Tuesday, 29 September 2015

8 Ways High Level Cleaning Can Save Your Business Money

High Level Cleaning – Saving Your Business Money

8 Ways High Level Cleaning Can Save Your Business Money

Arranging high level cleaning for your business can, very naturally, be seen as just one more overhead that your business has to bear, along with rent, rates, insurance, and so on.

Viewing it as an overhead can easily lead to a temptation to cut corners and minimise the frequency of cleaning. However, high level cleaning can also be seen as a means to protect important aspects of your business and can even help your business to save money in the long term.

Ingot Services, specialists in high level interior and exterior cleaning, outline eight ways we can help your bottom line.

Protecting products and stock – In many businesses, particularly food and beverage production and storage, cleanliness is an essential feature of the business. A single instance of food contamination can cause significant losses in terms of ingredients or finished product that has to be destroyed. And in the worst case can also result in significant reputational damage if the contaminated products reach customers. Regular removal of dirt and dust from high areas is a vital complement to the rigorous cleanliness standards enforced at ground level.

Protecting equipment – Dust can be a near-invisible threat to expensive machinery, threatening to reduce performance or make breakdowns more likely. It can be a problem both for traditional mechanical equipment and for modern electronically based equipment. Keeping down dust and dirt levels in high areas can save you thousands in unplanned equipment downtime.

Reducing fire risk – A build up of dust or other debris is a fire risk in any type of business, but can be especially dangerous in industrial environments where high temperatures occur as a matter of course (e.g. bakeries and other food production environments, factories involving heat process such as plastics moulding and metal working). Even in less obvious risky environments, dust can be a fire risk when combined with quite modest sources of heat or electricity, such as high overhead lighting systems present in many shops and showrooms. Even a small fire can be hugely disruptive to a business in terms of time lost – and of course if a fire starts in a high place it will be virtually impossible for it to be put out quickly by staff. High level cleaning (combined of course with a good ground level cleaning regimen) is therefore an important measure in protecting your business from the risk of fire. In fact, insurers will frequently want to see evidence of regular cleaning as a condition of offering insurance.

Preventing damage – Cleaning is not just about aesthetics, but has an important role in preventing damage due to build up of dirt and debris in key areas. Examples might include blockages and obstructions in, for example, guttering, ventilation outlets and overflow pipes. This type of obstruction can result in leaks or water damage, or to incorrect or inefficient operation of HVAC systems – all of which can be expensive to put right.

Detecting damage early – One key benefit of high level cleaning is that it provides an opportunity to see parts of a building's infrastructure that cannot be seen from ground level. Cleaners working just a few feet from roofs, external cladding or interior beams and ducts can often provide a useful early warning system about missing tiles, small holes or cracks, or other features which, if left untended, could result in a more serious problem later on. While cleaning should not be a substitute for regular building maintenance, it can provide a useful extra check that could save your company thousands in repairs.

Detecting vermin – In addition to general dust accumulation, high up areas can, if not tended regularly, provide safe havens for a wide variety of wildlife, including insects, spiders, birds and even mice. This can give rise to droppings, cobwebs and nests which can be a significant health hazard for staff and visitors. Regular high level cleaning prevents such creatures getting a foothold in your premises, and can help to warn you if specific pest control measures may be needed.

Improving the image of your business – Businesses spend millions on branding and advertising in order to influence how their business is perceived by potential customers. The appearance of your premises, both inside and out, will form part of this perception, either on a conscious or unconscious level, and can have an effect on how clients and customers feel about your products and about doing business with you. 

Maintaining the value of your buildings – If you own your business premises then cleaning (including clearing out gutters, cleaning external cladding, brickwork, signage etc.) will make your premises more appealing to prospective future owners. If you rent or lease your premises, then you will almost certainly be required to keep the premises in good condition, or you could face an unwelcome cleaning bill at the end of the lease as part of a "making good" clause in your lease contract. 

