A1 Cleaning Services Blog

Wonder what the Future of Cleaning will look like?

We all know about and also use machines that help us in our daily cleaning chores. Common household appliances such as the washing machine, vacuum cleaner, dish washer, etc. were invented to make our lives easier. These appliances, which were once a luxury, are now necessities. But have you heard of AI powered robots doing the cleaning without we even having to lift a finger?

Intelligent cleaning Bots or robots are no longer limited on the big screen. Robots and gadgets once seen in Sci-Fi movies are now becoming a reality.

So, ever wondered what type sophistication is coming our way in the near future from the realm of cleaning & maintenance? Read on…..

Types of Automated Cleaning

Technology and innovation are constantly creating new products to help automate the cleaning process. Smart robots and appliances that can vacuum, mop, clean windows and purify air are already in the market and are used in commercial and residential properties. These high-tech machines will do the cleaning for you so that you have more time for other activities or interests.

Singaporeans won’t have to depend on a domestic helper to maintain their home interiors cleaned. For the floor can been vacuumed, toilets mopped, windows cleaned to a sparkle…all by a robot!

Here are a few gadgets that can take the cleaning chore out of your daily routine.

1.     Floor cleaning robots

automated facility maintenanceThere are many robotic vacuum cleaners in the market already. Some, like the iRobot Roomba and Ecovacs Deebot are meant for residential cleaning. These robot vacuums will scan you floor space to create a cleaning path. Some are also intelligent enough to return to the dock station to recharge.

There are also robots for commercial cleaning. The Scrub 50, Singapore’s first fully autonomous cleaning robot may very well be the solution to cleaning large areas. Another local company also specializes in cleaning by robots.

2.     Robot mops

The iRobot Braava is a robot mopping device. It does not vacuum but can dry sweep your floor before mopping. A special feature in this device is the jet spray. Most mopping robots only include a water tank. There are also other brands that have a combination of vacuum and mopping function.

3.    window cleaning bot Robot window cleaner

With the majority of Singaporeans living in high rise apartments, cleaning the exterior of windows can be dangerous and often neglected. However, with cleaning automation, glass cleaning bots or spiders as they are known, can take on this risky and arduous task. The WinBot and HoBot are popular automatic window cleaners.

4.     Pool cleaner

If cleaning the bathtub seems like a gigantic task, then just imagine what cleaning the swimming pool be like! In comes the robotic pool cleaners like The Dolphin and AquaBot. Smart technology and intelligent navigation make these robots more energy efficient, saves money and time.

5.     Self-cleaning litter box

Many people keep cats as pets as they are low maintenance as compared to dogs. But cats also need cleaning up and scooping and cleaning the cat litter box is nobody’s favourite task. Thank goodness for self-cleaning litter boxes that do all the dirty work for you PLUS keep your home odour free.

Conclusion

With the advancement of cleaning automation and rise of the smart home / office, repetitive tasks can be carried out by robots. This allows us to redirect our time to more important work, thus improving productivity.

While many of the home automation gadgets may fit within your budget, equipment for the commercial industry may be costly. In such cases its always better to outsource the cleaning, be it automated or manual, to professional cleaning companies.

Top 5 Carpet Stains and How to Remove Them

Stains!! The most dreadful thing to be found on a carpet! Be it spills caused by children, pets or even your own self…stains are inevitable. Fortunately, with the expert advice available online for carpet stain removal, it may not be as dreadful anymore.

With DIY cleaners made with ingredients found in the home, store bought stain removers, carpet shampoos or perhaps carpet steam cleaners….one can actually take on the cleaning herself. Alternatively, you engage a professional carpet cleaning service provider for tackling tougher stains.

In this blog post we will share about common carpet stains and how to remove them.

Types of Stains and How to Treat Them

The obvious reaction when you spot a stain is to quickly get a rag and stain remover and start rubbing on the stain. But…. Stop! You first need to pre-treat the stain.

Pre-treating Stains

soiled carpet cleaningFollow these tips when stains or spills occur –

  1. Work quickly so the stain does not set in. Fresh stains are easier to remove.
  2. When a spill or stain happens, the first reaction is to rub on the stain. Never rub or scrub on the stain as this only pushes the stain deeper.
  3. Instead, scoop up any residue and blot with a paper towel or clean cloth. Always work from the outside of the stain towards the middle to avoid spreading.
  4. For thin, liquid spills, blot with a few paper towels to soak up as much liquid as possible.

Five common type of Stains

There are many types of stains that can spill or drop onto your carpet. Here we will talk about the 5 most common stains and how to remove them. For all the below mentioned stains, follow the pre-treatment method mentioned above first.

  1. Coffee / Tea stains

Pour Club Soda liberally over the stain and blot with a white paper towel or cloth.

  1. Ink Stains

Pour rubbing alcohol directly onto the stain and blot with paper towel. Repeat until the stain is completely removed.

