The Science of Cleaning

Cleaning goes beyond the surface. As mundane as the task may seem, it has a substantial influence on a facility’s hygiene standards. Within the realm of cleaning, complex chemicals and various processes interact uniquely. Understanding how the different chemicals and processes work is pivotal in creating an efficient and effective cleaning regimen tailored to your facility’s needs.

All About Cleaning Agents

When cleaning solutions encounter a surface, it initiates a chemical reaction. That is why understanding the chemistry behind various cleaning agents is crucial. Around 10% of work-related asthma cases are linked to cleaning products, emphasizing the significance of comprehending the composition of the cleaning chemicals you use and their potential impact on facility occupants. It’s important to note that the EPA recognizes products designed to kill viruses and bacteria and possess antimicrobial properties as effective solutions.

The four main types of cleaning agents are neutral, acidic, alkaline and scouring. Neutral cleaning agents are pH-neutral, so they’re safer to use on most hard surfaces. Acidic cleaning agents have strong mineral acids that can remove inorganic deposits. Alkaline agents have the strongest pH bases to help dissolve grease, oils and protein-based substances. Finally, scouring cleaning agents are mixtures of the usual cleaning chemicals such as surfactants and water softeners, as well as abrasive powders. Each of these cleaning agents has different active ingredients for breaking down different types of dirt and grime. Understanding the purpose of each cleaner can help you select the correct one for the job.

There are many choices on the market for cleaning solutions, making it difficult to decide which is best. However, a way to simplify your chemical selection by using electrochemically activated solutions (ECAS). This solution is created with an on-site generator (OSG) that combines water, salt and electricity to create an effective cleaning and disinfecting solution. This generator uses two tanks, with one tank creating a cleaner/degreaser (sodium hydroxide) and the other producing a disinfectant/sanitizer (hypochlorous acid). This product is then easily dispensed into spray bottles, mop buckets and floor care equipment, making it simple and safe for your custodial team.

Different Cleaning Processes

While the terms cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting may appear interchangeable, they differ in their definitions and objectives. Cleaning involves physically removing most germs and dirt from surfaces, a crucial step that should be routinely taken before sanitizing and disinfecting. Sanitizing aims to reduce germ counts on surfaces to a safer level, whereas disinfecting kills any remaining germs from cleaning. The disinfecting solution is the most potent agent to help lower the risk of illnesses spreading within your facility.

Green Cleaning

It’s also important to understand the impact your cleaning chemicals have on people and the environment. According to the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, between 17% and 21% of custodians reported issues such as eye irritation or breathing problems due to the cleaning products they use. To help minimize these risks, opt for products certified by a reputable third-party organization such as Green Seal. This certification guarantees the products are both environmentally sustainable and safe for your custodial staff to handle.

Delving into the science behind cleaning processes can elevate their cleaning standards, helping ensure a safer and healthier environment for all.

At GSF USA, we understand the science of cleaning and use ECAS when possible. For more information, contact our offices here.

Celebrating Those Who Care About Clean at GSF USA

As 2023 comes to an end, we reflect on our best moments of the year. At GSF USA, we’re proud of our staff who show tremendous dedication to providing a safe and clean environment for our customers all year round. Before looking ahead to the new year, we’re excited to recognize our team members who are celebrating recent career milestones and anniversaries!

At GSF, we not only care about supporting our clients but our people too. Through training and career development opportunities, we believe it’s essential for our team members to continue to grow and harness skills that will further their careers.

