What is the Right Way to Disinfect During COVID-19? Here’s How.

During COVID-19, it’s important that you protect your home or business against the virus. Here’s the right way to disinfect for optimal safety.

how to disinfect the right way to protect yourself from COVID-19

 

The coronavirus outbreak has people in the Chicagoland area clambering to protect themselves, their homes, and businesses from possible contamination. The transmission life of COVID-19 on surfaces can last up to a week and the continued spread of the disease has led to a growing number of fatalities in the US. This has produced a dramatic increase in cleaning companies getting involved with COVID-19 disinfection — and with it, people are wondering what the right way to disinfect is.

 

Some COVID-19 cleaning companies can answer that question easily — they’re well prepared and highly trained for that kind of work. But others are simply jumping on the bandwagon because they’re seeing an opportunity for a quick buck and they figure anyone can do it. But nothing could be farther from the truth: there’s a right way to disinfect your space and a wrong way. That’s why it’s important to choose a restoration company that knows how to correctly disinfect your home or business during COVID-19. 

 

How to Determine Who to Trust to Disinfect the Right Way

The EPA does not license companies that provide cleaning services. So how do you know if a Chicagoland cleaning company is safe to hire? In order to be sure that the company knows best practices for disinfecting the right way, here are some areas to check for:

Length of existence – check them out on the internet. If they’re a reputable company, they’ll belong to the Better Business Bureau. That site will let you know if they have much experience by showing the age of the business and how high (or low) the BBB rates them.

Social Media Posts – do they have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other types of social media pages? (Hint: If they don’t, then it’s hard to believe they’re a serious player.) If so, check out the pictures and videos they post. Some of them clearly show substandard practices, such as wearing improper, damaged or missing PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), inappropriate application techniques, and more. In contrast, this is the type of informative video you should see.

Size – can a small mom and pop company do a proper cleaning/disinfecting job? Of course. But due to their size, many can’t afford the extra expenses that come with having to purchase the large quantities of PPE, disinfecting equipment and cleaning chemicals that are required for proper disinfection. Plus, they likely don’t have the staff needed to do a thorough job or are able to serve you as quickly as you need them to.

Proof of Training – does their website have a list of organizations that they’re associated with or belong to? For instance, ServiceMaster Cleaning By Simons is certified by the IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification), a non-profit certifying body for the cleaning and restoration industry. Additionally, they’re allied with OSHA, the EPA and they belong to the RIA (Restoration Industry Association), among others.

Underbidding – is the cost of their services too good (low) to believe? Then remember the old saying, “You get what you pay for”. Because of their small size, lack of training and resources, some of these companies can charge very little. But remember, this is an extremely serious and life-threatening situation, so ability should far outweigh the cost. For instance, would you choose a surgeon for the sole reason he or she was the cheapest?

 

How Does ServiceMaster By Simons Disinfect the Right Way to Get Rid of Coronavirus?

ServiceMaster By Simons is uniquely prepared during this extraordinary time to clean and disinfect the right way. We’ll disinfect your Chicago area home or business as stated by the protocols set forth by the CDC and IICRC. We have decades of experience dealing with biological contaminants, and we go far beyond what regular janitorial staffers might manage. Some of the procedures we follow are:

 

  • Wearing appropriate PPE, as determined by the most up-to-date CDC guidelines.
  • Using EPA-registered and approved products from the EPA’s List N, which specifically meets the criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. After cleaning all high-touch surfaces, we also fog with an EPA-approved disinfecting solution.   
  • Cleaning before disinfecting, a step that is required for true disinfection. We apply specific cleaning techniques to reduce the reapplication of soil on surfaces. 
  • Discarding cleaning materials and single-use PPE, sealing all soiled materials for proper disposal.
  • A strict coronavirus demobilization process for our equipment, trucks, and waste storage areas.

 

This pandemic is an extremely serious situation and the health and safety of you, your family, and employees are on the line. Don’t take any chances; call in the professionals at ServiceMaster By Simons and get peace of mind that you’re disinfecting the right way and protecting your space from COVID-19. (See one of our most recent posts for disinfecting coronavirus in your home or place of business.)

 

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is an MBE/WBE certified firm and family-run company serving Chicago, Oak Park/River Forest, and the North Shore.  ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides Disaster Restoration Services including  COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration,  Mold Remediation, and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning,  Post-Construction Cleaning,  Carpet Cleaning, and Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. ServiceMaster Cleaning By Simons provides Specialty Cleaning Services For Chicago, Oak Park-River Forest, and the North Shore.  For more information, give us a call at 773-376-1110 or visit servicemasterbysimons.com.

How to Protect Your Family Against COVID-19 When Schools Reopen

As kids go back to school, they run the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19. Protect your kid from getting the virus while ensuring your family is prepared with plenty of precautions in case they do bring it home.

protect your kid against COVID-19 at school

 

Cities and states across the country are grappling with how to reopen schools safely even as coronavirus cases continue to climb in many places. Already, we’ve seen reports of hundreds of kids getting COVID-19 at school in certain southern states and cities. In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that schools will remain closed beginning September 8 through at least the end of the first quarter (November 6). With a deadly pandemic raging, officials and families alike are worried about how to keep kids safe at school during COVID-19. With lots of people in one indoor place, the fear is that reopening schools could lead to an increase in infection rates and deaths, although many issues influence the specific risks for any given school. Once schools do open, it’ll be up to each family to evaluate the risks of sending their children back to school. If you do choose to, you’ll want to make sure you’re sending them back to school safely. Here are some ways to protect your kids against COVID-19 at school.

