Will Hardwood Floors Get Cleaner with Steam Cleaning?

Will Hardwood Floors Get Cleaner with Steam Cleaning?

There are varying opinions on the best way to take care of hardwood floors, but experts agree that the nicest-looking floors need to be kept clean.

Most hardwoods age beautifully, so an older floor that is kept clean can look just as nice as a newer wood floor. Often, older wood floors add character to a room through the distressed marks or knotholes in the wood.

What is the best way to clean a wood floor?

Sweeping or vacuuming (with a hard floor attachment) on a regular basis will remove any dust, dirt, or debris that is tracked in from outdoors. A microfiber cloth picks up a lot of dirt particles, trapping them inside the many fibrous strands of the cloth.

Once the dirt particles are removed, the cleaning methods may vary, depending on the type of flooring installed. Laminate wood floors are usually cleaned differently than true hardwood flooring. The type of finish on the wood also determines the best cleaning methods.

As a first step towards detailed cleaning, understand the manufacturer’s warranty for the flooring, including the finish of the wood, which might include a separate warranty.

Keep the shine showing

Many cleaning chemicals will dull the surface shine of a wood floor. Some cleaners that are sold as specially formulated for wood surfaces may also streak the finish, or cause footprints or handprints to show up.

Contrary to some beliefs, a hot steam method does not get the floor cleaner. The top may look shiny after a steam cleaning, but there are adverse effects of using steam on wood.

A popular disposable steaming cleaner available on the market heats up the surface while applying moisture; but can produce a hazy appearance on the surface. And, with the wrong drying conditions, this can ruin the floor.

When the steaming process heats the surface, moisture seeps underneath the finish because steam is lighter and more permeable than just water. As the surface cools down again, the floor can begin to warp due to trapped moisture beneath the finish.

Further wood damage

Water will damage the wood planks over time. This is often shown by the individual strips of wood either cupping or buckling. Enough of these close together can cause either a crowning or dipping effect in a section of the floor, which can become a safety hazard for walking.

Minerals and rust in the water can create a staining appearance on the wood. Likewise, mold and mildew will discolor the wood, and start a feeding ground for further growth of the mold spores.

Best floor cleaning methods

Usually, a slightly damp mopping is the best method to clean the surface, using water only. If a cleaner is needed, a safe, neutral product designed for wood floors is recommended.

When you have questions about the proper care and cleaning of hardwood floors, call ServiceMaster by the Border. Our technicians complete special training to clean and take care of your wood flooring!

What is the Best Way to Clean Walls?

What is the Best Way to Clean Walls?

It’s your turn to host the big family reunion. Or, maybe you have a graduation open house planned, or a wedding, or some other big event at your home.

It would be so nice to hire a staging company to completely set up your home, picture-perfect, in a way that would impress even Great-Aunt Gertrude. Instead you face reality, prioritize the projects and figure out the budget.

You could buy enough paint for a fresh coat in all the rooms. Aunt Gertrude would be impressed. But a thorough wall-washing may be all you need, and could save time and money.

Before you get out the harsh cleaners and scrubby brushes, there are a few things to know about the best way to clean walls.

Preparation

Remove the decorations, artwork, and curtains. Get everything off the walls so you have a blank surface to start cleaning. Next, get rid of the dust. Either vacuum or use a soft cloth or brush to remove hidden webs in corners and up high on the walls.

Protect the furniture and floor. Move items to the center of the room, away from the walls. This will give you more room to work and protect the furniture from drips while cleaning. Use a sheet or simple tarp to cover large upholstered furniture, or that special grandfather clock that Aunt Gertrude gave you.

Investigation

Know your paint type, and use the correct cleaner. Walls covered with latex paint require more care than those with an oil-based paint. Latex-painted walls should not be cleaned with a de-greaser, but a few drops of mild detergent or white vinegar in water.

You may be tempted to clean doorframes, baseboard and trim at the same time. Now is a good time to clean them, but they may need a different cleaning solution, depending on their surface finish.

Proper Technique to Clean Walls

Don’t use a scrubby sponge, Teflon pad or stiff brush. Instead, a soft sponge or lint-free cloth will give the best cleaning surface without damaging the wall.

Two buckets work best, one with the cleaning solution and one with clean water for rinsing.

Wring out your sponge as much as possible, to avoid dirty drips down the wall. Wipe one section of the wall, from bottom towards the top, to avoid drips. Rinse the sponge frequently.

Work on one wall at a time, finishing it completely before moving to the next wall section. Trying to do all the high areas first because you got the ladder out may seem like a good idea, but could cause wash marks that are evident when the wall is dry.

Although you should never soak the wall while washing, airflow will help. Open the windows or run a fan to speed up the drying process.

When you get that phone call about Great-Aunt Gertrude deciding to arrive a few days earlier, know that you can call ServiceMaster by the Border to take care of all this. We can’t help with the Gertrudes in your life, but we can help with the cleaning tasks to get ready for her visit.

Michigan Winter Floor Care Tips

Michigan Winter Floor Care Tips

Winter weather can be unpredictable in Michigan, and making sure your home or office floors look good during cold weather might be a challenge. Here are some winter floor care tips that will help keep your hallways looking great.

Clean Outside First

Sweeping the front sidewalk and entryway can make a big difference in reducing the amount of dirt, sand and salt residue brought inside. Try to remove excessive ice melt product left behind on the sidewalk after the ice and snow have melted.

Some ice melt products have an added color dye, so it can be seen when applied over snow and ice. This will also make it easier to see when sweeping up extra amounts no longer needed.

Use Safe Entry Mats

Entrance mats can help trap dirt, water, and other particles brought in from outdoors. Simply doubling up the mat surface will help reduce the dirt tracked onto hard floor surfaces. Instead of one entrance mat that is normally used over the mild summer months, consider two mats for a longer cleaning surface as people walk indoors.

The type of mat selected is important also, based on the floor type. Rubber-backed mats provide good slip-resistance, but can potentially discolor the floor beneath. Wetness soaks through the carpeted front of the mat, and that saturation can cause a buildup beneath on the tiles or wood surface.

Choose the mat size wisely, and change it on a regular basis so there’s always a dry surface for people walking indoors. Dry mats will also reduce the risk of mildew beneath the mat surface.