35th Anniversaries

Sharon B., GSF Indiana

20th Anniversaries

Malgorzata P., GSF Illinois

Alexander U., GSF Indiana

15th Anniversaries

Fernando R., GSF Indiana

Exsequiel R., GSF Indiana

10th Anniversaries

Jose J., GSF Illinois

5th Anniversaries

Nashiely B., GSF Illinois

Antonia C., GSF Indiana

Marie D., GSF Ohio

Rosalio E., GSF Illinois

Argelia F., GSF Indiana

Bertha G., GSF Illinois

Ashley K., GSF Rockford

Cipriano L., GSF Indiana

Juan M., GSF Indiana

Monica M., GSF Indiana

Veroncia P., GSF Illinois

Roman P., GSF Illinois

Guadalupe R., GSF Illinois

Jose R., GSF Indiana

Selma S., GSF Rockford

Wilson Z., GSF Illinois

Prep 101: Preparing for Cold and Flu Season During the Holidays

The holiday season is officially here, and with that comes the inevitable cold and flu season. This time of year increases foot traffic in many types of facilities. Between holiday shoppers in stores, family and friend gatherings at restaurants and festive celebrations at work, it’s important to prioritize the health and safety of others. As people gather this holiday season, leave germs out of the festive fun by ensuring your facility is taking necessary precautions toward minimizing their spread.

Increase Cleanliness Measures

During a time of year when germs spread more rapidly, ensure your facility’s cleaning routine is adequate with the influx in foot traffic this busy holiday season. Be mindful of how often certain areas of your facility need to be cleaned, and suggest implementing additional cleanings in highly populated areas. This includes public restrooms, facility floors and high-touch points such as door handles, railings and touch screens.

Many facilities take on seasonal staff for additional support during the holidays. Ensure seasonal employees, as well as full-time employees, have received proper training to meet today’s cleaning standards. Research shows that 64% of customers have not returned to a facility that did not meet their cleanliness expectations. This makes it essential to communicate any additional holiday cleaning protocols to your cleaning staff and make the health and safety of facility occupants a top priority.

Efficiency and Effectiveness

With increased facility cleaning measures, ensure your cleaning staff provides pristine results. Cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting are often used as interchangeable terms. However, there are significant differences in the results they provide and when misused, won’t effectively kill germs. Prevent improper cleaning by selecting the right chemicals and tools for your cleaning staff and ensure products are used for their intended purpose.

With an influx in foot traffic, it can be difficult to plan for additional cleanings. Working with your cleaning staff to create an efficient cleaning schedule can help ease the stress of reducing the spread of germs while keeping facility occupants safe. Tasks such as floor cleaning can quickly become a hazard with increased occupants walking around. Minimize the risks of slips and falls by scheduling certain routine cleanings during closed facility hours.

Outsourcing cleaning professionals is another efficient solution that allows proper cleaning catered to a specific schedule that works for your facility. Outsourced cleaning services can recommend and provide the best cleaning equipment for your specific floor and facility needs. This results in an effective cleaning solution that is also cost-effective and convenient.

Back to Basics: Hand Hygiene

Our hands collect a lot of germs throughout the day. Handwashing is a simple and effective solution that, when done properly, can remove up to 99% of germs and bacteria. Remind facility employees to clean their hands frequently during the busy holiday season and that it takes at least 20 seconds with soap and water to effectively kill germs. Encourage additional hand hygiene practices by providing hand sanitizer stations for occupants and employees to utilize throughout your facility.

Other solutions include placing hand hygiene signage in public restrooms or opting for touch-free technology in your facility to minimize high-touch points that harbor germs. Additionally, while increased staff is often needed during the holiday season, remind employees to stay home if they are sick to reduce the risk of spreading illnesses to other employees or occupants.

Have a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season

Don’t let cold and flu season stop your holiday cheer. Prepare your facility with an effective cleaning routine, proper training and hygiene practices to help keep occupants healthy and safe. Spread joy and not germs this time of year by making facility cleanliness a top priority.

Heart of GSF: Willie Jackson

GSF USA is committed to hiring a team of professionals who share the same goal of providing exceptional work to clients and are eager to learn while continuously developing their careers. We are thankful to have a strong team of employees who come to work every day with a growth mindset and hard work ethic. Their dedication to the clients who choose to work with us is what creates quality results that customers value.  

