Cleanliness is Key
With a lot of guests checking in and out, places like hotels are especially susceptible to germs. One of the major criteria that guide people when choosing a hotel is cleanliness – even more than location or amenities. And in today’s climate, with consumers more aware than ever about the spread of pathogens, a complete cleaning process includes disinfection.
The pressure of getting rooms ready in a short period of time along with the sheer volume of work can make disinfection difficult for hotel staff. However, guests just aren’t going to feel safe without the confidence that you’re doing everything you can to ensure their rooms are free of bacteria and germs. Here are a few guidelines for keeping your hotel or hospitality business clean and disinfected.
The Reception Areas
This is where you make your first impression. If your reception area looks clean, it suggests the rest of your building is clean as well. Make sure to vacuum the carpeting and furniture and mop hard floors regularly. And use a disinfectant on high-touch areas several times a day. This will include the reception counter, door handles, and railings.
The Guest Rooms
Again, it’s essential that your housekeeping crew is paying special attention to high-touch surfaces. In the guest rooms, it’s the doorknobs, electrical outlets, phones, etc. Additionally, don’t forget the television remote, one of the dirtiest items in a guest room.
To prevent the proliferation of mold, bathrooms need to be ventilated as much as possible. Floors need to be swept and mopped, and walls should be scrubbed. The toilet, fixtures, and all surfaces should all be cleaned and disinfected.
The kitchen, with all of its food preparation surfaces, open flames, and exhaust systems, is of special importance. A heavy-duty degreaser can help, and you’ll need a disinfectant that’s safe for food-touch surfaces. With the high humidity in the room, it’s also important to keep the kitchen well ventilated.
The Dining Room
Guest traffic plus so many hands going to mouths means the dining room is another special case. Sanitizing and disinfecting tables, chairs, and booths is a must after every use. Furthermore, you want to make sure the guests feel comfortable so clean the walls and sweep and mop the floors regularly.
Keep Your Guests Safe and Your Business Thriving
Make sure your entire housekeeping crew is properly trained and supplied. Meet with them regularly to discuss procedures and problem areas and they’ll better understand what’s expected of them. Your guests will feel safe and taken care of and will be much more likely to visit again.
Coronavirus and a New Era of Clean
With properties reopening all over the county, guests are still to fill hotels again along with new expectations concerning safety and cleanliness. The cleanliness of restrooms has always been the benchmark of a clean property, even before COVID. However, in the pandemic’s wake, it has taken on a new significance. Studies show that 80% of respondents feel more unsafe using an unclean public restroom now compared with how they felt prior to the pandemic. These sentiments will likely stick around for a while and hotel managers and housekeeping crews need to respond accordingly.
Clean, Sanitized, and Safe
In today’s climate, a clean appearance isn’t enough. Hotel guests are more aware than ever of disinfection and will expect a safe and sanitary environment. Crews need a detailed and complete schedule and cleaning protocols, as well as effective disinfecting supplies. The following is a list of best practices to make sure your housekeeping crews are ensuring a safe, sanitary environment and putting your guests’ minds at ease.
- Develop a checklist – Using a list that address all high-touch areas and contact points will make sure nothing gets overlooked.
- Personal protective equipment – instruct your staff to wear gloves and face masks while working.
- Maintain social distancing whenever possible.
- Use clean tools – make sure staff is using clean mop heads, scrubbers, buckets, etc.
- Use effective supplies – the EPA’s List N is a list of certified products known to kill the SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19). This list includes Bioesque’s Botanical Disinfectant Solution, featuring a 55-second kill time.
- Use supplies effectively – apply disinfectants liberally to all restroom surfaces and let them dwell according to the time prescribed by the manufacturer.
Attend to the Details and Maintain Visibility
Making sure that soap dispensers are filled, toilet paper is stocked, and towels are replaced will drive guest satisfaction. It also serves to remind them that you’re paying attention to every detail. Increasing cleaning frequency will also ensure that your guests are seeing high activity from your housekeeping crew. They’ll feel much more at ease while staying at your property and will be much more likely to return.
