Category: Tile and Grout Cleaning

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.

 

Carpets, Upholstery, and the New Strain of Coronavirus

 

At Wiz Team, Inc. we’re doing our part and including a hospital-grade disinfectant with all cleanings at NO CHARGE to our clients!

Most people in Chicagoland know by now, with all the media attention given to a new strain of coronavirus, that coronavirus and similar viruses are distributed through coughing, sneezing, talking, and physical contact. Our clients want to know whether they should be concerned about coronavirus on carpets and upholstery. It’s not as if you can douse your furniture and carpets with hand sanitizer or disinfectants like countertops, doorknobs, and other hard surfaces. This article offers some answers, as well as some valuable information on how to sanitize your home against any cold or flu virus.

How long can Coronavirus survive on Carpet and Upholstery?

The infectious lifespan of viruses, in general, depends on temperature, humidity, and the porosity of the surface where the virus is found. We have flu “season,” because cold, dry environments allow viruses to remain infectious longer.

In a 2011 study called Survival of Influenza A(H1N1) on Materials Found in Households: Implications for Infection Control by Dr. Jane Greatorex at Public Health England, findings showed the virus remained infectious about twice as long on non-porous surfaces, such as plastic and metal, as porous surfaces, like clothing, wood, and the like. Your carpet and upholstery are porous, which means it is less hospitable to viruses than non-porous surfaces. However, your carpet and upholstery is still cool and dry.

According to a study recently published in The Journal of Hospital Infections entitled Persistence of coronaviruses on inanimate surfaces and their inactivation with biocidal agents, the new strain of coronavirus, like similar viruses, such as SARS and MERS, can survive for anywhere from 2 hours to 9 days on a surface. Although there are proven methods for preventing the spread of known coronaviruses, these methods have never been tested against this specific virus. So, until more information is available, our recommendations for dealing with the new strain of coronavirus on carpet and upholstery can only be based on what coronaviruses in general, and we cannot offer any guarantees that professional carpet cleaning will eliminate the new strain of coronaviruses.

Keeping Surfaces Clean

It is always a good idea to protect your family by keeping all of your surfaces clean, especially during the flu season.

  • Wash your hands often with sanitizing liquid soap and warm water.
  • Disinfect surfaces that see a lot of hand-traffic, such as doorknobs, and light switches, as well as countertops, walls, and floors.
  • Use a HEPA filter in your vacuum so that small particles are trapped instead of being blown back into the air. Vacuum often.
  • Schedule professional cleaning services for your carpets, rugs, and upholstery and ask that a disinfectant be applied.

Why Professional Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Matters

As you step up your normal cleaning routine and sanitize your home, don’t forget about your fine surfaces, such as upholstery, carpet, and rugs. These surfaces are often overlooked. The couch is a cozy, comforting place to rest when one has a virus. A professional carpet, tile or upholstery cleaning with a hospital-grade disinfectant such as what Wiz Team, Inc. uses can help prevent the possibility of the spread of the new strain of coronavirus by removing any deposits by professional carpet, tile, mattress or upholstery cleaning.

Proper professional carpet and upholstery cleaning involves both heat and moisture, so having your carpets and upholstery cleaned and then treated can help ease your mind while addressing the Coronavirus. . If the new strain of coronavirus proves to be like those already tested in the past, professional cleaning with a hospital-grade disinfectant will decrease the chances of coronavirus surviving on your interior textiles.

Wiz Team, Inc. is a Certified by the prestigious IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification), Carpet & Rug Institute, the Wool Safe Certified, and A+ Rated by the Better Business Bureau.  Our cleaning solutions are allergen-free and safe for pets and children.

From now until the government declares the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has run its course, Wiz Team, Inc. will provide, with all services, a germicidal disinfectant that meets EPA standards with all cleanings that will help fight the Coronavirus.  Additionally, prior to our technicians entering your home, any equipment used will be disinfected.

Our services include professional carpet cleaningtile and grout cleaningupholstery cleaning and draperies cleaning,  hardwood floor cleaningair duct system cleaning and sanitizing,  as well as commercial cleaning service.

Also we are ONLY Certified Master Rug Cleaners in Illinois, so we are your trusted experts in oriental and area rugs cleaning

For more information about Wiz Team, Inc. please visit us online at www.wizclean.com and call us at anytime at (847) 526-6060 

 

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.

