Hard Water Stains
Cleaning companies that have customers in hard water areas, which includes over 85% of the United States, sometime find it difficult to get rid of those nasty hard water stains on windows - especially large office or warehouses with large amounts of windows. The first step begins with understanding hard water and how it affects the buildings we clean, so our cleaning technicians can choose the best solutions to remove it.
Rain contains no minerals as it falls to earth. When it passes through the ground, it absorbs minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, which transforms it from “soft water” into “hard water.” Although hard water is not normally harmful to our health, it can wreak havoc on plumbing, fixtures, appliances, glass, showers, or pretty much anywhere water is used.
Once hard water evaporates, what's left behind are the minerals. These nasty mineral deposits cause crusty scale, stains, film, and mineral rings. This build up can become problematic and permanent if not addressed immediately.
Hard Water Cleaning Solutions for Removing Those Ugly Stains
Cleaning companies go directly to their cleaning chemical and tool inventory when confronted with hard water stains. Acidic and non-acidic, abrasive, natural or manufactured, there are a number of cleaners that have the ability to remove mineral deposits and scale. Make sure the cleaner you choose is the right one for the job, surface or fixture you plan on cleaning. Check the manufacturer's label or test the cleaner in an inconspicuous place first if you are not sure. The last thing you want to do is cause damage to your customers' building.
Usually removing mineral deposits such as calcium, magnesium, and iron requires an acidic product. Most hard water staining can be removed with a combination of the right cleaner, cleaning tool and of course, good old fashioned “elbow grease” for those really tough jobs.
Cleaning tools such as white scrubbing pads, scrub brushes, and steel wool, can be used with the cleaning chemical of your choice to assist in removing difficult deposits. Just remember that none of these tools should be used alone, as they can permanently scratch the surface of the window. Only use these tools when the surface of the window is wet with water or cleaning chemical.
We recommend starting your cleaning process with less harmful chemicals, tools, and methods first, then ramp it up to more aggressive methods should deposits persists. It may take several attempts to remove stubborn deposits.
Beware; strong acidic chemicals are very corrosive and damaging to certain types of surfaces such as stainless steel and chrome and will “eat” through them, so never attempt to use such chemicals without the proper training and testing.
How To Care For Hardwood Floors In A Commercial Building
Nothing adds charm more to a commercial building than a lustrous looking hardwood floor. A hardwood floor is a lifetime investment and keeping a hardwood floor looking its best requires proper care and maintenance strategies. As the cleaning professional, it is up to you and your cleaning technicians to provide the solutions to care for and maintain your customers' hardwood floor investment and keep it looking its best for years to come.
Routine maintenance and care of hardwood floors requires:
- Protecting the surface finish from heavy wear
- Daily cleaning to remove dirt, grit and dust
- Protecting the finish from moisture
These three routine tasks and care strategies will help to prevent damage to hardwood floors and to ensure the floor keeps its natural beauty.
It is important to remember that dirt, sand and grit are among the hardwood floor's worst enemies. This grunge will act like sandpaper to a floor's finish and can cause scratches and dents that will dull the floor. An important step to protecting the floor and finish is to place walk-off mats at all building entrances to prevent debris from being tracked onto the floor you are trying to protect. Walk-off matting also absorbs moisture and keeps it from being tracked onto the floor.
TIP: Avoid placing rubber backed entrance matting directly on the wood floor. The rubber backing can discolor the floor.
It is also important to sweep, vacuum or dust mop frequently to remove dirt and dust. A backpack vacuum with a hard floor attachment is the best way to pick up and remove contaminants from a hardwood floor. If you are using a broom, use one that is soft and has fine ends so that dirt and contaminants become trapped and are lifted away. You can also use a high quality microfiber flat mop.
TIP: Always remember to clean underneath the walk-off mats.
Another important preventive maintenance step is to place protector pads on furniture legs. Floor protector pads should be made of soft felt or a similar type material. If you ever need to move furniture, always pick it up and carry it -- never drag furniture across the floor.
Footwear and foot traffic can cause damage to hardwood floors. Soiled work boots or any footwear that has rocks, mud, or gravel stuck into the treads can dent or scratch the floor. Remind your customers how important it is to invest in walk-off matting to help protect their investment.
Water is also an enemy of hardwood floors. Water and spills can warp or permanently damage a floor's finish. Spills should be cleaned up immediately before they have the opportunity to set in and stain or warp the floor. Wipe up spills with a soft, damp cloth or microfiber cloth, and then follow up with a cleaning solution if needed and a dry, soft cloth.
Another factor to remember is that direct sun can discolor a hardwood floor. If a floor is exposed to direct sunlight, recommend to the customer that they close curtains or blinds or add sheer drapes to protect from the floor from the sun's harsh UV rays.