Protect from Salt and Ice Melt Products

Rock salt, ice melt, and other similar items are effective outdoors, but dangerous to your floor surfaces indoors. Each footstep inside brings along melting snow and ice. This drips off shoes while walking, leaving a sloppy mess, and white residue once the water evaporates.

The ice melt or rock salt is often mixed with sand particles for slip-resistant abrasive properties. These abrasive particles inside can create tiny scratches on the floor surface. The scratches trap additional surface dirt, making the floor harder to clean and less shiny.

The brine created while the pellets melt can also seep into the joints of wood or laminate floors, potentially damaging the underside. Excessive moisture can also cause the floors to buckle or warp.

Frequent, Proper Cleaning Required

Floor cleaning in milder weather might be adequate once a week, depending on the traffic patterns in your home or office. But during winter months, more frequent vacuuming is necessary, almost daily if ice melt items are used a lot outdoors.

Vacuuming will remove the tiny, abrasive particles that damage the floor. Merely sweeping the floor moves those particles around and can make them stick inside small cracks and crevices.

Lightly damp mop the floor more frequently; this will remove the white salt residue that is often seen. It is important to change the water often when mopping during winter, so that clean water is used for the entire floor surface, without becoming saturated with salt or dirt.

Some floor products also recommend applying a protective layer as an additional barrier. Check the manufacturer’s suggestions for your floor type, as tile floors require different preventative care than solid wood or laminate flooring.

A professional janitorial service knows the right frequency and methods for floor care during any season. Call ServiceMaster by the Border to keep your floors clean and shining, no matter what the weather brings!

Holiday Cleaning List: Just a Few Days to a Clean Home

Holiday Cleaning List: Just a Few Days to a Clean Home

Busy work, school, and sporting schedules often get in the way of daily cleaning tasks. When the general untidiness, clutter, and dirt start piling up, it can feel overwhelming to get ready for houseguests or holiday visitors. We’ve put together a holiday cleaning list of organization tips and ideas, and you can work through these to reach your holiday entertaining goals.

Take it one day at a time, hire a professional for some days, or double up on some tasks to make steady progress towards a cleaner holiday season. Here are some main categories to work through, in any order that makes sense for your home, family, and schedule.

Exterior

The outside of your home can look clean and inviting with a fresh power wash to the siding. Be cautious of using the right pressure spray settings for the specific siding material, or hire a professional to take care of that task for you!

Windows are more appealing when bright and clean. The hard-to-reach second or third floor windows may be difficult for regular cleaning, but can benefit from seasonal scrubbing. A window washer has the right tools and technique to accomplish the task quickly.

Bedrooms

Vacuum the mattress at least seasonally, and rotate or flip the mattress so it gets even use.

Use a fresh mattress cover if necessary, or launder the existing cover frequently to cut down on allergens.

Store off-season clothing to make room when guests are visiting and need extra drawer space.

Family Room / Living Room

Upholstery – start vacuuming the upholstered furniture more frequently. Use the upholstery attachment for soft cleaning weekly, use the crevice tool for fabric tufted areas or around seat cushions. Air the cushions – take them outside to remove extra dust and let them air out in a safe area away from direct sunlight.

Upholstery cleaning is a great way of getting a fresh, clean look to your furniture. Don’t be tempted to try it yourself, as manufacture guidelines often specify certain cleaning requirements for different types of fabric. Hire a qualified upholstery cleaner and mark that item off your cleaning list!

Curtains get dusty, and should be cleaned periodically using a curtain attachment on the vacuum. Do all surfaces of the curtains, not just the areas at eye-level. Launder or dry clean annually.

Dusting is often overlooked in daily activities, but if done regularly, it can make a difference in the cleanliness of the furniture. A lightly dampened cloth is safe for most sealed wood surfaces, but check manufacturer recommendations.

Bathrooms

Conquer soap scum in the tub and shower and keep it away. Soap scum is alkaline, so clean with equal portions of water and vinegar. This is acidic, which cleans away the alkaline scum.

Shower curtain liners can get a buildup of mildew, but laundering them regularly will help prevent that. Some people like to spray the liner with distilled white vinegar after their shower, rinsing well and leaving open to air dry.

Mirrors can look shiny if cleaned properly using a solution of vinegar and water. Some people prefer wiping with crumpled newspapers to avoid streaking and smearing.

Kitchen

Stuck-on oven messes get worse as they are left to harden, so tackle spills and splatters right away. Use equal portions of baking soda and water to make a paste, apply to the stubborn area, and let set for a few hours. Wipe with a damp cloth.

Microwave ovens can sometimes retain odors and stuck-on food. Add water to a microwave-safe bowl and heat for a couple of minutes. Remove the bowl, and wipe the steamy surfaces with a damp cloth. You can also add lemon to the water for a fresh scent.

Some people like to deep clean the refrigerator before the holidays. Store all perishable food in a cooler, and clean all the interior surfaces. A mixture of water and white vinegar works well for this.

If you set your holiday table with fine china, silver, and crystal, it’s important to keep these precious items stored properly so pre-use cleaning is minimal. If they do look dingy, wash and carefully dry them days before the party, and store them away from moisture.

Floors

Hardwood floors need special care, and pre-holiday polishing adds a special shine to each room. If you don’t have time to care for hard floor surfaces, a floor care specialist can provide a quick cleanup.

Carpet cleaning can be done before or after the holidays, but call a carpet cleaner early to get the right schedule for your carpet needs.

Holiday preparation can be a stressful time. Remember that a professional cleaning service can tackle some of the holiday cleaning tasks in a single visit! Call ServiceMaster by the Border to schedule some holiday cleaning before the holidays arrive.

Area Rug Cleaning Tips

Area Rug Cleaning Tips

Hardwood and tile flooring are popular in both modern and historical homes, and area rugs often adorn walkways or large room sections. Here are some hints about area rug cleaning that will help them look great and last longer.

Vacuuming an area rug

Depending on the rug construction, the vacuuming methods you use will make a difference in the level of cleaning as well as preserving the fibers.

Wool and silk rugs should have very frequent, but very light cleaning with softer brushes than normally used with carpet. This eliminates abrasive dirt or soil on a regular basis. Longer vacuum schedules cause the dirt to act as an abrasive, rubbing against each fiber and breaking it down.

One directional pass with the vacuum is usually not sufficient to remove all hidden dirt particles. It’s best to use a light vacuum setting, and pass over the rug in many directions.

