Top New River Valley Events in May 2017

There’s always something to do in the gorgeous New River Valley, and with summer fast approaching, it’s time to get out and get enjoy it! In this post, we’re bringing you the top New River Valley Events to enjoy in May 2017.

The Pulaski Pedalfest 2017 – Spring Ride

To benefit the Ratcliffe Transportation Museum, riders will start and end the Pedalfest course at the Pulaski Train Station. Three routes are available to ride in this non-competitive cycling adventure and each follows the Dora Connector to the New River Trail. The routes available will vary in distance with a 5-mile course, 12.5-mile course, and a 21-mile course.

When: May 6th, 2017
Where: The Pulaski Train Station
Interested? Find out more at the official Ratcliffe Museum website

Marc Baskind in Concert

From the Mississippi Delta to the New River Valley, Marc Baskind is sure to liven up your Summer with his versatile music and have you dancing the night away! At the scenic Preston’s at the River Course in Radford, Marc Baskind will bring his talents for one night only, so be sure not to miss it!

When: May 12th, 2017
Where: Preston’s at the River Course
Interested? Find out more on Marc Baskind’s official website

Opening Night at the Marketplace

To mark the beginning of 16 weeks of live music, culinary showcases, and craft cider, wine, and beer, Opening Night at the Pulaski Marketplace is the kick-off you won’t want to miss. This 100% local experience will let you experience all the New River Valley artisans and farmers have to offer at the delicious and delightful event.

When: May 16th, 2017
Where: The Pulaski Marketplace
Interested? Find out more at the official Pulaski Marketplace website

The Sounds of Summer Concert

The Fine Arts Center for the New River Valley presents the Sounds of Summer concert to kick-off the free concert season! Come to this lively event for talented local musicians and dancing, stay see experience all the Fine Arts Center has to offer.

When: May 26th, 2017
Where: The Fine Arts Center for the New River Valley
Interested? Find out more on the official Fine Arts Center Facebook page

Lunch at the Depot

The center of the Town of Pulaski is its historic gem, the Pulaski Train Station. Come enjoy the outdoors and have lunch at the train depot! There will be local food truck catering for purchase for a fun afternoon luncheon to start the Summer off right!

When: May 17th, 2017
Where: The Pulaski Train Depot
Interested? More details coming soon to the official Town of Pulaski Facebook page

Enjoy the beginnings of summer without even having to leave the beautiful New River Valley are! The above live and local events are sure to be great fun for the whole family, and each provides a great way to get outside and take advantage of all that our dynamic community has to offer!

We hope this guide has highlighted some great local activities for you and your family to enjoy together.   At ServiceMaster Commercial Cleaning, the New River Valley is one of the regions we serve, and we take every opportunity to connect with and enjoy life within our community and with you!

The Dirtiest Places in the Workplace

dirty workplaceAs the Flu season comes to an end with summer just around the corner, you may not think twice about the germs we’re exposed to in the office. However, we are exposed to viruses, germs, and bacteria all over the workplace year-round, not just in the dreary winter months.

Though many companies invest in cleaning services for their offices, the truth is if the service isn’t thorough enough, your office is at risk of being downright dirty. Not all surfaces are created equal; some areas of the office are much more germ-ridden than others. Read on to discover the dirtiest places in the workplace and how to get them up to par and germ-free.

The Breakroom

Using a tool to measure the amount of ATP, a molecule found in all living cells, mold, yeast, and bacteria, Kimberly-Clark Professional conducted a study by swabbing over 4500 surfaces across several types of workplaces and office buildings.

You might find it surprising to learn that the top of the list of dirtiest spots was not the office bathroom, but the break room. The worst offenders? The kitchen sink, microwave handle, and refrigerator handle. In the study, these surfaces contained a multitude of ATP molecules in 75% of breakrooms tested.

