clean coffee maker

How to Clean a Keurig

A clean Keurig makes a great cup of coffee, every time.

The convenience seems too good to be true, but it’s not. So how to clean a Keurig? It only takes a few tricks to maintain the machine.

First, when the coffee pot says “prime” it is similar to a computer that freezes. The best thing to do is unplug it, take the water canister out, and pour clear water into the tray. Some calcium can build up here and stop the function. It is recommended that you use distilled water to prevent this.

When you put the tray back, pour some vinegar into the water reservoir. Push “brew.” Let the vinegar water sit in the tray for a few hours. After that brew a few cups of water through to rinse the vinegar.

Enjoy the energy from your next cup of fresh coffee for more housecleaning in Wilmington, Delaware!

business building

Promoting a Healthy Workplace

A healthy work place starts with a clean environment.

Surface contamination is a common way disease spreads at the workplace. Regular and targeted cleaning prevents sickness and absenteeism, which saves money and promotes health. In the United States, employers endure the cost of an estimated $225 billion per year for employees who are out sick.

Here are some key ways to encourage a healthy work environment in your office.

Targeted Cleaning

Surface “touch points” have higher concentrations of germs and are responsible for transferring disease.  Consider targeting the list of items below which are known high touch points in work spaces.

  • Photocopier
  • Keyboard
  • Mouse
  • Telephone
  • Public drinking fountains
  • Hand rails
  • Door Knobs
  • Light switch

Develop a Cleaning Program

Don’t wait to clean. Waiting will result in bacteria build-up that is invisible to the naked eye. Create an ongoing cleaning checklist including the above-mentioned items and other touch points.  A clean workplace is not only health conscience but more enjoyable. Workers will experience a boosted moral, encouraging productivity.

Carpets and Upholstery

Carpets and upholstery capture bacteria over time. The regularity of cleaning depends on the use of the space.  Properly maintained carpets and upholstery not only promote a healthy workforce but increase the life of your carpet and furniture.

Resources and Related Articles

The Clean Case for a Healthy Workplace

Flu Season: Be Prepared for the Worst


church cleaning

Caring for Your Church

A maintenance and upkeep program for your church provides a healthy atmosphere and saves money in the long run.

Regular Cleaning

An attractive Church begins with regular cleaning and maintenance like emptying the trash, replacing restroom products, sweeping, mopping and dusting.

Regular Maintenance

Some general maintenance and repairs require specialized knowledge and equipment. These tasks include the use of floor-care machines and repairing or replacing water faucets, toilets, lighting equipment, door hardware and light bulbs.

Preventive Maintenance

Preventive maintenance should be performed at regular intervals. Preventive tasks include inspection and detection of potential problems and monitoring equipment performance.

Many tasks can be done by church employees and volunteers but some maintenance requires specialized skills and equipment. Creating a comprehensive list of tasks helps ensure upkeep is not forgotten. To reduce the burden on staff and church memebers, maintenance can be outsourced to a janitorial company like First Choice. We specialize in sanctuary cleaning, cleaning common areas, restrooms, office areas, carpet cleaning, strip and wax services, pressure washing and window cleaning.

Performing maintenance duties is good stewardship of the church’s facilities, allowing the church to fulfill its mission and reducing costs down the road.


Facilities And Property Management In The Local Church

10 Reasons to Use Microfiber in Your Church

A microfiber is a type of cloth that has more fibers per square inch than cotton or terry cloths. Here are 10 reasons why your Church should use microfiber cloths for cleaning.

