Dec 16

Oven Cleaning Tips

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Commercial oven cleaning is a chore that we could all do without. However hard we might try our ovens will need cleaning from time to time. You can prolong the time between cleans by simply being careful with spillages but in the end you will just have to resign yourself to the fact that your oven needs a good clean.

Many of the newer ovens are constantly cleaning themselves. They simply require a quick wipe over with a washing up liquid at the end of each day. Self cleaning ovens are also fairly common but many restaurants still use conventional ovens which require a lot more elbow grease. However, since we are not talking about domestic ovens there is no need to worry too much about calling in specialists to do the job. Commercial cleaning products these days are superb. Just make sure you buy the best you can obtain as anything else is just false economy.

Since commercial cleaning products are much more powerful than the domestic ones you will need to make sure you follow any manufacturers recommendations carefully. Generally speaking you should wear gloves to protect your hands. Due to the fumes given off by some chemicals you should only carry out this exercise in a well ventilated room. Make sure all doors and windows are open.

With domestic cleaners you are often instructed to leave the cleaner overnight or for several hours. You will then spend time scrubbing and rinsing to ensure that all the dirty deposits are removed and that the oven is thoroughly clean. Thankfully, with a good commercial oven cleaner you can have the job completed in double quick time. With some of the better quality products you can literally see the grime and smoke stains literally fade away.

One such product available from Chemex is a heavy duty degreaser and decarboniser. It is purely for professional use only so it is not widely available to the general public. The product is highly effective for removing burnt on grease, smoke and all carbon deposits. It works extremely quickly.

Dec 16

Infection Control

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Hospitals in the UK have dedicated infection control teams which develop policies and procedures to ensure an effective infection control programme. Their prime aim is to reduce the risk of infection.

Hospitals can actually be quite prone to infections. Taking into account the number of visitors, patients and staff in any hospital establishment it is not difficult to understand how viruses and harmful bacteria can be present.

A comprehensive infection control programme will cover intravenous drips, surgical equipment and thorough cleansing of operating theatres to ensure that any infection is kept to a minimum. Doctors wear masks when in the operating theatre, gloves to ensure that bacteria cannot be passed on to their patients and particular care is taken with regard to regular hand hygiene.

The press are quick to point out the dangers of MRSA and Norovirus and we have all heard about instances on the news where hospitals have been held liable for negligence in certain aspects of infection control.

All hospitals need to keep auditing records designed to ensure that the hospital policies and guidance is adhered to. The closure of a ward or several wards can cause serious disruption to any hospital and the financial implications can be nothing short of disasterous, often creating a backlog of patients and serious issues with existing patients who may need to be seperated from others due to acquiring an infection.

As a visitor to any hospital you have a moral duty to make sure that you follow advice with regard to hand hygiene and no one should visit a hospital without consultation if they have a contagious disease, flu symptoms or any other afflication that my cause harm to others.

The most effective way of preventing the spread of infection in hospitals is actually hand hygiene. This is why hospitals provide regular hand hygiene points which staff, patients and visitors alike are expected to use. Alcholic gel is the most common form of hand cleansing. It is more effective than soap and water and is designed to kill a wide range of germs that can be present on your hands.

Dec 16

Oil Disposal Tips

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Oil is a terrible form of pollution. We have all heard about tanker accidents at sea causing devastation on coastlines which then takes years to clean up. However, did you know that one litre of oil can pollute a million litres of fresh drinking water?. Its true. The Environment Agency has set up an oil care campaign to help oil users to dispose of oil responsibly. Their website can be found at www.oilbankline.org.uk/

When oil reaches water it doesn’t sink to the bottom. It just floats on the surface. When large spillages occur it forms a film on the surface of the water which affects fish, birds and animals that come into contact with it. In the UK heavy fines are imposed for oil pollution offences. All waste oil needs to be disposed of carefully and that includes burning of waste oil which in itself causes air pollution.

