Category: Carpet Cleaning

The Monsters Hiding Inside Your Carpet

Humans are easily fooled by appearances.

Nothing could be further from the truth when it comes to the maintenance of our carpets. We often notice the obvious – stains and spills, of course. But as the saying goes, “never judge a book by its cover”, what lies beneath the surface should be more alarming.

The fact is:

If you were aware of what lives and breeds in your carpeting, you would want to start deep cleaning today.

Warning: this article is not for the faint of heart! You may want to sit down for this.

4 DISGUSTING FACTS ABOUT YOUR CARPET

What you don’t know – can in fact hurt you. Usually only those within the carpet industry know the truth behind how gross carpet can truly be.

The truth is, most carpet is prime breeding grounds for all types and species of bacteria, germs, and spores. This, unfortunately, is true regardless of whether the carpet type is commercial or residential.

Now a few eye-opening facts that may leave you queasy.

(Continue reading at your own peril.  This information cannot be unlearned.)

 

CARPET HOLDS 4X TIMES ITS WEIGHT IN DIRT.

Did that sink in yet? Oh, that is right, it already DID!

 

Yep, you read that correctly – carpet can hold four times its own weight in dirt.

Anything and everything that is tracked in from the outside of your home – eventually settles into the depths of your carpeting. As time goes on, the accumulation of particulates of debris, oils, sand, and other foreign materials will outweigh the carpet itself. Deeply hidden beneath the surface of your (once) beautiful carpet – most folks wouldn’t expect this.

 

3 OUT OF 4 PEOPLE WALK ON CARPET WITH DIRTY SHOES.

With our busy lives – it is no surprise people aren’t minding the carpet.

As you neglect it, the greater the build up of dirt. But that is not the core of the problem.

Just don’t let that expectation make you numb to it.  Not only do you carpets end up holding what your family brings in, but they also capture what your guests bring in.  Your own dirt is one thing, but the dirt of others?  Intolerable!

 

INDOOR AIR QUALITY MAY BE 8-10 TIMES WORSE THAN OUTDOOR AIR QUALITY.

This may be an eyeopener to most people. Why you may ask?

Soft goods (textiles and fabrics) that furnish your home easily absorb various contaminants. This includes living and non-living . With every step on that carpet you are catapulting invisible clouds of nasty into the air. Filthier carpeting equals filthier indoor air.

 

CARPET MAY HOLD UP TO 200,000 BACTERIA PER SQUARE INCH.

Disgustingly enough, that is approximately 4,000 TIMES more bacteria and germs than your toilet. Ok, now THAT is gross.

Of course, every carpet is unique, but none are immune to this fact. Ensuring that you keep on a routine maintenance schedule is more relevant than the materials type or length of the pile. The length of time that your carpet goes uncleaned, the more unclean it becomes – increasingly putting your family in increasing harm.

 

WHAT’S LIVING IN YOUR CARPETS

Your carpet acts as the largest filter of organic materials in your home. All day, every day.

 

This includes:

 

Food, Beverages, Moisture

Dirt, Dust, Pollen, Smoke

Hair, Skin Cells, Nastier Human Stuff

Whatever Your Kids Dragged In

The Presents Your Pet Leaves for You

Bit by bit it all adds up.  All the gross stuff breaks down, sinks to the bottom, and rots.  It gradually gives your carpets a darker overtone and a nice bouquet of smells to go along with it.

 

The problem is all the things that feed on the rotting organic matter.  Those are the things that get you and your family sick. Heard of a thing named Fungus? Molds? Yep your dirty carpet may be acting as magnet for the spores – in essence the perfect breeding ground.

 

Let’s talk about a few of them, starting with one you probably suspect.

 

MOLD

Your carpets are one of the most high-risk areas for mold growth.

 

Airborne mold spores land on carpet fibers and find themselves comfortable and well-nourished.  Mold often finds everything it needs to grow and thrive in your carpets. This is due to the high organic material content in poorly maintained carpeting.

 

Moisture is the biggest factor for mold growth.  Mold loves humid climates, like we have in North Carolina.  Carpets near bathrooms, basements, or other damp parts of your home are at a high risk.  Moisture provided by air conditioning contributes as well.

 

It can be difficult to spot mold as it is not always obvious.  It is rarely visible, lurking in the far and dark corners of your home.  You don’t even know it is there, and yet it is spreading.  This is unfortunate because it can negatively impact your families health.

 

Mold is quite a proficient nuisance – the allergens it creates as it consumes organic materials affect every individual differently. Reactions and severity thereof can range drastically. Some common occurrences are skin rashes, cold like symptoms, or difficulty breathing.

Some mold also produces mycotoxins—toxic compounds that can have serious health effects.  In fact, one of those effects is that it makes you more sensitive to the next unsavory character on our list.

 

BACTERIA

Carpet is much like a large petri dish only on a much larger and much more diverse scale. It is essentially a bacteria cest pool highway super system.

 

And this isn’t just any bacteria.  We’re talking about strains responsible for the some of the most illnesses, hospitalizations, and even deaths in the United States.

 

Some of these notorious bacteria include:

 

SALMONELLA

This bacteria is often spread to your carpet by tracking in feces, from people and our animals.  Contaminated food and other outside substances can contain it as well.  Salmonella infections can result in diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramping.  Young children and the elderly are especially at risk.

 

CAMPYLOBACTER

Campylobacter is commonly found in moist or damp carpets.  This bacteria needs an especially moisture-rich environment.  But it needs little oxygen to thrive.  Campylobacter infections cause an illness called campylobacteriosis, which can lead to diarrhea or dysentery syndrome.

 

E COLI

Perhaps the most notorious bacteria out there, E. coli is not to be taken lightly.  It can come from raw food products in your home or tracked in by your family.  Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever.  In more severe cases, it can lead to bloody diarrhea, dehydration, or kidney failure.

 

COVID-19

2020’s biggest celebrity bringing fear and worry into the life of every human on earth this year. We understand very little about the virus and how well it thrives, however, most studies suggest that it is similar to common cold viruses – they may remain on surfaces for several days. The make up of carpet can create a super highway system for the virus to multiply.

 

You never want to underestimate the power in little things.  And these little things could make a big difference in the lives of your family.

 

Unfortunately, mold and bacteria aren’t the only threats.

 

OTHER HARMFUL THINGS

Unfortunately, plenty of creepy little things love consuming rotting organic matter.

 

For instance, many insects thrive on a concoction of food residue, pet feces, and other insects.  And they can continue to thrive on it as it rots away beneath the surface of your carpet.

 

What’s more:

 

Tiny channels within your home can provide direct routes to your kitchen or bedroom.  Even worse, some of the organic matter will inevitably escape the carpet to land as dust around your home.

 

Obviously, such insects transmit disease.  This should be motivation enough.  But sometimes, dirty carpets can get you sick without any extra help.

 

Norovirus is a contagious stomach and intestinal virus.  It can survive in carpets for an extended period of time.  This is one of the things that make norovirus outbreaks difficult to control.

 

Steam cleaning is the safest way to fight norovirus in carpets.  However, it’s crucial that steam temperatures reach 170° for at least five minutes.  This can be hard to do without the help of a professional.

 

Norovirus can be life threatening for young children, the elderly, and those with other health conditions.  And it’s clearly not the only virus that could survive in to your carpets.  In fact, contaminated textiles throughout your home can help sickness spread.