Our Industry’s Impact on the Environment
The environment is mainly impacted by manufacturing, transportation, and real estate, including hotels. Initially, hotel owners were slow to adopt green practices, thinking that environmentally friendly products were prohibitively expensive, and that sustainability was a passing fad. However, given the awareness of response of customers, it’s safe to say that what was thought to be a trend is quickly becoming the standard.
Additionally, while worries about cost may have been correct in the beginning, green products have dramatically increased their effectiveness, both from a cost and a utilization perspective. Furthermore, by actively searching for ways to reduce or recycle waste, a move to sustainability is one that can help your bottom line. Here are some examples of sustainable practices within the hotel and hospitality industry.
Water-Saving Plumbing Fixtures
With the sheer number of guest bathrooms as well as public spaces, hotels use a tremendous amount of water. By switching to low-flow fixtures, including sinks, showerheads, and toilets, hotels can reduce water usage by 30%.
LED Light Fixtures
LED lighting is about eight times more energy-efficient than traditional incandescent lighting. It’s also three times more efficient than fluorescents. Furthermore, LED bulbs last up to eight times longer than other types of bulbs.
Local and Recycled Materials
Buying locally can help cut down on transportation costs and using recycled materials helps to conserve resources. Both are ways to reduce a property’s carbon footprint.
Green Cleaning Products
Cleaning products are often full of harsh, toxic chemicals like bleach, ammonia, and chlorine. However, environmentally friendly options are available that are botanically derived without losing any cleaning effectiveness. It’s a sustainable move that can also increase your indoor air quality.
Improving the Environment, Guests’ Health, and Your Bottom Line
The above is by no means a comprehensive list. Smaller, more efficient rooms, EV charging stations, and energy management systems are all means to reduce energy usage, waste, and cost. Ultimately, it will increase your property’s value, protect your guests’ health and bolster your standing with them, and save you money.
The Difference One Year Makes
A little over a year ago, a bustling travel industry ground to a halt almost overnight. Unemployment followed, along with several rounds of stimulus, and many of us were housebound for months at a time. Now, vaccines have been rolled out, infection rates are dropping in some areas, and people are starting to venture out again. What has changed during that time? What have we learned? And how is the hotel industry responding?
A Changed Industry
The hospitality industry has gone through major changes and many of them look to be permanent. All exchanges at front desks are now contactless and this will likely be the new standard. With so much of the business now taking place online, long check-in lines are a thing of the past. Print menus for food and beverages have also moved online and cost will keep them that way. Outdoor dining is now standard, and while that might change as rates continue to fall, most guests find it pretty pleasant anyway.
A New Standard of Clean
What was already a benchmark of a good hotel is now an essential part of public health. Furthermore, with guests becoming more aware of the risk of pathogens as well as disinfection practices, a clean appearance isn’t enough anymore. They expect management to be looking out for their safety with a complete sanitization with effective products. And customers who feel like these steps aren’t being taken will quickly take their business elsewhere.
Administration, Sales, and Marketing
Zoom meetings are now commonplace, replacing in-person (and often inefficient) gatherings, and as a result, everyone has become much more tech-savvy and tech-reliant. Training handbooks and protocols have had to be rewritten and staffs needed to be retrained. Digital marketing has had to become more sophisticated in order to target audiences in various states of lockdown.
What Have We Learned?
The past year has been extremely difficult for all of us. However, it’s also been a chance to learn and lean into our strengths and trim some fat. Rules for travel and operation still vary in different parts of the country. But with the evolving acceptance and usage of vaccines and the declining infection rates, it appears that the worst of it is over and the future is looking bright.
Removing Unwanted Smells from Your Home
Lingering, unpleasant smells in the home can come from a number of sources. Some aren’t so serious and easily remedied. However, some can be signs of danger and may require professional remediation. Your first order of business is determining what type of smell it is. From there, you can find the source and the solution. Here is a guide for removing some common unwanted smells from your home.
