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Providing advice and expertise on a whole host of cleaning related issues.

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Chewing gum – The unsightly menace on our streets - 27/10/16

The mere financial cost of cleaning up chewing gum – an estimated £10m a year in London alone – pales into insignificance when compared with the social costs of this dreadful, indigestible substance. While some 300,000 pieces are removed from Oxford Street every time it is cleaned, and the price of removal is more than three times the price of the gum itself, the real problem with gum is that it is disgusting. Fortunately many people seem to be realising this, with sales falling by a reported 8% this year, and a decline in UK consumption since 2008 of 3,000 tonnes of gum. Finally, after an estimated 5,000 years of humans putting gum in their mouths, are we finally growing tired of this food we cannot eat?

(Credit The guardian Jan 2014)

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Graffiti attracts more graffiti so get it done quickly to avoid further costs - 09/08/16

Graffiti in public places can make passengers feel unsafe and, if not dealt with quickly, can lead to further undesirable activity taking place. It can also create a climate of fear for those using and working on the railways.

Graffiti also poses safety issues. Vandals often put their lives at risk in the act of spraying difficult surfaces, such as bridges or trains in sidings.

And the costs of cleaning up are enormous:

- Network Rail estimate that it costs at least £5million per year to clean up graffiti, not including the loss of revenue or delays caused to the service.

- London Underground meanwhile says graffiti costs them a minimum of £10million per year, and it would cost about £38million to replace all of the graffiti-etched windows on every Tube train.

- Dealing with graffiti also diverts valuable police and staff resources. Hundreds of thousands of staff hours are taken up in cleaning, repairs and police time.

- London Underground devotes some 70,000 hours a year just to cleaning up graffiti.

(Credit -


 A helping hand - 05/07/16

The risks of germ transmission through hand contact have always been of great concern to those working in infection prevention and control. The facts speak for themselves - it is said that the average person touches their mouth with their hand every few seconds. A recent well documented study carried out by experts from Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL) in conjunction with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) produced some startling facts. Faecal bacteria were found to be present on 26% of hands in the UK, 14% of banknotes and 10% of credit cards.

It is the findings about hand contamination that are most shocking. The report found 11% of our hands were ‘grossly contaminated’, containing similar levels to a toilet bowl. Similar levels were found on banknotes and payments cards with ‘gross contamination’ on 8% and 6% respectively.

In businesses and hospitals the risks associated with contaminated hands are obvious and of real concern. Bacteria can survive on surfaces up to three hours so hand-to-hand transmission on such surfaces is a serious issue.

(Credit C&M April 2015)

Cleancare can provide a variety of low cost solutions from hand gels, dispensers, sanitising wipes, signs and more to help keep your staff clean and healthy.


British Institute of cleaning Science - Sanitisation, disinfection or sterilisation - understanding the terminologies - 03/04/16


These three words are often confused and rarely understood properly. For the purpose of this article I decided to look at each one in turn and examine the definitions in an attempt to clarify the differences and, hopefully, avoid further confusion.

The first and most important thing to understand about all three of these definitions is that, although many people refer to them as killing bacteria and microbes, this most basic part of the definition is in fact incorrect. All of these processes are methods of killing or otherwise reducing the levels of bacteria and microbes to the point that they cannot reproduce. It is therefore important to understand that all the bacteria is not necessarily killed but it is rendered inactive.

To start, sanitising is perhaps the most basic of the three and the idea has certainly existed for centuries. For something to be sanitised, 99.9% of the original microbes must be killed or rendered inert within a process that has a given timeframe of 30 seconds. The fact that this reduces the microbes by three decimals leads to the term ‘3 log reduction’. There are records of attempted sanitation going back to Roman times where the principle sanitising agent was in fact human urine. This was use in the leaning of clothes and teeth (although this practise was not universal, and was often the subject of mockery). The idea of sanitising, therefore, has a long history.