High Level Interior and Exterior Cleaning – Call us today on 0800 731 7892

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Kitchen Extraction Cleaning – By Ingot Services

Kitchen Extraction Cleaning – Five Reasons Why This Is Vital

With most daily commercial kitchen cleaning, you are clearing away dirt you can see – for instance, ensuring surfaces, walls and sinks are spotless. However, there is also dirt in areas you can't see where cleaning is equally crucial, including kitchen extraction. Ductwork from cookers or ovens in a pub or restaurant can easily be forgotten, but allowing grease to build up in these areas is dangerous for a number of reasons. 

Here we look at just some of the reasons why regular kitchen extract cleaning is vital for all food businesses.

1. Fire Risks: A fire at a fish and chip shop in south Essex was just one recent incident caused by build-up of grease in ductwork, showing the risks. Fire services across the country are called to many similar blazes every year. Grease and oil are highly combustible, so if deposits are allowed to build up in kitchen ductwork they can easily catch fire. By law, extract systems need to be included in fire risk assessments and action must be taken to minimise any risk posed – and that means regular cleaning is essential. 

2. Bacteria Risks: As well as the fire risk, if grease builds up in kitchen extracts it can provide a breeding ground for bacteria. This could cause food poisoning and pose a potential danger of airborne infections spreading to both staff and customers. Cleaning surfaces and equipment rigorously won't prevent bacteria spreading into the area from uncleaned ductwork.

3. Regulatory Compliance: There is a whole raft of regulation covering safe operation of commercial kitchens, and extract systems are included in regular inspections. Even if the worst doesn't happen and the build-up of grease in your extract systems doesn't cause a fire or an outbreak of food poisoning, inspectors are likely to take a dim view of the fact that you have allowed this risk to occur. The result could be a shutdown or even prosecution.

4. Insurance Conditions: If a fire occurs in ductwork that has not been cleaned, your insurer could argue that the fire was due to your negligence. Many insurance companies now set stipulations for regular cleaning by a specialist commercial cleaning contractor as a condition of cover, and require evidence that this is being carried out.

5. Performance of Equipment: If you let your extract systems get clogged up they won't perform so well, meaning there is a risk of breakdown and of parts wearing out more quickly. Keeping equipment clean and performing properly will also keep down energy costs – which is yet another reason for proper cleaning of all kitchen equipment and fixtures, including air duct systems.

Although a lot of daily kitchen cleaning can be carried out by your own staff, this doesn't apply to ventilation duct cleaning. It's essential to have this work done by professionals with the specialist training and knowledge, in order to ensure that it is carried out properly and satisfies regulatory and insurance requirements.

Ingot Services has more than 25 years of industrial cleaning and specialises in kitchen extraction cleaning. We provide reliable and expert services to businesses across the country, including customers in Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Bristol and Manchester.

Kitchen Deep Cleaning – Advice for Caterers

Kitchen Deep Cleaning – How Can Caterers Guard Against Food Poisoning Risks?

Food poisoning is one of the major worries for all caterers, so it's vital to put measures in place to guard against the risk, including kitchen deep cleaning. It's estimated there may be as many as a million cases every year in the UK. Although most of those affected might just suffer a stomach bug, some end up in hospital and research studies have found that bouts of food poisoning can have damaging long-term effects.

The risk to health is of course the most serious concern, but there is also a danger to your business. If a case is traced back to your restaurant, you could face fines and a temporary shutdown, as well as suffering bad publicity. 

All food businesses need to meet various hygiene regulations, undergoing regular inspections. By showing that your premises are spotless, you will gain a top hygiene grading, helping to attract customers. If you need advice on how to improve your kitchen cleaning practices, expert commercial cleaning contractors can help.

Handling Poultry

Bacteria in raw poultry is one of the most common reasons for food poisoning outbreaks in Britain.
The Food Standards Agency estimates around 280,000 cases a year are due to the bacteria campylobacter, with the vast majority being down to unsafe handling of contaminated poultry. 

The FSA has recently been raising awareness of the dangers and how to avoid them, by launching its 'Chicken Challenge', aimed at both businesses and individuals. It is urging anybody handling chicken to store it covered and separate from other foods and keep it chilled, at the bottom of the refrigerator. It must then be cooked thoroughly.

