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All about Grout

Mon, 06/25/2018 - 13:02 -- Laura M. Pulliam

Ceramic tile is a popular flooring choice. Made from clay that has been molded and kiln-fired, it boasts both beauty and function. It can compliment almost any facility style from classic to modern to rustic. It can add visual interest and personality--everything from terracotta to black-and-white patterned made the list of 2018 tile trends. Additionally, tile has long been known as a great choice in warm climates. And with temperatures in the Dallas-Fort Worth area frequently pushing triple digits, it’s no wonder that this flooring is a consistent winner among the other available options.

When ceramic tile is given appropriate attention and care, it can last for half a century or more, making it an excellent choice for community mainstays such as churches, medical offices, and other places of business. But ceramic tile is not cheap. Because of its lifespan, it must be thought of as an investment. And as with any investment, a little care goes a long way. Ceramic tile can look fabulous for years to come if properly cared for. One of the most important components of that care routine must be special attention to the grout between the tiles.

Grout is a paste-like mortar that fills in the gaps between each tile. Often it is chosen to match the tile, but sometimes it can even be a contrasting color (for example, a popular choice in recent years has been light-colored tile surrounded by a darker grout). Grout typically has a shorter lifespan than the tile itself, with a typical lifespan of 10-20 years--or less than half the life of the tile itself.

Since grout is the “weakest link” when it comes to ceramic tile flooring, Sonlight Cleaning Services understands that this aspect of your flooring requires special attention. We use an acid-based solution that is specifically formulated for ceramic tile and grout as well as a professional hot water extraction method with a specialized tool for removing soil build-up on the tile surface as well as the surrounding grout. Though grout can be replaced, it is best to do this as infrequently as possible. Any time you are forced to remove grout, you are at risk of damaging the surrounding tile (which may then also need to be replaced, costing you both time and money).

By taking good care of the grout, you are extending the lifespan of your flooring as well as boosting the visual appearance of your facility--that’s what we call a win-win! Contact Sonlight Cleaning Services for your free quote today!

 

The Importance of Cleanliness in Financial Institutions

Thu, 06/14/2018 - 13:47 -- Laura M. Pulliam

In the recent past, I visited two CPA offices in different buildings. While both CPAs were pleasant to work with and boasted a similar value, looking back, I realized that I would gladly revisit one over the other. I suppose I should add that both of these visits occurred during tax season so, understandably, neither office was particularly tidy--you got the distinct feeling that you were stepping onto a basketball court in the middle of a game! But despite similar goings on in each office, the two left different impressions.

The first office, though clearly caught up in the frenetic pace of tax season, was inviting. The second office, on the other hand, had a generally disagreeable vibe. It’s not that one building was brand new while the other was derelict. From the architecture, I’d wager that both buildings were erected around the same time. It’s not even that one had recently been remodeled while the other hadn’t… in fact, their carpeting appeared to be from the same “bygone era.”

The difference came down to cleanliness. One building sparkled while the other seemed, on the whole, a little dingy.

It’s funny, isn’t it, how a little grime can make an entire building look tired? As I think back, there are a few suggestions I would make to that second CPA… and Sonlight Cleaning Services could help him with every one:

1.    Power wash the exterior walls--It was clear from the building’s appearance that somewhere in its past, the gutters had clogged, causing water to run down the exterior walls and leaving black streaks on every corner. This made the building look much older than it actually was and a good power washing would have made an impressive difference.

2.    Clean the windows--The building was situated next to the highway, so I’m sure the view was nothing to brag about. But the fact that the blinds were all drawn made the room dim and uninviting. Even if the view isn’t great, a little sunlight can do a lot of good for the desirability of the space and for people’s general mood (especially important when talking about money matters)!

3.    Deep-clean the carpets--As already mentioned, the carpeting in both buildings was of similar vintage but I noticed a marked difference in the condition. To the second financial institution, I would suggest that routine carpet care be added after an initial deep-clean. Offices that host clients get a lot more foot traffic than a private office. Say you see only 5 clients per day… that’s 50 feet (in addition to your own) bringing in dust, dirt, and pollen on a weekly basis! You can see why, in offices in particular, regular floor care is of utmost importance.

