Sunday, December 12, 2010

Using Non Pathogenic Bacteria to Clean

We are currently see a surge in non pathogenic bacteria to clean, should I look at this option? Are there real benefits? And where do these products fit in with a green cleaning program?

Non Pathogenic bacteria is a great option, consider some of the reasons.

-Some of these products use bacteria that is found naturally in our stomach and so can digest almost anything we can digest. If in a nursing home think of what items bacteria can help you clean.
-Bacteria continues to clean after you are done. Since bacteria releases an enzyme which will break down the organic mater, after which the bacteria will digest it. Once applied the bacteria will continue to digest until one of the following three are removed, Water, Air or the food source.
-Most bacteria based products are made of renewable items such as soy and not petroleum based. Hence they are sustainable as we grow them as required.
-And when it comes to green cleaning many manufacturers have had there products green certified so you know which ones are your greener option.
-Not to forget one more great aspect. If using to control odors since bacteria will digest the organic mater causing the odor, odors will be eliminated rather than just masked.

One caution though. Non pathogenic bacteria is good, but there are manufacturers that are making enzyme cleaners. Enzyme cleaners are good to break down soil loads but require extensive rinsing as there is no bacteria present to digest the enzyme. I would high recommend staying away from these as enzymes tend to be left behind and you results will be amplified with bacteria.

One product I have enjoyed using and recommended to many people is Bio-Bac from Dustbane. The really nice thing with this product is it has been designed to work on floors, carpets, odors and drains so rather then have to buy 3 products for your facility all you need is one ECP certified product.

"Nothing is too filthy for Phil-T"

Friday, December 3, 2010

Making your work easier Part 1

Many are trying to find ways to make their job a little easier and save time. Some find the best way to do this is to cut corners. Usually not the best idea though.

Recently manufacturers have found a need to make smaller floor scrubber, one such is called DB-Do-All from Dustbane. Consider, a good swing buffer will cost between 1000-1500$ and a good wet dry vac with a front squeegee will run you between 700-900$. With DB-Do-All, you have a autoscrubber which will do both jobs for 3000$ give or take. Your floor work will be cut easily by 25%. And the nice thing with DB-Do-All is that when you're done at one location, take apart load him into your car and away you go. He's small enough that I loaded into the backseat of a Hyundai Accent. And on thing for sure I would have a hard time loading a swing buffer and wet vac into the same car.

Yes there all types of tools available to save us time and money without cutting corners stay tuned for more such options.

"Nothings too filthy for Phil-T"

Friday, November 26, 2010

Henry's Facelift

My favorite vac in the world and one that many love has had a face lift. Whats new? The basics are still the same. One of the quietest vacs on the market at 47/49db on the low/high settings. Filtration meets non-hazard HEPA requirements and now also meet and exceed requirements for LEEDS EB. But they've added something new.

For anyone who has ever complained that the only reason they don't use a canister is that they don't like carrying everything, hose, tools and vac separately, The issue has been addresses. Not only is this a one stop with everything on board, standard wind up on the cord and a carry tray for a bottle of chemical and a couple microfibers. I believe this will help in turning people more away from non working uprights to canisters that clean the way a vacuum should.

"Nothings too filthy for Phil-T"

Saturday, November 20, 2010

New Products

I recently had the privilege of attending the ISSA show in Orlando. I must say I was impressed with the sheer size of the show and volume of people attending. On that note for those who didn't get to go I thought I'd share a few new products and what's going ons from the show.

  Green: Everybody was show casing or talking green. If you weren't there was no reason for you to have a booth. The danger in that is that some companies use it out of context or use terms they don't fully understand and blur the line.

  Nace Care: Good old Henri has had plastic surgery. He is now green. With a lower electrical draw on one model and a nice carrying tool on another, definitely a long needed overhaul.

   Windsor: A ride on vacuum. a great idea if you have lots of carpet to clean.

   Johnson: Nothing new but a quarter of a million dollar booth to promote Taski. Yes they are going equipment all the way.

   Advance: EcoFlex. An on board chemical dilution system for floor scrubbers because sometimes you just need soap. The real buzz was that Advance revealed clinical proof that the Tennant Ech2o just doesn't work the way they say it does. Electrically charged water is cleaning with water. Something I believe I've said for 3 years now.

   Deb: They recently reconfigured and stream lined there offerings. Less products, less skus, smaller packaging and who can forget more money.

   Dustbane: As much as they were not at the show they also made a few changes. Green Vacs, not as efficient as the Nace line but a nice alternative. But the nice one from Dustbane is ECP certified urinal pucks and pucks in screen a unique offering for any who have buildings that are either LEEDS or looking for LEEDS certification.

This is some of whats new and exciting. I look forward to next year and will now be back on my weekly rotation.

"Nothings too filthy for Phil-T"

Friday, October 29, 2010

Using Wipes

A couple of tips to bear in mind when using wipes for cleaning. Wipes have become very common and effective in the process of cleaning and disinfecting. So common that many people even us them in their homes. Here are a few tips to watch for.
- Check the active ingredient. If you are trying to disinfect you need to make sure that you have the right active ingredient to kill the bacteria you are trying to disinfect.
- Remember that most store bought wipes are quat based, which means a 10 minute dwell time.
- Watch the expiry date. All wipes have one, some will last longer than others (i.e. quats vs Chlorine) so don't stock pile if you are using them for pandemic only.
- Close the lid when done. Wipes are not the cheapest mode of cleaning so if you use them make sure you don't let them dry out.
- Consider dry wipes. Kimberly Clark has a great product that you add chemical to. The nice thing about this is you add Chemical required when you need it so the expiry date is the date on your product which you tend to get a new bottle every 2 months or so.