 

Precautions Children Can Take to Protect Against COVID-19 at School

 

Parents can take steps to help reduce the risk of their kids getting COVID-19 at school. Dr. Dyan Hes, a pediatrician in New York City, offered the following tips for parents: 

Have your child wear a mask to prevent them from getting COVID-19 at school – “If your child can tolerate wearing a mask, you should really have them go to school with a mask,” she said. But she admitted that this may be difficult for young children especially. Parents should stock up on the washable variety, as children shouldn’t wear the same dirty mask day after day, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). 

Supply them with disinfectant wipes so they can disinfect against COVID-19 at school – “I really think that you should send your child to school with Clorox wipes or Wet Ones and teach them how they can clean their desk,” she said. Unfortunately, these have been in short supply. But you can make your own using either bleach or alcohol. 

Use washable backpacks – Hes said it may be a good idea to wash your child’s backpack every day because it’s possible droplets from an infected individual could land on them.

Wash hands frequently – To ensure your kid doesn’t get COVID-19 at school, make sure they know how to wash their hands correctly and frequently. Be sure they have hand sanitizer, as well: “I always say that the little kids — when they learn to wash their hands in school, sometimes they wash them so much that they get irritated and eczema, so checking your kids’ skin to make sure there’s no cracks from washing so frequently and moisturizing well, maybe putting Vaseline on their hands at night,” Hes said. 

Precautions to Take When Children Return Home From School

Thankfully, it’s rare that school age children are adversely affected by COVID-19. But if they get COVID-19 at school, the biggest concern is they might then carry it home and transmit it to parents, grandparents, or anyone who may have a suppressed immune system. “The priority is to keep a decontaminated home environment because that’s where we worry about the spread to older individuals who are definitely going to be at risk for more severe disease than kids,” said Dr. Sandra Kesh, Deputy Medical Director and Infectious Disease Specialist at Westmed Medical Group.

So, what actions should Chicagoland kids take one they get home to prevent spreading COVID-19 after school? Here are some suggestions:

  • Change clothes immediately so they don’t spread COVID-19 they may have gotten at school. “When your kids come home from school, you should have them undress at the door and wash all their clothes as best as you can,” Dr. Hes said. She also suggested leaving their shoes outside.
  • Any electronic devices they’re carrying, like phones or tablets, should be wiped down with  disinfectant wipes each day. Keep them in protective cases so they can be easily cleaned. But be careful to read the directions on the cleaning supplies so you don’t harm the device.
  • In case your kid was exposed to COVID-19 at school, have your kids remove whatever supplies they need for homework but leave backpacks in the car or at the door when they get home. Wash backpacks at least once a week and spray them with a disinfectant daily.
  • Any books or other supplies brought home for homework should be wiped down before being used.
  • If your kids take a lunchbox to school, be sure to give them a good wipe down or wash in the sink at the end of each day.

As kids go back to school, it’s important to protect your family against COVID-19. If you’re concerned that you may not be getting your home as clean or disinfected for your family as you would like it to be, let ServiceMaster Cleaning By Simons help you. We’ve been provided Specialty Cleaning Services for Chicago’s homes and businesses for over 65 years. Additionally, ServiceMaster Cleaning By Simons utilizes CDC approved and EPA registered industrial-strength disinfectants with a broad spectrum kill claim for our Coronavirus Cleaning Service.

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is an MBE/WBE certified firm and family-run company serving Chicago, Oak Park/River Forest, and the North Shore.  ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides Disaster Restoration Services including  COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration,  Mold Remediation, and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning,  Post-Construction Cleaning,  Carpet Cleaning, and Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. ServiceMaster Cleaning By Simons provides Specialty Cleaning Services For Chicago, Oak Park-River Forest, and the North Shore.  For more information, give us a call at 773-376-1110 or visit servicemasterbysimons.com.

How to Stay Safe While Hosting Guests During Coronavirus

Hosting guests during coronavirus? Here’s how you can do it safely and thoughtfully.

hosting guests safely during coronavirus

Although it’s now summertime in Chicagoland, that season many look forward to, it will doubtless look different this year. Yes, it will still be hot (maybe hotter), with long, sunny days. And we can once more experience many simple pleasures, like walking barefoot through the cool grass and sipping water out of a hose. But what will change this year is who we will and who we won’t be able to share those moments with due to Covid-19 — and what kind of precautions we will take while hosting guests during coronavirus.

Of course, this is one of the biggest pleasures of the year — inviting friends and family over for picnics, games or just hanging out. But with a pandemic on the rise, it begs the questions: Can you still host guests during coronavirus? And if so, how do you host them safely?

The good news is that hosting outside seems to be a go with experts across the board, and hosting inside really depends on the precautions you’re willing to take. “In general, being outside is better than being inside, being farther apart is better than being close together, smaller numbers of people are better than larger numbers of people, and being sure that nobody who is getting together is not feeling well,” says Dr. Hilary Babcock, a professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases and medical director of the Infection Prevention and Epidemiology Consortium for BJC HealthCare.

