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Laura M. Pulliam's blog

Let’s Talk Turkey

Wed, 11/21/2018 - 19:03 -- Laura M. Pulliam

The holidays are such a special time of year. Families gather around the table to give thanks for their many blessings and share in a meal together. Before the guests take their seats, though, the all-important preparations must first take place.

It’s amazing just how crowded the grocery stores are during the week leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas. One would think that grocery shopping was suddenly an Olympic sport. Grandmas get that determined look in their eye as they reach for the last box of stuffing mix. Mothers hit the dairy aisle for whipped topping (for that all-important pumpkin pie). Fathers with cart loaded down with frying oil eye the turkeys, just imagining how it will look perfectly golden and ready to serve.

But, oh, the turkey. The average Thanksgiving turkey purchased in the United States comes in at a whopping fifteen pounds. Putting a frozen bird of that size in the shopping cart is definitely a two-handed task. And this is exactly where the danger begins.

Did you know that raw turkey carries bacteria (including salmonella) that can easily contaminate any surface with which it comes in contact? Before even leaving the parking lot, the same hands that just touched the raw turkey will also touch the shopping cart handles, a few more last-minute items, and the credit card reader. This is not even to mention the surfaces that the turkey will come in contact with before it is later cooked and ready to serve to guests.

When it comes to “talking turkey”, we also need to talk about procedures for properly disinfecting surfaces that come into contact with the turkey!

So what is the proper method for disinfecting these surfaces? When most people think about disinfecting, they imagine a quick spritz of sanitizing spray followed by an equally brief wipe-down. This is actually a very dangerous practice because it fails to account for something called dwell time.

Most disinfectants have a contact or “dwell” time. You may have noticed that that most disinfectants have a percentage noted on the bottle, for example, “Kills 99.9% of germs.” The dwell time is the amount of time that the disinfectant needs to remain wet on the surface in order to adequately kill the percentage of germs it claims to kill.

When it comes to commercial cleaning, Sonlight Cleaning Services understands the importance of dwell time and implements it in our procedures. Our protocol is to first clean a surface (in order to remove dust, dirt, or debris) and then disinfect the surface, allowing for the adequate amount of dwell time required by the product before wiping the surface again.

Nobody likes to get sick over the holidays--especially food poisoning from coming in contact with an inadequately disinfected surface! Take a tip from your friends at Sonlight for your home and remember to clean and disinfect your countertops and other surfaces, allowing for adequate dwell time. After your family celebrations are wrapped up, give us a call! We’d love to partner with your business for all your commercial cleaning needs.

Happy Thanksgiving from Sonlight Cleaning Services!



The New Kid On The Block

Fri, 11/16/2018 - 20:27 -- Laura M. Pulliam

A few months ago, my family and I visited a new church building that had just opened its doors about a month prior. The entryway was tastefully decorated, not too busy. The canned lighting in the hallway was a nice touch. The walls were a calming shade of soft grey. All of these things were great, but the thing my eye was almost immediately drawn to… was the floor!

“Is this real wood?” I wondered out loud. It extended from the front door to the sanctuary and then down one hallway to the coffee and dining areas. Having lived in a home with wood floors, I knew it couldn’t possibly be “real” -- it would take far too much traffic and spills in its lifetime. Yet I was so impressed with the hand-scraped, reclaimed wood look of this flooring that I had to find someone on the building committee just to find out!

If you’re at all experienced in construction or commercial building management, I’m sure you already know what I did not at the time. The flooring in this church building is called luxury vinyl tile (or LVT) and, in my follow-up research, I have learned that it is sometimes jokingly called the “dark horse” of the flooring world. Many believe this is the commercial flooring of the future.

Similar to VCT in its composition, this low-maintenance, highly-durable flooring is making waves in the commercial (and now even residential) markets. Though it looks remarkably like wood or other types of porous flooring, it is completely waterproof as well as scratch and stain resistant. The vinyl even has an added protective layer of UV-cured polyurethane so, unlike VCT, it does not need to be stripped and waxed in order to maintain its durability.

One of the most fascinating things about LVT is just how realistic it looks. This flooring typically comes in “planks” that have the appearance of wood, stone, or even concrete. Utilizing some of the same technology that made laminate wood-look floors popular, the image itself is a photographic image under the protective layer. LVT excels over laminate, however, because it is impervious to spills!

In addition to being waterproof, LVT is easy to maintain. This makes it ideal in high-traffic areas such as hallways, waiting rooms, entryways, and even classrooms. LVT should be swept or vacuumed frequently and mopped with a “two-bucket” system to ensure that any neutral cleaner residue be washed away. The amount of traffic will determine the frequency required.