Wipes are very effective and easy to use. Keep them beside public phones in the office or copy machines, have them ready for outbreaks, or use them for day to day cleaning. This will help keep your facility illness free reducing time off and increasing the funds in your budget.

"Nothings too filthy for Phil-T"

Friday, October 22, 2010

Equipment Batteries

When purchasing janitorial equipment that is battery powered the questions comes up,, What kind of batteries do I use? Are there advantages with on type over another? Are there choices on batteries? Here's whats newer to the market and why you should consider.

Wet Acid - Old technology, requires that you add water regularly. Since batteries heat up when being used or charged in time water from inside battery evaporates. This means that while charging, the equipment should be placed in a well ventilated area. When adding distilled water or checking water level gloves, goggles and shield should be worn. Let's not forget the human factor, getting your staff to check these regularly. For the most part these kinds of batteries have a 1 year life.

Gel - Gels have been around for quite a while but have gone through a rough time trying to work properly. That being said for at least the last 3-5 years several manufacturers have excelled with this technology. Since the battery uses a gel it becomes a sealed unit. No need to check water levels. These are stable batteries which can even be shipped on an airplane with no problems. Tilt the machine over and nothing leaks. Now you've removed health and safety since there's no need to check water levels and the human factor. Great batteries usually last about 3-5 years. Down side is they cost more and will require a slightly larger battery to do the same job as a wet acid.

AGM - Glass Mat batteries. Only being used recently in cleaning equipment these too are maintenance free. There is no need to add water or check these batteries. Similar to Gel and from the same kind of technology these batteries claim to have a 10 year life. One thing I have noticed in my limited experience is that these batteries require care when it comes to the charge cycle. Be sure to follow the instructions or you will be replacing these batteries.

Another thing to consider is if applying for any LEEDS certification in your building the equipment must have Gel or AGM batteries. Although your building may not be applying for this today may you be considering it in the near future? It is always cheaper to buy these batteries when ordering the equipment then making it an after market installation.

At the end of the day given the choice I would seriously consider the gel option. When set in the right equipment and the right charger these batteries will be safer, easier to use and last you longer, saving you and your facility money which is the bottom line when considering any purchase.

"Nothings too filthy for Phil-T"

Friday, October 15, 2010

Ice Melter

It's that time of year now. I have recently discussed Matting to prepare your facility for winter now the next step is how to make your step safe. What should we use to melt the ice in our walkways and driveways.

If you have a large parking then most people will use a combination of salt and sand. This typically is the most cost effective and easiest thing to do especially when you consider that a truck will most likely be spreading the product for you. But as you approach your facility walk way or even your home driveway consider this. Salt and sand will track into your building. Matting will help keep it at the door but white residue from salt will always be an issue. Consider Ice Melt.

      Quality Ice Melter has CMA (Calcium Magnesium Acetate) which is safer for use on concrete and interlock.
      Unlike salt which does not spread evenly and will melt holes in the ice, Ice melter spreads evenly and melts evenly so you are back on concrete faster.
      Most ice melters are effective up to -22 perfect for our great Canadian winters.
      Quality ice melter will also not track so you are not left with unsightly residue problems.
      The other added feature with ice melter is that it is safe to handle no need for special protective clothing and it will not damage your clothes.

This winter if you haven't already made the switch consider using Ice Melter for your exterior slip and fall hazards.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Here exerts from an article I recently read. I find it reinforces the fact that although disinfection is important it may not always be required. And the disinfectant used should be based on our needs and the needs of our facility.

