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The inside story on outside dirt

Just Saying with Delia Cannings
1. The inside story on outside dirt

Make sure all your exterior furniture is welcoming and not covered in bird poo

I hope you’ve had a fabulous summer and refreshing break from work when possible. Perhaps the thought of a cocktail or two in a relaxing environment is your wish too, and well deserved following the uncertain times we’ve been through together. But even when chilling out, some of us are drawn to monitoring dirt, and my watchful eye can’t help but pick up on signs of neglect to the outside areas of buildings.

External maintenance of our hotels and associated buildings is vital. However, can we honestly say the cleansing of this area features as a priority? Did we even notice the pigeon poop nicely decorating an outside bench when there was so much else to do?

Our first consideration will be the service delivered to the interior, the housekeeping aspect of the building. But maintenance of the exterior is vital. It will impact on internal cleanliness and the way in which buildings are perceived on initial approach by customers and visitors.

Dirty walkways will be spotted by guests – what’s more they will walk some of it onto the premises

Up to 90 per cent of the soil that comes into buildings enters on the soles of shoes, clothing, wheels, and items taken inside. Therefore, considering the entrance areas to hotels – walkways, perimeter slabbing, and barrier matting is crucial. Planned preventative cleaning maintenance must be embedded within an agreed cleaning spec which details frequency of periodic occurrences such as chewing gum removal, pressure washing of perimeter slabbing or paving stones and cleaning of entrance facades and seating areas.

These aspects are key to reassuring visitors that the service being delivered is good. Poorly maintained entrance areas, overgrown grass and bushes, and littered premises will disappoint visitors and deter potential and current customers. Dirty windows have the same impact.

Also, it must be recognised that wear and tear to internal surfaces will be reduced when soil entry is minimised. This has a positive impact on finances as replacements of furnishings and fittings becomes a lesser requirement. Effective cleaning management helps recognise and predict problems before they arise, like monitoring external bins to avoid overflowing or running out of hand towels, soap, and paper rolls in washroom areas.

It’s not all about the guests, either. Good cleaning management encourages staff positivity. This has been emphasised recently during the pandemic as employees need to know facilities are managed properly, to ensure they are safe in their workspace. And, of course, managing equipment will reduce maintenance issues, often helping towards significant cost savings.

Inspecting and maintaining areas like roofs, walls, gutters, drains, and foundations is an investment in managing interior conditions as well as contributing to preserving the building.

Exterior Cleaning

Let’s look at some of the problem areas.

Pollution: a major issue for businesses in terms of health and wellbeing, but also the look of the exterior. Buildings can become grey or black due to soil particle build-up over time. The problem is particularly common for those located near heavy transport links, which many of our hotels are.

Bad Weather: Rain, wind and snow can cause window streaks and soil and dust to stick to exterior surfaces. It can also help draw soil into reception areas. Pollen: Pollen particles can stick to an exterior and negatively impact the overall look of the building.

Fallen Leaves: These often combine with mud and stick to the outside. Without wind to dislodge them, leaves can remain in place and attract further soil deposits.

Foot Traffic: Walkways, outside seating and smoking areas can become dirty as customers and staff transport soil, debris and in wintertime salt and grit on their shoes.

Smoking Residues: Discarded cigarette ends and matches are often deposited just outside the entrance to a building.

Keeping the exterior clean is often a complex cleaning task requiring special tools and techniques to produce the best results. Staff must be trained and have skills and the knowledge so that exterior cleaning does not damage your building.

Every external element of a building will need to be cleaned, starting with footpaths, walkways, and stairs leading to your entrance. Beyond windows, doors, and the roof, don’t forget parking areas, decorative elements, grass and plants and exterior furniture. The long list includes exterior signage, guttering, canopies, matting and waste bins.

Cleaning service management teams must consider the ‘customer’ journey and the impact this can have on the perception of cleanliness of the hotel before the customer has even checked in, visited the restaurant or spent a penny.

I’m now off for that tall cocktail, hopefully somewhere which has been subject to the attention to detail we’ve discussed!

Make sure all your exterior furniture is welcoming and not covered in bird poo
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