  1. Blood stains

Mix salt and water to make it into a paste like consistency. Cover the stain completely with this paste. Let it sit for at least 1 hour or overnight if possible. Blot the stain with a white rag till the stain is completely lifted out. Let the remaining residue dry out and then vacuum.

  1. Food / Vomit

Scrape away excess with a spoon or scraping knife. Blot up moisture. Pour baking powder directly onto the stain. Let it sit for 1 hour. Vacuum the baking soda. Wipe off with a kitchen towel.

  1. Glue

Scrape off fresh glue with a spoon or scraping knife. Dilute with some water and continue scraping till almost all the glue has been lifted off. Blot with a cotton rag and allow to air dry.

Carpet Maintenance

If you are one of the lucky ones free from soiled carpets, you should still have your carpets thoroughly cleaned every 12 -18 months. You may do this by either engaging a professional or commercial carpet cleaning service provider or choose to DIY.

Keep in mind that you will need the correct equipment such as a carpet steam cleaner, carpet shampoo, dehumidifier and a powerful vacuum cleaner. Also remember that a damp carpet risks mildew and bacteria growth.

With proper cleaning and maintenance your carpet you can make your carpets look new and last for a longer time.

Deep Cleaning tips that will keep your Laminate Floor looking great

Laminate floors may be attractive, but they need regular cleaning to keep them looking their best. The big problem, however, is how do you get your laminate floors cleaned without damaging the laminate surface or creating streaks? Harsh cleaning products are definitely out, but using a dry mop, mild cleaners and warm water are in.

With that in mind, here are some top tips to deep clean your laminates.

First Level of Cleaning

1.     Get Started With A General Clean

If you’re going to deep clean a laminate floor, the first step is to make sure that it is clean and tidy to begin with. You can ensure this by carrying out sweeping regularly with a dry mop. Laminate floors are relatively resistant to scratches, but dirt, debris and hair can all result in scratches if they accumulate over time. Sweeping regularly guards against this happening. The choice of cleaning tools is also important.

Alternatively, you could use your vacuum cleaner with the soft brush attachment in place. Whatever you do, avoid using a regular floor brush. The straw-like, stiff bristles could cause damage. Always sweep in the same direction as the laminate tiles have been laid as this will ensure that all debris between the flooring pieces’ grooves are collected.

hot water cleaning for kitchen floor2.     Clean the Spills

Spills are inevitable from time to time, so clean them immediately using a sponge or cloth. Never allow any type of liquid to remain on your floor for any length of time since stains can result or even damage to the protective flooring layer. After wiping spills away, make sure the floor is dry.

3.     A Hot Water Clean

This type of deep clean should be carried out when the floor is noticeably dirty or muddy. You can fill up a bucket using hot water, soak a mop in the water, wring it out then mop the laminate. Cover the whole floor beginning at the center then working outwards. Once you have completed this, allow the floor to air dry or use a dry, clean microfiber cloth to dry it off.

 

Second Level of Cleaning

A.   Use Soap

If you want something stronger than water to get your floors sparkling, you can use the soap method. Fill up your bucket with around a gallon of hot water then add a baby shampoo or mild dish washing detergent to the water. Avoid using any kind of dyed or scented detergent. This is likely to result in damage or streaks on your floor. While baby shampoo is suitable, never use a standard adult shampoo. Mix the water and soap together using your hands until the soap has dissolved and bubbles start to form. Avoid using any kind of bleach, strong chemical or abrasive cleaner. Soak a sponge or terry mop in the solution then wring it out leaving the mop only slightly damp. The soap method is best to remove salt from snow boots or mud. Just like the hot water method, clean your floor systematically. Start at one side of the room and the work across to the opposite side, making sure the whole floor has been covered.

B.   Use A Steam Mop

Perhaps one of the best method of all for deep cleaning your laminate floor is to use a steam mop. While they are more expensive than a regular mop, they are well worth the investment. Quick and easy to use, they are the most hygienic way to make sure your floors are sparkling and bacteria free without any danger or streaking or scratches. Using only the power of heat and steam, steam mops use no chemicals which could cause harm to your pets or children or which could damage your flooring. Always look for more information about how to choose the right steam mop for use on laminate floors before you buy so you can make an informed decision about which is the best product to suit your individual needs.

Follow these expert tips, and you’ll find it easier than you imagined to give your laminate floors a deep clean. As long as you avoid using harsh chemicals or rough clothes and mops, you should find that your floors look perfect and stay sparkling without any excessive effort. Laminates really are the best solution to keeping your home looking flawless!

Should you need any professional help the friendly, trained cleaners at A1 Facility Services are always at your service.