When it comes to disinfectants and sanitizers, both distributors and end-users alike should keep in mind the importance of a strong relationship between having the right products in place and having the proper procedural knowledge for these products.
“Without either, the end-user cannot be successful and might be spreading disease rather than trying to eliminate it,” according to Mark Warner, Director of Training and Product Manager — Disinfectants & Sanitizers.
He added it’s also essential to follow directions.  Some products have specific dilution rates that must be followed. Proper dwell (sitting wet) times after a disinfectant or sanitizer is applied must also be followed.
In other words, according to Warner, short cuts can’t be tolerated.
“It’s also important to remember that you can only fully disinfect and decontaminate a surface that has been pre-cleaned,” Warner said. “If there is some type of soil covering a pathogen or organism, and a person is not able to break through that soil, he/she cannot assume that the surface is now free of pathogens.”
Warner also addressed the growing relationship between “green” cleaning and disinfectants. He noted that green cleaning has swept North America, bringing with it a host of benefits for cleaning professionals and the general public alike. However, the movement has also brought to the forefront a problem that is becoming increasingly challenging for jan/san distributors.
A growing number of healthcare facilities now want to use only proven green products, including disinfectants, and yet, Warner said, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is comfortable with its own standards and criteria (as they apply to disinfectants) and currently does not allow disinfectants sold within the United States to bear the markings or labels of any green certification organization.
Warner pointed out, however, that this is only related to the United States. It is worthwhile, however, to look at products that are available in such places as Canada, Europe, the Middle East and the Far East.
“All of these areas have different forms of registering disinfectants,” he said. “If somebody is really looking for safer disinfectants fore use in the USA, he/she may want to look at what other governments are certifying as green or what Stephen Ashkin considers a ‘green’ disinfectant and then pick the EPA Registered disinfectant closest to those considerations.
Warner said there is a possibility that the U.S. EPA may soon allow some form of certification to be placed on labels of disinfectants. 
“This would be a way for people to understand that a certain disinfectant is built to be as green as possible,” he said.
According to Warner, there are generally six primary ingredients in most disinfectants. The first ingredient to look at is the active agent, which is designed to kill a list of organisms.  Make sure the disinfectant has the killing efficacy to deal with the pathogens that are of concern.  These are required to be listed on each product’s Microbial Efficacy Data Sheet, and are often summarized on the labels.  There can be great differences among available disinfectants.  The other five ingredients to look at are water, solvent, surfactants/detergent, dye and fragrance. It is worth noting that not all disinfectants have all of these ingredients.  Most quat-based disinfectants (the most widely used type of disinfectant) do contain all of these ingredients to varying degrees, but other types of disinfectants may not (bleach, silver, etc.) contain a solvent.
“A buyer has the right to know whether or not the other ingredients (solvent, surfactant/detergent, dye and fragrance) are derived from oil-based materials or are biobased and green,” Warner said. “In Canada and Scandinavia, disinfectants are being certified as green. It’s an indication that these (four) ingredients are built to green standards and are not derived from oil-based products. There are great resources available today for biobased or green solvents, surfactants, dyes and fragrances.”
Other ways distributors can advise their clients on how to make disinfectants healthier for users, building occupants and the environment is to simply advise them not to use disinfectants everywhere, all the time.
According to Warner, sometimes a disinfectant is used where it simply is not needed.
“When we are putting together a housekeeping program, often the smart way to approach this is to build several different housekeeping plans. These plans revolve around the degree of environmental threat,” Warner said. “If we are in an environment where nobody is worrying about dying from some form of flu bug, then we are basically operating in a no-threat environment. In these situations the advice should be, “Do not overuse disinfectants.’
“When we get into a more elevated threat environment, we tell people that their housekeeping program needs to make three changes. They need to change their procedures, increase their cleaning frequencies and increase the efficacy of the product(s) they are using.”
The goal is to make sure a facility does not become fertile ground for some type of outbreak. Warner has been involved over the years in developing the DEFCON ranking systems for cleaning. DEFCON is a military term that stands for “Defense Condition.” As it relates to the cleaning industry, however, Warner said this ranking system is used to assess the environmental degree of danger, and to better understand how to identify threat levels. It’s also designed to adjust procedures, chemistries and tools that fit the situation DEFCON is divided into four levels of severity, with DEFCON 1 meaning no significant threat, DEFCON 2 meaning there is a highly contagious, potentially lethal pathogen in the community, DEFCON 3 meaning there is a highly contagious, potentially lethal pathogen in the facility, and DEFCON 4 stating that weapons-grade pathogens (bio-terrorism) are in a facility.
Under DEFCON 3, where an outbreak has taken place at a specific facility, “It’s important to make sure those in charge are using a high-grade disinfectant throughout a facility. This is done to make sure they are doing everything in their power to prevent the spread of an outbreak.” 

Friday, October 1, 2010

Matting Rental Vs Purchase

It's that time of year again. The rain has begun and soon the snow will follow. As this begins we need to prepare our facilities for the snow and protect our floors and carpets a little better. Matting usually the first item that comes to mind, every October clients Canada over begin to order what they need. But what really is needed? Should you rent? Or buy?

Rental: The nice thing with rental mats is they are changed every week. But here's some of the problems with rentals.
  1) They are quite expensive you could pay as much as 10$ per mat per week.
  2) If they are installed Monday and it snows Monday then your carpets are in bad shape for the whole week.
  3) Usually carpets provided are very low quality and do not scrape the snow of the feet and provide minimal wiping.
  4) Long complicated contracts usually 3-5 years

Purchase:Some feel That they will then have to clean and care for these mats, but as mentioned if it snows the day your rental mats are installed then you will have to clean them as well if you want them to be effective for the rest of the week.
  1) You own the Mats.
  2) You can select type, colour, and maintenance.
  3) Cost effective. Typically the cost of 6 months rental will cover the cost of all your matting needs.
  4) No contract

At the end of the day you are far more ahead of the game to purchase your mats then you are to rent. Next week I will share how to select the appropriate mat.

"Nothings too filthy for Phil-T"

Friday, September 24, 2010

Odor Control

One of the toughest things in a public facility is controlling the odor is our washrooms. Last blog we discussed who installing an autoflush system can help with 70% of those odors. To effectively control odors we need to find where the originate and how to attack them.

Where odors come from? Some of the main areas that odors will come from in your washroom are. Unflushed toilets, urine on the floors and walls, the garbage cans, and floor drains.

