A Guide to Deep Cleaning…

While many people enjoy the benefits of a clean home or office, few enjoy the time and effort required to yield the results. A clean home can improve air quality, health and sanitary conditions. A clean environment can also reduce trips and falls resulting from items being in walking paths. Regular cleaning can reduce dust mites and other allergens like mould and prevent bugs and insects from establishing homes in your environment.

A guide to a deep clean

Deep cleaning restores your home or office to its cleanliest form. While deep cleaning only needs to occur a few times a year, typically at the start of each season, it makes a huge difference when it comes to maintaining a clean environment.

Kitchen Tasks

• Clean out and defrost freezer
• Clean the outsides and insides of cabinets
• Clean the fridge
• Clean the top of kitchen cabinets and any decorative items
• Clean oven and hob
• Scrub the floors
• Polish cabinetry
• Wash windows, inside and out
• Wipe down walls
• Wipe down baseboards
• Wash bins

Bathroom Tasks

• Disinfect toilets, sinks, bath and surfaces, shower screen/curtain
• Scrub floors
• Wipe down walls
• Polish cabinetry
• Wash windows inside and out

General Tasks

• Remove cobwebs
• Wipe down walls
• Clean windows inside and out
• Steam clean carpets, if needed
• Remove and clean rugs
• Wipe down walls
• Wipe down skirting boards
• Wipe down windowsills
• Wipe down door frames
• Clean under beds
• Flip mattresses
• Clean glass doors, inside and out
• Vacuum and/or wash curtains
• Wash fixtures and light switches
• Vacuum furniture
• Polish wood
• Remove books from bookshelves and clean shelves
• Remove knickknacks and clean them as well as display surfaces
• Wipe down or disinfect surfaces

10 Tips for Deep Cleaning Your Home or Office
Deep cleaning gives you the opportunity to restore your home or office to pristine condition. While you can deep clean at anytime, deep cleaning before a big event or at the beginning or end of each season are natural times to do so. Depending on the size of your space, deep cleaning can take 1 to 3 days.

To successfully deep clean your home, follow these tips:

1. Set aside time to clean. Deep cleaning isn’t something you’ll want to do spare of the moment. Put it in your calendar and make a commitment to spending the time required to achieve your desired results.
2. Remove clutter. Getting the chaos out of the way is essential before tackling deep cleaning. While it can be tempting to clean around the clutter, don’t. Instead remove the clutter first.
3. Put things away. As you tackle each cluttered areas, put the items you wish to keep in the proper place. Throw away anything that’s rubbish and fill a rubbish bag with items you wish to give away.
4. Start high. When deep cleaning start up top and work your way down. Cleaning your ceiling before your floor will ensure that you don’t have to clean surfaces and floors again when the dust falls.
5. Look beyond the obvious. Get down on your hands and knees and explore your environment. Open cabinets and drawers. Don’t forget to clean behind the toilet or on top of the fridge.
6. Use the right tools. To get the job done right the first time, invest in the right cleaning tool. Using a microfiber cloth for example, will yield better results when cleaning glass than using a paper towel.
7. Check batteries. Spring cleaning is a great time to check batteries in smoke detectors, torches, remote controls and wall clocks.
8. Check filters. Before deep cleaning, be sure to check the water filters, vacuum filters are clean.
9. Don’t forget outside. During your deep cleaning, don’t forget porches, walkways and other outside areas of your home or office space.
10. Hire outside help. If you’re feeling overwhelmed consider outsourcing your deep cleaning.

How to Clean a Carpet

If there is one thing that infuriates people it’s unearthing a stain on the carpet that no one will own up to. So if you’re tired of seeing your carpet in a less than desirable state and hate smelling stale odour, this carpet cleaning guide will show you how to be rid of those unsightly stains and regain that just fitted look.

One thing that we will ask of you is to bear in mind that this process may take some time, but we assure you the results you will receive will be well worth the effort.

Step 1: A GOOD VACUUM

Empty your vacuum bag and begin to clean the carpet, ensuring all the loose particles are collected. However, when it comes to tackling the stain use a blunt knife or spatula and remove as much solid matter as possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2: BLOT AND PRE-TREAT

If the stain is fresh ensure you pick up much liquid as you can by using the blotting technique. However, please steer clear of coloured kitchen roll or tissue as this colour can transfer onto the carpet and add to the problem. Before you come to pre-treating the stain it is advisable that you test the product on a leftover piece of carpet or inconspicuous area to see how the carpet reacts to the chemicals; if there are no adverse reactions proceed using the CARPET STAIN REMOVER and apply it directly onto the stain, leave for about five minutes until it’s soaked in and then lift the stain with the help of a hand brush.