How to Safely Host People Outdoors During Quarantine

While being outside with friends and family is safer, there are further safety steps you can take while enjoying one another’s company, including wearing a mask and providing hand sanitizer. (Note: Each time you interact with someone outside of your household, you put yourself at risk of COVID-19 exposure. The following are not guidelines and you may want to use more caution based on your own comfort level, age, location, and the health status of yourself and those around you.)

Sharing a bottle of wine

Doing so with a friend on your front porch, six feet apart, socially distanced, is a great idea. You can chat and have a lovely time. But doing so inside a bar with loads of other people who are not wearing masks is not.

Having a backyard get-together/bonfire

Staying outdoors and maintaining distance with a small group made up of those you know who have all been practicing social distancing is safer than a larger gathering indoors. Most yards have plenty of room to set chairs six feet apart.

Serving food

Ryan Malosh, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, says, “Any shared food will increase the likelihood of a person who was exposed handling your food. With good hand hygiene, the risk of transmission this way can be reduced. Anyone who is sick or who has been around someone who is sick should not be sharing food.” Having your guests bring their own goodies or only serving individual serving size snacks might be best.

Throwing a pool party

While there doesn’t seem to be any evidence showing that being in the water with others will likely lead to infection, the hazardous part is the nearness to others in the pool, where wearing a mask is difficult. A safer activity for kids might be playing in the sprinkler – or having water balloon fights!

Playing games

Games like corn hole, where you can easily keep six feet apart are the safest. But since the bean bags are being shared, you might want to either wear gloves or wipe your hands down often with a hand sanitizer. Sports such as volleyball where you’re likely to have close contact with others should only be played with masks or avoided altogether.

Hiking and biking

Even though COVID-19 remains a concern in public spaces, some parks and hiking trails in the Chicago area may still be open during this time. If possible, pick a less-used trail or go during a less popular time. If each family member and friend has access to a bicycle, you can ride local bike trails or just take an evening ride around the neighborhood. You should bring masks along with you and be able to easily keep far enough apart for safety.

How to Safely Host People Indoors During Quarantine

But what if you’re forced inside due to weather, allergies, insects, etc.? What steps can you take beforehand to ensure you and your guests are as safe as possible?

Since it’s hard to socially distance inside, be sure to wear a mask. Have extras ready in case a guest doesn’t have one. Also, while person-to-person transmission of COVID-19 through the air poses a much greater risk than conveying it via surfaces, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends cleaning and disinfecting surfaces that are often touched at least once a day, even if you’re staying home. That’s because when objects or people come in and out of your home, there are increased opportunities for exposure.

A recent study found that the novel coronavirus can remain in the air for up to three hours and live on surfaces such as cardboard for up to 24 hours, and plastic and stainless steel for up to three days. So, it may be possible that a person could contract COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes. 

Here are a few ways to make sure you are properly cleaning and disinfecting your home and keeping your household as germ-free as possible in order to keep your family and guests safe.

Cleaning and Disinfecting Before Hosting Guests

A key way to entertain guests safely during coronavirus is to be sure you’re keeping up with your cleaning and disinfection processes. By disinfecting high-touch surfaces and keeping the home clean after potential exposure, you’ll ensure that guests are safe from the virus when they visit your home.

 It’s important to note that cleaning a surface – just removing dirt and particles – isn’t the same as disinfecting it to kill viruses and bacteria. (See our article, “The Difference Between Cleaning and Disinfecting”.)

There are many products you can use to clean hard surfaces in your home, like soapy water and vinegar. And while cleaning high-traffic surfaces to remove contaminants, dust and dirt is a necessary step of cleaning your home, you still need to disinfect those surfaces from the novel coronavirus.

Note that not all cleaning products kill all types of germs, so you should know exactly which products kill COVID-19. The EPA has established a list of disinfectants that meet their criteria for use against novel coronavirus. You might already have some of these products in your home, such as:

  • Disinfecting wipes, including Clorox, Lysol or store brand wipes
  • Disinfectant sprays, such as Purell, Clorox or Lysol
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Hydrogen peroxide

And while using effective virus-killing products is important, you also need to follow the proper techniques to thoroughly disinfect surfaces. The EPA advises that you let the product sit and remain wet on surfaces or objects for 10 minutes, and that will kill 99.9 percent of germs.

If you don’t have any disinfecting products on hand and can’t find any in stores, the CDC offers instructions about how to create a homemade bleach disinfectant spray. If you use this product, be sure to wear gloves, open windows and be careful since bleach can damage or discolor sensitive surfaces.

While you don’t need to clean your entire house every day, you should concentrate on disinfecting daily these areas that attract the most germs and your guests are most likely to touch:

  • Cabinet and drawer knobs
  • Water Faucets
  • Kitchen and bathroom counters
  • Toilets seats and flush levers
  • Kitchen appliance handles
  • TV remotes and game controllers
  • Cell phones, tablets, and other mobile devices
  • Doorknobs
  • Tabletops
  • Stair railings
  • Light switches/switch plates

If you can, wear disposable gloves and toss them after disinfecting. If you wear reusable gloves, disinfect them when you’re done. And always wash your hands before and after you clean and disinfect your home.

And of course, protecting your guests and safely hosting them at home requires that both you and them keep up with good hand washing practices. That’s one of the best ways to lower the risk of contracting COVID-19. The CDC recommends an intense 20-second scrub with soap and water up to the wrists, between the fingers and under the fingernails. To encourage hand washing while hosting people during coronavirus, be sure your guests have easy access to soap and water.

