ServiceMaster Commercial Services Blogs

Can a Soap Dispenser Really Do That? Yes, with IoT.

November 11th, 2016 · No Comments

IoT – Internet of Things

Smart phones, smart cars, smart homes… more and more of our everyday lives include smart devices. You probably checked your smart phone this morning for your daily calendar. It, the smart phone, may have already monitored the traffic conditions and told you when to leave for the appointment giving you turn-by-turn directions and estimated arrival time. Sound familiar?

Or you may have driven a smart car today. Typically rush hour can be a hassle, but with the smart car’s monitoring systems, you were alerted when the traffic came to a sudden stop avoiding an accident. And when you got to that morning appointment on time and had to parallel park, it parked itself! No kidding!

Did you remember to lock the front door of the house and turn down the heat? Well, just check remotely on your smart phone, it’s connected to your smart home!

These machine-to-machine communications, built with a network of data-gathering sensors, are known as the Internet of Things, or IoT. The items sensor will gather data and can measure and evaluate the data. The item can be anything… take for instance a soap dispenser in the 3rd floor restroom of office building A. The sensor in the dispenser may gather data on when the last refill was replaced, how many times it has dispensed soap since the replacement and even calculate when a new refill will be needed based on the frequency of uses. It may also collect data that the dispenser needs replaced because it is malfunctioning or needs maintenance to dispense the proper amount of liquid.

So where does the data gathered by the dispenser’s sensor go? It can be accessed in an app on the janitorial staff’s smart phone or other smart device showing a refill alert or maintenance alert for the personnel responsible for that dispenser. Ta da! The dispenser refill is replaced on time and there is never an empty soap dispenser on the 3rd floor restroom in office building A.

ServiceMaster Commercial Services looks towards the future of the commercial janitorial industry and doesn’t shy away from using the latest technology to improve our cleaning processes, increase our work place efficiencies, and exceed our customers’ expectations.

ServiceMaster Commercial Service has been using the ‘smart’ CleanTelligent software for the past several years. CleanTelligent software tracks 3 separate areas of valuable date: 1) Communication between ServiceMaster Commercial Service employees and the client. 2) Inspections performed by the ServiceMaster Commercial Service managers. 3) Surveys performed by the client.

CleanTelligent helps us build and maintain strong relationships with our clients. CleanTelligent simplifies inspections, work orders, supply ordering, job scheduling and surveys. It is an invaluable communication tool.

Just like the soap dispenser’s sensor can help avoid a facility manager’s complaint of an empty soap dispenser… so can using technology such as, CleanTelligent to specify scope of work details, accountability of the cleaning technicians, and real-time client feedback. Call ServiceMaster Commercial Services today at 866-370-0737 to discuss how we can help you use the latest IoT technology in your building.

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Exceeding Expectations: Full Service Provider

October 11th, 2016 · No Comments

Is your cleaning contractor a full service provider?

According to a recently released survey of facility executives of commercial office buildings, Contracting Profits ( determined that a healthy and sanitary environment is still more important to the client than a clean appearance or even a low price for janitorial services. So the trash cans are emptied, restrooms are clean and stocked with soap, toilet paper and hand towels, the carpets are vacuumed regularly and the window sills and desks are finally getting dusted. These are the basic cleaning tasks that keep an office space healthy and sanitary for the occupants working in the area. However, every commercial office building needs floor maintenance and upholstery cleaning. And more and more facilities are looking for LEED certification which requires green cleaning. ServiceMaster Commercial Services is a full service provider of janitorial services for commercial spaces through out Central Pennsylvania.

When asked ‘What additional services would you like your cleaning provider to supply?” the facility executives responses were:
87% Deep Extraction Carpet Cleaning
73% Floor Finish Stripping/Application
55% Upholstery Cleaning
64% Day Cleaning
57% Green Cleaning

ServiceMaster Commercial Services provides ALL of these services to our clients. Our typical scope of work includes monthly, quarterly, semi-annual and annual tasks to maintain carpet, tile, VCT and specialty flooring. Your carpet is one of the first things visitors notice when they enter your building, and employees are also sure to notice whether carpets are being well maintained. ServiceMaster Commercial Services use proven products and methods to keep entryways, hallways, offices and meeting spaces looking their best. After all, neglect or improper care can lead to matting, fading, fraying and premature and costly replacement. Regular maintenance also means predictable monthly payments. Reducing surprise costs will help you manage your maintenance budget.