How to deal with these issues?
  -One step is air fresheners. There are several options when it comes to air fresheners.
      -You could get an aerosol can and just periodically spray the washroom or hope clients and employees will.
     -You could install metered aerosol can dispensing systems that will provide the same service as an aerosol can but will dispense automatically at predetermined intervals.
    -Or you could install what is know as a T-Cell. T-Cell is a none aerosol air freshener which use a true air neutralizer as well as a fuel cell technology, so there are no batteries to change.
  -The next thing you could do to help control odors is clean the floors and drains regularly with a none pathogenic bacteria cleaner. This will work as a continuing process while the areas are damp and well after the work has been done. The nice thing about none pathogenic bacteria is that it will odor contractant while cleaning the surface as well.
  -The final step you could do is install an autoclean/auto janitor for your toilets and urinals. These will help clean your urinals and toilets with every flush, while also delivering a dose of enzyme or bacteria to the drains helping to keep them clean.

These are just a few was to help keep your washrooms clean and odor free. Technical concepts is a leader in odor control and have many ideas on their website on how to keep your facilities odor free.

"Nothings too filthy for Phil-T"

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Case for Touch Free Washrooms

Have you ever walked into a washroom and either walked right out or vowed never to go to that restaurant or store again? Was the washroom dirty? Did it feel dirty? Or was the odor just to much too handle? Perhaps you didn't feel like you could touch anything so walked out and found the closest bottle of hand sanitizer. If this is the washroom in your facility the situation is not hopeless. In fact with a modest refit you could have the cleanest looking washrooms around.

Consider going touchfree. By installing a Autoflush for your urinal or toilet you can eliminate up to 80% of the odors in your washroom. If you install a Autofaucet you will encourage voluntary hand washing and save up to 70% on your water consumption. The beauty with these systems is that they are easy to install. Any maintenance person can do it on plumber required. 

Here are some of the other advantages of going touch free.

Enhanced Washroom Image
-Look and smell clean
Improved Hygiene
-Reduce cross contamination
Great Environmental Benefits
-Contribute to LEEDS credits
-Reduced water consumption

Yes there is no doubt that a touch free washroom will save you money and increase the look and feel of your facilities washrooms. Next week we will discuss how to control the other 20% of odors in your washrooms.

"Nothing's too filthy for Phil-T" 

Friday, September 3, 2010

EcoLogo Program joins forces with UL Environment

Some of you may have herd that Terra Choice (Ecology) has been acquired by UL Laboratories. Please find a link to the article here Ecology new partner.

This should prove to be quite a good fit as Ecology is trying to expand and UL have office around the world. This will help bring a trusted name to consumers around the world when searching for green certified products.

"Nothing too filthy for Phil-T"

Friday, August 27, 2010


I read an article recently that discussed how the JanSan industry responded to H1N1 and how it helped curbed an all out, outbreak by educating user, distributors, and the public about disinfecting procedures and hand washing/sanitizing importance. So the question was brought up What now?

The article encouraged to continue to disinfect thoroughly all areas and heading into the winter to consider disinfecting more our floors and bumping our disinfectant to a higher grade. Some may feel this is important to do in their facility.

I would feel that going into the winter it is important to increase our cleaning frequency and effectiveness. Is more disinfecting required? Not necessarily in all facilities, this is a decision that each facility needs to make for themselves. But if you have reduced your schedule over the summer it would be a good time to review your schedule and adjust where required. Winter will bring more particulates, and bacteria into your building and you want to be ready.

Another thing to consider this winter is to be prepared for a outbreak. One way to do this is by having an extra case or two of sanitizer and disinfectant on hand at the start of the season just in case. As the shelf life of most chemicals is 2 years then you may use it up in the summer should there be no need for it.

"Nothing is too filthy for Phil-T"

Friday, August 20, 2010


As summer winds down we begin to look at our facility and think about what we will need to keep it clean during winter. The first thing that comes to most peoples mind is matting. The problem is that matting is not a winter only solution. Matting should be left year round.

There are many stats when it comes to matting like, it cost 55$ to remove 1lbs of dirt or that each person in a facility will bring in 65lbs of dirt a year. What ever the case here are a couple of things to think about.

-It is easier to clean dirt when stopped at the door.
-Most hotels and casinos in Las Vagas have matting but no snow.
-Matting helps keep particulate down, which means that people are not breathing them in.
-It's cheaper to replace a mat every 3-5 years than a lobby floor or carpet.
-Less stripping or scrubbing of floors is always cheaper

Yes no matter how you look at it matting is a good option that will save you work and money all year around.

"Nothing is too filthy for Phil-T"

Friday, August 13, 2010

Window Cleaning

Window/Glass cleaning is probably on of the most neglected forms of cleaning in our homes and in most facilities is more of a necassary evil then a job anyone wants to do. I will discuss a few tips to help with window cleaning good for your home or facility.

When giving a full cleaning the following process is best.
   - Fill bucket with water and 1 or 2 tablespoons of dish detergent (something with good grease cutting properties)
  - Wet window surface thoroughly using T-bar or rag leaving the top 1/2 inch of window dry.
  - Using squeegee wipe window dry.
  - Wipe all 4 edges of window with a microfiber cloth starting with the top edge and finishing with the bottom edge.