To stay looking their best, wood floors need periodic cleaning with a professional wood floor cleaning product. If you know the type of flooring, follow the manufacturer's recommended cleaning system. But if the specific type of hardwood floor is unknown, use a wood cleaner that does not leave a residue. Most finish manufacturers do not recommend wetting wood floors with water. When you use a cleaner that requires mixing with water follow the directions carefully and do not mix over the wood floor itself.
When taking care of wood floors avoid the following:
- Using saturated mops on the floor
- Using ammonia on the floor
- Using household type dust cleaners
- Using products that are not recommended for wood floors
Don't let hardwood floors lose their luster. Spending a little time every day protecting and properly caring for hardwood floors will go a long ways towards keeping the floor looking great and keeping your customer happy.
10 Steps For Dusting An Office Building
Following the steps outlined below will make your dusting faster and more effective:
- Dust high surfaces first and work downward. Start at one end of the room and move in a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction.
- Move objects (phones, paper weights, pictures, etc.), dust under them, and then replace them to their original position. However, desk papers should not be moved. Dust around any papers left on desks or tables. Papers in a pile can be moved slightly so you can dust under and around them unless your customer has instructed you not to disturb any paperwork.
- Do not carelessly flick your dust cloth, static duster or extension duster as you dust. This will only spread the dust, not capture it. Instead, wipe the surface.
- Wipe spots and smudges on walls, desks, etc. with a damp green microfiber cloth as you move throughout the office area. Remember to rinse the cloth when it becomes soiled, using only water.
- When cleaning computer monitors or conference room flat TV screens, use a dry, microfiber cloth and lightly (and I do mean very gently) wipe. Never use paper towels, tissue paper, or window cleaner, they can scratch or damage the screen. If there are finger prints or smudges, you can use antistatic wipes designed for computers and LCD screens. Some offices do not want you to clean either computer screens so be sure to follow your clients' wishes.
- Dust wood tables and desks with the grain, applying furniture polish per customer's request. Chairs should be dusted from top to bottom. Start by dusting any trim on top, then the sides and work your way down to the bottom legs.
- When dusting blinds, first dust across the top. Then close the blinds and dust the entire surface. Close blinds to the other side and dust the newly exposed surface area. Another way to dust blinds is to use a back pack vacuum with a brush attachment.
- In hallways and corridors, make sure to dust fire doors, fire extinguishers, exit signs, bars on exit doors, door frames/jambs, hand rails, light switches, show cases, and any other horizontal/vertical surfaces.
- Make sure to dust any areas where dust can accumulate, such as clocks, picture frames, cabinet tops and sides, the sides of desks, partitions, air vents, lights, baseboards, and window sills. If there is a surface, dust will accumulate.
- Use a back pack vacuum to remove dust and clean hard to reach areas and upholstered furniture.
Proper dusting will help to ensure that your office buildings have a neat and tidy appearance. Dusting is necessary to ensure a clean building and healthy work environment. SERVPRO of Woodcrest/El Cerrito/Lake Matthews can help with all of your commercial cleaning needs. Give us a call! (951) 398-3240
Tips For Preventing A Home Fire
Home fires are preventable! The following are simple steps that each of us can take to prevent a tragedy.
- Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
- Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking.
- Keep children away from cooking areas by enforcing a "kid-free zone" of 3 feet around the stove.
- Position barbecue grills at least 10 feet away from siding and deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
- Smoke outside and completely stub out butts in an ashtray or a can filled with sand.
- Soak cigarette butts and ashes in water before throwing them away. Never toss hot cigarette butts or ashes in the trash can.
- Never smoke in a home where oxygen is used, even if it is turned off. Oxygen can be explosive and makes fire burn hotter and faster.
- Be alert - don’t smoke in bed! If you are sleepy, have been drinking, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy, put your cigarette out first.
Electrical and Appliance Safety
- Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately and do not run cords under rugs or furniture.
- If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.
- Immediately shut off, then professionally replace, light switches that are hot to the touch and lights that flicker.
Portable Space Heaters
- Keep combustible objects at least three feet away from portable heating devices.
- Buy only heaters evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
- Check to make the portable heater has a thermostat control mechanism, and will switch off automatically if the heater falls over.
- Only use crystal clear K-1 kerosene in kerosene heaters. Never overfill it. Use the heater in a well-ventilated room.
Fireplaces and Woodstoves
- Inspect and clean woodstove pipes and chimneys annually and check monthly for damage or obstructions.
- Use a fireplace screen heavy enough to stop rolling logs and big enough to cover the entire opening of the fireplace to catch flying sparks.
- Make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the house or going to bed.
- Take the mystery out of fire play by teaching children that fire is a tool, not a toy.
- Store matches and lighters out of children's reach and sight, preferably in a locked cabinet.
- Never leave children unattended near operating stoves or burning candles, even for a short time.
