This is what I’ve learned cleaning during the pandemic.

Since March, I’ve been working as I normally do. I’ve answered calls and set appointments for furniture and floor cleanings. I’ve done some demolition work too.

Demolition work

However, life for my family is far from normal. Like most people they have adapted to socializing via Zoom. As for me I’ve had less commercial jobs due to many businesses operating at a minimum and I’ve had a weird bout of scam calls during the pandemic. I am sure you have too. Unfortunately, I even turned away an actual customer because I thought he was a solicitor.

Everyday I read updates on Arizona’s coronavirus cases and deaths. Of late, the increase of cases has alarmed me. I’m concerned about how contagious this virus is. What’s even more perplexing is that the virus is so new that experts are still trying to understand how it spreads. The guidelines offered by the CDC and public health experts have been helpful in how to protect oneself. But there are a few questions I think about when I am not at home.

If someone has the coronavirus and I am nearby will I get infected? Here’s what I found from the Center for Disease Control. The risks of getting the coronavirus depends on the amount of time spent with an infected person, the amount of viral droplets projected by an infected person and the contact made with an infected surface and then making contact with one’s face.

My wife who often talks about what she learned in her microbiology class stated that a virus has to attach to a living host in order to survive. A viral droplet is desperately looking to cling onto a living cell; saliva or mucus. Research showed that viral droplets can be suspended like aerosols up to thirty minutes. This explains how the virus can easily spread in a crowd of people. The virus does not hang out in the air long enough to be a risk to most people. But I rather be safe than get sick. So I wear the personal protective equipment in public. The mask my mother-in-law made for me has an added disposable paper filter for a third layer of protection.

How safe is it to do residential cleaning?

Well, there are risks but here is what I am doing to be safe.

  1. Elite employees wear personal protective equipment (i.e., disposable gloves, shoe covers and masks when appropriate). Plus, I carry hand sanitizer clipped to my belt since I use it several times during the day.
  2. We keep our physical interactions to a bare minimum and maintain appropriate social distancing. In addition, I can take payment over the phone, to minimize contact.
  3. We are doing our due diligence in cleaning our equipment. After all, we are in the business of cleaning and we are aware of the importance of disinfecting high touch areas.
  4. After every service, we throw out our used gloves. We are using hand sanitizers when we cannot wash our hands. As much as you DON’T want to contract the coronavirus we equally don’t want to get it.

According to the CDC, cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure for the prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses. While there is currently no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted from upholstery or carpet to people, it might be a preemptive measure against the virus from spreading. Both hard and soft surfaces can be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized with hot water and a good disinfectant.

Should I Replace My Carpet?

The appearance of your carpet is a major factor when thinking about replacing your carpet. Is it looking worn, are there visible stains or is it retaining a musty odor? Perhaps, replacing your carpet is a good idea. However, it might need to be postponed since we are in the midst of a pandemic. In the interim, you can take the time to evaluate if a professional carpet cleaning is needed to spruce it up or have it replaced.

hot water extraction
  1. Is your carpet showing wear and tear? All carpets will show signs of matted carpet fibers in high traffic areas. Especially, polyester carpet which is easy to compress has little chance of returning to its natural shape. A professional carpet cleaning might make your carpet more resilient as well as give it a good chance to return to its lifted shape if the carpet is not older than five years.
  2. Is your carpet chock full of stains? Stains are inevitable. Just look at these carpets I’ve cleaned.

Even though all carpets have some type of anti-stain treatment applied to it’s fibers. Carpet protector is an anti-stain treatment that is applied to the surface can helps repel dirt for a period of time.  I recommend carpet protector be applied when I’m cleaning my clients’ carpets because the soils will release from the carpet pile much more effectively from each vacuum.

3. Is your padding worn out? The function of carpet padding is to protect the floor below from the abrasive underside of the carpet. In other words, carpet padding extends the life of your carpet. If you have foam as carpet padding, it could be crumbling, which is a sign to replace the padding. But why replace the padding if you’re not going to replace the carpet as well? In the future, it’s worth it to put down quality padding so you don’t have to replace it.

4. Recommendations? Get carpet that is either 100% nylon or wool . They are the most resilient fibers and easier to get debris and stains out. If you decide to postpone replacing your carpet, schedule a carpet cleaning and see if it revitalizes your carpet!

Now more than ever, commercial floor cleaning is vital!

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, it’s difficult to find peace of mind.  From my point of view, working in a clean environment reduces stress.  After all, you can’t change the behavior of people around you, but you have control over how clean your workplace is.

