What’s CIMS-GB and why should you care?

We’re not those people who like to shout about our accolades, but in this instance it’s important. As the world prioritizes cleaning and disinfection, you need to understand what CIMS-GB is and why it matters that your cleaning company has the certification.

The reason? Because the world’s full of misleading messages, plenty of snake oil and tons of hype – particularly when it comes to cleaning, thanks to the pandemic stirring up opportunists. So, for that reason we’re going to break down the value of a CIMS-GB certification and what it means when your janitorial partner has it on their resumé.

For starters, what is CIMS-GB?

CIMS-GB stands for Cleaning Industry Management Standard-Green Building. It’s a certification issued by ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association that’s responsible for setting and upholding professional standards among its members.

To become CIMS-GB certified with honors, an organization has to demonstrate that it meets or exceeds the industry standard in the core areas of business, all while showcasing professionalism and a customer-focused approach that can provide sophisticated, proven green-cleaning programs for its clients.

Those areas of focus are:

  • Quality systems
  • Service delivery
  • Human resources
  • Health, safety and environmental stewardship
  • Management commitment

Only a handful of organizations have earned CIMS-GB with honors, but you may still ask: So what? Fair question, so let’s dig in.

A Commitment to Quality + Service

These are easy words to throw around, but to earn CIMS-GB you have to prove it. And that’s what we’ve done at KleenMark for years.

For starters, our teams undergo some of the most extensive training in the industry. Along with proven processes that ensure facilities are adequately cleaned and disinfected to meet your needs, we invest in our people.

To give you an example, we recently sent a large team to Diversey’s headquarters for a multi-day training program. Working with the leading chemical company, our team underwent a masterclass in chemical handling, application and the latest processes needed to handle increasingly demanding disinfection needs.

Additionally, we were one of the first organizations to use third-party trainers to teach our team how to safely and thoroughly disinfect against COVID-19. And we’re not talking about corporate reps. We worked with infectious control experts who provided medical-grade processes and approaches.

Of course, those are only two examples. But to earn CIMS-GB, it requires rigorous, ongoing training. And it’s something our leadership team committed to long before certifications existed.

“KleenMark is in the top one-quarter of one percent of all cleaning services providers,” said Bruce Stark, a certified CIMS assessor. It’s also important to point out that CIMS started in 2007 and KleenMark became certified in 2008, one of the first 40 companies to do so.”

Health and safety. Turned up to 10.

We clean a lot of medical facilities – and we did so prior to COVID-19. Health and safety processes have been engrained in our model for years. But it goes beyond how to disinfect properly.

Our teams understand what chemicals to use and when. They know what’s safe to use around your employees, how to handle biohazards – and everything in between.

On top of that, we’re one of very few commercial janitorial companies that employees a full-time health and safety manager. This allows us to ensure our teams are always up-to-date on best practices, ranging from OSHA standards to disinfection dwell times.

“The pandemic has caused clients to seek CIMS-certified cleaning services providers because they all have pandemic plans, processes, chemicals, and trained staff to help reduce the risk of COVID to their clients and the clients customers,” Stark said.

Going Green Matters

While the pandemic led many organizations to focus heavily on “disinfection at all costs”, having a thoughtful cleaning program that’s good for the environment, your employees and your customers is critical.

Being CIMS-GB certified means many things, but ultimately it means we’re trained to help you achieve your environmental goals. By working with an organization like KleenMark, the facilities we clean are, by default, also CIMS-GB certified.

We meet a number of other standards as well, ranging from having established processes that minimalize our impact on the environment to prioritizing chemicals and energy-efficient equipment that’s better for the world.

To learn more about our green-cleaning practices, click here.

Want to talk more about what CIMS-GB means to you? Get in touch any time.

Soft-surface disinfection: Tips for tackling upholstery, drapes and more

Walk into almost any store, office or clinic and you’ll see someone wiping down door handles and spraying tables with disinfectant. What you may not see is another important side of cleaning: Soft-surface disinfection. 

While it’s relatively easy to disinfect hard surfaces if you have the right chemicals and training, soft surfaces such as upholstery, drapes and furniture aren’t as straightforward. The reason may be obvious: Soft surfaces absorb chemicals, which can leave them wet and potentially damaged. 

Luckily, we have proven methods for disinfecting soft surfaces. While you won’t perform this task nearly as often, it’s an important part of your cleaning program. For that reason, we’ve laid out what chemicals and tools we recommend. 

