The Newlife Cleaning Systems Cleaning Blog
Since the weather outside is so cheerful, we thought a lighthearted blog post would be the order of the day. And what better way, than letting you know about a cleaning industry treasure that’s recently been written about in a Tomorrow’s Cleaning article.
If nothing else, this story is a lesson in the advantages of buying high-quality products. It also hints towards the benefits of never throwing anything out- something which some people make a virtue out of, and others detest.
The star of the show is an 108 year old vacuum cleaner, which has been discovered, still in perfect working condition.
The story goes, that a collector by the name of Harry Cox, plucked this most ancient of household objects from his workplace. Harry worked in a paper merchant factory- somewhat surprising when you think that the an antique vacuum cleaner would be more likely to be found in a long-standing cleaning company.
In the lead-up to Harry’s company moving premises, they were having a cull of unwanted items; something which typically comes alongside a big move, and the vacuum cleaner in question was among the items to be thrown out during this process. The article reported that it was only Mr Cox’s penchant for collectables, that saved the vacuum from destruction- he has a hobby of collecting old things, and getting them working again- especially obscure objects that he hasn’t seen before. Reluctant to see such an archaic piece of anything go to waste, Harry stopped them in their tracks.
For those interested in the particular make of vacuum cleaner, it was an American Sturtevant, which looks like the picture below. It was used for hotels and other residential areas, and came equipped with brushes, and add-ons to vacuum upholstery, such as curtains and furniture. It is a testament to the quality of this machine, that it is still working to the standard that it was back in 1904, when it was first produced, and even more surprising that it isn’t a product designed for heavy-duty work, or especially hard-wearing.
At Newlife, we can’t promise that we’ll conduct or clean-ups for you using famous machines, but we can guarantee you’ll use high-quality ones. To find out about our range of services, please visit our website, at www.newlifecleaning.com.
You can read the original article here.
It’s official, we have now moved into the first few days of spring- phew! To mark this occasion, whilst tying our profession in with this season, we’re going to give you some tips on this year’s spring clean. Undertaking a spring clean is the perfect way for you to freshen up your home, and wash away the damp and mildew from the winter. It will make it a more healthy place for you to live; removing any lingering bacteria that you might not even know exists yet.
What’s the difference between a spring clean, and one done at any other time of the year? For most people, it is the most thorough you’ll do all year. It’s the one you’ll make the effort to move the sofas for, clean out the cupboards, and give every nook and cranny a good once-over. It’s that time for you to completely strip back your home. Hopefully, our tips will allow you to do this in an effective way, that won’t take up too much of your time.
So what are our tips?
Firstly, although it may seem like an obvious one, clean systematically. It’s much easier to keep track of your clean, if you tackle each room from start to finish. This will give you at least 3-4 miniature triumphs over the process, ticking off each room as you finish. This also helps people who have limited time, as your work will be done in shorter bursts, which you can pick up and put down as it suits.
Secondly, in every room you clean, begin by removing the things you don’t currently use, that is taking up the much-needed space, for no particular purpose. Be ruthless, as removing excess possessions will instantly make your room look cleaner, and more open. Your unwanted items fall into two camps; the things that are broken or damaged, to be thrown out, and the things which are in a reasonable condition. Use the latter to either give something back, by giving it to local charity shops, or get a little bit more cash, by selling them online.
Once this is done, it’s best to create an ordered cleaning system, which you follow for each room. This will help you to ensure that nothing is missed.
As you begin, open the windows in the room. This will instantly make the room feel fresher.
You will need to set to task on any concealed areas first, so they are not forgotten. This could include areas such as kitchen units, bedroom wardrobes, or cupboards under the stairs, depending on the room you’re in. Clear everything out of the area, before you begin your in-depth clean. This will help you to reach every corner, so you can make sure the whole area is sanitised. We recommend that you wash it twice; once, with soap and water, to remove the dust that’s accumulated since the last spring clean, and once with antibacterial polish, to ensure that everything is spotless.
On an additional note, it could also be beneficial to you to use all-natural products whilst you clean. These can be just as effective as the non-natural ones, and are much kinder to the environment. They do not release toxic emissions that could harm the user, or the surrounding atmosphere.
For these concealed, internal spaces, make sure that every surface has been given attention. Then, as you replace the items, decide whether they need a clean too. They could be kitchen utensils, such as pots, pans and plates, or coats that haven’t been worn for months. Although it may take a little bit more time, it will make a bit difference if spotlessly clean items are placed back in the area, and will keep it sanitary for longer.
After internal spaces have been done, you need to start looking at the visible surfaces; benches, walls, skirting boards, windows, and everything else the eye can see.