  1. Microfiber has tightly woven fibers that pick up more dirt than regular cloth, cleaning large buildings quickly and effectively.
  2. The tightly woven fibers pick up microscopic specks of dust that other types of cloth leave behind. This helps bring out a beautiful shine when polishing marble statues, stained glass windows and old decor with small crevices.
  3. In addition to making statues and antiques shine, a clean microfiber is gentle. Just make sure you use a new microfiber to prevent scratches from previously collected dirt.
  4. Microfiber lasts longer than other cloths so your Church won’t need to replace supplies as often.
  5. People shake hands and touch pews at church. Microfiber doesn’t cross contaminate as much as other types of cleaning cloth, helping to prevent the spread of disease.
  6. A designated microfiber is perfect for dusting the choir loft. Microfiber won’t scratch the piano and can be used to gently clean most other instruments.
  7. Tie a microfiber cloth to a broom and use it to get the dust bunnies and spider webs on rafters above the choir loft and high beams. This is a safer alternative to climbing a ladder.
  8. Cleaning is often a community activity. Microfiber attracts dust particles.  This unlike alternatives like feather dusters, which have a tendency to push fine particles into the air to be inhaled and settle on helpful cleaners.
  9. The tragedy of the commons in a church kitchen is an all too often occurrence. Microfiber is sold in various colors that may be more attractive for wiping counters. Who can miss the bright cloth begging to be used?
  10. Microfiber work better on glass and mirrors compared to regular cloth. After spreading product evenly, use a dry microfiber to buff in a circular motion.
church cleaning

5 Tips for Church Storage and Safety

The church is a home away from home that should be safe, comfortable and fun. Your church probably hosts several feast days a year. Make the process fun and safe by keeping the church and decor neat and orderly. Especially when there is so much foot traffic, it is important to have a system.

If you are a volunteer or clergy preparing for the next feast day, here are a few things to consider:

  1. Label and put all things in their place. The church is a community and this type of communication helps people stay oriented.  An easy to use label maker.
  2. Clean as you go . Designate one organized person to go through the storage closets after major events.
  3. Clear all pathways. This is a great skill to teach kids because it prevents accidents, dust build up and critters.
  4. Have a crew of volunteers collect and correctly dispose of old electronics, decorations and items that are no longer serving the church.
  5. And finally, replace outlet plugs, wrap chords, and store electronics without batteries.

Candle Wax Stuck in your Church Carpet?

Many people find hope in lighting candles when praying for serious intentions.

One practical problem that eventually arise are the giant globs of wax melted and solidified into small carpet fibers. Here are easy steps to restore your carpet and keep your Church clean.

  1.  If the outlet is far away, find an extension chord.
  2. Find a blow dryer, scraper, towel, and shop vac.
  3. Scrape up all the large chunks of wax into a garbage can.
  4. Continue scraping smaller wax pieces and then vacuum up the smaller pieces. Stop scraping and vacuuming once only a thin layer of wax remains.
  5. To remove the thin layer of wax stuck deep in the carpet fibers, use the blow dryer to melt the wax and then use the towel to wipe it up.

“When lighting a candle “the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)

Church Cleaning – Volunteer vs. Professional

Because church is home away from home, volunteers take care of some cleaning.  While certain tasks may be suitable for a volunteer,  some are better left to a professional. Professional tasks are usually ones that require safety measures, specific tools, materials and expertise. Its also noteworthy, that some spaces might be left to a specific person, such as the sanctuary, office, choir loft, etc.

Here is a list of what tasks are best for volunteers and professionals.

Volunteer Cleanup

Clean windows without a ladder
Clean walls without a ladder
Dust window sills statues, blinds, baseboards,
Plumber’s putty cracks and thumbtack holes in walls
Touch up paint on trim, door jams and walls
Use gentle soap or solution on floors
Polish floor with store-bought product
Restock bathroom supplies
Vacuum cobwebs and dust in nooks and crannies on floor
Mop floors
Cleaning hand rails
Clean kitchen appliances
Clean and organize kitchen cabinets
Clean and organize supply/storage closets
Cleaning up after seasonal decorations
Storing and organizing decorations
Straighten up classrooms
Empty trashcans
Empty, clean and replace flower vases
Clean refrigerator

Professional Maintenance 

Cleaning high beams
Cleaning high windows
Cleaning ceiling fans
Cleaning statues and crosses
Cleaning hand rails
Cleaning area rugs
Professional carpet cleaning
Refinishing or resealing pews
Refinishing or resealing wood floors
Professional grout cleaning
Professional kitchen cleaning
Sanitizing pews during flu season
Sanitizing classrooms during flu season

Maintaining Your School Gym Floor

Your school’s gym floor is used up to 7 days a week by students and your community. With so much foot traffic, it’s important to keep it in good condition through proper maintenance.

