A well-maintained building makes an excellent first impression.
Of course, the outside is the first thing visitors will see, but the inside matters just as much.
Clean floors, uncluttered workspaces and fresh-smelling carpets all make people feel welcome – whether they’re employees or potential customers.
Having the right information and putting it into practice is a winning combination.
Here are 20 commercial cleaning tips and tricks you can follow to keep your office space or business in tip-top shape.
1. Change your air filters
Air filters in your heating and air conditioning system are a magnet for outside yuck, such as allergens, dirt, dust and – in some extreme cases – mildew.
Dirty air filters have unhealthy and costly consequences
A biggie is allergies that can be severe enough to cause missed days of work – simply from dirty, contaminated air.
That’s not going to do much for your business’ productivity, is it?
A few other issues that can arise from dirty air filters include:
The coil freezes because there isn’t enough airflow.
Premature furnace failure
Dirty filters also cause the furnace to work that much harder, making the equipment not last as long. You may face an expensive repair or total replacement.
Carpet wears out faster
Dirt, dust and oil particles that escape the soiled filter land on carpets. As the carpet is walked on, the soil grinds into the fiber acting like sandpaper, causing the carpet fibers to break down more quickly.
It’s recommended that you replace air filters monthly, but that frequency also depends on the type of filter you use.
Advanced filters can last a little longer between cleanings and replacements.
Consult the manufacturer of the filter or the furnace for a recommended schedule.
But, when in doubt….replace it!
Here’s a bonus business cleaning tip: Add commercial furnace filter changes to your calendar.
Like NOW, before you forget.
2. Clean your carpets on a schedule
Often, some of the carpet doesn’t need to be cleaned with the rest of the business carpets, such as in an unused office or the top floor of a four-story building.
For example, the top floor of a building won’t get as much soiling, because most of the yuck has already been transferred to entries, stairs and elevators.
BUT (Why does there always need to be a but?), let’s use the fourth floor as an example again.
Even though you so kindly left the soil from your shoes on the first floor, the carpet still needs to be cleaned.
Because carpet acts as a filter, collecting allergens, dust, dirt and oils out of the air. Allergens that are trapped in the carpet as it’s walked on or vacuumed recirculate in the air, causing allergies, which can lead to missed days of work.
And no work = no production.
Dust particles also work like sandpaper, breaking down the fibers of the carpet as they’re walked on, causing worn, matted fibers.
So, to answer the question, “How often should my carpet be cleaned?”:
It depends on the amount of foot traffic the carpet receives. Here are some guidelines to follow:
Carpet cleaning frequency recommendations
Busy offices, first floors of buildings, common areas, and restaurants
You should clean the high-traffic areas of the carpet monthly using a thermal extraction process, as recommended by carpet manufacturers.
For every other cleaning, we recommend getting underneath desks, waiting room chairs and tables to remove dust and allergens.
Medical facility, dental office or moderately busy office space
Clean the high-trafficked areas of the floors on a quarterly basis. Clean the carpets under chairs, desks, etc. annually.
Top floors, rooms or businesses that don’t get much traffic
Clean these annually.
**We highly recommend checking with your carpet manufacturer to stay within the guidelines of warranties before cleaning your commercial carpets.
Bonus tip: Routine and proper cleaning methods will extend the life of the carpet, saving you from paying expensive restoration or replacement costs. Now that’s a cleaning tip your business can take to the bank!
3. Keep the outside of your building safe
Outdoor walkways – especially slate, tile and stone – can become very slippery and hazardous in areas that don’t see the sunshine. Nobody wants a lawsuit or an L&I claim – ugh.
Another downfall of the weather is that it destroys the vibrancy and the appearance of outdoor aggregate tile and stone surfaces.
We also see a lot of rust stains from iron furniture and outdoor planters that have been fertilized with iron, copper and other minerals.
How to keep your outdoor space safe
- Use a broom and sweep walkways leading to the front doors frequently to remove debris and dirt from the surface.
- Hose off these areas occasionally to remove substances and stains.
