Archive for the ‘Cleaning’ Category

Summer School for Hard Floors

Posted on No Comments

Learn how to use the summer break to your floors’ advantage

Before the real work gets started, you’ll need to plan and prepare. Dariusz Malachowski, unit director at SSC Services for Education, says proper planning and communication are the most important ingredients in a successful summer floor cleanup. “The preparation starts months before. It is a two-and-a-half-month-long project and needs to be treated as such,” he says.

Here are the steps Malachowski and other floor care experts take and recommend in the months leading to summer:

Evaluate the condition of all floor surfaces—A thorough evaluation will help you decide which type of restoration is necessary. Prioritize areas that need a full strip and recoat versus top scrub and recoat. “This allows me to determine how much product I will need to order and gives me a rough idea of the time allotment for each building or area,” Malachowski says.

Select your cleaning chemicals—Selecting cleaning products can be overwhelming, but just remember that one size does not fit all, and more is not always better, says Andrew Wolfe, a formulating chemist for coatings at Spartan Chemical Company Inc. “Choose the cleaner and finish that works best for your facility,” he says. “Do you need a rapid repair? Something that requires low maintenance? Or something that is environmentally preferred? Also take into account the correct concentration of each chemical, as over-diluting or under-diluting your floor finish remover can cause problems such as tacky, gummy residue, or simply not getting the finish off the floor.”

Order supplies—Most facility managers will need to order more or different products and tools for summer floor refinishing compared to what they use during the school year. Malachowski uses large quantities of floor finish, finishing pads, and stripping pads. Ordering supplies early ensures his distribution center has them in stock and will ship products to him on time. “The worst thing that can happen is having your crew show up for work and not having tools or supplies for them to work with,” he says.

When ordering supplies, don’t forget safety equipment. “Be sure to have chemical-resistant footwear, personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves and goggles, as well as ‘wet floor’ signage,” Wolfe says. “Most importantly, this is a messy process, so make sure to protect yourself with a coverall.”

Inspect and repair equipment used for summer cleanup—Some floor machines have likely been sitting in storage for months and you’ll need to ensure they are in good working condition. Having spare parts for most critical pieces of equipment so that you can make repairs when a breakdown happens in the middle of the summer is a lifesaver, Malachowski says. “You need to have a stock of squeegee blades, gaskets, and filters for your wet vacs and auto scrubbers. A spare vacuum motor can save two weeks of idle time.”

Inquire about planned summer school activities—Find out when summer schools, camps, athletic practices, construction, or IT and maintenance projects will occur, and plan your projects accordingly. It is critical to go into summer work planning with as much information as possible, Malachowski advises. “You do not want to have summer camp kids run into your school on Monday morning while you have your crew stripping floors because nobody thought of notifying you. This is a true story from my past summer cleanup,” he warns.

Make a detailed plan for daily and weekly accomplishments—This plan needs to consider all the information you have gathered about summer school activities. Share this plan with all the stakeholders. Give them a timeline to review and approve it. “You’d be surprised how often they will add things they forgot about initially,” Malachowski says.

Amy W. Richardson                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Managing Editor, Cleaning & Maintenance                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Amy W. Richardson is the managing editor of Cleaning & Maintenance Management. She has more than 15 years of experience editing and writing for trade and consumer publications, community newspapers, nonprofit associations, and websites. Richardson holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication studies with an emphasis in journalism from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

Improper Disinfection Can Lead to HAIs

Posted on No Comments

Everyone agrees proper cleaning and disinfection help stop the spread of healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs). But what about when disinfection inadvertently causes HAIs to spread?

Infection Control Today looks at what it calls an “overlooked” problem of health care workers using the wrong disinfection process/product on the wrong surface. With all the new advances in disinfectants and disinfecting technology, it can be challenging to keep up with which products/technologies are safe for specific surfaces. When surfaces are damaged due to improper disinfection, they become difficult to keep clean. The cracks, fissures, and pits provide microscopic reservoirs for pathogens to hide in and colonize.

Surface and product damage caused by surface disinfection incompatibility costs health care facilities millions of dollars each year in material and equipment replacement. The Healthcare Surfaces Institute and the Association of Healthcare Value Analysis Professionals recently conducted an analysis to determine the root causes of medical device damage. They found one large midwestern hospital, with 700 beds and over 1.2 million patient encounters yearly, suffered damage to several hundred medical device monitoring systems due to chemical exposure during the disinfection process.

The analysis determined not all health care facility personnel underwent training on proper cleaning and disinfection. Many facilities did not test or evaluate surfaces and equipment for cleanability before deciding to purchase them. In addition, it is not common for raw material manufacturers to test their materials for surface disinfection compatibility before selling them to manufacturers.