First Choice takes care of school gym floors throughout Delaware and Pennsylvania.  Regular maintenance includes using a dust mop and auto-scrubber to prevent dulling and deteriorating in addition to an occasional wax coating.

One of the main issues with school gym floors is the build up of product from daily maintenance. Natural pathways of residue and dirt collect over time.  To remedy this, First Choice uses an auto-scrubber, which is a buffer combined with a wet vac that uses minimal water. This cutting-edge technology converts water into a cleaning solution that removes old residue from cleaning products. For example, when the auto-scrubber was used on a bathroom floor, the build up created the illusion of shaving cream. The shiny floor was revealed after the old gunk was wiped away.

When the time comes, the floor is sanded down and cleaned before applying a fresh coating of shining or wax product. A professional takes great care to roll on a smooth, flawless finish.

Autoscrubber Technology


Odyssey of the Mind

Delaware School Team Competes in World Finals

Congratulations Team Delaware!

On May 20th, 2015, Michigan State hosted over 850 teams in the world finals competition for The Odyssey of the Mind.  During this academic extravaganza, florescent lights, creative vibes and out-of-the-box-ideas filled the stadium. Teams from Argentina, Australia, China, Germany, Greece, Japan, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, South Korea, United Kingdom and many more, put their heads together to solve the problems presented. Along with ceremonies and festivities, NASA gave a riveting presentation.

For 25 years, The Odyssey of the Mind has provided a space where students are free to contribute their ideas without fear of criticism. Encouraging self-expression and mingling with youth from different countries serves students for a lifetime. Engineering, literature, stage performance and  fine arts are a few examples of subject areas incorporated into problems. The non-traditional scoring is derived from founder of Odyssey of the Mind, Dr. Sam Micklus. He did not judge based on the success of solutions, “but on the ingenuity applied and the risk involved in trying something new and different.”

Owner of First Choice Cleaning Services, Monty Carlisle, coached one of the two teams sent from Delaware. They received 1st place honors in the state of Delaware and 12th in the world. Along with Monty’s daughter, several other students represented the United States of America through competing in the world finals. Congratulations team Delaware!


The Odyssey of the Mind

Dr. Sam Micklus


How Cleaning Helps Students Thrive

The Busy Life of a Student

School days are long. Learning takes brainpower. The life of a student involves sports, music, classes, traveling, staying out late at football games and with friends. It’s an important time in life, from preschool to the formative years of high school.

In our recent article, we talked about cleaning technology and methods that janitors use to help students. These methods enable high-functioning students. Effective cleaning methods for schools do not contain substances that exacerbate respiratory conditions, are sensitive to skin, cause an allergic reaction, overwhelm a low immune system, or adversely affect those susceptible to sickness or fatigue.

Students already deal with so many distractions and obligations, cleanliness shouldn’t be one of them. Unfortunately, cleaning with harmful or improper chemicals can result in chemical residue that eventually becomes airborne. The good news is there are many effective methods of cleaning that don’t involved substances that irritate the skin and lungs.

Green Cleaning is Gentle

Green cleaning protects health in schools by using substances that truly disinfect surfaces while eliminating unnecessary and harmful chemicals that leave residue. Targeted school cleaning keeps students and faculty healthy and happy, allowing them to focus on learning and teaching.

  • students, faculty and custodians stay healthy
  • students learn more effectively and avoid absences
  • gentle cleaning substance increase lifespan of facilities and furniture

The Impact of Green Cleaning

Safe and environmentally friendly ‘green’ cleaning is has become a major demand in the janitorial industry.  More so than in past decades, superintendents, pastors and office managers recognize the importance of choosing commercial cleaning products that promote the health of workers as well as vulnerable populations including children and the elderly.