5 Must-Haves of any Office Space Cleaning routine

Did you know that almost one third of your life is spent at work? Living in Singapore, a 40 hour work week and more, is the norm. With so many people spending a majority of their awake hours at the workplace, it would be wise to make office spaces, conducive and as comfortable as possible. Investing in employee wellness by keeping the office clean raises energy levels and creativity, boosts morale and hence, increases productivity. A clean workplace also makes your clients feel confident about your business. An unkempt workplace gives a careless impression and customers may assume you won’t care about their business needs too.

Raising the bar for Workplace Productivity

Besides a clean office, individual work space, furniture and office ergonomics also improve work standards. Good lighting, comfortable temperature, green or flowering plants as well as choosing the right colour scheme to stimulate your employees all make for a positive and productive environment.

Fortunately for us in Singapore, government agencies like the National Environment Agency (NEA) and SkillFuture SG (SSG) are always trying to raise cleaning standards here through training and up-skilling the workforce, adopting technology and more.

So how can one keep their office actually clean? With so much online information available these days on effective cleaning methods, it can get overwhelming! So, to keep it simple yet applicable, here’s a sequence of handy tips to clean any office space effectively.

5 Office Space Cleaning Routine Tips

Source: Office Space Cleaning Guide by NEA

1.      Preparation and Inspection

  • Wear appropriate gear.
  • Check condition of tools and equipment.
  • Display safety sign.
  • Check and report any damages in the property.
  • Identify hazards or risks at work area.
  • Check for spills.

2.      Removing Spills and Stain on Carpets

  • Check for colour fastness on the carpet.
  • Remove furniture and obstacles.
  • Spray carpet cleaner and clear spill with absorbent paper.
  • Spray water and use cloth to blot till spill or stain is removed.

3.      Vacuuming and Cleaning of Surfaces

  • Vacuum carpeted area section at a time starting from far end.
  • Check for anymore spills or stains.
  • Place back all furniture.
  • Dilute cleaning chemical into spray bottle.
  • Spray solution on cloth and wipe all horizontal surfaces starting from the edge.
  • Rinse cloth when necessary.

4.      Cleaning the Pantry

  • Display safety sign.
  • Spray cleaning solution on spills or stains on floor.
  • Clear spills using absorbent paper.
  • Spray water and use cloth to remove spills or stains.
  • Sweep floors paying attention to corners.
  • Fill water and mopping solution in bucket.
  • Dip mop in solution and wring.
  • Mop floor section by section.
  • Rinse mop before moving to a new section.

5.      Emptying Waste Bins

  • Tie and remove used bin liner, keeping it away from body.
  • Dispose it in service trolley.
  • Clean the interior and exterior with sanitizer.
  • Place bin with new liner.

After completing these 5 steps, assess the areas cleaned and check that work has been done according to requirements. Remove all safety signs and return all tools and equipment to the store. Wash hands thoroughly for good hygiene.

Conclusion

Even with these standards in place, it is up to the office admins and facility managers to ensure processes are adhered with regular inspections and evaluation.

Keeping up with the cleanliness of your office space can be difficult on your own. That’s why many business owners choose to hire professional cleaning companies to maintain their space. A1 Cleaning Services has a dedicated team of trained office cleaners to meet your needs.

The ideal sequence to clean Washrooms the right way

The other day I was at an office building for a client meeting. It was not one of those swanky offices, but rather a factory / warehouse type. I was just about to enter my client’s office when I had a sudden urge to attend the call of nature. One of my greatest pet peeves is using public toilets especially in such environments as its cleanliness can be ….questionable.

I rushed to the washroom with great unease, expecting the worst. To my surprise, the washroom was spick and span with the most alluring floral fragrance! I was amazed by the cleanliness and care taken in keeping the restroom clean! Boy was I relieved (pun intended). And plus points were that the washbasins were equipped with hand sanitizers and the toilets were also handicap friendly. On my way out I also saw that the restroom had received a LOO Award.

Best way to clean toilets

While cleaning toilets may certainly not be a task to be cherished. However, following a prescribed sequence and cleaning methodically can save time & effort, perhaps making the task not so arduous, after all.

How to Clean the Washroom Effectively

General cleaning should be done daily and follow a systematic sequence to prevent cross contamination. This improves work efficiency and reduces overall labour time.

Gents Toilet Cleaning

Follow these 8 steps for a cleaner toilet.