THE EASY GUIDE TO CLEANING GROUT

THE EASY GUIDE TO CLEANING GROUT:  DIY TILE & GROUT CLEANERS TESTED

 

Need help cleaning grout? I tested 10 popular homemade grout cleaners to figure out which DIY tile and grout cleaner works best.   The winning solution is an all-natural cleaner that brightens and whitens grout with only 2 simple ingredients. Learn the easy, healthy way to clean grout and tile today!

Our new-to-us house has a white tile entry and white tile in the kitchen. Between the kids, the dog, and my husband (who likes to walk inside in his lawn mowing shoes) it’s nearly impossible to keep the tile and grout clean.

Seriously, there always seems to be one mystery spot or blob of goo somewhere on the white tile floor.

The worst part? The brownish discolored tile grout.

The floor tile grout hadn’t been cleaned in so long that it was hard to tell what the original color was meant to be. Was it white? Was it tan? Your guess is as good as mine.

WHAT’S BEST FOR CLEANING GROUT?

I love DIY green cleaning solutions so I set out to find the best homemade grout cleaner that uses safe, all-natural ingredients.

THE GREAT GROUT CLEANER EXPERIMENT

I decided to test the 10 most popular DIY grout cleaners online to find the best homemade grout cleaner.

Methodology

I tested each cleaner on the same surface (grimy white grout and tile) and used the same process to test each cleaner:

  1. I divided the tile floor into 10 sections using painters tape and numbered the sections with post it notes. (Yes, I’m a green cleaning nerd.)
  2. I mixed a batch of one cleaner, applied it to one section of the tile and grout, gave the cleaner 10 minutes to start working, then scrubbed the grout with a clean, dry toothbrush and wiped the area clean with water and a clean white cloth.
  3. I repeated step 2 nine more times using a clean, dry toothbrush and different white cloth each time. (I’m a martyr for your green cleaning needs!)
  4. I waited overnight for the grout to dry completely and then recorded the results.

The differences between the tile and grout cleaners were mind boggling! Some of the cleaners made absolutely no difference, some worked okay, and two left the tile grout amazingly clean!

THE TESTED GROUT CLEANERS

Grout Cleaner #1

Ingredients: 3 cups water, ½ cup baking soda, 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice, 1/4 cup white vinegar

Directions: Mix ingredients in a spray bottle. Spray floor, let sit for a few minutes, scrub.

Grout Cleaner #2

Ingredients: 1 cup Epsom salts, 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup liquid hand washing dish soap

Directions: Mix together the Epsom salts, baking soda, and dish soap. Scoop mixture onto grout and rub clean. Rinse.

Grout Cleaner #3 (Winner!)

Ingredients: 1/2 cup of baking soda, 1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide, 1 tsp dish soap

Directions: Mix together the baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and dish soap. Spoon mixture onto grout, wait 5-10 minutes, scrub and rinse.

Grout Cleaner #4 (Winner!)

Ingredients: 1 cup baking soda, 1 cup hydrogen peroxide

Directions: Sprinkle baking soda onto grout until it is covered, spray with hydrogen peroxide until it is wet, wait 10 minutes, scrub, and wipe clean.

Grout Cleaner #5

Ingredients: 3/4 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 3 tbsp salt, 3 tbsp hand dish washing liquid, 1/2 cup vinegar, 10 drops essential oil (I used lemon)

Directions: Mix together is large bowl or bucket (mixture foams a lot), pour into spray bottle. Spray floor, let sit for a few minutes, scrub.

Grout Cleaner #6

Ingredients: 1 gallon water, 1/4 cup washing soda, 1/4 cup white vinegar, 1 tbsp dish soap

Directions: Combine washing soda, vinegar, and dish soap in a one gallon container. Slowly pour water into container. Pour mix into spray bottle, spray floor, let sit for a few minutes, scrub.

Grout Cleaner #7

Ingredients: 1 gallon hot water, 1/4 cup vinegar, 2 tbsp Castile soap, 8-12 drops essential oil (I used lemon)

Directions: Mix ingredients in a bucket and mop floor.

Grout Cleaner #8

Ingredients: 1.5 gallons hot water, 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide, 1/2 – 3/4 cup white vinegar, 5-10 drop essential oils (I used lemon)

Directions: Pour all ingredients into the hot water. Stir to combine. Mop or spray on floor.

