Tips to Help Avoid Tragic Facility Maintenance Decisions in 2016

Project planning is critical for it affects everyone in your building/organization; Continuous Improvement Tips (CITs) will help you avoid tragic mistakes in the upcoming year.

Reoccurring problems are often indicators of other issues; therefore, they must be resolved so that they do not reappear.  Symptoms and underlying cause of problems must first be discovered.

When a problem arises, such as poor maintenance or low level of cleaning in your building that affects the overall appearance as well as the health and productivity of your building occupants employees, simply ask “why” (5 WHYs) until you reach the cause which will lead to a solution (e.g., poorly paid and untrained workforce do not have proper equipment/supplies)

The CITs technique is simple and effective for any business model: PLAN, TEST, DO, REVIEW:


Download this free spreadsheet for accurate vendor comparisons


  • Create Goals: Process and Procedures outlined in the scope of work
  • A Project Plan: (An example is a Cost Bidding Sheet for transparency of vendors; receiving repeatedly poor service in your building may be a result of very low wages being paid to the employees who work in your building, resulting in poor performance and high turnover).
  • Ability to define how to measure successful performance (new or improved process of service).


  • Set acceptance standards in advance – What is “good enough?” … as an example, no spots on carpet, no visible dust?
  • Testing methodologies include, but not limited to: Surveys; periodic inspection walk- through (MBWA – Management By Walking Around).


  • Keep measuring – your measurement system should align with your key measures defined in your plan such as the scope of work
  • Commit to being firm – keep engaged and focused on the plan in place and make everyone involved live up to the performance promised.


Identify and document feedback.

CLS Tile & Grout RenovationCreate 100% commitment by continuing to question the process:

  1. What was supposed to have happened (high-gloss floors, clean/healthy overall appearance, such as these before/after examples)
  2. What actually did happen?
  3. Why did it happen/not happen (i.e.building still does not appear clean because janitorial staff lacks proper training; building occupants frequently sick because surfaces are not sanitized properly?)
  4. What was learned and what can be done to improve a better decision next time?

Since inception in 1985, Cleaner Living Services has implemented Continuous Improvement techniques that differentiated ourselves from other cleaning companies and helped us build a strong brand through continually asking the “WHY” and “HOW” in our business:

Why: While others seek to seize all opportunities in the commercial cleaning market, CLS has developed a brand for delivering high quality cleaning in the suburbs of Chicago to owner occupied buildings who are very concerned about the appearance and cleanliness of their building.  CLS is a privately owned, local cleaning service that is grateful for building owners who are loyal to our brand.

windsor-versamatic-VRHOW:  Training our employees on always improving our Process and Procedures . Our business involves learning how to better remove dirt from the indoor working environment.  Therefore, our equipment must be the most efficient available; for example, our Windsor Versamatic vacuum cleaners pickup particles that are .03 microns in size (picture of the vacuum)

Cleaner Living Services, Inc. has a unique perspective of focusing on long term partnerships with building owners/managers to help them make lasting first impressions.

Do not make a tragic decisions in 2016, but focus on making a decision today that will be tomorrow’s legacy.  Please call Susan Popovic at 630-816-0300 to learn about the many benefits you can experience in your building.


Preparing Your Facility for Winter Wear & Tear

andersen mat waterhog entryIt’s time to prepare your facility for the winter months and the wear-and-tear that snow, ice, and rain can bring to your interior.

Your floor is the most significant piece of real estate in your facility.  It is the first impression when people walk through the front door and the area that typically takes the brunt of rough winter weather.


The first line of defense is proper matting at all entry points.  Often we see buildings with inadequate matting or poorly positioned matting.

According to the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI), an office building should have at least 12 to 15 feet of entrance matting, while a grocery store of hospital should plan on up to 20 to 25 feet.   Keep an eye on your matting and replace it as soon as you notice any wear or curling.


We step-up our cleaning schedule during the harshest winter weeks, as removal of tracked-in salt is imperative in maintaining your floor surfaces. Additionally, we clean our equipment more frequently,  increase vacuuming, switch out solutions in buckets and change mop heads more frequently as there is more residue and debris during winter cleaning.  We make sure the cleaning solutions we use are effective in salt removal from carpets and surfaces.

Floor Finish

This is the time that we recommend additional attention to hard surfaces to protect them from winter wear. In many facilities, an extra layer of finish provides an additional degree of protection but not all floor surfaces will benefit from extra finish.  We can provide a complementary audit of your floor surfaces and provide a winter recommendation based on our findings.

Reducing Illness

This is a good time to stock-up on hand sanitizers around the building in preparation for flu season. Make sure there is a dispenser at the doors into the facility and at the reception desk.