1.      Initial washroom inspection

  • Knock and inform public about cleaning works
  • Display safety sign at the entrance
  • Wear proper clothing and carry necessary tools and chemicals
  • Check for defects or spillages

2.      Replenish consumables

  • Make sure hands are dry
  • Replenish toilet rolls and top up liquid hand soap

3.      Washing urinals and toilet bowls

  • Wear protective gear
  • Flush and pour cleaning solution and let it soak
  • Prepare sanitizing solution and pour over stains or blood. Use absorbent paper to soak up stain
  • Brush interior and rims of toilet bowl and urinals; Flush
  • Wipe the exterior with a damp cloth soaked in sanitizing solution

4.      Cleaning cubicles, washbasins, mirrors and vanity tops

  • Prepare sanitizing solution
  • Wipe mirrors, soap dispenser, hand dryer, vanity top and wash basins. Always work from top to bottom
  • Wipe the walls, partitions and cubicle doors. Work from top to bottom
  • Wipe urinal walls

5.      Wiping windows, fans and other fixtures

  • Switch off the fan and dust the corners, ceiling fixtures, walls and air vents
  • Prepare glass cleaning solution
  • Wash windows with washer and solution
  • Use a squeegee to wipe away liquid on the glass

6.      Sweeping and removing litter

  • Sweep floors paying attention to corners. Throw debris into bins
  • Remove bin liner and sanitize the bin
  • Replace bin liner

7.      Mopping floor

  • Prepare buckets with water and mopping solution
  • Dip mop into water solution. Wring dry and then dip in mopping solution. Wring dry
  • Mop the cubicle areas. Rinse the mop
  • Mop around the urinals. Rinse the mop
  • Mop the common areas starting from far end of the toilet. Mop section by section

8.      Inspection

  • Check the washroom is in good working condition
  • Free of dust, litter and odour
  • Waste to be removed and cleaning equipment to be stored
  • Update work record
  • Remove safety sign when floor is dry

Restroom Association recognitionPromoting a culture of Clean Restrooms in Singapore

By the way, did you know that there is a Restroom Association in Singapore? They are advocates in promoting clean toilets and also gives the LOO Award to organisations and individuals who have achieved world recognised standard of restroom cleanliness in Singapore. The NEA also advises public toilet owners to keep their toilets clean and make sure that enough toilet facilities are provided. This encourages proper usage by the public and promote good public health.

Since restrooms are a breeding ground for germs and bacteria and odours, proper cleaning and sanitizing is of utmost importance. Sanitized toilets for Ladies, Gents and the Handicapped are thus a basic expectation.

 Conclusion

In order to maintain washroom standards, Cleaning Attendants should be properly trained and certified to perform the task well. In Singapore, certifications are available, one of which is the Environmental Cleaning Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ), developed by the SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) in consultation with the cleaning industry and National Environment Agency (NEA). Call  A1-Cleaning Services as all their cleaners undergo WSQ training, to ensure the highest of standards.

Essential cleaning tasks for the maintenance of Common Areas of your Office

Wikipedia defines a Common Area as ”area which is available for use by more than one person” and these can be found in almost all types of properties, be it a gated community or commercial property such as shopping malls

As such, your office also has common areas. This would include the reception area, lift lobby, the pantry, restrooms, corridors or walkways and more, depending on the type of establishment. Maintenance and cleanliness of these spaces are crucial to your organisation. So, in this post we’ll touch upon the scope of work which typically covers Common Areas cleaning and how best it should be carried out.

common area of MNC office

Reflecting Business Prestige and more

Your personal desk space reflects on your personal image. A clean and organised office area reflects how your customers perceive your business. It also improves the general morale of employees, making them happier and more productive. A high level of cleanliness in the common areas also sets the standard for keeping individual work space clean.

A good way to gauge the quality of cleanliness in your common area would be to put yourself in your client’s shoes. What impression would your client get when they enter your office premises?

So how to attain an effective cleaning job? Below are some guidelines to achieve this –

Essentials of Office Common Area Cleaning

Tools and Equipment required

  1. Make sure you have the necessary tools and equipment ready on hand to carry out the cleaning. Cleaners should have appropriate protective gear such as gloves, uniform and boots.
  2. Keep a checklist of all cleaning solutions and equipment and see that they are available and in working condition. You don’t want to start the cleaning only to find out you have run out of vacuum cleaner dust bag!

Pre-work Inspection

  1. Thoroughly check the area to be cleaned. If there are spills or stains which may be a hazard, they need to be addressed immediately. Report any damages to your supervisor.
  2. Display the safety sign at the work area before commencing. Clean up spills on hard floors using the appropriate cleaning solutions and wiping it dry.
  3. Clean up stains on carpets using cleaning chemical. Use a white cleaning cloth to clean the spill or stain on the carpet to avoid colour runs.

Dry Mopping of Dust

  1. Use a dust mop to clean hard floors. Unlike brooms, dust mops prevent dust from flying everywhere. Start from one corner of the room and mop in a turning motion, paying attention to corners.
  2. Use a broom and dustpan to sweep up the debris, dust and litter collected by the dust mop. Us the broom to sweep out dust collected in the corners.
  3. Throw away the debris into a lined rubbish bin.

Upkeep of common areasWet Mopping

  1. Use a double bucket, one for water and another with diluted cleaning solution. A cleaning solution with sanitizer is a good option.
  2. Dip and wring dry the mop in water first and then in diluted cleaning solution.
  3. Mop the floor using a number 8 or letter S motion for effective cleaning coverage.