Oil can find its way into the sewer system simply by irresponsible car owners carrying out an oil change and pouring the contents down a nearby drain. Oil storage tanks can leak and oil can contaminate the soil and eventually find its way to the water table. There is really no excuse for this type of pollution. If equipment is properly maintained and used oil is disposed of correctly it can be recycled and be useful rather than detrimental. You can find the location of the nearest used oil bank by simply ringing 0800 663366.

Apart from the obvious dangers of oil pollution leakage can occur from faulty vehicle fuel tanks, spillages on petrol station forecourts and leakage from power boat motors. Garage forecourts or maintenance bays often use an appropriate product to absorb oil spillages. This tends to come in the form of granules for liquid spillages and has highly absorbent properties.

Dec 16

Washroom Services

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Washroom services in larger establishments are generally provided by commercial cleaning suppliers. You don’t always have to pay for the installation of sanitary disposal units or components. Quite often a reputable provider will allow you to hire the dispensing equipment rather than go to the expense of purchasing it. So long as you continue to buy chemicals from the company you don’t have to pay for the equipment. This is a very cost effective way of getting your establishment kitted out properly.

Washroom services covers the whole spectrum of personal hygiene in washrooms. Sanitary and nappy disposal units, collection of waste, installation of air freshener units and paper dispensers are often all part of the service from a professional contractor. If you are lucky the provider will actually ensure that you are regularly stocked up and will even replace batteries in air fresheners and provide attractive toilet roll and soap dispensers.

Providing a quality washroom environment for your customers and staff should be a priority. Your establishment will be judged by the cleanliness of its washroom facilities. You really do owe it to your visitors.

A washroom can become a breeding ground for bacteria. We have all heard about MRSA and Norovirus and other contagious dieseases that can often be narrowed down to places of poor hygiene. Imagine going to a luxury restaurant, having an excellent meal and then being subjected to poorly attended toilets with bad hygiene control. How much of a recommendation will you give them if you are ill the very next day?

In the UK the Environmental Protection Act of 1990 places a duty of care upon organisations to ensure that any waste produced on any premises is properly managed right up until its point of final disposal.

The law is particularly clear with regard to disposal of all types of waste. Essentially, you must store it safely and securely and prevent it from causing pollution and harm to anyone. This means that sanitary dressings and nappy waste requires a discreet and professional service.

A full washroom service by a recognised provider will give you peace of mind and help you to meet the stringent regulations. Some contractors or suppliers even provide wall charts, staff training and all relevant documentation to ensure the smooth operation of washrooms.

So, next time you enter a catering establishment, whether it be a simple cafe or luxury restaurant, observe how well it has been cleaned. Is it free from bad odours, clean and hygienic and with adequate dispensers and hand towels or drying machines? What price do you put on your personal hygiene? What value does a restaurant have if it cannot even provide the most basic requirements of a safe and clean washroom?

Dec 16

Norovirus Outbreak

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An article in the Daily Express on 16th December 2008 has highlighted the dangers of millions of people being ill with the winter vomiting bug Norovirus.

Many hospital wards have had to close to any new patients with a leading London hospital having to turn away emergency calls due to being overwhelmed with the virus.

As we near Christmas and the New Year we risk a higher level of infection rates than at other times. With Christmas celebrations and large numbers of families meeting up with relatives the risks are worse than at other times. Hospitals could reach breaking point. Christmas and New Year are traditionally very busy times for hospitals. The recent cold weather and the threat of colds, flu and norovirus are particularly dangerous for the elderly, children, and those who are already ill.

The report goes on to quote several instances of near crisis in some hospitals with no available beds and a spate of ward closures. At least 21 hospitals have had to isolate patients. Worst affected appears to have been the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital which had to close all its 49 wards due to the virus. The full detail of the Daily Express report can be seen at www.dailyexpress.co.uk/posts/view/75741

West Midlands company Chemex have a product called Antibak which is effective against Norovirus and which has already given the NHS a powerful weapon to combat a full range of superbugs. The Antibak powder was recently used successfully in Berkshire where eight wards were closed due to the Norovirus outbreak. Antibak was used in the afternoon and by the evening tests showed the wards to be completely clear.

In Lincolnshire at the Pilgrim Hospital in Boston a ward which had been closed for a long period was re-opened by using the Antibak product.