 

We are actually exposed to such microorganisms on a regular basis.  The problem is that our homes too often foster their growth.  Then, our immune systems are eventually overtaken through repeated exposure.

 

Fortunately, the solution is simple.  And no, you don’t have to burn your house down.

 

WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT CARPET CONTAMINANTS?

Seems simple but  you must keep them clean.

 

While regular vacuuming is a great first step, professional deep cleaning is a must.  Household vacuums don’t have the power to pull debris from below the surface.  Even dry vacuuming from a professional probably won’t be enough.

 

But don’t just take it from us.  We’re only agreeing with the Huffington Post.

 

In our opinion, regular professional carpet cleaning is one of the most powerful ways to keep your family well.

 

You might think about it like this:

 

Deep cleaning your carpet will remove thousands of times more germs from your home than cleaning your bathroom.  This includes some of the most likely to cause illness.

 

A professional cleaner has a variety of techniques to deal with embedded carpet contaminants.  In addition to fighting sickness, this also helps your carpets last.  In fact, most carpet warranties mandate professional cleaning every 12 to 18 months.  Pause and think why this might be.

 

You may have recently moved into your home.  Or, you may have been living in the same place for 20 years.  Either way, it’s a good time to start keeping a regular schedule of professional carpet cleaning.

 

Better yet, choose a certified Senior Carpet Inspector who can better identify what you need.

 

No matter who you choose, professional deep cleaning will benefit you and your family in the long run.

 

If you live in the Chicago metropolitan and suburban areas and are looking for someone to rid your home of it’s tiny invaders, look no Further than Wiz Team, Inc. Call us at (847)526-6060. Leave questions or comments below.  And please, like and share this post so that others might consider what unseen dangers may lie beneath their feet.

Keeping Your Home Healthy

 

Regular cleaning is an important part of keeping your home healthy.

This includes preventing and mitigating bacteria, viruses, and other pests like moths, silverfish, and bedbugs that can do harm if left unchecked.

And regular cleaning is even more crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can live on some surfaces in your home for days.

Luckily, it’s easy to get rid of the virus material from these surfaces with some basic disinfectants and cleaning procedures.

Read on to learn about some common trouble spots around the house and solutions for keeping your living spaces safe and healthy.

How to clean a kitchen

Everyone gravitates to the kitchen.

Part restaurant, part entertainment center, and part family room, it’s ground zero for the most troublesome spots in the home. Practically every surface is a magnet for bacteria, viruses, germs, insects, and other pests.

Your kitchen can also be one of the most likely places you can transfer a virus, like SARS-CoV-2, into your household. A 2020 study found that this coronavirus can live for hours or days on many common kitchen surfaces:

  • copper: 8 hours
  • cardboard: 24 hours
  • stainless steel: 48 hours
  • plastic: 3 days

Here are some general tips for disinfecting your kitchen surfaces to prevent COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before you touch anything, especially if you’ve been outside or at work.
  • Sanitize your hands with a 60 percent (or higher) alcohol sanitizer if soap and water aren’t immediately available.
  • Regularly wipe down all kitchen surfaces, including counters, tabletops, and any other surface you frequently touch, like stove or microwave buttons. Use an EPA-approved disinfectant if available.
  • Wash all dishes and silverware before and after you use them.

Sponges and dish towels

A sponge can carry mold and thousands of germs and foodborne pathogens if it’s not cleaned or stored properly.

Things you can do to kill germs on a sponge include:

  • placing the sponge in the dishwasher with a high temperature and the drying cycle on
  • wetting it and putting it in the microwave for 1–2 minutes
  • squeezing it out well after every use and keeping it in a place that allows it to air dry

Cloth dish towels can also harbor unhealthy microorganisms, even if they’re only used for drying clean dishes. Wash them often with your machine temperature dial set to hot.

Cutting board

Never cut fruits or vegetables on the same cutting board you use to slice raw meat. Clean it with hot water and soap first.

Keeping veggies and raw meat separated will avoid cross-contamination and the possible spread of salmonella, E. coli, and other harmful bacteria.

It’s a good idea to have two cutting boards: one for raw meat and one for fruits, vegetables, and everything else.

Countertops

Keep all surfaces cleaned and sanitized after you cook.

This extra step will help eliminate food bacteria such as Campylobacter, a common cause of diarrhea. This will also discourage insects from feasting on the leftovers left on the counter.

Household pests like cockroaches can carry a number of pathogens and can also trigger asthma and allergies in some people.

You can sanitize your countertops with bleach after wiping them down with soap and water. One teaspoon of chlorine bleach per quart of water will do the trick. This extra step will help kill any lingering pathogens.

Using bleach with chlorine will also help remove any virus material related to COVID-19. Ammonia will also work. Just don’t use bleach and ammonia together, as they can combine to produce harmful chemicals.

Keep a lid on possible insect infestations by washing dishes and utensils immediately after eating, storing food in tightly sealed containers, and keeping trash in a container with a lid on it.

In the bedroom

Whether you share a bed with someone else or not, you’re never alone in bed.

Dust, dust mites, and possibly pet dander keep you company all the time. These bed bugs add to poor air quality and can irritate the best of us, whether you’re allergic or not allergic to them.

This is because dust mites produce waste and lay eggs. Add hair, dead skin, fungi, and pollen, and you get an allergen-filled combination that can pack a wallop to sensitive individuals.

Here are some tips to get rid of dust mites:

  • Use zippered plastic mattress and pillow covers.
  • Once a week, wash all bedding in hot water above 130˚F to kill dust mites.
  • Vacuum uncovered mattresses regularly.

 

In the bathroom

The bathroom is a relatively new thing. For thousands of years, people relied on outhouses and public baths, and for good reason — to keep pathogens and waste away from living quarters.

Today, we have the luxury of toilets and bathtubs, and pathogens can lurk where you wouldn’t expect them.

 

Toilet handle

The toilet may be an easy mark for potential health dangers in the bathroom, but it’s for a reason you might not expect.

Sure, you know to keep the bowl and the seat clean, but how often do you clean the flush handle? Rotavirus, enterococcus, and other nasty pests can live there.

Enterococcus can cause bacterial gastroenteritis. Rotavirus is the most common cause of diarrhea among children.

The new coronavirus can also survive on steel and plastic toilet handles for up to 3 days.

Keep the flush handle sanitized with a disinfectant that specifically lists fighting bacteria or viruses on the label. Sanitizing with a 60 percent alcohol solution can also help remove the virus particles of SARS-CoV-2.

Floor to ceiling

Mold can thrive in the bathroom and present a number of health problems, from watery, itchy eyes to asthma attacks.

Another danger lurking in your bathroom, and possibly throughout your house, is trichophyton.

This fungus causes ringworm and athlete’s foot and can be passed from one person’s foot to the next via flooring.

Here are some tips to clean mold and trichophyton:

  • Use a disinfectant designed to kill mold and fungus in the bathroom.
  • After bathing or showering, wipe down the tub or shower walls and curtain with a towel or squeegee. Some shower curtains can even be thrown in the washing machine.
  • Throw soiled tissues away and empty the wastebasket daily. Don’t leave them lying around the room or on top of the counter.