My House Smells Musty
If you live in an area with high humidity, or if you’ve recently suffered water damage, a musty odor is probably the result of mold. Mold thrives in damp, warm spaces and can be dangerous to your health. Check for these types of spaces in your home as they could be supporting mold growth. If you can find it, clean the area thoroughly with a good disinfectant and dry the area via ventilation and dehumidifiers. Once it’s dry, apply a mold resistant coating wherever possible to help prevent future outbreaks. Remember that mold isn’t always visible. If you can’t see any, you may want to consider hiring a professional restoration company. These companies have non-invasive meters that can test your home’s mold levels.
My House Smells Like Tobacco Smoke
Figuring out the source of this one is easy enough but getting rid of the smell is another matter entirely. Tobacco smoke covers everything in the home with a residue and penetrates carpets, upholstery, bedding, and more. If you’re looking to try a DIY approach, a professional grade odor neutralizer can help. Just know, though, that every single corner of the house will need a thorough cleaning. You’ll also probably have to seal the walls with an odor sealant and repaint them. It might be best to leave this job to professionals.
My House Smells Like Pet Urine
Again, it’s easy to find the source here. Furthermore, it’s a much easier job than tobacco smoke. If it’s on a non-porous surface, a thorough cleaning will often do the job. On porous surfaces like carpets, a good cleaning followed by an odor neutralizer may be enough. On the other hand, you may want to discard or replace what you can or call in the professionals.
Getting Rid of Other Smells in the Home
The kitchen, bathrooms, and basement can also be the source of unpleasant smells. Often, it will be a plumbing issue so check for leaking pipes. In the kitchen, make sure to clean your refrigerator and oven regularly. Don’t forget to get underneath and behind the appliances as food can often get stuck back there and rot. Smells in the basement are often the product of moisture, so again, you’ll want to check for leaks.
Many of these jobs can be handled with a cleaner-disinfectant combination as well as an odor neutralizer. However, if you can’t find the source, don’t hesitate to call a good restoration company and leave it to the professionals.
Keeping the Kitchen Clean and Odor-Free
In most households, the kitchen is the center of the home. It’s where we congregate to snack, talk, bug the cook, do homework and science projects, and more. All that traffic plus food means the kitchen is a hotspot for germs. To keep the home healthy, it’s essential to keep the kitchen as clean as possible. Here are a few tips to keep your kitchen sparkling, disinfected, and safe.
The Trash Can
With food waste constantly going in, the trash can is a prime source for germs and odors. To cut down on foul smells, use a can with a lid and put some baking soda, kitty litter, or a dryer sheet in the bottom underneath the bag. When possible, use a smaller can. A smaller can means emptying more often, which will keep rot and smells out of your kitchen. Finally, be sure to wipe down your trash can often with a good cleaner and disinfectant.
Counters and Stovetops
Grease is a big problem here, especially if you have young, inexperienced cooks helping out. They may mean well, but a paper towel is just going to smear the grease around, leaving a residue that creates and attracts bacteria. Furthermore, you need to remember that there’s a difference between cleaning and disinfecting. Teach the budding chefs to use a cleaner-disinfectant combo whenever there’s a food or grease spill to handle both jobs at once.
Pay Attention to the Little Details
It’s easy to see spills on countertops and floors and keep those areas clean. However, don’t forget the smaller items in your kitchen as well. The refrigerator door handle, faucet handles, drawer knobs, the spaces underneath small appliances like coffee makers – these are all areas you should be wiping down with a disinfectant once per week.
You’ve got to clean the refrigerator regularly. Get rid of expired foods, wipe down the vegetable and meat drawers, etc. You should also make sure your refrigerator is set at the right temperatures. Set them too high, and your food won’t keep, causing all sorts of smells. The refrigerator should stay between 32 to 40 degrees, while the freezer should be below 32.
