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Prepping for New Tenants

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Deep cleaning tools and methods to clean every crevice of your building

When tenants have been in commercial spaces for months or years, and they’re finally ready to move out, it’s up to cleaners to come in and make these areas sparkle.

Even if a cleaning crew regularly maintains the space, there will still be dust, dirt, and grime to eliminate once the tenant vacates the premises. Deep cleaning, at this point, is necessary.

Business owners today are increasingly concerned about the cleanliness of their spaces. For example, more states are embracing the sanitary inspection grade for restaurants, which assigns A, B, or C letters online and in storefronts of restaurants. According to a 2013 opinion piece in The New York Times by Katherine Ashenburg, author of the book, The Dirt on Clean: An Unsanitized History, the United States is particularly known for emphasizing cleanliness, and Americans take extra steps to ensure their bodies and their homes are pristine and bacteria- and germ-free.

Cleaners must respond to the growth in mindfulness for cleanliness by taking the time and care to make sure facilities are fresh all the time. If your cleaning company or facility typically deals with readying spaces for new tenants, here are some steps to ensure that they’re up to standard.

Steps for Cleaning the Area

Before starting work on any commercial or residential space, an evaluation is essential. “We begin by doing a walk through prior to starting the cleaning service,” said Juan Catoni, regional director for Anago Cleaning Systems of South Florida. “At that time, we learn who the right franchisee for the job will be and also the amount of employees needed to accomplish the work.”

When Joshua M. Vanderberg, president and CEO of Vanderberg Cleaning Service, and his team first go into a space, they clear out any trash or furniture left behind by the old tenants. “This requires some old fashioned hard work, carts, gloves, and trash bags,” he said. “We often find that people leave rubbish behind, and occasionally we will find holes in walls that need to be patched, and the carpet is often trashed.”

The second step, after clearing out any trash, is to get rid of dust on the floorboards, as well as clean the lighting and contact a qualified electrician if repairs are necessary. If the walls need repainting, Vanderberg says his workers will clean them as well.

The next focus is the bathrooms. Steve Huck, CBSE, divisional business development manager for Coverall North America, Inc.’s west division, said during this step, his janitors clean the grout, take care of baseboards, which absorb splashes and spills, work on odor control, and “scrub and recoat or strip and refinish floor tiles that may have been neglected and have built-up organic soils.”

Both Coverall North America and Vanderberg Cleaning Services move on to the floors after transforming the bathrooms. “Hard floors in lobbies and hallways make an immediate impression on the new tenant,” Huck said. “An improperly finished floor can have a gummy, tacky residue that picks up more dirt and leaves floors looking dingy, dirty, and dull.”

To avoid this, Vanderberg will make sure the flooring doesn’t need replacement, stringently vacuum floors, and then move onto the hardwood floors.

As for the carpets, they are always properly cleaned by an IICRC-certified technician. Huck said to make sure whoever is working on the carpet doesn’t use processes that will cause damage that will result in voiding the carpet’s warranty.

The other areas that typically need cleaning are the kitchen, cubicles, fabric-covered surfaces, cabinets, and windows on both the outside and inside. This should be done at the same time, Huck said, so the windows look completely spotless for the incoming tenants.

Tools and Products for Deep Cleaning

You may have employed the top cleaning professionals in your community, but if they are not equipped with the correct tools and products, they won’t get the job done right. Every step of the way, they must have the best tools possible at their disposable.

Carpet and floor care products: For health purposes, Juan Catoni from Anago said he uses color-coded rugs and microfiber mops in order to prevent cross contamination. To that same effect, he solely utilizes Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI)-certified vacuums and Green Seal-certified chemicals.

Aside from hiring a carpet-cleaning technician with the highest quality tools at his or her disposal, you should pursue products that do hot-water extraction, or steam cleaning, Huck said. That’s because it’s “environmentally friendly and an effective way to restore carpets if drying time is available; or, [you could use] low-moisture encapsulation if floors will be walked on soon after cleaning.”

Dust, dirt, and grime: For excessive dust on doorframes, windowsills, blinds, vents, and baseboards, Huck and his employees use a HEPA filtration backpack vacuum with a brush attachment. They’ll also use microfiber towels and the “appropriate disinfectant cleaner to remove stubborn or gross soil.” The walls and lighting require magic erasers, glass cleaner, and high-quality degreasers.

While in the kitchen, Vanderberg’s team will swipe the inside and outside of cabinets with a peroxide-based cleaner; depending on the finish on the cabinets, they may also polish them down once they are dry.

Safety considerations: Vanderberg emphasizes safety to his workers. “Safety is always our first job and we must use proper personal protective equipment (PPE) at each step,” he said. “[You need to] understand all of the cleaning agents and equipment you will be using before you begin the job.”

Finishing the Job

At this point, you’ve done your part. You’ve thoroughly cleaned every nook and cranny of the space, reported any damage you saw and repairs that may be necessary, and done your best to meet the standards of the building administration and new tenants.

The only thing that’s left to do is a follow-up inspection, and guarantee that your supervisor or client is happy.

“The final step is to inspect the space, make sure that all areas are clean and ready for move in,” Vanderberg said. He recommends walking through the space with the incoming tenants to ensure they are comfortable and ready to occupy the space. “It is very important that if anything does come up on inspection, you are able to take care of these items for the client.”


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