Category: Commercial Cleaning Detroit Michigan
The Difference Between Sanitizing and Disinfecting
In the cleaning industry, there are many misunderstandings about disinfectants and sanitizers. The terms are frequently interchanged in discussions, as many people believe they have the same meaning. Though they are similar, there are differences between sanitizing and disinfecting.
A disinfectant is a chemical that completely destroys all organisms listed on its label. The organisms it kills are disease-causing bacteria and pathogens, and it may or may not kill viruses and fungi. From a legal standpoint (U.S Environmental Protection Agency guidelines), disinfectants must reduce the level of pathogenic bacteria by 99.999 percent during a time frame greater than 5 minutes but less than 10 minutes.
A sanitizer is a chemical that reduces the number of microorganisms to a safe level. It doesn’t need to eliminate 100 percent of all organisms to be effective. Sanitizers do not kill viruses and fungi, and in a food-service situation, the sanitizer must reduce the bacteria count by 99.999 percent. Sanitizers are required to kill 99.999 percent of the infectious organisms present within 30 seconds.
If you are involved with cleaning food-service areas, then you’ll be interested in sanitizers. If you are involved with cleaning medical facilities, you’ll be more interested in disinfectants. If you provide green cleaning services, you may want to consider which one will have the least harmful enviromnental impact. If you just need to remove soil, you should consider using an all-purpose cleaner rather than a disinfectant or sanitizer.
Ten Tips for Tip-Top Carpet Care
Due to the global economic decline over the past few years, many cleaning contractors have been expanding their service offerings. Contract cleaning is no longer viewed as recession-proof; even so, it can be recession-resistant, and one of the ways to make this possible is to offer more services, including carpet cleaning. But before contacting your jansan distributor and ordering a new portable extractor, there are a few things contractors should recognize about carpet cleaning.
Let’s examine 10 important items contract cleaning professionals should know about carpet cleaning. There are certainly are more that can be added, but being aware of these 10 subjects can give you better insight into carpet cleaning.
No. 1: Training. Might as well as start with this one first. Carpet cleaning is both a science and a skill, and as such it requires contractors to have some quality education under their belts. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is probably the leader in these training programs; however some national janitorial supply houses offer excellent training programs. It is important to know that just like refinishing floors, no contractor should learn how to clean carpets on their customers’ carpets. Learn first―then clean.
No. 2: Low moisture. A term you should understand is low-moisture carpet cleaning. The Low Moisture Carpet Cleaners Association defines it as any procedure that allows carpet to dry in approximately two hours taking into account climatic and other conditions. A low-moisture portable extractor is designed to use less water than a conventional extractor and typically has an advanced vacuum system to more effectively extract moisture from the carpet. Together, these features help carpet dry faster with less chance of mold or mildew developing.
No. 3: Hot or cold. Some portables are cold-water machines; others have a heating element that heats the solution to approximately 212 F. Both types of machines can prove very effective; however some technicians find that heat can make the molecules in a cleaning solution work more effectively.
No. 4: Stains and spots—there is a difference. If a carpet has spots in it, you’re in luck. Spots are soils or residue that generally can be removed with extraction or by using the proper spot remover. A stain, on the other hand, actually changes the color of the carpet. While correction is still possible, it can be difficult.
No. 5: The spot test. This term can be misleading. The spot test refers to testing a cleaning solution in a small inconspicuous area to be sure it does not cause damage, discoloration, or bleeding of dyes. This term also is common in upholstery cleaning and rug cleaning as well as other types of cleaning.1
No. 6: Pre-spray. Rarely do carpet cleaning technicians mix cleaning solution and water in the tank of the extractor. Instead they pre-spray it onto the carpet―one section at a time so it does not dry out―and apply more pre-spray to spots. Remember, the pre-spray also needs a few minutes to dwell to work effectively.
No. 7: Avoiding the call-back. It is very important in commercial carpet cleaning to clarify with the client if stains, spots, or soiling in the carpet may remain after cleaning. This helps eliminate what the industry refers to as call-backs―when the customer asks you to come back and clean the carpet again. Time is money in the carpet cleaning business, and avoiding call-backs helps ensure this add-on service is lucrative for your business.
