January 24, 2010

Concrete Stain removal

Concrete Stain Removal: 3 Cleaning Tips

Concrete stain removal is generally a simple and easy process. Concrete is a strong and durable building material, but it is also porous and susceptible to stains. To avoid stains in the first place, seal the concrete with a concrete sealer and then paint it. This creates a strong layer of protection against oil, sap and other elements that may stain the concrete. However, if you have not sealed the concrete, here are a few tips.

Tip 1: Use Laundry Detergent

Sprinkle dry laundry detergent over the stain. Let the detergent sit on the stain for approximately 15 to 30 minutes to absorb the stain, and then scrub it with hot water and a scrub brush. Rinse clean with hot water. If the stain is not gone, repeat this process until the stain is removed.

Tips for caring for marble

Cleaning and Caring for Your Marble
Bill Brennan

No one can dispute the fact that marble is a beautiful stone and an elegant edition to any d├ęcor; marble flooring makes an exquisite statement and a marble countertop is a real eye catcher. However, it does require some looking after to maintain the shiny, translucent, polished finish we demand.

Although marble is a stone it is actually quite soft and can be scratched and dented relatively easily. It is also very porous and as such will stain easily. It is also easily etched by contact with acid; even your everyday food items like wine, orange juice, cola and vinegar can damage your counter.

In order to maintain your marble in a pristine condition it is imperative that you wipe up spills immediately. Don't place glasses or bottles directly on the surface otherwise you will be left with ring stains; always - let me say that again - always use coasters.

For general cleaning the recommended method is to wipe down the area with a damp, clean cloth like a chamois. Use lukewarm water and wring out the cloth out extremely well. Immediately wipe dry with another soft cloth to avoid streaks.

Marble sealers can be applied to prevent your surface from staining, but get expert advice before applying to ensure it is the correct product for your countertop.

A marble wax is also available; however it may cause white marble to yellow and should only be applied with consultation from an expert.

After time your marble may become dull, it can be revitalized with a commercial marble cleaner and commercial polish. Once again buy this from a reputable company that deals in marble, to ensure the correct product.

If your marble is severely scratched, dented or stained then it is time to contact a professional. Putty powders and other products can be used with electric polishers to restore your marble. Contact a tombstone or marble products company for advice and consultation.

January 23, 2010

Microfiber towels...use them they work!!

Microfiber is no longer a “buzz word” that is taking the cleaning world by storm – it's a basic cleaning tool that most cleaning companies are now using every day. However many companies simply replace their old cotton rags with microfiber cloths without ever training their employees on how to properly use and care for them.

How to choose the right microfiber cloth for the job
There are different grades of microfiber for different types of tasks. Most manufacturers will carry at least 3 different types of microfiber cloths. The 3 most common types are:

Heavy-duty microfiber cloths. Used for heavy-duty cleaning to remove deep soil and oils.
Medium grade microfibers. Used for dusting and medium-duty tasks like wiping countertops and sinks.
Microfiber cloths that have a suede-like texture are used for glass, mirrors and polished surfaces. These cloths are usually much thinner than the heavy-duty or medium grade cloths, and are more tightly woven.
When shopping for microfiber cloths, visit your local janitorial supplier, as they're more likely to carry high-quality microfiber cloths. Be cautious when buying from your local grocery store or “big box” store, as they tend to use lower grade fibers and fillers.

You can usually tell a good quality microfiber cloth by doing a couple tests. First, run the cloth across your hand. Does it seem to “catch”? This is caused by the dense fibers and indicates quality microfiber. Next, put a small dab of hand lotion on a mirror. Then wipe your cloth to see how many passes it takes to remove the lotion. A good quality microfiber cloth will remove the lotion in only one or two passes.

Train your employees on proper use
Microfibers come in a variety of colors and there is a good reason for this. Cross contamination is a big concern for cleaning companies, and rightly so. You certainly wouldn't want your employees to clean a toilet and then use that same cloth to clean the countertops and sinks. By color-coding your cleaning cloths and then training your employees, you can avoid cross contamination in your clients' homes.

It is important to train your employees on your color-coding system so they always use the right cloth for the task at hand. It is also important to train them on how to use the cloth. First fold the cloth in half, and then in half again. The cloth should be big enough to fit your entire hand. As one side gets soiled, turn it over. When the second side gets soiled, open up the cloth and fold it so you can use the clean side. When 4 sides of the cloth are soiled, open up the cloth to expose the clean side; then re-fold, and use the clean side. When using this method of folding and re-folding, you are training your employees to work more efficiently, plus the cloth will last longer.

How to care for microfiber cloths
When washing microfiber cloths, it is best to wash and dry them separately from other laundry items such as cotton cloths, towels or clothing. If you don't wash and dry them separately, they will pull the lint off these items and become so loaded that it may make them useless. Also avoid using bleach and fabric softener. Bleach will damage the fibers, and fabric softener will reduce the static charge, which is an important part of what makes microfiber work so well.

When cleaning microfiber, use about half the amount of laundry detergent you would normally use for a load of laundry. Microfibers release soil very easily when washed, so more is not better in this case – it's simply a waste of detergent. It is recommended that your water temperature not exceed 200 degrees. Microfibers can air dry or you can use a machine to dry them as long as you use a low heat setting and do not add a fabric softener sheet.