4.    Don’t neglect the stairwells--This one shocked me. It was as though the stairs hadn’t been swept since the building’s opening day! Okay, this may be a slight exaggeration, but all I can say is please, please, please remember how many people utilize your building’s stairs and take this into consideration when planning out your building’s janitorial needs.

5.    Take care of that musty smell!--Some older buildings just have a particular odor. As long as it’s faint (like that of an old book), it’s probably nothing to worry about and an air fragrance machine will take care of the issue. But if the odor is persistent, it’s probably time to find the source: Is it your carpets (for example, was there a neglected water leak)? Is excessive condensation collecting on the windows? Do the air filters simply need changing? With Sonlight Cleaning Services, there’s no need to go out of your way to find a company to perform these kinds of minor maintenance and handyman services.

No matter the age or the condition of your financial institution, we’ve got you covered. What are you waiting for? Contact Sonlight Cleaning Services today!

 

The Importance of Cleanliness in Healthcare Facilities

Thu, 06/07/2018 - 12:31 -- Laura M. Pulliam

As baby boomers age, Californians move to Texas in droves, and healthcare reform continues to make headlines, it’s no wonder that the construction of new hospitals and medical facilities is on the rise. 

The Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex is home to a multitude of these top-ranking institutions. And change is in the wind, in terms of how these facilities are being built. The relatively-new Charles A. Sammons Trauma Tower at Methodist Dallas utilized such creative elements as dimmer ceiling lights, in place of fluorescents, to give ICU hallways a more calming glow.

While this may seem like a very small thing, think about it in terms of being a patient in that facility--imagine the difference this kind of lighting makes not only on the environment but on your general feeling of well-being.

With these kinds of visual elements being taken into consideration on the construction side of things, it is clear that in the healthcare field, it is becoming quite apparent that appearances matter. Sonlight Cleaning Services is a commercial cleaning company in the Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex that has held this value in mind for over thirty years.

Here at Sonlight, we believe that cleanliness is not only necessary for sanitation and hygiene, but for communicating an ethos of care for those you serve.

A clean medical facility visually communicates to your patients that you take pride in your facility and--even more importantly--that you take an interest in their well-being in that facility. It can make them feel more peaceful in an otherwise stressful situation. It shows that you have thought of them and their needs.

Sonlight Cleaning Services specializes in cleaning places of business from 5,000 square feet to one million square feet. We are your one-stop-shop for everything from daily janitorial and porter services to specialty cleaning needs such as flood restoration, carpet cleaning, and parking lot upkeep.

From restroom sanitization to minor maintenance and handyman services, we are here to create a customized plan for how best to keep your medical facility looking its finest. Whether you are a small physician's office or a large hospital, we are here for you. Contact Sonlight Cleaning Services today and let's create a plan for excellence together

The Importance of Cleanliness in School Facilities

Fri, 06/01/2018 - 13:59 -- Laura M. Pulliam

If you’re a parent, you may have received that dreaded phone call: “Mr. or Mrs. So-And-So? Your child is in the nurse's office.” Sometimes it's as minor as the sniffles, but sometimes it’s more serious than that. 

It’s a simple fact of life that kids are really good at spreading germs. Combine this with the close quarters provided by a school environment and you’ve got a recipe for an epidemic on your hands. 

Schools provide the perfect breeding ground for illness and infection. Children spend extended periods of time in close quarters every weekday during the academic year (and then some, in some cases). There’s no real remedy for this unless you want to have classes out in the sunshine, but that’s simply not an option most of the time in the Dallas-Fort Worth area!

Every teacher and administrator, especially, dread cold and flu season. “How contagious will it be this year? Will our school be affected? What will we do if a high percentage of the student populace gets sick?” And no doubt you are also thinking, “Will I catch something?” 