You can see why hospitals, emergency rooms, dentists’ offices, physical therapy offices and other medical facilities need to regularly clean their floors.  The spread of bacteria and viruses exponentially grows on dirt.  In fact, it thrives because the accumulation of dirt is a source of food for germs.  Most importantly, these places could be the carriers of germs that spread to visitors and workers.

For tile floors, dirt and debris will always manage to get into the crevices of grout lines.  The best method to slow down the accumulation of dirt is regularly having tile floors  cleaned.  See what a professional clean can do!

20151123_095325
Dirt embedded in grout lines to the left. Removal of dirt on the right

It is an absolute MUST for public areas, hotels and commercial businesses that have carpet in their main traffic areas to have their carpets cleaned with hot water extraction.  The steam created from the hot water deeply penetrates carpet fibers to loosen embedded dirt or old deposits from previous spills.

Think about how many people walked through your bank’s carpeted floors on a daily basis.  What about the children that have crawled or walked at your local library.  No matter the age of the visitors, we all are harboring different germs into public spaces.  The most vulnerable demographics; the elderly and children will benefit from the removal of dust and grime that has been accumulating in the carpet which will reduce irritation in the lungs.  The accumulation of debris in carpet will be noticeable by your nose.   When a musty odor is present that means that facility needs a professional carpet cleaner.

Community centers, such as the local YMCA will have vinyl composition tile (VCT).  Although durable, over time VCT will show its wear and tear.  A commercial floor cleaning can bring back its shine as well as sanitize the floor.

To be redundant, the workplace is a good place to start regular cleaning, now more than ever.  Let’s be prepared to have a sanitized workplace when the economy opens!newyorklego

Tips to Disinfect Your Home and Office from COVID-19

20190520_193046Here in the Phoenix area weather conditions are usually predictable but recently we’ve have a unexpected bout of rain.  Thus, it’s a challenge to keep your home or office clean from mud, rain, and debris.  But perhaps, the most surprising challenge is to keep your environment coronavirus free.  We can make our best attempt to keep the COVID-19 at bay.  First, if you get the opportunity to purchase disinfectants, with the shortage of cleaning supplies look for disinfectants with 62-71% ethanol, 0.5% hydrogen peroxide or 0.1% sodium hypochlorite (bleach).  The coronavirus can become inactive with the use of such disinfectants.disinfects.jpgSince it is possible to become infected by touching a contaminated surface or object, and then touching the face (eyes, nose and mouth), keep counter tops, tables, door knobs, any common area where hands come into contact well-disinfected.  In addition, you know my concern is that you keep floors cleaned!  Here are a few tips:

  • Get a DEEP clean!

20170930_10581220191105_113202What that entails is that a professional floor cleaning machine has the power to get rid of months of buildup and layers of dirt.  The high-powered machines can efficiently sanitize hard surfaces; tile and natural stone, as well as wood or vinyl flooring.  So it is worthwhile to get a deep cleaning done.

  • matIf you don’t already have them, get outdoor/indoor mats for all entrances. The first line of defense is to create a barrier so that dirt and debris don’t enter your home or office.  The quality of the an entrance mat is extremely important.  How well the mat is textured to pick up dust particles and soil will greatly reduce the amount of dirt that enters your home.  
  • Disinfect and clean regularly. Set up a cleaning schedule that works for you.  Be consistent about cleaning up high traffic areas.  This might be as often as cleaning daily.
  • In light of the spread of the coronavirus, Elite is offering disinfecting & sanitizing services.
  • Disinfectants destroy all organisms in 10 minutes, requiring a stronger solution than sanitizers.
  • Microfiber cleaning tools work best. microfibermopOut of the many cleaning tools out there, microfiber picks up debris the best, hands down!  I still use traditional cotton towels but microfiber precludes dirt from returning when mopping.  When you are ready for a professional floor cleaning, call Elite Floor and Furniture Cleaning at 480-710-4110 to schedule an appointment.

Clean Floors; Less Likely to Get Sick

We all know something has been going around lately.  A new strain of a cold and flu virus will set you back a week or more.  Instead of taking stocking up on vitamins and cold/flu medicine, deeply clean your floors.  Even if your carpets appear clean, there are microbes and debris not visible to the human eye.  Here are some tips to stay healthy!

Carpet is home to mold, pet hair and dust

EveandLunaIf you have pets, you might be spending more time on the floor to get closer to your furry family members.  Children are more apt to being on the floor and touching their hands to their mouths.  Thus, increasing the risk of getting sick.  Pet urine and feces is an welcoming environment for bacteria.  You’ll recognize the smell of ammonia that that it creates irritating your lungs. 