Disinfection is a separate process and is measured on a 5-5-5 scale. This refers to the fact that disinfection targets five specific organisms and lasts for five minutes and should lead to a five decimal reduction, hence the term ‘5 log reduction’ or 99.999% if you prefer. Clearly this process eliminates more of the microbes. Although the additional time means that it is used less frequently than sanitisation.

Sterilisation is by far the most targeted cleaning process. After correct sterilisation all microorganisms will be rendered irreversibly insert.

The question as to which process to use in which case is one of the main reasons why training is so necessary.

When considering the effectiveness of each of these cleaning methods it is important to bear in mind that proper cleaning will result in a log 2 reduction (99%) in the levels of microbes and bacteria on a surface and, therefore these additional methods should be just that - in addition to proper and effective regular cleaning.

(Credit C&M March 15)


Rats - No one wants rats in their building and Cleancare can put measures in place to stop them - 07/01/16

Rats - A rising problem

No one knows how many rates there are, but a recent estimate by a government scientist put the number at 10.5million in the UK and Ireland. That number of rats would eat about 210 tonnes of food every day and contaminate with faces, urine and hair very much more than that.

Rat numbers may be increasing because of recent less severe winters, more of us providing food for wild birds, and inadvertently for rats in our garden and parks.

Problems caused by rats can be divided into three main areas:

- Human and animal health

- Contamination and waste

- Damage to property

Rats play an important role in the spread of many diseases. These are transmitted both to humans and livestock via rodent urine and faeces and by parasites caused by rodents. Research conducted at the University of Oxford has shown than 63% of rats caught on farms carry cryptosporidiosis, 35% carry toxoplasma and 14% carry leptospira.

The disease cryptosporidiosis is a form of food poisoning. It affects humans and domestic animals particularly cattle. Rats on farms carry disease and contaminate cattle feed with their faeces. This leads to infected cattle during entering watercourses from which drinking water may be extracted.

Human symptoms are abdominal cramps and diarrhoea. There is no specific cure and in otherwise healthy people these symptoms last up to four weeks. In 2011, here were almost 3,000 reported human cases in the UK, although this figure is probably greatly underestimates the real number of cases.

(Credit Cleaning matters September  2015)

 “We tailor make the prevention solution for each building we look after, speak to us for more information on how we can help you”.


Keep an entrance looking its best - 22/12/15

Leading on from our last newsletter we thought we’d elaborate on matting solutions.

Dirt and moisture-

Keeping entrance areas free from excessive moisture and dirt is essential, not just to enhance appearance, but also to prevent slips, trips and falls, which most commonly occur here.

These incidents can occur when people adjust to the different conditions between indoors and outdoors, which is made even worse if conditions are icy outside.

Specialist entrance are carpet absorbs dirt, debris and moisture that is brought in on shows and acts as a barrier to prevent these kinds of accidents.

Entrance area matting should be as close to the doorway as possible and be large enough to let visitors take several steps before moving onto another surface.

It is usually recommended that at least twice a year an entrance carpet should be deep cleaned, using hot water extraction and a good quality carpet detergent.

Efficient matting can save up to 65% of cleaning costs dedicated to floors and helps keep floors dry and safe.

Did you know that…

  • 70% to 90% of the soil which enters a facility is ‘’walked in’’ through the front door(s), and can amount to 24 pounds per 1,000 people when no matting is installed.

(Worldwide Cleaning Association)

  • 40% of any cleaning budget is used to clean floors

(Carpet & Floor Covering Review)

  • Indoor air is found to be between two and five times more polluted than outside air, yet most people spend 60%-90% of their time indoors.

(Environmental Protection Agency and American Lung Association)

  • Plaintiffs win 51& of premise liability claims for slips and falls.
  • (Jury Verdict Research)

(Credit Cleaning Matters May 16- Nov 15)


Extend your carpets’ life - 19/10/15

We’ve told our customers time and time again. Regular maintenance can save thousands Vs life cycle replacements. Here are the facts-

 Replacing carpets is a costly proposition and in these challenging times extending its life through comprehensive cleaning and maintenance can result in significant savings.