Preferred soft-surface disinfectants 

Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of chemicals designed for soft surfaces that are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to kill COVID-19.  

We prefer Triple S’s SSS Triple Carpet Cleaner/Deodorizer & Hard Non-Porous Surface Disinfectant. While originally designed as a carpet cleaner, it works wonderfully on other soft surfaces without leaving a residue. 

Along with being one of only a few antimicrobial products to kill COVID-19 in carpets and soft surfaces, Triple S’s product also works as a cleaner and deodorizer. Any time we can tackle three jobs with one chemical, we’re fans. 

Tools for the job 

Given that the best chemical for the job was originally designed for cleaning commercial carpets, it’s meant to be extracted.  

Use a portable spot remover and cleaner when disinfecting soft surfaces with Triple S’s cleaner. These machines have a wand that allows you to spray the disinfectant and then extract it using suction.  

This process is generally most effective when disinfecting things like chairs, couches in your lobby or other pieces of furniture. A portable extraction unit requires you to take drapes and curtains down to disinfect them. 

For drapes and curtains, we’re also using the Blue Evolution steamer that uses UV to disinfect. We’ve had good results so far, and likely will continue to use them in facilities such as clinics, where frequent soft-surface disinfection is needed. 

How often do you disinfect soft surfaces? 

This admittedly is the most difficult thing to pin down. We generally like to assess the industry, infection-control needs and foot traffic for a facility before making a recommendation. 

With that said, we generally recommend cleaning and disinfecting soft surfaces before reopening a building, given that your employees are going to have heightened expectations for what they consider clean.  

After reopening, we find many industries will do a deep cleaning of soft surfaces annually. In health care, it’s common to do it quarterly – if  not more often. 

If you’re unsure what you need for soft-surface disinfection give us a call. We’re always happy to talk through your facility’s specific needs to help you develop a program that works.   

About the author 

Mike Staver is director of operations at KleenMark, where he oversees a team of more than 800 technicians who clean more than 25 million square feet each day. 

Commercial cleaning robots: Are they effective?

When it comes to commercial cleaning robots, there’s more to them than meets the eye.

That’s because while the idea of a giant, robot vacuum quietly cleaning the halls of your 100,000 square-foot office building is inspiring, it’s unfortunately not that simple (never is, right?).

For that reason, we’ve broken down what we like and don’t like – and the role we see for cleaning robots at this time.

What we like about commercial cleaning robots

Well, first and foremost we like the idea of commercial cleaning robots. To think that we could program a large floor cleaner to run itself, freeing our teams up to focus on other tasks, is intriguing.

We’ve seen robots thrive in large, single-floor retail spaces with wide aisles.

Where we’ve seen robots thrive is in large retail spaces, where they have long, wide aisles. They’re efficient in this setting because the machine doesn’t have to be moved to different floors and you don’t need to buy more than one.

Also, robots are always on the job. They don’t call in sick for work or get distracted by their cell phones. That’s tremendously valuable when trying to provide an efficient cleaning service.

What we don’t like

One of the biggest issues is cost. These machines range in price, but often can cost as much as $50,000.

To see the return on investment, you really need to be sure a robot is efficient and saving you labor hours. We’re continuing to study this, but often, especially in multi-floor buildings, the robots aren’t as efficient as our professional cleaning crews.

Large commercial cleaning robots also aren’t ideal for smaller spaces. For instance, they can’t work around desks or even in some narrow hallways. With a focus on consistent, quality results, we aren’t yet able to count on robots to do the job.

Lastly, reliability is a concern. So far, the ones we’ve tested seem to be well-engineered, well-built units. But, every machine needs maintenance and that equates to downtime. Also, robots have to be trained, which means we have to teach our cleaning technicians how to operate them.

The verdict

At this point, commercial cleaning robots aren’t our go-to machines for vacuuming and floor cleaning. They’re costly and somewhat cumbersome. Also, our crews are well trained and efficient to a degree robots haven’t yet matched.

With that said, robotic cleaners are here to stay. They already play a viable role in certain types of facilities, including warehouses. And, they’re only going to get better and more cost effective. I’m optimistic their time to shine (the floor) will come.

About the author

Mike Staver is director of operations at KleenMark, where he oversees a team of more than 800 technicians who clean more than 25 million square feet each day.

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