More Prevention Tips
- Never use stove range or oven to heat your home.
- Keep combustible and flammable liquids away from heat sources.
- Portable generators should NEVER be used indoors and should only be refueled outdoors or in well ventilated areas.
Why Immediate Fire Restoration Is Important
When a fire occurs in a home, the aftermath can seem overwhelming, and if fire restoration is postponed, the destruction from smoke damage can become even worse. The longer you wait to address the damage, the more repairs you'll have to fix - which means you'll most likely have a larger bill for damages when all is said and done. You can avoid costly repairs and long-term issues if you make fire damage restoration a priority and follow the steps you'll need to get your home back to normal as soon as possible.
Contact a Fire Damage Restoration Service
First, and foremost - and this is the most important step - find a fire restoration contractor who can assess the damage, give you an estimate on costs and start the cleanup process. Contact your home insurance company to make them aware of the fire and ask them for referrals for reliable businesses in your area. It's essential that you enlist the help of a licensed and insured fire damage restoration company to reduce the risk of further damage to your home. They are trained to handle this type of damage and many will perform some of the following steps to help get you through the initial fire cleanup:
- Smoke and fire damage restoration services will try to save as many of your home and personal belongings (such as appliances, furniture and clothing) as they can.
- Document everything they remove from your home by taking pictures and/or keeping written records.
- Return any salvageable furniture and appliances back to your home, after the fire restoration is complete.
- Work quickly and carefully to get you back in your home as soon as possible, and stay in contact with you to make sure the repairs were done correctly and your home isn't experiencing any other problems.
Be sure to go through your home insurance company when hiring a fire damage restoration service, or do a thorough background check if you choose one on your own to make sure they are licensed and insured. Be wary of “fire chasing” contractors who target victims of house fires and pressure them into signing expensive repair contracts, perform extremely low-quality repair work and might not be licensed or insured.
Start Fire Cleanup Right Away
While it's best to have a qualified fire restoration company like SERVPRO of Southeast Portland handle the smoke damage restoration, there are some small tasks you can do to help minimize the initial damage before the professionals come in to do the major cleanup. Remember that safety comes first, so if there’s no way to safely gain access into your home, then stay out until the professionals arrive. If it is possible to enter your house, make sure you’re wearing work gloves, long sleeves/pants, and proper respiratory protection, such as a mask because exposure to soot can cause respiratory problems and other medical issues.
- VENTILATION - Open all the windows and air out the house as much (and as often) as possible. Use box fans to force out dust and contaminated air. Fire damage restoration professionals will use industrial-strength fans and other air-moving equipment to help reduce the smoke damage your home has been subjected to, but in the meantime, proper ventilation is key to helping remove a lot of the polluted (and unsafe) air.
- CLEANING - Scrub all surfaces (and inside cabinets and drawers) with soap and water. You can also use an alkaline cleaner, which neutralizes the acid that’s found in soot to help cut down on the smoky smell. Counteractants—chemicals used to break up smoke molecules to eliminate odors—may be used, but it’s best left to the professionals to handle such products.
- LAUNDRY - Wash all bedding, clothing, curtains and items that can be machine washed with an alkaline cleaner (you may have to wash items more than once). Delicate fabrics will need to be professionally dry cleaned by someone who is familiar with articles that have smoke damage. Only use washers and dryers that haven’t been exposed to smoke or experienced significant fire damage.
Professional smoke removal and restoration companies will perform a thorough cleanup using industrial-grade products and equipment, such as dry cleaning soot sponges to remove loose soot and specialized vacuum filters to clean carpet and upholstery.
Prolonged Smoke Damage
Fire damage is tricky because some signs are apparent—such as discoloration on walls and ceilings and dark stains from smoke on surfaces—but others are not, such as odors trapped in hidden places. Air conditioner vents, the space behind walls and the outside walls of your home are all areas where ash and soot can be deposited and continue to cause damage if they aren't taken care of in a timely manner.
Make sure to have the HVAC system, attic/roof, and exterior walls inspected and properly cleaned, too, because your home will continue to suffer from smoke damage until the soot is completely removed by a fire damage restoration service, like SERVPRO of Woodcrest/El Cerrito/Lake Matthews . Don't hesitate to call us to handle your fire or smoke damage! (951) 398-3240
What is Mold?
Mold (or mould) is a term used to refer to fungi that grow in the form of multicellular thread-like structures called hyphae. Fungi that exist as single cells are called yeasts. Some molds and yeasts cause disease or food spoilage, others play an important role in biodegradation or in the production of various foods, beverages, antibiotics and enzymes.
Mold is also found in damp building materials where it often appears like stains and comes in a variety of colors. A must smell is an indication of microbial growth even when there is no visible growth.