Grout Cleaner #9

Ingredients: 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1 tbsp hand dish washing detergent

Directions: Pour ingredients into a spray bottle and swirl to combine. Spray on floor, wait 5-10 minutes, scrub and rinse.

Grout Cleaner #10

Ingredients: 2 cups warm water, 1 tbsp baking soda, 2 tbsp Castile soap, 30 drops tea tree essential oil, 20 drops sweet orange essential oil

Directions: Pour ingredients into a spray bottle, shake to combine. Spray grout and wipe clean.

THE TILE AND GROUT CLEANER RESULTS

The Winners

The best grout cleaner was the most simple: hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. Grout Cleaner # 3 and Grout Cleaner #4 both use this combo and had equally great results.

Why this combo works:

  • Baking sodais mildly abrasive so it helps to remove the dirt that is stuck in the porous grout surfaces without causing any damage.
  • Hydrogen peroxideis a natural alternative to bleach that brightens and eliminates germs. Plus it is non-toxic and decomposes into water and oxygen.
  • Dish washing detergent (used in Grout Cleaner #3) cuts through the greasy grime that gets tracked onto tile floors.

I love using the cleaning combo of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide! It’s in my DIY  Natural All-Purpose Cleaner that works great for all types of household cleaning and is perfect for laundry stain removal.

The Losers

The most disappointing homemade grout cleaners were the ones that mix reactive ingredients such as Castile soap and vinegar or vinegar and baking soda.

  • These combos create reactions that cancel out the cleaning power of both ingredients and leave your grout and tile dirtier.

I was also let down by cleaners that used expensive ingredients (such as 50 drops of essential oil) or took a lot of time to make (such as measuring and mixing 6 ingredients) and didn’t do much cleaning.

I’d rather stick with low cost ingredients that are easy to mix into a cleaner!

HOW TO CLEAN GROUT

 Getting ready to clean? These grout cleaning tips will help you get the best results:

 

  • Give the grout cleaner some dwell time.You’ll get the best results if you allow your favorite cleaner some time to work (also called dwell time) before you start scrubbing. When cleaning tile grout, let the cleaner sit on the surface for 5-10 minutes then scrub out the dirt.

 

  • Use a small, firm brush to scrub grout lines.Grout is porous meaning it has minute spaces or holes that liquid can pass through. These tiny spaces are great traps for dirt and grime. Scrubbing grout with small firm brush will loosen this dirt making it easier to mop or wipe up. (I use a cheap toothbrush to scrub my grout.)

 

  • Scrub first then mop.After scrubbing the grout clean give the entire tile floor a final once over with a mop (or damp cloth). Use warm water with a few drops of dish detergent or a gentle floor cleaner. This final swipe will rinse off any remaining grout cleaner and leave the entire floor shiny.

 

Red Brick TileGROUT CLEANING FAQ

I get lots of emails from readers with grout cleaning questions. Here are some of the most common questions about cleaning grout:

What is grout?

Grout is the porous material that builders use to fill the spaces or cracks between tiles. It creates a smooth solid floor, wall, or backsplash and makes tile pop. The most common type of grout is cement grout. It is made from a mix that includes water, cement and (sometimes) sand.

How do you clean grout between floor tiles?

Apply grout cleaner, allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes, then get a small brush and scrub. An old toothbrush works great.

Is bleach bad for tile grout?

I do not clean with chlorine bleach because it is toxic and pollutes indoor air. You should not use bleach when cleaning grout and tile because:

  • Bleach is a base with a pH of around 12 meaning it is a highly alkaline substance that is caustic (can cause severe burns or injuries). Because of its high pH bleach can be corrosive and slowly destroy the materials it touches including grout and tile finishes.
  • Grout is porous so it absorbs the bleach and wicks it down to your subflooring and/or over to you baseboards (or carpet) where it can do even more damage and cannot be rinsed away. Yikes!

 

Is vinegar bad for tile grout?

Vinegar is an acid with a pH of around 2 (vinegar contains acetic acid). A popular cleaning vinegar manufacturer recommends never cleaning grout with vinegar because it can corrode the surface.

There are a lot of online cleaning tips that recommend mixing baking soda and vinegar to clean grout. This fun bubbling reaction is actually the baking soda neutralizing the acetic acid in the vinegar. The resulting mix cleans about as well as plain water.

How do you clean grout naturally?

Mix a thin paste of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, apply it to the grout, wait 10 minutes then scrub with a toothbrush, wiped clean with a damp cloth.

