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Tag : Stain Treatment

It’s Time We Said No to our Cold-Weather Invaders: How Daily Hygiene Protects Your Family At Home

 

It’s autumn at last – and we’ve got woolly jumpers, hot drinks, falling leaves and roaring fires firmly back on our agenda. Unfortunately, something much less pleasant arrives alongside school terms and chilly weather: a virtual army of bugs, viruses and other nasties, ready to attack our bodies.

 

If you have children, chances are they’ve already spent a couple of days at home with a start-of-term bug. Children are especially prone to picking up cold-weather viruses, both because their immune systems are less robust than an adult’s, and because they often forget the simple hygienic practises that reduce the spread of infection.

 

But are they the only ones?

 

According to the microbiologist Professor Sally Bloomfield (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine)[1], the person you’re most likely to get infected by is yourself; after that, the other people in your home. Sneezing and coughing, using the toilet or handling a pet without washing your hands afterwards – particularly if you then handle food – are easy ways for germs to spread within families. A 2007 survey by the Hygiene Council found that up to two-thirds of Britons don’t always follow basic hygiene: an astonishing and worrying proportion, especially with the rise of antibiotic-resistant superbugs in homes and hospitals. It’s also estimated that 40% of reported food-related outbreaks of infection in Europe occur in our own kitchens.

 

How do the microorganisms spread?

 

Partly by physical contact – but more often, by one person leaving bacteria on a surface, which is then touched by another. 40% of rhinoviruses (a common cold-causing virus) are infectious on hands for up to an hour…but viruses on non-porous surfaces, such as door handles and worktops, can last at least six hours, and sometimes more than a day[2]. In 2014[3], a team from the University of Arizona placed a Norovirus substitute on a single office door handle, and found it had spread to light switches, table tops, coffee pot handles, taps, phones and computer equipment throughout the entire building, between two and eight hours later.

 

So what can we do to stay healthy this season?

 

As the NHS LiveWell website reminds us: ‘Healthcare workers now realise the home has a critical role in the fight against infectious diseases’. Personal hygiene is vital, of course, but so is the cleanliness of our home. Clean and hygienic surroundings will protect ourselves and our families, particularly those most vulnerable to infection.

 

However, between work, school and other commitments, we know that cleaning often gets pushed to the bottom of the list. That’s why our domestic cleaning serviceis one of our favourites: we feel it’s something that can really benefit ordinary families, in tangible and important ways.

 

Just think about it: we’ll take our usual thorough approach and deep-clean all those hard-to-reach areas you never get round to. Our trained Hygienists use only professional equipment, and are carefully assessed every time to make sure we’ve done the best possible job. You’ll be able to come home from a long day and not worry about how the house looks; instead, more time for family, commitments, and hobbies, while we maintain a consistent cleanliness that will make your life easier, healthier and more enjoyable.

 

You might think that you don’t deserve a cleaner – or perhaps that you can’t afford one. We believe that everyone deserves to live in a home they enjoy, regardless of their circumstances. And we offer cost savings to regular customers, so it’s always worth dropping us an email to see what we can do.

Let us help you stay virus-free this season– after all, who wants to spend autumn sniffling in bed, when there’s so much else to enjoy?

[1]http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/homehygiene/Pages/how-clean-is-your-home.aspx

[2]http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/how-long-do-bacteria-and-viruses-live-outside-the-body.aspx

[3]http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/a-virus-can-spread-around-an-entire-building-within-just-hours-of-contaminating-one-surface-9720988.html

Expecting a silent night this Christmas? Not if you work in a hotel…

 

If you’re employed anywhere in the hospitality industry, you’ll know that Christmas means big business. Hotels of all sizes expect to be fully booked with Christmas parties, dinners and dances throughout the festive season. Smaller businesses might request conference rooms and bars for their end-of-year parties, and larger businesses often book out multiple function rooms as well as negotiating reduced room rates for their guests.

Hotels themselves get into the spirit of things, too: themed evenings, tribute bands and DJ sets might be scheduled and opened to the general public, and New Year’s Eve parties are especially popular.

This season might be profitable (and, given the depressed economy, the festive financial boost is often essential), but it’s not easy to manage. Catering for almost 300 people – eating, drinking, and dancing till late – often means hiring extra staff, creating health and safety contingencies and submitting detailed logistics plans. The repeated late closures and extra preparations can put a great deal of pressure on serving staff, cleaning staff and management alike.

It’s the hygiene side of things that interests us most (not surprisingly). In our experience, when hotels work at capacity, night after night, throughout November and December, it’s the cleanliness that tends to suffer the most. When an event room is full, staff have less space to serve, increasing the possibility of accidents and damage. Parties mean spillages, carpet wear, and stains on soft furnishings both in conference rooms and bedrooms.

What are the most common dirt contaminates on carpets during holiday season? We’re glad you asked – though you might not really want to know:

  • Alcohol, especially red wine
  • Makeup
  • Foodstuffs
  • Chewing gum
  • Vomit
  • Fake tan spray (yes, really!)
  • Dirt and dust tracked in on shoes
  • Pest Control

With so little time between one function and the next, it’s often difficult for the furnishings to be completely cleaned in time, since traditional carpet cleaning methods take time to apply and dry afterwards.

And dirty rooms mean more customer complaints – and loss of revenue – particularly when conferences are scheduled for early January, when carpets and furnishings have not yet recovered.

What’s our solution?

Well, hiring extra staff over Christmas doesn’t just mean service workers. Your regular cleaning team will struggle to finish each room to a high standard under festive time pressure. We’re ready and able to step in: our teams can work the post-party shift to ensure that your carpets are cleaned and disinfected, and as an added bonus completely dry as fastas 30 minutes.