Cleaning Passenger Lift

  1. Use sanitizer and damp cloth to wipe the button panel, interior lift doors, wall, mirrors and ceiling.
  2. Mop the lift floor.
  3. Wipe the exterior lift door with damp cloth and sanitizer.

Cleaning Stairway

  1. Display the safety sign. Use a cloth to wipe the inside and outside of the door and the handle.
  2. Dry mop the stairs.
  3. Wipe the hand railings.
  4. Wet mop the stairs. Remove the safety sign once floor is dry.

Cleaning and Emptying General Waste Bin

  1. Tie and remove bin liner keeping it away from the body and disposing it in rubbish bag in the service trolley.
  2. Sanitize the interior and exterior of the bin and wipe with cloth.
  3. Place a new liner in the bin.

Inspection of Areas Cleaned

  1. Check the work areas ensuring that it has been cleaned as per required. A checklist can be used.
  2. Remove and dispose the rubbish at the collection point.
  3. Remove signage only when floor is dry.

Returning Equipment to Store

  1. Clean and return all tools and equipment to the store.
  2. Check against the equipment list for making refills of cleaning solutions or replacement of equipment.
  3. Wash and hang the gloves.
  4. Wash hands for personal hygiene.

Conclusion

With these steps in place, you can be sure that your office reception and other common spaces will leave a good impression on prospective clients and business partners. Make cleaning your common area as part of your routine cleaning procedure with A1 Facility Services’ professional cleaners.

Best Practices for Singapore Office Cleaning [Infographic]

Office Cleaning Best Practices: A practical guide to ensure high cleaning standards for your Office

If you’re an office admin or facility manager of a Grade A, B or even C office in Singapore, you have probably engaged a local cleaning agency before. Every corporate or business premises needs a strict regime of upkeep and maintenance.

The question now is do you receive the level of service you expect? And if you don’t, then is there a procedure that’s followed to ensure quality standards are met.

In fact many a time’s office managers or business owners themselves are ignorant of the standards that should be expected from their cleaning contractor. And without set guidelines and processes it’s difficult to address any of this.

So in this post, we’ll lay out Office Cleaning Best Practices for you along with an Infographic that’ll serve as a handy guide for quick reference in the Singapore context. And thus, help you improve the quality of cleaning service that your company deserves!

spic and span work desk

Benefits of having high Cleaning Standards for your Office

Well, this one’s a no brainer….who doesn’t like a neat and clean environment? But wait…

Besides the hygiene aspect, a clean workplace also equates to a happy and healthy workforce. Its boosts staff morale and their delivery potential enabling them to focus on key result areas rather than on cleaning up. This in turn improves the productivity level of the company.

A clean office also portrays a good corporate image to customers and clients. It affects the way customers perceive your business, to be a trustworthy and professional one.

As a service buyer you need to ensure that your expectations for cleanliness, productivity and service quality are first set, then met by your service provider. This can be achieved through a well-crafted contractual agreement, work process efficiency, by leveraging tools & automation; thereby raising productivity and reducing reliance on additional manpower.

A Four-pronged approach to ensure high standards for Office Cleaning

Infographic on cleaning best practices

A balanced and all-encompassing approach is needed to ensure cleaning standards for office and commercial premises.  Starting with –

1. Setting Cleaning Procedures, Leveraging Tools & Equipment

Prescribed cleaning sequence/procedures, following the right methods and using correct equipment help deliver a better work outcome. A sample cleaning procedure would be –

  1. Prepare & Inspect – Don personal protective equipment (e.g. Gloves, covered shoes, etc), check condition of tools, display signage at work area, perform colour fastness test for chemicals used, remove furniture and obstacles beginning cleaning tasks
  2. Tackle Spillages & Stains – Clear spillages with absorbent materials, spray tested chemicals to remove carpet or flooring stains
  3. Vacuuming – Vacuum the carpet floor section by section working from far end to near end, arrange furniture back. Use Vacuum Cleaners with appropriate attachments
  4. Empty Dustbins – Tie & remove bin liner placing them in a larger disposal bags
  5. Clean Horizontal Surfaces – Spray cleaning chemical onto cleaning cloth, wipe horizontal surfaces like tables, shelves, desk etc
  6. Clean Pantry – Repeat above steps for the pantry. Ensure food waste is not be left overnight. Sweeping and mopping (damp mop) of the floor is a must
  7. Re-instate & Finish – Check if work is done as per requirements, remove disposal bags to designated collection points, remove signage, return tools & equipment back to the store, and then wash hands for good personal hygiene

As a service buyer, you should specify upfront to the cleaning company on the use of effective tools and technology for better cleaning performance. If your office has its own equipment, then you are liable to maintain them in good condition. Always stress to the service provider for proper training to their cleaners on the usage of onsite machinery & tools.

2. Defining the Scope of Work

Convey as much information as possible to enable the cleaning service provider to submit an accurate proposal.  This also helps the cleaning company to plan and deploy manpower for the required cleaning services. The scope of work must include – .

