If you have allergies, you’ll notice that they do not discriminate between work and home; you can and will have them anywhere. There are ways to lessen the effects of allergies by eliminating the pollens of spring and summer. Since we spend the lion’s share of our time at work, let’s chat with cleaning expert, Sara Gertz, on how to rid our working environment of those pesky pollens, because they can get anywhere and affect you anywhere.
Guy Farris.: What’s the pollen count this year?
Sara Gertz: We actually were rated as No. 7, one of the worst cities in the United States for pollen. It’s really heavy during spring and summer; this year seems to be really terrible, leaving you feeling tired, sick and unproductive.
GF: Now that it’s getting warmer and businesses are turning on their air conditioning systems, all the pollen that’s in those systems is blowing out and causing allergies as well.
SG: Absolutely! When you open the window and you don’t wipe down your window sills, you’re going to have pollen.
GF: So what is the average amount of germs that somebody might find on a desk?
SG: This is a really gross statistic; done by the University of Arizona. The average desk contains 10 million different types of germs and bacteria which is about 400 times more than the average toilet seat. So when we come in to work, we’re literally touching (if we’re not cleaning our desks) all of those germs plus pollen and allergens. Consequentially, lot of people are feeling sick this year.
GF: What can we do to get rid of the germs and have a cleaner workspace?
SG: Normally people just organize their desk by throwing away old papers and old ink pens, etc., but what you really want to do is take everything off your desk and use a microfiber towel to clean with.
GF: Why are microfiber towels good?
SG: I highly recommend them. They actually trap and absorb allergens and bacteria instead of spreading them around. You can throw them in your washer when you get home.
GF: What are some other ways to clean your desk?
SG: Start with a method to clean your desk; begin with the keyboard. You might want to shake it over the trash can and used some canned air to blow out particles. To get into the grooves, use some disinfectant on a Q-tip and go in and out between the keys on the keyboard.
GF: A lot of businesses have people sharing desks, computers and keyboards.
SG: Yes, they do and we’re not thinking of that, so we need to consider that.
GF: I love this canned air; can you demonstrate it?
SG: It’s just canned air; use it for electronics, it works great!
GF: When you’re wiping your desk off, do you have a type of cleaner that you should be using?
SG: Use any heavy duty disinfectant. Chemicals are always going to work. You can find green cleaners that have some chemicals in them and that’s great, but you really want to use a disinfectant. Make sure that you clean picture frames, under your mouse pad, using up and down strokes; left to right, to make sure you get everything; including your computer monitor. Don’t use disinfectants on your computer monitor as you want to keep liquids away. If you want to use a tiny bit of disinfectant on your monitor, put it on a microfiber cloth to trap allergens and get everything off of it.
GF: How often should you clean your desk?
SG: I think at least once a week is great. We’re so busy all week, so we’ve become a calendar society. If you put the schedule on Outlook and it gives you a little bell every Friday or Monday, you can go ahead and clean and hopefully be allergen and bacteria free.
GF: A lot of businesses have cleaning crews that come in. Do we trust that?
GF: Are they deep cleaners?
SG: Absolutely! Molly Maids are completely trained professionals that work very hard to make sure that they are doing everything.
GF: How does this translate to our homes?
SG: You can do the same thing in your homes. I highly recommend using microfiber when you’re cleaning. Use a good disinfectant and make sure that you get every area; don’t skimp on cleaning. Take the screens off your house and clean the screens; wipe the insides of the windows when you’re going to have the windows open until it gets really hot and then you want to make sure that you have nice air coming through.
GF: This may sound like a silly question, but is it possible to over-clean?
GF: Does that make sense?
SG: What do you mean?
GF: Are we lowering our immune systems by using too many cleaning products?
SG: I don’t think so. I think that the average person probably isn’t going to over-clean; especially with children. They’re coming in and out of the house and you’re constantly cleaning to keep up with everyday mess. At least once a week, doing a good thorough cleaning is going to keep your house rid of pollen and bacteria. You’ll have a healthier immune system and be more productive and feel good.
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