The study’s findings are startling. Many people eat in the breakroom, and they naturally assume that the break room is sanitized to ensure their meal area is germ-free. To remedy the situation, the problem surfaces should be cleaned each day with a thorough cleaning each week to prevent the spread of germs and reduce employee sick days. In the meantime, it is always a good idea to implement hand-washing after any contact with communal surfaces.

Your Office or Cubicle

Another area that beats the restroom as one of the dirtiest places in the workplace may come as a surprise: your own office or cubicle. In the Kimberly-Clark Professional study, personal keyboards, computer mice, and office phones were the biggest germ-hoarders. Most people probably don’t think to worry or sanitize their own area, so this adds to the number of sick days taken each year.

Even if an employee is a diligent hand-washer, their co-workers may not be as sanitation-prone. This leads to the transference of germs in communal areas such as the break room onto many personal items such as computer accessories and telephones.

To combat this, it’s a good idea to keep sanitation tools such as Lysol or Clorox wipes in your personal area and conduct a quick wipe-down of frequently-used surfaces before you leave at night, or even before your shift begins.

The Bathroom

Kimberly-Clark Professional estimates the bathroom to be low on the list of dirtiest places in the workplace due to employee’s awareness of risky germs found in the area. This, paired with regular thorough restroom cleaning, reduces the risk of germ transmission.

The study, however, aimed to show just how many germs of those who fail to properly wash their hands after using the area can spread around the office from the refrigerator to a personal keyboard.

To maintain good hygiene, it is best to always keep up with hand washing, though it doesn’t stop there. Since many may improperly wash their hands, or some not at all, it’s best to use paper towels to turn off faucets after washing and when opening germy door handles as well.

In addition to the quick cleaning tips provided in the above office problem areas, the best solution to keep your office clean is by utilizing a commercial cleaning service.

How a Clean Facility Improves Workplace Safety

Workplace SafetyA clean workplace means much more than having that fresh, sparkling appearance. It also helps improve workplace safety.

The US Department of Labor reports that in 2015, nearly 3 million nonfatal injuries and illnesses were reported by private employers, and just over half of those required days off work, job transfer, or restricted duties. Many workplace injuries and illnesses can be prevented by maintaining a clean, safe work environment.

A well-kept facility has fewer slipping and tripping incidents. Why? Clean, clutter-free workspaces, fewer fire hazards, hygienic conditions, and better overall maintenance contribute to keeping your workers safe. Here are 4 ways a clean facility can reduce the number of dangerous incidents and improve workplace safety.

Cut the Clutter

Cluttered surfaces can hide hazards such as sharp objects, but they can also make it far more difficult to do your job, increasing the amount of stress you deal with daily. However, desktops and counters aren’t the only places where clutter can be dangerous.

When you allow your clutter to obscure stairways and hallways, it poses a trip and fall risk as well as a fire hazard. Additionally, allowing trash to pile up offers a haven for pests such as rodents and insects; rodents are particularly fond of paper and cardboard, so be sure to have a recycling bin (that’s regularly emptied) on hand. Offering plenty of wastebaskets in main areas make it easy for employees to keep clutter and trash under control.

Clean Floors Improve Workplace Safety

Keeping floors clean, dry, and free of spills is the key to preventing slips and falls and improving workplace safety. Be sure to choose your floor cleaning product carefully, as different categories of cleaners are good for different purposes; alkaline cleaners a great for restaurant floors, while acidic cleaners work best at removing rust, scale, and oxidation from floors. Some products may contain chemicals that could damage flooring or cause it to wear prematurely. It’s best to talk to a professional about what’s best for your situation.

In addition to keeping floors cleaner, placing floor mats in entryways can greatly reduce the amount of dirt, dust, and moisture that is tracked across floors. Regular vacuuming and deep cleaning of mats and carpeted areas reduce dust, allergens, and germs, while also extending the life of mats and carpeting.