Rhinovirus, the main cause of the common cold, spreads easily when people touch contaminated surfaces and then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth. This is true of COVID-19, too.

Rhinovirus and coronaviruses can live on surfaces for days, so clean your bathroom regularly.

 

Cleaning house

Bacteria and viruses can easily spread in other commonly used surfaces in your home, too.

Doorknobs

They do more than allow you into your home or a room. These handles can carry staph, short for Staphylococcus aureus, a common bacterium.

While usually not a threat, staph can be harmful if it enters your mouth, eyes, cuts, or scrapes, and can cause a wide spectrum of problems.

The new coronavirus can also get on your doorknobs if you’re regularly going to work or going out and then touching doorknobs before washing your hands.

A good swipe of the doorknob with an antibacterial cleaner or 60 percent alcohol solution will keep staph and other harmful microorganisms at bay.

Walls

If walls could talk, they would probably ask you to reconsider your paint choice — not the color but the type. Paints contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), a huge source of indoor air pollution.

These chemicals, also found in upholstery, textiles, and other building materials, can cause a number of health-related issues. Of critical concern are paints in older homes that might contain lead.

The manufacturing of lead-based paint was banned in 1978. If your house was built after that, you’re probably fine on this one.

To reduce your exposure to these toxic vapors, choose low-VOC paints, milk paints, or whitewashes.

In older homes, check for the presence of lead by hiring a licensed risk assessor or by purchasing a lead home test kit at your local hardware store.

If you discover lead in your home, inquire about lead removal products at the hardware store or hire an experienced specialist to remove it.

Carpets and rugs

Many carpets and the adhesives and padding needed to install them emit the same VOCs as paint.

Some people experience flu-like symptoms after installing new carpet and others complain of eye, nose, and throat irritation.

Here are some ways you can avoid these symptoms and health issues related to VOCs in carpets and rugs:

  • Ask that your carpet be aired out before installation.
  • Open windows and doors and use fans to allow as much air to circulate in the room as possible.
  • Consider selecting carpet and related products that meet low-VOC emitting criteria for indoor air quality acceptance.
  • Vacuum your carpets and rugs frequently to ease allergic reactions to dust and pet dander.
  • Open windows periodically to help ventilate a room, especially after installing new carpet or painting walls.
  • Consider using an air purifier or house plants to filter toxins and any airborne VOCs out of the air.

SARS-CoV-2 can survive on carpets, rugs, and other fibers or fabrics for several hours.

You’re not likely to get the virus from these sources, but you can track the virus throughout your home if you walk on a contaminated carpet or rug and then to other rooms in your home.

Shake out your rugs regularly and steam clean your carpets as often as you can.

An air purifier may also help capture any infected respiratory droplets and airborne moisture particles (known as aerosols) from coughs or sneezes that may contain the coronavirus.

Dust

We sometimes think of household dust as dirt, but it’s much more than that.

A 2016 review published in the Environmental Science & Technology journal shows how household dust resembles a “parking lot for chemicals” in your home.

Researchers have identified 45 potentially harmful chemicals in household dust to examine. At least 10 of these chemicals were in almost all the samples taken from sites throughout the United States.

According to the review, dust can contribute to a wide array of health problems, including:

  • allergies
  • asthma
  • respiratory problems
  • cancers and disorders of the reproductive and nervous systems

These effects can increase in the winter when we typically spend more time indoors.

Dust can amount to a toxic soup made up of chemicals from fragrances, cleaning products, personal care products, and even the building materials your house is made of.

To keep problems from dust to a minimum, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recommends that you keep your home:

  • clean
  • dry
  • well-ventilated
  • maintained
  • free of pests
  • free of contaminants

Air Duct System Cleaning

     The air duct system also known as central air conditioning, provides on demand environmental ambient temperature control to occupants of a home or business. Think of the air duct system as the lungs of your home! Why should it be considered the lungs? Well, as the Air handler (furnace) turns its blower motor on to supply a consistent and steady stream of air to condition the temperature of the space per occupant’s request – at the same time the system in drawing in air and filtering it through your filter.

 

This constant re-circulation of air, does in fact help reduce dust and particulates floating in the air making indoor air quality markedly improved. However, a commonly unknown fact is that the air duct system of your home should be A. Regularly maintenance and will require a cleaning (depending on the amount of people in the home) B. On average every 5-6 years per NADCA (National Association of Air Duct Cleaners).

The constant recirculation of air into your system does carry all the dust freely floating in your home (along with pollutants you allow indoors from outside – pollen, allergens, and various spores) into your system where it will remain until it has been professionally cleaned.

On average, homes do not have their air duct systems cleaned for approximately 20 35 years. This long and vast accumulation of pollutants, debris from remodeling, dust, dirt, and germs all continue to impact the efficiency, health, and overall performance and life of the air duct systems heart – the air handler and blower motor! Not to mention that every time that air duct system that has not been cleaned recently kicks on – it is spewing those same pollutants and fine particulates – through your entire living quarters.

Hiring a reputable, certified, and professional air duct cleaning company can help provide peace of mind and most importantly a safer and healthier environment to raise your family in.

Gas and carbon monoxide

Natural gas

If your house uses natural gas for heating or cooking, you should always be alert for leaks.

Natural gas leaks are rare, but they can combust if near an open flame. They can also make you sick over the long term.

Evacuate your home and call 911 or the emergency number for your utility provider immediately if you smell gas or an odor like rotten eggs.

Carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that can cause flu-like symptoms or even death.

It’s a byproduct of fuel-burning appliances, including some space heaters, furnaces, water heaters, cooking ranges, portable generators, and car and truck engines.

To avoid problems, be sure your house is fitted with carbon monoxide detectors. Keep all appliances in good repair and never use a charcoal grill or portable generator inside your home.

 

Preventing fire

According to the American Red Cross, a home fire can grow from a spark to a life-threatening emergency within 2 minutes.

They suggest simple precautions to avoid fire danger:

  • Always have operating smoke alarms in your home. Check them once every month and install new batteries every 6 months.
  • Have a fire escape plan that all household members know.
  • If a fire does occur, get out of the house and stay out. Call 911 for help.

Most house fires start in the kitchen. They suggest taking the following additional fire precautions there:

  • Keep curtains, towel racks, and paper towel dispensers at a distance from stove burners.
  • Make sure your microwave vents aren’t obstructed.
  • Have a fire extinguisher within easy reach.
  • Don’t throw water on a grease fire. If a fire starts in a pan, put a lid on it or use your fire extinguisher.

Preventing falls

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the leading cause of injuries for older Americans.

Each year, 1 in 4 adults over the age of 65 have a fall. This results in 3 million hospital emergency room visits and 800,000 hospitalizations. A fall can be a life-changing event for older adults.

Here are some simple measures you can take to improve the safety of your home.

  • Remove trip hazards. Take away anything you might trip over from your stairs and walkways, including papers, books, clothes, and shoes.
  • Prevent rug slippage. Remove small throw rugs or put nonslip, double-slip tape on their undersides to keep them in place.
  • Install grab bars. Have grab bars next to and inside the tub, and next to the toilet.
  • Use nonslip mats in your bathroom. Never place anything you might slip on in the bathtub or the shower.
  • Exercise. One of the main risk factors for falls is lower-body weakness. Exercise to keep your legs and torso strong and flexible. Tai chi, yoga, and swimming are especially good activities.
  • Keep your balance. Do what you can to improve any difficulties you have with walking and balance. Tai chi and yoga are helpful.
  • Know your medications. Some medicines including tranquilizers, sedatives, or antidepressants can affect your balance. Ask your doctor to review your medications with you periodically.
  • Vision check. Have your vision checked every year and wear the corrective lenses that you need.
  • Wear proper shoes. Make sure your footwear fits and is in good repair.

