Your industry news - first Number 1 for Recruitment
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We have Mail: Cleaning up after smokers
We included a letter in last week's issue from Peter Vezey, who was asking how industry experts might tackle a dilapidated building that had - amongst other things - been damaged by what appears to have been long-term, heavy smoking. Mary de Cobos, of FutureClean Assured Systems, writes...
"We used to restore pubs like this! We always use a high pH product - caustic or non-caustic based. Caustic works faster but will damage aluminum and paintwork. This is a long job and you need to try to be methodical about it. It's not done in five minutes and there is no miracle product around to instantly clean the surfaces.
Expect damage to surfaces though! You will find that the smell lingers even over new paintwork. You can use a dehumidifier to get rid of some of the smell.
Chemex has a really good product called Smoke Clean which works extremely well and is designed for just this problem (and is caustic based). However, if you want non-caustic (and for safe soaking on paint you should do) then many products should have a mix like high proportion of metasilicates, sodium carbonate, a chelating agent such as EDTA rather than caustic (potassium hydroxide is caustic).
If all this is confusing, plain sodium carbonate (washing soda) will do the job quite well but takes longer than an engineered product.
- You will need to soak the whole of the room for a while until the dirt drips. So for ease, divide the house into easily workable areas (say, per room) and put two areas in soak (use the manufacturer's guidelines for dilution and use the hottest water you can stand).
- When the dirt is starting to run, put another two areas in soak and start cleaning the first two areas.
- Repeat until all the areas have been cleaned off.
- Rinse well with clean water between each clean and keep your cleaning cloths and equipment well cleaned
- Now you will need to repeat the work again and possibly a third time as well.
- The house will smell and damp will set in, so keep the dehumidifier running - especially when the soaking is finished - to keep the damp levels down.
- Some cleaning products will not have a foaming agent in them enough to emulsify the grease you will start to move; use washing up liquid in the final wash down to get rid of all the left over grease.
- Use a window cleaner's T-bar and sleeve to apply the product onto the surfaces. It's faster than using wash cloths. Wipe off the surface using a rag tied over the sleeve.
Contact us if you need more assistance."
Mary can be contacted via:
25th February 2016