Even though it made its first appearance on the market as far back as the 1970s, LVT is still considered the “new kid on the block” by some flooring professionals. However, here at Sonlight Cleaning Services, we are always up-to-date on the best cleaning practices for every type of commercial flooring. We will ensure that your LVT floors remain as beautiful as the day they were installed. Contact us today for a free quote!


Wax On, Wax Off: Proper Care of VCT Flooring

Wed, 11/07/2018 - 20:51 -- Laura M. Pulliam

Vinyl composition tile (typically referred to simply as “VCT”) is a staple in the commercial flooring industry. Composed of PVC chips which are melted and formed into thin squares, rectangles, or custom-designed shapes, this extremely durable material has been a popular choice in almost every type of commercial building--from churches to schools to medical offices--since as early as the 1940s.

VCT is popular for many reasons, but the three we’d like to highlight today are its versatility, durability, and longevity.

No matter your facility’s unique flair, there is a VCT out there that will suit your style! This versatile flooring comes in every imaginable color. Wood-look, neutrals, bold colors and patterns--a quick image search for “VCT flooring designs” pulls up endless inspiration! This truly is a versatile flooring choice.

As with most flooring, VCT’s durability is enhanced through proper care. These thin, dense tiles are intended to be covered with a polymer coating finish in order to protect them from scratches, gouges, and chips. This coating or special “wax” is what gives VCT its shine. But wax does more than make your VCT floors glisten--it entirely coats the tile and fills in the small gaps between each tile. Without this wax, the edges of the flooring can begin to chip prematurely, especially in areas with heavy foot or rolling traffic.

Even though VCT comes with a factory-finish, the finish applied after installation is really what gives it “nine lives,” so to speak. Some cleaning companies apply only one-to-three layers of wax; however, at Sonlight Cleaning Services, we believe that your flooring is an investment that should last as long as possible. That’s why we use five coats of high-quality floor finish when we strip and wax VCT floors. One of our team members met with a potential client who caught another company’s cleaning crew putting automobile wax on a floor--in our book, that is completely unacceptable! When properly cared for, VCT can provide even the highest-traffic areas with years of beauty and function.

This brings us to longevity. One of the elements that make VCT a desirable choice for commercial and high-traffic buildings is the fact that a broken tile can be replaced independently, without having to redo the entire floor. If you are preparing to install this flooring type in your facility, it is highly recommended that you keep a small supply of extra tiles in case it should be needed in the future. If you do replace a tile, remember to call Sonlight to have the floor stripped and refinished (remember that wax between the tiles actually helps preserve the integrity of the tile)!

Like all flooring types, VCT requires routine care such as sweeping and mopping to keep it looking its best for as long as possible. If you love a high-shine look, we also highly recommend floor buffing! This is what gives the floors that gorgeous bowling-lane sheen.

If you want your VCT floors to live out a long and beautiful life in your building, contact Sonlight Cleaning Services to arrange a care schedule for your facilities. We’re your one-stop-shop for both regular care (such as mopping and buffing) AND special care (such as stripping and waxing)! 

Your Cleaning Needs Are As Unique As Your Business

Thu, 11/01/2018 - 20:13 -- Laura M. Pulliam

Next time you’re out at the mall, grocery store, or other location bustling with activity, take a look at people’s feet. Have you ever noticed how each person’s gait is unique? Some people step carefully, as though they’re conscious of the sound of their shoes on the floor. Other people march boldly, as though walking confidently into a job interview. 

Short steps, long strides, children on tip-toe. Spend ten minutes watching the world walk by and you’ll see a little bit of everything. 

As you do this, you may begin to notice patterns. Each person unique, yet certain similarities emerging. Consider the smile that spreads across a person’s face when they watch a child learning to walk--whether or not that toddling child is their own, he or she probably reminds them of the way their own son or daughter (or niece, nephew, grandchild, etc.) walked.

At Sonlight Cleaning Services, we take a similar approach to the cleaning and janitorial needs of our clients. Each business’s needs are unique and yet in our 30 years of experience, we have noticed certain patterns that allow us to continually perfect our methods.

Now this may sound like an oxymoron, but think about the way you care for your home. If you’ve lived in more than one place during your lifetime, you know that regardless of where you live, there are certain chores you shouldn’t neglect. Clean the toilet, dust the bookshelves, mop the floors, etcetera and so on. Whether you lived in a college apartment or a sprawling mansion, there were certain things that needed to be done in order to keep your residence respectable. On the other hand, if you moved from a one-story to a two-story and never added “vacuum the stairs” to your checklist, you could be in for trouble!