Evaluating Products

Researching the contents of available products used to require sifting through vague labels and sketchy third party green certifications. This is no longer the case. Today, there are many third party resources, some overseen by the government, that seek to answer the question, ‘what is really in green cleaning products?’ From plain explanations to breaking down the chemical makeup of products, the following tools sites are some examples of resources that help janitorial companies become informed purchasers, socially responsible agents and advocates for the health of the facilities in their care.


Consumer Lab

Green Seal


Environmental Protection Agency

Case Study: Green Cleaning in Schools

With so many children congregating day after day, effectively cleaning classrooms, cafeterias and gymnasiums is critical.  The aim of green cleaning is to rid surfaces of germs while limiting needless exposure to harmful chemicals. According to the study, ‘Health and Environment Benefits of Green Cleaning Products,’ green products do not contain materials that make asthma worse, heavy minerals or anti-bacterial agents that are harsh. Because of the particular ingredients, or lack-there-of, cleanliness can be attained without harming students’ lungs, skin and eyes. Green cleaning has proven to help reduce absences and increase performance in schools, where children, a vulnerable population, spend time so much of their time.

The following may serve as useful tools to further knowledge about green cleaning.


Selecting the Right Products?

Taking Green Cleaning to Schools

How to Choose the Right Chemical for the Job

The Value of Commercial Cleaning

The Value of Clean


Keeping people healthy saves money

This chart shows the value of commercial cleaning including school cleaning, office cleaning, and church cleaning.

Whether your business is based in Newcastle, Middletown, Newark, Claymont, Pike Creek, Townsend, or Bear, these tips show the importance of keeping workers safe and healthy this winter.

Commercial Cleaning for the Senses

A comfortable and orderly office environment appeals to the senses- and can even improve a business’s reputation.

Imagine the smell of pine on a freshly cleaned wood floor, the feel of fluffy carpet, a picturesque scene vivid through crystal clear windows. Cleaning makes things smell, feel and look nice which helps make people feel good.

Sight, Smell and Touch

Sight, or visual processing is the strongest form of communication. Studies show that people retain much more of what they see and do than anything else.

People remember:

  • 80% of what they see and do
  • 20% of what they read
  • 10% of what they hear

Leave an Impression

Everyone knows how it feels to use a beautiful and hospitable bathroom. Take a restaurant for example, the bathroom with clear countertops, professionally cleaned grout and tasteful decor makes people feel comfortable.

A lobby also leaves an impression on customers and associates. As one of the most high-traffic areas, there is a high potential for unsightly dirt in need of commercial cleaning. The neatness of straightened magazines, clean upholstery and maintained carpet puts people at ease.

The way someone experiences your business goes beyond their experience with personnel. The way you care for your office influences the holistic experience of customers, and ultimately your reputation.


Visual processing research

Office Cleaning

A Healthy Workplace and Clean Office

Air quality is a concern in commercial buildings and clean office environments. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, pollutants found inside the office often exceed pollutants outside.

A number of factors contribute to pollution in the work place. When ventilation systems, humidity levels and air quality inside or outside are poor,  biological contaminants like bacteria, pollen, dust and mold can cause allergic reactions. Construction is an example of a source outside that causes particles to drift in the building and stay suspended in the air. Chemical pollutants like smoke, carbon monoxide and residue from equipment cause poor air quality as well.

3 Steps to Cleaner Air and a Clean Office

  1. Remove pollutants from the building. Take out the trash and clean up spills.
  2. Dilute pollutants through ventilation. Make sure the building temperature and humidity is comfortable, otherwise notify the person in charge.
  3. Filter the pollutants. Get an air filter for the office and abide by the no smoking policy.

A Well Ventilated Office

Office production increases when…

  • People can breath freely without smelling odors
  • The temperature is comfortable
  • The air movement allows neither a draft or a “muggy” feeling
  • There is natural light, and the windows can be opened
  • Noise and vibration levels are not distracting