For those who have cats and dogs that spend time inside and outside of the house, beware of fleas and ticks that can find their way onto your carpets and tile.  To get rid of the tiny parasites, intense heat and chemical treatment might be needed.

Mold and dust can do harm to increase inflammation in your lungs and buildup in your carpet.  This can easily trigger an allergic response once you have vacuumed because it spreads those irritants in the air.

If you are already sick, your body is working double time to combat a cold and the build up germs from your carpet.

*Use a HEPA filter when vacuuming and make sure to regularly change your vacuum bags.  During the cold/flu season is the time to schedule a carpet cleaning.  Help everyone and pets that enters your home to stay healthy.  It really pays to take preventive measures to not get sick!  For questions call 480.710.4110 or send me an email   info@eliteclng.com

Why is my natural stone floor getting more stains?

Before Marble Floor After cleaning and seal

Have you had natural stone floors installed in the past three years? Is it evident it’s getting tougher to get stains out? Here are some reasons why this might be occurring.

  • Dullness and discoloration from built-up residue and soap scum
  • Endured some etching, scratches, chips and seam repairs
  • The surface was polished
  • Someone cleaned the floor with an acidic cleaner
Abrasive cleaner

If you have limestone, travertine, onyx, marble and serpentine, then it is susceptible to acid. Find a pH-balanced, non-acidic gentle soap to clean your counter tops.

 However, granite, slate, quartzite, soapstone, and sandstone are not as sensitive to acidic cleaners.

The best way to prevent staining on your floors, is to have a protective seal on them. It might be well overdue for one. You could have the new look of your floors like did before!

Have more questions on natural stone maintenance? Call Elite Floor and Furniture Cleaning. 480-710-4110 I would be glad to give you some tips.

Pet Care and Floor Care Go Together like Paw and Hand

1. Reduce Wear and Tear on Floors

It’s inevitable that your floors will get scratched by your pets but, there are some things that you can do to minimize the scratches to your floors. First, examine your pet’s nails. How often do their nails need to be trimmed? This will depend on the size of your dog or cat; the larger your pet, trimming will be more often. The most common areas for scratching are by entry doors and high traffic areas of your home. Because dirt accumulates the most in these places, an active pet can trap dirt into the floor surface with their nails. If possible use floor rugs in high traffic area to reduce the amount of scratching

2. Pet Urine & Vomit’s Damaging Effects

Urine stain visible with black light

The acid from pet urine causes discoloration to carpet fibers but as urine seeps through it becomes a welcoming haven for bacteria. As bacteria grows, it produces gaseous waste in the form of ammonia. That is the pungent odor that is difficult to remove. The pictures above are residual stains Elite Floor and Furniture Cleaning found with a black light and UV glasses. Our experience in removing pet stains, has taught us that the longer urine sets in, the greater the damage is. Thus, getting out as much urine as possible once you notice your pet has a had an accident, is your best bet to minimizing its damaging effects to your floors.

3. Tipsy Water Bowls Means Frequent Spills

You can also use a waterproof mat under your pet’s water bowl or a bowl that is rubberized that will won’t slide to help protect your floor. Likewise, it will reduce your pet’s scratching the hardwood floor if their food and water are in a stable position. As we get ready to bring a four legged member into our family, we will keep these tips in mind!

Monsoon Season Prepared!

Monsoon season already?

Arizonians know heat, thunder, lightning, and sporadic hard rains produces monsoon storms that could pose as a serious problem to our homes.

To get your home ready for the monsoon season, here are some tips:

Get Rid of Germs

Monsoon season is a favorable time for germs to breed. So, one of the easiest ways to get rid of germs is to disinfect your floors. If possible try to use a disinfectant with natural ingredients so it is safe for children and pets.

Tidy up the yard/garden

Your yard is exposed to a lot of additional dirt due to strong winds and rains. The storm makes the leaves fall and sometimes the weak branches even break making the yard dirtier. Hence it is important that you take care of your yard more often during this time.

Also, make sure you do not have containers in your yard that may accumulate rain water because it is a breeding ground for the mosquitoes and other germs.

Gutters and Downspouts

Take the time to clean your gutters now before the hard rains hit. Also, re-position your downspouts away from the house to the protect the foundation of your home. Avoid unnecessary water logging inside your home by maintaining an effective drainage system.

