Team Clean, Inc.Team Clean, Inc.
Removing Graffiti

BAG THE TAGS: Why Removing Graffiti is So Hard

Removing graffiti is still one of the toughest building maintenance chores to deal with.  Soap and water usually won’t do it. But a lot of harsh chemicals and sharp scrapers might. However you choose to deal with graffiti, the cleaning-off process is a long, messy one if you choose to do it yourself. And your results are not guaranteed.

To save time, money and the agony of defeat, a professional cleaning firm like Team Clean, which has successfully dealt with graffiti for decades, is probably the best way to go.

But if you’re determined to do it yourself, here’s what you’ll need in your graffiti fighter’s tool kit:

1.          Aerosol solvent
2.         Clean cotton painters’ rags
3.         Trash bags
4.         Inexpensive paintbrushes, rollers and paint containers
5.         Paint matching various surfaces around your neighborhood
6.         Paint scraper
7.         Dust mask
8.         Safety glasses
9.         Kitchen cleaner and water in spray bottle

Solvents and Cleaners
There are a number of graffiti removal products on the market. It can help to become familiar with each one. Learn about safe use and safe handling. Some of the better-known solvents available at major hardware stores can be hazardous to your health. Using a respirator is probably safer than using a dust mask. Breathing this stuff is obnoxious and NOT healthy.

You need to be aware of wind conditions. You need eye and breathing protection when you use it. Rags used with solvent should be discarded properly. DO NOT KEEP FLAMMABLE RAGS IN CONTAINERS in your vehicle or garage.

Know the product you are using and HOW TO HANDLE AN ACCIDENTAL INJURY when using the product.

Some of the markers the vandals are using are not permanent. We’ve been able to clean some signs with soap and water.

Safety Glasses 
Safety glasses keep paints, solvents, and dust from entering the eyes. Always use caution. Never compromise eye safety.

Cleaning Smooth Surfaces
Test an inconspicuous area of the surface with your cleaning material. Most modern signs clean quickly. Start by cleaning with soap and water first then proceed to solvents.

Cleaning from Rough Surfaces 
Many times paint on a rough surface causes permanent damage. The character of the surface will change because, in some cases, it is virtually impossible to remove all of the paint from a porous surface. A perfect example is a cinder block wall. You may be forced to paint the wall—the entire wall. Simply framing the damaged area leaves you (and the vandal) with an ugly blotch.

We have found that pressure washers, using sand, can actually etch a cinder block wall, further hastening the wall’s demise. A wire brush is somewhat limited in effectiveness as well. Our city, instead, uses a power washer with a biodegradable emulsifier approved by our sewer department. In most cases, we have been able to completely remove the vandalism. However in some cases, because of the porous surfaces involved, a slight hazy remnant of the graffiti still remains.

Elbow Grease and the Wire Brush
An inexpensive wire brush is excellent for removing paint from many surfaces. The surface will look like someone has wire brushed it but the vandal’s message will be history. Any surface where you use a wire brush should be a surface, that will over time, weather back to the original color or texture. Every graffiti fighter needs a wire brush in his or her tool kit.

Use the wire brush on: 
Telephone poles
Street curbs
Some rough metals
Smooth stone surfaces
Decorative rocks
Wood fences
Concrete

TIPS ON REMOVAL
1. When you engage in graffiti removal, you become very aware of how much more difficult it is to remove it than it is to apply it. This is especially true in the case of rough, unpainted brick surfaces. Painted surfaces are probably best repainted, though it would be wise to have a supply of graffiti removal solvent ready for rapid response. This is also true because recent graffiti seems to be easier to remove than old graffiti.

2. For surfaces like mailboxes, utility boxes, steel roll-up doors, lampposts, etc., liquid graffiti removal solvent (Savogram) is the way to go. This graffiti should be removed as soon as it appears. This requires only some light duty steel wool, a small spray bottle of solvent, and a cleaner like TSP to wash the area down after removing the graffiti. Very little solvent should be used if the graffiti is recent. Just spray on some solvent, lightly rub with steel wool (or even heavy duty paper towels) and then wipe clean. You’ll want to use rubber gloves and lightly wash the affected area after removing the graffiti. Spray solvent such as Jasco, is not recommended for mailboxes or other painted surfaces since it will cause so much paint to bubble up that the “cleaned” area may look worse than it did with the graffiti.

3. For a brick surface, especially red brick, we recommend a professional cleanup, using a biodegradable emulsifier. This method minimizes the toll on the surface. It is generally too difficult to tackle a very rough surface with wire brushes and solvents, and the finished job will still bear a fair amount of the evidence of the graffiti.

