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.

Green Cleaning

Green Cleaning: Why It’s Important

Carpeting, flooring, waste bins, windows, bathrooms; all areas of your building need to be cleaned, that’s a given.  Nobody is ever delighted to walk into a dirty building or room.  Cleaning is important to maintain the look and feel of your establishment.  What’s more important than that?  Your health. Routine cleaning takes away dirt, allergens, and food sources for pests who carry bacteria and disease.  Air quality is a big issue especially for those who have a chronic health condition.

Ok, so, we’ve cleaned and polished, and reduced any contaminants in the air; We’re done, right? Not so fast.  How did you accomplish that clean?  What kind of products are you using?  To some this might seem “nit-picky,” but it is a very valid question.  Are you using the safest products to achieve the goal? Cleaning chemicals are known to be abrasive and powerful solutions that are meant to destroy dirt and odor.  Often these chemicals are branded with disclaimers and warnings about the effect they might have on health.  These products can be a danger.  Working toward using safer “greener” products can reduce or eliminate the dangers revolving around using such abrasive chemicals.

According to EnvirOx:

  1. Safer products reduce worker’s comp issues. Right now, six out of 100 custodial workers have a chemical-related worker’s comp claim per year.
  2. Safer chemicals also reduce surface wear & tear. If it’s safe for the environment and safe for people, the product probably isn’t going to hurt your carpet, either.
  3. Sustainable, concentrated chemicals often have a high yield — that is, the concentrated chemical makes a lot of in-use cleaning product. This can lead to big in-use savings over ready-to-use products that end up in landfills.

Taking steps now to move toward safer cleaning products will save you money, and create an even healthier environment.  Team Clean proudly uses green cleaning products in our operations.  Ensure the safety of your facility and the well-being of your staff; all while saving money. It’s a win-win.

Floor Care

Focus on Floor Care this Summer

No matter the type of flooring environment your facility is equipped with it is essential to maintain it properly during the summer months. The choices that building owners and designers have to work with when it comes to the type of flooring continues to evolve, but no matter your style choice or preference your floors need to be maintained properly and pristinely.  Simply put, your floor appearance will deteriorate if it is not addressed routinely and professionally.

Besides the general appeal of your flooring, it is paramount to ensure that your floors are properly maintained for the safety of your guests.  Most slip accidents happen when floors are contaminated. Effective cleaning should remove contamination and reduce the risk of slips. Incorrect cleaning can lead to a build-up of contamination, making the floor more slippery.  Machines can clean floors effectively if they are maintained and used correctly by trained operators.  In correct or untrained use could result in the build of both contaminants and cleaning products.

Additionally, it is important to consider the cleaning products being used on flooring.  Deterioration of appearance may be expedited by using inappropriate cleansers with an incompatible floor surface.  You need a commercial janitorial service that knows the right product for the job, and how that product will affect the quality of the flooring.  From dry dirt to black heel dirt, having the necessary knowledge and experience is imperative to execute the job correctly.  Building owners and facilities managers need to be aware of the fact that this type of dirt needs to be removed daily in order to avoid premature flooring failure and replacements.

You can save on cost in the future if you do your research now.  Find a company that has a Quality Assurance program and hands-on training with their team from experienced industry professionals.  That is the formula for your success this summer as you maintain your flooring to impeccable standards.

 

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