The Difference Between Cleaning, Disinfection and Sanitization

Cleaning up – The 3 Sisters

Understandably cleaning, disinfection and sanitization may have just been words to you over a year ago but have now become very significant topics. Even with their common usage in daily public messaging there can be a tendency to group the them together as the same thing. What is the difference? And how can they help you keep your workplace safe?


Meet the Three Sisters (Our Fernie Pun) of a Healthy and Clean Environment

Cleaning: The Older Sister

The one you have probably known the longest. Simply put, cleaning is the removal of dirt, germs and impurities from surfaces and objects. It alone, does not kill germs. But fewer germs on surfaces can decrease the spread of bacteria. Tried, tested and true, but for deeper cleans and to stop the spread of viruses and pathogens, she needs to call in her sisters.

Sanitizing: The Middle Sister

Sanitization of surfaces and objects, especially high touch areas, kills and reduces the number of germs and pathogens to a safe level that is determined by public health standards. And is a requirement to operate by making sure surfaces are ‚Äėtouch-safe‚ÄĚ. But it does not kill all germs.

Disinfecting: The New Kid

Disinfecting is the application of specific and stronger chemicals to kill ALL germs and pathogens on surfaces and objects. In our current health crisis, it is the most effective means to stop the spread of illness causing germs and infections.

How can this help your business? No matter what type of commercial facility you have, keeping it clean and germ-free, so that it can continue to operate successfully and safely is crucial to its success and a community responsibility.

A commercial cleaning service provider has access to the most up to date disinfection technology and equipment necessary to provide you the most effective clean and help reduce the spread of illness causing germs. Putting both you, your employees, and customers mind at ease, knowing their well being and safety is being professionally taken care of.

employees at a board table

Let us do our job so you can do yours!

Have questions about our methods of cleaning, sanitizing, or disinfecting for commercial facilities? Need COVID-19 cleaning help from professionals?

Want to set up regular cleanings or project services to improve your commercial facility?

Contact us at Goldstar Cleaning Services Group today!

Goldstar logo

Spring Cleaning Tips for The Office

5 Quick Tips to Tidy Up the Office

Tip 1: Get your paperwork organized

The concept of having a paperless office sounds very appealing. However, turning that into a reality can take some time. It requires that all of your business processes be digitized and for you to eliminate using paper in your entire facility. A solution that is more feasible is to find ways to ensure that all of your paperwork stays regulated and organized. One way to do that is to create space on a bookshelf or cabinet for the amount of paperwork that you need to store.

The next step that you need to do is divide up you are papers into various categories, like having a set that is labeled “to be filed” while another one is for your “to do” paperwork. After the various groups have been categorized, the documents should be stored in the appropriate file boxes or paper trays.

Tip 2: Set aside an area for your supplies

It’s common for office supplies and stationery to be found on practically every desk in many offices. At the same time, those types of supplies are not normally used on a daily or regular basis. Those items over time make desks look very messy and untidy. In order to avoid that situation, assign a special drawer or bin to organize your office supplies. Only leave the items that you use frequently on your desk. Everything else should be thrown out.

spring cleaning sign

Tip 3: Find a place to store your temporary items

Temporary items can be defined as things like trade publications and magazines. To avoid getting them mixed up with important client files or documents, have an area designated for those items. When temporary items are placed in a single designated area, that allows you to monitor them as they continue to accumulate. That gives you enough time to determine which files to get rid of, older editions in particular.

Tip 4: Organize your computer

Another important task that is involved in office spring cleaning is tidying up and organizing your virtual desktop. Filing documents that you are most likely to use frequently or again is the best approach to take. If you have any old documents you don’t need any longer, then you should delete them. That will clear off your desktop, and also save you numerous hours that you would have spent looking for important documents.

Tip 5: Get Rid of Clutter

In order to keep your office tidy and clean at all times, you will need to do other things beyond cleaning. You will also need to get into the habit of ensuring that everything is always in the right place. If you tend to have a cluttered workspace, spring is a great time to make a new resolution for yourself and get into the habit of having better cleaning habits. Only keep your most essential belongings and get rid of any clutter that is unnecessary out of your work area.

For all your cleaning needs, contact us!