These fears are not unfounded. Over one hundred million school days are lost each year due to illness. The average student misses 4.5 days each year. It’s not uncommon for a kindergartner to have a dozen colds in a calendar year. How on earth to combat these jaw-dropping statistics?

In this case, the best defense is actually a good offense! Sonlight Cleaning Services is a commercial cleaning company with a high standard of excellence. We understand that cleanliness is about more than just appearances. (Not convinced? Just read this article on dust) 

We go on the offense against germs by thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting those germ-prone areas such as bathrooms and door handles so that diseases are stopped before they even start to mess with you and your students.

We believe you deserve the best when it comes to cleanliness. And in terms of finances, think about it in terms of attendance. Every absence due to illness and spread of infection is income lost to your school. Don’t let germs get the best of your school. Contact Sonlight Cleaning Services and get the best offensive weapon against germs on your team today!

The Importance of Cleanliness in Church Facilities

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 19:43 -- Laura M. Pulliam

A 2009 Slate article on the so-called “church shopping” phenomenon made reference to a type of undercover church consultant. These individuals are sometimes employed by churches to evaluate their experience of walking into churches as though visiting for the first time. They take stock of everything from how they were greeted to how the restrooms looked (or smelled).

Without getting sidetracked on whether or not this is a length to which you might go to evaluate your church’s first-time-visitor friendliness, let’s spend some time on the incontrovertible truth that cleanliness counts.

As someone who has worked in the church for almost a decade, I can certainly attest to the fact that the state of your church facility matters. While members may be willing to forgive and forget a dirty floor or a overfilled trash can, visitors almost certainly will not. They will remember and they will take that into account when they are deciding whether or not they felt “at home” in your space. Okay, if we’re being honest, sometimes the members are the first to notice when something doesn’t seem quite right (and they’ll make sure you know about it on Monday)!

This is not to say that you must have a state-of-the-art building. I’ve visited some beautiful church buildings that, while old, were wonderfully cared for. But the age of a building has no bearing on the quality of what one might find in that building. In fact, some of the most beautiful buildings in the world are decades--if not centuries--old! It’s really not about the building at all. It’s about the pride one takes in maintaining it.

At Sonlight Cleaning Services, we understand that whether you’re a business trying to impress a client or a church trying to make a newcomer feel at home, those all-important first impressions count.

We are a professional janitorial service in the Dallas / Fort Worth metropolitan area that believes in building enduring relationships through integrity, honesty, and a commitment to treating others with the highest level of respect and dignity. And we think you probably resonate with those ideals! That’s why we’d like to partner with you. As you fulfill your mission (the Great Commission), we can fulfill ours of ensuring that your facility is sparkling! 

From the floor to the ceiling--and everything in between--we’ve got your cleaning needs covered. Contact us today for a free quote!

The Importance of Cleanliness in School Facilities

Thu, 05/17/2018 - 18:56 -- Laura M. Pulliam

The last few weeks, we’ve been talking about first impressions and why they matter to your business, medical facility, church, etc. In the next couple of weeks, we’re going to be giving special attention to those institutions that serve as foundations for the community and the role that cleanliness plays in those institutions. Today let’s talk about schools. Whether you’re the principal of a small elementary school or the facilities director for a large university, you share in a desire of all those who serve in the education field to further your institution’s mission. While that mission may be unique to your particular context, I’d be willing to bet that at the heart of that mission is the desire to see today’s children and young adults expand their knowledge.

I’d also be willing to bet that, regardless of the age of your students, you have witnessed firsthand the distractibility of today’s youth. For the time being, let us leave the discussion of fault and blame for another forum and simply discuss the variables that we hold the power to change. One of those variables is the condition of our classrooms! First, let’s take a trip down memory lane. Most of us share a memory of studying for a test and being suddenly shaken by an unquenchable desire to clean our room. Turns out, there’s science behind this drive.