  • Baking soda is mildly abrasiveso it helps remove the dirt that is stuck in the porous grout surfaces without causing any damage.
  • Hydrogen peroxide is a natural alternative to bleach that brightens and eliminates germs. Plus it is non-toxic and decomposes into water and oxygen.

How do you whiten tile grout naturally?

Let the cleaner “soak” into the grout for a few extra minutes (15-20 minutes). Giving the cleaner  more “dwell time” allows it to brighten and whiten the grout.

What’s the best homemade grout and tile cleaner?

Mix together 1/2 cup of baking soda, 1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide, and 1 tsp dish soap. Apply cleaning mixture onto grout, wait 5-10 minutes, scrub and rinse.

 

If you require professional assistance in getting your tile and grout to look beautiful and vibrant again – contact Wiz Team, Inc. at 847-526-6060 to set up your free in-home consultation today!

Grout: Sealers 101

 

Let’s face it, grout can be tough to clean. The problem is, grout maintenance takes time and effort. And many homeowners don’t know how to properly care for grout around kitchen, bathroom, and living room tiles, leading to problems down the road. Sealing grout is the most important thing you can do to keep it sanitary and avoid having it erode. With proper grout maintenance, care and cleaning is easier and grout will last for years to come.

After you’ve cleaned the grout with the method that works best for your home, you’ll need to reseal it. (Note: epoxy grouts don’t need to be sealed.) Choosing the right sealant depends on the job. For instance, surface sealants or coatings are not sufficient sealers in a bathroom. They need silicone, not water-based products. Your selection depends on several factors, such as the type of the grout, location, your intention, applying method, and budget.

 

Why Seal Grout?

Regular cleaning for good grout maintenance isn’t usually enough to prevent buildup of mold and bacteria. Because grout is porous, it traps dirt and is a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and fungus, so sealing it is a must. Properly applying a grout sealant protects the grout and helps keep you and your family healthy. Apply grout sealant based on traffic or usage patterns. The tile floor in a living room may get a lot of traffic, but little moisture, whereas bathroom tile gets a lot of use and moisture, especially tile showers or tubs. Reseal grout once per year for these “hotspot” areas and also after you have deep cleaned your tile and grout. Low traffic or usage areas need resealing every 4-5 years to remain effective.

 

Different Types of Sealers

There are many types of sealant products and each offers different benefits depending on your objective for grout maintenance. Regardless of product type, sealants fall under one of three categories:

 

Coatings

Color Sealers

Penetrating Sealers

Coatings are a thin layer on the grout surface so no oil, water, or dirt can penetrate the grout pores. There are two coatings available: permanent and strippable.

Permanent coatings are difficult to remove. They are made of epoxies, polyurethanes, and such. Because they are so difficult to remove, this type of product is not always recommended.

 

Strippable coatings are easier to remove from the grout’s surface. These are made of styrene, acrylics, polyethylene, and other polymers. Most are water based making removal easier to do. Check the label for acrylic, high speed, metal cross link, and so on.

Color sealers will bond to your grout, filling the pores, while keeping the same look and texture of your original grout. Color sealers will also allow you to change your grout from dark to light, or even light to dark. Penetrating sealers are made to penetrate the grout surface and deposit particles that will protect the grout, preventing water and dirt from penetrating the grout. These types of sealers mostly contain silane, siloxane, silicone, or some other silicon derivative.

Depending on traffic patterns in your home, and general condition, when you keep up with grout maintenance, it can help your tiling and flooring sparkle for many years.

Beware that improperly sealed grout lines may trap dirt permanently. For professional assistance always remember, Wiz Team, Inc. offers free in-home consultations of all of our Tile & Grout cleaning and sealing services.

 

Simply call our friendly office staff at 847.526.6060 to set up your appointment today!

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 !

5 Reasons It’s More Fun to Clean in December

 

 

Whether you like to clean or not, you have to admit that there’s something magical about making your home sparkle this time of year. Maybe it’s all the wine? Or maybe it really is just more fun?

 

Keep reading for five good arguments on why it’s better to clean in December.

  1. It’ll warm you up.

Baby, it’s cold outside (and probably inside, too!). A little vacuuming, dusting, or cabinet organizing is a good way to get that blood flowing and increase your body temp.