- Some light pressure washers can be used on surfaces. Test an inconspicuous area before proceeding, ensuring there’s no loss of grout, and that no etching or chipping of natural stone occurs. *Be cautious of high-pressure washers, which can easily damage concrete and tile surfaces, wearing them out much faster than normal.
- A rough surface is more prone to collect dirt and mildew. Periodically sprinkle some baking soda over the affected areas to slow the growth of moss and mildew, and – as an added bonus – it’s all-natural and not harmful to the environment.
4. Remove glue from office carpets
Despite your best efforts, sometimes you wind up with glue on the carpet.
Trust us – glue and carpet do not bode well together.
Here’s how to handle this icky-sticky mess:
- Remove the glue: Scrape up the excess with a blunt knife.
- Use a detergent solution. Start at the outer edge and blot dry.
- Follow with an ammonia solution. Blot dry again, using a white or light-colored cloth.
Here are two detergent and ammonia solution “recipes” to try:
- Detergent Solution: Hammond Knoll Spot Be Gone or substitute one teaspoon of liquid dishwashing detergent to 1/2 pint of warm water.
- Ammonia solution: One tablespoon of household ammonia to one cup of warm water. (Refrain from a stronger ammonia solution on wool carpet.)
Bonus tip: For those other mishaps, download our free spotting guide HERE.
**HINT: Next time you try to be a handy-glue-repair-person, put something between the glue and the carpet.
5. Avoid a bad Moment of Truth
You’ve probably heard of a “Moment of Truth.”
What about a BAD MOT?
Here’s what you need to know.
Bad Moment of Truth = Complaints, problems, negative experiences, friction; anything less than a positive interaction within your company.
Here’s an example:
You go to your doctor’s office for a quick procedure. As you pull into the parking lot, you see McDonald’s trash and flower beds overridden with weeds.
As you walk into the reception area, you’re greeted with an unfriendly grunt. Subconsciously, you’re probably questioning what kind of experience you’re in for.
You sit in the waiting room and stare at the overflowing trash can from the provided coffee maker and take a mental note of the filthy carpet, riddled with coffee stains.
Your name is called…
Your trust at this point that your “procedure” is going to go well is pretty much, well…NIL.
What if the experience was reversed and the office was sparkling clean and the receptionist was extremely pleasant?
Bet you’d feel a lot more confident about the care you receive and the outcome of your visit, right?
Of course, no business is exempt from a bad MOT.
But if you can limit them and learn how to handle them effectively, it’ll boost your clients’ trust and that confidence will help to build your business.
Here’s how you can ensure an awesome Moment of Truth (MOT) for your visitors and employees:
- Take a walk around the outside of your building. Continue throughout the building (don’t forget the break room – employees deserve a positive MOT, too). Make a note of all the possibilities of a bad MOT for your clients and employees.
- Get them fixed asap and start leaving the right impression.
Create a strategy to implement this commercial tip for cleaning your space, and then come up with an action plan to make sure tasks get done – and your space stays clean!
6. Prevent rusty rugs
Has this ever happened to you?
You decide one day that you are going to rearrange the waiting room (it’s always good to switch things up every now and then).
As you move the furniture, you notice that the legs from a chair have left rust marks on the carpet.
Now the new arrangement won’t work, because the stains are visible to your clients.
It’s so disheartening!
Furniture stains left in the carpet are either rust from metal legs or stains from wooden legs.
Here’s how NOT to let this happen to you:
- When carpet is damp from a recent cleaning – don’t put the furniture back for 24 hours. OR, if you have to put things back while it’s damp, put squares of foil under the feet of the furniture until the carpet is dry. Even slightly-wet carpet will rust from metal or absorb stain from the wood.
- If you spill liquid that runs down the leg of a table that’s on carpet, pull out your square of foil again to put under the leg. You can also move the table/furniture until the carpet is totally dry.
- Use a spiked-plastic carpet protector to preserve your carpet on a daily basis. You can find them in round or square shapes, as well as different sizes, too. Here’s an example. This will also protect your carpet from indents from furniture!
7. Protect your rug-on-carpet combo
Putting a rug on top of your carpet can look great.
The combination adds texture to a low-pile carpet, plus, the rug on top protects the carpet underneath from stains and excessive wear.