Several studies have been performed that reveal the benefits of cleanliness on one’s mental acuity. A study out of Indiana University revealed that people with clean homes are healthier than those with messy homes. A study out of Princeton University revealed that clutter can make one’s ability to focus quite fleeting. Basically, the more unnecessary input in our line of sight, the worse our ability to concentrate. So perhaps that insatiable desire you had to deep-clean your dorm room in college was actually your brain’s way of coping with the unnecessary input of dirt and dust!

With this data in mind, how might a cleaner educational facility impact your students? Consider the visual impact of scuffed VCT--Sonlight Cleaning Services can buff those marks out easily! Think about dusty mini-blinds in the classrooms--our janitorial service can take care of that! Did an overflowing toilet leave you with mildew in the hallway? Our experts in carpet care can not only clean, but also disinfect and deodorize to remove all signs of water damage.

Cleanliness is our business, just as education is yours. If you're an educational institution in the DFW area, Partner with Sonlight Cleaning Services-- let us work to our strengths so you can work to yours!

 

 

Tips for Making Outstanding First Impressions: Taking Pride In Your Space

Thu, 05/10/2018 - 20:48 -- Laura M. Pulliam

First impressions count. In a 2013 Forbes article, contributor Lisa Quast shares that “it takes only three to five seconds to create a first impression.” She goes on to reveal that while we may hope that impression is well-informed and based on our character, experience, intellect, etc., this is likely not the case. Rather, first impressions are based upon the things we see and hear in those first few seconds. Consider for a moment what a person might take in about you in the initial three to five seconds of meeting them. If you were planning to meet someone important--say a new client--you would likely take a moment to check your appearance in the mirror. Definitely don’t want to miss a bit of lettuce in your teeth!

While Quast’s article was primarily focused on the impression one individual makes upon another, we cannot forget that facilities leave an impression on us as well. (Have you read about the importance of making good impressions with your entrances and restrooms?) It could be said that your facilities are the face of your organization. The organization itself is your heart and soul--your intellect--but if people don’t form a great first impression, they may not stick around long enough to see deeper than “face value.”

Here are 3 things you can do to immediately impress upon your visitors that you take pride in your space:

  1. Give your facilities the sniff test. If first impressions are made in those crucial few seconds, you’d better believe the nose comes into play! The best time to check your building’s scent is when you first arrive. Have you ever been smelling various candles in the store only to notice that--suddenly--they all smell the same? When you spend a lot of time in a space, you can easily stop noticing how it smells… but you’d better believe your visitors notice! Note especially if your building has a musty smell. Sometimes this can be caused by dirty carpet or water damage. Have you had your carpets deep cleaned lately? If you’d like to “up your scent game,” consider adding fragrance machines to restrooms or in hallways.
  2. Clean, clean, clean your floors. Did you know that the majority of a person’s first impression of a building--a whopping 70%--is based on the condition of its flooring? Whether you have VCT, ceramic, concrete, rubber, terrazzo, quarry tiles, or carpet, Sonlight Cleaning Services is your commercial cleaning company for ensuring floors look fabulous.
  3. Don’t forget to declutter. As tidying expert Marie Kondo says, “tidying orders the mind while cleaning purifies it.” We’ve spent a lot of time talking about the need for cleaning your space, but in order to appreciate the cleanliness of your facilities, you’ll want to make sure your space looks… well… tidy! Regardless of how painstakingly you’ve scented and scoured, clutter can absolutely distract from the statement you wish to make with your space. For example, if you’re tempted to store boxes of supplies in your front office, consider the dramatic improvement to your first impression by simply removing those boxes and replacing them with a potted plant.


Sonlight Cleaning Services takes pride in our ability to help Dallas-Fort Worth businesses, churches, schools, and medical facilities create outstanding first impressions. Contact us today!

 

Tips for Making Outstanding First Impressions: Restrooms

Fri, 05/04/2018 - 19:31 -- Laura M. Pulliam

First impressions count. From the moment someone walks through your parking lot, they are formulating an opinion about your organization. Is there trash on the sidewalks? Excessive dirt on the entryway rug? A burned out lightbulb above the doorway? These small, seemingly-insignificant factors can make or break the reputation of your business, medical facility, church, school, etc. Last time on the blog, we shared five simple things you can do to really “wow” your guests as they arrive.