One of GSF’s more recent employees, Willie, is a prime example of hiring individuals who have a willingness to learn and a commitment to providing quality results through their work performance. Although Willie has worked in the cleaning industry for over 40 years, he has been with GSF as an Area Manager for only 9 months. “I chose to work for GSF because I heard they were different. So far, my experience has been wonderful,” stated Willie, “They promote that they care about their employees, and I have found that to be exactly true by watching them consistently put GSF team members first.”  

As an Area Manager, Willie’s role requires him to visit clients and work directly at their sites. “I’ve seen GSF make a significant impact on the clients they work with,” said Willie, “They really listen to their client’s needs and respond with effective solutions.” Between new partnerships and clients, it’s essential for GSF to provide clean and safe facilities consistently. “GSF is great at ensuring that the buildings we clean make a good impression on the public, specifically entryways and restroom maintenance,” stated Willie, “The appearance of a facility, as well as how it’s maintained, has a profound impact on the public’s perception and likeliness to return. This makes it important for us to provide high-quality cleaning results to all our clients.”  

Additionally, GSF is constantly looking for ways to improve the quality of its outsourced cleaning services. This means employees are regularly introduced to and working together to learn about new cleaning technology, equipment and techniques. “We have a strong culture at GSF. Everyone gets along, which has made it easy to build relationships with my team,” said Willie, “We all show up to work excited to learn and develop our careers.”  

Employees like Willie are the reason GSF has such a strong company culture. Cultivating a work environment of team members who inspire those around them to grow and succeed leads to exceptional performance and quality results. The heart of GSF is made up of a dedicated team of individuals who believe no task is too much and that a sustainable, clean facility can help make a positive impact. Interested in joining a team like Willie’s? Check out our open positions! 

The Top 3 Advantages of Automating Cleaning Tasks

The cleaning industry is constantly evolving. Even in just the past five years, technology has changed drastically and will continue to influence the cleaning industry greatly. This technology helps to meet the rising demand and pressure for facilities to be spotless. 85% of consumers want visible proof that a facility has been cleaned. This creates increased pressure for facility managers to keep up with the demand and can cause excess strain on their cleaning teams.

A way to keep up with the pressing cleanliness demand is to implement automated cleaning tools. These tools can aid in simplifying your cleaning tasks and allow your cleaning staff to pivot their efforts elsewhere.

More time efficient

Think about conventional floor cleaning. This method requires your team to spend hours on end operating the machine to clean the floors. Automated floor cleaning robots can be programmed to clean by themselves, saving your team hours. These machines require little human labor and can run all day, saving your cleaning team time to put their efforts into different tasks.

Robotic self-guided vacuums that handle dirt removal can operate autonomously for up to 3 hours, cleaning nearly 50,000 square feet per week. The built-in AI platform allows these vacuums to develop their own cleaning routes for areas that require cleaning. Automated vacuums help take the hassle out of manual vacuum sweeping.

Safer for cleaning professionals

Automated and high-tech cleaning equipment can help to make work environments safer, helping minimize mistakes made by human error. For example, consider overnight cleaning crews who, when fatigued, can make errors, potentially resulting in mixing wrong cleaning chemicals, equipment damage or excessive product usage. Automated equipment, programmed for reliability and equipped with sensors and safety features, help effectively minimize such risks.

Environmentally friendly

Automated cleaning machines offer a sustainable alternative to manual cleaning. GSF USA’s Écologique program is backed by a Green Seal® certification, ensuring a genuinely eco-friendly approach. Our programmable machines allow cleaners to precisely control the amount of cleaning solution used, helping to minimize excess waste. This helps create a more environmentally responsible cleaning process.

Our machines also feature ec-H2O™ technology, transforming tap water into a safe cleaning solution through electrolysis. This innovative method conserves water usage by up to 70% and minimizes wastewater generation. It also efficiently removes soil without leaving a chemical residue, helping to ensure a cleaner and more sustainable solution.