Last but not least, area rugs add a dash of color to your office’s interior.
But, there are a couple of downsides to having rugs on carpet:
- The rugs can move around, sliding and shifting on top of the carpet. This can quickly become annoying if you’re constantly straightening out the rug.
- Often, rugs have abrasive backing. Over time, walking on the rug breaks down the uppermost fibers of the carpet, causing them to become fuzzy on the ends.
- Heavy furniture that sits on the rug-on-carpet, can cause damage to the rug. The weight of the furniture presses into the rug, resulting in wrinkles or creasing around the leg. Eventually, the backing of the area rug can become permanently damaged.
But there’s something you can do:
You can buy a special pad at HammondKnoll.
It’s called No-Muv.
The cushion is firm with one side that’s soft and another that’s scratchy.
The soft side provides protection for the carpet while the scratchy side grips the rug to keep it in place.
The firmness of the pad works to prevent heavy furniture legs from leaving indentations.
The No-Muv pad can be custom-cut to fit under your rug.
We recommend the pad for any rugs that are 4×6 and larger.
8. Keep your office floors shiny and bright
No doubt about it, a high shine on any tile or stone floor is beautiful.
When they get dirty and lose a bit of the shine, how do you get the sparkle back without ruining the finish?
No worries – here’s what you need to know about keeping the SHINE!
First of all, here’s what NOT to do:
- Don’t use cleaners such as dish soap or Mr. Clean. The soap leaves a residue that damages the shine.
- Don’t use sponge mops or cotton mops. They push the dirt around and don’t absorb it, and they’ll cause streaking on the floor.
Here’s the RIGHT thing to do:
- Use a microfiber cloth or mop head.
- Use a non-filming residue cleaner such as Bona floor cleaning product.
- Spray the microfiber towel with the cleaning solution. Start in the back corner of the room, working backward to remove residue.
- Last but not least, do the happy dance – you have a clean, shiny floor. YAY!
9. Keep your workspace organized
It’s hard to stay organized when you’re busy.
And it’s even harder to keep your employees focused on organization, too.
But it’s important because a messy environment can lead to three major issues in the workplace. (Caution: They could cost you money, too!)
A mess is an eyesore to your customer
It doesn’t give them security that the business is a well-oiled machine. Cleanliness screams PROFESSIONALISM in the workplace!
It slows productivity
If your employees’ desks (and floors) are filled with stacks and stacks of paperwork, and they have to go back and rifle through these mile-high stacks to locate a file, can you imagine the wasted minutes (AKA, money) each day this occurs?
It’s a hazard
An unorganized work area can turn into an injury-prone zone. In some cases, OSHA has fined (ouch!) companies for ignorance on the part of the employer or carelessness on the part of the workers.
Just a few minutes a day organizing can save a company thousands every year. And as an added bonus, it will give your clients confidence that they picked the right place to do business with.
10. Deal with hardwood-floor gaps
It’s time to talk about hardwood floors.
Specifically, the gaps.
One day the seams are perfect then the next there is a gap ¼-inch wide between the two pieces of wood.
Why does this happen?
Mother Nature may be outside, but she affects us inside, too.
And that’s where the separation in your hardwood floor comes from.
As wood dries out, it shrinks. When it gets wet and humid, It expands.
The repeated expansion and contraction over time is the most prevalent cause of gaps, AND it’s the main reason why most gaps are seasonal.
During the winter – the time we use indoor heaters – the humidity is low. Any gaps will be very fine – if there are any at all.
In the summer, you keep your windows open, allowing the humidity from the outside to creep in.
This makes your hardwood floor gaps wider.
No matter the season, gaps should never be more than a ¼ of an inch. If they’re under that width, the best tip for you is to be patient. (Unfortunately, you don’t have much of an option here!)
Hardwood needs to be able to expand and contract. Without enough room to do so, you’ll have buckling at the seams. (You do NOT want this! The damage will be permanent.)
For gaps that are MORE than ¼-inch, we recommend calling in a hardwood floor specialist to tighten it up. (You can always call HammondKnoll for a recommendation! We have a couple of solid, reputable companies for you to use.)