Disinfect Your Way to Fewer Sick Days

Germs can easily spread throughout the workplace, leading to missed workdays and a miserable, unproductive staff. The CDC reports that in 2015-2016, 62% of the people hospitalized for influenza were between the ages of 18-64—that means the very people who make up the nation’s workforce were among those hardest hit. Routine cleaning of surfaces such as countertops, floors, and walls is an obvious first step, but that Aloe is not enough to stop germs in their tracks.

Using an EPA-registered, hospital-grade disinfectant on any hard surfaces is the sure way to kill germs and keep illnesses from spreading. Don’t forget important smaller surfaces that are frequently touched (aka “hot spots”), including computer keyboards, mice, phones, doorknobs, light switches, and faucets.

Keep the Light Shining Bright

Light fixtures are an often-overlooked area that needs regular upkeep. Dirty, dust-covered light fixtures can significantly reduce the amount of available light, making routine tasks more difficult than they need to be –not to mention potentially dangerous.

Be sure light fixtures are plentiful, clean, and well-maintained. Aside from maintaining task lighting, don’t forget the entryways, halls, and stairwells, as keeping these areas well-lit is also important to a safe workplace. Along with light fixtures, keeping windows clean and clear of dirt and rain spots also allows more light to stream in, offering extra visibility, and in turn safety.

Effective cleaning is an ongoing process, a regularly scheduled part of operations. Sporadic, hit and miss cleanups are ineffective in reducing accidents and illnesses and in the end, can be costly to your business. We can help you keep your workplace safe and clean on all fronts. Contact us today for a quote on our commercial cleaning services, and we will work together to keep your facility at its best!


Quick Tips for Cleaning Upholstery

cleaning upholsteryKeeping your upholstered furnishings clean, fresh-smelling and stain-free are arguably as important to your business as keeping restrooms clean! Dust, dirt, and grime can become embedded in the fibers, not only leaving your office furnishings looking dingy but also contributing to the fabric wearing out prematurely.

This early breakdown will result in unexpected premature replacement costs to your company. To prevent this, we recommend having your upholstered furniture professionally cleaned every 1-2 years, but in the meantime, here are some tips for cleaning upholstery.

Keep up with the Upkeep

Upkeep is pretty simple when it comes to upholstery. All you’ll need to do is vacuum your upholstered furniture regularly, using appropriate upholstery attachments. Remove any loose cushions and vacuum cracks and crevices thoroughly—who knows what you’ll find! Pay special attention to sneaky dirt trap areas like fabric folds and tufted areas on cushions. (If you or your team don’t feel up to the task, just ask us about our janitorial services and let us handle it!)

Blot Spots on Upholstery to Prevent Stains

Of all the tips for cleaning upholstery, the number one tip for stain prevention is to get to spills quickly before they have time to set into the fabric. When cleaning up a spill, always blot or dab; rubbing can cause the spot to “blossom,” which is just a nice sounding term for a nasty, bigger stain! Using a white cloth or paper towels, blot from the outside edge of the spill toward the middle, repeating until the area is dry.

Taking the Next Step: When That Spot Won’t Blot

If you find stains and soiled spots that have already dried, or if blotting just didn’t cut it, you’ll need to move on to an upholstery cleaning solution. Before choosing your cleaning method, you’ll need to determine two things; the type of fabric and the type of stain/soil you are working with. Using the wrong method can result in damage to the fabric such as discoloration or color bleeding, so be sure to take care when determining the fabric type and solution needed!

How to Determine Your Upholstery Fabric Type

The furniture industry has established codes for fabric care, found on the tag usually located under a cushion on the base of the piece:

  • W – Use only a water-based solution
  • S – Use only water-free cleaners, such as dry cleaning solvent
  • WS – You may use either water based or water free cleaning products
  • X – Professionally clean only! Vacuum what you can and call in the experts (that’s us!)

Determine What Kind of Stain You Have and Treat Appropriately

Before moving forward with treating your stain with any sort of cleaning solution, you’ll want to test your fabric for colorfastness. Choose an inconspicuous area to test, dampen a cloth with your cleaning solution of choice, and press for about 30 seconds. Check your cloth for any color transfer, and your fabric for any changes.