When spot cleaning the easiest thing is to have your glass cleaner in a spray bottle, spray on to surface and wipe dry with either paper towel or a microfiber cloth. Important to note is if you are using any of the newer glass cleaners these do not have ammonia or alcohol so do not expect them to dry instantly like that old bottle of Windex did. These products will be slightly wet on the surface when finished but will dry streak free.

If you don't want to use glass cleaner for spotting then the other option is to get a high quality glass microfiber, apply a little water either to the spot on the surface or the microfiber and wipe all.

Yes since windows are the first impression of your facility then keeping them clean and spot free is of high importance. And not necessarily as difficult as it may seem.

"Nothing is too filthy for Phil-T"

Friday, August 6, 2010

Equipment Maintenance

In this industry one of the highest cost items is equipment. Equipment can make the toughest longest job easier and save lots of time. The problem with equipment is that maintenance is often lacking. I will take a few moments today and discuss some basic maintenance procedures for several pieces you may have in your facility.

Vacuums: Vacs are fairly simple. Check the bags daily to ensure they are not full. Filters should be checked to ensure they are not full of dust and that air is leaking somewhere. On uprights place the vac on it's side and check the beater bar for obstructions. On uprights you should also check and make sure that the belt is turning. An extra tip for vacs is: If maintenance is going to be an issue consider purchasing canisters rather than uprights.

Swing Buffers: Very simple maintenance. Remove the block. And ensure to wipe down after use, especially if stripping and waxing.

Autoscrubbers: This require much more maintenance, but here are a few tips to get a longer life.
       Completely drain vac tanks nightly.
       Rinse and wipe squeegee blade
       Check water level and add as required (Tip consider switching to Gel batteries, longer life and maintenance free)
       Clean or wipe machine after use
       Charge nightly after use
If you can add these basic few items at the end of your shift daily then you will extend the life of your equipment. In the next few months I will give you tips on each different piece of equipment that you can do on a monthly and bi-monthly basis.

"Nothing is too filthy for Phil-T"

Friday, July 30, 2010

Dispensing Systems

I thought I would take today to discuss dispensing systems. Every major chemical manufacturer have one available, but what are the benefits and should you have one installed in your facility.

What are the benefits. Dispensing systems or portion control systems are great, they allow several benefits.
   1) Most offer some form of touch free cap system, where by an employee or contractor never has to touch raw chemical with their hands rather the cap makes contact with the mating plate and the chemical is drawn.
   2) A dispensing system allows for metered setting on your chemical which means that the right amount of chemical to water dilution is used every time. While 100% accuracy is not necessary every time when it comes to disinfectants it is crucial.
   3) You save money. For many people this is a key one. Take one product for example, Glass Cleaner. One four liter bottle of concentrated glass cleaner will make 120L of RTU glass cleaner and cost you anywhere between $60-130, but to buy that same glass cleaner in RTU spray bottles would cost you around $500.
   4) It's greener. Weather you use a green glass cleaner or not it is a greener option as you save on packaging less boxes to send a 4L jug then send 120 bottles. You save on plastic. And you save on trucking expense.

Yes all and all chemical dispensing is the best way to go. Ask your distributor how he can set you up on a system and make your facility a little bit better.

"Nothing is too filthy for Phil-T"

Friday, July 23, 2010

Graffiti Removal

I would like to take a few moments today and discuss how to remove graffiti or tags. The key thing to rememeber with graffiti is that there are many factors that will affect what you do. Factors such as Surface, Product used to create tag, and how long it’s been there.

Let’s start with the surface. On a smooth surface weather it is painted or not you have several options. One of those options which is becoming more popular is a graffiti wipe. The wipe contains the chemical required to break down the tag and be able to wipe it away. It is a low odor, and when using the proper PPE is one of the safest choices. The other option is to apply the graffiti remover directly to the surface using a brush or rag. Then using a scrub brush or pad agitate the affected area. Finally pressure wash or wipe away whats left.

Rough surface. The principal in removing a tag on a rough surface is much the same. First you would apply the graffiti remover with a brush. Next you would agitate the area using a scrub brush. And finally you would pressure wash the chemical and tag away.

The last thing to keep in mind is product. Never use a product designed for rough surface (typically designed for stone (i.e. Brick)) on a smooth surface painted or not, without doing a small test area. Some stronger heavy duty graffiti remover will affect either the paint on the surface or in the case of a metal surface may even discolour it.

Yes graffiti removal can be fairly simple. Apply, scrub and rinse preferably pressure wash off. Then you can have a tag free facility. And if you don’t want to do it yourself there are always plenty of professionals who would love to remove the tag for you.

“Nothing is too filthy for Phil-T”

Friday, July 16, 2010

Dust Mopping

I thought I'd take a few moments today and discuss the most important part on any hard floor care program - Dust Mopping. Why do I say that dust mopping is the Most Important part of hard floor care. The main reason is that before introducing moisture or buffing to a floor we want to remove any debris possible especially the small dirt particulates which can only be removed by dust mopping.

Many feel that just washing the floor and buffing is enough as water will grab the dirt, but what we may not realize is that there are times when doing this will only help grind dirt into our floor finish or tiles. If there is a step to skip at any time it would be the mopping as a floor may not need to be mopped daily but does need to be swept on a daily basis.