For varnished surfaces, such as door frames and doors, you can simply wipe and polish them clean. Your painted walls, however, might be a little bit different, as a damp cloth may remove some of the paint in the process. In these instances, touching up small blemishes with small, sample paints pots, will instantly remove the damage, and make your walls look refreshed.
As before, we recommend that you wash these surfaces initially, to remove any dust that may have collected there, before you disinfect and polish it. For these, and every other surface, cleaning from top to bottom is the best, most regulated approach to take- especially when working on windows. This also has the added advantage that you can sweep any bits of dust and grime onto the floor, which will be taken care of in the next step.
Finally, target your floors- whether they’re wooden, laminate or carpeted, you should still always begin with a thorough vacuum of the area. Make sure that, because it’s a spring clean after all, you move your furniture to fully cleanse the property. Follow up with a disinfecting mop on all uncarpeted surfaces.
You may decide, if your poor carpet has been the victim of many stains this year, to enlist the services of a professional carpet cleaner. The process, which will only take up a day, will make carpets look instantly as good as new, without the cost of buying new carpets.
This is something we at Newlife can arrange for you, if you require. If you would like any more advice on our carpet cleaning services, please visit our website, or contact our offices on 0800 018 9099.
Keeping carpets clean in your premises can often be a difficult task- especially if they are areas of heavy traffic where spillages become almost a guarantee. With thanks to the Daily Telegraph, and Reader’s Digest’s 1000 Ways to Save Money and Time, we have found a way for you to maintain the appearance of your carpets and upholstery, without having to invest in expensive cleaning products. A range of different stains can be eradicated, simply by the use of cornflower from your kitchen cupboard.
Removing ink from carpets
Firstly, you need to mix the cornflower with a small amount of milk, the quantities of the mixture should be so, that it forms a paste. Then apply the paste directly to the stain, and allow to dry- this could take anything up to a few hours- before you can revisit the stain. Once the paste is dry, you simply need to brush it away from the carpet fibres, which should lift the ink stain away too. Then just vacuum the remnants, to be left with a clean, ink stain-free carpet.
Removing blood from carpets and upholstery
Unfortunately, accidents do happen, and when they do you can prevent any damage to your upholstery with fast action and cornflower.
As soon as you notice the blood stain on the fabric, create a paste out of cornflower and water. Apply the paste directly to the stain, and work the mixture into the fabric’s fibres. Once this is done, leave the fabric somewhere warm and dry, where the paste will quickly be absorbed. Brush away the dry mixture, to lift some of the blood. If a stain still remains, repeat the process again.
The cornflower may not 100% remove the blood stain from the fabric, depending on how ingrained the stain is and whether the blood has dried or not. It will, however, be the fastest solution you have to the task at hand.
In addition to the removal of stains, cornflower is also excellent at removing any unpleasant scents from carpets. All you need to do is evenly sprinkle cornflower onto your carpet before you vacuum; it will remove unpleasant odours from the carpet with ease.
If these simple methods cannot clean your carpet, we have carpet cleaning services available, which will get your carpets looking as good as new. Please visit the Newlife Cleaning Systems website for more details.
A landmark payout has been awarded to a pensioner after he suffered severe burns from sitting on his “toxic sofa”. Maurice Heminsley, a 68 year old from the West Midlands was awarded an undisclosed four figure payout after he was left with severe chemical burns from his imported leather sofa. Upholstery cleaning firms should be aware that there are large numbers of these sofas amongst the population as a whole.
Mr Heminsley purchased the sofa from Furniture Warehouse unaware that it was packed with a toxic fungicide now banned in the EU. The dehumidifier dimethyl fumerate (DMF) was contained within the “toxic sofa” and lead to the pensioner developing a rash across his neck, back and legs after just a couple of days. Within three months the rash had developed into a set of agonising open sores requiring hospital treatment.
The pensioner’s settlement has paved the way for thousands of similar claims from others who have also suffered due to imported furniture containing DMF. It is quite likely that there are many more people suffering in silence from injuries like Mr Heminsley’s. Upholstery cleaning companies should be on the look out for these imported sofas and inform owners of the potential danger contained within them. Doing so will hopefully prevent others from suffering in the way Mr Heminsley has.
His sister, Joyce Barham described him as being “in a terrible state” before comparing his wounds to those of a burns victim. Mr Heminsley was taken to hospital to be treated for acute contact dermatitis as a result of his “toxic” Chinese sofa. His entire ordeal could have been avoided if his sofa came to the attention of trained upholstery cleaners.