Clean the Sink Last
As we’re cleaning our kitchen, we often brushing crumbs off our hands into the sink, rinsing dirty rags, etc. That’s why the sink should be the last thing you clean. Use an antibacterial cleaner for the drain and a good disinfectant for the basin after a rinse.
Following these simple tips will keep your kitchen clean, disinfected, and a hotspot for family instead of germs!
Preventing the Flu and Common Cold
While people often confuse the two as both are respiratory illnesses, the common cold and the flu are different viruses. The symptoms of a cold are generally much milder than those of the flu. A runny nose and a stuffy head are the most common. On the other hand, the flu, or influenza virus, comes with fever, vomiting, muscles aches, and fatigue. While the common cold is usually just an annoyance, the flu can leave a person out of commission for a bit. Here are some tips to keep your home flu and cold-free.
How to Avoid the Flu and the Common Cold
One of the best things you can do to avoid getting the flu is to get vaccinated. While it doesn’t offer 100% protection, the vaccine prevents millions of illnesses every year. The CDC recommends getting vaccinated every year as your best course of action against catching the flu. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for the common cold. However, there are a few things you can do to cut down your risk of catching a cold.
Like we’ve all heard with coronavirus, washing your hands regularly can go a long way in preventing a cold. You should also be regularly cleaning and disinfecting your home. You can also boost your immune system by getting enough sleep and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables.
How to Keep the Cold and Flu from Spreading
While these tips can help prevent a cold or the flu, sometimes illness is unavoidable. In the event of illness, there are steps you can take to keep from spreading it. Again, wash your hands with warm soap and water regularly and use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Use a tissue when you sneeze or cough and dispose of it immediately.
Wash your dishes immediately after use to help avoid spreading the cold or flu around the house. You should also avoid contact with family members, including sharing items like towels and utensils. Finally, remember that flu and cold viruses can live on surfaces for up to two days, so clean and disinfect often.
Some Solvent, Some Scrubbing, and Some Sweat
Garage floors don’t get a whole lot of love when it comes to housecleaning. A quick sweep of the leaves, cobwebs, and grit is about all they get. But that doesn’t mean you should have to live with those ugly oil and grease stains that can show up. In fact, you have a number of options to choose from to get rid of it. All are affordable, though all will require some sweat on your part. The problem is that concrete is porous. It will soak up oil and grease like a sponge. That means quite a bit of scrubbing, no matter what type of cleaning solution you use. The size of the stain, along with how long it has been setting, will determine how much time you’ll have to spend on it.
If you have a fresh or recent spill, laundry soap can get the job done. In fact, NASCAR crews have been using it for years. Before applying the soap, blot as much of the standing oil as you can. Next, mix a good amount of soap with a bucket of warm water and pour it on the stain. Once you’ve got the stain covered with your soap and water mixture, pour some extra soap from the box directly on the stain and let it set. After a few minutes, start scrubbing with a stiff nylon bristle brush. Rinse with a garden hose and repeat the process if necessary.
These will generally work a lot faster than laundry soap. However, they’re also more expensive and the chemicals are pretty harsh. You’ll want to wear personal protective equipment like rubber gloves and eye protection. You’ll also want to make sure you garage is properly ventilated while you’re working. Blot up the excess oil and apply the degreaser, allowing it to dry to powder. This can take about 8 hours. Next, sweep up the powder and give the spot a few days to dry.
If you’re looking for a more environmentally friendly option without harsh chemicals, you can find an eco-friendly degreaser. For example, Bioesque’s Heavy Duty Cleaner & Degreaser is a professional-grade product designed to tackle even the grungiest settings without endangering the environment. It’s powered by Thymox, a naturally derived botanical ingredient making it the perfect choice for ecologically sensitive or hazard-conscious settings.
Whatever solution you use, be sure to blot the oil or grease quickly after a spill. This will help keep it from seeping into the concrete and can save you some elbow grease and time. With some effort and patience, your garage floor will be looking good as new.