Brush pet hair away

Family pets enjoy laying on area rugs, and often leave fine hairs behind. If vacuuming doesn’t remove pet hair, use a soft-bristle brush and lightly brush in the direction of the nap, cleaning hair out of the brush frequently. Brushing too hard will break fibers in the carpet, and create fuzz; once that starts, the damage cannot be reversed.

Spots and spills on area rugs

If something is spilled on an area rug, the correct response is just as critical as when there is a spill on wall-to-wall carpet. Store-bought stain removers can cause irreversible damage to the fibers. The best remedy is to use a clean, white towel and immediately blot at the spot. Be careful not to rub across the spot, as this will cause the liquid to spread and the spot will become larger. Use a new area of the towel every time you blot, and then call a professional to treat and properly clean the spill.

area-rug-cleaning-dining-roomGive the area rug a new view

Rotating the rug on the floor can reduce traffic pattern matting. If your room is large enough to move the rug to another position, pay attention to sunlight and lighting that might fade the pattern.

Area rugs can be constructed from a number of different materials. Synthetic area rugs include man-made materials that are constructed for high traffic areas and often retain the color better. Natural fibers include wool, cotton and silk. These can be more sensitive to bright sunlight, which might affect placement in the room.

Padding

The life of an area rug can be extended by using padding beneath. This prevents the rug from slipping on the hard floor, and gives extra cushion when walking across. Be aware of hidden dirt, crumbs, and other debris that might get caught on the surface of the padding, and check to be sure insect damage isn’t occurring.

Professional area rug cleaning

ServiceMaster by the Border recommends cleaning your area rugs every 12-18 months.

The service technicians will first conduct an inspection to examine the rug construction, dyes, types of soil and other contaminants, and any possible existing damage. A thorough vacuuming is a critical first step in the professional care of area rugs. Next, spot treatment is applied if necessary, followed by extraction cleaning process, and then dried flat.  Hanging wet area rugs can cause the backing to stretch, leaving a bump and distorting the true shape of the rug.

ServiceMaster carpet cleaning specialists who visit your home for general carpet cleaning will probably clean area rugs at their franchise location. This will ensure the rugs are cleaned properly and dried in an area without foot traffic. Attempting to dry rugs at home can cause water damage to the hardwood flooring beneath them, if left on the floor to dry. Area rugs up to 10 x 12 in size can also be dropped off at the ServiceMaster location, where they are thoroughly cleaned and dried, ready for pickup in about four days.

Janitorial Cleaning Reduces Office Allergy Problems

Janitorial Cleaning Reduces Office Allergy Problems

Millions of people suffer from allergies every day. Some are seasonal allergies related to pollen and outdoor air quality, while other allergies may be the result of sensitivity to indoor contaminants.

The symptoms of allergies often affect work efficiency and productivity. Itchy eyes, sneezing, a stuffy or runny nose and asthma attacks interrupt work tasks; and medications to relieve the symptoms can cause excessive drowsiness.

Reduce Office Allergy Problems with Janitorial ServicesIn most of these cases, proper janitorial cleaning on a regular schedule can help reduce all types of indoor allergens.

Allergies can be triggered by a number of causes, including:

  • Pollen
  • Dust mites
  • Mold
  • Mildew
  • Chemical fumes
  • Insects
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Scented products

Changes to the environment can improve the indoor air quality. Air purification and filtering systems can reduce the pollen and allergens that blow in from the outside. These particles are so small that a quality HEPA-type filter is needed to trap them.

As the flowers and foliage change throughout the summer, different pollen types are brought into a building. Vacuums with proper filtering can also reduce particles that cling to carpet fibers.

Here are some additional tips to reduce office allergens:

  • Use a dehumidifier
  • Vacuum frequently
  • Disinfect work surfaces

Professional janitorial services know the types of cleaners that work best for indoor pollutants. Following a regular cleaning schedule can keep indoor allergens low, and can include more than the standard vacuuming and dusting. Wiping down window treatments, cleaning walls, disinfecting surface areas, cleaning carpeting and upholstery, and other detailed cleaning tasks help eliminate the problems that trigger allergy symptoms.

Schedule an appointment for office cleaning today! Call ServiceMaster by the Border to determine the janitorial services that will best suit your environment, and the frequency that fits your budget.

Get Help for These 3 Summer Cleaning Tasks Before Your Next Gathering

Get Help for These 3 Summer Cleaning Tasks Before Your Next Gathering

Summertime – the season brings graduation parties, weddings, and more family gatherings with increased guests at your home. Sometimes getting ready for a big event can seem overwhelming, but delegating the tasks amongs many helpers can make a big difference.

Consider hiring an event planner for really big special occasions; they’ve done your type of gathering thousands of times before and have it down to a science.  A professional caterer can take on the food challenges, providing a meal so that you can enjoy your guests. And, a professional cleaning service can make your home look spotless, so your guests are comfortable during the event.

Three cleaning jobs that you may want to hire help for this summer include power washing the exterior of your home or your deck area, window washing inside and out for a bright shine, and proper floor care that guests will notice.

Power Washing

Depending on the surface needing cleaning, there are different products available for power washing, sometimes also called pressure washing. For instance, vinyl siding requires a different technique than blasting a backyard deck clean. Renting a pressure washer may seem tempting, but it could also be damaging if you’ve never done it before, due to the high pressure required for each spray.

A professional will know the right spraying sequence for the best outcome, avoiding electrical components, air conditioners, and other sensitive areas. They also know the proper cleaners to use for each surface being cleaned, especially if mildew is visible.

Man doing Window Washing Summer Cleaning TasksWindow Washing

Outdoor parties often take place in the backyard, or around the perimeter of the home. Guests still look for cleanliness, even though the main focus is outside. Make sure the windows on your home shine, both inside and out, for a proper view of the events.

It takes a special skill for window washing to be done right, to prevent streaking and staining. Hire a professional window washer to take care of the job, especially for higher windows that you may be tempted to skip. They can take care of washing both the inside and outside surfaces of your windows.

Floor Care

An indoor/outdoor party brings about its own unique challenges, like making sure the rooms inside are cool and comfortable while still allowing guests to visit inside and outside. Knowing that guests will be visiting specific rooms during the party, you may be tempted to do a quick DIY carpet cleaning right before the event so the room looks fresh.