If you are currently using a provider that does not offer a routine floor maintenance program, call us today at 866-370-0737 for a free quote on these services.

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Fighting Back-to-School Germs

August 4th, 2016 · No Comments

Many school supply lists include tissues, hand sanitizers and antibacterial wipes to fight germs at school, are your students using them properly?

If you have school aged children, you’ve probably received a school supply list for their grade level. Several years ago I noticed that the schools were requesting students bring in tissues, hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes, along with pencils, composition books, lined paper and pocket folders.

So I’d pick up these items at the grocery store and send them to school on the first day in the overstuffed backpack. I realized this year that I really should explain to my children how these products can protect them from germs at school.

Tissues catch all sorts of germs spread by runny noses and sneezes. Encourage your student to use them and properly dispose of them in the trashcan to avoid spreading his/her germs to their friends.

Hand sanitizer should be used when washing hands with soap and water is unavailable. Sanitize or wash hands before and after eating lunch, after using the restroom, after handling sports equipment used by others, and possibly after touching lockers in the hallways.

Antibacterial wipes come in handy to clean surfaces such as lunch trays, hallway lockers, gym lockers, desks and mobile devices. Antibacterial wipes are intended to only be used once and disposed of to avoid cross contamination.

There are mainly 2 germ hot spots found in schools: the water fountain and the restrooms. Avoid putting any personal property down on the restroom floor or counter. If possible carry a reusable water bottle to avoid using the water fountain.

Wishing all our students a happy, safe and successful 2016-17 school year!

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Green Cleaning vs. Cleaning Green

May 23rd, 2016 · No Comments

Green cleaning is not just switching out your cleaning solutions to more environmentally friendly products. Green cleaning is defined as a system of cleaning that promotes healthy surroundings for building occupants, and is also less harmful to the environment. Let’s take a look at some of the other aspects of green cleaning.

A comprehensive green cleaning program contains the following criteria:

  1. Pay more attention to entryways. Entryway mats strategically placed to capture soil tracked in from outdoors play a major role is controlling dirt being carried throughout a building.
  2. Minimize airborne particles and chemicals. Cleaning tools should capture and remove dust particles. Using microfiber cloths and fragrance-free cleaning products are examples of improving indoor air quality for the cleaning employees and building occupants.
  3. Use HEPA vacuums to reduce airborne particles. HEPA filters on vacuums greatly reduce the amount of dust released into the air when the vacuum is operated. There must also be a standard for emptying the collected dirt from the vacuums.
  4. Use environmentally friendly cleaning products.   More and more cleaning products are being formulated to be biodegradable and non-toxic.
  5. Use chemical management systems for accurate dilution. Proper dilution of a concentrated cleaning product ensures that there is a solution that will perform the cleaning necessary without wasting the product. Using concentrated products also reduces the amount of packaging that is disposed of in a landfill.
  6. Use microfiber flat mops. This cleaning tool reduces that amount of cleaning solution and water needed to clean a floor. It is more ergonomic for the user than a heavy wet bulky mop head. And it leaves less water on the floor surface, so the floor dries quicker and reduces the chances of slips and falls.
  7. Color code cleaning cloths and other tools to avoid cross contamination. Color code cleaning cloths to only be used in a certain area of a facility. For instance, designating a red cloth to only clean toilets and urinals, will eliminate the chance that a red cloth will be used in the break room.
  8. Use recycled paper products in restrooms. Many toilet papers today contain some amount of recycled materials. Their softness and effectiveness is not compromised by these recycled materials.
  9. Incorporate a green cleaning employee training program. Specialized cleaning requires specialized training. Cleaning employees should be aware of the new cleaning products they will be using and also the new tools to efficiently and effectively clean for the health of the building’s occupants.

So Green Cleaning is adopting cleaning products that are environmentally friendly. Cleaning Green is adopting an entirely new system that puts the health and well-being of the cleaning employees and building occupants first. The cleaning green process takes into account all of the points in this article. Call ServiceMaster Commercial Services today at 866-370-0737 to discuss ways to incorporate Cleaning Green into your cleaning program.