Goldstar logo

Spring clean your business

Organizing your files can help clamp down on clutter (istockphoto)
Organizing your files can help your business clamp down on clutter (istockphoto)
The office¬†is¬†second only to¬†the bedroom as the most lived-in space in our daily lives. And yet,¬†our workplace rarely¬†gets the kind of special attention that we commit to cleaning our homes. It’s time for that to change. This year, consider “spring cleaning” different aspects of your business to make your company more efficient and effective year-round. Clean your physical workspace:¬†A clean workspace can improve employee morale, prevent office-borne illness and¬†create a more professional working environment for workers and clients. Give your office a makeover by: -Deep cleaning carpets or floors; -Dusting office furniture; -Wiping down computers and other office equipment with electronics-friendly cleaning cloths; -Vacuuming behind your desks, making sure to unplug electronics and pull away the wiring first. De-clutter¬†your filing system: This applies to both¬†paper documents¬†and computer files. Create archives to store¬†old data.¬†Invest in organizers.¬†Throw out any files¬†that¬†are no longer¬†useful or necessary¬†for record keeping purposes. Your goal should be to clear your desk (and your computer’s desktop) of extraneous files. Finally, consider going paperless in the office; online storage systems like DropBox or Apple’s iCloud allow you store files¬†securely and share them across¬†a network, rather than constantly making copies. Fix up your website:¬†A company’s website is a direct extension of its¬†brand. An old or outdated webpage may discourage new customers from contacting you, no matter how amazing your in-house products or services are. Take some time to perform some basic¬†e-maintenance by: -Repairing broken links -Updating contact¬†information, logos and¬†company bios; -Introducing new pictures and testimonials; -Integrating features like Twitter and Facebook into your website. If your web¬†design skills are less than stellar, consider enlisting third-party help.¬†Content management platforms like WordPress provide¬†customer support services and¬†can help you create¬†a design¬†practical, stylish¬†(and affordable)¬†website from the ground up. Evaluate your goals: If you’ve set business goals for 2013, now is the time to check in and see how those goals are progressing. If you haven’t set goals, it’s not too late. A simple visioning exercise, like this one developed by Purdue University, can help you identify where you’d like your business to be five¬†to ten years down the road, and¬†develop a strategy¬†to get there. Organize key information: Put together an administrative manual that contains all your processes, passwords and contacts.¬†Having the information readily available will help ensure¬†that you and your employees follow proper procedures when performing day-to-day tasks, which in turn promotes productivity and consistency. Thank your customers: Take the time to craft an email or a newsletter addressed to all the clients who have frequented your business in the past year. Thank them for their patronage and¬†tell them that you’d love to work with them again.¬†It’s a small gesture that goes a long way towards fostering positive¬†relationships with your customers.

Spring Clean Challenge winner announced

For demonstrating a¬†stubborn¬†commitment to cleanliness¬†by¬†tackling a month’s worth of daily chores, Amy¬†will receive¬†3 months of bi-weekly residential cleaning services from Goldstar. (That’s quite a return on investment!) “It was just a perfect prize to win,” Amy tells Goldstar. “The 31 day challenge was definitely a good motivator to get things done.” Amy,¬†a travel agent who works from home, estimates that she and her husband completed three-quarters of the assigned tasks during the Spring Clean Challenge. Amy says she also worked hard to keep the house clean, despite the best efforts of her two-and-a-half-year-old twins. “Often, they’ll get something dirty while you’re in the middle of cleaning it,” she jokes. In her application, Amy¬†stated that her least-favourite household chore was ‚Äúdusting and cleaning the walls in my house.‚ÄĚ “I live in a round dome house, and my walls don’t often get dusted, ” Amy explains. We’ll be sure to tackle that unpleasant chore first! Goldstar will begin cleaning¬†Amy’s house¬†later this¬†week, so stay tuned. Thank you to all the participants in the Spring Clean Challenge. Due to¬†an¬†overwhelming¬†response, we will be hosting the challenge again next year. In the meantime, stay tuned for the 2nd Annual Goldstar Extreme Makeover: Clean Home Edition, coming this fall.