No. 8: Equipment selection. Today there are many portable carpet extractors available. The best advice I can offer is to look for a manufacturer that has been in the business for several years, and possibly even better, has built the same or similar machine for several years. View portable extractors like computer software. Version 1.0 may have problems that are corrected in version 2.0. You want version 2.0 or higher. Also, a system with variable pound per square inch—or psi—allows you to clean more delicate fabrics such as upholstery and partitions.
No. 9: Interim or restoration. Very likely, you already perform interim carpet cleaning. This is the use of a low-speed floor machine to shampoo or bonnet clean carpets. Interim means it is an effective cleaning procedure between carpet extractions. Carpet extraction is restoration cleaning; the goal is to help restore the carpet to its original condition.
No. 10: Pre-vacuuming. This has become a forgotten step in carpet cleaning, and that is a mistake. Carpets should be vacuumed before cleaning. Vacuuming removes dry soils in the carpet. If dry soils are left in the carpet, the moisture from the extractor essentially turns them into mud, making them more difficult to remove. Pre-vacuuming allows the extractor to work more effectively and can improve worker productivity as well.
One additional point to consider is certification. It is a wise idea to not only learn about carpet cleaning but become certified by an organization such as the IICRC. Certification can open many doors for you. In the eyes of your customer, certification tells them you are a trained carpet cleaning technician.
1 Source: Scott Warrington, Director of Technical Support, Bridgepoint Systems
Floor Care Tips: Strip & Wax
While it is not unusual for Detroit, MI, to experience tough winters, the winter of 2014 was one of the worst in the city’s history. But Detroit was not the only city that suffered through a brutal winter; both the northeastern and southeastern United States experienced record-low temperatures and more snow than usual.
While the winter of 2014 made life difficult for millions of people in the United States, it also created havoc for many floors in schools, office buildings, convention centers, and other facilities around the country. Those floors that managed to hold up were most likely protected by a durable floor finish designed to prevent resoiling and applied by a well-trained cleaning professional.
A Year-Round Process
Even under ideal conditions, floors are exposed to contaminants and outside soiling, including salt and other ice-melt chemicals. Without adequate cleaning measures in place, such soiling can cause serious damage to even the best floor finish. Proper floor maintenance, especially during winter months, includes frequent cleaning, installation of high-performance matting, and damp mopping with a daily cleaner. If floors require more serious care, buffing/burnishing or using an automatic scrubber and then recoating the floor can usually remove soils and blemishes on a finished floor, restore its shine, and add a layer of protection.
If a durable finish has not been applied, floors can take on a darkened appearance. Even when a finish has been applied, simply polishing, scrubbing, and recoating are not enough to restore a floor’s appearance due to the volume of soil that has been tracked in. The best option in this situation is to strip and then refinish the floor.
Floor Stripping and Refinishing Pointers
Before going further into the stripping and refinishing process, facility managers and cleaning professionals should consider some basic floor-refinishing facts. First, before beginning any work, make sure winter’s havoc has completely passed, especially after a harsh winter such as this past one. Some facility managers in Chicago, for example , usually begin major floor care work in April or May. However, they are waiting until June this year just to ensure the cold weather is long gone.
Another practice to consider is to select floor care products―including daily cleaners, strippers, finishes, etc.―that are the same brand and come from the same manufacturer. There is often a synergy in these product formulations, meaning they work together well. This also can streamline the floor care chemical selection process.
Further, instead of viewing floor care as a cleaning task, building managers and cleaning service providers should recognize floor care for what it is—an investment. If done properly, a proactive floor care program can pay returns by minimizing slip-and-fall accidents, reducing costly refinishing cycles, helping to maintain a clean and healthy facility, and establishing the quality impression facility owners and occupants want to convey.
The Stripping/Refinishing Process
There are several steps to properly strip and refinish a floor. The first step is to clean the floor effectively before stripping. Sweep or vacuum and then damp mop the floor using a fresh mop. Change the mop head and rinse the bucket frequently to ensure soils are not being spread from one area to another.
When using strippers, gradually apply them in small areas to ensure the chemical does not dry on the floor. Be sure that a stripping pad has been attached to the floor machine, typically a low-speed buffer.
A wet/dry vacuum also should be employed to help remove the slurry left behind during the refinishing process. The goal is to ensure that soils and the old, damaged floor finish is vacuumed up and thoroughly removed.