Step 3: REMOVING THE UNFORGIVING STAIN

For normal domestic stains (non-oil based)

  • Once you have pre-treated the stain create a mixture of CARPET AND FABRIC DETERGENT and water and apply following the instructions;

Prochem Multi Pro 5litre (S709)

  • Lay down a few towels on the carpet where you have applied the removal mixture so it soaks up any additional soap;
  • Go over the carpet with water and allow it to dry naturally;
  • Vacuum once more.
  • Applying a CARPET PROTECTOR once you have vacuumed the carpet for the last time will defend your carpet from future stains and prolong its life.

Pre-Christmas Cleaning Tips: How to Prepare Your Home for Christmas

Christmas is almost here! If you’re hosting a party or celebration at home, find out how to prepare & get your home clean & tidy beforehand.

Christmas is almost here! It’s a good idea to prepare for Christmas by cleaning and tidying the different areas of your home. Dividing up the tasks into different areas will make it easy for you, so here are our best Christmas cleaning tips for the bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, and living room.

Bathroom

One of the most important things you can do during the pre-Christmas clean up is to get your bathroom as clean and hygienic as possible, and try to maintain this level of cleanliness all throughout the festive period. Not only will your bathroom be used more as you entertain family and friends, but maintaining a clean bathroom area is vital to prevent the spread of germs. Use Bathroom Spray and a toilet cleaning products to ensure that your bathroom is clean and hygienic. Just follow the directions on the label and test any product in a small area first.

Living Room

Vacuuming is important over Christmas to keep your home looking clean and fresh. Prior to the big day, it’s also important to get your carpets clean before your kids sit on the floor opening and playing with their presents from Santa. If you’ve got rugs, flip them over and vacuum the undersides to remove as much dust and dirt as possible.

When you do the big Christmas tidy up is entirely up to you, but many homeowners prefer to clean in the few days leading up to 25 December, as this means they don’t feel rushed to get everything done in just one day, and it also means they can then spend Christmas and Boxing Day relaxing, drinking mulled wine, and eating mince pies, without having to worry about chores.

Kitchen                    

If you’re hosting a big family Christmas dinner this year, the kitchen really will be the heart of your home. However, the kitchen isn’t just about cooking – it’s also about safely and hygienically storing food; it’s about keeping your glassware, cutlery, and crockery clean and shiny; and, if you keep your washing machine in the kitchen, it’s also about staying on top of your laundry. Here are some kitchen tasks you may wish to tackle during the pre-Christmas tidy-up:

  • Try to reach the bottom of your laundry basket before the festive period begins in earnest. There is nothing worse than getting ready for a Christmas party and finding that your favourite little black dress is still stuffed in the bottom of the basket waiting for the wash. Take yourself shopping and stock up on Persil small & mighty laundry detergent and Comfort fabric softener to ensure you don’t run out at a vital moment.
  • Clean your oven before Christmas so that it’s all ready to cook that turkey to perfection. If your oven is covered in small bits of cremated food, it could not only affect the taste of your meat, but it could also start to smoke, leaving a nasty, lingering smell in the house. Use oven cleaner to get your oven clean again, making sure to follow the directions on the label and taking any necessary safety precautions. Always make sure that the oven is cool before you start to clean it.
  • Clean your fridge, removing any out-of-date food (and recycling the packaging where appropriate). Emptying out your fridge also means you’ve got plenty of room for things like wine and trifle!

Guest Bedrooms

Even if you’re not expecting guests over the festive period, you should always expect the unexpected at Christmas. Whether it’s family turning up unannounced, or a friend who pops over and gets talked into opening a bottle of festive cheer with you and is unable to drive home, you may end up with more guests than you bargained for. This means you should make sure that your guest bedroom is ready to receive guests at a moment’s notice. Here’s how to get your guest room up to scratch:

  • Change the sheets so that they’re clean and fresh. Bedding – sheets and duvet covers – can be washed in the washing machine with Persil small & mighty bio detergent, but try to wash them separately from other clothing, as smaller items like socks can get caught amongst the sheets and might not be cleaned properly.
  • Vacuum and polish the guest room to freshen it up, which is particularly important if you don’t tend to use this room very often. Rooms that are left unoccupied for long periods can gather dust, making them quite musty. You may wish to move a house plant into the guest room to make it feel more welcoming and ‘lived in’ to make your guests feel more comfortable.
  • Make a space in a wardrobe, or in a set of drawers, that your guests can use. If they are planning to stay for a few days, your guests don’t want to be living from a suitcase. Make sure you check the wardrobes first, as these can be ideal breeding grounds for mould.

