dusting or polish. However, it would seem that many guests are handling the remote or lamp directly after using the bathroom - spreading bacteria. Speaking of bathrooms, as expected, the toilet and bathroom sink were also high on the list, posting exceptionally high levels of coliform bacteria on their surfaces. By contrast, the headboard of hotel beds and the bathroom door handle were found to be the cleanest place in most rooms. Katie Kirsch, an undergraduate who this week presented the results to the general meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, also said that hotel cleaning staffs' mops and sponges were one of the main culprits behind the transference between surfaces, with Ms Kirsch also having the potential to cross-contaminate surfaces between rooms, too. The conclusion of the study praised most hoteliers for their high levels of surface sanitation; but warned of the inconsistency between hotels. You might be surprised to learn that there is no universal cleaning 'code' for hotels - instead leaving it up to the best judgement of the cleaning staff, as well as spot-checks by managers and mystery customers. Most researchers involved with the study suggested implementing the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) to the hotel-room cleaning process. HACCP is a NASA-developed system of cleaning and disinfection; designed to ensure the safety of food for astronauts - though it has been adopted by a number of industries. Here at Total Clean, we don't think contract cleaning needs to be rocket science - in the age of internet reviews and social sharing, a hotel with a bad reputation for poor cleanliness is soon outed. The study is unlikely to become a landmark, however, as Ms Kirsch and her team of researchers feel a larger sample size would benefit the outcome of the study, as only three hotel rooms were tested in each state. That said, if you feel compelled to give the TV Remote a once-over with a wet wipe next time you're on holiday, we wouldn't blame you...
Laundry, doing the washing, ironing - whatever you call it, it's still one of the most common stumbling blocks in anyone's cleaning routines. [caption id="attachment_472" align="aligncenter" width="451" caption="8 Tips to Cleaner Clothes - Help with your laundry from totalclean.co.uk"][/caption] In an age where washing machines contain more computing power than the Apollo 11 capsule, how is it I can put a load of clothes in and have my favourite jumped transformed into bobble-covered mess and my missus' dresses come out two sizes smaller? Well, if you're anything like some of the Total Clean staffers, you'll no doubt want to print out our Guide to Perfect Laundry and pin it up in the utility room, as we're going explain how to make your whites that little bit whiter. So your clothes smell of petrol after dry cleaning and that ketchup stain is nowhere near gone. If you’re laundry service isn’t satisfying your cleaning needs, it’s about time you changed it. Esther Lennaerts, Executive Chairperson ofPressto dry cleaning gives us all the dirt on a good laundry service. · Always check your pockets! We've all done it - from tissues and receipts to phones and money, it only takes a moment to makes sure your pockets are clear before you turn the washer on. · If you're tackling a stain, always read the label of your garment and the detergent. Some cleaning agents can seriously damage more delicate fabrics. · Going to the Dry Cleaners? Be wary of anything that isn't Perchloroethylene - or 'Perc'. As the standard solvent in the Dry Cleaning industry, it's proven to be gentle on fabrics. · Make sure you're ironing or pressing your clothes correctly. Research has shown that ironing or pressing in the wrong places is one of the top causes of damage to clothes, due to the extreme heat used. Don't be too proud to ask someone (or Google it!). · Never store a garment with a stain because the stain will penetrate the fibre and become impossible to remove. · If you spill a liquid (e.g. the dreaded red wine!) - always dab the stain (never rub) and always put a tissue underneath the wet spot, to prevent it soaking through to the next layer. · Be wary of clear spills! Things like champagne, vodka and rum all have sugar in them, that will eventually turn brown if left unwashed. · Before you store any of your garments, allow them to air for at least two hours to let the smells disperse - especially handy if you or your friends are smokers.
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