Other key advice is not to wash raw chicken, which only ends up spreading bacteria, but to ensure thorough cleaning of everything which has come in contact with the poultry, including kitchen equipment and surfaces. 

Safe Kitchen Practice

As well as safe handling of poultry, constant vigilance against the risks of cross-contamination in general is needed. This means keeping raw foods separately from cooked ones and cleaning and disinfecting all cooking and preparation equipment and surfaces before use. Washing hands both before food preparation and after touching any raw foods is another must. 

Cooking and chilling are two other key areas for safe practice. All food must be cooked properly so that it is piping hot right through. Cooked food needs to be cooled as quickly as possible before it is put in the fridge. If you have chilled products delivered to your restaurant, their temperature needs to be checked on delivery. Food which needs chilling must be put straight into the fridge and kept out for as little time as possible during preparation. Your fridge must also be kept at a safe temperature. 

Thorough Cleaning

A daily cleaning regime is essential in all areas where food is prepared, including cleaning as you go, with attention to both surfaces and equipment. However, daily cleaning alone is not enough. There will be some hidden areas you can't get to and some cooking equipment, such as an industrial oven, may need to be partly dismantled to enable thorough cleaning.

Regularly scheduled kitchen deep cleaning is therefore essential to ensure you are cooking and preparing food in a safe environment. You also need to arrange regular ductwork cleaning, since kitchen ventilation will contain a build-up of grease you can't see but which, if neglected, could grow bacteria and contaminate food.

Ingot Services can provide customers in Suffolk, Essex, Liverpool, London and across the UK with one-off deep kitchen cleaning or regularly scheduled deep cleans, as required. Our services will give you confidence that your kitchen complies with all official standards on hygiene and food safety.

Kitchen Deep Cleaning  – Follow the link or call us now on 0800 731 7892 for details of our services.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Air Conditioning Ductwork Cleaning – Summer Prep

Summer is Here – But is Your Air Conditioning Ductwork Ready?

As the weather steadily gets warmer across the UK, restaurants, hotels, pubs and leisure businesses of all kinds are in full swing for the summer season. Extra staff are on standby, ice machines have been switched on, and outside dining areas set up – but have you given a thought to arranging air conditioning ductwork cleaning?

If you run a pub, restaurant or other leisure business then your air conditioning is now an expected and essential facility. With air conditioning now commonplace in most workplaces and public buildings, including supermarkets, retail stores, shopping malls, leisure centres and so on, the public now expect restaurants and pubs to be kept at a comfortable temperature no matter how hot it may be outside. In fact, many people will seek out air conditioned environments to escape the heat of their own homes.

But air conditioning does more than just keep your employees and customers cool and comfortable – it also maintains air quality, filtering out impurities of all kinds including excess moisture, dirt, dust, pollen, fungal spores and other microorganisms.

As air is drawn through ductwork, some of these impurities inevitably accumulate on the surface of the ducts, providing a breeding ground for bacteria, viruses and mould. Without regular air conditioning ductwork cleaning this build-up can reach dangerous levels, potentially affecting the quality of air being provided to your customers. In mild cases this can affect comfort – especially those with asthma and allergies. But in more extreme cases, dirty ductwork can cause serious infection. Where dust, fibres or other debris accumulate to high levels, it can also pose a significant fire hazard.

All ventilation ductwork is required to be cleaned at least every 2 years to avoid these problems, and needs to be carried out by an approved cleaning contractor. However there are other reasons for ensuring regular air conditioning ductwork cleaning:

Performance – Clogged up ductwork, fans and filters will prevent the air conditioning functioning properly. As well as not giving the cooling effect and air quality you need, you will probably find yourself continually turning up the power to maximum, with a knock-on effect on your electricity bill.

Health – Dirty ducts, filters and fans can be a breeding ground for bacteria and mould of all kinds – so your air conditioning system could end up sending these unwanted particles into your premises for your employees and customers to breathe in.

Odours – As well as keeping air cool and clean, air conditioning has a big role to play in taking away unpleasant odours, particularly food and cooking smells which can be off-putting to customers. Keeping ductwork and filters clean helps to keep your premises smelling fresh, creating an attractive atmosphere for your clientele.