Hope you found our home cleaning blog useful – wishing you all a lovely Christmas and New Year from everyone at Valley Industrial Products.

Keeping your House Safe for Children

The average baby learns to crawl at eight months. It doesn’t take long until they start pulling themselves up onto tables, chairs and other surfaces that were previously beyond reach. And let’s not forget the curious nature of toddlers.

Babies and small children can get from one place to another in the blink of an eye, and in seconds could be exposed to dangers that could have very harmful consequences. It takes years for children to become self aware to the point where they can recognise potential hazards; therefore, ensuring your home is safe and secure is of paramount importance.

Child proofing consists of much more than inserting plug protectors, installing baby gates and picking up small objects. Chemicals left in the kitchen and bathroom are very often disregarded, yet they can pose a very serious threat if touched or ingested.

Child Safe Storage

Cleaning products are responsible for over 10% of all toxic exposures. Of this figure almost a quarter of them involve children under six who have ingested liquids that have been left on display.

Leave Child Safety Locks on Cabinets

Even after your children figure out how child locks work, leave them on. While they are generally only useful for protecting children between six and 25 months of age, they will serve as a constant reminder of areas that are “off limits”; therefore, the habitual element will stay with them for much longer.

Store Cleaning Products in a High Cabinet

Keep detergents, pesticides, household cleaning products and any other harmful substances locked away in a high cabinet. Do not keep them in cupboards under the sink or anywhere that your child can reach. The same rule also applies to any cleaning equipment.

Change your Cleaning Products

Change hazardous products to non-hazardous cleaning products. For example, swap chlorine-based bleach for non-chlorine bleach or consider making your own organic homemade products instead. Even if you exchange hazardous products for non-hazardous products, you should still keep them out-of-reach.

Always Remain Vigilant

Supervising your child is the best way to keep them out of harms way; however, it’s not always possible. When you’re cooking or doing something that hinders your attention span, place your children somewhere safe, such as a playroom.

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Do not store cleaning products under the sink.

Image Credit: Rev. Al Deaderick

Buy Products with Child Resistant Caps

If possible, buy products that have child resistant caps. Never transfer harmful medications over to food containers or a storage device that doesn’t have a lock.

WARNING: Child resistant doesn’t mean child proof. Children can still take off child resistant caps and open child resistant locks, etc., it simply makes it more difficult for them.

Keep the Lids on your Bins

Keep the lids on your bins and make sure cans, containers and empty bottles for recycling are stored out-of-reach. Just because something is empty it doesn’t mean it’s not harmful. Cleaning residues may still be present.

Create a “Safe Cupboard”

Set aside one cabinet for your child to explore, but make sure it’s not too close to the oven. Fill it with safe, yet interesting looking containers and bottles, such as yogurt pots. This will distract your children when they are curious. It could also be a good idea to change the contents every now and then to keep it stimulating.

Close your Dishwasher

Close your dishwasher when it’s not in use. It’s easy for knifes and other sharp objects to fall into the bottom tray, and any leftover dishwasher detergent could be highly toxic if your children eat it.

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Never leave your dishwasher open in the presence of children.

Image Credit: Joanna Bourne

Don’t Store Cleaning Products in Food Containers

Never store cleaning products in containers or bottles that were once used for food. Even if the liquid is a completely different colour, children may not be able to tell the difference.

Don’t Use Poisons for Rodents

Never place roach, mouse, rat, or any other rodent poison on the floors of your home, even if they are under the kitchen worktops.

Store Auto and Gardening Products Somewhere Else

Do not store automotive or gardening products in the house. Place them out of sight in a locked shed or garage.

Remove Toxic Houseplants

A surprising amount of common houseplants are highly toxic, such as lily of the valley and English ivy. If you have any poisonous plants or flowers in the house remove them.

