While everyone mentions spring cleaning, winter cleaning is just as important. Learn about winter’s impacts on store interiors and how you can keep your store in great shape this upcoming winter season.
What comes to mind when you think about the winter season? Snow? The holidays? The boost in store traffic? An overlooked aspect of the winter season is how it impacts store interiors. Winter brings unique challenges to retail store cleaning, some of which include:
- Floor damage from melted snow and tracked salt
- Slippery surfaces that endanger customers
- Lower air quality
These conditions are unique to winter and cause facility degradation and endanger customer and employee health.
Keep your customers healthy and store in great shape this coming season by following our winter cleaning checklist.
Experts agree that people are more vulnerable to sickness during the winter months. This is because of a combination of two factors:
- Cold weather forces people closer together
- Viruses spread more easily in colder temperatures and lower humidity
These factors collide to make viruses and bacteria especially dangerous in winter. As a store owner, you have a responsibility to protect your customers. One of the best ways to do this is by regularly disinfecting surfaces. Emphasize high-touch point surfaces that customers regularly touch.These include:
- Shelves and countertops
- Cart, basket, and door handles
- Self checkout stations
While surface sanitation is a key part of any season’s cleaning, we especially recommend it as a part of our winter cleaning checklist. Limit your store’s use of self-serve stations when possible. Self-serve food stations are a bacteria hotbed because people are constantly interacting with them. This problem is compounded when people inspect food items before putting them back. Self-serve station’s food is usually handled by dozens of people before it goes to the final customer. Keep your customers healthy this winter season by disinfecting your store and eliminating self-serve food stations.
We’re familiar with the benefits of ice salt when used outside, but did you know that it can do serious damage to interior floors? Salt is harsh on floors, especially if there’s a lot of it spread around high traffic areas in your store. Regular salt removal is key to keeping your floors in good shape throughout the winter season. Establish a scheduled cleaning task that monitors and clears excess salt throughout your store.
The winter season also leads to excess water and mud being brought into your business from the snow and sleet outside. This water can pool and damage floors, but more importantly, it’s a hazard that can lead to slips and falls. Neglecting floor maintenance can lead to people getting seriously hurt, take the extra minute to keep your floors clean. There are three main ways that you can address material buildup on your floors:
- Manually clean floors – make sure that someone has the responsibility of regularly mopping up areas where water builds up.
- Establish signs – best used supplementally with a worker, a sign prepares people for slippery surfaces.
- Install heavy-duty rugs – set up rugs at the entrance to your business that encourage customers to remove dust, dirt, snow, and salt from their shoes.
This is one of the most important winter cleaning tips. Not taking good care of your floors now means that they’ll have to be replaced sooner than you think.
Air quality takes a severe hit during the winter season. This occurs for two key reasons:
- Weather condition changes
- More frequent illnesses
There are two key ways that you can improve your store’s air quality this winter season. The first step you can take involves installing air purifiers throughout your store. The EPA has proven that air purifiers can reduce airborne contaminants and boost the breathability of air. The best part about air purifiers is how convenient they are to install. They’re one of the simplest winter cleaning tips we have to offer!
The second step you can take to improve your store’s air quality is to incorporate green cleaning products. Traditional cleaning solutions are dangerous—they often contain volatile chemicals that linger in the air and cause headaches, breathing troubles, and lowered health. In fact, a recent study found that regular exposure to some cleaning chemicals can be as damaging to your respiratory system as smoking a pack of cigarettes every day. Investing in green cleaning products is critical to protecting the health of your customers and employees.
The final step you can take is educating your employees. Set up some kind of meeting before the winter season where you educate them on the new processes that they’re going to incorporate this winter season. Proper training and communication is key to making sure that your employees adapt well to any change.
Outside of training on the new process itself, educate your employees on how to stay healthy this winter season. Make it clear that you don’t want them working if they’re sick. 90% of Americans have admitted to coming in to work sick. This is bad enough in office settings where only coworkers are endangered. In retail, it could lead to your customers getting sick and not coming back to your store. Show your employees that health and safety is something you take seriously and they’ll follow suit.
Winter is tough on stores. Make sure that you:
- Regularly disinfect surfaces
- Keep your floors safe and dry
- Create healthy air
- Train employees on best health practices
Follow these winter cleaning tips and you’ll have the easiest spring cleaning process you’ve ever had.
If you don’t have the resources or time to keep your store safe throughout the winter months, partner with a professional cleaning service. Carlson Building Maintenance has been providing superb cleaning services to retail stores since 1959. Experience the Carlson Difference and contact us today!