School managers often tell me the difficulty they face in keeping their expansive grounds consistently clean. The pressure they face to maintain their buildings and grounds is constant. Parents of prospective students will regularly tour the facilities, determining the quality of education by numerous factors, including its presentation.
Schools employ cleaners to perform basic tasks such as mopping floors, wiping surfaces and cleaning bathrooms. These tasks are critical for hygiene, but for removing stains, they only achieve the bare minimum.
Muck Up Day
Any school employee or parent will know not to underestimate the level of mess children can create. Throughout the school year a number of unexpected stains can appear on their property. Then there’s the annual muck-up day for leavers.
It’s almost guaranteed that eggs will be thrown on walls, usually high and out-of-reach. Scaffolding or scissor lifts are required to clean-up such stains. Egg yolk is runny, easily absorbed by porous masonry surfaces and sinks into any cracks and crevices. A warm day will dry the egg quickly, making it stick like glue and emit the sulphur-like, rotten egg smell.
It’s critical to avoid using bleach or the many cleaning products which contain bleach. Masonry surfaces, particularly bricks receive white chalk-like stains when in contact with bleach.
Chewing gum is often ignored by regular cleaners as it is chemically inert, therefore resistant to their cleaning solutions. Scraping the gum away only solves half of the problem as blotchy stains will remain on the surface.
The most effective way to remove chewing gum is by melting and dissolving it with heat. We carry boiler units in our surface restoration vehicles for this specific purpose. If the chewing gum has been present for a long period, the surface may have uneven shading as the non-affected surface fades from UV radiation. We are experience in treating surfaces to ensure a clean and consistent finish.
Schools are often targets for graffiti vandalism, especially during the night and school holidays when the school is unattended. Regular cleaning contracts rarely cover graffiti removal as it’s a specialist area which requires additional time and knowledge to perform.
School managers are motivated to remove graffiti promptly as it not only harms the school’s image, it can encourage further acts of graffiti from students and external individuals. In this state of panic it’s important to avoid quick solutions which offer a substandard finish (such as painting over) and cause further damage to the surface (such as bleach or sanding).
Graffiti penetrates deep into masonry surfaces, for that reason it’s best to draw the stain out to the surface where it can be carefully extracted. Variables such as surface type, and the substance used to implement the graffiti impact the required graffiti removal process. For this reason our technicians carry 26 different stain removal formulations.
For those who are victims of repeated graffiti attacks, we find that implementing anti-graffiti coatings on walls, windows and other high-risk areas enables a quicker removal of graffiti, while protecting the underlying surface.
High Pressure Cleaning
Over time outdoor surfaces such as walls, courtyards and pathways collect a layer of dirt and grime. Performing high pressure cleaning monthly will maintain your property at a consistently clean level.
While high pressure cleaners can be purchased for a few hundred dollars at your local hardware store, we find that using professional equipment has many benefits. Our surface restoration vehicles carry 1000 litres of water which is pumped through 3000 psi pumps and can be heated to over 90 degrees Celsius. This enables us to remove stubborn, chemically inert stains such as chewing gum and saves us from using your water. We also use a vacuum recovery system to avoid overspray and leaving puddles behind.
Shade Cloth Cleaning
Shade cloths provide an aesthetically pleasing way of protecting students from harmful UV rays. However, they can be a magnet for dirt and bird feces. This material requires care as it’s easily damaged by traditional cleaning methods. Acidic chemicals will weaken the fabric’s resistance against UV rays, placing your students at risk. Scrubbing with abrasive equipment such as a stiff brush or scouring pads will damage the fabric.
We find the best way to achieve a clean result while protecting the longevity of the fabric is with application of a gentle cleaning formulation and careful use of high pressure cleaning. High pressure cleaning must be conducted from a distance and with a wide angle jet to avoid abrasion.
Art teachers will be all too familiar with open tins of paint being spilt on the classroom floor. A certain level of paint stains is expected in this environment, but eventually it gets to a point where something needs to be done.
To reduce the level of spreading and absorption, we recommend covering a paint spill immediately with sand, saw dust or kitty litter. For larger spills it is best to contact a stain removal expert immediately, for smaller stains many schools will request their service provider to handle these twice a year.
Safe, Certified Cleaning
Employing safe and professional contractors is critical in a school environment. Not only do you require individuals who can be trusted in the presence of students, you require work to be completed in a safe manner without causing a safety hazard.
For these reasons, all our technicians have a working with children check. They are also licensed to perform traffic and pedestrian management and operate elevated work platforms. We are independently audited annually to ensure compliance to International ISO standards and for your peace of mind all technicians are protected by a $20 million public liability policy.
We work with many schools on a maintenance agreement, enabling them to maintain their assets, with frequent stain removal for a fixed monthly rate.
Contact us to find out more.