Over time it’s easy to become lazy with storage procedures. Even if your children know that they shouldn’t touch certain products, it’s never worth taking the risk. Children can find it very difficult to gauge danger and curiosity will often get the best of them.

Child-Safe Cleaning

Childproofing your home isn’t all about selecting the right products and storing them in a safe place. The time and way you clean can also have a significant impact.

Don’t Play When Cleaning

Do not play with your children when you’re cleaning. You may have harmful substances on your hands or gloves that could cause illness. Always make sure to use cleansing hand towels after cleaning any surfaces with chemicals.

Never Leave Cleaning Products Unattended

Don’t leave cleaning products unattended. It can take seconds for a child to swallow hazardous liquids.

Discard Old Batteries

Discard old batteries – even if they are inside electronic goods – and make sure any new batteries are out of sight and reach of children. Alkaline substances are highly poisonous.

Dilute Household Cleaners

Remember that less is more. Most household cleaners can be diluted with water, and will still clean just as effectively. Diluting is a quick and simple way of the making the harmful chemicals less harsh.

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Diluting your cleaning solution with water could make the chemicals less harmful.

Image Credit: Bark

Establish your Cleaning Routine

Make sure other people – such as babysitters and cleaners – understand your routine and approach to child safe cleaning.

Use Water when Possible

You don’t always have to use chemical cleaners. Sometimes water will do the job. For example, if you accidently spill something on the carpet, household cleaners may remove the stain, but the chemicals could become locked inside the fibres. In these circumstances water or steam may be just as effective.

Choose the Right Time to Clean

Pick the right time to clean, such as when your children are sleeping or away from home. Toxic exposure usually happens between 4pm and 8pm as that tends to be the busiest time in the average household.

Remove Mould Immediately

Mould can be very harmful to the respiratory system; therefore, it should always be removed immediately. First clean the area with soap and water, and then wash it with a solution made from one part bleach and ten parts water. Remember that bleach is highly dangerous, even in small quantities. Never conduct cleaning with bleach in the presence of children.

When you buy commercial cleaning products you expect them to do one thing; clean. Unfortunately, while these products may kill harmful germs and bacteria, they could contribute to other forms of pollution that could be harmful to inhale, ingest or touch. Make sure to keep any potentially harmful substances outside of the cleaning area in a refuse or rubble sack.

Prepare Yourself

Problems will often occur when you least expect and learning a little first aid could mean the difference between life and death if there’s ever an accident.

Keep Important Phone Numbers with You

Keep important phone numbers with you or within easy reach at all times. Place a note by your landline and store numbers on your mobile for poison control and your local doctor. In emergencies every second counts, and you don’t want to waste precious time looking for contact details.

Keep a First Aid Kit in your Home

Keep a first aid kit with up-to-date instructions in your home at all times. If you ever use anything replace it at the earliest possible convenience. In addition, check all of the use-by dates. Antiseptic creams, medication and even bandages can go out-of-date. Make sure bulk toilet rolls are kept handy for any quick solutions.

Learn Basic First Aid Procedures

Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the Heimlich manoeuver. Having basic first aid knowledge could save your children in life threatening situations.

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Having a basic understanding of first aid procedures could save a life.

Image Credit: Pete

Check your Carbon Monoxide Detector

Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that can build up in your home when household appliances use open flames. It is particularly dangerous because it doesn’t have a smell or taste. Make sure you have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted near flame burning appliances.

Take Suspected Poison Containers to the Doctor

If you ever find an empty bottle, packet or container and suspect that your child has consumed the contents, take it with you to the doctor or hospital.

Do  Not make your Child Sick

Do not give your child salt water to make them sick, or anything else to drink if they have consumed a harmful substance or are burning up. Simply wet their lips with cold water and dial 999 immediately.

Hopefully you will never find yourself in a situation where you’ll have to use any of these procedures. Learning them, however, could save a life in desperate circumstances.

Common Problems

While cleaning products are an essential part of our health and wellbeing, remember that there are a wide array of options, each containing different chemical compounds. Therefore, if you encounter problems with one, there’ll always be something else available.

Airway Irritation

Strong fumes from household cleaners, air fresheners and other fragrant liquids can cause airway irritations and induce asthma-like symptoms.

Eye Irritation

Strong fumes may also induce eye irritations and hay fever symptoms. Redness, heavy watering and inching are very common, especially among babies. Some cleaners can cause serious long-term damage if they are splashed directly into the eyes.