I am notoriously always cold (I complain so much all winter that people who don’t know me think I’m from Florida … and then I tell them I’m from New Jersey!). I can never seem to warm up and will never say it’s too hot — even in August. But after any cleaning session this time of year, you can find me overheating, stripped down to a tank top and shorts with my hair piled in a messy bun on the top of my head.

Try it. If your place is tidy to your liking and you’re still cold, you can crank up the heat or light a fire. But I’m guessing it won’t come to that.

 

 

 

 

  1. You can listen to Christmas songs the entire time.

I highly recommend the “Today’s Christmas” station on Pandora. I turn that on, crank up the volume, and get to cleaning my own little winter wonderland. It’s certainly not as educational as a podcast, but I think it’s okay to zone out for a few hours. Plus, this station gets me in the mood for some serious holiday-ing.

 

 

 

 

 

    1. Your soap smells like pine trees.  Or cranberries. Or peppermint. The holiday season is a short one, so there’s a limited amount of time that it’s technically acceptable to surround yourself with these festive scents. I fully support getting as much of it as humanly possible while you can. I can clean with basil-scented soap 11 other months out of the year. For now, I’m going with something that smells like a forest of trees and freshly fallen snow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. You can do it under the twinkle of string lights.

Yes, I know you’re technically supposed to clean when it’s sunny, so you can see all the dust. (Although you’re supposed to clean windows when it’s overcast. So many rules!) But I’d rather do it at night with all my Christmas lights on to set the mood. It just makes it all feel so much more special. Like I’m a Christmas elf and I’m on a mission. Besides, that’s the setting my guests are going to see, anyway. So I may as well clean from their perspective.

 

 

 

  1.  You’re getting ready for guests.

Guests, I say! It’s not like you’re cleaning for no reason (you know, aside from having a clean home). You’re organizing because your coworkers are coming over. You’re vacuuming because your baby nephew will be scooting around on your floor. You’re scrubbing your countertops because you’re about to prepare a major feast in that kitchen. Those impending plans just make it all worth it. I know I’m going to have fun and people might even shower me with compliments when they see how clean I keep my home.

 

 

 

What do you help cleaning this time of year? Your professional cleaning and restoration specialists are here to make your holidays go right. Give us a call to set-up your free in-home consultation today at 847.526.6060.

From all of us at Wiz Team, Inc. we wish you a happy and safe holiday season!

Avoidable Holiday Home Malfunctions

 

Dear Homeowners,

There are many preparations that need to be completed in the run-up to the festive period: cards need to be mailed, gifts need to be purchased and dinners need to be planned. But amidst all the mayhem, don’t forget to prep your home too.

With all the extra guests arriving for Holiday parties, that means extra strain on your appliances… you don’t want your heating to malfunction on Christmas day and be left in the cold! Here’s our guide to preparing your home for the Holidays if you’re expecting guests.

 

Winterize Your House

If it gets cold or wet where you live, you need to prepare now before the really bad weather arrives. Avoidable holiday home malfunctions are easier to deal with if you get ahead of the ball! So let us get started. Check or change your air filters to keep your inside air fresh and your system in peak condition. If you want to avoid unnecessary filter changes or clogs, install new filters and be sure to check your system – it is time to act. Also, check window and door seals for air leakage and seal them up. Lastly, ensure the exterior is prepared by maintaining clean gutters – have salt on hand for walkways and stairs to prevent slips and falls. Remember that before winter fully sets in, it might be a good occasion to have your air duct system professionally cleaned before you are couped up all winter long in a stuffy allergy-ridden household!

Inspect Your Heating

Festive parties should be warm and cozy, so make sure your heating unit is in great working order. As well as timely air filter replacement, duct cleaning is an important step to take. To clean your ducts, contact Wiz Team, Inc. for a free in-home consultation. During our consultations we take a look at your system, ensure it is performing at its peak, as well as, assess the time, access, and cost of cleaning your system. A well-tuned, clean heating system operates much more efficiently, is better for the environment and will save you money this Holiday season. That’s more dollars for eggnog and pecan pie!

Check Your Plumbing

Though it might not be polite to mention, more guests means your bathroom gets some extra use…Avoid embarrassing situations with timely preventative maintenance and repairs. Drains should be checked to ensure they are clear – try plunging some water through. For most, minor blockages and a plumber’s snake will do the job. If you can’t seem to get the water flowing right, it may be time to call a plumber. Wiz Team, Inc. only works with the most respectable, timely, and honest plumbing companies. If you need assistance finding a dependable plumber, contact us – we are happy to provide referrals for great home services.