Mold growth requires moisture. The sources of moisture could be Washing, cooking, air humidifiers, condensation or leaks from plumbing or from the outside. Poor ventilation contributes to higher humidity levels and leads to condensation, which also allows mold growth.
Sampling For Mold Growth On Surfaces
Mold growth in homes
Mold growth is very common in damp building environments. During building assessment for mold growth, sampling is sometimes necessary. For example air sampling may be performed to determine whether visible mold growth has degraded indoor air quality. Air sampling may also help to determine the presence, location, and/or extent of suspected hidden mold growth. Air sampling is also used to determine the effectiveness of mold remediation. Interpretation of air sample results can be difficult if clear sampling objectives were not set prior to sampling.
Surface sampling involve collecting samples such as bulk material, tape-lift samples, swabs/wipes, contact plates or dust samples. These type of samples (with the exception of contact plates) can be analyzed by direct microscopic examination (DME) to verify the presence of mold growth.
Content sampling can also be conducted during a mold growth investigations. Content sampling helps to determine whether visible mold growth is present on the items or whether there are significant amounts of settled mold materials on their surfaces. Contents can be sampled using tape-lifts, swabs, contact plates or by collecting dust settled on their surfaces.
Follow These Mold Safety Tips If You Suspect Mold
If you see visible mold, do not disturb it. You can inadvertently spread the mold infestation throughout your home. When mold is disturbed, the mold can release microscopic mold spores which become airborne and can circulate inside your home.
What to Do:
- Stay out of affected areas.
- Turn off the HVAC system and fans.
- Contact SERVPRO of Southeast Portland for mold remediation services.
What Not to Do:
- Don’t touch or disturb the mold.
- Don’t blow air across any surfaces with visible or suspected mold growth.
- Don’t attempt to dry the area yourself.
- Don’t spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold.
About Our Mold Remediation Services
SERVPRO of Woodcrest/El Cerrito/Lake Matthews specializes in mold cleanup and restoration, in fact, it’s a cornerstone of our business. Our crews are highly trained restoration professionals that use specialized equipment and techniques to properly remediate your mold problem quickly and safely.
Storm Damage Restoration Process
Violent weather such as storm damage can wreak havoc on buildings as well as vegetation. Wind damage can be a hazard to the structure of a building, by loosening the shingles or tiles on the roof. This can cause moisture such as rain and snow to infiltrate into the protective surface of the roof, which will result in the wood swelling and later on disintegration and becoming moldy. This outcome will lead to a sagging ceiling and further problems. Elements such as wind, rain, hail, and lightning can result in turning people’s lives upside down, this is why having a storm damage restoration service to help this type of emergency is a good option.
Here are some of the activities you can expect from the storm restoration service professionals.
- Whether it is a business or residence, the restoration company will come to your property and their trained experts will do a thorough examination of the interior and exterior of your building. This will help them discover the level of the damage. In many cases, the restoration company will discuss the renovation plans with you and your insurance adjuster.
- When everything is agreed upon, the work begins. Depending on what type of damage is present, this will determine the type of equipment the professional will use. In the case of flooding, they will use specialized pumps and vacuums to remove water from the affected areas.
- Generators will be brought in to operate their dehumidifiers and air movers so mold and mildew do not have a change to make matters worse. Using customized cleaners, the specialist will then disinfect hard surfaces and shampoo salvageable carpets as well as apply deodorant to combat any odors.
Important Facts About Wind Damage
There are many areas of the United States that have experienced heavy winds and storms this season and the strong powerful winds can cause significant damage to a home. Wind damage and water damage are the most common results of a heavy storm and it is important to contact a storm damage restoration professional as soon as the storm is over to help limit and repair the damage. Wind damage can happen to your home directly from the strong wind or indirectly from the wind blowing debris into your house. These wind damage facts will help you better understand the potential for wind damage and how to prevent it.
Wind Type Varies by Storm and Causes Different Degrees of Wind Damage
Thunderstorms are the most common source of wind and storm damage but winds from hurricanes or tornadoes are stronger and can cause more severe damage. It is important to know when a storm is approaching your area and what type of storm it is so you know the potential and level of damage to expect. Thunderstorms are responsible for over half of all wind damage cases in the U.S. but the storm damage repair may be more costly for hurricane or tornado wind damage.
Characteristics of the Wind Affect the Wind Damage
The wind has many characteristics that differ depending on the situation. Some characteristics to take into account include speed, direction, and duration of the gusts and recognizing them can help you protect your home and property effectively from wind damage. Recognizing the characteristics of the wind can also help you determine how much potential damage to expect.
Preventing Wind and Storm Damage
Most wind damage is caused by flying debris either from plants or other structures and objects that are not secured. If a storm is approaching your area, make sure any potential debris around your home such as patio furniture, toys, garbage cans, and other objects are either secured or brought inside. Your doors and windows should also be secured to help minimize the potential storm damage to the home.