Now let’s take this analogy and apply it to your business. We believe that many businesses need the same things when it comes to janitorial services; and we also believe that each business has its uniquenesses and shouldn’t be subject to a cookie-cutter cleaning service.

We’re in the business of people, not packages. That’s why we love to talk to facilities managers about exactly what their needs are and how we can create a plan that will serve those needs. Additionally, we’ve got the experience to be able to recommend maintenance protocols that have worked for businesses similar to your own. (Don’t worry--we won’t let you forget the stairs!) You can rely on our years of experience and our excellent reputation in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex to ensure that all of your cleaning needs will be satisfactorily met.

At Sonlight Cleaning Services, we believe your business is as unique as the footsteps of the people walking through your doors. Give us a call today to schedule your one-on-one consultation with one of our experts!


More Frightening Than Halloween

Thu, 10/25/2018 - 20:17 -- Laura M. Pulliam

With Halloween coming up around the corner and everyone stocking their shopping baskets with candy for little trick-or-treaters, it’s easy to forget that something far scarier than Halloween is upon us… germ season. Every corner pharmacy is advertising “Get your flu shot here!” Grocers are stocking their shelves with tissues and chicken noodle soup. Shoppers are reaching for cart-wipes as they enter every store.

As a business owner, what is your plan of action? If you haven’t already, it’s time to evaluate your preparedness. A commercial cleaning service can dramatically decrease the spread of germs in your business. The professional janitorial staff of Sonlight Cleaning Services is experienced in keeping businesses clean throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and we are prepared to work with you to create an action plan to ensure that your facilities remain not only visually clean but sanitized as well. This is where a daily janitorial service--and even a day porter service--proves extremely beneficial. Frequency of cleaning is an important factor to consider as you create your “germ season preparedness” plan.

When considering how frequently your facilities need to be cleaned, think in terms of “touches per day.” Imagine for a moment that you manage a doctor’s office. If there are four physicians in the practice and each one will see (conservatively) 15 patients in a day, that’s 60 patient hands opening the front door. How many of those patients are contagious? It’s scary when you start to think about it!

How many visitors walk through those doors each day?

How many entrances are there? How many interior doors?

How many elevator buttons?

How many bathrooms? How many faucet handles?

That’s a lot of touches per day!

When you begin to think about the number of “touches per day” that different items or areas in your facility encounter, you can see why Sonlight Cleaning Services recommends a day porter service to keep those door handles, bathrooms, countertops, etc. clean and sanitized throughout the day.

With a little bit of sanitizing agent and manpower, even the scariest germs are vanquished by the (cleaning) superheroes at Sonlight Cleaning Services!

Encouraging Good Handwashing Practices

Tue, 10/23/2018 - 12:54 -- Laura M. Pulliam


We all know that you should wash your hands after using the bathroom or blowing your nose and before handing food. But do most people incorporate this simple practice into everyday habit?

Most parents spend countless hours throughout their children’s early years teaching proper hygiene, but somewhere between adolescence and adulthood, some of those habits simply fade away. As humorous as it may be to think about, an employer simply can’t take the same parent/child approach to handwashing--imagine singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” as your employees suds up! So how can you promote handwashing among your patrons, students, and/or employees?

The very best approach is surprisingly simple--keep your bathroom well-stockedThink about it this way… the best of hygiene intentions are thwarted by an empty soap dispenser. And no one wants to bother washing their hands when the paper towel dispenser is depleted. The janitorial services provided by Sonlight Cleaning Services will keep your bathrooms clean, sanitized, and fully provisioned

For higher-traffic facilities, we highly recommend a day porter service to ensure that paper towels, toilet paper, soap & hand sanitizing dispensers remain stocked throughout the day. We use Jan San Supplies and will track your company’s usage and preferred products as well as ensure that supply reorders are placed in a timely manner so that you are never caught empty handed.

Encourage good handwashing practices by letting Sonlight Cleaning Services partner with your  school, business, or office. Don’t let illness run rampant--take the straightforward approach to fighting fall flu season by calling Sonlight Cleaning Services today!


Festively Fall

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 14:37 -- Laura M. Pulliam

Saturday, September 22 marked the autumnal equinox--otherwise known as the first day of fall. Given that the temperatures never dropped below 70 degrees on that day, most of us probably didn’t mark the occasion with any significance. But as evening temps begin to dip into the 60s (and even 50s), I think it’s safe to say that fall--or at least the Texas version of that transitional season--is most certainly upon us!

