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December 2019

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Nobody likes to clean.  It is laborious, time consuming and for the most part dirty.  So why do we do it?  Well, whether in business or in daily life, those working in serving or caring roles; be they parent, food service workers or healthcare staff, have a huge responsibility to protect the health and wellbeing of those within their care.

Food poisoning alone is reported at 5.4 million cases on average each year, in Australia alone.  This means that finding fast and efficient ways to maintain high levels of hygiene throughout the home and workplace, is crucial.

Whilst those figures are daunting, professional cleaners have passed on a few nuggets of wisdom which can shortcut cleaning time and ensure your guests, visitors or customers stay safe and healthy.

Since food preparation is one of the most common sources of food contamination such as e-coli and salmonella, let’s begin there.

Tip 1 – Making a meal of it

You may want to put down your lunch before reading this, but studies have found that the humble chopping board, the platform from which the majority of food is prepared, can be up to 200 times dirtier than a toilet seat.  This means any discussion about food hygiene should begin here – absolute ground zero.

In a busy kitchen where speed can overtake care, cleaning rituals can be lax and the results tragic, caused by a proliferation of pathogens including:

  • Salmonella
  • E-coli
  • Campylobacter

Until recently it was accepted that plastic chopping boards were more hygienic than wooden ones.  Recent research however, has now discovered that bacteria can survive far longer on plastic surfaces than wooden, making wood the far superior choice for chopping boards.

Cleaning wooden boards should be done separately to crockery and other utensils due to the risk of cross contamination.   Inspect chopping boards regularly and if there are deep scores or grooves where bacteria can grow or signs of mould staining, replace them immediately.

Tip 2 – Surface sanitation

It goes without saying that hard surfaces and countertops need to be thoroughly cleaned after each use.  Using products not specifically designed for purpose including bleach and window cleaner, can eventually cause fading or damage to porous or synthetic surfaces.

Natural stone

Wipe down with warm soapy water and a clean cloth followed by a paper towel to dry and prevent streaking.  Sanitise with a mixture of equal parts distilled water and isopropyl alcohol.  Thoroughly spray the entire surface, leave for three minutes then wipe off.  Alternatively, use a commercial sanitising solution.

Stainless steel

Commercial steel benchtops where food is prepared should undergo thorough cleaning after each use.

  • Remove all dirt and food particles from the surface
  • Rinse with potable warm water using a sponge or microfiber cloth
  • Wash with hot water (60C) and a commercial detergent
  • To sanitise, apply clean water heated to 75C for at least two minutes
  • Apply a commercial sanitising solution as indicated on the label
  • Allow to air dry.

Laminate

Follow the same process as for stone benchtops, avoiding the use of abrasive cleaners. Where staining has occurred, use baking soda and water formed into a thick paste and apply it to the affected area and cover with a damp paper towel.  Leave for two hours and then gently wipe off.

Tip 3 – Bake off

The bane of every cleaner are ovens and stove tops due the combination of intricate parts and stubborn grease, grime and carbon build-up.  Naturally, these are not the place for toxic chemical use.

An ounce of prevention as they say, is worth a pound of cure.  Regular cleaning will prevent the worst of the gunk.  Using proper sized dishes, lids and roasting bags plus foil trays at the base of the oven and cooktop, will cut down on mess.

Tips for keeping your oven spotless:

  • Remove racks and trays and place in dishwasher
  • Wipe down and remove debris from oven and cooktop
  • Avoiding the heating elements, apply a paste of baking soda and water to built-up carbon and stains
  • Leave overnight
  • Use a plastic spatula to lift and remove built-up crud
  • In a spray bottle, mix white vinegar and water and spray thoroughly, concentrating on stubborn residue
  • Rinse then wipe down with a dry cloth.

Tip 4 – Glass

Whether showers, restaurant windows or splashbacks, maintaining crystal clear glass can be challenging.  Cloudy, streaked glass can be both unsanitary and very off-putting, particularly in food display cases.