More recently Antibak has been used extensively in the deep cleaning of ambulances.

Dec 16

Grease Disposal Tips

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In the UK it is illegal to allow any substance which may pollute or block the free flow of water into the sewage system. This mans any drain or sewer which is connected to the public sewage systems. When it comes to catering establishments this includes oils and grease.

With hefty fines and ever tightening food hygiene regulations it is imperative that businesses ensure that the right procedures and, if necessary, equipment, is installed to prevent fats and oils getting into the system.

The problem stems from the temptation to wash down cooking utensils and crockery in hot water, thus diluting the grease and fats into a convenient liquid which magically washes away. However, once it starts its journey down the pipes it cools, solidifies and lines the pipe walls with congealed fat, eventually over time causing blockages in the system.

There is the additional problem of bad odours, pollution in the local water courses and of course the inconvenience of having to call out a plumber and the associated costs.

In the UK there are approximatley 200,000 sewer blockages and pollution incidents, the majority being caused by fat, oils and grease. Rat infestation and flooding is also a major problem where drains and sewers are not maintained properly.

There are some very simple procedures that can protect your catering establishment from these problems:

- Wipe and scrape all crockery, pans and cooking utensils prior to washing up and place waste in the bin

- Avoid too much oil and grease in the washing up water

- Under no circumstance allow pouring of oil, fat or grease down the sink

- Always use strainers to avoid waste going down the sink

- Waste oils should be collected by a licensed waste contractor

There are a number of companies that can install efficient systems such as grease traps which are designed to stop oils, fats and grease getting into the system.

Dec 15

Altro Floor Cleaning

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Altro flooring is a hygienic non slip floor surface. You will find this type of surface in many quality establishments. It is easy to clean and very hygienic and a favourite of environmental health officers.

Altro floors are known for their safe and easy to clean qualities. They are also highly resistant to chemicals and bacteria and additionally they meet EU directives on health and hygiene. These floors are hard wearing and slip resistant. Although the surface appears smooth it offers an extremely high level of slip resistance when walked upon.

A combination of plastic vinyl and aluminium oxide grains, it is reinforced with glass fibre. It is slip resistant even when wet. Since the floors are heat welded when fitted they can appear seamless.

It is important to choose the right chemical products when cleaning this type of floor. Certain abrasive substances can cause damage to vinyl and should be avoided. Altro floors are reported to inhibit Staphylococcus Aureus ( MRSA ) and therefore extremely beneficial in any health care environment or residential homes.

Dec 15

Boat Cleaning

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Boat cleaning is not an easy topic. Where do you get advice on how to clean a yacht or a ferry boat? The fact is there are many types of craft that sail on rivers and the high seas and they differ considerably. Many are made from wood, metal or carbon fibre. The type of boat you have will to an extent determine the type of products that you use.

Firstly, boats generally cost a lot of money. They need regular maintenance like anything else. The type of water in which you use your boat i.e. inland fresh waterways, occassional close to coast trips or full sea going vessels all have different requirements.

If you are using contract cleaners you need to be sure that they are properly trained to the highest standards and that they specialise in boat cleaning. They will need to know all about the different types of upholstery used, the types of carpets, hard surfaces and external cleaning methods. The products that they use should be of the highest quality.

A cleaning team or dedicated cleaners carrying out work on your vessel can be expected to have the relevant COSSH sheets and some indication as to the fact that they are insured and trustworthy. After all, some luxury yachts and motor launches can cost more than an ordinary home and often contain personal valuables an electrical products which if damaged would be expensive to replace.

Boat Hull Cleaning

Most yachts and motor launches at some time require a complete ‘dry dock’ approach to external cleaning. It is only be winching the craft out of the water that the hulls can be washed and rinsed effectively and re-waxed professionally. Various products exist to ensure that a hull can be properly cleaned and maintained. Choose your products wisely.

There are so many different types of boats and hull designs that it would be impossible to cover the whole spectrum here. Concrete hulls are reinforced with steel so rust prevention and treatment chemicals are needed. The methods you use for wood depend on whether the framework is soft wood or hard wood.