Disaster for a Homeowner
A flooded house is one of the most disastrous events a homeowner can experience. Whether it’s the result of leaking plumbing or a severe storm, flooding inside the home must be addressed immediately and correctly to mitigate cost, salvage as many belongings as possible, and protect your health.
Damage to Valuables
Even a minor flood can ruin electrical appliances and wooden furniture. In the event of water damage, you’ll most likely have to get rid of a number of valuables. However, before you start throwing things away, it’s best to immediately call a water damage restoration team to see what can be salvaged and what can’t.
A Threat to Health
Leaking plumbing can mean wastewater while storm water can drag in chemical runoff. Either way, standing water in the home is unsanitary and can cause illness. The best course of action is to vacate the house immediately and call properly trained and protected professionals to handle the flood.
Lingering Unpleasant Smells
The disgusting odor that accompanies floods can linger much longer than the water itself. The entire home needs a thorough cleaning with professional-grade odor neutralizers to kill the smell at the source.
Damage to Electrical Wiring
Water damage is a killer for electrical lines. Shorts, fires, and even electrocution are all very real risks in the event of a flood. Water damage professionals can clear out the floodwater safely but it’s essential to hire an electrician as well to thoroughly check your wiring and perform any necessary repairs.
Mold spores love humid conditions, so a flood almost guarantees that you’ll be dealing with mold contamination along with water damage. Worse yet, contamination can be very difficult to spot in the early stages and if left untreated can become severe very quickly. A good water damage restoration team will also include mold remediation professionals to inspect every area of your home, ensuring your family’s safety.
Leave It to Professionals
This article should have given you a bit of an idea of the size and scope of serious water damage. Floods are an instance where the DIY approach just isn’t going to cut it. Your best bet is to call in a team of properly trained and equipped experts to salvage as many of your belongings as possible, ensure the health of your family, and keep costs to a minimum.
The Restoration Industry is Trending Upward
For those of you looking to get into a growth industry, professional restoration and remediation should be at top of your list. Currently, the restoration industry is worth about $210 billion and it looks to grow even more in the years ahead. This is the result of a number of factors, including new technologies, the increasing intensity and occurrence of natural disasters like storms, flooding, and wildfires, and the advancing age of homes and infrastructure.
New Technologies and Greater Awareness
The presence of mold is one of the biggest drivers of the restoration industry’s growth. But is there more mold today than in the past? Well, yes and no. The energy-efficient design of new homes restricts airflow, making mold more likely. Additionally, advancing technology has made mold much easier to detect in properties, so demand for mold remediation and restoration professionals has increased accordingly.
Natural Disasters Are Becoming More Common and More Intense
A 2016 EPA report showed that severe storms caused about $6 billion in property damage. Furthermore, this has been stable since 2008, suggesting that this increase is here to stay. As a result, fire and water damage professionals have been in high demand.
Hurricane Katrina Changed Everything
The 2005 New Orleans disaster changed the industry completely. New regulations were instituted, and the business process was streamlined considerably. The restoration industry is now much more organized and ready to respond to the increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters.
Advanced Restoration Training
The new regulations and higher standards required workers with more specialized training and organizations like the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification responded in kind. Restoration professionals are now better prepared than ever to serve customers and deliver fast, efficient results.
Technological Advancement in Restoration Equipment and Supplies
Restoration equipment such as air movers, dehumidifiers, and other tools are more effective, more durable, and more affordable than ever before. Additionally, many companies are going “green” and as their clients are becoming more environmentally conscious. Bioesque Solutions, for example, offers a number of naturally derived restoration products free from the harsh chemicals that were the hallmark of older products.
Looking to the Future
The daily news from California wildfires to coastal hurricanes to Midwestern tornados indicate that the increase in natural disasters is here to stay, meaning the restoration industry will continue to grow in the future. The opportunity is there for those with the right tools and the right training.