Glass requires a three-pronged attack – to clean, sanitise and avoid build-up of mould and bacteria. The following instructions work for soap scum and other hard to shift film on glass:

  • Place 1/2 cup of baking soda into a plastic container adding enough white vinegar to form a paste
  • Wipe this paste over glass when fizzing has stopped
  • Wait 15 minutes
  • Clean off
  • Sanitise with a commercial grade, non-toxic product made for glass
  • Dry with a paper towel.

Tip 5 – Refrigerators and Freezers

Whilst refrigeration equipment usually doesn’t suffer the same built-up grime as cooking surfaces, they still need to be cleaned thoroughly and regularly.  Some tips for cleaning and maintenance are:

  • Look for appliances which have removable seals, making cleaning more streamlined
  • Empty fridge completely and unplug from wall
  • Use a commercial grade sanitiser that is safe for use around food
  • Don’t forget to clean the condenser tray, condenser filter and drainage hole!
  • Dry thoroughly to avoid bacteria and mould growth.

Tip 6 – Stainless steel cookware

No matter how hard we may try to keep it from happening, pots and pans which are in regular use will lose their pristine appearance eventually.

To bring them back from the brink, place water and a cup of vinegar into the pan and bring it to the boil.  Remove it from the heat and add two tablespoons of baking soda (expect fizz!) Clean the pan as normal.

For stubborn stains mix up a paste using the baking soda and a few drops of water and apply this, leaving it a few minutes to work its magic before cleaning off.

Tip 7 – Grease and gunk

As with ovens and cooktops, a paste comprising water and baking soda or white vinegar is a safe and effective solution for stubborn grease and food residue.

Alternatively, look for a non-toxic commercial grade cleaner, designed for kitchen use.

Tip 8 – Implement a schedule

By employing a cleaning checklist you can ensure that hygienic practices are being followed at all times.  A sample schedule could entail:

Daily:

  • Wipe down all surfaces
  • Sanitise food preparation surfaces
  • Change disposable foil on cooktops and in ovens
  • Clean cooking equipment, fryers and small appliances
  • Clean heads on beverage dispensers and similar
  • Clean sinks
  • Launder towels, cloths and aprons
  • Wash flatware, crockery and glassware and air dry
  • Remove trash and waste to external bins
  • Sweep, mop and disinfect floors

Weekly:

  • De-lime sinks and taps
  • Thoroughly clean ovens inside and out
  • Treat floor drains with commercial drain cleaner
  • Clean and sanitise refrigerators and freezers
  • Clean anti-fatigue mats

Monthly:

  • Clean out grease traps
  • Wash and rinse out range hood and other vents
  • If applicable, clean coffee and ice machines as per manufacturer’s instructions
  • Wash down ceilings and walls to prevent build-up of grease.

Implementing a formal cleaning schedule, whether in the home or a commercial environment, takes the guesswork out of hygiene.  It provides a transparent window into the health of a kitchen – a vital component to ensuring the continued wellbeing of everyone in your care.

Gift cards are one of the most versatile gifts a person can give. It not only provides a present, but it provides an opportunity for your business to attract new business with an invitation into your store. Point of sale systems for businesses are tools that can help employees earn rapport with customers, and breed relationships between your store and it’s patrons that will last for years to come. Accepting gift cards can help build new relationships between your client’s loved ones and your store. It is a win-win for all involved.

A great POS system for retailers is one that can help track which items attract newer customers, and after the initial purchase which items create repeat buyers. This strategy can potentially build a business and keep new customers coming in all of the time.

The Clover POS system is one option that can help your business reach these kinds of goals. Learning about what products attract new customers and what items keep them coming back for more is an efficient strategy that will allow your business to thrive, and keep growing in the future.

The information gathered doing this can also be used to help your business experiment with different displays and advertisements to customers. Knowing what new customers like can be an invaluable tool in attracting business. This will allow you to stay ahead of the curve and make accurate predictions about what customers will buy, and what they will leave in the isles. Using this info can also add character to your store. Like in any advertising campaign, an artistic eye can create art out of your inventory and attract the attention of customers both new and old.