Today we’re going to talk about another (often forgotten) place visitors or clients take into account when they think about your organization. Today we’re talking about restrooms. Yes, go ahead and laugh! It may sound silly, but take a moment to think about it yourself. If you walked into a doctor’s office, for example, and found the restroom to be exceptionally untidy or (worse) downright dirty, wouldn’t you have second thoughts about the care you may receive in that office?

Apply this same scenario to a church, your child’s school, a law office or other business facility and you will likely find the same to be true. We inevitably judge the establishment’s professionalism by its powder room.

Here are three proactive steps you can take to ensure that your restrooms remain consistently excellent.

1.    Check to ensure the locking mechanisms work on the doors. Whether your restrooms are single or multiple stalls, the people who use them expect privacy. Regularly check the locks or latches to ensure that they are doing their job.

2.    Put a waste basket near the door. The 2018 Bradley Healthy Hand Washing Survey, in a poll of 1,035 adults, revealed that 60% of respondents were “extremely” or “quite concerned” about contracting the flu and two thirds of those polled said they “always” wash their hands after using a public restroom. In seasons of high concern over a particular illness, people may be more averse to touching door handles (especially since the other 40% of the population is not quite so committed to hand washing). By putting a trash receptacle near the door, you allow visitors to touch the door handle with their paper towel while still disposing of it properly. Not only is this a thoughtful gesture to those who religiously adhere to handwashing, it also serves as a subtle reminder to the 40% to go back and suds up those hands! (Just don’t forget to empty the trash receptacle frequently, especially if it’s on the small side.)

3.    Clean it! This should go without saying, but (unfortunately) it needs to be said--if your clients or visitors are using your restrooms, those facilities absolutely need to be cleaned daily, if not more often. The Hand Washing Survey revealed that “70% of Americans say they’ve had a particularly unpleasant experience in a public restroom due to the condition of the facilities.” Respondents shared dismal details such as clogged toilets and empty toilet paper rolls. Their greatest request? Please keep it cleaned! Sonlight Cleaning Serves is a commercial cleaning company with a high standard. Whether your restrooms are public (for clients, visitors, students) or private (for employees or a very limited staff), we will work with you to determine a cleaning frequency in accordance with use.

The research doesn’t lie. It is clear that these small but very important spaces have the ability to make an impression! Call Sonlight Cleaning Services--we’ll help you make the right impression with your restrooms.

Tips for Making Outstanding First Impressions: Parking Lots & Entryways

Thu, 05/03/2018 - 14:28 -- Laura M. Pulliam

First impressions count. There’s no getting around it: a first impression matters. Whether you’re a business, medical facility, church, school, or something else entirely, a visitor’s first glance around your campus will oftentimes be the determining factor as to whether or not they will return. Additionally, it will influence how they describe your organization to family members, friends, or neighbors.

Here are five small things you can do to your points of entry to create a great first impression on your first-time visitors. (And your returning members, students, patients, and/or clients will appreciate it as well!)

1.  Pay attention to the parking lot. Before people even reach your front door, they’re going to walk through your parking lot. What does your parking lot say about your facility? Does it reflect accurately the impression you wish to make? When first impressions count, Sonlight Cleaning Services is there to meet all your cleaning needs. We’ll even meet you in the parking lot!

2.  Illuminate the entryway. A dimly-lit space can convey a sense of foreboding. So unless you’re going for a certain “spa-like” look, change any burned-out lightbulbs or add a lamp (either freestanding or on an entryway table). Don’t have time to be changing light bulbs?  Sonlight Cleaning Services will help you with that.