Takeaway

Humankind has come a long way in the development of indoor spaces.

We take for granted a lot of modern conveniences, and some of these can bring harmful chemicals, germs, and safety risks into the home.

Take a few extra steps and precautions to make and keep your home a safe haven.

 

Green Cleaning for the Future of our Planet

 

Cleaning is an important part of everyday life, whether you’re running a small household or a large office building. Cleaning helps prevent the spread of germs, eliminates unsightly dirt and dust buildup and provides an overall sense of wellness. But in recent years, more individuals and facility managers have grown concerned about standard cleaning practices and how they can damage the environment and human health.

For years, we’ve been led to believe that the only way to get rid of germs and bacteria was to nuke them with harsh chemicals and toxins. Unfortunately, we now know these practices are not only ineffective but also harmful to our planet and our own health.

This is where green cleaning services swept in with an opportunity to eliminate dirt and germs while keeping humans and the environment safe. The evolution of green cleaning has come a long way and will only continue to improve as the countless benefits of this better way to clean become known.

What Is Green Cleaning?

Green cleaning is a term used to describe household and facility cleaning practices that address environmental and health issues. Green cleaning prevents negative environmental and human health consequences that occur with the use and methods of traditional cleaning.

Green cleaning addresses concerns like waste, consumption, recycling, energy usage, air and water quality, pollutants, chemicals and sanitation practices. Environmentally-friendly cleaning services are offered by experts in the green cleaning field. Their knowledge and expertise can help improve the indoor environment and sanitation levels of many different types of buildings, from offices and restaurants to schools and hospitals.

The History of Green Cleaning

The very first known cleaning product was a form of soap dating back to 2800 BC, and it was as green as green can be. Ancient cleaning products were developed long before the advent of synthetic chemicals and toxins. Soap products didn’t have chemical-induced scents like lavender and ocean breeze. But eventually, common belief was that by killing germs with harsh toxic chemicals, we would be protecting our health and our environment from these illness-causing microorganisms.

In the early 1960s, however, questions started to arise about the safety of these chemicals. Scientists began to question how these toxins may be affecting our environment and our human health. By the 1970s, the Environmental Protection Agency began waging war against specific chemicals. Exposure to environmental toxins was being linked to all kinds of health conditions, including certain types of cancers.

By the 1980s and 1990s the general public was becoming more aware of the chemicals used in their everyday cleaning products. This awareness also happened to coincide with the discovery of “sick building syndrome.”

Sick Building Syndrome

Sick building syndrome is a condition where the occupants or workers in a building suffer from a range of symptoms that are believed to be attributed to the indoor conditions of the building. In other words, the building itself makes the occupants sick.

Occupants found to be suffering from sick building syndrome experienced symptoms like eye, nose and throat sensitivity, skin irritation, fatigue, headaches, dizziness and an inability to concentrate. In 1983, the World Health Organization declared that sick building syndrome was a global health threat. This was due to poor indoor air quality inside buildings resulting from chemical off-gassing and toxic pollutants, including those emitted by harmful cleaning agents.

Green Buildings and Green Cleaning

In reaction to the disturbing findings of sick building syndrome, environmentalism, human health protection and construction merged to create a new field: green building. Green buildings are constructed with the goal of addressing the building’s entire impact and how it can be more environmentally-friendly and healthy for humans.

Green building standards began including requirements like toxic-free materials such as low- and non-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints, glues and other substances. Green builders also looked at ways to improve indoor air quality scores to prevent respiratory ailments and other health conditions.

The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) was formed and became the early pioneers in environmental construction, setting the highest level of standards for green building using their Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.

With the increasing interest in green building, business and facility managers began to look at environmental design and performance from a holistic perspective. This means they started taking into consideration not just the building itself, but its complete impact, including how it is cleaned and maintained.

This is where green cleaning on a commercial level began to take off. Once building managers began to look at their facility in its entirety, they noticed how something seemingly as simple as cleaning was threatening their vision for sustainability. From the types of products being used to how service providers managed and disposed of waste, they realized there was huge opportunity for environmentally-friendly and health-conscious cleaning practices that could match the high-level goals of green buildings and offices.

How Green Cleaning Has Evolved

When research about toxic cleaning first became an issue in the 1960s, many forward-thinking businesses and facilities began to look for alternative cleaning products that reduced the number of harsh chemicals being used in indoor spaces. However, at the time, there simply wasn’t enough selection available in the marketplace, and any products that had been developed were much more expensive than their traditional counterparts. Consumers and businesses also feared their effectiveness was limited.

This continued to be a challenge for those who saw the benefits of toxic-free cleaning but were unable to justify the costs. As is the way with most revolutionary products, though, more and more began to adopt greener cleaning products and practices into their homes, offices and facilities. Products like microfiber cloths, allergen-free dusting tools and non-chemical cleaning agents became more popular.

Increased demand in chemical-free cleaning lowered product prices and opened the marketplace up to all kinds of new competitive green cleaning products and services. This also opened the market up to another challenge: greenwashing.

Greenwashing

Greenwashing is a deceptive marketing and product development practice that plays on consumer fears of harmful chemicals or desires to be eco-friendly. It came to light in the 1980s when many companies realized they could market themselves as “green” without having to provide any shred of evidence to support it. They targeted consumers they knew would purchase a product simply because it was labeled “eco” or “green.” To help consumers, Green Seal was created as a way to indicate to consumers that products met actual environmental standards.

Growing awareness about greenwashing is also part of the evolution of green cleaning. Today, many consumers are aware of deceptive marketing practices when it comes to environmentally-friendly cleaning products. That’s why a company’s image and brand play such a significant role in today’s marketplace.

Green Cleaning Value

When the USGBC included green cleaning in their LEED accreditation system, environmentally-friendly cleaning services became more popular. The products, services and entire footprint of the practice of cleaning have come a long way. What used to be cumbersome and expensive products have now developed into effective and beneficial business practices.

In fact, the evolution of green cleaning today has reached the point where environmentally-friendly cleaning services and products today are seen as “cost neutral,” meaning that the facility gets back from it what it has invested into it due to its abundant benefits. Additionally, the argument for green cleaning, while still important for the environment, is actually more focused around protecting human health, which bolsters other business and economic benefits as well.

Types of Green Cleaning Products and Services

Green cleaning products have certainly evolved since the earlier days of this practice. Some of today’s green cleaning products and services include:

  • Chemical-free cleaning agents
  • Non-VOC products
  • Fume-free and scent-free products
  • Non-pollutant and non-allergen vacuums, dusters, microfiber cloths and other cleaning tools and equipment
  • Recyclable or recycled packaging for cleaning products and equipment
  • Safe and environmentally conscious waste management, reduction and disposal practices

Organizations Using Green Cleaning Products and Services

There are many factors to consider when it comes to green cleaning practices. This is why today there is a demand for environmentally-friendly cleaning services that specialize in green cleaning practices. These professionals are experts in green cleaning, including the most effective green cleaning products and equipment as well as lowering footprints as a result of cleaning.