Transforming Cleaning

Automating cleaning tasks offers a significant advantage in today’s evolving cleaning industry. It helps to enhance efficiency, safety and promotes sustainability in the facility. Embracing automation is a crucial step towards meeting the demands of modern cleanliness while contributing to a greener future.

At GSF USA, we care about clean and the people behind clean. CONTACT US to learn how we can help support your facility’s cleaning needs and follow us on LINKEDIN and FACEBOOK for updates.

Implementing Infection Prevention Practices in Your Facility

This week marks the start of International Infection Prevention Week (IIPW). As a facility manager, this is a perfect time to reflect upon your current infection prevention protocols and identify areas you can improve. A survey found that 7 in 10 consumers pay more attention to the level of cleanliness of the facilities they visit. Updating your cleaning team’s routine for heightened infection prevention can help your facility be prepared in case of an outbreak.

Here are some key practices you can implement in your facility to help create an effective infection prevention program.

Key Infection Prevention Practices

Enforce Proper Hand Hygiene

Proper handwashing is a core pillar of cleanliness and infection prevention. Research shows that over 80% of common infections are spread by hand, making it crucial for facilities to promote proper handwashing techniques throughout. Consider installing signage in restrooms to remind your facility occupants of the correct hand-washing techniques. Remember, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends scrubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds.

Ensure your facility has proper hand hygiene essentials such as soap, hand sanitizer and paper towels readily available throughout. This allows your facility occupants never to have to go without the proper hand hygiene essentials.

Educate and Train Your Staff

To create a successful cleaning program, you must properly train your staff. Education helps make employees feel more comfortable working with various chemicals, equipment and machines. This training is crucial for your employees to understand how to disinfect your facility properly. That way, in case of an outbreak, you can have confidence that your cleaning team is ready to go.

If your staff feels ill, they should feel comfortable taking time off to heal. If a staff member comes in sick, it could potentially cause them to spread their germs to coworkers and other building occupants. Within your training, create a list of procedures to follow if anyone calls out sick and how employees can cover for them. Additionally, consider posting signage to encourage all facility visitors who are feeling ill to avoid entering the building.

At GSF-USA, we ensure all our employees undergo mandatory training to stay updated on the latest trends and information. Our program helps ensure our staff members can safely and successfully implement cleaning operations within your facility.

Create Standard Cleaning Protocols

In addition to educating your team on proper cleaning techniques, it’s crucial to establish and enforce standard cleaning procedures. Focus on minimizing cross-contamination by consistently cleaning high-touch surfaces to remove visible dirt and debris. Follow this with disinfection as needed, aligning with the CDC recommendations. Nevertheless, these tasks should always be addressed, with particular attention given to disinfection during an outbreak in your facility or during peak flu season.

Tackle Infection Prevention with Ease

Take this week to reflect on your facility’s current cleaning routine to identify ideas that can be improved to help enhance the overall hygiene of your facility. Creating an infection prevention plan can help ensure your cleaning team’s readiness in the event of an outbreak within your facility. By incorporating the above practices, you can be assured of your team’s preparedness to confront any hygiene challenges.

Infection prevention should be a year-round focus for your facility. Do you have a qualified team ready to uphold your infection prevention program? Contact GSF USA here to learn how we can help.

Celebrating Those Who Care About Clean at GSF USA

Congratulations to our team members who are celebrating recent anniversaries and milestones at GSF USA! We are proud to have dedicated and hardworking employees who provide a safe and clean environment for our customers.  

At GSF, it is our mission to build a trusted, professional cleaning staff with an eagerness to learn and grow. Through training and career development, our employees harness skills that will further their skills within the commercial cleaning industry. We not only care about clean, but we care about our people too. 