Hosting Guests Safely This Summer

Although Illinois averaged about half as many new Covid-19 cases and deaths each day in June compared to May, when the state hit its apparent coronavirus peak, this is no time to relax your cleaning standards as in many parts of the country cases are still on the rise. But if you have a busy schedule, giving your property a good deep clean might seem impossible. Let ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons take on that challenge for you. ServiceMaster By Simons has provided Specialty Cleaning Services for Chicago’s homes and businesses for over 65 years.

So, although this summer will be different from all past ones, Chicagoans can still enjoy it by being vigilant about cleaning, mask wearing and social distancing. We will get through this together and have a heck of a story to tell our grandchildren.

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is an MBE/WBE certified firm and family-run company serving Chicago, Oak Park/River Forest, and the North Shore.  ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides Disaster Restoration Services including  COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration,  Mold Remediation, and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning,  Post-Construction Cleaning,  Carpet Cleaning, and Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. ServiceMaster Cleaning By Simons provides Specialty Cleaning Services For Chicago, Oak Park-River Forest, and the North Shore.  For more information, give us a call at 773-376-1110 or visit servicemasterbysimons.com.

The Difference Between Cleaning and Disinfecting

Know if you’re cleaning or disinfecting your home from COVID-19 with this guide to the differences between cleaning and disinfecting.

the difference between cleaning and disinfecting

The home is supposed to be a haven for relaxation, recuperation, and escaping the pressures of the world. Unfortunately, we wind up bringing home some of the world and its germs via our dirty hands, shoes, clothing, and phones.

Even if your Chicagoland home looks clean, it could still be hiding contaminants that could affect your health. Now, in the wake of a COVID-19 pandemic, making sure you are cleaning and disinfecting your home is more crucial than ever. In doing so, it’s important to also be sure you know the difference between cleaning and disinfecting, and are using them both to combat the virus and protect the health of your family. 

Medical experts agree: Dr. Michael Schmidt, professor of microbiology at the Medical University of South Carolina and chair of the American Society of Microbiology’s Council on Microbial Sciences, says that the best way to protect your family is to be sure you’re cleaning and disinfecting your home’s trouble areas. This includes high-touch surfaces and the hard-to-reach places that you might not even see or recognize. He also has some helpful tips for recognizing the difference between cleaning and disinfecting, and using both processes to your advantage to disinfect your home from coronavirus. Read on to see what he has to say.

What is Cleaning?

Cleaning is the process of wiping down surfaces and areas of the home to slow the spread of germs and dirt. 

Dr. Schmidt points out that after washing our hands, the next best way to protect the family and disinfect your home from coronavirus and bacteria is to wipe down high-touch surfaces. This includes countertops, doorknobs, light switches, and common surfaces. You can do this twice a day with a microfiber cloth dampened in a solution of hot water and an all-purpose cleaner. 

“The slight abrasion of the microfiber cloth and the cleaning solution will lift and dilute any microbes that have settled on the surfaces,” says Dr. Schmidt. And don’t forget about your electronics and phones: “Since electronics don’t hold up well to soap and water, use an alcohol wipe with at least 70% isopropyl alcohol to clean cell phones, remotes, and keyboards.”

What is Disinfecting?

Disinfecting is the process of killing germs and bacteria using specific approved cleaning solutions/agents. Disinfecting eliminates the spread of germs. 

Disinfecting is the number one way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in your home, but it should be taken on with caution, according to Dr. Schmidt. 

 “Disinfecting cleaners can give a false sense of security if they are not used properly and are only necessary if someone in the household is ill,” says Dr. Schmidt. The crucial areas to address are surfaces shared by family members and those that come in close contact with bodily fluids. If you have dirty windows, they aren’t a big health concern, but a doorknob touched after a sneeze can be.

It’s important to read labels and follow the directions on products. Cleaning products labeled as disinfectants will adequately kill viruses and bacteria if used correctly. But if the label promises to just “sanitize” a surface, the fine print might say it’ll kill 99.9% of the bacteria, but not mention if it’s effective against viruses or fungi. When using disinfectants, make sure to follow the recommended contact time (sometimes referred to as “dwell time”), which is the amount of time the surface should be visibly wet to give the product time to work.

What’s the difference Between Cleaning and Disinfecting?

Cleaning shouldn’t be confused with disinfecting. Here’s the key differences: When you clean, you remove germs, but don’t kill them. When you disinfect, you kill the germs to rid surfaces and your home of them. This difference is important because though you might clean surfaces well, small amounts of germs and bacteria are left to grow — which can perpetuate the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses.

Disinfect Your Home From COVID-19

Disinfecting is a process that should be left to the professionals — especially given how quickly COVID-19 can spread throughout a home. If you need help with deep cleaning and disinfecting your Chicago area home or business, contact us at ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons. We can disinfect your home from COVID-19 safely and effectively, and we’ll do it according to CDC guidelines. Not only do we use the proper EPA-approved disinfectants, but our professionals receive the necessary training and field experience to service your home or workplace to achieve the highest standards of cleanliness and customer satisfaction.

If you do choose to DIY disinfecting your home from COVID-19, make sure you are wearing the proper personal protective equipment and using EPA-approved disinfectants. Before disinfecting anything in your house, decide whether you’ll wear gloves and what kind. Rubber gloves are more durable and reusable, but disposable latex ones also work. And of course, remember to always wash your hands with soap and warm water after using any cleaning products that may be harmful or abrasive to your skin.