However, higher humidity levels and increased pollens in the air make a difference in the techniques used for summer carpet cleaning. If you do want a fresh look to your floors, call professional carpet cleaners to take care of the job. They know the right way to treat spots, clean the carpet, and remove the excess moisture so that the floor area is dry and safe well before the party.

Summer cleaning tasks don’t need to be daunting – call ServiceMaster by the Border to delegate these cleaning jobs before your next party. We’ll be happy to be part of your party preparation team!

Kitchen Spring Cleaning Tips

Kitchen Spring Cleaning Tips

Today’s busy lifestyle sometimes gets in the way of taking care of things around the house like earlier generations did, but we still want a picture-perfect home when someone drops in for a quick visit. Here are some kitchen spring cleaning tips to help you tackle just one room of the house for your deep-down spring cleaning this year.

Clutter

Get rid of clutter to get a clear look at what needs to be cleaned. The kitchen is a gathering spot for many families, and often a dumping ground as they come home, drop their car keys, deposit the mail, extra coupons or papers, and other stuff that can be grabbed quickly again, or sits there – waiting to be put away. Take time now to look at countertops and take care of miscellaneous items laying around. While you’re assessing here, consider some organizing tools that might prevent the clutter in the future, like a docking station for phones, a hanging organizer for keys, and other neat tools.

Top-Down

Gravity can be a helper if you start at the top and clean the ceilings, light fixtures, and ceiling fans first. The dirt and dust that falls from these areas can be quickly vacuumed up as you work down the walls and toward the floor. Take a few extra minutes to disassemble the light fixtures and wash thoroughly; it might brighten up the room a bit!

Once the ceiling and corners are clean, use a mild cleaning solution to wash down the walls and windows. Don’t forget the tops of doorframes, and all around the window frames also. Now is a good time to declutter the top of the refrigerator and thoroughly wash the top and sides.

Kitchen Spring CleaningSpring Clean the Big Areas

The big things like the range hood, oven, cooktop, and refrigerator definitely need a seasonal cleaning at a very minimum. Eliminating built-up grease and grime will make the cooking area cleaner, and prevent potential safety hazards. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for cleaning the range hood, and test it to be sure it is working properly.

The refrigerator operates more efficiently if you pay attention to the hidden areas, like vacuuming the coil area and completely scrubbing built up grime from door gaskets to get a tight fit. Check the seals to be sure they aren’t cracked or loose. Throw out any dated food, and completely wash shelves and drawers, one-by-one.

The Small Stuff

You know that one drawer that gets a lot dumped into it? Sometimes called the junk drawer, it can collect a lot of little stuff. Take time to dump the junk drawer out, replacing only what is useful, and even adding compartments to the drawer for some of those items. A silverware storage container is perfect to help sort battery sizes, paper clips, note pads, pens, and other items you want to find quickly in the drawer.

Take the time to dump each drawer in the kitchen, thoroughly washing and drying the inside, and consider some type of organization before storing everything back. The same goes for each cupboard and shelf, empty first, wipe clean, and organize as you put things back.

If all of this seems overwhelming, know that there is help available. ServiceMaster by the Border helps with deep cleaning jobs, including kitchen spring cleaning in your home. We even tackle the tougher jobs of cleaning the oven and reaching high and low to get rid of all the dirt and grime!

Spring Cleaning Services for Busy Lifestyles

Spring Cleaning Services for Busy Lifestyles

The thought of Spring cleaning can put fear into those with the best intentions. Excuses and procrastination often take center stage, and the deep cleaning goal originally sought after turns into a quick swipe, wipe or sweep. Fortunately, spring cleaning services by professionals can make a difference with both time and the degree of cleaning.

Spring Cleaning ServicesDeep cleaning is refreshing for the home as well as the people who live there, but is often ignored because of the amount of work involved for a really thorough job. There are places online that offer a 12-week cleaning challenge, or some other timetable; or they assign the tasks to be tackled in one room at a time. That might work for some people, but for others a little extra help may be needed.

Take a look at any DIY get organized and cleaning blog, and they suggest small, baby steps that you congratulate yourself for accomplishing daily. A popular blog online is FlyLady (http://www.flylady.net/) where she helps subscribers work through a series of tips and lessons about getting organized, and then about keeping things tidy. Her blog mentions that if your home suffers from CHAOS – Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome – it might be time to start decluttering.

Declutter to Get Ready for Spring Cleaning Services

Many suggestions involve sorting through things with three boxes – one to put things away, one box to donate items and one box to trash items – and walking through each room with the three boxes to eliminate clutter. There are also tips about which rooms to work on first, because sometimes doing things in a certain order makes the rest of the job easier.

If you don’t follow an ongoing schedule like above, a large decluttering stage of spring cleaning is probably a personal journey that needs to be taken at least once a year.

But once the decluttering is accomplished and you’re ready for the deep cleaning, what is the right cleaning pattern to follow?

ServiceMaster by the Border team members are experts at spring cleaning services. Deep cleaning can be scheduled anytime of the year, and can be completed in stages instead of one huge project.

Chunking the project into smaller jobs would include walls, then furniture, floors last, then outdoor windows and power-washing the side of the home.

Typically, a huge cleaning job would start at the top of the room and gradually work down. Your living room may have a variety of lights, ceiling fans, and window treatments. While they don’t clean fabric curtains, the ServiceMaster team can carefully vacuum draperies; and get rid of the dirt and cobwebs everywhere else in the upper area of the room as stage one to the spring cleaning project.

Start Cleaning at the Top

Stage one – ceilings and walls – can be tackled on a room-by-room basis, or as a larger cleaning project. The price for professional cleaning in this area is based on the square footage to be cleaned, but is very thorough.

Ceilings are dusted down and light fixtures are individually cleaned, as well as each part of the ceiling fan. A basic light fixture might be an easy surface-clean, however a fancy chandelier may require additional fees due to the fine details needed for all the smaller parts.

Next, the walls are cleaned thoroughly, including pulling furniture away from walls and cleaning from top to bottom, eliminating the cobwebs that hide high up in the corners. Door frames, picture frames, and other high areas where dust collects will be cleaned when the walls are done.

A wall wouldn’t be clean until each window also got a shine. This includes cleaning the window frame around the entire window. Finally, the small details make a difference, and that includes polishing up the light switches and electrical outlets to be sure fingerprint smudges are eliminated.