  1. Area of Coverage – provide information on the list of inspection units, total number and fixtures in the inspection units. Area of coverage should include types of floor surfaces and total floor area to be cleaned together with a layout drawing / floor plan of the premise.
  2. Service Hours – indicate the service hours (including the peak and off-peak periods) for the cleaning service.
  3. Schedule of Works – a recommended schedule of work i.e. types of cleaning and the required frequency for the area of coverage should be provided for better management of resources.
  4. Other Services – If other services besides cleaning services are required, (e.g. waste management, landscape maintenance, pest management, etc.) then these should be included in the contract.
  5. Fault Reporting Procedure – Draft the fault reporting procedures and user feedback channels to ensure that all faults reported are attended to and resolved promptly. Some examples of faults include leaking or choked water fixtures, overflowing litter bins, presence of spillage, etc.
  6. Pandemic Event – In the event of a pandemic outbreak, service buyers must agree on an appropriate deployment plan with the service provider to carry out and complete the works as specified in the contract.
  7. Deployment Proposal – to help the service provider accurately plan and submit their deployment proposal, let them know of your requirement of the number of cleaners, by what date and so on

During proposal response evaluation, you must assess the service provider’s submitted list of equipment, materials, schedule of work and deployment proposal/plan for their suitability and effectiveness.

3. Service Quality Inspection

The quality of service determines a major portion of the performance of the service provider as it measures whether the service provider is able to meet the performance standards set by the service buyer. Your inspection strategy should include –

  1. Cleaning work checkingInspection Checklist – can be made listing down inspection units such as entrance, lift lobby, common corridor, meeting rooms, etc depending on the scope of work for your facility. Inspections made should rate the actual cleanliness against the reference rating for the items in the inspection units.
  2. Performance Ratings – Determine and give ratings (say on a scale of 1 to 5) per inspection and report it to the service provider for performance review. It is a good practice for joint inspections by both parties where possible. Definition of performance ratings should be defined prior
  3. Inspection & Response Times – Carry out inspections immediately after the cleaning routine. Also measure the service provider’s response time to ad-hoc requests during and outside of service hours. Requests can be categorised based on work priority ranging from non-critical to very critical.

4. Performance Review

Keeping track of performance metrics and assessing service provider’s performance on a regular basis helps close the feedback loop. Implement a –

service provider review

  1. Performance Scorecard – An evaluation scorecard with relevant performance metrics, or KPIs, can be used; which can be customized based on individual facility requirements. Regular review meetings should be arranged to discuss the results
  2. Incentive Scheme – Adopt some form of reward system as an incentive to cleaners when they attain a higher score than expected during the performance review. Giving out monetary incentives or non-monetary rewards can ensure that service providers regularly meet or exceed expectations

Support from Singapore Government Agencies

In tune with rising public expectations, government agencies are making the cleaning industry in Singapore a progressive one with guidelines, training programmes & regulations. See video below –

The National Environment Agency (NEA) has developed a 5 year Productivity Roadmap for the Cleaning Industry here.  It features standards development (containing referenceable checklists, guides, etc); training programmes under WSQ framework; use of innovative technology and lastly regulatory measures for qualifying and licensing local businesses before they can provide cleaning services in Singapore.  Service buyers thus have peace of mind when contracting a service provider.

Especially for cleaning service buyers, a sample of such a guide is available here.

Following best practices and observing set guidelines is the responsibility of facility managers and office admin staff. Working closely with the cleaning contractors on setting expectations, drafting contracts and laying out procedures leads to better understanding, stronger work ethics and ultimately higher cleaning standards.

How to Inspect Office Cleaning Work and ensure Service Quality

You come in to work and find the air-con out of order. Time to switch on the trusty old fan which has not been used for ages. BUT, dust gathered on the blades is strewn everywhere. Big mistake!!

You see the cleaning staff hired by your company every day and wonder why the fans have not been cleaned. And that got you thinking if inspections are being carried out on the office cleaning procedures from the contractor that was hired.

If this is a familiar scenario at your workplace then it’s time the Facility Manager or Office Admin carry out an inspection, ensuring that the quality of service rendered out always meets expectations.

While this may seem like a tedious task, quality management is crucial for evaluating the end result of the cleaning service. By keeping a baseline to check against whether service is improving, stagnant or declining, you can then use this information for feedback.

So, here’s the “how to” of office cleaning inspection that can help ensure service quality.

Raising Standards by measuring Cleaning Outcomes and Service Quality

Cleaning outcomes relates to the desired cleaning results whereas Service Quality relates to the response time for a particular task. This shows whether the cleaning contractor is able to meet performance standards set by your company.

inspecting against a checklist

An effective method of keeping check would be to create a Performance Inspection Checklist.

While general checklists are easily available for reference, it’s advisable to customise it according to your office layout and requirements.