3.  Add a trash receptacle. While this may, at first glance, seem like an odd thing to add to make your space more welcoming, you’d be surprised how many people will use it. Some people may be walking in the door as they take the last few sips of their morning coffee. Other people make a habit out of carrying trash from their vehicles toward whatever building they happen to be entering. If you serve a high percentage of young families, a mom or dad may be walking in with a diaper in hand from a quick change in the car. Adding a trash receptacle not only keeps those - shall we say - undesirable pieces of trash from being carried around the building, it shows those entering that you have thought of their needs ahead of time. Take note of how often these entryway trash receptacles are being used and, especially if your facility has multiple points of entry, consider utilizing a day porter service to ensure that those receptacles are not overflowing. (Not sure what a day porter service is or if you need one check out this helpful article!)

4. Vacuum Entryway Rugs. Entryway rugs are a huge asset to any facility with a lot of foot traffic. They keep dirt from being brought further into the building. They can reduce the amount of pollen that gets brought indoors. They keep floors from getting slippery when it’s raining. These rugs work all day to help keep the rest of the facility a little cleaner… but that also means they probably need some attention throughout the day. An otherwise appealing appearance can be quickly overshadowed by an exceptionally dirty rug. Analyze your foot traffic at each entryway, taking into account those seasonal variables such as pollen or rain, and decide how often rugs should be vacuumed or otherwise cleaned in order to maintain a professional appearance. Rugs in lower-traffic areas can likely be cleaned once per day or less, but rugs in high traffic areas may need to have the attention of a day porter service.

5. Powerwash. Nothing puts a damper on your entryway quite like gum or mold on the sidewalk. If there is one thing you can do to immediately and dramatically enhance your building’s appearance (and improve that all-important first impression), this is it. Powerwashing sidewalks, entryway walkways, parking lots or garages, awnings, and/or building exterior should absolutely be on your list of routine building maintenance. Exterior signage should be inspected regularly to see if it needs a good cleaning. Contact Sonlight Cleaning Services for a free quote - let our professional mobile unit “wow” you with dramatic results.

The first step toward getting positive reactions from the people who walk through your doors is… well… to make those first few steps excellent! Contact Sonlight Cleaning Services - your partner in making outstanding first impressions

Keep Growing!” Small Business Series: Part 3

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 19:48 -- Laura M. Pulliam

This is part III in a series of articles highlighting small businesses. Want to catch up? Read Part I and Part II.

Is My Business Big Enough for a Cleaning Company?

Take a look around your facilities. Is your office space 5,000 square feet or larger? If the answer is yes, then yes, you’re ready! Not sure what your square footage is? Sometimes the best way to get a rough idea of your square footage is by comparing it to other things:

  • An NBA Professional and College basketball court is 4,700 square feet.
  • The turf on a baseball diamond is just about 5,000 square feet exactly.
  • A ten-lane olympic-sized swimming pool is 13,448 square feet.
  • A football field is 57,600 square feet.

Now if you’re not as much into sports, you can compare your space to the typical Dallas home. They say everything’s bigger in Texas, right? The average square footage of a house built after 2010 in Dallas is 2,613 square feet. If your business is the size of two “average” houses, then you’re big enough for a commercial cleaning company!

What if I’m Not Sure We Can Afford to Outsource our Cleaning Needs?

If you read Part I & Part II of this Small Business Series on the blog, then you know the better question is, “How can you not afford to outsource?” Your finite amount of time and energy should be invested in doing the things that only you can do! And as for your team members, the same principle applies.

But if you’re still asking yourself this question, take a moment to reflect on your entrepreneurial journey. What else were you unsure of when you started? How many Google searches and other resources did you consult before launching into the unknown? How many friends, colleagues, or relatives did you consult before pulling the trigger on your dreams? Research is the prerequisite to any new endeavor. If you’re unsure as to whether or not a commercial cleaning service is for you, the first step is to simply do a little researchjust ask! We would be happy to talk with you about your specific needs and provide you with a free quote so that you can make the best decision for you and your business.

How Do I Know Sonlight Cleaning Services is the Right Partner for My Small Business?

When it comes to small businesses, we get it. Your business is your baby; you grew it from scratch. Sonlight Cleaning Services also started out as a small business so we know how important it is to choose your business partnerships with care. We invite you to get to know us!

 

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