4. For routinely painted surfaces like fences and some wall, it would be wise to have plenty of matching paint available for immediate cover-up within a day or two of the appearance of graffiti. In a business district, we recommend that some standard colors be employed in locations that are graffiti-prone and that an understanding be developed among property owners and business managers to allow for painting over graffiti quickly without having to secure permission from all affected parties. Rapid response is the key and this is only possible if the job is made as easy and automatic as possible.

Graffiti removal is not always a simple “spray it on, wipe it off” affair, especially when it involves brick or other rough surfaces or when paint has been there for a long time. You should expect to encounter examples where the best you can do is reduce the graffiti to an unrecognizable fade, even if it is not possible to completely remove it. Try both solvents if one doesn’t seem to do the trick. Don’t give up too soon. Sometimes, several applications of solvent or allowing to sit for a longer time will take care of things.

5 Ways Cleanliness Helps your Business

5 Ways Cleanliness Helps your Business

Unsanitary office, let us count the ways you sicken us: Keyboards, telephone receivers, photocopiers, shaking hands with potential customers, reheating lunch in the microwave, dropping a pen on the floor and picking it up, a visit to the restroom—if there are germ-infested surfaces to touch, you’ve probably touched quite a few of them on your way to doing other things. And by the way, you’re not looking well. Time to call in sick?

Germs can spread like wildfire, hiding on unexpected surfaces, just waiting to give you and your co-workers various levels of illnesses. And it’s not just in office environments; it happens in warehouses, retail stores, and of course, healthcare facilities. So, yes, a clean workplace is important. Here’s why

1. Healthy employees = fewer sick days: It doesn’t take a genius to figure this one out. Check out the stats. Sick days cost businesses more than $225 billion dollars each year and result in 54% loss in productivity. Keeping your work environment clean keeps your employees healthy and lowers the number of sick days. Your janitorial team should focus on the daily disinfecting of surfaces, vacuuming carpets, washing floors, and sanitizing restrooms to minimize the spread. Hand sanitizer wall dispensers help too.

2. Cleanliness breeds satisfaction: When you walk into a spotless room that smells lemony fresh, it can make you light right up because you’ve walked into a clean space. Some people get absolutely giddy, and some feel an improvement in their energy levels as well as their overall satisfaction. A dirty office, on the other hand, affects morale. Honestly, would you want to put your lunch in a grimy fridge with a dead-food smell? Or not be able to look outside without dirty windows, ledges, and blinds degrading your view? For an employer, keeping the workspace clean lets employees know that their work is appreciated and respected.

3. Improved productivity: Coughing, sneezing or just feeling out of sorts are the calling cards of a dirty work environment. Employees might not even make the connection between their impaired performance and the effects that lingering dust and germs can have on their breathing, energy levels, headaches or skin. They may be feeling a lack motivation or initiative due to the unhealthiness of the workplace. Improved cleaning practices and quality janitorial cleaning supplies will positively impact the overall health of employees, improving their productivity.

4. It’s your image at stake: It’s not just your employees who interact with your spaces each day. It’s also your suppliers, potential and current clients, business partners and prospective hires. Do you want them leaving with the next communicable illness and an impression that your workplace is filthy? Of course not. Word spreads almost as fast as germs, so make sure you have the right cleaning strategies in place, from the front door to the forklift, restrooms, and boardrooms.

5. Cleanliness preserves assets over the long term: You have expensive assets in your building, particularly carpets and hard floors. If they’re not getting regular cleaning with the right cleaning products, you can kiss those pricey carpets and scratch-free, shiny floors goodbye. A good janitorial service will have commercial carpet cleaning equipment and/or commercial floor scrubbers that can make the cleaning process more effective and efficient. Your carpets and floors will last longer, and the professional equipment used to clean them makes the job much quicker. If your company has an in-house janitorial staff, consider equipping them with commercial cleaning equipment.

Speaking of cleaning efficiency, your company can follow all the suggestions above and still stay environmentally friendly. Philadelphia corporate janitorial service Team Clean notes, “The cleaning products we use are formulated to achieve maximum cleaning effectiveness while exceeding all environmental and safety requirements. We use Green Seal certified cleaning chemicals for general purpose, restroom, glass, and carpet cleaning, or recommended products for those not covered by the Green Seal Standard but do go beyond current, industry specifications. Our walk-behind carpet extractors and floor scrubbers reduce water consumption by 70%, along with a corresponding reduction in chemical usage.”

And, as part of any Green Clean program, Team Clean can also create an effective recycling process for your company, including the collection of materials, separation of recyclables from non-recyclables, and the removal of both.

 

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