Here are some of the types of organizations and facilities that use and benefit from green cleaning services:

  • Office buildings
  • Condo and apartment buildings
  • Hotels and restaurants
  • Stadiums, arenas and other entertainment venues
  • Factories and warehouses
  • Schools and universities
  • Hospitals and clinics
  • Airports
  • Retail stores and shopping malls

Green cleaning services offer large-scale solutions that take into consideration the customer’s triple bottom line approach to operations. Triple bottom line is an accounting method that businesses use today to assess how their operations impact their people, the planet and their profits.

The Benefits of Green Cleaning

Organizations are choosing to partner with environmentally-friendly cleaning services because they are looking to operate from this triple bottom line approach. Green cleaning can deliver benefits to the building’s staff and occupants as well as the environment while proving to be cost effective in the process.

Here are the most important health, environmental and economic benefits of green cleaning for facilities:

  1. Protects Occupant Health: Today, green cleaning is widely recognized as a good practice for human health. There has been ample research done on the effects of sick buildings, including the types of chemical products that are used to clean them. Today, individuals and companies alike want to act more intentionally when it comes to prioritizing occupant and worker health. Green cleaning products and practices eliminate health risks that traditional cleaning products don’t.
  1. Meets Environmental and Health Goals: Buildings that are LEED certified or attaining LEED standards can support these goals by using green cleaning services. This helps the company reach its vision of being more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. This goes for existing buildings, too, which can use LEED and other similar standards as a guideline to improve their environmental and health impacts.
  1. Reduces Environmental Footprint: Green cleaning companies offer their services in a way that reduces their environmental footprint from start to finish. This includes items like waxing floors and disinfecting surfaces using green products to changing lightbulbs for energy efficient kinds. Additionally, green cleaning products such as cleaners, microfiber cloths and wipes as well as other equipment last longer than traditional cleaning products, which reduces waste because the products don’t need to be repurchased as frequently.
  1. Improves Air and Water Quality: Using environmentally-friendly cleaning products ensures that the fumes from harsh chemical cleaners aren’t being trapped inside the building and contributing to toxic and harmful indoor air. Additionally, water quality can also be protected when green cleaning agents are used because it doesn’t send toxins down the drains and into waterways.
  1. Prioritizes Waste Management and Reduction: Green cleaning services consider how the waste associated with cleaning will damage the environment. Green cleaners reduce consumption waste such as trash bags and janitorial paper products to consume less and ultimately save on natural resources required to produce these products. When you consider how often facilities are cleaned, this can add up in just a few months to a significant reduction in waste.
  1. Increases Cost-Effectiveness: Because green cleaning produces less waste and uses longer-lasting products, environmentally-friendly cleaning services can save on their overall operating costs. These cost-savings are then passed along to the customer, whether it’s a private corporate building or a public school that’s being cleaned.
  1. Improves Employee and Worker Productivity: Green cleaning can increase workplace satisfaction, worker and occupant well-being and even increase productivity while lowering absenteeism. First, green cleaning can adequately disinfect the building, which stops the spread of viruses and subsequent illnesses among workers. It also eliminates exposure to toxic chemicals, which can cause eye, respiratory and other health problems that prevent workers from being productive and even causes them miss work. Good air quality can also improve energy levels and focus, while poor air quality can make workers feel sluggish and distracted. This overall feeling of better focus and energy in the workplace helps employees feel a stronger sense of well-being. In fact, a World Green Building Council report from 2014 concluded that improved indoor air quality by reducing exposure to pollutants and increased ventilation raises productivity by 8%-11%.
  1. Strengthens Brand and Corporate Image: Because employees and consumers today have access to more information about companies, they are much savvier. This means companies that set high standards for health and environmental protection can improve their corporate and brand image among customers and employees.

Having a positive brand image builds customer loyalty and helps to retain employees, both of which are important for businesses in competitive markets. Companies that shift their building management practices toward healthy and environmentally-friendly ones can demonstrate to customers and employees that they take these issues seriously.

Future of Green Cleaning

In 2006, New York became the first state to require the use of green cleaning products and practices in all private and public schools. Over time, this will eventually become the standard in all facilities, public or private. When you consider the important benefits of green cleaning inside facilities, it’s easy to see why organizations like the USGBC have included green cleaning as one of their environmental and health standards.

If your facility is in need of environmentally-friendly cleaning services, Wiz Team, Inc. to improve the health, environmental impact and performance of your building.

 

How to Disinfect your Carpeting!

Research conducted by Philip Tierno Jr., Ph.D, a microbiologist and immunologist at New York University Langone Medical Center, who wrote a book titled, The Secret Life of Germs. Exposes what really resides deep within your carpet fibers.

Your home’s carpet may be harboring harmful bacteria, germs and allergens without you even realizing it. Here are four simple steps to help keep the carpet in your home clean:

  1. Place doormats at every entrance of your home and instill a strict “no shoes” policy indoors. Shoes worn outside can track in residue from asphalt, pet droppings and dirt. Wiping the bottom of shoes with a disinfectant occasionally can also help reduce contamination.
  2. Vacuum carpets and area rugs several times a week, and if you have an infant or toddlers, daily vacuuming is recommended. The vacuum can remove surface debris easily.
  3. You can naturally disinfect your carpet using products you may already have at home, according to Green America. They published 10 Simple Ways to Clean Greenand shared a recipe including baking soda, Borax and cornmeal. (We strongly recommend checking with a certified carpet cleaning professional when performing any DIY attempts – you don’t want to damage your carpeting).
  4. Hire a professional service such as Wiz Team, Inc. to provide a deep, steam cleaning at least once per year and more often if you have pets, parties or little ones. Having your carpet professionally cleaned not only prevents the spread and growth of microbes and germs hiding in your carpet, but it also furthers the lifetime of the carpet itself. Maintaining your carpeting properly allows for Wiz Team, Inc. to flush our all inorganic materials which often get buried deep in carpet fibers. These materials have a persistent habit of grinding and microscopically damaging your carpeting with every step. Over time this results in dull areas, shadows, and even bar spots. Prevent irreversible damages and have your carpet assessed by an IICRC certified carpet cleaning professional.

If the idea of hidden stuff in your carpet is making you think about a deep cleaning in the near future, you can use Wiz Team, Inc. to tackle the task of providing you with a 12 Step carpet cleaning program, leaving your home and carpets cleaned and healthier. You may realize there are other places in your home that are commonly missed during routine weekly cleans – consult with our friendly office staff about areas of the home that you feel you might need some professional help with. Consider that all soft goods (textiles, fabrics, and porous materials) can harbor germ growth and bacteria development.

Need professional assistance? We are here to serve you! Contact your nearby Wiz Team, Inc office and schedule your free In-Home consultation today! Reach us at 847-526-6060.

 

Should You Wear Gloves to the Grocery Store? Why Dr’s Say It’s Not a Good Idea…

If just the thought of going grocery store is giving you anxiety now days, you’re not alone. As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb-there are currently 800,932 reported confirmed cases in the US, most of us are taking precautionary measures to avoid contracting the virus. Recently, the CDC and Prevention has modified its recommendations to include wearing face coverings when you’re out and about and as more people start covering their faces, many of us can’t help but wonder if we should cover our hands with gloves as well.