Accomplishing stage one in a deep cleaning project can give the whole room a fresher feel. Stage two involves another part of the room that is used every day, the furniture.

Cleaning Furniture and Floors

Cleaning upholstery is another specialty of the ServiceMaster by the Border team. They are qualified to know which cleaners are best for your type of upholstery fabric and furniture finish. The first step here is a thorough vacuuming to get rid of all the hidden cookie crumbs and other surprises found behind the cushions. Special vacuum attachments make this job easier, and all sides of the furniture receive attention.

Once the furniture is bright and fresh again, the third stage inside would be the floors. Constant use throughout the winter months or rainy season may cause layers of dirt buildup that need to be carefully removed from wood or tiled floors. Professional carpet cleaning begins with treating and eliminating spots, followed by a thorough cleaning with full water extraction. Airflow in the room is helpful during this time, to speed up the drying process; but the carpet can usually be walked on within a short amount of time.

Three stages of work makes one area of your home completely clean, and if that’s all you can tackle right now, it’s a step in the right direction. Call the cleaners back when you’re ready to tackle the bathrooms, because that can be a separate chunk of spring cleaning. Or, perhaps the kitchen area is next; ServiceMaster also helps there with deep cleaning stoves, refrigerators, cabinet surfaces, and sink areas.

Spring cleaning doesn’t need to be a task to dread, especially when qualified experts can help get the job done in minimal time. After you’d done some decluttering, schedule a call with ServiceMaster by the Border to discuss the cleaning stages they can begin inside your home. Gift certificates are also available to surprise friends or family with spring cleaning services they’d appreciate.

Keeping Upholstery Clean in Your Home

Keeping Upholstery Clean in Your Home

You use it every day, rely on it to be comfortable when guests come over, and was probably one of the more expensive purchases inside your home. But, keeping upholstered furniture clean isn’t always a priority, unless there has been a spill. There are a few things to keep in mind when keeping upholstery clean and fresh all year long.

Prevention

Think prevention first by deciding on the furniture usage. If you don’t want to have children snacking or drinking on the brand new couch, then make the rule and stick to it! However, if that is the norm in your home, then take time to tidy up a bit on a regular basis by vacuuming the cushions frequently. Many vacuums have a drapery/upholstery attachment, which will suck up all those loose crumbs from the cushion surface gently, and the crevice took will work behind and beneath the cushions where crumbs like to hide.

If your couch has removable cushions, take them off and beat them together outdoors, in the fresh air. When you return them to the couch, rotate and flip them to a different position to make the “cush” last longer on the cushion.

Urgent

Urgent care is needed for spills, to prevent staining or saturation of the cushions. Using a clean, white towel, blot at the spot to soak up as much liquid as possible. The technique is important here, a blotting motion is merely patting at the spill without rubbing it in or around. If you rub the spot, it can easily spread to a larger area. And, if it’s a large spill, work from the outside of the area inward to prevent further seepage, but work quickly so the liquid doesn’t penetrate down through the upholstery and into the cushion.

Keeping Upholstery CleanSpot-cleaning might be allowed on your couch. Most furniture manufacturers have suggested cleaning instructions, and this applies to upholstered furniture as well. Read the label to understand the best method for your item.

A highly diluted mixture of water and white vinegar can be applied to a hidden area first, using another soft, clean cloth. Again, don’t rub while cleaning, but blot a small amount of the solution, using a separate part of the cloth to blot up the moisture right away. Don’t over-wet the area to be cleaned; this tends to spread the spot on the underside of the upholstery, even if you don’t see it on the top side.

When blotting with a cleaning solution, remember that less is more. If the padding under the upholstery gets saturated, it is an invitation for mold and mildew growth, which will spread quickly on the fibers in the couch.

Deep Cleaning Upholstery

Deep cleaning should be planned at least once a year to protect your furniture investment. A professional upholstery cleaner will know the right methods to use, based on the manufacturer recommendations. They will deep-clean the furniture so it smells better and is more pleasant to sit on again.

ServiceMaster by the Border knows how to clean the upholstered furniture in your home as well as your carpets. Call today to schedule this as one part of your seasonal or spring cleaning.

Mildew Prevention Tips for Better Furniture and Carpeting

Mildew Prevention Tips for Better Furniture and Carpeting

Basements are no longer dark, dingy storage areas of a home. Many families use basement space for entertaining, as a family recreation area, or even a second kitchen/dining area. Warm, humid weather often brings mildew as an unwanted visitor to basements, and homeowners often aren’t aware of this growing mildew problem until it’s almost too late. Here are some tips to prevent mildew in your home this summer.

According to the government website, EnergyStar.gov, high humidity in a building can cause problems with your home and your health if mold and mildew develop and are left untreated.

People typically think of mold or mildew inside their home after experiencing a water leak or a plumbing malfunction. Hot, humid weather are perfect breeding conditions for mildew to begin, especially inside basement walls. Indoor humidity levels above 70 percent and temperatures of 77-86 degrees can promote mold and mildew growth, and the spores thrive on natural fibers, paper, drywall, etc.

Musty odors are often noticed in the basement, and those odors may also linger in upholstered furniture, which are a perfect hiding place for mildew to reproduce rapidly. Floor padding beneath the carpeting can be affected by damp conditions, causing mold spores to spread somewhat unseen beneath the carpet.

A whole-house air conditioner can help keep humidity levels low during the summer, if it is properly sized, installed correctly, and operating well. An air conditioning system that is too large for the airflow required will not adequately remove humidity from the air, so be sure a specialist installs the right system for the space. Ventilation fans can also assist with airflow, especially in the kitchen or bathroom, where humidity commonly occurs. Dehumidifiers pull additional moisture from the air, and are especially recommended for basement areas.

Home remodeling products now contain anti-fungal finishes, such as specialty drywall, wall primer and paints. But, if you suspect a mildew problem, a mold remediation specialist can help determine the exact location and the degree of severity. Special measuring devices are used to detect mold spores within the walls, which can then be treated or removed safely by an expert.

Keeping your carpet dirt-free reduces the food source that many mold spores seek. A complete carpet cleaning and upholstery cleaning with professional equipment will eliminate the growth along with the musty odors.

If you have a humidity problem in your home and suspect mold or mildew, call a specialist for an analysis. Families who use their basements as living spaces should also have a professional carpet or upholstery cleaning at least once a year in their basement areas, and ServiceMaster by the Border specializes in helping your home be clean and safe.

