GSF USA Uses Microfiber Mops for a Better Clean

Hinsdale Central High School is an approximately 500,000-square-foot facility that requires frequent floor care to look its best. To support the cleaning team on site, GSF USA implemented the Adaptable Flat Mop from Rubbermaid Commercial Products, which removes 99.7% or more of tested viruses and bacteria and is 70% lighter weight when fully soaked vs. a traditional string mop.

Download the full case study to learn more about the results: GSF Rubbermaid Case Study

Taking Carpet Care in Schools to New Heights

Opportunity

Valley View School District 365U in Romeoville, Illinois is comprised of approximately 24 buildings, serves over 16,000 K-12 students and employs 2,400 full-time faculty. Valley View School District works with a diverse population of students and faculty to foster a sense of inclusive learning and safety for all. Partnering with GSF USA, a global cleaning services company, helps Valley View keep their buildings clean and safe so students and teachers can focus on learning and teaching, all while staying healthy. Disinfected and sanitized buildings are key for keeping students and staff healthy all year long.

Matt Pawlowski is the Building Maintenance Repair Technician for the Valley View Administrative Building, where Whiz, an autonomous vacuum sweeper by ICE Robotics and SoftBank Robotics, is deployed. He says challenges for his team and the GSF cleaning team are “the added amounts of disinfecting and sanitizing that staff have taken on, with limited amounts of time.”

The Administrative Building is made up of 33 offices, six conference rooms, and four break rooms. There is a lot of vacuuming, disinfecting, sanitizing and cleaning that has to be done every day. Miguel Barajas is the Branch Manager for GSF at Valley View. He oversees GSF cleaning staff across the district and says, “the usual challenge is not enough time to do all the tasks that need to be completed on a daily basis.”

Solution

Because GSF has seen success with Whiz at other locations, it led them to identify the Valley View Administrative Building as a perfect spot to deploy Whiz to handle soft surface cleaning. The autonomous vacuum sweeper uses an AI platform to deliver a higher quality, more efficient clean. Plus, it offers proof of performance that carpet care tasks are being completed.

The Administrative Building has over 8,000 square feet of cleanable carpet. Bringing on Whiz was the best way to meet demand and free up cleaning staff to focus on higher priority tasks. While following its routes, the robot avoids people and other obstacles like furniture. It cleans up to 15,000 square feet per charge and notifies operators when it is done operating.

Grant Mackall, Branch Manager at GSF says, “with Whiz we’re looking to automate the simplest of tasks and vacuuming big areas is a simple task that doesn’t require specialized skills. We are able to free up time for workers to focus on detailed tasks.”

Results

Since adding Whiz to the cleaning team at Valley View Administrative Building, Matt Pawlowski has seen results and so have others using the building. With Whiz, detail work has improved, cubicles look cleaner and Pawlowski has noticed visibly cleaner glass–there aren’t any streaks and finger prints. This is because cleaning staff have been able to focus more on specialized tasks.

Miguel points out that, “before Whiz, we were vacuuming [the hallways and lobbies] two hours every night.” Since adding Whiz, the team has freed up 1.25 hours each night to focus on the detail work. That’s an extra 6.25 hours a week and 25 hours each month that can be spent on more specialized tasks to improve the overall clean. He adds, ”Whiz is helping us to achieve our goals by freeing time for our cleaners to be able to do other things and increase productivity, and we see better results.”

Download the case study: GSF USA and Whiz at Valley View School District_Case Study

How GSF USA Maintains Beautiful Floors

GSF USA Maintains Beautiful Floors with 3M™ Scotchgard™ Stone Floor System 

Challenge 

Terrazzo installers have been installing Terrazzo floors to a 200-grit level for too long, which then requires facility maintenance personnel to regularly add finish to floors to uphold its appearance. While this floor finish can have high gloss upon initial application, the gloss gradually decreases when exposed to consistent foot traffic. Over time, floor finish scratches show black scuff marks and has dirt embedded into its top layers. 

The typical cycle of maintaining floor finish involves cleaning, burnishing, scrubbing and re-coating. This is repeated until the coating is so dirty or yellow that it must be stripped entirely and re-coated.  

GSF USA, a global cleaning services company, sought a better way to care for Terrazzo floors in its customers’ buildings, including Valley View School District, which consists of 25 buildings totaling approximately 2.5 million square feet, and Hinsdale Township High School District 86 with over 4,000 students. 

“This floor care process can be time consuming and labor intensive, especially if it has to be repeated often,” said Kurt Kuempel, General Manager, GSF USA. “Foregoing proper floor finish maintenance negatively impacts the look and lifespan of flooring, and can also take a toll on the visitor experience and brand reputation.” 

Solution 

An essential factor in the efficient operation of a school district is a well-organized, responsive building operations and maintenance department. Working with 3M™, a market leader in floor care, GSF USA implemented a system that physically polishes the Terrazzo using Trizact abrasives and traditional janitorial equipment. The clarity of the polish has a significantly different look than floor finish.  