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is an MBE/WBE certified firm and family-run company serving Chicago, Oak Park/River Forest, and the North Shore.  ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides Disaster Restoration Services including  COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration,  Mold Remediation, and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning,  Post-Construction Cleaning,  Carpet Cleaning, and Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. ServiceMaster Cleaning By Simons provides Specialty Cleaning Services For Chicago, Oak Park-River Forest, and the North Shore.  For more information, give us a call at 773-376-1110 or visitservicemasterbysimons.com.

Reopening Offices After Coronavirus: How to Maintain Safety

Stay-at-home orders are lifting across the nation, and offices are preparing to welcome employees back. However, with a global pandemic still looming, it’s ultra-important for businesses to ensure they are ready to reopen safely after coronavirus closures. In doing so, there are specific steps business owners need to take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as employees return to the office.  

prevent the spread of COVID-19 when reopening offices safely after coronavirus

Stay-at-home orders are lifting across the nation, and offices are preparing to welcome employees back. However, with a global pandemic still looming, it’s ultra-important for businesses to ensure they are ready to reopen safely after coronavirus closures. In doing so, there are specific steps business owners need to take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as employees return to the office.  

As they return to work, employees are looking to their employers to establish reentry procedures, as well as to ensure a clean, disinfected and healthy work environment. From coronavirus disinfection services, to reentry cleaning, to empowering employees via protective gear and extended WFH — here are some strategies you can use to promote employee safety and ensure proper cleaning and disinfection: 

Opt for professional cleaning and disinfection services

Before reopening your office, make sure you undergo a thorough coronavirus reentry cleaning. The best way to do this is to hire a professional cleaning or restoration company that can provide expert coronavirus cleaning and disinfection services. Look out for services that include fogging and the proper disinfecting products. While we always recommend DIY-ing it where you can, we cannot stress enough that your initial cleaning and disinfection before reopening should be left to professionals. 

Maintain workplace cleaning and disinfection 

Once your office reopens, you should ensure employee safety by conducting professional coronavirus cleaning services on a daily basis. Because so many people with coronavirus go unnoticed as they are asymptomatic, it is crucial to be better safe than sorry. The best way to prevent the spread of coronavirus in your office is to make sure every surface is properly wiped down each day, with fogging services every week or two. Additionally, you can encourage employees to maintain their own safety and disinfection by providing every workstation with ample hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. Instruct employees to sanitize every few hours and to wipe down surfaces like office computers, desks and chairs after they are done using them for the day. 

Implement temperature checks 

Aside from commercial coronavirus cleaning services, the next best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in your office is to keep blatantly sick employees out of the space. The CDC recommends implementing pre-checks and continuous monitoring, as well as encouraging sick employees to stay home. Before reopening the office to employees after coronavirus, survey employees to find out if anyone is having symptoms currently. Make sure you monitor those symptoms as offices reopen — and strongly discourage anyone who simply doesn’t “feel well” from coming to the office if work can be done from home. Once the office reopens, implement temperature checks just outside of the office’s front doors and send those who are running a fever home.

Encourage distancing and protective wear

Just because the office reopens, that doesn’t mean social distancing is over. As a country, we will likely be responsible for maintaining some semblance of distancing until a vaccine is discovered. Encouraging distancing within your office will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the office, in the building and in your greater city or township area. Make sure all desks are placed at least six feet apart, and use email communications, announcements and workplace signs to remind people not to touch one another in the workspace. This includes handshakes and hugs. You also want to remind them not to touch one another’s things. This includes sharing pens and office supplies. Finally, institute a mandatory mask company policy. Experts say that masks may reduce the spread of viral materials by blocking droplets that would otherwise travel through the air. 

Stagger your workforce

With social distancing at the office and on public transportation, it’s simply not realistic to expect everyone in a once-full office to come back to work immediately. Instead, authorities recommend that you stagger your workforce when reopening after coronavirus. One way to do this is by alternating weeks or days for different portions of the workforce. Allow one department to come into the office for one week, another department the next and so on. Another way to safely return to the office is by implementing off-hour shifts for some employees so that some work mornings in the office, and other work at nights. If you go this route, you’ll need to be sure you are cleaning and disinfecting the office in between shifts to promote employee health. 

Empower employees to protect themselves

A lot of employees are very anxious about the return to the office. Many people are fearful of getting sick, which makes them resistant to returning to a shared space where coronavirus could easily spread. Empower them to stay safe within their own comfort level and consider postponing your office’s reopen. It’s not a bad idea to send out a survey far in advance of announcing plans to reopen in order to gather insights about your employees’ biggest concerns. That way, you can tailor your reopen plans (or postpone them) if it will cause more stress than it’s worth. This is especially true in instances where employees are managing their workloads well at home and it is not essential to have them back in the office. 

Stay current on government guidelines

News and updates about coronavirus and its disinfection is coming out on a daily, if not hourly, basis. You don’t want to miss anything important that may impact your employees’ return to the office. Businesses everywhere should be following the CDC’s resource pages to ensure safety when reopening after coronavirus. The CDC has also released specific guidelines for coronavirus cleaning and disinfection in work places. Furthermore, business owners in Illinois and the Chicagoland area should be familiar with the ins and outs of Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan, which provides specific information about how Chicago workplaces will need to promote safety as they reopen phase-by-phase. 