Replacing your carpeting is indeed a very costly proposition, which can easily be a high six-figure or even seven-figure line item when the material and labour costs are involved. In the past carpets, curtains and upholstery were typically replaced every five years, but in these challenging economic times stretching the life of your soft assets even for a year ca result in significant savings,

  1. Preventive measures – use three pronged matting programme to significantly prevent wear and tear on carpets. To begin, mats placed outside entrances prevent dirt from entering or spreading throughout the property. Outside mats should have a coarse texture to prevent large pieces of soil. Careful usage of these entranceway mats can help, especially in winter months.

In addition to the type and placement of the mats, consideration should be given to their length. According to the American Institute of Architects, 1.5 metres of matting captures 33 per cent of external soil entering a venue, tree metres captures 52 per cent, six metres captures 86 per cent and eight metres captures nearly all soil.

  1. Vacuuming – past studies have shown that 85 per cent of the soil tracked into a building is dry, the other 15 per cent is oily. Vacuums are designed to remove dry soil. The more traffic a carpet receives the more it allows soil particles to work their way down into the carpet pile, where they are more difficult to remove. Frequent vacuuming removes these soil particles from the surface before this happens, Vacuum daily to three times per week, traffic dependent, to remove dry soil.
  2. Spot and spill removal – act quickly by treating as soon as possible. The longer the contaminate sits, the more difficult it is to eliminate and the more likely it is to become a permanent stain. Be sure to blot liquids with dry, white, absorbent cloth or white, non-print, paper towel and careful not to scrub the area since the latter can lead to pile distortion.
  3. Restorative cleaning – schedule periodic deep cleaning to remove residues and trapped soil. To improve the aesthetics of the property, increase the longevity of the carpet and minimise cleaning costs, deep cleaning should be performed before the soil is highly visible. Carpet manufacturer Shaw Industries recommends deep cleaning anywhere from one to 12 times per year, depending on the amount of traffic on the surface.

(Credit ECJ September 2016)



Hand washing avoids winter infection woes - 02/07/15

The two main threats

Coughs and sneezes are two of the most common visible signs of the common cold but the next step up is influenza or flu, an infectious disease that is spread by those very coughs and sneezes we have become accustomed to. Caused by a different group of viruses to the common cold, its symptoms tend to last longer and be more severe. It’s possible to catch flu all year round, but it’s more prevalent in winter, earning it’s the alternative name of ‘seasonal flu’. Symptoms include fever/chills, cough sore throat, runt or stuffy nose, muscle pain, headaches and fatigue – a long list which has the capacity to floor even the healthiest of employees and prevent them from working for several days.

Norovirus, also known as the winter vomiting bug, is another unwelcome seasonal visitor. A highly contagious virus, it can people of all ages causing vomiting and diarrhoea. This makes victims particularly susceptible to dehydration - an even more acute threat to the very young and very old. The disease particularly affects community settings like hospitals, restaurants and schools and, more famously, cruise ships – anywhere groups of people work and play together in a defined space for several hours or days at a time. The disease spreads through direct and indirect contact with others via hands and surfaces. There is no specific cure, so the only option is to let the infection run its course. At best it lasts no more than a couple of days but it can linger for much longer, again adding to woes of employers who can see their staff numbers plummet as the infection spreads through the workplace.

Reducing the risks

According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - a US- Based organisation that is respected and across the globe for its work in public health – ‘Keeping hands clean is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of infection and illness’.

Much research has proved this fact in hospitals and other healthcare settings, but hand hygiene is also critical in all walks of life, work and service provision. By ensuring that easy-to-use and effective products are freely and widely available, employers can reduce the risk of disruption to services and productivity, and the possible decrease in customer satisfaction, which could lead to the total loss of those customers, if taken to its ultimate conclusion.