30th Anniversaries 

Sallie J., GSF Indiana 

15th Anniversaries  

Carina O., GSF Indiana 

Silvia S., GSF Indiana 

10th Anniversaries  

Gustavo B., GSF Indiana 

Rodrigo C., GSF Indiana 

Ana C., GSF Illinois 

Mario F., GSF Indiana 

Honorio G., GSF Indiana  

Romina I., GSF Indiana 

Andres M., GSF Indiana 

5th Anniversaries 

Abigail B., GSF Indiana 

Paula C., GSF Indiana 

Juan C., GSF Illinois  

Gustavo G., GSF Illinois  

Oscar G., GSF Illinois  

Magda H., GSF Illinois  

Jack H., GSF Ohio 

Catalina M., GSF Illinois  

Cita M., GSF Indiana  

Blanca M., GSF Illinois  

Ana N., GSF Illinois  

Sara P., GSF Illinois  

Wioletta P., GSF INC. 

Ricardo R., GSF Illinois  

Pedro R., GSF Illinois  

Blanca S., GSF Illinois  

Julio T., GSF Illinois  

Ensuring Consistent Cleanliness Across Multiple Sites

Keeping up with cleaning in one facility is difficult, let alone multiple. To promote safe and hygienic environments, consistent cleaning should be prioritized throughout all facilities. Ensuring cleanliness leaves a positive impression, promotes good hygiene, and boosts workplace productivity amongst your employees. 62% of employees express that seeing regular sanitation professionals increases their feeling of safety. There are many benefits to ensuring each site is consistently clean.

Here are three tips to implement to help ensure consistent cleanliness across multiple facilities.

Develop a Comprehensive Cleaning Plan

Maintaining cleanliness across multiple sites can be challenging. To ease this difficulty, create a detailed cleaning plan for each facility. These plans should include specific cleaning protocols designed for each site, given each site has a unique layout with varying rooms, to allow for accurate sanitization of the areas. Another term for this is standard operating procedure (SOPs). The SOP, whether in physical or digital format, should be easily accessible within each facility. It must include a comprehensive outline for correct cleaning protocols, such as hazard management and tool and chemical usage. However, utilizing a team of cleaning professionals can significantly alleviate stress on your facility staff by streamlining the tasks at hand. They can assist in ensuring every area is regularly cleaned to maintain the facility’s hygiene and safety standards.

Implement Comprehensive Training

With each facility having a unique layout, it’s crucial your team receives adequate training to understand the specific maintenance requirements at each site. An effective method to equip your maintenance team with comprehensive knowledge of each facility is by providing onboarding training. Training opportunities can include a diverse range of information on cleaning chemicals, proper use of equipment, safety protocols and cleaning frequency. This training helps to facilitate their familiarity with each building and essential protocols to keep them safe. Also, onboarding training allows your employees to have a comprehensive overview of their duties and increases new hire retention by 82%. Thorough training enhances retention and offers a complete understanding of the cleaning process for each facility, enabling consistent cleanliness.

Invest in Quality Equipment and Supplies

Investing in quality equipment lets you know each site has the correct tools to clean effectively. This means having updated technology and cleaning products you can trust. Over 88% of maintenance frustration stems from having out-of-date technology that slows down processes and lowers workplace productivity. Cleaning professionals can help ensure all equipment and tools are up to date to prevent any frustrations for your janitor staff.

Many traditional cleaning products contain high levels of dangerous or volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Switching to green cleaning products throughout your facilities creates a cleaner environment and ensures your building is properly disinfected. By utilizing consistent eco-friendly products across your facilities, you establish consistency and assurance every building maintains the same hygienic level.

Uphold the Cleanliness of your Facility

While upholding cleanliness standards across multiple facilities may be challenging, effective planning can make it easier. Hiring an external team of cleaning professionals offers additional assistance for tackling more demanding maintenance tasks, enabling your current team to easily perform their job. Being equipped with the right strategy and training can allow your facilities to be well-prepared to address any potential issues.