After the floor is polished, GSF USA adds 3M™ Scotchgard™ Stone Floor Protector, which leverages a hybrid technology that densifies, impregnates and works as a wear layer that is more scratch resistant than floor finish. The floor protector will look better longer and is designed to stand up to even the most high-traffic environments. 

Results 

With 3M™ Scotchgard™ Stone Floor System, GSF USA realizes the following benefits: 

Improved appearance of floors.

The floor protector provides a long-lasting, glossy, natural-looking floor that is less susceptible to scuffs, black marks, stains and scratches. According to Tim Donohoe, Site Supervisor at Hinsdale Central High School, “the finished results are excellent and the appearance of a clean and shiny floor is very noticeable. I applaud GSF for having the expertise to do this work in a professional manner.” 

Simplified maintenance.

Not only does this system enhance the aesthetic of these high-traffic buildings, it also requires far less maintenance compared to floor finish. It is swift and easy for GSF USA’s team to spot repair damaged areas. 

Safer buildings for occupants and visitors.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), floors and flooring materials are responsible for more than two million fall injuries each year. The result is billions of dollars in medical, insurance and litigation costs. In just two coats, 3M™ Scotchgard™ Stone Floor Protector creates an NFSI Certified High Traction surface that can help prevent slips and falls. 

Environmentally friendly floor care.

With the stone floor system, there is no stripping or deep scrubbing required. This eliminates staff and building occupant exposure to and environmental release of potential hazardous stripping chemicals. 

“The ‘before’ and ‘after’ results with 3M™ Scotchgard™ Stone Floor System are incredible,” added Kuempel. “Our team members appreciate how easy it is to use and maintain, and that our customers notice the difference in appearance.” 

 Download the PDF here: GSF_3M_Case Study

How to Vet a Cleaning Service Provider

Building service contractors (BSCs) are instrumental in working with facility managers to keep buildings worldwide clean. From schools and universities to airports and convention centers, BSCs implement teams of professionals, sometimes alongside in-house custodial crews, to conduct floor care, surface disinfection, restroom cleaning and more. Because the quality of service provided by a BSC can have a noticeable impact on a facility’s image and brand reputation, facility managers must carefully vet cleaning providers. Managers can find the perfect fit by clearly outlining their goals and values and then delving deeper into how the BSC plans to uphold cleanliness, sustainability and safety.

Focus on Five Must-have’s

To narrow the field to BSCs that are the best of the best, facility managers can look for a cleaning service provider that fulfills these five key tenets:

  • Use sustainable chemicals. The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, notes that 53% of assessed cleaning products contain ingredients that can harm the lungs. Additionally, 22% of cleaning products contain chemicals that cause healthy individuals to develop asthma. This is concerning given how frequently cleaning professionals in commercial environments use solutions to clean and disinfect. Ensuring their safety is paramount. BSCs should opt for cleaning chemicals that don’t put employees in harm’s way. Solutions should be non-irritating and eliminate the release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air. Products that are free of fragrances, dyes and other additives are ideal. Some BSCs take their sustainability commitment further by using electrochemically-activated solutions (ECAS) made from water, salt and electricity with an on-site generation (OSG) system. The cleaner and disinfectant solutions are effective against a wide range of bacteria, viruses and fungi. They also enable cleaning teams to continuously refill spray bottles using the OSG system, reducing plastic waste.
  • Conduct regular training. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates that unknown threats can emerge without warning. As new pathogens, technologies and tools arise, cleaning professionals need to stay updated on the best methods for cleaning and disinfecting. Discuss with the service provider if they conduct ongoing training with staff and in-house cleaning teams. A commitment to education can improve cleaning performance by ensuring employees have opportunities to learn and ask questions.
  • Adopt high-tech equipment. Using innovative, reliable and well-maintained equipment helps uphold cleanliness, improve productivity, reduce costs and support sustainability goals. For example, high-tech equipment like robotic scrubbers and vacuums handle time-consuming floor care tasks and allow staff to address other important manual duties. Determine what types of equipment the service provider will use at your facility and inquire about their performance testing processes. Ask about anticipated decibel levels and how the implemented technologies might affect IAQ, water and chemical consumption and cleaning staff.
  • Endorse or provide environmentally sourced consumables. From cleaning chemicals to toilet paper to soap, commercial buildings continually require supplies to run smoothly.  Sustainable consumables are key to reducing a building’s environmental footprint and there are an increasing number of high-quality and sustainable options for consumables. Ask service providers about their process for sourcing consumables to understand their commitment to reducing the impact that facility maintenance has on the planet.
  • Offer leadership development. Leadership development helps keep employees engaged, thereby reducing the risk of accidents, enhancing the consistency of results and limiting turnover. Identify a BSC that invests in its employees through leadership development. Helping employees grow and guiding them to manage others brings the quality of the entire team to new heights. In addition to its safety, quality and retention benefits, development opportunities contribute to greater productivity, sustainability and morale.