Recommendations to minimise the spread of germs

  • Make sure all hand soap dispensers are in good working order, with sealed refills in stock to ensure a continuous supply and that there are no issues with cross-contamination as there are with bulk-fill soap options,
  • Make hand hygiene the ‘norm’ by ensuring hand sanitisers are accessible and available in areas where people gather so hands can be sanitised after sneezing, coughing and at meal times.
  • - Place hand sanitiser dispensers near to washroom exits to help prompt the one in four people who don’t typically wash their hands after using the toilet.

(Credit C&M November 2015)

 “Speak to us about what solutions we can put in place”. Chris Capocci Director


Demand for steam increases - 26/04/15

Steam cleaning brings important benefits to sectors including HealthCare, nursing homes, food retailing and catering, as well as facilities management. It is particularly valued where hygiene is critical; thanks to the many advantages of cleaning with super heated, dry system that kills bacteria and removes dirt without the use of chemicals.

Steam heated to temperatures over 150oC kills bacteria rapidly and removes grease and dirt. Remarkably, it leaves many surfaces dry to the touch because of the very high temperature. Furthermore steam cleaners can reach where people wiping surfaces by hand cannot, and without the risk of transferring dirt and sources of infection from one surface to another.

As steam cleaners require no chemicals they have environmental benefits, and there is no residue left behind that could harbour dirt. They also avoid contributing to the evolution of more resistant bacteria, as poorly applied chemicals cleaners can.

Another benefit from the absence of chemicals is that steam cleaning can be used on a whole range of surfaces. In hospitals, for example, steam cleaners are used on bed frames, mattresses and chairs, whereas in food retailing they are especially useful in areas where the highest standard of hygiene are vital- around fresh food.

A particular advantage in the healthcare and care home sectors is that steam cleaning is very effective against MRSA and VRE – two types of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and can pose major problems, especially the unwell and elderly. Contrary to some preconceptions, steam cleaners do not cause the aerosolisation of micro-organisms.

(Credit C&M November 2015)

Fist bump 'Cleaner than a handshake' - 12/01/15

If next time you meet one of our representatives and get a fist bump they’re not being rude.

Bumping fists rather than shaking hands could reduce the spread of infectious diseases, scientists have found. 

Academics at Aberystwyth University in west Wales came to the conclusion following a series of tests on hand hygiene. They are now calling for the widespread adoption of the fist bump especially during flu outbreaks.

Using rubber gloves and a thick layer of the potentially deadly bacteria E.coli, scientists exchanged handshakes, high fives and fist bumps before working out which greeting gesture was the cleanest.

According to the study, high doses of bugs were passed on during a handshake. This was reduced by more than half during a high five and germ transfer was 90% lower when bumping fists. 

Dr Dave Whitworth, senior lecturer at Aberystwyth University, said the hygienic nature of the fist bump was in part due to its speed (typically much quicker than a firm handshake) as well as there being a smaller contact area.

Direct contact is needed for most microbes to move, so minimising the parts of the hand that touch gives bacteria less chance to spread. The researchers also looked at grip strength and found that a stronger handshake increased the amount of bacteria shared.

The study, published in the August edition of the American Journal of Infection Control, was inspired by increased measures at promoting cleanliness in the workplace through the use of hand-sanitisers and keyboard disinfectants.

Dr Whitworth said “People rarely think about the health implications of shaking hands. But if the general public could be encouraged to fist bump, there is genuine potential to reduce the spread of infectious diseases”.


Understanding static electricity in the office - 10/12/14

The static season is here. With winter comes lower temperatures and lower humidity, to counter this we all turn the heating up the dry and warm the air. This reduction in humidity increases static problems.

Static is created when two dissimilar materials are rubbed together, then separated. One object will tend to give up electrons to the other, which will tend to accumulate them. This rapid, violent exchange of electrons between two objects, or between an object and a human being, produces static shock.

That’s the science. The good news is that it is completely treatable. If you have experienced this or had a colleague mention just give us a call and we can help you out.


Carpets ‘healthier’ than laminates but still require regular deep cleaning - 15/10/14

Two separate research studies one in Europe and one in the USA both reported lower absenteeism and lower usage of medication among people with carpeted rooms. This was particularly true for people who suffered from allergies.

