Have you ever looked up at a business’s ceiling and noticed dust bunnies on the air ducts or dirt and grease smeared along its surface? Even though industrial ceiling cleaning is a maintenance task that’s often overlooked, it is an important part of maintaining a safe, productive, and healthy workplace.
No matter the environment, dust and dirt accumulate over time. Neglecting professional ceiling cleaning only makes the inevitable cleanup a more arduous task. When dust, dirt, and debris are allowed to accumulate on the ceiling, they can interfere with ventilation systems, contaminate the entire work floor environment, and potentially lead to safety hazards such as fire or health issues due to reductions in air quality and the spread of illness-carrying germs.
Overseas Companies Value Clean Facilities
Professional industrial ceiling cleaning by experts offers many benefits for your business. When you make regular ceiling cleaning part of your maintenance routine, you can feel confident that your production facility is up-to-date with its regulations and ready for that routine inspection or tour by a potential client.
Over the past few years, the number of Asian and European brands looking to produce their products in the United States has grown significantly. Japan boasts an international reputation for being clean. With cleanliness being a cultural mainstay and a tenet of excellence, it’s hardly surprising that Japanese companies and brands that are looking to relocate or expand production in the United States consider cleanliness a key factor in deciding where to place their business. While Germany and Switzerland are also known for their adherence to strict codes of cleanliness, sanitation, and orderliness, countries throughout the EU all regard cleanliness as a value of quality and preparedness. Especially when both parties do not speak the same native language, showing a clean environment says a lot about one’s readiness to work and attention to detail, far more than words can convey.
Chicago’s businesses can set themselves up for success at landing great contracts with overseas companies by carefully reviewing the cleanliness and overall sanitation of their facilities and putting an action plan in place. Touring with an “outsider’s perspective” or asking a trusted partner or employee to point out any areas they notice as being less than pristine can help locate spaces that need cleaning and regular maintenance. The tour should include a survey of the entire facility including attention to walls, ceilings, floors, tiles, carpets, and all common areas including offices, break rooms, kitchens, restrooms, hallways, and all pathways connecting one zone of operation to another. Once all areas in need of cleaning are noted, a certified, reputable, state-of-the-art commercial cleaning company should be contacted so that a professional tour and assessment of the facility’s janitorial needs can be conducted.
Health & Safety Benefits
A facility that’s clean from top to bottom is a safer, healthier environment for everyone. Along with offering shelter from the elements, ceilings are hotspots for various organic and inorganic contaminants and residues that collect there by process of evaporation. As such, an unclean overhanging wall can store and release various contaminants throughout a facility. Along with spreading sickness, these contaminants can poison foods and perishable goods, destroy machinery, damage products, and stain walls, surfaces, and floors. Regular industrial ceiling cleaning helps to ensure the health and safety of all persons who visit and work within a production or commercial facility by helping to mitigate a number of health and safety issues.
FDA-Compliant Ceiling Cleaning & Dust Removal is Essential
Ceiling cleaning is extremely important for food processing plants. Compliance with FDA and SQF regulations is mandatory, as is maintaining the quality of production to the ISO 9001 standard. Ceiling cleaning and the verification that such cleaning has been performed are required on a regular basis (typically quarterly). Missing verification of such an essential cleaning procedure can result in a plant being shut down, losing important certifications, and consequently, losing revenue.
In recent years, the public has become increasingly aware of the safety concerns associated with dust accumulation. Food processing plants that produce baby formula, chocolate, flour, sugar, various grains, and cardboard have all experienced explosions, many arising from combustible dust fires. A 2019 study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that even dust resulting from the assembly of non-flammable products such as “resin-containing plastic composites” has been shown to be flammable and combustible under certain conditions. The study went on to recommend that dust buildup should be prevented via “a suitable cleaning regime.”
The NFPA (National Fire Prevention Association) requires dust cleanup from all areas where dust may accumulate. Many insurance companies insist on adherence to the NFPA’s standards on dust and will cancel coverage, especially if they believe that it may be combustible. While the NFPA maintains safety standards for the prevention of fire, OSHA regulates the amount of dust exposure persons can be exposed to during a typical workday. Regular dust collection and removal from dust sources and from the ambient environment are required to limit employee exposure to below the threshold level.