Whether you've made the switch to microfibers or are just thinking about it, now is the time to put in writing your company's procedures for using and caring for microfiber cleaning cloths. Then use those procedures to train your employees on the proper use and care. You'll discover increased efficiency and productivity with your cleaning staff, reduced cross-contamination, as well as happy customers.

Copyright © MyHouseCleaningBiz.com. All Rights Reserved

Jean and Steve Hanson have been in the cleaning industry since the 1980's. They've owned two successful cleaning companies and now enjoy helping others start and grow their cleaning business. They are co-founders of www.TheJanitorialStore.com and www.MyHouseCleaningBiz.com

How to repair scratched hardwood floors

How to Repair Minor Scratches and Stains in Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors are somewhat forgiving when it comes to stains and scratches. Although you can avoid most problems with proper care and maintenance, problems will still occur and your customers will rely on you to know how to repair their hardwood floors. When cleaning up stains and repairing scratches remember to begin working at the outer edge and work towards the middle. But before tackling a stain or scratch it's important to first determine what type of finish is on the floor.

A wood floor can have a wax finish, shellac, varnish or a urethane finish. If you don't know or your customer doesn't know what type of finish is on the floor, ask when the floor was installed. Floors installed before the mid 1960's were mostly finished with shellac. Perform a simple test - scratch the surface in a corner or other inconspicuous area - if the finish flakes it is most likely shellac or varnish. To determine if the floor has a wax finish - drop two drops of water in a corner or behind a door and then wait 10 minutes. If white spots appear under the drops of water, the floor has a wax finish. To remove the white spots, dampen #0000 steel wool with wax and gently rub the spot. If the floor does not have either of the finishes above, it has a urethane finish. If there is any doubt about what type of finish is on the wood floor, consult a wood flooring specialist.

Following are repair procedures for wax finished floors:

1. Scratches (such as heel marks): Rub in a small amount of wax with fine steel wool (#0000) and then hand buff until the floor shines.

2. Stains: The way you clean a stain will depend on the type of stain you are dealing with.

a. Chewing Gum: Fill a plastic bag with ice and then apply the bag to the gum until the deposit becomes brittle. Then use a dull putty knife to remove the gum.

b. Cigarette Burns: If the stain is not deep you can rub it with fine sandpaper or #0000 steel wool. If necessary, moisten the steel wool with wax. For burns that are deep into the wood: scrape around the area with a small penknife to remove the charred fibers. Then rub the area with fine sandpaper. Then stain, wax and hand buff the stained area.

c. Food Stains: Gently rub the area with a damp (but not excessively moist) cloth. Then use a soft, dry cloth to rub the area dry and apply wax.

d. Mold: Rub gently with a wood cleaner. Use a cleaner recommended by the manufacturer.

e. Water Stains or White Spots: Rub the area with #0000 steel wool, and then wax the affected area. If this does not remove the spots, lightly sand the area with a fine sandpaper and then clean it using #0000 steel wool and a wood floor cleaner. Allow the area to dry completely. Then apply wax and hand buff.

f. Ink Spots, Pet Urine Spots or Dark Stains: Rub the area with #0000 steel wool. Then wax the stained area. If this fails to remove the stain, lightly sand the area with a fine sandpaper and then clean it using a #0000 steel wool and a wood floor cleaner. Allow the floor to dry completely. Then wax and hand buff the area. It the stain remains, consult a wood flooring expert.

g. Wax Build-Up: Strip the old wax with odorless mineral spirits or a wood floor product made specifically for stripping wax. Use fine, soft cloths and a fine steel wool to make sure you remove all residue. Once the floor is dry, apply wax and buff the floor.

For Urethane Finished Floors:

Another test for a surface finished floor is to see if the stain or scratch has penetrated just the finish. If so, you are dealing with a surface finish floor.

1. Scratches: Repair touch-up kits for urethane finishes are available from wood flooring retailers. Follow the manufacturer's directions to repair the scratch.

2. Stains: Like stains on a waxed floor, treat stains on surface finished floors according to the type of stain.

a. Chewing Gum, Crayon or Wax: Take a plastic bag and fill it with ice. Then place the plastic bag on the stain until the stain is brittle enough so it crumbles off. Then clean the area thoroughly with a product made for a urethane finish.

b. Oil or Grease: Rub the area with a cleaner that is created for urethane floors.

c. Food, Water, Dark Spots or Pet Urine: Use a cleaner created for cleaning urethane floors. If it is a stubborn spot you may also have to use a scrub pad. Only use a pad that is designed to clean urethane floors.

d. Cigarette Burns: Look for a urethane floor finish touch up kit at a hardwood floor supplier. Begin by rubbing the area with sandpaper, then stain and refinish. If the burn has reached deep into the wood, individual planks or strips may need to be replaced.

Hardwood floors are durable and forgiving, but make sure you know what type of stain you are dealing with and the proper procedure to follow before making any repairs. And, if there are any doubts or questions on how to repair a stain, scratch or burn, consult an expert first.

Copyright © TheJanitorialStore.com. All Rights Reserved.

Steve Hanson has been a building service contractor for more than 20 years and now uses his knowledge to help owners of residential cleaning companies build a more profitable and successful cleaning business at MyHouseCleaningBiz.com. Read inspirational cleaning success stories at http://www.cleaning-success.com, and sign up for House Cleaning Profit Tips at http://www.MyHouseCleaningBiz.com.