GREEN Cleaning

and how to find a pro cleaning service...

Looking for a Professional Cleaning Service?

Keeping a home or office clean can be a daunting and never-ending chore that consumes much manpower, and resources and time.  If you find yourself consumed with the management and upkeep of your home or office, consider hiring a professional service like Gimme The Dirt Ltd. to meet your housekeeping or facilities management requirements.

This guide covers everything to expect from a housekeeping or janitorial services, what questions to ask and what to look for, plus how to distinguish between conventional and green cleaning.  

Depending on your location or your company's facilities size, these services are referred to by several names: housekeeper, cleaning service or janitorial service. “Maid” historically referred to a salaried, live-in employee of wealthy homes who ran the household much like a butler. Today, it’s just another name for a housekeeper.

Steps to Choosing the Right Cleaning Service

Choosing the right service is a straightforward process of research and asking the right questions. This guide covers all these steps to getting the right service for your needs.

  1. Find out what services cover.

  2. Determine your budget and what you really need done daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually.

  3. Interview services and ask the right questions.

  4. Understand what to expect when the service starts.

  5. Review your service contract.

Professional Cleaner vs. Personal Organizer

Before you choose a cleaning service or helper, ask yourself if you really need it.  If you run a business, it's not a matter of if, but when and how much. If what you’re trying to avoid is a clutter and random messes, you may want to opt for a personal organizer.  They organize your space, design better storage solutions and help you get – and stay – clutter free.

What Services Do Cleaning Companies Offer?

Cleaning services vary from common or basic cleaning to deep and specialized. Most service companies start with a base package then move into specialized ongoing or one-time services for your specific needs. Special house cleaning services are often available for larger jobs such as garages, post-moving or post-construction.

Cleaning services, staffed by trained professional cleaning technicians, are available in a wide variety of options including:

  • Regularly scheduled weekly visits.

  • Regularly scheduled biweekly visits.

  • One-time assistance on special occasions.

  • Demanding tasks such as garage or basement cleaning.

  • Events – before and after.

 

Some companies also offer gift certificates, discounts, seasonal deals.

Basic vs. Customized Cleaning 

Cleaning needs vary greatly based on your home type, environment, office size and use, location, and what you really want and need.  With most large companies, you can expect a basic package with optional services as an add on.  Most plans start with a deep clean which covers the entire space.  One-time visits tend to cost twice as much as a regularly scheduled recurring visit.  But how much is your free time worth to you?  The average American spends about 13 hours per week doing house chores, and companies spend significant amounts keeping their space tidy and safe for their customers and employees. 

Cleaning services cost an average of $150 per visit.  Service providers charge per hour or per area as a flat rate – the larger the space, the higher the price.  You may be quoted more per hour for a larger cleaning company, but they generally work in teams to get the job done quickly.

Tips For Hiring A Cleaning Service

Interview several cleaning services before choosing one. Before hiring a service, interview at least 3 companies.  Be sure to collect references or check online reviews before your contact them.  This will save you time and them unnecessary or clients that don't match.  If they provide previous client contact information, ask those references how satisfied they were with the service professional’s:

  • Punctuality or schedule availability

  • Cleaning skills and equipment

  • Attitude or work ethic, and

  • Professionalism or trustworthiness

 

It is common for a cleaning service to arrive at your location equipped with all the necessary supplies for the job such as solvents, brushes, brooms and vacuums. In some cases, a service will request to use your equipment and supplies; or, if you are a commercial space or business, the service may require you obtain your own supplies and equipment specific for your space.  If someone in your household or office has allergies, consult your cleaning service to discuss specific products that may be beneficial such as green solutions.

Before any work begins, determine the exact scope of the services you may require or need.  Businesses should consult with their facilities/operations team.  You may also want to negotiate additional chores above a regular cleaning routine, like laundry.  Get all of this in writing (contract).  Consider co-creating a list of expectations and responsibilities of the service.  Be very specific and don’t expect the professional to know exactly how you want something done unless you tell them.  Every space is unique as the people who inhabit them.  

Spend a few minutes going over areas you want cleaned and think about your needs or requirements. If it is important that certain areas receive special attention each visit, point them out.   Let them know what concerns or spaces are your top priority.   Make sure you find a service that is open to custom requests, like Gimme The Dirt Ltd.  Prior to each visit, be sure to leave a list of problem areas.

The type of space you own/rent may affect service. Accessible parking locations and coded gates may create accessibility barriers that increase travel time and thus costs.  Be sure to discuss any issues with location before committing to a service.  Also make sure your home/business is in the service area to avoid extra travel fees. Keep the following in mind and plan accordingly:

  • Condominiums and apartments are multi-unit dwellings. Your service provider may need special clearance to enter the building or complex.

  • Townhomes and duplexes usually have direct exterior entrances. However, parking may be an issue for your service provider, especially if your home is part of a complex.