Great Grout Without Glazing

CLS Tile & Grout RenovationDesperation for a great, new-looking tile and grout floor shouldn’t drive you to choose a process that locks you into expensive quarterly maintenance costs.

Most cleaning contractors do not know how to properly maintain stone floors, and therefore building managers spend a lot of money on a widely advertised “glazing” process for their tile and grout floors that demands additional, and expensive, quarterly maintenance costs.Popular Glazing Competitor

What kind of maintenance costs? Some maintenance plans can run as much as $1,000 per year, per restroom!


Consider the Annual Tile & Grout Maintenance Cost Comparison:

Size of Facility

CLS Grout Renovation

Popular Glazing Option

4 restrooms


$4,000 / yr.

8 restrooms


$8,000 / yr.

12 restrooms


$12,000 / yr.

CLS uses a restoration process that restores the new look of tile and grout, then keeps your floors looking new without costly maintenance fees.  After restoring the bright, fresh look of your tile and grout, our process then inhibits staining and discoloration, especially from urine and dirty mop water.

The result: Clean grout and tile without expensive quarterly maintenance fees.

Call Susan Popovic today for a more in-depth explanation and price comparison.  630.816.0300 or email her!


Keeping Carpet Out of Landfills

Carpet in Landfill

Carpet takes over 50 years to decompose in landfills.

Over five billion pounds of carpet end up in our landfills each year, according to the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE).

Most of this carpet disposal is from office buildings, retail establishments, public venues, and government facilities.  In fact, It is estimated that commercial carpet disposal it ranges from 75% to 90% of all carpet disposal.

On average, carpet accounts for just about 1 percent of all municipal solid waste by weight.  But in the landfill, it is one of the more bulkier items.

Since carpet takes over 50 years to decompose, many landfills no longer accept carpet.

CLS supports a dual-track for decreasing the amount of carpet that ends up in landfills.  First, we maintain your carpeted surfaces to provide the longest life possible.  We have customers with carpet that is nearly 20 years old.

Second, when you need to replace your carpet, we will recommend local recycling resources. Who knows where you might find that recycled carpet, as it is used in a number of products, such as:

  • Composite lumber (decking and sheets)
  • Tile backer board
  • Roofing shingles
  • Railroad ties
  • Automotive parts
  • Carpet Cushion
  • Stepping stones

Check out some of the other reclamation opportunities for carpet recycling, such as substitute for natural hay bales on construction sites, fencing, sound barriers, and landscaping systems to name a few.

The Floor Finish that Lasts for Years!

No Buffing.  No Maintenance. No Kidding.

Gloss Tek High Gloss FlorYou may have heard about it.  It’s the floor finish that requires no buffing and no maintenance for up to five years (according to the manufacturer) without losing its high gloss, clear coat, and brilliance.

It’s called Gloss-Tek, and we’ve been applying it for years on all types of floor surfaces, saving our customers thousands of dollars in maintenance costs.

Over five years, it is estimated it will save you approximately 35% over conventional floor finishing products.

CLS has years of experience in applying the revolutionary GlossTek floor finish to all types of floors including VCT, Vinyl Sheet, Terrazzo, VAT, Concrete, Ceramic, and more.

Our customers have literally gone for years without having to spend money on regular maintenance because this product and the application process provides a finish that is truly unbelievable.

The benefits include:

  • Reduced Costs – No burnishing, buffing or spray buffing. Highly resistant to scuffs, spills, asphalt walk off from parking lots, ice melts, salt, and much more.
  • Reduces re-application – Virtually maintenance-free, GlossTek dramatically reduces scrub and recoat frequency. Superb chemical, abrasion, stain and UV resistance (does not yellow).
  • Sustainable and Green – GlossTek is eligible to count towards your LEED green credits.
  • Improved Floor Appearance – Better looking floors, all the time. GlossTek “evens out” the never-ending floor appearance cycle by providing a long lasting, like-new finish that lasts much longer than conventional finishes.




LEED:EBOM v4 Changing Cleaning Credits

US Green Building CouncilThe current LEED for Existing Building: Operations & Management (LEED-EBOM) is currently under revision by the US Green Building Council (USGBC), and the new version (v-4) should be released in 2013.

LEED-EBOM is the rating system of the USGBC for single buildings, whether owner occupied, multi-tenanted, or multiple-building campus projects.  A building needs to have at least three months of operational data for an initial certification, and needs to be in operation for at least 12 continuous months before certifying.

LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance ratings are awarded according to the following 100 base point scale:

  • Certified: 40–49 points
  • Silver:  50–59 points
  • Gold:  60–79 points
  • Platinum:  80 points and above

According to Steve Ashkin, president of The Ashkin Group, there are changes in the v4 revision that impacts the cleaning credits for buildings seeking LEED-EBOM certification.