Before creating checklists, first have a common understanding of the cleaning elements in question. A sample of what cleaning elements would include is shown below –

Cleaning Element Definitions

Description Definition Example
Visible Area Area easily in line of sight Table tops, floor, wall
Non-visible Area Not within line of sight Under table, high surfaces
Inspection unit Elements within a given space Corridor, lobby, stairway
Element Items in a unit Door, floor, fixtures
Dust Light dust particles Thin layer of dust
Dirt Dust that has been gathered Thick layer of dust
Dried stains Stains from spillage Liquid or beverage
Spills Pool of liquid from spills Liquid or beverage
Litter Item not disposed correctly Paper or other waste
Fixture Items secured to wall or ceiling Basins, switches, AED
Signage Sign for information Exit, directory
Display Items hung on wall Notice board, poster
Furniture Movable items Table, chair, sofa
Decoratives Movable items Pots, planters
Electrical Appliance Electricity powered appliances PC, microwave

 

How to obtain desirable Cleaning Outcomes

Here are some practices of getting desired cleaning outcomes –

  1. Categorize the Premises

Decide which areas are high and low priority. High priority sites are to be inspected on a regular basis compared to low priority.

  1. Identify What Needs to be Inspected

List of items that need to be inspected, frequency of checks and coverage targeted.

  1. Performance Indicators

Do the cleaners provide a desirable cleaning outcome? Are the areas inspected free of dust? Feedback given by employees or the public on hard to assess areas are another method of linking performance indicators to desired outcomes. These indicators affect hygiene standards in your office premise.

  1. Availability of Resources

Your company has the flexibility to decide if a comprehensive checklist is to be made for all areas to be inspected or to high priority areas only. A simplified checklist can be made for low priority areas. This is based on available manpower.

  1. Ratings

If possible a joint inspection with the cleaning company should be carried out. Feedback and customer satisfaction can be shared based on ratings given.

What is Service Quality & how to record it?

How fast does the cleaning contractor response on ad-hoc requests? Are cleaning requests outside service hours entertained? These measures determine service quality. Response time for critical to non-critical requests should be recorded together with time taken to complete the task.

Ad-hoc and regular requests can be recorded in a simple spreadsheet or table of the form given below –

 

Conclusion

Inspection is recommended to be carried out immediately after a cleaning job. Take into consideration the time lapse between the inspection and the last cleaning for a fair review.

Including the above elements together with others which befit your organisation, your office environment will be clean and conducive to give optimum productivity.

With the professional, trained cleaners from agencies like A1 Cleaning Services, you don’t have to worry about dust flying off the fans should your office air-con be out of order!

What Cleaners ought to know about Food Court & Hawker Centre Cleaning?

With hawker centres, food courts, fast food and fine dining restaurants in every nook & corner, it is no secret that Singapore is a foodie’s paradise. However, this status can be celebrated only if along with the variety and range of food, we also maintain high standards of cleaning and hygiene at public eating places.

Dirty tables with blobs of fish head curry or dropped morsels of greasy char kway teow left uncleaned on the floor can be a total turn off.  But yet, many a time’s manpower shortage or untrained cleaners do result in such an unsightly experience for patrons….leading to lack of business for the food stall owners, or even worse, causing health risks. So what can food establishments do in order to ensure that cleaning and hygiene standards are upheld by cleaners in charge of food premises cleanliness.

open air public eating place

In this post we’ll share F & B related cleaning procedures that will help you address this very issue.  Read on!

F&B Premises Cleaning Procedures

Following prescribed guidelines together with proper tools/equipment when conducting cleaning at food establishments can ensure not only good cleaning standards but also reduce time wastage.

Before commencing the job, cleaners must wear proper cleaning attire such as apron, gloves and covered shoes. The cleaning trolley must be well equipped with cleaning supplies and tools such as spray bottle, wash cloth, bucket, receptacles, bin liner, squeegee, broom, dustpan, mop and safety signage.  With the pre-work preparation properly done, there are 5 main areas to focus on –

Cleaning table tops

  1. singapore cleaner clearing food platesBefore starting to clean tables make sure that cleaning solutions are replenished and bins are lined
  2. Clear food spills and disposable waste into the waste bin
  3. Clear used trays, crockery and cutlery from the table and place them in the halal or non-halal receptacles
  4. Use squeegee to clean up liquid spills
  5. Use cloth to clean the table. Rinse in bucket and clean again if required
  6. Clean with sanitizer during off peak hours
  7. Place all used trays, crockery and cutlery to the tray return station or the respective food stalls depending on the type of establishment

Use different colored cloth for cleaning and sanitizing for easy identification. Change cleaning solution in bucket often.