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ServiceMaster Clean’s Patented Cleaning System

March 28th, 2016 · No Comments

Typically, we all have a ‘cleaning system’ when we clean our homes. I was taught to clean from the top down; start on the upper floor, dust the highest surfaces and allow the dust to settle to the floor and finish by vacuuming the floors to remove the settled dust and dirt. Done on a regular basic this kept the house clean. However, there were other cleaning tasks, like taking out the trash, that needed done more frequently than the weekly dusting and vacuuming. And then we would spring clean, washing the windows, curtains, blinds and shampooing the carpet in the living room. These different cleaning tasks were our ‘cleaning system’.

Well, ServiceMaster Clean has a patented cleaning system all its own – the Capture and Removal System. This cleaning system maximizes the efficiencies of the cleaning process in any facility. Our cleaning technicians are fully trained in applying the Capture and Removal System techniques to efficiently and effectively clean our client’s office, restrooms, break rooms, lobbies, manufacturing plant floors, etc.  Our team doesn’t move dust into the air to settle on the floor, they capture it in a microfiber cloth or with the dust wand on their vacuum cleaner fitted with a HEPA filter to capture the fine dust particles. This is only one facet of the patented Capture and Removal Cleaning System.

ServiceMaster Commercial Services also compiles a cleaning task schedule for each client based on the scope of work for their facility. This task schedule directs our building managers and cleaning staff on what needs cleaned and how often that task is completed. For instance, daily tasks may be emptying trash cans, vacuuming high-traffic areas and cleaning restrooms. High dusting overhead fixtures and replacing batteries in the air freshener dispensers may be scheduled as monthly tasks. And floor maintenance programs are on the task schedule for each quarter, semi-annual or annual basis as per the scope of work for the client. These task schedules ensure that our cleaning team is meeting each and every client’s expectations.

Our patented Capture and Removal Cleaning System makes ServiceMaster Commercial Services the commercial cleaning company you want to clean your facility. This system has proven to maximize our cleaning teams’ efficiency in cleaning facilities and also improving indoor air quality by removing dust and allergens from the facility. Call us today at 866-370-0737 to discuss your facilities cleaning needs. ServiceMaster Commercial Services provides free, no-obligation quotes for all your commercial cleaning needs.

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Springtime brings a flood of pleasant smells to our senses. How do these smells affect us?

March 15th, 2016 · No Comments

Believe it or not, olfactology, the study of the sense of smell, is a science unto its own. Here are some of the amazing discoveries it has made.

Rachel S Herz, an assistant professor of psychology at Brown University explains that odors affect us in a variety of ways*. Our sense of smell is linked to the portion of the brain that processes emotion and associative learning. This connection causes us to react to odors by the past experiences we’ve had with the smell. For instance, vanilla will typically remind a person of home-made cookies invoking a pleasant memory, thus vanilla is perceived as a pleasant scent.

Other studies show that our moods influence how we think and act. People with a more positive mood show higher levels of creativity and their problem solving is better than test results of people in a bad mood. In turn, this leads to the concept that work place scents can increase production and also reduce stress of employees.

ServiceMaster Commercial Services does not promote air fresheners that just cover over foul odors. Our technicians know the proper cleaning techniques to remove odor causing bacteria. But, we do agree with the researchers that employees that experience pleasant smells at the work place throughout the day are more productive and positive. And that when a customer or visitor to your facility is greeted with a pleasant smell they leave with a more positive association with your facility.

As mentioned previously, vanilla can elevate your mood. Various research studies also show that peppermint may boost concentration, cinnamon can improve your cognitive function, pine can alleviate stress, and citrus can help you feel more energized.

Understandably, there are many offices today that are going ‘scent-free’ to reduce allergen and asthma related triggers in the building. These ‘scent-free’ offices often require non-scented or green cleaning products to be used in the building, along with non-scented hand soaps in the restrooms. ServiceMaster Commercial Services customizes our cleaning programs to meet specifications for companies with ‘scent-free’ policies.

Does your company have a scent policy? Let ServiceMaster Commercial Services assist you in finding just the right scent for your restroom, breakroom, reception area, conference room or offices. Here is to the many ‘happy’ smells of spring! My personal favorite is the smell of fresh-cut grass.

* article November 11, 2002 “Do scents affect people’s moods or work performance?”

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What does ‘clean’ smell like?