Since a full carpet clean isn’t possible between every event, we recommend a bonneting method, which should get the carpet through the festive season and prepare it for a thorough deep clean in early January.

Most importantly, TotalCare is committed to upholding your hotel’s reputation for excellence. We’ll work with your constraints and to your schedule. Cleaner surroundings mean more satisfied customers, fewer complaints and more secure Christmas revenues. We think that’s something worth scrubbing for!

TotalCare: A Big Solution for A Hotel’s Biggest Problem

 

Hotels are big business here in the UK: 36 million overseas visitors came to the country during last year alone[1]. It’s safe to say the economy would not function without the revenue the hospitality industry provides.

From a hotel manager’s perspective, return customers are everything: it costs five to eight times more to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one[2]. Give the customer an experience that is comfortable, easy and enjoyable – whether they’re a couple celebrating a special occasion, a tourist exploring the local area, or a business employee looking for a stress-free stay – and they’re much more likely to come back. Which means steadier revenues and a better reputation – vital in today’s era of internet reviews and viral complaints.

So let’s talk logistics for a second, because the organisation involved in keeping any hotel running smoothly can be staggering. Hotels aim for 80% room occupancy over the year: around 10% of occupancies are lost to no-shows, and staff generally over-book to compensate for these. Since the final unoccupied 10% represents only a loss in revenue, it’s vital that room turnover is as efficient as possible.

Where does that leave the cleaning schedule?Rooms are prepared for new customers after every departure, of course, but deep-cleans and refurbishments take time – and most hotels aim for a minimum of one deep-clean per room, per year. Imagine a hotel with 178 rooms: around 15 rooms will need to be cleaned per month, if every room is to be cleaned at least once within the year. It’s the hotel manager’s task to schedule the cleaning of those 15 rooms at times when occupancy is lowest, and revenues will be affected least.

The average three-star London hotel charges £128 per day[3]. So putting 15 rooms out of use for a full day means a loss of £1920 over a month, and therefore £23, 040 over the course of the year. If the type of deep-clean requires two days to fully dry and air, as some do, then that loss of revenue is doubled, to nearly £50 000.

 What do these figures tell us, here at TotalCare?That the method used to deep-clean a hotel room is far more crucial than it appears. Most carpet cleaning systems use high volumes of pressurised water and cleaning agents to penetrate the carpet, and the dirt is then lifted out using a specialised vacuum. Depending on the environment, the carpets treated this way may take anywhere from four hours to two days to completely dry. The room, at least, will need to remain unoccupied for at least a day. For older hotels, carpeted floors without underlays may trap moisture from the cleaning, resulting in condensate stains that will also need to be cleaned. More time, and more expense – and if a customer is accidentally placed in a room with a still-damp carpet, there will be complaints, possible health and safety implications and a loss of reputation and revenues via refunds or a free nights stay.

So we decided we could do things a little differently, and developed a method that will allow for same-day turnaroundfor deep-cleaned rooms. Our aim is to complete our pre-scheduled rooms (between 15-20 at a time) between the hours of 6am and 12pm. If check-in starts at 2pm, it’s possible for a room to be completely refreshed without losing any occupancy at all.

 

What are the benefits?Well, we hope the general manager’s schedule will be considerably less complicated as a result, as well as the schedules of housekeeping staff and sales teams. A hotel cleaned with our method can maximise bookings and revenues, minimise unoccupied rooms, and increase customer satisfaction. So more of those gold-standard returning customers, and fewer wet carpets. We think we can all get behind that.

 

You can read a real-life, recent case study about this method in action here.

 

[1]http://www.bha.org.uk/2609_bha_lobby_day_briefings_uk/

[2]http://www.hotelnewsnow.com/Articles/11472/10-tips-for-retaining-loyal-guests

[3]http://gb.hotels.com/hotel-price-index/7-average-room-prices-by-star-rating.html

 

Fast Drying vs Slow Drying

Just as with many things, each and every item has its advantages and disadvantages. This is the same with carpet cleaning. The first and most important is the consistency in stain removal.

Stain removal can be a hard and complex science. There isn’t a once size fits all scenario, this is because of the pH level of different substance that are drop, leaked, trodden onto the fabric. Choosing the right chemical solution and method for removing the stain is skilled job and in many cases experience wins.

The most common carpet and upholstery cleaning methods are:

  1. Bonneting – A heated (Damp) pad is used in conjunction with a slow rpm rotary machine. The pad softens the fibres and lifts dirt off the surface. Low to medium pile carpets, the likes of which found in offices, hotels and public areas, benefit from this system. Other benefits include: Fast drying, low noise, more efficient turnaround.
  2. Extraction – An Extraction wand with jets force cleaning chemical under pressure deep into the carpet pile. At the same time, as the extraction wand is moved over the carpet while powerful vacuums evacuate the moisture. Measuring the moisture level both before and after ensures the minimum amount of liquid remains in the carpet. Benefits of this cleaning are: deeper clean in between the fibres, ideal for heavily soiled carpets, removes deeper darker stains.

Extraction takes longer to dry. Bonneting is faster drying. The balancing act for any expert is matching the quality expectation vs drying expectation. The longer and slower isn’t always the best step forward, as more moisture introduced the carpet will take longer to dry. Less moisture may not remove most stains.

Both have there uses. Both can be used in combination each other. The nature of the clients expectations, operations and quality expectation will determine which is best suited to the job. An expert carpet cleaning provider should offer multiple options to get the best results.

Stain removal is a complex task. The general rule for successful stain removal is time. The faster one can react more likely the stain can be removed. Simply cleaning it with either of the above method after a long period isn’t enough. The correct steps in line with the correct chemical choice is key, but again speedy reactions will prove the most successful.

The client should also not hold its vendor to ransom, if certain stains are not removed…there something’s outside of everyone’s control.

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