Skin Irritation

Babies have sensitive skin and products in certain household cleaners and detergents may cause skin irritations such as eczema.

Allergies

Having a home that’s “too clean” can induce allergies. Children need some exposure to germs in order for their immune systems to develop, otherwise they could become hypersensitive to allergens that should be harmless.

Poisoning

Poisoning is without a doubt the most harmful problem of all. Each year over one million children accidently poison themselves, sometimes with fatal consequences.

Everyone’s body reacts to chemicals in different ways; therefore, it can be difficult to determine which chemical compounds are problematic. Always remain vigilant and if you notice a problem – no matter how small – consult a doctor.

Toxic Chemicals

Most household cleaners will contain some form of toxic chemical; therefore, moderation is key. Even though most solutions are heavily diluted, always exercise caution and ensure you make changes if your child suffers from minor problems.

Air Fresheners

The chemicals used in air fresheners can coat nasal passages with and oil-like substance that can destroy the nerves. Toxic chemicals include formaldehyde and phenol, which can burn, peel and break the skin.

Ammonia

Ammonia is a highly volatile gas that has a sharp and pungent odour. It is often a key component of domestic cleaning products and can be highly damaging to the eyes, skin and respiratory tract.

Bleach

There are various forms of bleach on the market, each with different active ingredients (chemicals used as a cleaning agent), such as hydrogen peroxide, sodium hypochlorite and chlorine.  Bleach can irritate and burn the skin, eyes and respiratory tract. If ingested it can be fatal.

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Bleach is one of the most harmful household cleaning products.

Image Credit: Orin Zebest

Carpet Shampoo

Chemicals used in carpet shampoo are designed to power over the stain; however, they are often toxic and include ingredients such as percholrethylene, which can harm the nervous system; and ammonium hydroxide, which can cause respiratory problems.

Dishwasher Detergents

According to Poison Control, dishwasher detergents contribute to more child poisonings than any other cleaning product. Most dishwashing solutions contain chlorine, which is highly toxic if ingested.

Drain Cleaner

The majority of drain cleaners contain lye, which can cause oesophageal damage if ingested; hydrochloric acid, which can harm the skin, kidneys and digestive tract; or trichloroethane, which can irritate the eyes and skin.

Furniture Polish

Furniture polish and floor polish is highly flammable due to its petroleum distillate content. In addition it contains nitrobenzene, a toxic chemical that can be absorbed through the skin; and phenol, which can induce the same toxic effects as air fresheners.

Laundry Detergent

Laundry detergents usually contain either sodium or calcium hypocrite, which is highly corrosive and can cause skin and eye irritations. It may also contain linear alkylate sulfonate and sodium tripolyphosphate, which can be absorbed through the skin and cause liver damage.

Mould and Mildew Cleaner

Mould and mildew cleaners usually contain sodium hypochloride. If swallowed it can inhibit reflexes and cause serious tissue damage. Some cleaners also contain formaldehyde, which can induce nausea, headaches and shortness of breath.

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Mould and mildew can be harmful to the repertory tract if left alone.

Image Credit: Thomas Anderson

Oven Cleaner

Oven cleaner often contains sodium hydroxide, which can irritate the skin and eyes. If swallowed it can inhibit reflexes, cause serious tissue damage and have fatal consequences.

Toilet Cleaner

Toilet cleaners usually contain hydrochloric acid and hypochlorite bleach, which is highly corrosive and can burn the skin and eyes. If ingested or combined with other chemicals to it could result in vomiting, comas and even death.

Fundamentally, almost every household cleaner will contain some form of harmful substance. Even if they are ecological and non-toxic, always remain cautious and ensure that they are out-of-reach of children.

It doesn’t matter how much you prepare, when you have children there’ll always be worries stirring about your mind; and rightly so. Never let your guard down as dangers often come from the most unlikely places. While you can’t predict everything you can certainly reduce the chance of problems occurring.

DO YOU CLEAN FOR FIVE HOURS A WEEK?

Britons spend nearly five hours a week keeping their homes clean, a survey found.

Britons spend nearly five hours a week keeping their homes clean, a survey found.

Kitchens are cleaned most often, while doing the oven and windows are the least popular jobs.

In total we spend just over £1billion a year on products to keep the dirt at bay – almost £40 per household.

Market analysts Mintel found a clear division of labour.

While the average Briton spends 4hrs 40 minutes cleaning their home each week, men spend just 3hs 53mins compared to 5hrs 25mins for women.