A few tips for dust mopping:
1) If you feel that you have to use a dust mop treatment then use it right. Vacuum the dust broom off, spray with treatment and let dry overnight.

2) Consider switch from a dust mop treatment to a neutral disinfectant. The neutral disinfectant will give antistat properties to the dust mop and keep it clean as you go.

3) Instead of using a cotton dust mop use microfiber. They are easy to rinse off at the end of the shift and dry quickly. You will get a longer life out of your broom and have better results on the floor.

4) Another tip is when doing large areas consider using a dust broom in one hand and a sweeping broom in the other to pull items out from under racking. Again this system will allow you to sweep your store or area faster and get more off the floor.

Yes when it comes to floor care never forget the most important part - Sweeping.

"Nothing is too filthy for Phil-T"

Friday, July 9, 2010

Washing your Car

As summer is definitely here more of us turn from using a car wash to washing our own car. So I thought I would discuss some do's and don'ts of cleaning your car.

If you're like I was perhaps you would spray down your car with water then brush it with detergent and finish with a rinse. Bad news you've been doing something wrong. When we prespray our car with water before introducing detergent we create a water barrier which will not allow the detergent to work as it's suppose to. You may say that you want to remove any heavy soil and dirt as not to scratch the paint on your car and thats why we have been taught to prespray with water. Try this for a change I believe you will get better results. Fill a pail up with water and detergent (will discuss which soon), using a soft bristle or (new to the market) microfiber brush, wash your car starting at the bottom with out prespraying with water. Soak the bottom quarter of you car and work your way up doing this all the way around your vehicle. When completed using fresh water rinse from the top down. What this does is allows the dirt from the bottom to stay at the bottom and the detergent to emulsify completely the dirt giving you a better clean. As a finishing touch you can dry with a microfiber drying towel or shammie.

How to choose the right detergent. There are many on the market and each have their own good traits. I personal have found that a good neutral floor soap works best. Neutral floor soap is designed to clean vinyl and cork based floors. It is designed to clean a polyurethane finish without dulling or harming the coating. It has also been designed to remove heavy soiling from the floor. And most importantly it is neutral. I believe it's a perfect combination. On top of that as there is currently no criteria for green car wash chemical you can use a green floor detergent and have the best of both worlds.

So as summer comes and goes let's have fun and enjoy the beautiful weather while it lasts.

"Nothing is too filthy for Phil-T"

Friday, July 2, 2010


There is some confusion in cleaning as to what the difference is between sanitizing and disinfecting. There is also confusion as to what is being accomplished in a given facility.  There are really three levels of cleaning, let's have a look.

Cleaning - This involves several aspects. Usually the primary is the removal of dirt or soil loads using a mild detergent and cloth. Cleaning may involve anything from washing floors to removing spots on walls. When cleaning you will remove unwanted bacteria but not with any consitancy. This process is usually sufficient in most areas and most facilities.

Sanitizing - Refers to the removal of 99.9% of bacteria from the surface being sanitized. Sanitizing can be performed with a chemical that has be approved as a sanitizer. To accomplish sanitizing the sanitizing should dwell or sit on the surface for 30 - 60 seconds depending on the active agent. This is the most common form of cleaning done in washrooms and kitchens by most cleaners. Sanitizing is not sufficient in critical areas, if even just one spore of bacteria is left behind within 5hrs you know have 5 million spores of bacteria. Bacteria will double every 15 minutes hence 1 will become 2 then 2 become 4 and so one.

Disinfecting - Refers to the removal of all bacteria which the disinfectant can kill. To Disinfect you should use only a DIN registered disinfectant. You also need to identify what bacteria are you trying to kill in your facility and select a disinfectant that will kill that bacteria. This information can be found on a Micro-effecacy Data Sheet. This sheet is available for all approved disinfectants and will give you dwell times and effectiveness against bacteria you are required to kill. Usual dwell time will range between 5 - 10 minutes. The surface must remain wet during this time to be effective.

What stage of cleaning do you require in your facility is the question you may need to answer. Is it cleaning, sanitizing, or disinfecting? When you have determined the level you require then train your staff in the proper procedures and should have very little problems.

"Nothing is too filthy for Phil-T"

Friday, June 25, 2010

Incorporating a Flat Mop System in your Facility

Flat mop systems are becoming more popular.Staff May object saying that they are not practical or slow you down. So here are a few tips to get a good Microfiber flat mop system working in your facility.

First step is to switch from cotton dust mopping to microfiber dust mopping. This will do 2 things, first, it will eliminate the need for mop oil. A product that not only is used wrong 95% of the time but really not necessary to use in the first place. Secondly, it will get staff familiar with microfiber flat mops, making a switch to flat mop cleaning easier.

When it comes to the washing of floors with flat mops you have several options available to you. I will review the more common ones.

First there is the bucket and wringer option. Rubbermaid, Marino and Atlas Graham all have there version but basically you would have a bucket with a flat mop wringer that would squeeze most of your water and detergent out, allowing to mop the floor. With this system you would be able to use one pad in more than one room before changing your pad. The disadvantage to this system is that as in regular mopping staff may use dirty water for too long or not change their pads often enough.