For the general public, that answer is no. In fact, there are only two times the CDC suggests the use of gloves in regards to the Coronavirus: 1.) If you’re cleaning and disinfecting your home, and 2.) If you’re a healthcare worker treating someone who is a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patient. Gloves have not been advised as a precautionary measure against COVID-19 for the average public and that’s largely because of how the disease is (and isn’t) transmitted.

Why gloves cannot protect against coronavirus for the general public?

First, it’s important to understand how coronavirus can travel from person to person. The novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 disease, is a respiratory virus carried on droplets, which means it needs to enter the respiratory tract to cause disease. Its primary way is that it enters the respiratory tract is when people inhale infected droplets. They think that a small portion of infections happen when people touch surfaces where the virus lives and then touch their face.

Basically, what they are saying is that you can’t contract COVID-19 through touch alone, it does not get absorbed through our skin and in order to acquire coronavirus through touch, we have to touch something contaminated and then touch our face. That’s what essentially renders gloves useless. It seems gloves might create a barrier between our hands and infected surfaces; they do not prevent COVID-19 infection because we can still touch our face with our gloved hands. Gloves are a physical barrier between our hands and the shopping cart or the card machine at the register, but they can harbor germs themselves; and we can also contaminate our bare hands when we put them on and/or take off.  Because of that gloves are no more protective than social distancing, washing hands, and not touching our face. It’s also important to remember that gloves don’t prevent any potential contaminants from traveling home with you on items that we pick up at the store, so cleaning food item packages and containers properly would be more beneficial.

Why are gloves necessary for healthcare workers, but not the general public?

Just remember that healthcare workers and other hospital employees come into contact with greater amounts of the virus and in a medical environment, gloves provide a physical barrier between a patient and physician. They are a layer of protection since they are deliberately touching and examining us as patients.

They put gloves on when entering a patient’s room and remove the gloves before leaving the room, and then wash our hands. Usually healthcare workers wear gloves to examine patients all the time, with or without COVID concerns in order to protect both the patient and the doctor. They don’t want to pass on any germs from their hands, fingernails, etc. to patient’s body, especially if they are touching inside patient’s mouth, nose, eyes or elsewhere. At the same time they don’t want to be exposed to patients germs from a potentially infectious any body fluids, skin rash, lacerations or nose bleeds.

I am sure that in hospitals, healthcare workers must complete training on how to put on and take off PPE equipment and wash their hands in between each step, something most of non-medical workers don’t understand.  According to nurses and doctors gloves are not a free ticket to touching our face.

How to wear and use gloves properly if you still want to wear them:

Wearing a pair of gloves may make you feel safer and possibly remind you not to touch your face, and then there is no real harm to yourself in doing so. Just remember gloves are only keeping our hands clean, which means, even while wearing them, we still can’t touch your face, and when it comes time to take the gloves off, we need to remove them properly. Wearing gloves also doesn’t give us a free pass to stop washing our hands – after removing gloves; we still need to wash our hands with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds.

If you do decide to wear gloves to the store, there are some very specific steps you need to take in removing those gloves, according to the CDC’s website: https://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/pdf/poster-how-to-remove-gloves.pdf

With both hands still gloved, grab or pinch the outside of the glove near one wrist, without touching your bare skin.

Peel the glove away from your body, turning it inside out as you remove it. Hold the removed glove with the still-gloved hand.

Slip your now-bare hand under the wrist cuff on the gloved hand.

Peel the glove away from your body, turning it inside out as you remove it once again. You will end up with both gloves inside-out, one wrapped inside the other. Dispose of the gloves safely—do not reuse them. Wash your hands with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds.

Bear in mind however, wearing gloves should not replace any other precautions you have been taking. That includes proper social distancing and wearing a mask when necessary, per the CDC.

The information in this story is accurate as of publishing time. As the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, it’s possible that some data may change since publication. While Wiz Team, Inc. is cleaning for health and is trying to keep our blogs/stories as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage you to stay informed on news and recommendations for their own communities by using the CDC, and local public health department as resources.

If you have any questions, need an advice or like to schedule any of our services, please give us a call at (847) 526-6060.

 

Cleaning and Disinfection for Households

Interim Recommendations for U.S. Households with Suspected or Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Summary of Recent Changes

Revisions were made on 3/26/2020 to reflect the following:

  • Updated links to EPA-registered disinfectant list
  • Added guidance for disinfection of electronics
  • Updated core disinfection/cleaning guidance

Background

There is much to learn about the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Based on what is currently known about the virus, and about similar coronaviruses that cause SARS and MERS, spread from person-to-person happens most frequently among close contacts (within about 6 feet). This type of transmission occurs via respiratory droplets, but disease transmission via infectious aerosols is currently uncertain. Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to persons from surfaces contaminated with the virus has not been documented. Transmission of coronavirus occurs much more commonly through respiratory droplets than through fomites. Current evidence suggests that SARS-CoV-2 may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials. Cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure for prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in households and community settings.

It is unknown how long the air inside a room occupied by someone with confirmed COVID-19 remains potentially infectious. Facilities will need to consider factors such as the size of the room and the ventilation system design (including flowrate [air changes per hour] and location of supply and exhaust vents) when deciding how long to close off rooms or areas used by ill persons before beginning disinfection.  Taking measures to improve ventilation in an area or room where someone was ill or suspected to be ill with COVID-19 will help shorten the time it takes respiratory droplets to be removed from the air.

Purpose

This guidance provides recommendations on the cleaning and disinfection of households where persons under investigation (PUI) or those with confirmed COVID-19 reside or may be in self- isolation. It is aimed at limiting the survival of the virus in the environments. These recommendations will be updated if additional information becomes available.

These guidelines are focused on household settings and are meant for the general public.

  • Cleaningrefers to the removal of germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces. It does not kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.
  • Disinfectingrefers to using chemicals, for example, EPA-registered disinfectants, to kill germs on surfaces. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.

General Recommendations for Routine Cleaning and Disinfection of Households

  • Community members can practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks, and electronics (see below for special electronics cleaning and disinfection instructions)) with household cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectantsexternal iconthat are appropriate for the surface, following label instructions. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.
    • For electronics follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products. Consider use of wipeable covers for electronics. If no manufacturer guidance is available, consider the use of alcohol-based wipes or spray containing at least 70% alcohol to disinfect touch screens. Dry surfaces thoroughly to avoid pooling of liquids.

General Recommendations for Cleaning and Disinfection of Households with People Isolated in Home Care (e.g. Suspected/Confirmed to have COVID-19)

  • Household members should educate themselves about COVID-19 symptoms and preventing the spread of COVID-19 in homes.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily in household common areas (e.g. tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, phones, tablets, touch screens, remote controls, keyboards, handles, desks, toilets, sinks)
    • In the bedroom/bathroom dedicated for an ill person: consider reducing cleaning frequency to as-needed(e.g., soiled items and surfaces) to avoid unnecessary contact with the ill person.
  • As much as possible, an ill person should stay in a specific room and away from other people in their home, following home care guidance.
  • The caregiver can provide personal cleaning supplies for an ill person’s room and bathroom, unless the room is occupied by child or another person for whom such supplies would not be appropriate. These supplies include tissues, paper towels, cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectants (see examplesexternal icon).
  • If a separate bathroom is not available, the bathroom should be cleaned and disinfected after each use by an ill person. If this is not possible, the caregiver should wait as long as practical after use by an ill person to clean and disinfect the high-touch surfaces.
  • Household members should follow home care guidancewhen interacting with persons with suspected/confirmed COVID-19 and their isolation rooms/bathrooms.