And while seven in ten women say they do most of the cleaning, this falls to four in ten for men.

Confirming many parents’ feelings, only one in five adult children and over living at their parents’ home help with cleaning chores, with children under 18 doing even less.

Last year, the household cleaning market was worth £1.06 billion, which equates to annual spending of £39.89 per household.

Those looking for the cleanest homes in the country should head to Scotland, where people spend an average of five fours, 6 minutes, this is closely followed by East and West Midlands at five hours, 1 minute.

In comparison, the least number of hours cleaning are spent in the south east/East Anglia at four hours, 18 minutes.

The south west and Wales stand at four hours, 46 minutes, the north west four hours 44 minutes, and Yorkshire, Humberside four hours 21 minutes.

Richard Caines, Mintel’s senior household care analyst, said: ‘Men still lag women in the household cleaning stakes and spend on average an hour and a half less time cleaning their home, suggesting an opportunity for a campaign to encourage more cleaning by men to help redress this imbalance.

‘The number of households that need cleaning is continuing to grow, but pressure on time from increasingly busy lives limits the number of hours people are willing or able to spend cleaning their homes.

This means the market will see an increasing focus on easy-to-use, but effective hard surface cleaners and cleaning equipment.

‘Such products can help encourage more cleaning to be done in less time, but as well as focusing on more convenient products, cleaning brands can also inject an element of fun into campaigns through encouraging a more shared approach that involves the whole family.

‘This would also help to address the gender imbalance and get older children to make more of a contribution to cleaning.’

OUR TRADE COUNTER

Completely refurbished in 2012 we now offer one of the finest, best stocked trade counters in our industry!!

Expert staff are on hand between 7am and 4pm Monday to Friday and since October 2012, we have also opened between 9am and 12 noon on Saturdays.

Free and easy parking is available and easily accessible from the North Circular Road we stock a very wide range of cleaning, maintenance, janitorial products and cleaning machines.

If you are in a hurry you can also call our sales team on 020 8884 3402 in advance so we are ready and good to go as soon as you arrive.

Opening on a Saturday has proved to be extremely popular particularly with the busy contractor who just doesn’t get time in the week. Of course, the roads are also a lot quieter as well. Any last minute weekend work is also no longer a problem.

Please feel free to visit and see our complete range. There is no need to ring ahead just pop down whenever is convenient. Our helpful staff will also be happy to help you load your vehicle.

We look forward to your visit………………….

UK HOMES – THE FACTS!!

A recent UK study carried out by Mintel has established some very interesting facts about the cleanliness of British homes and their residents.

  • 27% of households rarely clean their windows
  • 23% hardly ever clean their ovens
  • 28% admit to the fact that their homes are often messy.
  • 30% use carpet shampoo
  • 12% have hired the services of professional carpet cleaning companies
  • 5% have used a professional cleaning company
  • 33% use a professional window cleaner
  • 14% have problems with blocked drains, toilets and sinks
  • 24% spend over 2.5 hours a day or more cleaning their home
  • 75% worry about having a clean, presentable home

Mintel’s senior household care analyst, Richard Caines, states “For the most part, UK householders are enthusiastic cleaners, but some jobs remain too much for even the most devoted cleaner.”

“Cleaning the windows and oven top the least loved tasks, and the windows of more than a quarter of adults hardly ever get cleaned, suggesting the market for window cleaners is not realising its full potential.

“Carpet cleaners have been a star performer in the household cleaning products market, sales of carpet and upholstery cleaners did well between 2010 and 2011 boosted by product innovation seen from some major brands and an effort to look after carpets as opposed to buying new floor coverings.”

The survey also established the following facts:

  • Brits spend around £1 billion per annum on cleaning products
  • There was a 16% increase on spending between 2006 and 2011 on household polishes and speciality cleaning products which was valued at £171 million in 2011
  • In 2011 £32 million was spent on household polishes which represented growth of 45% over the same period.
  • Again between 2006 and 2011 only £8 million was spent on floor polish which represented a massive 33% decrease in sales.

Mr Caines said:
“Strong increases in the value of sales of furniture polishes and carpet cleaners suggest that consumers are willing to spend more money on products that help to protect and maintain the look of household items that are expensive for them to replace.”
“In contrast to the strong performance seen in furniture polishes, sales of floor polish have declined and those people with real wood floors that need polishing represent a small minority of households.”