The world of being a parent can be rewarding but most of the time it is stressful. Even with kids that are well-behaved the constant driving to practices or recitals can start to compound the stress. You are going to need to have a tight schedule in order to make sure you do not forget anything or anyone due to lack of organization. There are hacks that can allow you to rejuvenate those parenting batteries. This will take the cooperation of other parents at times but it can allow for relaxation. The following are tactics that will make your job of parenting easier.

Schedule Sleepovers At Your House and At Their Friend’s Homes

Sleepovers are great as the kids are occupied and usually are tired out the next day due to lack of sleep. Planning these sleepovers a few weeks in advance with the other parents can allow you to have a night of relaxation when your child goes off to a sleepover. Time alone with your significant other is great and being able to relax on a Friday night is always nice especially when it seems like a foreign concept after having children. One drawback is that kids fight and change friends so it can be hard to find a long term family that you trust enough to take up this kind of arrangement.

Alone Time Means Alone Time!

All mothers need some time alone whether it is reading a great book or relaxing in the bath. Teens will give you your alone time as they value the time they have to themselves. To teach your children about alone time interrupt something they enjoy doing like playing video games. Having boundaries with your children is important as a child needing constant attention is not healthy especially when parents give them all the attention they could ever want. The bath is really the best place to relax as kids never want to run in on their mother in the bathroom. Use essential oils during the bath to boost relaxation and even help with head or muscle aches. Lavender oil’s benefits and uses are extensive so delve into the world of this oil to see how it can help you relax today!

Find What Motivates Each Individual Child

Finding what motivates your child to behave is important whether it is a video game or being able to go to a sports camp over the summer. Many parents see bribing their children as wrong but if it reinforces good behavior then it could not be that bad. All children are different so find what your child loves and use that as motivation for good behavior or even good grades.

Create A Backyard Oasis of Fun

The backyard can be turned into a great place for the kids to play for hours on end. Not everyone can have a pool but setting up a volleyball net or basketball hoop is not out of the question. The more time your children spend playing outside the more you can get done in the house. If your backyard is fenced this offers another reassurance of safety so you will not have to keep a constant eye on them.

Finding out your house’s value is vital to a lot of business.  If you’re trying to sell it, looking to get a home equity credit, or wanting to evaluate if your yearly property taxes are correct, you’ll need to know your home’s value.  Luckily, although there is a little guesswork with any method, it’s easier than ever to discover your home’s value.

Check Similar Houses In Your Area

This option is the easiest and least invasive way to find out.  Look around for homes that have recently sold in your area.  Although you can also check the cost of houses up for sale, since these haven’t sold yet, it can be hard to tell how good of a reference they are.

Consider the size of your home, what add-ons and perks it has, and what things you think may detract from the price.  It’s vital that you be honest with yourself and not expect your one-story, two-bedroom home to have the same value as a two-story four-bedroom.

Calculate It Online

The internet is any home seller’s best friend.  It has an array of tools from how to find a real estate agent, to a property value estimator.  This option works better if you’re not entirely sure on whether you want a realtor or not, and can help you see why your home’s value is what it is.  With this clarity, you may be able to make changes to improve that value or be pleasantly surprised by how high it already is.

Pay A Professional

A professional, who makes their living in appraising properties, is the one to trust above all.  They take your property, the market, and comparable properties, into account and come back with an estimate closest to what you’d make if you sold the property.  The only drawback is this is the only option on this list where you’d have to pay someone.  

A professional appraiser would give you the best results, the ones closest to reality, but the price of one is a drawback for many.

This option is best for people sure they want to sell their home and want to take the next step to do so.

Talk To A Realestate Agent

This option doesn’t come without strings.  Although most real estate agents will do comparable market analysis checks for you- they usually do these under the assumption that you will hire them to sell your home.  If you’re wanting a free analysis, and don’t mind disappointing someone if you don’t want to sell, this could be a viable option.  Unfortunately, because of the pressure to follow through and hire the realtor, many people avoid this option.

The main point in finding out your property’s value is to decide if you want to sell it.  Although there are countless other reasons to do it, that’s the lead one.  Finding out your home’s value can help you make changes to increase it, or choose to hold onto it longer until the market is in your favor.  Make the choice that’s right for you, but be sure to stay informed.