Above all else, offices need to reopen safely, thoughtfully and with a commitment to their employees in mind. These strategies are not an exhaustive list, and with a virus as contagious and deadly as COVID-19, every precaution needs to be taken. The most successful and safe office reopenings after coronavirus will combine all of these strategies and tailor their reentry plans to employee concerns. 

Experts suggest that professional COVID-19 cleanings with a staggered workforce, extended WFH and increased personal disinfectants and protective gear are the best ways to prevent the spread of coronavirus in your office. While we can’t supply disinfectants or advise your workforce strategy, our experts can provide the expert coronavirus cleaning and disinfecting services that you need to keep employees safe and healthy. We utilize fogging and surface disinfection to be sure that your office stops any potential coronavirus outbreak before it begins. Learn more about our coronavirus cleaning services and facility reopening cleaning services. Or, call us at 773-376-1110 to schedule your reentry cleaning today. We are standing by to help you in these unusual times. 

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is an MBE/WBE certified firm and family-run company serving Chicago, Oak Park/River Forest, and the North Shore.  ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides Disaster Restoration Services including  COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration,  Mold Remediation, and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning,  Post-Construction Cleaning,  Carpet Cleaning, and Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. ServiceMaster Cleaning By Simons provides Specialty Cleaning Services For Chicago, Oak Park-River Forest, and the North Shore.  For more information, give us a call at 773-376-1110 or visitservicemasterbysimons.com.

Guide to Coronavirus Prevention and Disinfection

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has arrived in America — and it’s spreading quickly. As the virus reaches pandemic levels, we know how important it is to stop the spread of coronavirus in your office or home. Helping you, your family and employees stay safe and healthy is our number one priority, so we’ve assembled some top tips for cleaning your spaces to prevent germs from spreading. Keep reading this Guide to Avoiding the Coronavirus to find out more.

how to prevent spread of coronavirus - ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons - Chicago - Oak Park/River Forest - North ShoreCOVID-19 – Coronavirus Prevention & Disinfection – ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons – Chicago – Oak Park/River Forest – North Shore IL

 

 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has arrived in America — and it’s spreading quickly. As the virus reaches pandemic levels, we know how important it is to stop the spread of coronavirus in your office or home. Helping you, your family, and employees stay safe and healthy is our number one priority, so we’ve assembled some top tips for Coronavirus Prevention and Disinfection, and cleaning your spaces to prevent germs from spreading. Keep reading this Guide to Avoiding the Coronavirus to find out more.

 

What is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus 2019 is the name of the newest flu strain to concern health officials. The outbreak of the virus began in Wuhan, China in December of last year. Though it is thought to have begun spreading at an animal market, we now know it can also be spread from person to person. Still early in its discovery, it has proven to be deadly, with a 3.4% mortality rate in those it affects. It causes severe illness and respiratory symptoms.

 

Who is at risk?

Anybody who comes into close proximity with another person who is carrying the virus is at risk of catching Coronavirus. That risk increases during international or domestic travel to places where Coronavirus has been especially prevalent. The virus is spread through respiratory droplets from coughing or sneezing.

 

How do I know if I have a Coronavirus? 

One way to assess if you have Coronavirus is by your symptoms. Fever, tiredness, and dry cough are the three most common symptoms. According to the World Health Organization, some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, or diarrhea. Other patients may never experience symptoms, but still, be carrying the virus around — making it hard to eradicate. A doctor can confirm the diagnosis with a laboratory test. If you have symptoms or are feeling unwell, head to your nearest medical professional as soon as possible.

 

How is Coronavirus treated?

As of now, there is no official cure for Coronavirus Prevention. Treatment measures tend to be supportive in nature to alleviate the symptoms, rather than the virus itself. About 80% of people who get Coronavirus will recover normally without complications; the most at-risk for severe illness and death are older-aged people and those with health complications or pre-existing medical conditions.

 

How can I protect myself and my family?

 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, some health preventative measures to stop the spread of Coronavirus to your family and home are:

 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Wear a facemask when caring for or interacting with people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose
  • Stay home when you are sick, keep kids out of school if they are displaying respiratory symptoms
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for more than 20 seconds each time

 

Aside from these preventative measures, you can also protect yourself by staying educated — keep up with the latest news for developments about the virus, and check out these government resources to learn more and stay on top of Coronavirus Prevention and Disinfection. 

 

How do I prevent the spread of Coronavirus in my facility?

 

Encourage employees to stay home when sick, and be sure to disinfect surfaces and frequently-touched items in the office each day. Promote employee wellness by allowing them to work from home in the event of mild symptoms. Ensure you are providing adequate hand sanitizer, hand soap, and disinfecting wipes or sprays for employee use. Call ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons for immediate Coronavirus Prevention and Disinfection services.

 

What do I do if Coronavirus spreads to my facility?

 

If you find that Coronavirus has infected your facility, stay calm, and remember that the situation must be handled with the utmost precaution. Close your building (if the industry allows, you can maintain operations by allowing work from home) to avoid contamination. Call your local restoration or biological cleanup company who will be able to disinfect the building with hospital-grade equipment and solutions.

 

How does ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons disinfect my facility?