If any help or advice is needed on tackling those tricky jobs we at Valley, have the experience and passion to help.

Germs transfer around the office

You probably think a microwave door handle must be cleaner than the toilet seat in your office. In fact, most people believe the restroom is the epicenter of germs in the office—and it turns out, most are wrong. A new study found that the dirtiest surfaces in the workplace are where employees prepare and eat food.

Hygienists from the Kimberly-Clark Professional Healthy Workplace Project collected nearly 5,000 individual swabs from office buildings containing more than 3,000 employees to identify the spots where germs can lurk. The participating workplaces represented a broad range of office types, including manufacturing facilities, law firms, insurance companies, healthcare companies and call centers.

Office surfaces were tested to determine which ones have high levels of contamination (an ATP count of 300 or higher; ATP is the molecule that provides the energy in the cells of all living organisms). Everyday objects with an ATP reading of 300 or higher are considered to have a high risk for illness transmission, while surfaces with an ATP reading between 100 and 300 suggest room for improvement.

According to the study, which was carried out in consultation with Dr. Charles Gerba, a professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona, break rooms and kitchens top the list, with sink and microwave door handles found to be the dirtiest surfaces of all.

“People assume that bathrooms have the most germs,” Dr. Gerba says. “A lot of studies have been done about the desktop work area, but the break room has been overlooked. Usually the break room is a germ transfer point in the workplace; people eat lunches there, they cough. More colds and flus are spread in break rooms when they touch surfaces and share space with other people.”

He adds, “You are dealing with an unregulated restaurant in a lot of ways. People with different hygiene habits are sharing the space with no regulation.”

The study shows that the percentage of the office surfaces tested and found to have an ATP count of 300 or higher, includes break room sink faucet handles (75%), microwave door handles (48%), keyboards (27%), refrigerator door handles (26%), water fountain buttons (23%) and vending machine buttons (21%).

“Any workplace that fails to use good hygiene practices on a daily basis can become a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses,” says Brad Reynolds, the North American platform leader of The Healthy Workplace Project,Kimberly-Clark Professional. “Lack of attention to cleaning and sanitizing, especially at high-risk touch points like kitchen sink handles and microwaves, can lead to the spread of colds, flu and stomach illness. And these illnesses inevitably result in the loss of productivity through absenteeism and presenteesim (coming to work while sick).”

In addition, the study found that half of all computer mice and desk phones have ATP levels above 100 but less than 300, perhaps because people tend to take more responsibility for the cleanliness of their personal spaces. However, an ATP above 100 still suggests there is a need for more attention to the importance of good hygiene in the office.

“Research indicates that people feel higher levels of comfort and safety when they believe they are in their own personal space, such as their homes, cars, or desks at the office,” Reynolds says. “This is because they tend to believe that their germs are safer than other peoples’ germs.  So yes, people believe that their own keyboards and computer mice are clean because they are the primary users of these items. However, people should keep in mind that workplaces today are highly collaborative environments with many common touch points.”

Every time a worker visits the kitchen, touches an elevator button or drinks from a water fountain there is an opportunity to come in contact with germs and take them back to their desk.  At that point, bacteria and viruses from other people are deposited in their personal space, Reynolds says.

Luckily, there are easy solutions or ways to avoid spreading germs and contracting bacteria and viruses at work. Dr. Gerba and Brad Reynolds share five simple tips for staying healthy in the workplace:

  • Wash and dry your hands upon arrival at work, after using the restroom, and before and after eating. Simply drying your hands thoroughly with a paper towel after rinsing with water alone can reduce germs by 77%.
  • Wipe the following items daily with a disposable disinfectant wipe: desk surface, keyboard, mouse, telephone, kitchen sink handles, microwave handle, refrigerator handle, kitchen countertops, conference room tables, conference room phone, and water fountain buttons. Desks typically have 400 times more germs than toilet seats. Develop a habit to wipe your desktop, keyboard, mouse and phone at the beginning or end of every workday.
  • Keep hand sanitizer at your desk and use it before and after meetings, and when leaving work at the end of the day.
  • Use disinfectant wipes to wipe down the high touch areas in a break room.
  • Keep hand sanitizer in the break room to reinforce healthy hand hygiene behaviors.

Jacquelyn Smith Forbes Staff
http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2012/05/23/danger-in-the-microwave-germs-at-work-and-how-to-avoid-them/