Reduce the Spread of Illness & Allergy Symptoms
Working environments that do not adhere to maintaining high standards of cleanliness increase the spread of harmful germs that cause common colds, viruses, such as influenza, and even Covid-19. According to the EPA, dust and particulate matter can negatively impact human health, affecting both the lungs and heart, and lead to irregular heartbeat, decreased lung function, and even nonfatal heart attacks.
Dust can also aggravate asthma, a respiratory condition affecting 8% of the population, characterized by the spasms of the lungs’ bronchi which cause difficulty in the afflicted person’s breathing ability. Mold is also known to trigger asthmatic symptoms. According to the CDC, moldy environments “can make pre-existing asthma worse” and even individuals without allergy problems can develop hypersensitivity pneumonitis, an immune system “sensitization” to inhaled organic dust. While many Americans suffer from asthma, between five and thirty percent of the world’s population have dust allergies (technically allergy to dust mites), and more than one in four Americans have seasonal allergies, such as hay fever. For such reasons, business owners and safety and plant managers should be aware of the health issues caused and aggravated by moldy, dusty, or unhygienic, dirty environments, as well as the added cost such problems can cause due to an uptick in sick days, absences, and loss in productivity.
Prevents Pests & Vermin
Along with helping to ensure your production facility is clean and ready to be toured by domestic and overseas company executives alike, regular professional industrial ceiling cleaning is essential for keeping facilities free from insect infestations and pests. Birds, vermin, and rodents are attracted to accumulated dust and debris. While cockroaches are universally viewed as indicators of filth and contamination, the presence of rodents and vermin, such as rats, can spread diseases like the Hantavirus which is found in the droppings, urine, and saliva of rats, mice, and various “pocket pet” species, like guinea pigs. Leptospirosis, Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis (LCM), Tularemia, and Salmonella are just a few of the many diseases that can be spread by various rodents. If pests are not removed quickly and efficiently through professional industrial cleaning services, they can quickly spread disease throughout a facility, cause health hazards, and set off a series of legal and regulatory actions.
Increase Energy Efficiency
In addition to the safety benefits it provides, professional industrial ceiling cleaning can also help improve energy efficiency in your production facility. Dirt and debris on ceilings can interfere with air circulation and reduce the efficiency of air conditioning systems. Air conditioning and HVAC systems that are operating at a less-than-optimal level can lead to increased energy costs, and shorten the lifespan of these expensive systems. Professional ceiling cleaning helps ensure that all vents are clear so that your entire HVAC system can function at its peak performance level.
Ceiling Cleaning Expertise is a Must
Ceiling types can vary greatly from facility to facility. Ceilings and ceiling tiles can be composed of stainless steel, epoxy-coated metal, stucco, wood, fiberglass, gypsum, clay, and other materials. One cleaning method does not work for every ceiling type. Expert commercial cleaners know the proper procedures for cleaning various surfaces. They can safely gather and remove mold, grease, dirt, and debris that accumulate on the ceilings without contaminating the lower-lying workspaces, machinery, offices, and common areas.
Incorrect cleaning of the ceiling can cause or exacerbate the spread of mold, dust, particulate matter, and even insects and vermin throughout the interiors of a facility. Using reputable, certified cleaning services is a must for production facilities and businesses. OSHA’s guide Indoor Air Quality in Commercial and Institutional Buildings calls “smudging” around air supply sources a result of “poor housekeeping,” and lists it as a contributor of indoor air pollution that needs to be addressed to control the spread of airborne pollutants.
At Spotless Cleaning Chicago, we understand that proper, high-quality commercial cleaning is about much more than elbow grease. We apply science and process flows to all of our cleaning services to ensure we clean in a smart, safe, hygienic, and state-of-the-art manner. Our certifications, expertise, and technology enable us to deliver exceptional results to all of the businesses we serve.
Industrial ceiling cleaning is an essential part of any production facility’s safety plan and maintenance schedule, and should not be neglected or overlooked. Regular professional industrial ceiling cleaning helps maintain safety standards while reducing energy costs, safeguarding health, and preventing rodent and vermin infestations from occurring in the workplace. Safety managers and plant managers should consider investing in regular professional industrial cleaning services to ensure their facilities remain safe, clean, efficient, and pest-free.
At Spotless Cleaning Chicago, we specialize in providing today’s businesses with state-of-the-art cleaning technologies powered by experienced, carefully trained team members. Contact us today to discuss your needs and learn more about our exceptional and dependable cleaning services.
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Sources:“Indoor Air Quality in Commercial and Institutional Buildings. OSHA. 2011.”