Tray Return Station

  1. Clear leftover foods or waste from the trays, crockery and cutlery into the waste bin
  2. Sort the trays, crockery and cutlery from the racks onto halal and non halal receptacles
  3. Clean the tray return station racks and countertops with cloth
  4. Use a different colored cloth to sanitize
  5. Dispose the rubbish

For premises without centralised washing, clean the trays with cloth and sanitize with a different cloth.

Washing Used Trays, Crockery and Cutlery

  1. Check working condition of dishwasher and report any faults to the supervisor
  2. Scrape or rinse off food remnants and stains and soak in basin
  3. Transfer all items into rinsing basin
  4. Place all trays, crockery and cutlery onto receptacles and load the dishwasher
  5. After the wash inspect the crockery to check for any stains or unwashed parts. Rewash if required
  6. Dry thoroughly before returning items to respective food stalls
  7. Clean the dishwasher and washing area and dispose rubbish

Sweeping and Mopping

  1. Sweep floor and corners where dust can accumulate
  2. Use 2 buckets – one for water and one for mopping solution
  3. Rinse mop in water and wring dry and then in solution and wring dry
  4. Prop up safety signage at both ends of mopping area
  5. Mop the entire area section at a time making sure to overlap
  6. Remove safety signage only when floor is dry and then move on to another section

For spot cleaning or removing of stains, twist the mop head.

Throwing Refuse

  1. Tie and remove rubbish bag from the cleaning trolley
  2. Use extra liner if leakage occurs
  3. Throw rubbish bag into bulk bin taking care to avoid body contact
  4. Wash inside and outside of bin. Let dry and place new liner

Main bin centre should also be properly cleaned with safety signage kept.

Return of Tools and Equipment

  1. After cleaning, all tools and equipment have to be cleaned and returned to the store area.
  2. Cleaning cloth, apron, gloves and mops need to be washed and dried.
  3. Cleaners should wash their hands thoroughly for personal hygiene.

Mandating a strict Cleaning regime

Hawker centres and food courts are an integral part of life for Singaporeans. In order to make sure that hawker centres are kept clean spring cleanings, repairs & redecoration are carried out regularly. These are mandated and conducted by agencies like National Environment Agency (NEA) and by respective Town Councils for HDB owned centres.  Such cleaning and maintenance schedules are announced by NEA on its website.

By following Cleaning best practices and maintaining a strict cleaning regime, a meal at the hawker centre or food court hopefully will always be a pleasant experience. Keeping in mind food patrons’ health, good cleaning practice also keeps pests and other harmful bacteria at bay.

How to prevent Food Contamination by following these Hand Washing techniques

Food handlers need to be very careful about hand washing in order to prevent food contamination. Harmful bacteria like Salmonella, E. coli and viruses such as Norovirus can be present on human hands and these can lead to contamination during handling, ultimately causing food poisoning. And as you know food poisoning is responsible for a number of sicknesses ranging from vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, stomach ache, weakness, migraine and even fever.

Besides the usual cleaning and hygiene maintenance routine in food areas, in order to remain safe from infections practicing proper hand washing techniques is very important. To put it in a simply, proper hand washing is one of the most effective way in which you can prevent the spreading of infections through food contamination.

Know When to Wash your Hands

instances when hands should be washedWhile its essential for food handlers to wash their hands and wrists at frequent intervals. Here are some instances when it is mandatory for them to wash –

  • Before starting the preparation of food
  • Before handling ready-to-eat or cooked food
  • After preparation or handling of raw food
  • When changing tasks, i.e. when switching from handling of raw food to ready-to-eat food. This prevents cross-contamination
  • After handling waste or disposing trash
  • After cleaning duties
  • After handling money
  • After using the washroom
  • After coughing, sneezing or blowing the nose

Having an ideal Hand Washing Station

foot operated binA designated hand washing station is a must in food preparation areas. It should be easily accessible. The taps should be pedaled, elbow or knee operated so that it is not required to use clean hands for touching any part of the washing station. This greatly helps in prevention of cross contamination.

Ideally, a hand washing station must have the following components:

  • Taps
  • Sink
  • Foot-operated rubbish bin
  • Paper towels
  • Liquid soap

 

Steps for Proper Hand Washing

Yes, we all do wash our hands but do we follow all the steps? Did you know that Hands should be washed for a period of at least 15 to 20 seconds.  And the actual steps that should be followed are –

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running and preferably warm water
  2. Use liquid soap in good quantity so as to form lather
  3. Rub your hands, including fingertips, thumb, wrists, in between the fingers and back of your hands
  4. Rub your hand for about 15 seconds. Rub vigorously
  5. Rinse your hands thoroughly in the running water
  6. Dry your hands with a paper towel

Foodborne diseases are a common norm. In spite of the fact that most people recover from such health disorders, these can lead to chronic health issues in about 4% to 5% cases. Thus observe and follow infection control practices that can help keep such diseases at bay. If you are involved with food preparation at home or a food handler (Chef, cook, kitchen and food stall assistants) at your workplace, education and awareness in this regard is of utmost importance.