Natural ways to keep your home smelling fresh

Herbs like lavender and thyme are natural air fresheners for your home (istockphoto)
Herbs like lavender and thyme are natural air fresheners for your home (istockphoto)
Spring cleaning isn’t just about getting rid of clutter and scrubbing floors. After a winter on lockdown, your home could probably use a good airing out. Spring is a time of rebirth in the natural world, so¬†why not take a page from Mother Nature’s playbook when combatting funky smells? These natural remedies will bring the¬†fresh¬†scent¬†of spring to your home in no time flat. -A chemical wunderkind, baking soda¬†has near endless applications¬†when it comes to¬†combatting household odours. A scoop of baking soda poured down the drain with warm water will quickly neutralize smells coming from your¬†sink or garbage disposal. To de-odorize carpets, sprinkle on a half a cup of baking soda for every square foot of carpet, wait fifteen minutes, then vacuum the carpet. Put¬†baking soda in the fridge to remove food odours. It can be even be used on stinky sneakers! -Tired of buying air fresheners that promise a “fresh” scent but actually smell like chemicals? Consider using herbs and spices instead.¬† Natural lavender species¬†come in a variety of smells which are¬†less overpowering than pure lavender¬†oil.¬†To clear out a smelly kitchen, put some cinnamon sticks in a pot of water and bring to a boil on the stove.¬†Hang bundles of¬†fresh or dried¬†thyme, rosemary, and¬†mint¬†throughout of ¬†your home for some natural aromatherapy. Ivy in flowerpot-There’s also some solid research to suggest house plants can improve air quality in your home.¬†Back in¬†1989,¬†NASA tested a number of house plants as part of its clean air study, which researched ways to¬†augment air filtration systems¬†in¬†space stations.¬†Certain plants¬†not only removed carbon dioxide and provide oxygen, they also removed harmful chemicals like benzene (found in petrochemicals)¬†and trichloroethylene (used in industrial¬†solvents) from the surrounding environment. Among the top performers were snake plant, pot mum, peace lily, Boston fern and English Ivy.¬†For best results,¬†the NASA study recommends using 15 to 18 good-sized houseplants in six- to eight-inch diameter containers in a 1,800-square-foot house. –Coffee grinds can do more than help you stay awake – they can also soak up the stink from vomit, urine and other nasty accidents on clothes and upholstery. Place two or three layers of old dryer sheets over a stinky stain, then sprinkle coffee grinds over the sheets. The odour will be absorbed in the grinds overnight.  

8 time-saving spring cleaning tips

There’s no way around it – spring cleaning takes work. But if you’ve been following our 31-day Spring Clean Challenge, you know that the most effective way to tackle a big job is to turn it into several smaller jobs. Well, here are eight more time-saving tips to help you along.
Put together a cleaning caddy to keep your cleaning supplies close by (istockphoto)
Put together a cleaning caddy to keep your cleaning supplies close by (istockphoto)
Make a cleaning caddy You can find these handy organizing buckets at most hardware stores. Fill the caddy with multipurpose cleaners, microfiber cloths and dish soap. That way, you’ll always have your basic cleaning tools on hand as you move about the house. Find a place for everything Tackle large piles of clutter by subdividing the task into smaller pieces. Label a set of Rubbermaid containers with general areas in your home – kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, bedroom, office, garbage etc. Before you begin cleaning a room, place clutter into the appropriate box and place the box it in the room where the items belong. Once you’ve finished your cleaning for the day, sort through each box and find a home for your stuff. Repeat as necessary. (This is also a good way to sort through items when planning a garage sale.) Move your furniture and appliances just enough to clean around them¬†Unless you’re steam cleaning the carpets, there’s no need to clear a room of all furniture before you start. When vacuuming, simply move those big items a little to the left or to the right, vacuum the area previously occupied by the furniture and then move it back into place. As an additional task: check the pads on the feet of your chairs and couches, and replace any that are dirty to prevent scratching your floors.
A squeegee is your best friend when it comes to washing windows (istockphoto)
A squeegee is your best friend when it comes to washing windows (istockphoto)
Use all the tools in your cleaning armada Do you use the attachments that came your vacuum cleaner? You should. The upholstery brush attachment is perfect for cleaning cushions and drapes, while the crevice attachment can get into tight spots with ease. You can also use an extending rod to clean up high. And when cleaning windows outside, save time (and a small fortune in paper towels) by using a squeegee with a pole attachment. Let water do your work Metal and plastic blinds can be removed from the window and cleaned outside. Scrub down the blinds with soapy water, then spray them clean with a garden hose. Lay the blinds flat on a towel to dry in the sun. Garbage cans, plastic furniture and toys can also be hosed down. Doing the work work outside will prevent you from accidentally bringing dirt and grime back in your house. Make a lost and found box Don’t waste time fretting about where to put that orphaned sock or how to neatly arrange your collection of extra shirt buttons. Instead, set aside a container for items that have no obvious home. Then you can resume your cleaning duties and worry about the little details later. Identify and eliminate clutter hotspots My personal hotspot is right next to the microwave on the kitchen counter. It’s a magnet for pieces of mail, flyers, old receipts and other documents I’m too lazy to sort. The trick to keeping such spaces clean is to remove the temptation; once you’ve cleared a hotspot, put something in its place – a lamp, a vase with some flowers or an art object – to block the clutter from re-appearing Get rid of dust at the source A lot of the dust in your house gets recirculated by dirty air filters, vents and fan blades.¬† Remove dust and dirt from ceiling fans and air-conditioner vents with a cloth and a vacuum with a soft nozzle attachment. Replace your air filters regularly, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

