Free Guide: Holiday Readiness for Shopping Malls

December 10th, 2013

Free Guide: Holiday Readiness for Shopping MallsWhile the holidays mean larger crowds and longer hours, with some advance planning and a little extra effort, you’ll not only survive the retail rush, but impress your tenants and have customers excited to return.

Download our free guide for tips and tricks for getting your mall ready for the holiday season. You’ll learn:

  • How to get your holiday staffing right — with no guess work
  • One way to make a dramatic impact on your restrooms’ appearance
  • Strategies to avoid potential customer complaints
  • Tricks to get shoppers in and out of restrooms quickly

Click here to download this free guide now!

Do You Know the Difference Between Cleaning, Disinfecting and Sanitizing?

December 7th, 2012

It’s crucial that housekeeping staff know the difference between cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing in order to effectively prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

Cleaning removes germs, dirt, and debris.

  • Cleaning works by using soap and water to physically remove germs from surfaces.
  • Cleaning does not necessarily kill germs, but lowers their numbers by removing them. This, in turn, reduces the risk of spreading infection.

Disinfecting kills germs.

  • Disinfecting uses chemicals to kill germs.
  • Disinfecting does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces.
  • By killing germs on a surface after cleaning, disinfecting can further reduce the risk of spreading infection.

Sanitizing lowers the number of germs to a safe level (as determined by public health standards or requirements.)

  • Sanitizing works by either cleaning or disinfecting to lower the risk of spreading infection.

More Information

Questions about how to properly clean, sanitize or disinfect surfaces? Contact Service Management Systems.

The Ultimate Guide to Floor Care For Shopping Centers

November 20th, 2012

Floor Care GuideFew areas of your shopping center see as much wear and tear as flooring. Replacing carpet and tile can be costly, so getting the most life out of your shopping center’s flooring is essential.

Our free guide contains helpful strategies, best practices and step-by-step procedures your housekeeping staff can use to care for the floors at your shopping center. You’ll learn:

  • The 3 must-do floor care tasks
  • Ways to extend the life of your carpet and flooring
  • How many coats of finish your floors need
  • Tips for floor stripping and carpet extraction

Click here to download your free copy of The Ultimate Guide to Floor Care for Shopping Centers!

Best Practices for Mall Floor Care

November 15th, 2012

Mall Floor Care Best PracticesTaking care of the floors at a high-traffic shopping center is a big job. We’ve compiled some of our best practices below to help you keep your floors looking their best.

  • Before beginning to strip and refinish hallways, develop a plan that takes into consideration the layout of the property and scheduling needs. You may need to do the hallways over a period of several days.
  • It typically takes carpet about six hours to dry, so create a schedule before beginning to extract carpet. Plan to perform the extraction at night in areas that are in use during the day. For offices, consider extracting on a Friday night so the furniture can be moved back in on Saturday or Sunday and cause little disruption to normal activities.
  • Before removing furniture from a room, prepare a diagram of the placement of all furniture, so the items can be returned to the proper location.
  • Thoroughly clean all corners, edges and baseboards before beginning stripping, refinishing or extraction.
  • After refinishing floors, allow finish to cure for at least 48 hours before putting the furniture back into the room.
  • When returning furniture to a room, carry each piece in and do not drag it over the newly finished floor.
  • Scrub restroom floors with a brush pad. Lay out towels at the door thresholds to keep the cleaning solution from getting on the newly refinished hallways.
  • Do not strip vinyl composition tile (VCT) every year. The tile will begin to “buck up” because water will seep under the tiles and eat the glue.

More Tips

For more tips and step-by-step procedures on caring for the floor at your mall, click here to download The Ultimate Guide to Floor Care for Shopping Centers.

Study Shows Customers Stop Visiting Stores That Aren’t Clean

November 9th, 2012

Mall Cleanliness StudyAre you losing customers because your mall is not as clean as it could be? New research by M/A/R/C Research and National In-Store shows that many customers will stop shopping at a store that they don’t think is clean.

According to the study, “14% of consumers said they would stop visiting a store that was not as clean as they would like, and 29% said they would only visit the store to pick up a few items that they could not find elsewhere.”

“Clearly cleanliness is an important component of the consumer experience. It impacts consumers’ willingness to shop at a given retailer and also influences frequency of shopping and the length of time consumers are willing to shop. All of this has a direct impact on the amount of spending a retailer can capture,” Randy Wahl, Senior Vice President at M/A/R/C Research said.

Wahl went on to say, “While the tendency is to focus on the potential loss of a customer, an equally important concern is the broader impact that cleanliness and other aspects of the overall consumer experience have on frequency of shopping and the amount of time or scope of their shopping.”

Cutting corners – literally – in your housekeeping program could be costing you more than you save.

How has your shopping mall or store maintained a clean and tidy appearance, even in a down economy where everyone is asked to make cuts?

Retail Floor Care: How Many Coats of Finish Do You Need?

October 15th, 2012

How Many Coats of Floor Finish?Floor finishes contain a certain amount of solids. This is the basis for the number of coats of finish to apply.