Waterproofing

Waterproofing entry ways and flooring is a proactive way of protecting your home. Weather strips on doors and windows keeps the air-conditioning in and rain out.

Sealing your floors protects them from debris at the same time will help make your flooring water-resistant. Sealers are semi-permanent floor coatings that look and wear more like paints than like floor finishes. That means it requires a skilled worker to correctly apply sealant. The sealant will last longer than a finish. Feel free to send me an email at info@eliteclng.com to ask about sealing floors.

Protect your floors, but protect your phone first!

I wanted to write about protecting your floors. However, I was recently a victim of a phone hijack. Hijacking phone numbers is a high tech crime that is on the rise because perpetrators can intercept your phone number easily from miles away.  Once the crook has obtained your phone number, obtaining new credit cards by assuming your identity is a breeze with your phone number in their possession.  Not only are the data and account information on your phone in jeopardy but also the phone hijacker has greater credibility to establish new lines of credit by verifying security codes sent to your phone number.  If you are scratching your head to fathom how your phone number can be stolen without it being physically taking it from you, you can learn vicariously from me. 

When this happened to me, I had several glitches with my phone and within two days my phone was inoperable.  The hijacker quickly got into my Paypal account, Facebook and established new credit cards and made several transactions.  All the while, I was combating credit card companies and service providers to decimate the new charges accruing under my name and my email address. 

Unfortunately, I was unaware of this kind of porting phone scam until I became a victim of this crime.  I feel remiss if I did not make other people aware of how to take preemptive measures to ensure it does not happen to them.  Below are a few suggestions to prevent your phone number from being in a phone port scam. 

This is how porting a number works:

Porting a number to a new provider shuts off the phone of the original user, and forwards all calls to the new device. Once in control of the mobile number, thieves can request any credit card company or service like Paypal to send a one-time code via text message or an automated call to the
the newly stolen phone number to their activated device.  Porting normally occurs when upgrading to a new phone which allows one to take their phone number with them when they change phone carriers. Unfortunately, porting is available to crooks.

In these cases, the fraudsters can call a customer service specialist at a mobile provider and pose as you, providing the things that identify you; like name, date of birth, social security number and other information. Often this is enough to have your calls temporarily forwarded to another number, or ported to a different provider’s network. 

The hijacker simply pretends to be you and requests a new SIM card for your account. They get the SIM, they get access to your number.  And since only one SIM card can be attached to a number at any given point, it effectively disables your current SIM card. The end result is that your phone is disabled and someone else has your number as their own.

How to Protect Your Phone:

1. File a police report within your city and the city of the phone hijacker.  Usually, the address and IP address of where the hijacker is located will be made known to you from the fraudulent credit cards the hijacker started. 

2. You should do a factory reset but do not use a backup to set your phone up or you may import the hackers ability to get into your phone from your backup. So before you do a factory reset go onto a computer and change your Google account password as you need to regain control of your accounts first. Hackers will know your passwords for everything so you cannot use any of them again.

3. Call your phone service provider to add a security PIN to your account. The process is going to be different for every carrier, but this PIN will be required to make changes to your account, which includes porting your number to a new carrier or requesting a new SIM card. Thus, it secures your account against both port-out and SIM swap scams.

4. Put a security freeze and credit report lock to make credit bureaus aware of identity theft.  Or just keep a security freeze on your credit until you need to unlock it. 

More information on the following links:

https://about.att.com/sites/cyberaware/ni/blog/porting

https://www.equifax.com/personal/education/identity-theft/fraud-alert-security-freeze-credit-lock/

Love Your Floors…

Love your floors and you’ll find a years of easy maintenance, time after time. They will be waiting to be cared for. So this Valentine’s Day, treat your floors with OXOXOXO. And we can put a stop to covering up stains with rugs or tables. Here’s some tips for showing some love to your floors.

Floor Love 101:

For wood floors- sweep or vacuum regularly. It is best to avoid using any kind of abrasive cleaners.

For laminate flooring- a dust mop, or a damp cloth are great for cleaning.

For tile floors- regularly clear any lose dirt, hair, and other dust and debris in grout lines.

For vinyl floors- a cleaning solution of clear, non-sudsy ammonia and water helps to pick up grime and dirt.

For carpets- steam clean your carpets once a year. Spring is good time to do this to help remove allergens and debris from last year.

hot water extraction

If you want to bring some love to floors, call 480-710-4110.

*If you recently had new flooring is installed in your home, then, you should extend the longevity of your flooring by finding a good routine treatment that works with you and your family’s schedule.