Building Successful Partnerships

Facility managers and building service contractors work together to keep facilities looking their best day and night. The most successful partnerships are those built upon aligned goals and values. Additionally, identifying a BSC that understands the facility’s exact needs and challenges ensures that guests and building occupants will always be greeted with cleanliness. To ensure a strong partnership, look for a BSC that believes in the five tenets above. Doing your due diligence will give you greater peace of mind that your facility is in the right hands.

At GSF USA, we care about clean and the planet. Our Écologique cleaning program is certified by Green Seal® and offers a high-quality, safe and sustainable clean. Contact us to learn more, and follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook for the latest updates.

Enhancing Food Safety through your Cleaning Program

Each year, we celebrate National Food Safety Month in September to reflect on how food safety impacts our everyday lives and discover best practices for preventing food poisoning. Without cleanliness, food safety is impossible to maintain in our homes and commercial facilities like restaurants, schools, hospitals and offices with corporate cafeterias. Read on to learn about the burden of foodborne illness and strategies for limiting their occurrence.

Taking a Bite Out of Foodborne Illness

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 6 Americans fall ill, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die annually because of contaminated food. There are numerous ways that food can be tainted. For instance, some of the ingredients may be past their expiration date or the food may not have been stored at the proper temperature. Additionally, soiled surfaces, like counters and cutting boards, can cross-contaminate food products. Even after food is prepared or cooked, it can be contaminated by dirty hands.

Cleanliness and hygiene play a critical role in curbing the incidence of foodborne illness. Facility managers and their teams are instrumental in keeping facilities clean and encouraging proper behaviors among building occupants and visitors.

Four Tips for Food Safety

Avoid food safety fails by following these cleanliness best practices:

  • Strategically place hand hygiene solutions. Dirty hands spread germs, so giving people the chance to keep their hands clean is critical. Have hand soap dispensers stocked and easily accessible in food preparation areas like kitchens. Ensure soap and hand sanitizer are available in restrooms, as people often use them before or during dining. In areas where food is consumed, like cafeterias, break rooms and meeting rooms, place hand sanitizer dispensers where people will notice and use them. Whether you opt for wall-mounted or floor stand dispensers, consider automated versions to limit contact and the spread of germs.
  • Address high-touch surfaces. In areas where many people gather to eat together, such as dining halls and cafeterias, there’s an increased risk that germs will build up over time. This is accelerated when people do not have clean hands and come in contact with shared objects. High-touch items in these environments can include napkin and condiment dispensers, food trays, counters, tables, chairs, and benches. Cleaning professionals should first clean surfaces and then disinfect them to address remaining pathogens. Be sure that your disinfectant has been proven effective against pathogens like E. coli, Salmonella and Norovirus so you can be confident that it addresses foodborne illness culprits. Meanwhile, cleaning top to bottom is an essential method for keeping recently addressed surfaces clean.
  • Use color-coding. Too often, pathogens from restrooms or kitchens make their way to other areas of a building simply through the process of cleaning. How does this happen? Using the same equipment, like mops and microfiber cloths, to address both spaces can quickly transfer germs. Cleaning professionals should have duplicates of their tools to avoid this cross-contamination. A color-coded system makes it easy to designate one set for restrooms, one for food preparation areas and another for dining areas. Folding and replenishing microfiber cloths once they’ve trapped dirt, dust, and moisture keeps soils from spreading onto other surfaces.
  • Keep floors clean. Floors are typically exposed to higher levels of dirt since they are heavily trafficked. Commercial floor care equipment like scrubbers and sweepers helps maintain the appearance of floors by removing soils and debris and rinsing them with chemicals. Not only do clean floors support food safety by elevating overall cleanliness, they also send the right message to visitors. Dirty floors can signal a lack of attention to health and safety. Meanwhile, clean floors demonstrate that a facility cares about its guests and that this level of care extends to its food safety promise.

The Benefits of Clean Eating

A commitment to cleanliness in your facility keeps pathogens from spreading onto high-touch surfaces like desks and tables; door handles and elevator buttons, vending machines and more. Fewer germs leave fewer opportunities for foodborne illnesses to occur. In office settings, reducing food poisoning absences helps maintain productivity and morale, while in schools, it ensures that teachers and students are always ready for their lessons. Prioritizing cleanliness from the start can also help facilities avoid costly cleanings that typically take place after a widespread foodborne illness outbreak. Overall, a focus on food safety benefits everyone, from facility managers to building occupants to visitors.

Cleanliness and food safety are a perfect pairing. Our use of safe, sustainable cleaning and disinfecting solutions is ideal for every facility. Contact GSF USA to learn more, and follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook for more best practices.

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