Second there is the pre-prepare system. In this system you would have a flat mop and a bucket with 15-20 pads pre-moistened with detergent. You would enter the room put a pad on your flat mop and clean the room. When finished the room you remove the pad place it in a bag and move on to the next room placing a new pad on the handle. The disadvantage to this system is that your staff will need to where gloves while mopping as the may be exposed to floor pads with chemical on them.

Third we have the all in one. This is where the flat mop handle has a built in reservoir for the detergent. In this system you would place a dry pad on the flat mop and as you clean the floor you would dispense the required amount of detergent directly from the flat mop handle. Upon finishing the room you would dispose of the pad in a bag and place a new dry pad on the flat mop. On disadvantage of this system is the balance of the handle. Some have found that some handles are heavier than others. Testing is required to find the right handle for your staff and facility. 3M have a handle where the detergent is stored inside the shaft of the handle and this seems to be a favorite of many. It is a costly investment but works quite well.

Flat mop cleaning is a great system and can greatly enhance the look of your facility. And since flat mops out last regular mops by hundreds of washes you will also save money. And everybody likes to save money.

Where nothing is too filthy for Phil-T

Friday, June 18, 2010


A term we hear more and more these days is Microfiber. You have everything from Microfiber shirts to couches and cloths, even sheets. So what is microfiber and does it really have any benefits?

The easiest explanation of microfiber is that the fiber in microfiber is split until it is around 1 - 100th the size of a human hair (image below right). This allows microfiber to clean at a microscopic level. Compare it to a human pore, microfiber has little pores that when used in cleaning will capture the dirt and grime and hold it until released (image below left). How is it released? Simply run the microfiber under hot water and use a mild detergent to clean it. Another benefit of using microfiber is that since it cleans at such a good level the use of chemical is not required. While you would still want to use a disinfectant in critical areas such as Washrooms, Kitchens and Hospital rooms. In most cases a little water is all you need for a beautiful finish. And it is a great easy and cost effective step in greening your facility. Think about using less chemical, which means less VOC. And less VOC's is always good for the human health.

Since microfibers are of a higher quality they wash very well in a wash machine and usually can be washed anywhere between 300-500 times before needing replacing. There is some disagreement however in one area and thats weather bleach should be used. From my experience bleach is safe to be used but what you do need to watch for is fabric softner. Fabric softner will get into the microfiber and stay trapped creating a film when you use it to clean in the future. Microfiber also like moisture so using a dryer that dries clothing to temperatures of over 200 degrees will harm the microfiber.

Microfibers are a wonderful product and all sorts are available. Why don't you try some at your facility Today. I know that Phil-T uses them to keep his home from being filthy.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Washroom Cleaning

One critical area in all facilities are the washrooms. Gone should be the days where a custodian takes that bottle of Windex sprays down the toilets and wipes with paper towel. Washroom cleaning should be performed on a regular schedule that involves Daily cleaning, Weekly cleaning, and possibly Monthly cleaning. Let me now discuss the difference.

Daily cleaning of the washroom should include the following: a top to bottom cleaning of all areas using a DIN registered disinfectant. This would include the wiping down of dispensers, toilets, urinals, partition, sinks, and touch points. Washing of floors with a 1:256 DIN register disinfectant. A spot cleaning of mirrors. Removal of any graffiti. Removal of trash. And finally restocking of all supplies.

Weekly cleaning of washroom would incorporate all of the above plus depending on water hardness you may use a mild acid to clean the bowls. Another further step you may want to use is a washroom cleaning cart. If you have 4 or more large washrooms in your facility this is an excellent way to really clean your washroom thoroughly, it will allow you to clean in all the hard to reach spots, and it is a touch free system which is always a good thing. Another item to do weekly is to wipe the top ledge of the partitions this will minimize dust in your facility.

Monthly duties would add a few of the following. If you have as ceramic floor then you would want to deep scrub these with either a none pathogenic bacteria or consider a Neutral heavy duty cleaner. If grout line are really dirty consider following the scrubbing with a acid cleaner to help whiten grout lines. Bi-weekly or Monthly it may also be required to use a stronger acid such as a hydrochloric to clean the bowls. When performing this step always make sure to wear your PPE and have plenty of ventilation.

Washroom cleaning is very important so remember these few steps and always wear the required PPE when cleaning. Remember that cleaning should be performed for health first and appearances second. This is especially important when considering washroom cleaning.

``Where nothing is too filthy for Phil-T``

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Selecting a Janitorial firm.

Having your facility cleaned by a janitorial company can be a complicated process but it shouldn't be. So here are a few items to remember if you need to start or replace a service in your facility.

Know what you want. What is important to you dusting, washrooms, kitchen, floors or maybe all of the above. Create a spec list on paper that you would like to have done. Don't have high expectation. What does this mean? It means that if you want everything done very well all the time you need to be willing to pay for that service. What should you look for in a janitorial firm. Here are a few items
- Up to date paid WSIB certificates
- Up to date insurance 2,000,000$ minimum
- Employees who have police record checks and are bondable
- Inspection team who checks on the work regularly
- A professional image
- Credentials with BBB or some other like organization
- A green cleaning plan
- WHMIS certified staff
- A minimum of 5 years experience. If a new company find out how many years experience the owner has
- References, and not just one

If you look for these items in a firm then you should be well along at having a janitorial company who will put cleaning where it belongs in your schedule, and that is somewhere you won`t have to think about it. Yes cleaning should be your last priority when handled by a professional company.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Hand Towel Choices

In the wonderful world of cleaning supplies one of the items of highest use is hand towel and toilet tissue. And with so many options does it really matter what we use. How can you choose the right product for your facility. Let's look at our options, we have commodity roll towel, c-fold, or multifold and singlefold, proprietary towel, and then finally there is perforated kitchen towels. So what's the difference.