I remember that childhood conundrum this time of year and maybe you had it, too. As you began the all-important selection process for your Halloween costume, there was always that lingering question in the back of your mind, “Will it be hot and humid or cold and windy on the 31st?” Seems like it’s always one extreme or the other in Texas! With historically unpredictable temperatures during the so-called “Texas Autumn,” it’s good to plan other means (more in your control) to start getting in the festively fall state of mind.

Here are a few ideas to help you get your place of business looking festively fall, compliments of Sonlight Cleaning Services, your go-to commercial cleaning service for the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex:

  • Start with a trip to your local grocery store to pick up a decorative pumpkin for the front porch! When you put that pumpkin in front of your place of business, take a look at the exterior entryway. Is the concrete discolored? Is there evidence of mold? Sonlight provides power washing services that can take care of that in no time so that the spotlight is on your new gourd, not the old gunk on the sidewalk. Another fun idea for the front porch is to buy (or make) a fall wreath for the door!
  • Add a seasonally-appropriate floral arrangement. Flowers aren’t just for spring! Chrysanthemums, delphinium, eucalyptus, gray brunia, and roses in deep and jewel-toned hues make beautiful centerpieces for entryway tables, reception areas, and office waiting rooms alike.
  • Swap out your everyday rugs for autumn-toned floor coverings in deep oranges, reds, and browns. Rugs, though functional, are often one of the simplest yet high-impact opportunities for bringing beautiful seasonal colors into your business. Before you roll up your other rugs for storage, though, remember to call Sonlight Cleaning Services for carpeting stain treatment, cleaning, and deodorizing. The last thing you want is to pull out a musty rug next season!
  • Hang grapevine wreaths in front windows. These plain 8” wreaths can be purchased inexpensively and decorated to match your business decor! All your window dressings will go unnoticed if they’re surrounded by fingerprints and smudges, though. Don’t forget to schedule Sonlight Cleaning Services to wash those windows beforehand.

We hope you’ve enjoyed these ideas for getting your office, medical building, school, church, or other place of business looking ready for fall! Call Sonlight Cleaning Services to schedule your specialty and routine cleaning today!

Soggy September

Fri, 10/05/2018 - 14:32 -- Laura M. Pulliam
The month of September was a wet one. With more wet days than dry, it’s safe to say that we’re all ready to hang up our rain ponchos for a while. The average September rainfall in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex is just under three inches… this last month saw a deluge of almost thirteen inches! Rain is necessary and even beautiful. But it also can leave a stream of mess behind. There are certainly proactive steps you can take to keep your business clean when it’s raining outside (some of these you probably already utilize in your home environment).
  1. Add an extra rug (or three). It’s a good idea to keep extra rugs for each entry point on hand for when the elements unleash. Those extra few steps on an absorbent surface can help remove water or slippery leaves from shoes and help prevent falls on hard floors or muddy footprints on carpeted floors. A day porter service is invaluable on rainy days because the constant attention to those entry points helps curb water and dirt from being tracked throughout the entirety of the building. Is it really the best use of your time if you don’t have time to abandon your desk and take up a vacuum yourself? Let our pros help keep your space beautiful, even when it’s pouring outside.
  2. Control the mess before it spreads. It will be much easier to restore your business or office to its original glory once the storms have subsided if you simply take the time to contain messes as they happen. For example, a mid-day sweep and mop of high-traffic areas will lessen the amount of mud and dirt that makes it to other parts of the building.
  3. Be prepared for emergencies. Nobody plans for their business to sustain water damage. But sometimes all it takes is a leaf-clogged French drain for a surprising puddle to form. These kinds of emergencies often blind-  side business owners who are even nowhere near a flood zone. Time wasted in these circumstances can equate to costly repairs later. The best way to be prepared is to save the number for Sonlight Cleaning Service. Our carpet cleaning and flood restoration team is there to help when unwanted water strikes.
  4. Relax and regroup. At the end of the day, you can rest in knowing that nothing remains unscathed during rainy seasons. At the end of the day (or week), everyone will need to wash their car, polish their shoes, and play a little “catch-up” in order to get things back to normal. Sonlight’s cleaning professionals will have your place looking good-as-new in no time!
     There’s no getting around it--rain is a harbinger of dirt, leaves, and mud in all the places our feet frequent. Don’t allow the stress of an otherwise beautiful thing to dampen your spirits. Sonlight Cleaning Services has professional janitorial staff that will help you combat the rain-induced dirt in your place of business. Why wait for the next storm to strike? Give us a Call Today!