While cleaning professionals should not cut corners, there are ways to streamline the process and move things along a bit faster. For instance, using a no-rinse stripper that does not require the use of a neutralizer can save time. Be careful that chemical residue is not left on the floor, as this can harm the floor’s appearance and impact the durability of the finish once it is applied.
When applying finish, remember that these chemicals dry from the top-down. Therefore, while the surface may be dry to the touch, the finish may not have dried thoroughly or hardened completely. Waiting 30 minutes or longer between applications should be sufficient in most cases, but the reality is that many environmental factors impact how fast finish dries.
As to the number of coats, view the first two coats of finish applied to the floor as the foundation. From there, three or four additional coats are typically recommended. Note that it is extremely important to apply thin, even coats of finish. This enables each coat to dry more thoroughly and harden, increasing the durability of the finish and creating better protection for the floor.
Beyond Stripping and Refinishing
Daily care is critical to maintaining floor finishes after the refinishing process. Many facility managers find it best to establish a daily floor maintenance program. PROimage Facility Services Inc. can help customers create this program, which should include regular sweeping/vacuuming and damp mopping, as well as buffing/burnishing and scrubbing.
Given the expense of flooring products and installation, floor care is a crucial investment for any facility. Implementing a proper daily floor care routine is an essential part of protecting this investment.
Quiz: Understanding Hospital-Acquired Infections
During the 1830s, hospitalism was a term used to identify a growing problem in hospitals throughout northern Europe. It referred to diseases contracted by patients because of their stay in a hospital. Health officials at that time believed hospitalism was caused by poor ventilation; few believed in germs or cross contamination. Today, hospitalism is known as nosocomial or hospital-associated (or -acquired) infections (HAIs). We now know that along with other measures, hygienic cleaning can help prevent these illnesses.
The following short quiz is designed to test your knowledge of HAIs. After all, the more cleaning we know about HAIs, the better we will be able to prevent them. Take the test and then check your answers below:
- About how many people acquire HAIs in the U.S. each year?
- 1 million
- 2 million
- What are the total costs of treating HAI patients each year in the U.S.?
- Less than US$3 billion
- About $3 billion
- About $4 billion
- More than $4 billion
- What is the number of extra days a patient typically stays in a hospital as a result of an HAI?
- More than 20
- What is the average number of patients that die each year in the U.S. due to HAIs?
- More than 50,000
- Where are HAIs ranked among causes of death in the U.S.?
- What percentages of HAI cases are preventable?
- 70 percent
- 50 percent
- About 30 percent
Cleaning for Health
If there is one expression that has become the motto, if not the marching orders, of today’s professional cleaning industry, it is “cleaning for health.” This all-important phrase was likely first coined by Dr. Michael Berry in his precedent-setting book, Protecting the Built Environment: Cleaning for Health. Since then, this concept has become powerful and significant—and rightly so.
At one time, our main purpose was to clean for appearance. But after Berry’s book was published, our industry was forced to reevaluate its primary function. We have now realized that our work and what we do for our end-customers is far more meaningful than just keeping floors shiny, counters wiped off, and carpets vacuumed. What we do helps keep people healthy.
While these changes were taking place, cleaning was also moving toward center stage in our industry. Cleaning to protect human health means reducing the negative impact cleaning can have on the health of cleaning workers and building occupants as well as protecting the environment. After all, what’s the point of having clean, sterile surfaces if people get sick because of the cleaning products used?
Around this same time, frightening public health scares, such as SARS, norovirus, MRSA, and other diseases, became prominent in headlines and news coverage throughout the world. Doctors and public health professionals were unable to stop the spread of these diseases and infections with vaccines or medications. Instead, cleaning professionals were called upon to provide health-based solutions aimed toward minimizing outbreaks and cross-contamination. In fact, one presenter at a Cleaning Industry Research Institute—CIRI—event even suggested that due to the connections between cleaning and health, the professional cleaning industry should be placed under the umbrella of the health care industry.
The link between cleaning and protecting human health is now a well-established part of the cleaning industry, lifting both our industry’s image and confidence and giving cleaning professionals a definite role and purpose beyond just tidying up facilities. However, this new role has also caused us to face a serious dilemma. How can we tell if we are cleaning to protect human health? As we all know, appearances can be deceiving when it comes to cleanliness. Fortunately, evolving methodologies can prove that visually clean surfaces are safe, healthy, and hygienically clean.