  • Houses usually have direct exterior entrances and ample street parking. However, some homes can be quite large and may be part of a gated community. These issues will affect your cleaning service.

  • Business locations and offices are fairly easy to access, generally speaking.  However, they sometimes may require clearance or passing through security.

 

Discuss payment, terms and conditions, as well as policies before your appointment or prior to signing a contract.  The service might have an established system in place already.  If not, decide if you want to pay after each visit, or monthly.  Some companies, like Gimme The Dirt Ltd do not offer payment arrangements unless you establish an account with them.  Be clear about included services and expectations in the cleaning service prices.  

 

The Pros and Cons of GREEN Cleaning

We’ve all used conventional cleaning products and looked at the label and wondered what exactly those ingredients are. After that, however, we don’t give it much thought.  But the truth is most of the ingredients in conventional cleaning products are toxic to highly toxic, or even cancerous.  Using green cleaning solutions instead of conventional products has its pros and cons, but mostly good benefits and it's important to consider different kinds of cleaning products or solutions to tackle different jobs.

 

Green cleaning products can actually be pretty hard to find or very expensive.   However, Gimme The Dirt Ltd. formulates its own solutions using solely earth-friendly, non-toxic compounds and solutions like borax, baking soda, distilled vinegar, organic soap, etc.  Some companies have pledges not to use knowingly harmful chemicals in their products.  These are some of the best products on the market, but not all products are created equally.  Most green products advertise they are green and don’t use harmful ingredients. They also list all ingredients on the label so you’ll know what is in them, unlike some other products.   And some "green" products aren't as green as they claim though, so always check labels and stay away from products that don't disclose what's in them.

Ingredients To Watch Out For in Cleaning Products and Solutions

Watch out for chemicals like:

  • Formaldehyde...this has actually been found in certain laundry detergents and highly toxic. 

  • Thiourea

  • Perchloroethylene

  • Nonylphenol Ethoxylate

  • Butoxydiglycol

  • DEGBE

  • Phthalates...these are often listed as "fragrance".

  • Ammonia

  • Bleach

 

Many of these ingredients are skin or lung irritants and some are carcinogens. 

 

Cons To Green Cleaning Products

Green products usually come at a higher price point and take a little bit more muscle for the same level of clean that you get from traditional products.  However, we've formulated a few custom green cleaning solutions that work more effectively than conventional ones and have found Green Seal products that are also quite effective.  The only product that can’t really match is chlorine products such as bleach. These chemicals aren’t necessary to cleaning, though. They just make the job a bit easier.

Pros To Green Cleaning Products

One of the many benefits of green cleaning is that green solutions and products won’t damage surfaces over time like traditional products can.  They are also better for the environment if you are using something that needs to go down the drain.  They don't create issues like poor indoor air quality, toxic environments, health problems. Think of green cleaning much like organic food, what goes into it is what you'll get on every surface and introduce into your environment.  They also have no harmful effects if you accidently come in contact with them to your skin or eyes, or have pets or children.  In the long-term, you are less exposed to toxins which is better for your health.

 

The mode of action of traditional cleaners is based mainly on synthetic chemicals. While these products may be effective, they have been associated with numerous health and environmental issues. The main side effects of cleaning products include irritation of the eyes and of upper and lower airway mucous membranes and respiratory; however, skin irritation is often the principle side effect as this organ is the main area of contact.  The toxic nature of some traditional cleaning products and solutions is due to constituents such as ammonia, solvents and sodium hypochlorite, all of which have been associated with skin irritation, lung irritation or airway problems. Fragrance, a complex product made up of numerous chemicals and a constituent of many cleaners, was voted Allergen of the Year, 2007 by the American Contact Dermatitis Society.

Although consumers appear to have formed the impression that green products are also beneficial for health, the reality is that there are constituents in some green cleaning products that may cause irritancy or inhalation difficulties for those suffering from asthma and allergies.  Environmentally friendly cleaning product ingredients such as coconut derived surfactants (eg sodium lauryl sulphate and cocamide DEA) have been associated with contact dermatitis, contact allergies and skin irritation. Fragrances, whether derived from natural or synthetic sources may still cause allergic contact dermatitis as well as respiratory irritation. Therefore it is not always the case that green products are health friendly to sensitive individuals, as it is still possible that constituents of green cleaners may have adverse consequences in such people.

To control asthma and allergies, sufferers and their families are advised to discourage pets and to reduce dust and mold levels in the home. An effective cleaner is necessary to achieve this. It is important to emphasise that there is little point to a cleaning product that is harmless to the consumer but is inadequate in its cleaning performance. There is a need for products that are effective and healthy for both the environment and the consumer. However the balance of these characteristics is not easy and the action of third party certification to control these matters would be vital.

Visit www.GimmeTheDirt.net for more information or to learn about our green cleaning service for residential or office spaces.

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