The German Asthma and Allergy Association (DAAB) reports that a study conducted by them shows that airborne dust particles are lower over a carpeted floor (30.4u g cu m) than over a smooth floor covering (62.9u g cu m).These values should be compared with the established limit value of 50u g cu m.

However we have always found it strange that most client would expect a laminate or stone floor mopped daily but can be hesitant to have their carpets deep cleaned one of twice a year. Vacuuming can remove large quantity of dry dirt over the course of a year but it won’t remove the residue of some of the more nasty substances walked in offices i.e. animal faeces/ oil / food debris. We suggest quarterly cleaning and deodorising which will improve the (1) cleanliness 2) aesthetic look which in turn has many benefits including staff feeling valued/clean company image (3) length of time a carpet will last before replacement is required.

Statics used are from: Contract Flooring Journal October 2005


Graffiti and Gum removal. Prevention better than cure - 06/11/14

Graffiti removal is estimated to cost anything from £200 million to £billion a year in the UK, and there’s an estimated £3.5 billion sticks of gum discarded each year. The industry has now produced a range of environmentally safe chemical coatings which provide permanent protection by repelling graffiti and gum.

Please speak to our office on the best method to protect your building.


Hand Hygiene - 20/09/14

A lot of the news stories we post on here relating to office germs stem from the same source, hand hygiene. We like to think that most of us wash our hands but unfortunately this is not the case. In a recent study which observed 3,749 people. Only half the men used soap while 15% failed to wash their hands altogether. The figures for women were 78% and 7% respectively.

The research also showed people were less likely to wash their hands in a dirty sink, while a clean sink increased the length of time hand washing. They also found that more people washed their hands if there was a sign encouraging them to do so. The recommend wash time is 15 to 20 seconds however the study found that only 5% of people washed for 15 seconds or longer.

In addition to washing it is important to use a good sanitising soap, the cost of these is negligible when calculating the dose output from the dispenser in compared to the heavily diluted brands out there.

In summary provide good quality sanitising soap and encourage your staff to wash and dry properly (preferably with hand towels as stated in our article posted 01/02/12) in order to maximise work place hygiene.

Facts in this article are sourced from: European Cleaning Journal Article September 2013


Touch Point Cleaning and the benefits of brass in the work environment - 16/07/14

At Cleancare we place touch point cleaning (i.e hand rails, door handles, lift buttons) as one of an offices essential daily cleaning requirements. These areas that most if not all staff touch have been shown to be very high risk in the passing of germs in the office space.

We have recently come across the below article which we think our clients will find interesting, especially those who are either considering renovation or those that are committed to investing in the reduction of office germs.

Results from a clinical trial of antimicrobial copper touch surfaces in a neonatal care unit at a Greek hospital have shown that, in addition to contamination being 90% lower on copper surfaces, they also exert a halo effect whereby non-copper surfaces up to 50cm away exhibited a reduction in contamination of more than 70%.

Harbour Bacteria

The trail ran from July to August 2012 at Aghia Sofia Children’s Hospital. Frequently touched surfaces such as door furniture, work surfaces, drawer tops and handles were replaced with items made from antimicrobial copper. Since touch surfaces have been shown to harbour the bacteria and viruses that cause healthcare-associated infection – and pathogens can survive for days or months on ordinary surfaces – a reduction in contamination offers a reduction in the risk of infections being picked up from these surfaces.

Reduced Contamination

Results announced at the eighth Pan-Hellenic Health Conference of Health Administration, Finance and Policies in Anthens in December 2012 indicated reduction in contamination on the antimicrobial copper surfaces of 95%, in line with the findings of clinical trials in the UK,US and Chile.

The halo effect was also found in a 2010 trial at a US outpatient clinic, but this is the very first time it has been observed in an intensive care unit. A reduction of 70-75 per cent bio burden was reported by the researchers on non-copper items at up to 50cm distance from the antimicrobial copper surfaces.