March 1st, 2016 · No Comments

Product advertisements suggest that ‘clean’ smells like fresh linens, pine, lemon or a bouquet of flowers. Really? All of these scents mentioned are an identifiable odor, often perceived as pleasant and clean. In reality, ‘clean’ has no smell or odor, it smells like nothing!

ServiceMaster Commercial Services specializes in odor free work environments. Our cleaning technicians use a patented Capture and Removal cleaning process that removes more dirt, dust and bacteria than traditional cleaning methods. Eliminating dirt and dust from the air and work surfaces helps to remove unpleasant odors. In a recent ISSA study, 94% of people would avoid a business in the future if they encountered dirty restrooms.

Unpleasant odors are often caused by the growth of bacteria. Air fresheners only mask the odor and do not eliminate the source of the foul smell. Air sanitizers clean the air, but do not remove the source of the odor. ServiceMaster Commercial Services cleaning technicians follow a specific task schedule for each client to ensure that the areas in the facility prone to producing unpleasant odors are frequently and properly cleaned.

Break rooms often contribute to unpleasant smells in the workplace. The ServiceMaster cleaning techs remove odor-causing bacteria by wiping down soiled countertops, microwave ovens and refrigerators with disinfecting cleaning solutions. They may also treat a smelly sink with an enzymatic product to remove bacteria growing in the drain pipe. And finally, they use clean mop heads and microfiber cloths to ensure they are not spreading bacteria while cleaning.

Of course, improperly maintained restrooms are the top-ranked contributors to foul odors in facilities. Bacteria can be found on every surface in a restroom; sinks, soap and towel dispensers, urinals, toilets, toilet handles, stall doors and the floor. Soiled grout is a common cause of unpleasant restroom odors. ServiceMaster cleaning techs are able to clean, sanitize and disinfect grout that is harboring bacteria to remove the source of the bad smell. Enzymatic urinal screens are highly recommended to prevent bacteria growth in the urinals. Floor drains, even though they may be dry, can also be treated with an enzymatic product to remove bacteria growing in the drain pipe.

Take the ‘clean’ smell test in your facility’s break room and restrooms. Give ServiceMaster Commercial Services a call at 866-370-0737 for a free cleaning quote, if there is an unpleasant odor issue. We will ensure that your employees and customers find the restrooms smelling fresh and clean!

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Sniffle & Sneeze Season is here! Add to your bottom line by providing a healthy work environment for your employees.

February 9th, 2016 · No Comments

Did you know that the performance of employees with the sniffles and sneezes can decrease by 3-8%?  And the typical employee has 7.7 sick days per year? Sick employees are costing companies money everyday! ISSA, a worldwide cleaning industry association, study shows that a clean building can reduce the probability of catching the common cold and influenza by 80%. Cleaning surfaces contaminated with viruses reduces the spread of the germs by 62% and it reduced employee absenteeism by 46%. Add to the bottom line by investing in a clean work environment for your employees.

ServiceMaster Commercial Services provides all of the cleaning routines your facility needs to stay healthy for your employees. Our cleaning technicians are fully trained in efficient and effective disinfecting techniques for all types of office surfaces. Our cleaning task schedules often have a specified routine for cleaning the common office surfaces with the highest levels of germ contamination. We know that even a surface that doesn’t appear dirty will harbor cold and flu germs and needs to be cleaned.

Our typical disinfecting strategies involve wiping down door knobs, computer mice, keyboards, desk phones, break room sink faucet handles, handles on microwave ovens and refrigerators, water fountain buttons and even the vending machine buttons. We also suggest stocking plenty of tissues and hand sanitizer in the employees’ work areas to contain the sniffle and sneeze germs.

Here are several tips for employees to help prevent the spread of cold and flu viruses in your office.

1. Encourage sick employees to stay at home.
2. Provide tissues, no-touch trash cans, hand soap, hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes for employees and customers to use.
3. Encourage employees to wash their hands frequently with soap and water.
4. Encourage employees to cover their coughs and sneezes with a tissue.
5. Avoid close contact with coworkers and customers.
6. Discourage employees from using other employees’ phones, desks, offices.
7. Promote healthy lifestyles.

Call ServiceMaster Commercial Services today at 866-370-0737 for a free quote on your facility’s cleaning needs. Stay healthy!

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Are your entryway floor mats ready for the winter grime?