Three (More!) Important Questions to Ask When Choosing a Commercial Cleaner

Thu, 09/13/2018 - 16:07 -- Laura M. Pulliam

In the last blog post, we introduced a few important questions to ask when choosing the right commercial cleaning company for your business, school, medical facility, church, or other professional building. Today we’re bringing you three more important questions to ask to ensure that you find the right fit for your needs!

1) Are you insured?

While none of us likes to think about “worst case scenarios,” it’s as the old saying goes--an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Think of insurance like an ounce of prevention. Hopefully you will never need it, but wouldn’t you rather have the peace of mind in knowing that you are working with a fully insured company? At Sonlight Cleaning Service, we care about your peace of mind. That’s why we carry $2,000,000 for all our customers in General Liability Insurance in addition to Texas Workers Compensation Insurance (bonded with a $10,000 security bond). And did we mention we only work through A+rated insurance companies? Sonlight is OSHA compliant, licensed, bonded and insured with an excellent safety record. Part of client care, in our book, means taking a proactive step when it comes to minimizing risk for our customers.

2) What services do you offer?

Before you start gathering quotes, begin by touring your facilities with a notepad and pen in hand. In one column, write down your current cleaning needs. In another column, take note of what your needs could be in two, five, and ten years as your business grows! The best use of your time is to find a commercial cleaning company that can grow with you… otherwise you’ll have to repeat this whole process again in the future, wasting both time and energy.

Sonlight Cleaning Services offers a vast array of services that can grow with your needs. From the most basic janitorial services to more specialize VCT care, window cleaning, power washing, and flood restoration,  we’ve got you covered! Additionally, our account managers are on call 24/7 for your most time-sensitive needs. Frozen pipes? Overflowing toilets? We’re here when you need us most!

3) Do you offer pre-made packages or can you customize packages for my unique needs?

We’ve all been there. You walk into a business and the so-called “packages” seem like fronts for causing you to purchase things you don’t actually need. At Sonlight, we believe your needs are as unique as your business. Our account managers will work with you to create a fully-customized action plan for keeping your facilities in tip-top shape! We provide you with a written contract that will outline all of the details specific to your business.

From bid contract period to cleaning schedule, we’ll work to create the right plan for you! Why wait? Contact Us Today!



Three Important Questions to Ask When Choosing a Commercial Cleaner

Tue, 09/11/2018 - 13:04 -- Laura M. Pulliam

With over 40 million Americans utilizing thousands of online dating websites, I think it’s safe to say that everyone is on the hunt for the right relationship. But finding the right match applies to more than just marriages. It’s not uncommon for people to drive past three other grocery stores in order to visit their favorite. I once met a lady who was willing to drive to the next county to see her hairdresser. Once you find a dentist you love, it’s hard to break ties when you move. When it comes to finding the right commercial cleaner for your business, school, medical facility, church, or other professional building, it’s important to ask the right questions so that you find that perfect harmony in your professional relationship.

Here are three questions to get you started:

1) How long have you been in business?

First of all, there’s nothing wrong with supporting small start-up businesses. Every business starts somewhere! But this is still an important question to ask because it lets you know what kind of history and reputation the company has built for itself. Is it brand new? Do they have enough experience to support your cleaning needs? Are they large enough to offer competitive pricing? What is their reputation in the community? Sonlight Cleaning Services started as a small business… over thirty years ago! We’ve spent the last three decades building a great reputation in the Dallas/Fort Worth community. Owned and operated by one individual, President and CEO Cathy Reichert, we neither franchise nor sell our contracts, so you can be guaranteed a consistent service when you work with our team.

2) How do you screen and train your employees?

Commercial janitorial staff are often the first ones in or last ones out of a building. You want to know who you’re working with! Are they trustworthy? Do they know what they’re doing? Sonlight Cleaning Services is proud to work with an amazing team of employees that have undergone extensive training and passed a thorough background check. We only hire individuals who have the experience and character to meet our high standards.

All of our employees complete a thorough training program, which includes one-on-one sessions with a qualified supervisor and instruction in cleaning methods, OSHA regulations, proper use of chemicals, equipment, safe handling of clients’ furniture, and security procedures.

3) What professional certifications do you have?

If you want to make sure you’re working with professionals, ask about certifications and memberships. Think of these like stamps of authenticity--a third party is confirming the standards of the business into which you are inquiring. It gives their business legitimacy and gives you peace of mind in knowing you’re dealing with a reputable (and trustworthy) company. Sonlight Cleaning Services is a certified professional through the IICRC and multiple other organizations. Click here to see our full list!

Stay tuned next week for three more important questions to ask. On the other hand, why wait? Give Sonlight Cleaning Services a call for a free quote today!


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