 

Our professional team has developed a comprehensive process for Coronavirus Prevention and Disinfection with the proper precautions and hospital-grade disinfectants. We begin with a professional analysis of the contamination and determine a protocol based on your facility’s needs. Our highly trained technicians come equipped with decades of biological hazard cleanup knowledge and hospital-graded EPS-registered disinfectants.

 

The Coronavirus is a serious public health concern, and we urge all of our customers to do their best to follow precautionary health care measures and stay as safe and healthy as possible. We know that business can’t stop for anything: If you believe your office has been infected by the virus, give us a call today to begin the disinfection process. We are standing by to help you.

 

 

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is an MBE/WBE certified firm and family-run company serving Chicago, Oak Park/River Forest, and the North Shore.  ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides Disaster Restoration Services including  COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Water & Flood Damage Restoration Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration Mold Remediation, and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning Post-Construction Cleaning Carpet Cleaning, and Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. ServiceMaster Cleaning By Simons provides Specialty Cleaning Services For Chicago, Oak Park-River Forest, and the North Shore.  For more information, give us a call at 773-376-1110 or visit servicemasterbysimons.com.

Top Items for Tornado Disaster Kits

Tornado season is here! Are you ready? Increase your tornado preparedness this spring with these items for your tornado disaster kits.

Spring is upon us — and with it, comes tornado season. Are you prepared? Is your family? How about your home? Without tornado preparedness, they can cost homeowners huge sums of money in losses. And even worse, they cause dozens of human casualties each year. If there’s anything we can take away from the this week’s tornado tragedy in the southern US, it’s that the best time to prepare for a tornado was yesterday. You are always better to be better safe than sorry — which is why you need to be sure you have some very important items in your tornado disaster kit. 

Here at ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons, our number one priority has always been to help homeowners be ready for the unthinkable and practice tornado preparedness. Our experts have lived through many tornado seasons and helped clean up their brutal destruction. We’ve seen just how unpredictable tornadoes can be, and we understand the biggest challenges homeowners, residents and victims face in their immediate aftermath. W

Based on our experience, we’ve put together a list of 7 life safety items that are essential for homeowners in their tornado disaster kit this tornado season. Proven to increase tornado preparedness, these are crucial for survival during and after a tornado, especially if one hits unexpectedly without time for evacuation. Store these items somewhere easily accessible in your home for immediate use:

Water

Of course, keeping hydrated is the most important thing you can do for your body in the event of a disaster. That’s a no-brainer. But what people forget to plan out is where that water will come from. If water lines are down or contaminated, or pipes are broken, or the power goes out, you won’t have access to your tap water. Make sure you keep some bottled water or a few gallons of water in an allocated shelter space in case you are stranded after a tornado. You never know how long you may have to wait.

Non-Perishable Food

In addition to water, stock up on non-perishable food items that will keep stomachs full – especially those of young children. Keep an eye on the expiration dates and replenish your supply as needed. We recommend having at least 5 days worth of food on hand for all members of the household.

A Radio

Keep a portable radio with extra spare batteries near your designated shelter space. In a weather event like a tornado, you can use it to listen for any updates or changes to the expected trajectory of the storm.

First-Aid Kit

We cannot stress how much of a difference a well-stocked first-aid kit can make after an emergency, especially one that is from a survival company. You never know what injuries, minor or major, will occur during a storm.

Medications

Not many people think of this one before the storm hits which can cause a huge problem for those taking life-sustaining medication. Have extra amounts of any necessary prescription medications stored away for use during an emergency. Keep a few bottles of cold medication, over-the-counter pain medication and allergy meds on hand too.

Cell Phones and Chargers

You probably don’t have to take our word for it that in the event of an emergency, you are going to want a fully-charged cell phone in your tornado disaster kit so you can stay in contact with family, friends and emergency personnel. If possible, keep a backup phone and a portable, solar-powered charger ready to go in case the power goes out.

Copies of Personal Documents

Of all the tornado preparedness items we’ve listed, this is probably one of the most important. Because there is never any certainty when it comes to tornadoes and other storms, you should keep copies of birth certificates, social security cards, house deeds, insurance cards, passports, and other important documents packed in a safe place that you can easily transport with you to your secure shelter.

Tornadoes are costly and sometimes lethal, but with these essential items for your tornado disaster kit, you’ll weather the storm more easily. 

Here at ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons, we know weather emergencies like the backs of our hands. We pride ourselves on our emergency restoration services and storm damage restoration expertise. We will help you begin rebuilding so you can move forward after a life-uprooting natural disaster.  Our experts are standing by to serve you in the ways you need: From more tornado preparedness tips, to dealing with the aftermath of a disaster, to restoration services and cleanup, give us a call today!

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is an MBE/WBE certified firm and family-run company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore.  ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration,  Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration,  Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning,  Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet Cleaning and Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers in Chicago, Oak Park-River Forest, and the North Shore.  For more information, give us a call at 773-376-1110 or visit servicemasterbysimons.com.

Does Your Building Project Budget for Post Construction Cleaning Costs? Here’s Why It Should.

If you’re planning a residential or commercial construction project and you’re not already thinking about a plan for clean up afterwards, you should be. The professionals at ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons have decades of experience in cleaning up after construction projects. You’d be surprised how often we find that customers have forgotten to budget for or schedule a post-construction cleaning until the very last minute.