11. Find the best carpet fiber for your business
Carpet is an investment.
It costs money to install, it disrupts the business AND it takes a heck of a lot of revenue to make up for the money spent.
So, with that being said, how can you get your money’s worth?
Pick the right fiber, that’s how!
Carpet fibers can make or break the bank. Here’s what you need to know:
- Some fibers such as polyester, olefin, acrylic, and tryexta are inexpensive, but they have their pluses and minuses. The synthetic fibers like the ones listed above can show wear and soil much quicker than a quality fiber.
If you choose the wrong carpet fiber, it will save you money upfront – YAY!
BUT, you’ll pay more money on the back-end with cleaning and restoration costs.
Plus, you’ll have to replace the carpets much sooner than if you had chosen a high-performing fiber in the first place – NOT YAY.
But, don’t worry!
DRUM ROLL, PLEASE! Here is a carpet-buying tip you can take to the bank:
The best fiber for any busy office space is Nylon. It wears well, loves heavy foot traffic and it’s stain-resistant.
And the clean-ability? Take it from the cleaning experts, it’s SO much easier than the above synthetic fibers.
Here’s a chart by one of the largest commercial carpet manufacturers with comparisons. (Don’t tell, but it’s Shaw Manufacturer. )
For more information, visit Shaw Floors.
Before your next carpet purchase, consider Knoll as your consultant. If you’ve already purchased one of the non-recommended fibers, no worries – you’ve got Knoll to maintain and keep it looking its best!
12. Help your business make the right impression
When was the last time you walked into a restaurant and were NOT impressed by the outside flower-beds (more like weed-patch), or the carpet inside (eeww, greasy and gross)?
How about the unhappy wait staff?
You were so unimpressed that you walked out and went to the local burger joint.
First, second and even third impressions are everything, right?
So, how about YOUR clients?
When a customer enters your building, is the tile at the entrance clean? How about the walk-off mats or entry carpet?
If they show soiling, the first thing that pops into their minds is, “Wow, if these people can’t take care of their floor, how are they going to take care of me?”
We’ve got five tips to help you make a good impression on everyone who enters your business:
Tip #1: Put your customers’ glasses on.
Go ahead! Put them on and walk around the inside and outside of the building. Don’t forget to check out the restrooms and lunchrooms.
Does your business give the “impression” to your clients that they’re in good hands? Will their expectations be met?
If you answered “NO” to any of these questions, move to Tip #2 stat.
Tip #2: Clean up.
Start with a maintenance plan for your carpet, hard-surfaces and furniture. Keep it sparkly-clean 24/7. (Hint: It will save you expensive restoration or replacement costs in the long run.)
Tip #3: Get outside.
Remove the trash, weeds, and anything unsightly around the business that’s within sight of your customers.
Tip #4: Clean the restrooms.
Bottom line: No one wants to use a gross potty.
Tip #5: Clean the break rooms.
Even though clients don’t see the mess, give your employees the feeling that you care for them.
As a bonus, if the break room is clean, guess what? Your employees will want to take pride in the rest of their workspace, too.
13. Keep the germs under control
Unless you live in a bubble, it’s nearly impossible to stay healthy all the time.
When employees are sick, germs spread like wildfire across the office causing missed work and loss of business.
During flu season and all-year-long, follow these tips to keep everyone in the office healthy:
- Keep hand sanitizer available at all workspaces, such as desks and entryways. (Here are some good hanging dispensers.)
- Lunchrooms can be a breeding ground for germs. Wipe down door knobs, handles, taps, sinks and coffee pots daily (during flu season, weekly during the rest of the year) using a disinfectant wipe.
- Send sick employees home immediately.
- Wipe down the sick person’s desk, phone, keyboard and anything else they touched using disinfectant wipes.
- Provide juices containing Vitamin C rather than just coffee and pop.
- Provide lots of water to keep employees hydrated.
- Reimburse employees who get a flu shot if it’s not covered by health insurance.
You CAN win the war against the aaahhh-chooos!
14. Take care of your leather furniture
Leather furniture is the go-to for many active businesses because it’s tough, easy to clean and withstands quite a bit of abuse.
