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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Keeping Your Cigar Shop Clean!

By Ruth Bollo, author of Clean It Right

Living in a clean environment is very important to your well being. Besides a sense of pride, people have more mental tranquility living in a clean and organized home.  It is equally as important to provide your employees and customers a clean, germ-free and organized environment.  Retail Tobacconists in particular are dust factories (because of the smoke) and the constant traffic from customers requires diligent and consistent cleaning practices.

With so many cleaning products and cleaning tools on the market, most people find cleaning confusing and quite a chore. This article is going to change that.

Constant cleaning, organizing and  maintenance are the goals so that dust, dirt and germs don't get ahead of you or hurt you and your customers.


- First and foremost:  do not let anyone in the area you're cleaning until all surfaces, seating and floors are dry.

- Countertops should be wiped often. Most countertops are glass. You can use an antibacterial wipe and dry it with a paper towel.  However to disinfect, leave surface wet for three minutes, then wipe dry.

- An Ostrich feather duster is the recommended feather duster. They come in a variety of sizes and can be purchased on many online sites.  Rather then spread the dust, the ostrich feathers really do trap and hold the dust. You should wash the feather duster at least monthly. Wash the duster in the sink using warm water and mild soap. Rinse the duster, wring it gently,shake it and allow it to air dry before reusing.

- Unscented antibacterial wipes are the cleaner of choice as they can be used and thrown away. Wiping is the preferred cleaning method in a retail tobacconist shop as improper use of spray products can harm the cigar inventory.  Unscented antibacterial wipes- PDI SANI CLOTH AF3 GERMICIDAL DISPOSABLE WIPES ( 3 minute germ kill time) to wipe surfaces such as doorknobs and shelves.

- Floor cleaner- ZEP NO RINSE FLOOR DISINFECTANT. Follow mixing instructions on the bottle carefully. Use water in the sink to mix or purchase a bucket.

- The Eureka Mighty Mite small canister vacuum model 3670 Type G-4 with disposable vacuum bags type MM HEPA filter bags  or disposable vacuum bags type MM odor eliminating premium vacuum bags.

- String Mop - (O Cedar or Quickie brand).

- WINDEX ( clear formula) or Perfect Glass glass cleaner

- SCOTT or KIRKLAND brand paper towels.



- When storing or working with cigar boxes, never place the boxes directly on the floor because floors are dirty and people track in germs on their shoes:  place the boxes on shelves.  

- When employees are helping customers select cigars, have them use a tray to place the cigars in.

- Protection of the quality, safety and integrity of the tobacco products is our main priority.  Avoid touching the head of cigars (the end that goes in your mouth) with your hands, and also do not touch the foot of the cigar or wrapper to your nose when smelling.

Let's Get Started!!!

 "Top To Bottom" cleaning always works best. Using an ostrich feather duster, dust or wipe the humidor down from "Ceiling To Floor". Dust the shelves - top shelf down to the bottom shelf .This allows the dust to fall down to the floor making  vacuuming and mopping the floor your last step. Use unscented antibacterial wipes to wipe any shelves that may need to be cleaned. Do not use antibacterial wipes to clean cigar boxes!  Close the box and use a white cloth dampened with plain water to wipe the box clean. Also use an unscented wipe on the inside and outside  of the doorknob. Vacuum the floor. Mix the floor cleaner in water following the directions carefully. Dip the string mop in, wring it out very well so the mop is damp and not wet. Mop the floor from the back of the humidor out the door. Allow the floor to dry thoroughly before letting anyone walk in. If there are glass windows or doors in your humidor area, a clear glass cleaner can be used such as " Perfect Glass" or  "Clear Windex". However,  AVOID any kind of spray product in the humidor.  Wet the paper towel outside of the humidor,  wipe the glass windows or doors and dry with another piece of paper towel.



Retail Cigar Cutters - Most cigar shops leave cutters on the counters for customer convenience.  People can make a small cut, put the cigar in their mouth to test the draw and then make another cut.  The problem here is their saliva is getting on the cutter so you must train your staff to wipe the cutters down after each use.  Sanitizing the cutters can be accomplished in one of two ways. 1. Using  an individually wrapped alcohol wipe , wipe the cutter thoroughly and allow the cutter to air dry  COMPLETELY before placing it back on the counter. 2. Pump sanitizing gel onto a tissue or paper towel and wipe the cutter thoroughly. Allow the cutter to air dry COMPLETELY before placing it back on the counter.

Let's Get Started!!!

Using the "Top To Bottom"( Floor To Ceiling) cleaning method so the dust falls to the floor making your last step vacuuming and mopping the floor, dust pictures and wall decor ( use clear Windex on glass picture frames and a white rag dampened with water to wipe any canvas, plastic or metal wall decor to remove yellowing from smoke), dust shelves from first shelf down to last, dust fronts of any low cabinets and dust down  to the woodwork. Wipe shelves, surfaces, cabinet doors, cabinet knobs, cabinet handles, countertops, phones, light switches,  hand railings, computers, computer mouses, computer keyboards and cash registers with antibacterial wipes to clean and disinfect. Use Perfect Glass or Clear Windex on glass surfaces but DO NOT spray on a counter area where any tobacco product is present. Alternative cleaning method for glass surfaces is to use an antibacterial wipe. To disinfect, leave the surface wet for three minutes then wipe dry with a paper towel.

If there is a seating area, clean the area by using the same "Top To Bottom" method. I highly recommend chairs made out of vinyl or leather which can be easily wiped with an unscented antibacterial wipe. Make sure seating area chairs and couches are COMPLETELY DRY before allowing anyone to sit. Cloth upholstery is not recommended. After dusting, wipe any tables and surfaces with an antibacterial wipe. Vacuum the floor. Mix the floor cleaner in water following the directions carefully.  Dip the string mop in, wring it out very well so the mop is damp and not wet.  Allow the floor to dry thoroughly before letting anyone walk on it.  Any area rugs can be vacuumed and rolled up or removed from the floor then replaced after the floor is dry.

If there is an entrance area to your store be sure to keep that area clean and inviting using the "top to bottom" cleaning method. Use the same products and cleaning tools as you would use in your store. Be sure to wipe the  inside and outside of the entrance door and the inside and outside of the door handle. 

If you are cleaning during business hours, dry the inside and outside of the entrance door and door handle so no one's hands come in contact with a wet cleaning product.


By following the above suggestions and cleaning methods, you will make your store a great place for employees to work.  Set up a cleaning schedule and responsibilities and hold your employees accountable for your shops cleanliness.  A sparkling clean store is sure to help you provide a fantastic shopping experience for your customers.

To learn more about how to CLEAN IT RIGHT, please visit the website:

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