Prep Your Garbage Disposal

Another unit that’s going to get some extra use this Holiday is your garbage disposal. As with all things, prevention is the best cure so give everyone in your household a refresher on what doesn’t go in there. The worst offenders for blocking the garbage disposal are bones, grease, fruit pits, and even potato peel! Be careful if you are going to try and clear a blockage yourself – never put your hand in there! Make sure the unit is switched off and then use a wooden spoon or tongs to loosen or extract the offending item. Remember this article is about avoidable holiday home malfunctions – we want to help you avoid them before they ruin holiday plans.

Post Holiday Clean-Up

If the in-laws and all the extended family have left your beautiful home in somewhat of a disarray – it might be time to call for back-up. Wiz Team, Inc. offers a wide array of home care services such as; 7Ph Carpet Cleaning, Hardwood Floor Cleaning, Upholstery Cleaning, among many other services that you may benefit from. Give our office a call and let us help you take care of the carpet full of crumbs, or perhaps let’s clean those area rugs that had a little too much wine during dinner, or maybe its the hardwood floors that need a bit of TLC after being trampled by all the guests. Whatever your home care cleaning needs may be – we are here to help keep your home beautiful and lovely. Remember, all of our in-home consultations are completely free!

 

From all of us here at Wiz Team, Inc, we wish you have a Happy and Malfunction Free Holiday Season!

Master Certifications: Is it important?

Master Certification: Carpet cleaning (basic) IICRC Certification is just the start. Think of Master Certifications as the “graduate degrees” of our industry. With the additional requirement of experience, beyond classroom learning, Master Certifications communicate a higher level of experience, expertise, efficiency and credibility, not to mention the confidence.

Master Certified Technicians exhibit higher productivity, increased technical competency, lower error rate and higher level of client satisfaction.

IICRC Certified Firms: Certification of a firm provides concrete evidence to clients that the company is staffed with people who know what they are doing and that the firm conducts business to an IICRC-prescribed set of ethical business practices and standards. IICRC stands for the highest standard of excellence in certification.

Although a lot of technicians become IICRC certified in basic techniques and stop there, three master certification paths – textile cleaning, fire and smoke restoration and water restoration – journeyman and master designations are reserved for those who truly developed their skills.  

Master Water Restorer, Master Textile Cleaner and Master Fire & Smoke Restorer are highest “graduate degrees” in our industry.

All master certifications must be achieved over a minimum of three years so classroom learning and certification is combined with real-world work. The IICRC Master status is the highest technical certification in the cleaning industry.

Certification: Why It Matters

Just as certified accountants, electricians, plumbers and mechanics project a higher level of competency in their fields, and just as members of the American Medical Association and American Bar Association set themselves apart through training, experience and comprehensive examination, IICRC certification helps to immediately identify the cleaning, restoration and inspection industries’ most skilled and dedicated technicians and businesses.

However, unlike electricians, plumbers, accountants, doctors and lawyers, the cleaning, restoration and inspection industry does not require a technician or the firm to be certified in order to perform these services. Certification matters because outstanding service means consecutively correct service, every time.

Being certified is voluntarily, therefore it is important to check if you’re cleaning and restoration service provider is in fact certified.   

Wiz Team, Inc. is keeping up with the latest education and training, techniques and technologies. We are staffed with experienced and educated, well-trained, satisfied employees who are the key to our satisfied clients.

The history of cleaning and restoration certification is long, but for us it all started from – a deceptively simple question: What works best for our clients?

It has driven us to research chemistry, extraction techniques, fiber identification, airflow and many other subjects.

Thanks to the strength of the schools and instructors, our technicians have knowledge and skills to achieve education on cleaning and restoration – improving their skills and serving our clients with best practices.

In the end, certification matters because we all work in service industry – and outstanding service means consecutively correct service, every time.

We obtain science-based information for best practices and build technical and scientific knowledge in the restoration and cleaning industry in order to provide the most outstanding service experience ever to our clients.

Wiz Team, Inc. is the ONLY cleaning and restoration firm in Chicagoland holding quadruplet Master Certifications designations.

We are certified as: Master Water Restorer, Master Textile Cleaner, Master Fire & Smoke Restorer and Master Rug Cleaner.  So, before you call a company whose technicians have only basic or worse yet have no certification, call the Wiz Team, Inc. – true Cleaning and Restoration Specialists – best in the industry.   

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