Facts in this article are sourced from: European Cleaning Journal Article Feb/March 2013


Can a keyboard really have more germs than a toilet seat? - 30/05/14

A good office cleaning company doesn’t simply clean to a good visual standard. We must advise our clients as to where cleaning time can be used most effectively in order to support the daily running of their business. On a similar note as to our article posted on 7/12/11 regarding desk germs here we want to provide some brief points on the importance of key board cleaning.

Key boards can harbour more harmful bacteria than a toilet seat research by ‘Which?’ has claimed. ‘Which?’ swabbed 33 keyboards, 4 were regarded as a potential health hazard and one harboured 5 times more germs than a toilet seat found in the same office which equates to 150 times the recommended limit for bacteria.

Microbiologist Dr Peter Wilson said that a keyboard is ‘’a reflection of what is in your nose and gut’’. Mr Wilson added ‘’Should someone have a cold in your office, or even have gastroenteritis, you’re very likely to pick it up from a keyboard’’.

The main causes of high levels of bacteria were mainly from poor hand hygiene and staff eating their lunch at their desks.

As the cost of rental space in London increases more and more offices are adopting a Hot Desk policy where they able to minimise the number of desks by staff simply turning up and using an available desk. This is a great saving on the per square foot rent however some of our clients can have up to 10 staff a day using the same desks. One persons cold can easily be passed on to all of these staff with the cost in sick days far outweighing the cost of keeping these keyboards clean.

Our suggestions for prevention are:

  • 1. Ensure staff eat away from their keyboards and wash hands after meals.
  • 2. Promote hand hygiene following toilet breaks.
  • 3. Provide sanitising sachets for staff to wipe the keys before use.
  • 4. Have regular professional cleaning with the frequency dependent on usage.

Facts in this article are sourced from: European Cleaning Journal article June/July 08.


Stripping floors without using chemical - 03/05/13

We have recently come across a new system that uses a specially design stripping pad and nothing else to remove polish from floors. Not having to use stripper in the cleaning process means that we can work faster, safer and with more easy. Application of stripper, soaking time and neutralising the floor are completely superfluous in this method. This means a substantial saving in labour costs and time, chemical materials and risks on the work floor.


What is best hand towels or hand dryers? - 01/02/12

A new study commissioned by the European Tissue Producers (ETS) has focused on the contamination of hand drying equipment and washroom floors. Eurofins-Inlab tested 150 washrooms equipped with warm air dryers (50), jet air dryers (50) or paper towel dispensers (50). ETS says that a user of a jet dryer is likely to be exposed to over 1,000 times more microorganisms than the user of a paper hand towel dispenser. The floors under jet air dryers had on average 20 times greater levels of contamination when compared with the floors under paper hand towel dispensers according to ETS.


Stay clean to stay productive - 07/12/11

The key for any company, of any size, to stay productive is to have your employees come to work everyday. Last year according to ergo-web, 5.8 million people called out of work for sick days. An average of 46.4 hours per employee were lost; to put this in perspective, if you have 20 employees you lost 928 hours of production. Why?

The answer is simple. Desks have 400 times more germs than toilets. By germs we mean bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. Many of these germs can cause illness for you and your employees. Your average employee's workstation contains 20,961 germs per square inch compared to 49 germs per square inch on your company toilets. The worst are on shared equipment such as keyboards, mice, telephones and touch points. Your worst offender is the company water cooler containing 2.7 million germs per square inch.

A once a week cleaning by a professional cleaning company will assist in reducing employee sick days by nearly 74%. You should use a professional cleaning company due to the fact only 36% of your employees ever clean their work space. It is vital for you to protect yourself as well as your employees from germs that cause illness and spread bacteria throughout your company. A sanitary environment is essential to you, your employees and keeping your work place clean. Hiring a professional cleaning company such as Cleancare Int will save you more time and money than you can imagine.


Talk to us and find out how we could help take away all the stresses of your cleaning requirements.