Three Types of Professional Cleaning Services for Your Business

Three Types of Professional Cleaning Services for Your Business

What does it take to showcase a business and stand out from the competition? For starters, a quality product and excellent customer service are necessary. However, presentation of the business, the building and employees in a professional manner also contribute to success.

Fine details, even the small ones associated with keeping the office building clean, can either make or break a new sale or contract. When successful business owners recognize that first impressions matter, they often turn to a professional cleaning company to make sure the building is showcased well.

Not all types of cleaning tasks are the same. A professional cleaner takes time to understand the building use, traffic flow, and standards required. At ServiceMaster, we classify this type of cleaning into three categories: Janitorial, Projects, and Commercial.

Here are some examples of each type.

Janitorial Cleaning Services

This is normally completed as a cycle of regular cleaning tasks at a facility, completed on a specific time interval. The tasks needed and the frequency required are determined by the type of business, the traffic patterns and usage volume, and industry-specific cleanliness requirements.

For instance: A doctor’s office may require that waiting rooms and patient exam rooms are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized daily, while a waiting room in a general office building needs to be cleaned only weekly.

A professional cleaning company assesses the cleaning needs and preferred cycle, and can determine the right tasks to be completed at the right frequency.

Project-Related Cleaning Services

Not all areas of a building require cleaning at the same time, so it may seem redundant to clean every area on the same cycle. Project cleaning tasks are scheduled for a specific time-period, and could include seasonal or annual types of jobs.

For instance: Floors and traffic areas through a building require regular cleaning such as vacuuming and mopping. However, a project cleaning service related to the floor care could also include stripping and waxing the hard floor once a year. Carpet cleaning is another project related task, scheduled for the right interval, based on the carpet manufacturing guidelines.

These project-related tasks are often part of a janitorial cleaning contract, but the cost of them is spread out through the contract term, making it more affordable to get all the cleaning done on one low monthly budget.

Commercial Cleaning Services

There are times when a service is needed by itself, separate from the maintenance-types of tasks explained above. These are billed as a one-time fee, and repeat visits are usually not required.

For instance: An office building may want the one-time task of power-washing the building exterior and washing all the windows, in preparation of an open house event.

No matter what type of professional cleaning service you need to make your business look its best, ServiceMaster by the Border can help. Call us today to discuss your cleaning needs!

How Does the ServiceMaster Difference Affect a Buying Decision?

How Does the ServiceMaster Difference Affect a Buying Decision?

Every day, consumers make buying decisions based on their own criteria. People often look for a certain quality standard. Or, price may be the driving motivator. Perhaps a performance guarantee is important to them. Often, a recommendation from a trusted friend may influence the decision.

Today’s consumer is more research-oriented when making a decision that will affect their budget or their time. At first glance, two similar businesses may seem to provide the same level of service.

Satisfied customers often consider specific factors when deciding which cleaning company or janitorial service to use.

What does the ServiceMaster Difference mean for your home or business?

Proven business model

Repeatable success is often recognized by a franchise model that follows specific protocol and standards, and applies them across each individual business partner. The standards implemented and procedures followed are consistent for each location.

Advanced cleaning systems

Proprietary systems development considers the type of cleaning to be performed, the equipment and supplies used, proper training, and the methods to be followed.

The Capture and Removal Cleaning® is an exclusive cleaning system from ServiceMaster Clean. This high-productivity approach is environmentally friendly and produces a healthier indoor environment.

This systems development produces consistent results at a greater efficiency, which helps save the customer money.

Training and certification

Knowledge and experience can make a difference in even the simplest of cleaning tasks. Employees are thoroughly trained for each type of cleaning system. Some employees have the dedication and desire to provide advanced services that require additional certification and testing.

This means that cleaning is done right the first time. Employees are trained to understand the type of fiber and material of each item; and then determine the correct cleaning method and treatment to be used.

Quality inspections ensure that the job is consistently completed to customer satisfaction.

Flexible, customized, accountable

A professional cleaning service can work around many different timetables to fit the customer’s schedule. The type of service can also fluctuate.

A comprehensive cleaning plan includes a wide range of cleaning services and frequency that is unique to each business. Project-based services are for those times when a different cleaning emphasis is desired.

Customer satisfaction should be at the heart of any service industry and is a standard of measure for ServiceMaster. If you weren’t satisfied with the cleaning service you used in the past, give ServiceMaster a try!

Top 3 Benefits of Hiring a Janitorial Services Cleaning Company

Top 3 Benefits of Hiring a Janitorial Services Cleaning Company

A wise business owner reviews operating costs on a regular business, often searching for ways to improve the bottom line. Some may be tempted to cut the expense of contracted services. However, there are tangible benefits to hiring a janitorial services cleaning company for your business.

According to Osha.gov, “Poor indoor air quality (IAQ) has been tied to symptoms like headaches, fatigue, trouble concentrating, and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and lungs.” https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/indoorairquality/

The indoor air quality inside an office building may be affected by many things. Common problems that should be controlled are humidity levels, mold, and airborne contaminants. These contribute to what has become known as sick building syndrome.

Proper maintenance of the building HVAC and ventilation system will certainly reduce these causes. However, the cleanliness of a facility is also a factor to consider.

Reduce Employee Sick Days

It is reported that indoor pollution is one of the highest reasons for employee work absence. Unfortunately, excessive use of the wrong products to eliminate germs can also cause adverse reactions for employees who are sensitive to chemicals.

Regular, thorough cleaning will reduce bacteria and allergens and eliminate surface contaminants that spread cold and flu germs. Proper dusting and vacuuming can help reduce employee respiratory problems.

A janitorial cleaning company has the correct materials and equipment to eliminate the hazards associated with dust, dander, mites, and other minute particles that affect proper breathing and long-term health.

Increase Employee Productivity

A business owner may assign employees some generalized cleaning tasks without properly training them. The employee may feel pressured with deadlines and skimp on the cleaning. Or, they perform less-than-adequately in their normal job because they are too busy trying to keep up with the cleaning tasks.

Keep employees productive at their normal job responsibilities. Morale improves when staff members can concentrate on the using the skills they were hired for.

A clean office encourages employees to keep things organized. With the trash removed regularly, surfaces properly cleaned, and the area smelling fresh, employee morale improves because they take pride in their work environment.