Post-Construction Cleaning Chicago - Oak Park - River Forest - North Shore Illinois - ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons - ServiceMaster Cleaning By Simons

Budgeting For Post Construction Cleaning Costs – ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons Chicago – Oak Park/River Forest – North Shore IL

 

If you’re planning a residential or commercial construction project in Chicago, Oak Park/River Forest, or the North Shore, and you’re not already thinking about a plan for clean up afterward, you should be. The professionals at ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons have decades of experience in cleaning up after construction projects. You’d be surprised how often we find that customers have forgotten to budget for or schedule a Post Construction Cleaning until the very last minute.

The problem is, customers, don’t realize that post-construction cleaning is an important part of any building project. They don’t understand that Post Construction Cleaning is some of the most important projects a restoration company will take on. These kinds of jobs usually require a company’s entire crew to be onsite for anywhere between a few days to a whole week depending on whether it is a residential or commercial project.

We like to make sure that customers understand the level of care and commitment that goes into each of our post-construction cleaning projects. The professionals at ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons are IICRC Certified and well-trained in providing unrivaled and thorough post-construction cleaning. We use products and equipment that meet the highest standards to remove all dust and debris properly. Some of the post-construction cleanup services we offer the Chicagoland area include:

  • Dusting air diffusers
  • Cleaning light fixtures within the construction area
  • Cleaning restroom fixtures
  • Wall washing or spot cleaning walls
  • Ceiling washing
  • Cleaning interior windows
  • HEPA Vacuuming
  • Cleaning carpet areas
  • Damp mopping hard-surface floors
  • Renewing hardwood floors
  • Roto buffing ceramic tile or linoleum

For larger jobs that need further cleaning after construction work has cleared, we often bundle the cleanup with these services:

Our process is one that maximizes efficiency while still delivering the highest level of service. Ideally, our process begins well before the construction project occurs — when a customer reaches out proactively for a quote. No worries if you’re one of the many who let post-construction fall by the wayside during the planning stages; if we can accommodate your dates, we will absolutely still offer quotes to contractors and homeowners who reach out during the construction project. After our professional quote is approved and we are hired for a Post Construction Cleaning, we begin to formulate a scope based on the job’s specific needs and we gather up the necessary personnel and equipment.

Sometimes, we are asked to begin our on-site cleaning for a mid-way cleaning while construction is still taking place. This is helpful for large construction projects that generate so much debris that it creates an unsafe environment and poor air quality for workers. We are available to come in and clean periodically during construction so that waste and dust are properly removed and workers can continue building and renovating on schedule.

Most of the time, though, our on-site cleaning starts immediately after construction concludes. We have two primary objectives during our cleanup: The first, to eradicate and control the dust generated by sanding and plastering before it ends up in the air ducts; and the second, to remove all dust and debris in a timely manner to restore safety to the job site. We do this in five steps:

  1. Schedule air duct cleaning
  2. Wipe down all hard surfaces, nooks and crannies, furniture, and items in renovation space
  3. HEPA vacuum carpet and upholstery
  4. Clean flooring with wet mopping, WoodGlo Renew, or roto tile buffing depending on the floor material
  5. Dispose of all construction debris on-site according to municipal guidelines and regulations in a safe manner

Because these jobs can be so large and costly, it’s important that customers budget for them in their initial construction project plan. Customers are sometimes floored to learn the cost of their site’s post-construction cleanup and are too late in the game to make room in the budget for it. Instead, they choose to DIY the cleanup or, worse, forego it altogether. We never recommend this and we would rather see customers reach out for a quote during the planning stages of a construction project so they can budget accordingly.

Though professional cleanup services are costly, they are always one hundred percent worth it. Here are three reasons why:

  • A professional cleaning increases safety

With construction projects, there will inevitably be debris left behind. From sawdust to nails and broken glass to stray wires, these debris present dangers to both the building crew and those responsible for a DIY cleanup. Accidents during cleanup happen more often than you might think. Hiring a professional crew trained to deal with hazardous materials will ensure the safety of everyone involved. A restoration company is equipped with better equipment than a broom and a dustpan.

  • Professional cleaning ensures debris is properly disposed of

Most municipalities have special rules for the disposal of residential and commercial construction waste, like paint and other chemicals. In general, they must be separated, sorted and eventually delivered to a special facility for lawful disposal. It is important to work with a professional restoration company like or you could face a fine.

  • A professional cleaning promotes efficiency and timeliness

We estimate that a professional cleaning crew will likely be able to complete a post-construction cleanup job four times faster than a DIY-er. Professional crews come with the necessary equipment it takes to clean thoroughly and efficiently. A quick cleanup allows you to move on to the final stages of your construction project. Plus, calling in the professionals for a quick turnaround can mean all the difference for contractors whose agreements include penalties for going overtime on the project.

Here at ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons, we understand that every good construction project includes a professional and thorough post-construction cleanup. Our crews have decades of experience clearing construction job sites safely and quickly to ensure peace-of-mind for contractors, homeowners and business owners alike. For a professional quote, please give us a call as early as possible in your construction planning process. As always, your satisfaction is our number one priority!

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is an MBE/WBE certified firm and family-run company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore.  Recently, the company was awarded a variety of honors, including the ServiceMaster Achiever Award and outstanding service in disaster restoration by Build Magazine. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet Cleaning and Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers residing in Chicago, Oak Park-River Forest, and the North Shore.  For more information, give us a call at 773-376-1110 or visit servicemasterbysimons.com.