How to host a successful garage sale

iStock_000010089424Small One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. That pretty much explains the mysterious allure of the garage sale, an annual springtime ritual that also serves as a great excuse to de-clutter your home (and make some extra cash). Of course, you’re not the only home on the block hoping to pawn off unwanted household items this spring. A successful garage sale requires organization, planning and a bit of luck. Here’s a step-by-step guide to making the most of your next junk sale. 1. Trash of treasure? Sorting through your junk can be emotionally difficult for those of us who get attached to their “stuff.” The best approach is to set firm rules for what you’ll keep and what you’ll sell. Some sellers use the year rule – if I haven’t worn it, read it, cooked with it, used it or looked at it in the past year, I’m selling it. Go through every room in your house, methodically sorting between items you absolutely need and items you can live without. 2. Clean up your merchandise A little bit of polish can go a long way toward increasing the perceived value of that table lamp or toaster. Fix up all your items as best you can before displaying them. Clean plastic toys in a tub filled with hot, soapy water. Put fresh shoelaces on shoes and hang clothes on coat hangers. Test electronics. Throw out anything that is broken, damaged or that might present a danger to the buyer. Whenever possible, display items in their original boxes or containers, with instructions and spare parts included.
Fix up all your items as best you can before displaying them (istockphoto)
Fix up all your items as best you can before displaying them (istockphoto)
3. Sort items by price and type Use colour-coded stickers to simplify the pricing process. Use intervals like 50 cents, $1, $2, $5, $10 and $20 to mark items (alternately, you can label entire boxes of goods with this approach). Mark items worth more than $20 with tags. When laying out your garage sale, sort items by where they might be used in the home; kitchen items go on one table, children’s toys and books in another. 4. Choose a date Host your garage sale when you have a full day to dedicate to the cause. Avoid long weekends and holidays when people might travel. A one-day sale is usually sufficient – shoppers know the best finds are usually gone by the second day. You may want to consider coordinating a group garage sale with your neighbours¬† – the more people pass through your neighbourhood, the more likely people will stop to browse your selection. 5. Advertise at least two weeks in advance The most dedicated bargain hunters plan their trips well in advance, so you need to give them fair warning. Classified websites like Craigslist and Kijiji allow you to post advertisements for free. Consider posting an ad in the classified section of your local newspaper, setting up a Facebook event page, or emailing your friends and neighbours to tell them about the sale. In your ads, give customers some tantalizing glimpses of the great items they might find. (Some of the deals that tend to attract shoppers include wooden or antique furniture, sports equipment, appliances, artwork, antiques and vintage items, silverware and china.)
Use signs to guide shoppers to your doorstep (istockphoto)
Use signs to guide shoppers to your doorstep (istockphoto)
6. Be clear with instructions and directions Set firms hours for your garage sale to keep “early bird shoppers” from knocking on your door at the crack of dawn. On the day of the sale, post signs to direct cars to your home (Organized Home has some free printable direction signs). Make your signs BIG and bright so that drivers can see the address. 7. Be firm with hagglers – at first Don’t accept a low-ball bid on your best merchandise at the beginning of the sale. As the day progresses, it will be easy to see which items are selling and which are not. At that point, start offering better deals – a 50 per cent discount after 2 p.m., buy-one-get-one-free books, etc. Alternately, collect some of your hard-to-move items into “mystery bags” and sell them for a dollar apiece. 8. Ditch or donate anything you can’t sell if nobody else wants it, why keep it? Donate your leftover items to a local charity. If, for whatever reason, the item can’t be donated, dump it.

Take the Spring Clean Challenge and Win!

We could all use a little motivation to get the chores done. Goldstar has 31 days’ worth. Starting May 1, Goldstar Cleaning Services¬†is launching its Spring Clean Challenge,¬† a 31-day regiment designed to take your home from drab to fab in time for summer. “The Spring Clean Challenge focuses¬†on what people can do individually, each day, to de-clutter and clean up,” explains Goldstar owner Jill Barclay. “Each task is small, but over the course of the month, it adds up to a clean home.” And there’s an added bonus: those who¬†participate in the¬†challenge will be entered into a draw for three months of bi-weekly residential cleaning from Goldstar’s professional cleaning staff. Here’s how to enter: -Go to Goldstar’s Facebook page¬† (Goldstar Cleaning Services Ltd.) and click “Like” -Follow the daily tasks posted on Goldstar’s wall.¬†(Don’t worry, the tasks will be simple, like¬†cleaning out from underneath the kitchen sink, or sorting through the medicine cabinet.) -Register at Post your feedback when you’ve completed a task. You can also post photos or personal testimonies. Goldstar will also be posting cleaning tips throughout the month, to¬†help you along. -At the end of the month, all¬†registered participants will be entered in¬†the draw. The more tasks you complete, the more chances you have to win!
Good luck, and¬†be sure to follow Goldstar’s Facebook page throughout the month of May to finish¬†as much of the Spring Clean Challenge as¬†possible!