Our Air Conditioning Ductwork Cleaning and Inspection Service

If you've recently taken over a new premises you are immediately responsible for the state of the ductwork, no matter what condition it was left in by the previous owner. We can arrange to inspect your ductwork and let you know how soon a clean is likely to be required.

Inspections are also useful if you are not sure how frequently you need to have ductwork cleaned. Combining air conditioning ductwork cleaning with inspections you can, over time, find out the right frequency of cleaning for your premises.

Ingot Services provide expert cleaning services for industrial ductwork of all kinds including kitchen extracts and air conditioning ductwork. Our cleaning service can be arranged to suit your business, avoiding busy times – and can even be carried out at night if required.

Air Conditioning Ductwork Cleaning – Call us today  on 0800 731 7892 to arrange cleaning for your business premises.

Commercial Kitchen Cleaning – Preventing Vermin

Preventing Vermin in Your Commercial Kitchen

In this article, commercial kitchen cleaning experts Ingot Services examine the problem of different types of vermin in commercial food outlets such as restaurants, hotels, pubs and takeaways. We take a look at the most common types of vermin and the conditions which attract them and help them to breed. Then we consider what cleaning and storage practices are necessary to minimise the chances of vermin being attracted to your premises, including steps you can take yourself on a day to day basis, and when support from a commercial kitchen cleaning contractor can help.

Ideal Conditions for Vermin
Kitchens of all kinds, whether domestic or commercial, are prime targets for vermin of all kinds, simply because they provide a source of food and water necessary for pests to breed – unless preventative measures are taken and kitchen owners remain vigilant. The three most common and problematic types of vermin are:

1. Rats and Mice
Although these are the largest pests that can pose a problem in kitchens they can, amazingly, go unnoticed for long periods of time. They will not typically live inside the kitchen itself, but can live in ducts or pipes or in outside areas, and will typically prefer to go looking for food during the night, when a commercial kitchen is dark and quiet. However, they can wreak all kinds of havoc, even if you can't see them - leaving droppings and contaminating unprotected food supplies, resulting in the spread of bacteria or diseases which can then affect employees and diners.

2. Flies
As well as looking for food, flies will also be looking for places to lay eggs – and their favourite place to do this is in decaying organic matter. Commercial kitchens are potentially excellent sources of decaying matter of course, in the form of food scraps or even fresh food left in the open. They also like to lay eggs in faeces – so they will be attracted to mouse or rat droppings which have been left undetected. If they do manage to lay their eggs then a kitchen can become infested with thousands of flies, making the kitchen completely unusable.

3. Cockroaches
Cockroaches are floor-dwelling creatures which prefer to live in areas which are warm, humid and dark – such as underneath kitchen units and cooking equipment. They will tend to stay out of sight during the daytime and go looking for food at night. Any type of decaying organic matter will suit them as a food source including vegetables, meat and grain, either raw or cooked. Well known for being hardy, adults can go without food for two or even three months – so even the occasional spill that isn't cleaned up promptly can be enough to keep them going. Although they are ground-dwellers, they are also great climbers and will find their way onto walls, worktops and shelving, not to mention ductwork of all kinds, spreading all manner of bacteria as they go, making them a big source of food poisoning wherever they are allowed to live.

Preventing Vermin – A Three-Pronged Attack
The preferred habits and food sources of these vermin gives important clues as to how to discourage and minimise the possibility of any of these pests being attracted to your premises. We suggest a three-pronged approach:

1. Storage
The most important task is to make sure that there is no food available. This obviously includes cleaning up spills and disposing of food waste properly, but it also means ensuring proper storage and protection of all food intended for consumption. 

This means storing food in non-penetrable containers, away from ground level. Where storage units have their own door (e.g. fridges, freezer, cold store rooms and pantries) these must be kept closed and have a suitable airtight seal to prevent tiny insects getting in.

Where food is not kept in a separate, sealed storage unit (e.g. on shelving, racks etc) then the containers themselves need to be tough and non-penetrable, and should not include, for example, fibre sacks, foil or thin plastic, which can all be easily chewed through.