Alongside the undisclosed payout Furniture Warehouse also provided a full refund for the sofa which housed the toxic dehumidifier. The sofas were sold by numerous retailers throughout 2007 and 2008. These included Land of Leather, Argos and several independent furniture retailers. The DMF sachets were intended to prevent the leather furniture from going mouldy while it was being stored.
Since May 1st 2009 the European Commission has banned all products containing DMF. The biocide should no longer be found on the market within the EU and it is hoped that the larger furniture retailers will find a swift resolution to the claims lodged against them. Despite the illegality of DMF upholstery cleaners should remain vigilant, it is likely many people still own sofas containing the toxic dehumidifier and are completely oblivious of what it can do.
Last year I was sitting in a monthly BDM (Business development meeting) with the rest of our management team discussing replacing one of our Bane-Clene truck mounted carpet cleaning units’ when it struck me that we had been operating the same machine for over twenty years!
Wow! That made me feel my age but it also brought back fond memories of my very first visit to America and Indianapolis, home of the Bane family. Yes these machines and the whole Bane system are the brainchild of a real life family firm who live and breath carpet cleaning and put into practice on a daily basis their principles, which make them the acknowledged leader in the field of carpet and soft furnishing cleaning.
Originally their equipment was distributed in the UK by an American called Bob Kelly who used to flog up and down the country in a big Renault Master van doing demo’s for anyone interested in truck mounts. You have to remember back in the 80’s a truck mount was a really unusual piece of equipment when most operators were still using small portables and Bob found it really hard to make users realise the benefits the Bane system would bring them.
Whenever Bob was passing through the North of England I used to always give him a bed for the night and we would yarn about carpet cleaning and the industry in general over a few beers. In a typical example of ‘what goes around comes around’ when Bob eventually decided he couldn’t afford to continue his one man crusade to turn British carpet cleaners onto the merits of truck mounts, he gave me the opportunity of buying one of his demo models at a discount in return for the support we had given him.
It was all well and good getting the truck mount at a discounted price but at the time we couldn’t afford to buy the van for the gear to go in and there was resistance to investing ten grand in buying one just to have it dedicated solely to carpet cleaning. Just as it does now the market appeared to be dominated by “blow-and-suck” merchants who advertise that they clean a room for a fiver and your whole house for twenty-five quid so the idea of using a twenty thousand pounds set up to clean carpets appeared total madness.
It was then that I visited Bane-Clene’s Indianapolis facility for their annual convention. This was an awe inspiring visit as I saw at first hand the devotion and belief our fellow operators had in Bane-Clene as suppliers and as a force for good in the carpet cleaning industry. Messianic is the only word I could use to describe the atmosphere. Remember this is a bunch of self employed small business owners, the archetypal independent type of person and they were so committed to being the best at what they do that it was, to a Brit, almost embarrassing as was the almost a religious fervour.
Here I heard for the first time that Bane-Clene guaranteed their equipment for 5 years. So what you might think but you have to remember that at that time even when you bought a new car in the U.K. you were lucky to get a one year guarantee never mind 5 years. It was this simple fact – belief in how good their gear was, combined with everything I has seen and heard from the operators at the convention that persuaded me I had to really push the system and prove that it would work in the UK as well as it did in the States.
Returning home, I took the first step towards getting the equipment mobile. Initially using a twin wheeled trailer, aka ‘The Painted Wagon’ as it had a canvas cover, we used to take just the base unit out to do domestics. After months of towing ‘The Painted wagon’ around we realised that there was enough business to warrant a Merc van Our big break through came though when we purchased a small carpet cleaning company called Maple Leaf that had gone into liquidation. They already operated a couple of truck mounts but they were massive, noisy jet engined machines that ran on diesel and operated at far too high a temperature and pressure to clean carpets safely.
We moved them on as fast as we could then installed Bane equipment instead. The effect this had on the Operators who had transferred to us from Maple Leaf was immediate. They realised straight away the benefits of the new equipment far more readily than other Newlife personnel as they had more experience operating truck mounts and couldn’t believe the results being achieved by simply plugging in a three-pin plug. No screaming engines, no smelly dangerous derv, and no high pressure hoses which constantly split spitting out scalding water.
That was twenty years ago and yes we did order a new machine. Infact we went one better and visited Mr and Mrs Bane Snr. both at their Indianapolis offices and at their home. When we told them this story it delighted them so much they offered us distributorship rights for their range in the UK. We haven’t taken them up on their offer yet but who knows what the future holds.
The moral of the tale though is that by setting your stall out as a specialist then setting your standards and aspirations at the highest level possible you can grow a business which is recognised all around the world as the acknowledged leader in it’s field.