Save Time and Money

Professional cleaners can accomplish a thorough cleaning faster because they do it all the time! There is a normal flow of work when properly cleaning each room. Experienced cleaning staff can reduce time on the job because they know the right procedures to follow.

Reduce the cost of buying supplies in your office. Purchasing a variety of cleaning products to test usually results in a lot of partially-used products left in the supply closet that didn’t clean as well as desired. Long term storage of these leftover cleaners can pose a health hazard.

Janitorial services provide the right cleaning solutions for each area they are assigned. And, they know the proper methods for using those cleaners to reduce waste and clean more efficiently.

Extend the life of your investment with proper cleaning. New tile flooring, carpeting, or upholstered furniture lasts longer when properly cleaned at regular intervals. Spot treatments can keep furniture and carpeting looking fresh, and reduce the frequency of heavy-duty cleaning.

If you are a business owner who is ready reap the benefits of a clean facility, call ServiceMaster by the Border today to get a customized quote on the cleaning cycle appropriate for your building.

Fall and Winter Seasonal Office Cleaning and Maintenance Guidelines

Fall and Winter Seasonal Office Cleaning and Maintenance Guidelines

Many people think of seasonal cleaning happening in the springtime; but fall is a perfect time to tackle some seasonal office cleaning jobs in your workplace. Large property maintenance companies have a systematic process for ongoing maintenance, but local business owners must often tackle these tasks themselves.

A qualified janitorial service can recommend the right areas that will need attention in your office as the weather changes. Here are some guidelines to begin the seasonal office cleaning and maintenance tasks.

Overall building repairs now can prevent major problems later. Take time to inspect the roof, downspouts, and drainage areas of the building. Pay special attention to office buildings with flat roofs and be sure that leaves, twigs, and other debris are cleared away. This will prevent water pooling and ice dams over the winter.

Drafty windows can lead to increased heating costs and employee sick days. Before the freezing temperatures set in, check window and door frames and caulk where necessary to get rid of cracks and eliminate drafts. This is also a good time for a thorough window cleaning, both inside and outside.

Seasonal floor cleaning can protect your investment and keep the area inviting to visitors. Hardwood flooring or ceramic tiles should be inspected and repaired as needed now to prevent moisture seepage and mildew buildup beneath the floor surface. If there are cracks, consult with a floor care expert to determine the best repairs and underfloor treatment required.

Invest in entrance mats and area mats over hard floor surfaces. These will trap the dirt, dust and grime brought in from outside. Regularly cleaning the mats will ensure they work properly to protect those high-traffic areas. Mats also provide a level of safety as floors get wet from rain or snow.

Cold and flu season starts in the fall, so now is a good time to stock up on disinfectants and cleaning supplies that kill surface germs. Sanitizing hand wipes, extra tissues, and plenty of soap for hand washing can help reduce employee sick days.

Check smoke detectors throughout the building. Many businesses have a regular maintenance schedule for this, and some follow the seasonal daylight savings time changes as a reminder. Also, ensure that fire extinguishers are tested and working properly. Functional safety equipment can help prevent smoke and fire damage if there is an emergency during the cold weather heating months.

Air quality is important while the heating system is running this winter. Check furnace filters and air purification systems to be sure they are cleaned and operating correctly. Seasonal duct work cleaning will also remove pollutants and allergens that travel through the system.

A dehumidifier is necessary in some locations, even in the wintertime. Humidity levels above 60% can promote mold growth that may not be noticed until it becomes a large problem.

Finally, set up a regular office cleaning schedule to keep ahead of the dirt and dust this season. Janitorial service companies can determine a cleaning plan that is right for your business and budget. ServiceMaster by the Border provides janitorial services for hundreds of local businesses; call us today to schedule an evaluation.

Janitorial Cleaning Reduces Office Allergy Problems

Janitorial Cleaning Reduces Office Allergy Problems

Millions of people suffer from allergies every day. Some are seasonal allergies related to pollen and outdoor air quality, while other allergies may be the result of sensitivity to indoor contaminants.

The symptoms of allergies often affect work efficiency and productivity. Itchy eyes, sneezing, a stuffy or runny nose and asthma attacks interrupt work tasks; and medications to relieve the symptoms can cause excessive drowsiness.

Reduce Office Allergy Problems with Janitorial ServicesIn most of these cases, proper janitorial cleaning on a regular schedule can help reduce all types of indoor allergens.

Allergies can be triggered by a number of causes, including:

  • Pollen
  • Dust mites
  • Mold
  • Mildew
  • Chemical fumes
  • Insects
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Scented products

Changes to the environment can improve the indoor air quality. Air purification and filtering systems can reduce the pollen and allergens that blow in from the outside. These particles are so small that a quality HEPA-type filter is needed to trap them.

As the flowers and foliage change throughout the summer, different pollen types are brought into a building. Vacuums with proper filtering can also reduce particles that cling to carpet fibers.

Here are some additional tips to reduce office allergens:

  • Use a dehumidifier
  • Vacuum frequently
  • Disinfect work surfaces

Professional janitorial services know the types of cleaners that work best for indoor pollutants. Following a regular cleaning schedule can keep indoor allergens low, and can include more than the standard vacuuming and dusting. Wiping down window treatments, cleaning walls, disinfecting surface areas, cleaning carpeting and upholstery, and other detailed cleaning tasks help eliminate the problems that trigger allergy symptoms.

Schedule an appointment for office cleaning today! Call ServiceMaster by the Border to determine the janitorial services that will best suit your environment, and the frequency that fits your budget.

Home Flooding Prevention and Action Steps

Home Flooding Prevention and Action Steps

Seasonal weather changes can often cause water problems, especially if your home is located in an area that experiences water flooding after rainstorms. Homeowners often experience water seepage or home flooding when rivers overflow or drain systems can’t keep up with the demand.

Insurance coverage has changed over the years, and property owners may now be required to carry flood insurance, depending on the local water table levels. It’s a good idea to periodically review the policy limitations and be familiar with restrictions or requirements expected in order to qualify for coverage.

Regular maintenance and repairs can help prevent home flooding. Inspect areas around the home where water is accessible, such as the external faucets, the main water valve, and pipe connections throughout the basement. Older pipes can become corroded and begin a slow leak that can turn into a continuous dampness problem, causing mold, mildew, and eventually flooding if the leak is not fixed.