Once a pest has found a food supply at your premises once, they will keep coming back, in the hope of finding more. They will then explore beyond the original food source to look for more food, or to see if they can also find a suitable place to nest. This means that it isn't just kitchens which are perpetually dirty than can attract vermin. One unprotected food container, one load of unwashed dishes or one food spill can be enough to in bring in a pest.

2. Daily cleaning
A regular and effective daily cleaning regimen is essential to eliminate the other main source of food for vermin – waste food. This needs to include:

  • Thorough cleaning of all worktops and surfaces that might have a layer of food left on them.
  • Cleaning up all spills of food or drink promptly, in any part of the premises, including the kitchen or dining area.
  • All dishes and pans washed and dried prior to leaving the premises at closing time.
  • All food waste removed from the kitchen area and placed in non-penetrable bins outside the premises.
3. Strategic commercial kitchen cleaning
Even the strictest of daily cleaning regimes will be unable to reach some areas – such as behind some units or in crevices between worktops. It also won't address the build up of grease in some types of kitchen equipment or in inaccessible ductwork.
So it is essential to call in an expert commercial kitchen cleaning company to carry out the jobs that you cannot carry out yourself. This includes:

Deep Kitchen Cleaning – A deep clean ensures that you are starting from a clean base, maximising the effectiveness of your own daily cleaning. Depending on how heavily the kitchen is used, a deep clean may be required just occasionally, or on a regular basis.

Kitchen Equipment Cleaning – Some types of kitchen equipment, such as grills and fryers, accumulate grease quickly, which can provide a food source for pests, as well as being a general hygiene issue. This equipment needs to be completed dismantled and cleaned by a professional cleaning company on a regular schedule.

Kitchen Extract Cleaning – Grease and dirt build up most quickly in kitchen extract equipment 
including hoods, canopies, fans and ductwork – but these are generally inaccessible to kitchen staff. Kitchen extracts need to be cleaned regularly by law, to prevent them becoming a fire hazard – but you will also be helping to eliminate a potential food source for vermin.

Commercial Kitchen Cleaning – Ingot Services carry out all types of cleaning for commercial kitchens in hotels, restaurants, clubs and other establishments. Call us today on 0800 731 7892 to find out more.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Air Conditioning Duct Work Cleaning – Rats in Ductwork

How To Tackle Rats In Your Duct Work

From pollen to mites, mould, and household dust, all sorts of nasties can be lurking in your duct work…including rats and mice. If you have rats you might have already heard the patter of tiny feet, but as you get preoccupied with day-to-day activities this may well go unnoticed until a foul smell emerges from your ceiling. Regular air conditioning duct work cleaning, however, will ensure that your business premises stays in pristine condition – even the areas not visible to staff or customers.
Duct work cleaning is so vital because unclean duct work will impinge on the health of staff and customers. As unclean air circulates through your business, it can aggravate existing problems such as asthma and allergies, which has a knock on affect through staff sickness and absenteeism. According to NHS statistics, as many as 5.4 million people in the UK receive treatment for breathing problems or asthma. Research shows that air quality inside homes and buildings have higher levels of certain pollutants in comparison to outside air. Since we spend the majority of our working day – and nights – indoors this can worsen the problem.
So, to keep your staff healthy and happy, it’s important to prioritise air conditioning duct work cleaning and not to leave it on the back burner. Here we take a look at what you can do to solve the problem of rats in the duct work.

Why Rats Get into the Duct Work

Rats and mice are attracted to duct work as it creates the ideal conditions for survival. Duct work is not only colder in summer and warmer in winter, but it also keeps rodents safe from predators and, of course, rats like to inhabit places that are close to where humans live as it means easy access to food.

Why it is a Problem

Rats in your air conditioning can cause a number of problems: firstly they may chew holes in your duct work making your air conditioning less efficient, secondly there are a number of health problems associated with rats. For a start, rat faeces are toxic, and the excrement can attract other rats to inhabit the area, thus escalating the problem; also, if there is a dead rat in your duct work, not only is the smell hard to tolerate, but the carcass will attract flies which creates further health and safety issues. Thirdly, rats can urinate up to three gallons a year, and breathing in rat urine can put your staff or customers at risk of contracting diseases such as Hantavirus, which is deadly to humans.