Other boat products

Yachts will have products to ensure that the sails and rigging are treated and cleaned with properly. Soft wood hulls will have sealants and pitch that has different cleaning requirements to hardwood surfaces. Mould and salt damage will be treated by chemicals and fresh water craft are likely to need less maintenance than sea going vessels.

Many of the cleaning agents used in the interior will not differ very much from domestic applications although on larger vessels such as ferry boats superior quality commercial products will be used.

Dec 15

Static Caravan Cleaning

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Static Caravan cleaning is often carried out by sub-contractors. The time it takes to thoroughly clean a unit will vary considerably between each short term rental. A family of six with less than ideal cleaning and hygiene standards might leave your caravan in dire need of an interim deep clean whilst a concientious and careful couple renting it for two weeks may leave it in a cleaner state than when they occupied it.

Most static caravans which are rented on major caravan parks are cleaned quite quickly and efficiently by the park operators own staff or their appointed contract cleaners. You will find much debate on the internet about the time it takes to clean a unit and the types of products recommended. However, if you own a static caravan and let it out via your holiday park you will be charged a fee for each clean. This can vary from £20 - £30 plus for each rental period.

The materials used in a typical static caravan clean will be similar to those that domestic cleaners use in an ordinary home - with one big difference - they will be using better quality commercial cleaning agents.

Whether you are commercial cleaning contractor or an owner letting out your holiday home you will want to know that the best efforts are being made to ensure that your investment is being well cared for. This doesn’t mean skimping on the quality of the cleaning products. Buy the best you can afford and not only will this save you time and money in the long run, it will also impress your customers - the holiday makers upon which you rely on.

A deep clean, normally once a year, involves a thorough and comprehensive cleansing of your unit. Materials used will involve powerful oven cleaners, toilet cleaners, carpet shampoos, upholstery cleaners, surface polishes, anti-bactericidal cleansers, glass cleaners and floor cleaners. Additionally, the exterior of the caravan will be treated to a full body wax and the rubber trims and external fittings will be cleaned and polished to ensure that the home is presented in its full glory in readiness for the holiday makers.

Dec 15

Caravan Cleaning

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Caravans or motor homes are often laid up for long periods at a time, particularly in the winter months. The methods of storage and care vary but essentially winter maintenance is extremely important both from a mechanical point of view and for the long term care of your caravan or motor home.

The most obvious problem with storing any caravan or motor home involves just keeping it clean. Bird droppings and rotting leaves will not only make your holiday home unattractive, it will, if left too long, cause damage to the paintwork and rubber trim.

There are a wide range of chemicals for cleaning and waxing the exterior of your holiday home. An appropriate and good quality polish at the end of the season will certainly protect the surface and bodywork. Applying a light covering of silicon grease over the rubber trim will also help to preserve and protect it.

Even if your vehicle is stored for long periods of time you should make sure that it is moved regularly and in the case of motor homes, given an occassional run to ensure that the engine and moving parts are given the chance to loosen up and work as they should do.

Due to their size motor homes are generally cleaned with a good quality brush which will help you to reach the tall sides of the vehicle. Your ladder should also be rubber mounted and stable when cleaning the roof area. Pressure washers can also be a great way of cleaning the bodywork with the minimum of effort.

The cleaning materials used on a caravan and a motorhome are not much different to those you would use for car valeting. However, general cleaning materials are used more extensively in the interior where specialist products are likely to include kitchen and toilet cleaners, oven cleansers and floor cleaners.

One of the common mistakes people make when storing their vehicles or caravans is to forget to drain the water. At the end of the season you should make sure that all toilet waste is emptied along with the water tanks. Almost all caravans and motor homes have drain plugs for this purpose so you should familiarise yourself with the individual characteristics of your particular home.

Caravans and motor homes can be prone to dampness if not cared for properly. Giving a motor home a good run on the open road will help to alleviate this problem. If you do not wish to tow or drive your vehicle during the winter months then consider using a fan heater to heat the interior for a couple of hours. This will help remove any accumulated damp.