4 cool spring cleaning traditions from around the world

An elephant ridden by a mahout sprays water at crowds attenting the Songkran Festival in Ayuttaya Province, Thailand. (istockphoto)
Westerners aren’t the only ones who take advantage of the warm weather to clean shop. In fact, spring cleaning is pretty much an international holiday, judging from these four holidays that put de-cluttering on the agenda. Songkran: This annual holiday of is a wet and wild celebration of the South Asian New Year, celebrated on April 13. It’s also known as the “water festival” because the religiously inclined pour water over themselves to wash away their sins. In some cities, particularly the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai, this tradition has turned into an epic two-day water fight that attracts tourists from around the world. But there’s a softer side to Songkram – many households take the opportunity to clean their homes (particularly any religious icons, like Buddha statues) and to visit elderly relatives. Khane-Tekani: The Persian New Year of Nowruz falls on the first day of spring, between March 19 and March 22. Tradition has it that the spirits of deceased family members come to visit on that day. In preparation, Persian families undertake Khane-Tekani – literally “house shaking” – to welcome them. They also fill their homes with fresh flowers, usually¬†hyacinth and narcissus, and burn incense made from the esfand plant. Chinese New Year: Massive parades and fireworks aside, the most important day on the Chinese Lunisolar calendar is also an opportunity to quietly contemplate the previous year and hope for a better tomorrow. Based on the Cantonese saying “Wash away the dirt on ninyabaat [the 28th day of the 12 month],” Chinese households undertake a rigorous cleaning regiment, sweeping dust out of their homes (to remove bad luck), fixing anything that’s broken and tidying up doors and entrance ways. Then, during the first few days of the New Year, brooms and dust pans are tucked away to avoid accidentally sweeping away the newly-arrived good fortune. Passover: In Jewish households, spring cleaning is motivated by Passover, the 8-day holiday marking the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt. According to the story of Passover, after Moses obtained a promise from the Pharaoh to free the Hebrew slaves, Moses and his people were forced to leave so quickly, they didn’t have time to let their bread rise (or leaven). So, Passover tradition states that all traces of chametz (leavened bread) must be removed from the home before the first day of Passover. In Orthodox Jewish households, the process for removing chametz can be very rigorous and includes thoroughly cleaning all dishes, “kashering” (pouring boiling water over) cleaning surfaces and appliances, cleaning out the fridge and freezer, scrubbing and washing floors and scouring the sink.

Cleaning blogs: Online help for your spring cleaning plans

Here at Goldstar, we try as much as possible to provide you with experience-based tips and tricks to make cleaning easier. But we know we’re not the only game in town – in fact, there are a staggering number of online blogs dedicated to house cleaning, organizing and decorating. Most are written by ordinary folks, just like you. So, if you’re looking for some DIY inspiration for spring cleaning, check out these four outstanding blogs: The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking: How does a mother of six find time to blog, craft and keep an immaculate house? Follow Kelly as she dispenses pearls of wisdom on everything from child-friendly art projects to simply delicious cooking. ( Check out: Free Printable Spring Cleaning Checklist,¬†A Million Great Uses For Binder Clips   iHeartOrganizing: Jennifer Jones has a place for everything. Her blog, iHeartOrganizing, was recently featured on HGTV’s Clean Freaks, but Jones wants to make clear that you don’t have to go crazy to have an organized space. In fact, her tips may bring some serenity back into your house. ( Check out: Quick tips for getting your garage summer ready, An organized cleaning caddy   Spring Cleaning 365: People encourage us to take life one day at a time; why not cleaning, too? This comprehensive blog provides daily, step-by-step instructions for every conceivable spring cleaning chore, from washing the windows to organizing the nightstands. The blog also reminds you to perform regular “habits”; little chores that make housework easier. Check out: Spring cleaning windows, Cleaning window frames   A Slob Comes Clean: Let’s face it: we all fall short of our Martha Stewart-esque dreams for keeping an immaculate house. That’s what makes Dana White, aka Nony’s blog so refreshing. A Slob Comes Clean holds nothing back while chronicling Nony’s continuing battle to de-clutter her family’s home – the good, the bad and the grungy. She also has several e-books available. Check out: Dishwashing Rhythm ‚Äď And My Lack of Cleaning Intuition, Simplifying My Bathroom Counter