Some of these anticipated revisions include:

  • Use of disinfectants and sanitizers only when necessary
  • Developing goals for conserving energy and water throughout the building
  • 75% of products must be green certified (up from current 30%)
  • 40% of equipment must be considered green (up from 20%)
  • Accepted product certifications now include EPA’s DfE and ISSA/EcoForm Transpare Program in addition to Green Seal and EcoLogo standards

Other cleaning credit elements have been “rolled into” another existing credit, including:

  • Green Cleaning Policy
  • Entry Mats
  • Exterior Cleaning Requirements
  • Waste Stream Audit

> Read full article by Steve Ashkin
> Link to LEED-EBOM
> “Making the Most of LEED-EBOM”

When Do Commercial Cleaning Cuts Create Liabilities?

In the last few years, just about all facility managers have been asked by senior management to take steps to save money with their commercial cleaning needs   whether it is reducing costs across the board,  cutting back on services, or deferring maintenance.

This white paper written by Steve Silen, director KPMG Advisory Services, addresses the liabilities of cost savings .   He points out that cutting costs too deeply may result in a long-term liability despite the short-term savings.

He uses the analogy of car maintenance and how expenditure decisions can have unintended consequences.  As an example, he states, “to save money I the short- term, you might choose to delay changing the oil, replacing a balding tire, or investigating a strange engine noise. But in the long run, these choices could result in major and costly car repairs, or an accident causing injury to yourself and others. “

The same holds true in decisions regarding facility maintenance.  Silen points out that a system failure can typically cost more than the cost of the maintenance that could have prevented the failure.  Some companies have benefitted from outsourcing some FM-related costs.  It is a particularly attractive option, as statistics show outsourcing can generate an annual savings of seven-to-20 percent.

> Read full white paper from KMPG: “When Do Cost Savings Become Liabilities?”

The Many Advantages of Polished Concrete

A polished concrete floor can mimic the finest stone surface with the proper polishing techniques and staining.  There are many advantages to polished concrete.

Choice of Color and Patterns
You can choose nearly any color and creates practically any pattern with the array of stains and embedding options available today.

Reflectivity Choices
By using different levels of concrete polishing, you can achieve different levels of reflectivity. From a super high gloss to a more muted matte finish, the level of reflectivity is yours to decide.

Hard, Durable Surface
For many commercial applications, a polished concrete floor is the perfect solution .. for example, in  automotive service departments, warehouses, and manufacturing plants.

Savings in Maintenance Costs
After the proper polishing and treatment, it is relatively easy to maintain polished concrete with regular dust mopping and occasional use of a cleaning product.

To explore the advantages of concrete polishing for your commercial application and the maintenance savings it can garner, contact Cleaner Living Services in Lisle, IL.

How to Avoid Frequent Carpet Replacement Costs

With proper maintenance program, carpet can last up to 20 years!

You do not need to replace the carpet in your facility every few years… CLS has long-time customers with carpet that is over 12 years old … but still looks brand new.  Some of our buildings have carpet that is even older, and still looks like it was just installed.  They have reaped the financial benefits of avoiding frequent carpet replacement.

The truth? Carpet should have a much longer lifespan than 7 or 8 years.   It often ends up in landfills long before its time, because it has not been properly maintained.

Although the Carpet and Rug Institute advises consumers that their residential carpet should last 10 to 15 years, we have commercial customers with carpet that old … even with the wear and tear of a commercial environment.

The secret?  As soon as the new carpet is installed, CLS implements a carpet preventative maintenance program to properly maintain it and give it the longest life possible.

Improper maintenance leads to the needs to replace carpet sooner, and is typically seen in the heavy traffic areas of a facility with evidence of surface texture breakdown and matting.  Matting is usually the result of the fibers untwisting and the yarn tips intermingling.  The most likely cause of matting is improper maintenance, although it can also be caused by improper cushion, and cushion failure.

The result of proper carpet maintenance?  You’ll enjoy carpeting that does not experience pre-mature matting, fiber breakdown, and soiling … and can last up to 10, 15, or 20 years or more! Plus, facilities can gain LEED points for extending the life of carpet (considered building material) and keeping it out of landfills.

The cost? The total amount spent over the years for maintaining the carpet is significantly less than replacement.

Are you investing in new carpet after seven or eight years?  Then you need to find out about the CLS carpet preventative maintenance program, that includes carpet cleaning with our regular service agreements.  We give our building owners the longest wearing carpet possible while decreasing carpet replacement costs.

Call Cleaner Living Services in Lisle, IL today and see how long you can keep your carpet looking new!