Leather doesn’t react well to water or any liquid – whether it comes from a spilled glass of water, a water ring from a sweating cup or a wet towel tossed on the seat cushion.
What can you do if this happens to your beautiful office leather?
Here’s how to remedy the situation.
How to dry wet leather:
- Don’t Panic.
- Dry with a soft cloth. Gently absorb any standing water and let it dry naturally until it’s just slightly damp. NEVER apply unnatural heat, like a blow dryer – not even on the cool mode. This could make the leather wrinkle.
- Condition. While the leather is still just damp, apply a reasonably thick coat of leather conditioner (It’s a good idea to always have some on-hand, for when these “oops” moments happen). Massage the conditioner into the surface of the leather and leave it to dry for several hours or overnight. This allows the conditioner to penetrate the leather and replenish the natural oils that were stripped when it got wet.
- Re-apply conditioner. If the leather seems dry in the area that was wet, apply another coat of the conditioner, again leaving it for several hours or overnight.
Bonus tip: This method also works well for leather jackets, purses or anything else you have that’s made of leather.
15. Choose the best area rug for your business
Need a new rug for your business?
There are so many fibers, so many styles, so many options.
With all those choices, how do you make a decision, especially in a business environment that gets a TON of traffic?
Let’s start with what NOT to buy:
The sides of the fibers get scratched easily and your rugs end up looking dirty even when they’re not.
While this material is bleach-friendly and repels pet urine stains, oil-based stains are very tricky to remove.
The cleaning capabilities are the same as Olefin fiber, but polypropylene has a bad reputation for getting packed down, matted and crushed in high-traffic areas.
Rugs made of cotton are hard to clean once they’re dirty and they’re known for giving up colors and dyes.
So, here’s our recommendation for your next office area rug purchase:
Wool, wool, wool!
Wool rugs (handmade or made on a machine) have got it going on.
It’s a naturally stain-resistant fiber and it doesn’t wear like the other materials we’ve mentioned.
AND, wool can withstand a lot of traffic for years and years.
It may cost more initially, but it lasts 5, 10 or 15 times longer than synthetic or cotton fibers.
Actually, we frequently see wool rugs from the 1940s and 1950s that look like they have very little wear – when they’ve been properly cared for.
If you’ve purchased the “non-recommended” fibers, don’t worry – you’ve got Knoll for the best cleaning results
16. Make sure your office is customer-ready
The interesting thing about cleanliness is that spaces often get dirty slowly, over time.
You and your employees may not notice, while your customers, who are seeing it for the first time, do.
Here are some tips that will help you keep your office space looking great and customer-ready.
Check your floors
Carpets can get especially dirty, but wood floors need to be cleaned regularly, too. When the sun shines in through the window, it’s easy to tell the difference between a scuffed, grimy floor and a clean, shiny one. Which wood floor would you rather walk on?
Keep your windows spotless
Clean windows are a must, especially since many business’ customers see them before they even walk in the door! Most windows need cleaning about twice a year.
Pay attention to the details
Because your facility is unique, your cleaning and maintenance needs may also be unique. Keep all your surfaces uncluttered and wiped down, and consider:
- General janitorial services.
- Pressure washing. (Why not let your first impression begin in the parking lot?)
- Maintenance, like plumbing and electrical.
A beautiful, sparkling clean bank, hospital, office, or other business will show your customers that you’re competent, professional, meticulous – and that you pride yourself on a safe, comfortable, hygienic facility.
17. Spiff up your luxury vinyl tile floors
Luxury Vinyl Tile (aka LVT) floors are the latest craze in flooring options.
They have some advantages. They resist:
Pretty cool, right?
Yes, but they do tend to get dirty easily.
Crud collects between the seams where the planks meet. This is especially an issue with floors that have “faux” wood grains.
So, what’s the right way to keep your office floors clean?
Cuz they don’t quite feel like a luxury when they get dirty.
Here’s how to keep your LVT clean and shiny:
- Sweep or vacuum once a week.
- Immediately wipe up spills with a dry towel.