How to Tackle it

There are several ways to tackle rats in your duct work. One is by organising regular duct work cleaning from a reputable company such as Ingot Services. During the cleaning process they will check for holes in the duct work to ensure it is in full working order. Regular duct work cleaning will improve the air quality in your building, ensure your duct system runs at a more comfortable level. It saves money in the long run as you won’t have to carry out major repairs.  However, if your building frequently attracts rats or mice, it is also time to think about calling in the pest control services who will tackle the problem at source.

Over the years Ingot Services has seen a number of incidents at first hand where rats and mice have chewed holes in the ductwork and generally created havoc. Although it is tempting to tackle the problem yourself, a proper cleanup is essential and is best tackled by the experts. 

Call Ingot Services for a free quotation on 0800 731 7892.

Cleaning Kitchen Service – 9 Kitchen Hygiene Essentials

Nine At-a-Glance Rules for Commercial Kitchen Hygiene

Complying with health and safety rules is vital in any kitchen, particularly in commercial kitchens where it is important to eliminate risk of the sickness and injury to protect your establishment’s reputation.

Here Ingot Services, who offer deep kitchen cleaning services, has compiled a list of nine commercial kitchen hygiene essentials that should never be ignored. These include the day-to-day requirements – such as keeping surfaces clean – and activities that are less frequent but none-the-less still necessary, such as organising professional duct work cleaning.

We have only just covered the basics as there are a host of ways to keep your commercial kitchen healthy. For more information on up-to-date commercial kitchen hygiene, view the Health and Safety website.

Personal Hygiene

Keeping yourself clean, wearing clean clothing, and washing your hands often is one of the top tips to prevent the transfer of bacteria and viruses onto food, crockery or kitchen surfaces. Bacteria can spread quickly, so to comply with health and safety rules it is vital to wash your hands at every stage of the food preparation process, including before and after preparing food, touching raw food, handling waste or chemicals, eating or touching your face, and after every work break.


If you have illnesses such as cold or flu, a skin related disease, infected wound, diarrhoea or stomach problems, you should tell your supervisor in advance of attending work. If you don’t inform your supervisor, you are breaking the law. Staff who handle food and are ill are advised to stay off work until they are symptom free for at least two full days.

Kitchen Surfaces

The best way to keep on top of cleanliness is to clean equipment and food surfaces as you go along. For a more thorough clean, Ingot Services offers a deep kitchen cleaning service, where all equipment is dismantled and cleaned and all areas of the kitchen – including hard to reach places – are thoroughly cleansed.

Reheating Food

If you are reheating food, it is important to heat it to the right temperature and ensure that it is piping hot before serving. Red meat should have a temperature of 70C in the middle and white meat, 80C. You shouldn’t reheat food more than once, and any leftovers should be thrown away.

Raw Food

It is vital for health reasons to keep the preparation of fresh and raw food entirely separate to prevent any contamination. Use colour coded chopping boards to prevent any mix-ups when food is being prepared.


It goes without saying that food shouldn’t be left out and should be covered and refrigerated overnight. Keep a record of storage and expiry dates so you know exactly when food should be thrown away.

Duct Cleaning

Regular duct work cleaning should be organised to prevent the build-up of grease and grime, which can pose a fire risk. This is a legal requirement for commercial kitchens and can prove life-saving.


Handling sharp knives can lead to minor injuries. If you do get a small cut or wound during food preparation, you are obliged to cover it with a waterproof dressing. Highly visible blue plasters are available for this purpose.


It is vital to follow procedures when making food and to work safely so you don’t put yourself or anyone else at risk. Equipment – such as sharp knives – should be stored safely and deliveries shouldn’t be left in corridors where they could be a tripping hazard. If you feel something is wrong, flag it up with your supervisor.

To find out about more duct work and deep kitchen cleaning, contact Ingot Services