Selecting The Right Chemicals for Your Cleaning Program

Taking care of your facility and the occupants in it starts by maintaining a healthy and safe environment. This includes investing in a cleaning program that utilizes high-quality and effective products. Although it is often advertised that any and all types of cleaning chemicals can benefit your facility, many common cleaning products contain hazardous chemicals that can do more harm than good. Learning how to find the right chemicals for your cleaning program is essential for all facility managers and can significantly improve the longevity of your building.

Quantity Doesn’t Equal Quality  

The state of your facility’s supply closet is often a telltale sign of how effective your cleaning program is. Bulking up on cleaning products for your facility may seem like an efficient solution, but overstocking supply closets is a quick way to fall into over-resource consumption. This increases the opportunity for cluttered supply closets, which not only lessens space within your facility but can lead to safety risks. Additionally, restocking your supply closet on a regular basis can quickly become costly, with the average company spending between $63 and $200 per month. There are a lot of factors that can help determine which cleaning products are right for your facility, including different types of floors, surfaces and the current condition of your building. Before ordering every cleaning product, take time to learn which chemicals work for your building type to help get the best results.

The Value of Outsourcing

Clear out the supply closet all together! Another effective method of making sure your facility is being effectively cleaned with the right chemicals is by outsourcing a professional team of cleaners. Taking time to find a quality staff that is properly trained in maintaining different types of facilities can help relieve stress for employees to upkeep their work environment while also prioritizing their daily tasks. Additionally, outsourcing a cleaning team can help ensure that every part of your facility, even the parts that are often overlooked, are being cleaned with the correct chemicals and equipment. Establishing a routine schedule for outsourced cleaning professionals to upkeep your building is a cost-effective solution to restocking a supply closet and the hassle of making sure the products you’re using are right for your facility.

Cleaning with Green

If your facility is set on using its own cleaning program, investing in certified environmentally friendly cleaning products not only benefits the planet but is a proactive way to ensure your facility is being cleaned with safe chemicals that don’t harm the building or the occupants inside of it. Green cleaning products have been shown to be just as effective at cleaning while utilizing safer chemicals that are less hazardous to users. However, many brands that are labeled as eco-friendly are guilty of greenwashing. This is when companies claim to be environmentally friendly as a marketing technique. To avoid falling victim to false advertising, make sure the products you buy are certified and labeled with safe ingredients. Switching to green cleaning products not only shows consideration for the planet but also the well-being of those in your facility.

Strive for Clean Chemicals

When you invest time in finding clean chemicals that work well in your facility without posing risk to employees and guests, you save money, time and energy that would be wasted on using incorrect cleaning chemicals, damaging your facility, harming your building occupants and maintenance repairs. Work smarter not harder by implementing cleaning chemicals that are safe, effective and help create a safe and welcoming environment.

Celebrating Those Who Care About Clean at GSF USA

We’d like to take a moment to celebrate all our hardworking employees who have recently celebrated significant milestones and anniversaries at GSF USA! We’re proud of our employees and their dedication to providing a safe and clean environment for our customers.  

Congratulations to all and thank you for your continued efforts to help GSF USA grow and differentiate itself as a leading building service contractor. We could not have gotten to where we are today without your hard work! 

20th Anniversaries 

Francisco C., GSF Illinois 

Luis P., GSF Indiana 

15th Anniversaries  

Martin M., GSF Indiana 

Kelvin M., GSF Indiana 

Rosario M., GSF Indiana 

Albaro V., GSF Ohio  

10th Anniversaries  

Hilda L., GSF Indiana 

Jesus P., GSF Indiana  

5th Anniversaries 

Sherman B., GSF Ohio 

Miguel C., GSF Rockford  

Jose G., GSF Indiana  

Maria M., GSF Indiana  

Karla M., GSF Indiana  

Yolanda M., GSF Indiana  

Maria O., GSF Indiana  

Israel R., GSF Illinois  

Debra R., GSF Rockford  

Fatma V., GSF Illinois