Yet again it appears health scares are being used to drive the sale of specialist vacuum cleaners and mattress protectors to asthma suffers desperately searching for a “silver-bullet”, magical cure to breathing problems thought to be caused by the common house mites found in their bedding and soft furnishings.
A review by experts concluded that they failed to curb the allergens commonly held to be the trigger to asthma attacks.
Ordinary house dust contains innumerable allergens but the major cause for concern is considered to be the mites and their waste products.
Many asthmatics are allergic to these mites that live in the dust around the house, such as in bedding, carpets and soft furnishings.
Heavily promoted methods of tackling the mites include mattress and pillow protectors, washing soft furnishings at high temperatures (60C+), special cleaning agents, encapsulation in dry-ice baths and high powered vacuum cleaners fitted with very fine exhaust filters.
However a review of over 50 previous studies – including a survey of over 3000 asthmatics has found no evidence that such methods are effective. Even after such esoteric treatments it was found that the level of allergens were still high enough to trigger asthmatic attacks for the 8% of the British population who are sufferers.
The review, published by Cochrane Collaboration, involved analysing 36 trials involving physical interventions such as mattress protectors designed to block mites out to a further 10 studies using chemical methodology and a further 8 trials combining both chemical and physical interventions.
With Acknowledgement to Daily Telegraph
The UK Cochrane Centre was established at the end of 1992, by the National Health Service Research and Development Programme, ‘to facilitate and co-ordinate the preparation and maintenance of systematic reviews of randomised controlled trials of health care’. During its initial period of funding (1992-1995), the Centre’s objectives included a number of activities intended to promote international collaboration in this work. Centre staff worked with others to help establish The Cochrane Collaboration, which was launched at the first Cochrane Colloquium in Oxford in October 1993. The UK Cochrane Centre is now one of twelve Cochrane Centres around the world, which provide the infrastructure for co-ordinating The Cochrane Collaboration. The Centre supports contributors to The Cochrane Collaboration in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Turkey and countries in the Middle East.
In the Contract Cleaning industry many of our Green efforts are focused on using less aggressive chemicals or introducing equipment such as foam generators and low-pressure steamers, which maximise cleaning results while minimising chemical inputs. But we also need to have regard for the impact our processes can have on the environment.
Consider for example the phenomenon that our Bane-Clene Carpet cleaning division call “Uglied Out”
Most carpet specifiers and major users don’t realise that carpets are actually designed to hide dirt. When I was a child in the 50’s, the majority of carpeting in most homes was a square of patterned woollen carpet surrounded by a perimeter of “lino”. Once a year the carpet would be taken outside, hung over the washing line then literally beaten to release the dirt and grit that had been absorbed even though the carpet had been ”Hoovered” regularly. It would then be wet cleaned either by hand scrubbing or if you were high-tech using 1001 carpet cleaning detergent. Forget hot water extraction, I don’t think it existed then and if you were going to scrub a commercial installation it was a case of using a high foaming detergent and a low speed polisher fitted with a scrubbing head and tank.
Now most carpeting is made with new generation fibres and man made backing materials. Whereas dust and grit has always fallen to the base of the pile tufts with this new generation, often triangular shaped fibres, the soil is even more hidden from the naked eye. The result is that instead of doing an annual “Spring Clean” now, carpet cleaning only gets done when the carpet can’t physically absorb any more dirt and it becomes visible to the naked eye.
Unlike the natural fibres of yore the dirt and soil abrades the new generation fibres causing them to lose their lustre and distort. The net result is dirty dingy traffic lanes set into a carpet packed with pounds of dirt and grit to the square metre. This is the point where we say the carpet has “uglied out” not worn out. And it’s all due to the lack of a basic maintenance programme.
What happens next though is the environmental disaster. With the carpet past the point that a restoration clean can save it, the only option is dumping it to waste. But unlike natural fibre carpets whose final journey could often be to the bottom of the garden where it was used as a weed suppressant or compost cover, new generation fibres and backing do not degrade and get absorbed back into the soil. Just like plastic bags it is estimated that they can take up to 50 years to rot and disappear.
How can you help stop this waste of resources and damage to the natural environment? Well if up to 80% of the contaminants in a carpet are dry soil, the simple answer is the use of vacuum cleaner on as regular basis as your premises needs. Pay double attention to entrances and high traffic zones, use dust mats to trap dirt and reduce the amount being tracked into your building in the first place. Above all though implement a proper planned maintenance-cleaning programme. Just because your carpets can look clean doesn’t mean that they are.