Water damage to the property is not normally covered in a typical insurance policy, if the water problem is a result of negligence of lack of maintenance.

Home Flooding Prevention from Leaking RoofOther areas to inspect seasonally include the roof, down spouts, gutters and eaves. Severe thunderstorms with a torrent of rain can back up proper water drainage from the roof area. Keep downspouts cleared of leaves and debris, check to be sure they are positioned to drain away from the foundation of the house, and use an extension drain if necessary. Weak spots in a roof can allow water to seep through the attic and into the interior walls; and homeowner insurance typically doesn’t cover damage due to poorly maintained roofs.

Appliance malfunction can also cause indoor flooding at any time of the year. Perform a seasonal inspection of washing machines, sump pumps, dishwashers, and water heaters to be sure there are no leaks, corrosion, or other malfunctions.

If you do notice water leaks or seepage in your home, stop the problem at the source, use a dehumidifier, and start fans to circulate the air and speed up the drying process. Call ServiceMaster by the Border to assess the situation, measure the level of damage and potential mold, and determine next steps if an insurance claim is needed. The water damage can be minimized with fast action by a professional team, and prevention steps are taken to prevent future home flooding problems.

Specialized Skills Needed for Medical Office Cleaning

Specialized Skills Needed for Medical Office Cleaning

Janitorial services include common tasks that fit most office cleaning situations, but medical office cleaning requires specialized skills, protocol and products to meet strict sanitization requirements. Before hiring a cleaning service for your medical office, consider the following:

Specific Cleaning Products

OSHA has specific requirements for cleaning contaminated work environments, including medical offices. They even require appropriate disinfectants and EPA-registered disinfectant products.

The cleaning service you consider should use approved products that are effective in the many different types of medical situations. Environmentally-friendly cleaning products, or “green cleaning” solutions are typically not strong enough to properly disinfect medical offices where patients are treated. However, they may be used in common office areas such as filing and storage rooms.

Proven Cleaning Methods

Medical Office Cleaning ServiceServiceMaster created the Capture and Remove Cleaning® System, which traps and removes dust, dirt and debris as well as 55% more airborne contaminants than regular cleaning methods. Specific steps are followed for each room, to avoid cross-contamination.

Cleaning a patient treatment room follows different protocol, using different cleaning solutions than cleaning a normal patient waiting area. Each medical facility requires specific cleaning methods, so a commercial cleaning service should be aware of what is needed, including specialized procedures for sensitive patient care areas.

Specialized Training and Compliance

Members of the cleaning team should be properly trained in healthcare requirements, including safety and security compliance. Regulations and standards set by the EPA mandate the correct cleanup and disposal of blood-borne pathogens, bandages, syringes and other medical waste. Infection control and a stringent quality assurance program should also be managed during each cleaning visit.

Take time to summarize the qualifications you need when hiring a cleaning service for your medical office. They should follow OSHA compliance protocols, properly dispose of contaminants, and use hospital-grade cleaning solutions. Thrust ServiceMaster by the Border for your medical office cleaning; dozens of other medical facilities already do.

Mold Cleanup Needed to Reduce Risk of Health Hazards

Mold Cleanup Needed to Reduce Risk of Health Hazards

If you watch any of the home remodeling and design shows on television, then you know that certain types of mold that can be toxic. Unfortunately, none of these popular shows tell you about all of the many dangerous types of molds, and why they pose a health hazard. The more that you can learn about these risks, the better you can prepare for them in the future, especially when mold cleanup efforts are needed.

Common Types of Indoor Mold

Mold Cleanup SkillsMold can grow pretty much anywhere in your home. There are different varieties that thrive in different environments, so your whole house could be at risk. However, mold is generally found in moist areas, such as basements, bathrooms, and kitchens. If you live in a climate with higher humidity levels, you have an even greater chance of finding mold. Here are some of the common household molds:

  • Aspergillus – Commonly found on food and in air conditioning systems.
  • Cladosporium – Appears black or green, looks like pepper, and grows on the back of toilets, painted surfaces and in fiberglass air ducts.
  • Stachybotrys atra – Grows on wood, fiberboard, gypsum board and paper. It can even grow on dust and lint.

Health Hazards Caused by Mold

Molds can cause allergy like symptoms including but not limited to:

  • Nasal Stuffiness
  • Sore Throat
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Rashes and Skin Irritation

If someone in your home is sick or has a weak immune system, they could get serious lung infections if they are exposed to mold. People with mold allergies may have severe reactions. The very young and the elderly are most at risk when exposed to mold. You can reduce the risk of mold by keeping your home dry and periodically inspecting for any issues.

Preventing and Managing Mold

If you find mold, you should have your home inspected by a professional so that the type and source of the mold can be identified. Once you have this information, you can get an estimate for removal. While you may be able to take care of some mild cases of mold yourself, major cases should always be handled by a mold cleanup expert.

Janitorial Services Cover Summer Vacation Shortages

Janitorial Services Cover Summer Vacation Shortages

Around the workplace, summer schedules can get tricky. When employees are taking time off for vacations, responsibilities get shifted around and sometimes less pressing things tend to go undone. For many workplaces, that means the cleanliness level starts to go downhill. Hiring janitorial services can help you get things back on track.

Janitorial Services during Summer VacationKeeping the workplace clean is important on two levels. Customers and clients who visit your business don’t want to sit on stained upholstery, or have to visit a neglected restroom. You want them to leave with positive thoughts about their visit, not searching for some hand sanitizer. Secondly, you don’t want employees who are doing double-duty during vacation coverage to start grumbling about the state of cleanliness. Happy employees are generally more productive, so it’s a good idea all around to keep the workplace tidy and clean in the summer.

But if your regular employees are typically responsible for office cleaning duties, then they probably don’t have time to get it done when you’re down to a limited staff during vacations.  Janitorial services can make sure your appearance doesn’t suffer by cleaning:

  • Upholstery and carpets
  • Hard surface floors
  • Windows
  • Refuse and recycling removal
  • High traffic areas
  • Kitchens
  • Waiting rooms and reception areas

Whether your business is large or small, and you need service a few times or on a regular basis, trust ServiceMaster by the Border to get your business looking its best. We also offer environmentally friendly cleaning solutions so you don’t need to worry about employees or customers having adverse reactions to products.

When the summer schedule gets tight, don’t let the cleanliness of your business slide downhill. A quick call to ServiceMaster will get you back on track.