Analysis authors called for collaboration between health care personnel, raw material suppliers, device manufacturers and designers, and disinfectant manufacturers to develop a minimum standard for surface disinfectant compatibility that tests categories of disinfectants instead of proprietary products. They also called for medical device suppliers to provide maintenance training, including a review of cleaning and disinfection, to all users of their equipment or devices.

  This publication was sourced from Cleaning & Maintenance Management | Premier Cleaning Industry Resource (

4 Steps to Combat the Spread of the Flu

Posted on No Comments

As this flu season continues, it’s an appropriate time for us to review how we can help combat the spread of influenza. A lot of resources are wasted every year with improper disinfection methods that have no effect in stopping the spread of the flu.

Four key steps to keep in mind:

  1. Utilize extra cleaning resources while the building is occupied. Influenza viruses will typically only survive on a surface for two to eight hours. Bringing in extra help to clean while the building is unoccupied has no benefit.
  2. Use EPA-registered disinfectants to frequently disinfect high-touch areas such as door knobs, drinking fountains, and table surfaces. Also clean or disinfect these surfaces often, while the building is being occupied.
  3. Don’t waste resources on disinfecting surfaces where the transmission of the flu is unlikely to occur. Floors and walls are good examples of surfaces in public facilities that are disinfected when no need exists.
  4. Wash those hands! Encourage facility managers to promote hand hygiene, and ensure they have enough hand sanitizing stations. Proper hand hygiene is the most crucial step in stopping the spread of the flu.

This time of year is also a time for increased cases of Norovirus. Be sure to use an EPA-registered disinfectant. Hillyard QT-TB® and Hllyard QT® 3 are both EPA-registered with kill claims again Influenza A and Norovirus, with both products offering lower required contact time to disinfect for these disease-causing viruses.

For more information concerning influenza, norovirus, or for more information pertaining to other disease-causing organisms, please reach out to us.

Creating Positive Impressions

Posted on No Comments

– Cleaning for Health, Safety and Appearance

Written by: Cameron Blakely

We’ve all been there – fueling up at a convenience store or stopping for food along a road trip with family or friends when we decide to walk inside and use the restroom. Upon entering the restroom, we are greeted with either a pleasant and inviting experience, or maybe we glace around and make note-to-self that it’s probably best not to touch any of the surfaces. Or maybe even, you also have just turned around and walked out. After all, you’re almost to your destination and you can hold it, right?…

But the truth is, in a matter of seconds that restroom experience made a lasting impression on us – either positively or negatively. We actually started forming that impression as we were walking across the parking lot to the front door even, throughout all spaces and for the duration of our entire time in the building, and the impact is lasting. In fact, according to a Consumer Cleaning Insights Survey by P&G Professional™, 9 in 10 consumers agree that they are more likely to have an overall negative opinion of an independent business if the public spaces (lobbies, restrooms, shopping areas, etc.) are not clean.   The same survey concluded that 73% of people agree that a smelly, undesirable restroom is actually worse than receiving the wrong food order or enduring slow service times at a restaurant.

For business owners and retailers, it is extremely important to be aware and to adequately invest proper resources into ensuring that a positive impression is created for the patrons. Establishing and maintaining a clean, safe and healthy facility environment is one of the most direct inputs for boosting sales and retention, as well as customer and employee satisfaction. In a similar insights survey, 90% of workers felt more productive and rewarded working in a clean facility.

So what is a “clean” facility exactly? Although the standard of clean does vary some depending on the business (hospitals are obviously more thoroughly cleaned and disinfected throughout the day than the average service provider), the most important reason for cleaning is for the health of all occupants and visitors. Eliminating the cause of illness is key to reducing the number of sick days and avoiding epidemics and closures. Happy, healthy people assisting and being assisted in an environment free from dust, dirt, germs and bacteria.

In addition to that, buildings should be cleaned properly for the safety of the public. Slips, trips and falls are a common accident in the workplace, but there are steps that can be taken to eliminate those accidents. And finally, buildings should be cleaned thoroughly for appearance – for that positive impression that has a long-lasting impact.

At Interstate Solutions, we specialize in helping to create and maintain clean, safe, healthy facilities. If your business could use a make-over, give us a call today and together let’s work on a plan that promotes the most positive experience and impression for all who enter.

Cameron Blakely has been involved in the cleaning industry for 4 years. He is currently a Regional Manager, specializing in the oversight of Educational, Government, Industrial, Recreational, Religious and Tourism accounts.  He has completed Hillyard Peak Performance Training and Tomcat VIP Certification.