How to clean and disinfect:

Hard (Non-porous) Surfaces

  • Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Gloves should be discarded after each cleaning. If reusable gloves are used, those gloves should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for other purposes. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and disinfection products used. Clean handsimmediately after gloves are removed.
  • If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • For disinfection, most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.
    • A list of products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 is available herepdf iconexternal icon. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products for (concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).
    • Additionally, diluted household bleach solutions (at least 1000ppm sodium hypochlorite) can be used if appropriate for the surface. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application, ensuring a contact time of at least 1 minute, and allowing proper ventilation during and after application. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.
  • Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
    • 5 tablespoons (1/3rdcup) bleach per gallon of water or
    • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water

Soft (Porous) Surfaces

  • For soft (porous) surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes, remove visible contamination if present and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces. After cleaning:

Electronics

  • For electronics such as cell phones, tablets, touch screens, remote controls, and keyboards, remove visible contamination if present.
    • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products.
    • Consider use of wipeable covers for electronics.
    • If no manufacturer guidance is available, consider the use of alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol to disinfect touch screens. Dry surfaces thoroughly to avoid pooling of liquids.

Linens, clothing, and other items that go in the laundry

  • Wear disposable gloves when handling dirty laundry from an ill person and then discard after each use. If using reusable gloves, those gloves should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for other household purposes. Clean handsimmediately after gloves are removed.
    • If no gloves are used when handling dirty laundry, be sure to wash hands afterwards.
    • If possible, do not shake dirty laundry. This will minimize the possibility of dispersing virus through the air.
    • Launder items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely. Dirty laundry from an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.
    • Clean and disinfect clothes hampers according to guidance above for surfaces. If possible, consider placing a bag liner that is either disposable (can be thrown away) or can be laundered.

Hand hygiene and other preventive measures

  • Household members should clean handsoften, including immediately after removing gloves and after contact with an ill person, by washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available and hands are not visibly dirty, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol may be used. However, if hands are visibly dirty, always wash hands with soap and water.
  • Household members should follow normal preventive actions while at work and home including recommended hand hygieneand avoiding touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Additional key times to clean hands include:
      • After blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing
      • After using the restroom
      • Before eating or preparing food
      • After contact with animals or pets
      • Before and after providing routine care for another person who needs assistance (e.g. a child)

Other considerations

  • The ill person should eat/be fed in their room if possible. Non-disposable food service items used should be handled with gloves and washed with hot water or in a dishwasher. Clean handsafter handling used food service items.
  • If possible, dedicate a lined trash can for the ill person. Use gloves when removing garbage bags, handling, and disposing of trash. Wash handsafter handling or disposing of trash.
  • Consider consulting with your local health department about trash disposal guidance if available.

Additional Resources

Source Credit: CDC.GOV

COVID-19 CDC & American Red Cross Guidelines

 

Use Healthy Practices to Protect Yourself

The best way to stay healthy is to follow these steps from the CDC:

 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and throw the tissue away after use. If a tissue isn’t available, cough or sneeze into your elbow or sleeve, not your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, computers, phones, keyboards, sinks, toilets, faucets and countertops.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them – use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. Find full information on how to disinfect here.
  • Wear a facemask if you are sick. You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.

Coronavirus Safety:    

Follow these 3 easy steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

  • Sneeze or cough?  Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or use your elbow!
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces around your home and work frequently.

Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19:

Community practices such as social distancing, closures and canceling large gatherings can help slow the spread of this virus.

Here’s how you can help:

  • Listen to and follow the directions of your state and local authorities.
  • Stay home if you can and avoid any non-essential travel.
  • Avoid social gatherings of more than ten people.
  • Practice social distancing by keeping at least six feet away from others if you must go out in public.
  • Avoid eating or drinking in bars, restaurants, and food courts. Use drive-thru, pickup or delivery options.
  • Avoid visiting nursing homes, retirement or long-term care facilities.

Precautions for Those at Higher Risk:

According to the CDC, early information shows that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. This includes older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease.

If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of your age or a serious long-term health problem, it is extra important for you to take actions to avoid getting sick.

  • Stay home and avoid crowds as much as possible. Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others.
  • When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often.
  • Talk with your doctor about any additional steps you may be able to take to protect yourself.
  • Stock up on supplies:
    • Contact your healthcare provider to ask about obtaining extra necessary medications to have on hand in case there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community and you need to stay home for a prolonged period of time. If you cannot get extra medications, consider using a mail-order option.
    • Be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (tissues, etc.) to treat fever and other symptoms. Most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home.
    • Have enough household items and groceries on hand so that you will be prepared to stay at home for a period of time.

Source Credit: AmericanRedCross.com

Wiz Team is Here For You!

As residents of the Chicagoland area, we are all experiencing a time of significant anxiety and stress. At Wiz Team, Inc., we are impacted too, and we truly want to help.

Learn what the CDC recommends for cleaning your home and carpet.

Carpet Cleaning COVID-19 FAQs

How can carpet cleaning help my family have a healthier environment?

Cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces is the first step the CDC recommends for the prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in households. Providing a cleaner, safer and healthier living environment has always been one biggest benefit Wiz Team provides for their customers.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/home/cleaning-disinfection.html

Can carpet cleaning bring COVID-19 into my home?

The CDC tells us COVID-19 spreads from person-to-person. Transmission of novel coronavirus to persons from surfaces contaminated with the virus has not been documented.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/home/cleaning-disinfection.html

What does Wiz Team recommend I do to keep my home safe?

We advise you follow the counsel of the CDC. “Practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks) with household cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectants that are appropriate for the surface, following label instructions.”

Also – specifically for carpet the CDC recommends. “For soft (porous) surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes, remove visible contamination if present and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces. After cleaning – use products with the EPA-approved emerging viral pathogen claims that are suitable for porous surfaces.”

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/home/cleaning-disinfection.html

Can Wiz Team disinfect my house?

Wiz Team will help with the first step the CDC recommends – cleaning. The CDC states “Cleaning refers to the removal of germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces. Cleaning does not kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.”

Cleaning will prepare for you to follow the second step the CDC recommends – disinfecting. They advise “Disinfecting refers to using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.

Should I cancel my appointment until after COVID-19 goes away?

Cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces is the first step the CDC recommends for the prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in households. Providing a cleaner, safer and healthier living environment has always been one biggest benefit Wiz Team provides for their customers.

The CDC tells us that COVID-19 spreads from person-to-person. Transmission of novel coronavirus to persons from surfaces contaminated with the virus has not been documented.

Does the CDC give advice about cleaning carpet?

The CDC specifically recommends the following process for cleaning carpets. For soft (porous) surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes, remove visible contamination if present and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces. After cleaning – use products with the EPA-approved emerging viral pathogen claims that are suitable for porous surfaces. Wiz Team is the industry leader in removing contaminants from carpet.

Looking to take precautionary measures for disinfecting work environment? Call us today (847) 526-6060 – we are certified company using EPA approved disinfectants.