- Use a slightly damp mop with a cleaner recommended by the floor manufacturer (see links for the top four below). If you aren’t sure, you can use a non-abrasive cleaner. Remember to always test an inconspicuous area before using any cleaner.
What NOT to use:
- Steam cleaners. Steam can soak into the seams and damage the floor.
- Harsh chemicals. Don’t risk removing the coating that protects the floor. This can cause discoloration.
- A vacuum with a beater bar or brush.
Finding the best cleaner is important. Here are the top four manufacturer’s recommendations and care pages for you.
Armstrong (They even have a snazzy video to watch!)
LVT flooring can be professionally cleaned, too. Trust us – the floors turn out AMAZING!
18. Rid your office’s carpet of candy
Who doesn’t love a Jolly Rancher candy?
Apple, strawberry, and the favorite flavor: watermelon. It’s hard to resist, for sure.
The important thing is that it stays in your mouth, NOT on the floor.
So, when accidents happen and something super-sticky does end up embedded in the carpet, remember this little tip:
- Use a scraping tool (a butter knife works well) to scrape as much of the sticky stuff from the carpet as possible.
- Dip a clean sponge in warm water and gently brush outward from the center of the spot to remove the rest of the sticky particles. Be careful not to agitate the carpet. It will cause the fibers to fuzz at the ends.
- Make a detergent solution of HammondKnoll Spot Be Gone or substitute one teaspoon of liquid dishwashing detergent and one teaspoon of white vinegar to 1/2 pint of warm water. Spray or drip the solution onto the stain. Using a light-colored towel, blot the spot and repeat until all the candy and the stain has been removed. If a slight stain is still hanging on, reapply the solution and leave a towel on top of the stain with something heavy on top for 24 hours. This will help pull the rest of the color out of the carpet.
- Rinse the carpet with plain water and blot the area with a towel. Let it dry completely.
19. Fix your ragged rug edges
You’re doing a great job with the rugs at your business.
You put carpets at the entrances to and inside the main door(s) to protect your floors, and you’ve laid rugs in various areas to prevent slipping and tripping.
But, have you noticed the edges looking worn and frayed? They may even be a little dirty, but you haven’t done anything with them because it’s a hassle to replace them – not to mention the cost.
What if we told you that you could do it WITHOUT THE HASSLE – all while saving money?
There is a solution: You can have the edges replaced!
All kinds of carpets can be trimmed and have a new edging applied. AND, while we have the rug to fix the edging, it can also be cleaned at the same time!
It’s only a one-week turnaround. We’ll even pick it up from your business and deliver it directly back to you.
Call HammondKnoll at 253-300-3014 or click here for more details.
20. Tackle office surfaces with the right scrubber
Do you have a stubborn spot on the floor of your office?
Of course, you want to get rid of it as quickly as possible.
After all, it’s your place of business and you want to put your best foot forward.
So you scrub-a-dub-dub, but, despite your best efforts, the spot doesn’t completely disappear.
You repeat the process until the stain is gone – AWESOME.
Unfortunately, what’s left behind is a damaged, scratched surface. Ugh!
Hint: If this happens, it’s time to call Knoll to remedy the situation!
If it’s too late to call Knoll, you’ll need to know what to do in the future with these simple tips:
Prevent this from happening again by using a scrubbing pad that’s the correct abrasiveness level for the surface you’re cleaning.
Here’s a color-breakdown for sponges and scrubbers:
- White and blue are gentle, typically won’t cause damage and are safe to use on most surfaces.
- Green is more abrasive. These pads and sponges will scratch glass and other “hard” surfaces.
- Brown and black pads are really abrasive and act like sandpaper. They’ll scratch almost everything they come into contact with.
Stick with white or blue pads to be safe. Use neutral cleaners instead of abrasive commercial cleaners like Comet or Barkeepers.
They don’t help to remove a stain and will most likely leave behind a damaged surface.
Put these commercial cleaning tips to work for you
When you have the right business cleaning tips in your arsenal, you’re sure to impress everyone who enters your building.
Actually, you’ll make a great impression BEFORE they even step inside.
Which of these tips will make the biggest difference for you?