January 18th, 2016 · No Comments

The Farmers’ Almanac predicts that our region of Central Pennsylvania (Harrisburg to Williamsport) will have a snowy and bitter cold winter. The publication says, “We are red-flagging the second week of January and the second week of February for possible heavy winter weather with a long, drawn out spell of stormy weather extending through much of the first half of March.” Even though temperatures have remained mild over the last several weeks, the snow is coming folks!

Floor care during the winter months can become a real challenge when the ice melting agents, rock salt, sand, grit and wet slop are tracked inside by employees, patients, and customers.  Not to mention that the soles of winter footwear are built for traction and therefore track more dirt with them. Studies show that approximately 85% of all dirt in a building is tracked in by foot. ServiceMaster Commercial Services strongly recommends the use of entryway floor mats to capture these soils and moisture, reduce the risk of falls from slick floors and reduce the damage these agents can cause to a carpeted or VCT floor.

Here are 10 things you should consider about floor mats. Floor mats are not all the same… there are high-performance mats that are more effective and last longer than their rental counterparts. High-performance mats play a key role in keeping facilities clean, healthy and safe.

1) A LEED green certification requires a high-performance matting system in place.
2) Mats should actually touch the entry door.
3) Use scraper mats outside, and wiper mats directly inside the entries.
4) ISSA recommends using ten feet of matting inside the entries and five feet of scraper matting outside.
5) High-performance mats are heavier than a rental mat.
6) We can help you establish and evaluate your matting program.
7) Mats should be regularly vacuumed and even extracted to pull soils completely out of the mats.
8) Store mats flat, do not roll them. Rolling them weakens the backing and curling may occur.
9) Consider logo mats to welcome staff and visitors into your facility.
10) Install interior mats in long hallways, at elevators and at the top and bottom of stairways.

Once your building has effective matting in place; relax and enjoy the breath-taking beauty of a fresh snow fall.

Check out this link for more information about how high-performance mats can capture the winter grime and save costly floor maintenance expenses;

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Cleaning with Microfiber Cloths

December 21st, 2015 · No Comments

Have you seen the latest trend with cleaning products? Microfiber cloths are being touted as the “best-clean-for-the-buck”. ServiceMaster Commercial Services of Harrisburg PA, has been using microfiber cloths for the past several years and stand behind that claim, here’s why.

Microfiber is a synthetic material in which the fibers are 200 times thinner than a single human hair. A microfiber cloth has the same surface area as a cotton cloth four times its size. A good quality microfiber cloth can absorb seven times it’s weight in water. It is reusable and requires less cleaning product to get the job done.

Almost any cleaning job can be accomplished with a microfiber cloth. Microfiber cloths can be used for dry or wet cleaning. Use a dry cloth for dusting and watch the dust cling to the cloth without applying any furniture polish. Wash windows with a damp microfiber cloth and then use a dry microfiber cloth to remove the water and shine the glass, again without any cleaning product. Polish chrome faucets with a dry cloth for a clean shiny surface. Microfiber mops are much lighter to handle than cotton mops. Recent studies of microfiber mops are shown to remove more dirt with less cleaning solution than a cotton mop. Microfiber mops also use less water, allowing floors to dry more quickly after mopping, reducing the risk of slips and falls. Since most of these cleaning jobs can be done without a cleaning product, there is a significant cost savings when these microfiber products are used.

Another benefit of using microfiber products is that they are reusable and out last their cotton counterparts. With simple care, these products can be washed a thousand times before losing their effectiveness. Rinse, wring and dry microfiber products after each use in cold water. Do not wash them with other laundry, they will attract dirt, hair and lint and reduce the microfiber’s effectiveness. Heavily soiled microfiber products should be washed in warm or hot water with a detergent. Do not use fabric softeners, they contain oils what will clog up the microfibers, reducing their effectiveness. Bleach will also shorten the life span of the microfiber. Since microfibers dry quickly, use a short drying cycle or just hang them up to dry. Microfiber products do eventually need replaced. When microfiber products no longer attract and hold dust particles and cannot readily absorb water, it is time to replace them.

The staff of ServiceMaster Commercial Services is fully trained in the proper use and care of microfiber products. Our staff uses several different colored microfiber cloths for different cleaning tasks to avoid cross contamination. Our microfiber cloths and mops are laundered on a weekly or more frequent basis. If you would like to know more about how ServiceMaster Commercial Services can help reduce your facilities cleaning costs, call us today at 717-541-0618.

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