We take pride in knowing that we are contributing to the well-being of the local community to help reduce further risk and potential exposure.

CLEANING UP AFTER THE HOLIDAYS

 

The holidays can do a number on your home! Between house guests, holiday feasts, and kids on school breaks, your house probably need some TLC. Try these tips to clean up and start New Year off on a sparkling clean foot.

Clean Up After House Guests

Give your house’s surfaces a deep clean. Wash all your linens. Vacuum carpets, floors, and baseboards to give yourself a fresh start. Clean out your refrigerator – eat the last of those yummy leftovers and then clean and store your leftover containers.

Clean up Christmas Tree Sap

Rubbing alcohol can remove sap from washable clothing, knit gloves, and rugs, because it acts as a solvent. For clothes, even a down coat, saturate the area with alcohol, let sit for a minute, then launder in warm water with regular detergent. Heat sets stains, so be sure all the sap is gone before using the dryer. Repeat the process if any remains. For sap on a wool coat or leather gloves, the dry cleaner is your best bet. For a rug, spot-test first, then apply alcohol with a cloth; blot with clean parts of the cloth until the sap is gone. Check for recycling services in your community so your tree can be a gift back to Mother Nature that keeps on giving for many years.

Clean and Store Holiday Decorations

How many of us have opened up a box of holiday decorations in November only to find a tangled mess of half-broken lights? Set yourself up for success next year by carefully cleaning and storing your decorations. As you take your decorations down, clean them and store them in closed bins, boxes or plastic bags that are clearly marked. While specialized storage containers may seem like an extravagance, they are designed to keep treasured decorations safe from dust, mold and breakage. If possible, group the decorations in categories like “dining room,” “mantel,” “front door,” etc. That way, you can avoid the decorating frenzy by tackling your home one area at a time.

Prepare For The Rest Of Winter

The holidays may be over but winter probably isn’t! If you live in a cold climate, make sure your home is ready for a few more months of snow and mud. Keep a boot tray near the door for rain or snow soaked footwear. Put mats and throw rugs at all entryways. This will help prevent dirt from being tracked into your home. Before you know it, it’ll be time for spring cleaning!

 

For your harder to handle messes and possible post holiday disasters – please give our office a jingle and we will happily set up a free in-home consultation to help you tackle the stains and dirt left behind by the guests this holiday season!

 

Warm Wishes from Wiz Team, Inc – Seasons Greetings !

Top 7 reasons it’s important to have regular upholstery cleaning

 

You read your favorite book on it, take naps after a long day’s work on it, have the kids’ friends over for a sleepover on it, and gather around it to watch that one show everyone in the family likes. What are we talking about? Your furniture, and your furniture upholstery, to be more precise. Because you do so much life on and around your furniture, regular upholstery cleaning is just as important as regular carpet cleaning. That’s right: your couches, chairs, sectionals, ottomans, and anything else with fabric needs to be deep cleaned just like your carpets.

 

Here are the top 7 reasons it’s important to have regular upholstery cleaning:

 

  1. Air Quality

Every time you sit, lie, plop, or move around on your upholstered furniture, you’re unknowingly releasing dust, dirt, grime, mold spores, dead skin, and bacteria into the air of your home. Of course, having your upholstery full of dust, allergens, mold, mildew, or old stains can negatively affect the quality of the air in your home.

While good air filters and household plants help filter out those allergens, removing them completely from the upholstery means they aren’t there to be picked up by the filter, to begin with. And, complete removal of allergens and dust is always ideal for a clean home with clean air.

 

  1. Health

Did you know that the allergens, dust mites, fleas, mold, and bacteria can get into the fibers of your upholstery, and left too long, they all could cause a wide range of allergies and illness? Also, if you have anyone with sensitivities to dust or mold, this will only impact them more. Keeping up on regular upholstery cleaning drastically reduces the presence of these irritants, and in turn, helps to keep your home and family healthy.

 

  1. Odors

The family couch or sectional is where a lot of life happens. You’ve engaged in countless movie nights, eaten dozens of TV dinners, fought off illnesses, and watched hundreds of TV shows and cartoons. If you have a baby or toddler, the couch has been a changing table and feeding station. For most families, the living room furniture becomes the favorite spot for homework or running an at-home business, and you can bet it is your pet’s favorite spot to wait for you to come home.

Clearly, a lot happens on your furniture, and sometimes it’s all too obvious because of the odor. Plus, cooking odors from the kitchen have a way of staying on your upholstery, which also contributes to an unpleasant smell. Upholstery cleaning helps remove those odors by removing the source.

 

  1. A Longer Life for Your Furniture

Your furniture is an investment, and oftentimes an expensive one. Whether it’s just regular wear and tear, or spilled milk, body oil and grease, cleaning your furniture regularly can extend the life of your investment.

 

  1. Appearance

You know those stains couches collect that you’ve tried covering up with a blanket or pillow, and when company comes over you feel embarrassed? Of course, we all do!

Whether they’re from kids and animals, or just being old and experiencing normal wear and tear, we use our furniture on a daily basis. And no matter how clean your house and carpets might be, if the upholstery on your furniture looks dirty and grimy, the rest of the house isn’t going to feel clean.

The easy solution is to have your carpet cleaning professional add-in upholstery cleaning while also cleaning your carpets.

 

  1. Your House Experienced Water or Smoke Damage

Accidents happen and are sometimes out of our control. A roof leak or a minor stove fire can cause water or smoke damage. Part of that damage is done to the upholstery of your furniture. While you might be inclined to just throw out the furniture and start over, you would be surprised what a good upholstery cleaning can do.

Our technicians are IICRC certified and ready to help you clean up the water/smoke damage your home and furniture experienced.

 

  1. Durability

You know that faded, thinning look your furniture upholstery can get? That’s caused by dust and dirt, which act like bits of sandpaper rubbing on the fabric. Regular upholstery cleaning removes this dust and improves the durability of the upholstery, making sure your furniture lasts a long time.

 

Avoid DIY Upholstery Cleaning

Tip: While many people are tempted to clean their own upholstery, we encourage you not to. One of the reasons professional carpet and upholstery cleaning is so effective is because we know what issues can arise and we work to prevent those issues from damaging your furniture and rugs. Also, we are able to fully extract moisture from your furnishings. Leftover water and moisture can be a significant problem causing:

  • Mold
  • Mildew
  • Further staining

 

Many of the cleaning machines you can buy from a store do not have the power that truck-mounted water extraction equipment has. Because of this, even though you might feel like you’ve gotten all the moisture out of the upholstery, there still could be more hiding that hasn’t yet come to the surface.

 

You Can Trust Wiz Team To Handle Your Upholstery with Care

One of the first things we do when we come to clean upholstery is to check the upholstery condition to guard against any problems. These include:

  • Cushion shrinkage
  • Texture damage
  • Color fading
  • Dye bleeding

 

At Wiz Team, Inc. Cleaning & Restoration, we use the hot water extraction method to carefully clean your upholstery, helping it look like new and last longer (where applicable). Some finer textiles are manufactured as dry cleaning only, which we are more than able to handle.  As always, we do recommend that after each cleaning, we apply Kleenguard Protective Finish to help protect against any future spills or stains. Contact us today to schedule your cleaning.

 

 

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