For example, if a particular finish contains 25% solids, apply four coats equally to reach 100%. If a finish contains 33% solids, apply 3 coats.

After refinishing floors, allow finish to cure for at least 48 hours before putting the furniture back into the room.

More Tips

For more tips, best practices and step-by-step procedures on caring for the floor at your shopping center, click here to download The Ultimate Guide to Floor Care for Shopping Centers.

3 Cost-Effective Ways to Extend the Life of Your Mall’s Carpet

September 20th, 2012

Extend the Life of Your Mall's CarpetFew areas of your shopping center see as much wear and tear as carpet. Dirty or worn carpet is not only an eyesore, but a hazard to indoor air quality. Replacing carpets can be highly expensive, so getting the most life out of your carpet is essential.

Fortunately, there are three simple and cost-effective ways to extend the life your carpet.

1. Place Walk-off Mats at Entrances

Most debris enters a building on the soles of shoes. Placing walk-off mats at every entrance will significantly reduce the amount of dirt and debris that is tracked through common areas and stores.

2. Keep Air Filtration Systems Clean

An often-overlooked cause of carpet wear is an inadequate air filtration system. As air cycles through your heating or cooling system, it flows over and through the carpet, allowing fine dust and dirt to settle on the carpet fibers. Make sure air filters are replaced or cleaned regularly to limit the amount of airborne dust and dirt particles.

3. Vacuum Daily

The most effective way to extend the life of your carpet is to vacuum regularly, preventing dirt and debris from building up. Putting the time and effort into vacuuming daily will pay dividends when the life of your carpet is significantly prolonged.

More Best Practices

For more tips, best practices and step-by-step procedures on caring for the floor at your shopping center, click here to download The Ultimate Guide to Floor Care for Shopping Centers.

Photo credit: rosmary via photopin cc

Make Your Mall Parking Lot Safer with Cleaning and Maintenance

July 15th, 2012

Mall Parking Lot MaintenanceMedia coverage, television and movies have fueled the perception that parking lots are unsafe locations, regardless of actual crime statistics. If customers perceive your shopping mall parking lot to be a dangerous place, they will visit your competitors instead. For this reason, parking lot security is as much a customer relations and business issue as it is a safety concern.

While your shopping center may have a dedicated security team, there are many ways to make your parking lot safer with simple cleaning and maintenance strategies.


Adequate lighting can go a long way toward making the parking lot a safer place, as it serves as a natural deterrent to would-be criminals. Make sure light bulbs are replaced as soon as they go out.


Large trees or shrubs can be used as hiding places. Plan your landscaping so that it does not facilitate hiding, and keep existing shrubbery trimmed.

Trash and Graffiti Removal

A lack of cleanliness and maintenance in a parking lot or garage can give the impression that it is not secure. Remove litter and graffiti promptly.

Hazard Management

Look for wet and dry spills and defective walking surfaces. Because these can increase the chances that a customer could be injured in the parking lot, clean spills and repair walking surface as soon as possible.

In combination with a strong security program, these cleaning and maintenance strategies will ensure that using your shopping mall parking lot is a safe, pleasant experience for your customers.

Proper Cleaning and Maintenance Keep Pests Out of Your Mall

May 9th, 2012

Mall Pest ControlThe warmer weather of spring means pests come out in full force. With insects searching for food, water, shelter and comfortable temperatures, your shopping center might look like the perfect new residence. Read on for cleaning and maintenance strategies that will keep these six-legged tenants at bay.


  • Ants can easily enter your facility through cracks and small openings in floors and around windows. Repair cracks and ensure doors and windows are properly sealed.
  • Ants aren’t picky about their food source, so be sure to keep surrounding parking lots and sidewalks clean, and empty and clean trashcans regularly.
  • Remind employees to keep their food in tightly sealed containers in the refrigerator.
  • Repair leaky faucets, hoses and HVAC units to remove possible water sources.

Flying and Stinging Insects

  • Avoid using brightly colored and fragrant flowers that attract bees in your landscaping.
  • Use sodium vapor light bulbs rather than fluorescent or mercury vapor light bulbs outdoors, as flies are not as attracted to them.
  • Ensure that air flows out doorways, rather than in, to keep out flying insects. Test your airflow by standing in an open doorway while holding a piece of paper. The paper should blow away from the building. An HVAC professional can help you adjust the airflow of your facility if necessary.
  • In areas where doors are frequently kept open, create barriers for flying insects by installing air curtains or plastic strip curtains, or by positioning fans to blow outward.


  • Cockroaches can easily live and breed in the moist, unsanitary conditions of trash or dumpsters. Place dumpsters far away from your building, and clean and rotate them frequently to keep cockroaches from becoming permanent residents.
  • Cockroaches can successfully hitchhike from an employee’s home, so clean and inspect employee lockers regularly.
  • Keep floors, walls and drains clean and free of build-up to remove possible food sources.
  • Repair wall cracks and seal crevices at floor-wall junctions to eliminate access points and hiding places.

By following these cleaning and maintenance strategies, you and your customers can enjoy the warm weather of spring without having to share your shopping center with unwelcome guests.