For most non-greasy food and beverage stains, use a solution of two cups cool water plus one tablespoon liquid dishwashing soap or other pH balanced detergent. Dampen a white cloth or clean sponge with the solution and gently blot the stain with the soapy mixture. Take care not to rub the stain, as this can damage the fabric. Use a fresh cloth with just water to blot out the soapy mixture, and press dry with a dry cloth or paper towels.

For greasy, oil-based spots, you’ll need a two-step approach. First, try and absorb as much of the oil as possible by sprinkling the area with cornstarch or baking soda and allowing it to sit for 15-20 minutes. Vacuum the cornstarch or baking soda up and use white vinegar, rubbing alcohol, or a professional dry cleaning solvent, blotting carefully. Press dry with a dry cloth or paper towels.

For either type of stain, you want to avoid overwetting or really saturating the fabric. This can cause the stain to spread, settle deeper into the fabric, and even potentially cause a mildew situation if the padding stays wet for too long.


Proper care of your upholstery can seem like a daunting task. If you fear you’re a bit over your head, or you just don’t have the time or resources to deal with it, ServiceMaster Commercial Cleaning can take care of everything from regular upkeep with our janitorial services, to thorough, non-toxic upholstery cleaning services. Contact us today for a quote!

How to Remove Chewing Gum Stains

Chewing gum removalServiceMaster Commercial Cleaning is pleased to announce that we are now adding chewing gum removal to the list of services we provide to clients in Roanoke, the New River Valley, and the surrounding areas.  We use an industrial-strength chewing gum removal machine that delivers steam at the point of contact, which makes it possible to easily remove chewing gum from any surface without damaging your carpets, furniture, or hard surface floors.

While removing chewing gum from your workplace is as simple as giving us a call and having us do it for you, what about removing chewing gum at home?    A quick search of the internet turns up some pretty unusual and questionable suggestions involving everything from peanut butter to egg whites.

In honor of our new chewing gum removal service, we thought we’d post a quick guide to how to remove gum from various surfaces around your home, courtesy of  Hopefully this will help you separate fact from myth and avoid further damaging your property or making a mess in an attempt to remove gum.

How to remove chewing gum from fabrics

To remove chewing gum from fabric surfaces, begin by holding an ice pack against the gum until it hardens.  Next, using a scraping tool, carefully scrape off the gum or rub the matter from the fabric.  Sponge the fabric with a cleaning fluid before applying a dry spotter and covering with an absorbent pad.  Keep the stain and pad moist with the dry spotter until the stain has been removed.  To finish the process, flush the affected area with a dry-cleaning solvent.

How to remove chewing gum from hard surfaces

As described in the instructions for removing gum from fabrics, begin by freezing the gum using an ice pack.  Once it is frozen, scrape the gum off of the surface and clean the surface with warm sudsy water.  Dry the surface with a cloth to remove any residue.

How to remove chewing gum from leather

The procedure for removing gum from leather is a little different than the procedure for removing it from hard surfaces or fabrics.  First, carefully scrape as much excess gum from the surface as possible.  Then, mix a solution of mild soap in lukewarm water and stir aggressively to create as many suds as possible.  Use a sponge to apply only the foam to the gum stain and scrub it gently until it has been removed.  Dry the area with a clean cloth and then clean it with leather cleaner, following the instructions for the cleaner.

How to remove chewing gum from human hair

If you or a child is unfortunate enough to get chewing gum stuck in their hair, the easiest way to remove it is to simply cut the hair.  However, if that is impractical or undesirable, the American Academy of Dermatologists recommends using vegetable oil to remove the gum.   Simply cover the gum in oil, wait a few minutes, and then remove it from the hair.

Hopefully, this quick guide has provided you the information you need to remove chewing gum at home.  However, if you have a facility of many thousands of square feet that needs dozens or hundreds of chewing gum stains removed, you’re probably better off giving us a call!