Roll Towel - This product is available in 200', 400', 600' and 800' sized rolls, usually available in white or kraft. Advantages of this product is that it's cheap and does the trick, it dries your hands. Many manufacturers are also getting this product ECP and Green seal certified. The biggest issue with these products is that you will have to purchase your own dispensers for them and usually these dispensers do not control the use. Another issue is consistency of the product, as it is a cheaper product you batch may be of good high quality whereas the next is not. If you have a small office this is usually the way to go.

Folded towel - In the folded towel family there is C-Fold, multifold, and singlefold. Again available in white or kraft. This towel has a form of control to it but proves false to its name. Why? Typically what happens here is at first everything goes well and the product dispenses from the dispenser on sheet at a time as it's suppose to but as the dispenser empties then you start getting more and more sheets coming out at once. They fall to the ground and what you are left with is a lot of waste. Again with this product usually you are responsible to purchase your own dispensers. Verdict on folded towel is that the idea is nice but causes more problems then it's worth.

Controled Towel - Or otherwise know as proprietary towel. There are quite a few advantages to a product such as this. First it usually always comes in at least an 800' roll. Second most products on the market are now ECP or green seal certified. Third dispenser should be provided at no charge. And finally they cut down on use, most people will use 2 to 3 sheets that are between 8"-12" depending on the manufacturer settings on the dispenser. But with all these advantages comes the disadvantages. When purchasing controlled towel it is just that, controlled on what towel you buy as only one towel will fit in the dispenser, controlled in who you buy from as usually only one or two distributors will have the product. So once you begin to buy this product you are stuck with it unless you want to change your dispensers again. The final disadvantage is the cost. You will pay more, that being said I have seen it time and again where someone pays more for this product and cuts the consumption of paper so much that the are actually saving money.

So what can be said, At the end of the day I would say. "Controlled towel is almost always the way to go" You will save money, and time. And who can put a price on our valuable time. The only thing you want to ensure is that you choose a manufacturer and distributor that you can work closely with, who will help you put the right product in your facility.

Nothing is too filthy for Phil-T.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Choosing the Right Vacuum

With so many vacuums in the market place how can we choose the right one? Are the better models than another? I will breakdown 3 basic vacs to help you make the right choice for you, your home, or your facility.

Upright - There are a few consistent problems with upright. First if the belt stops working then so does most of the suction, and as much as many vacs have a light to tell you that the belt is not turning these don't always work and most people won't notice. Second there are a lot of things that can go wrong with them, belts, brushes, broken bags, clogged hoses, and who can forget the person who tries to use it and a wet vac. Third they are heavy. You usually find yourself pushing 12-15lbs with one hand all day and this can lead to problems that require staff taking paid time off. There is a place in the market for uprights I just haven't found it yet.

Canisters - the biggest complaint you will find with canisters are that people don't like dragging them around. They bump into walls, furniture, and people. Hose get pulled but general these are built strong enough to with stand the abuse. Dry Canister are not made for wet pick up but if someone thought it would be a good idea to do a wet pick up generally speaking the bag will break and damage will be minimal. One tip for using a canister like the Henri vac is: Since they have a 20' hose place the vac in the middle of the room and you should be able to reach every point in the room without moving the vac once. An idea setting for using a canister is cleaning many small rooms or areas to get under desks.

Back packs - these are basically a canister without wheels strapped to your back. The biggest complaint you will get here is user discomfort. If you are looking for productivity this is the way to go. They weigh between 11-15lbs and are great for team cleaning and large areas.

The reality is no matter what you buy someone will not like it, and someone will demand for something different. But when possible switch all uprights for canisters or back pack vacs. If someone does not like the idea make them use the vacuum for 2 weeks with no option of switching, and at the end of 2 weeks they will usually ask you to give them back the canister if you try and take it away. Next week we will discuss filtration on vacs - this is another area many people do not understand.

Nothing is too filthy for Phil-T

Friday, May 14, 2010

Carpet Spotting Procedure

Here is a video to show how the Proxi Spary and Walk Away works.

Carpet Spotting

As I have discussing carpet maintenance there is one more crucial step in having healthy carpets. Carpet spotting. Unfortunately we all have accidents, be it spilling coffee or wine on our carpets or if we are in charge of a facility we face anything from blood to urine. The longer a spot sets the harder it is to remove so we want to tackle these as soon as we can. (Spots can be defined as something that is on the carpet but has not changed the pigment of the carpet where as stains have affect the dye locks in the carpet and have permanently damaged the carpet.)

Traditionally there was a product for each type of spot meaning it was necessary to have 4 or 5 different spotters to clean each type of spot. One had to be a chemist to understand which product should be used where. Recently manufacturers have released hydrogen peroxide based spotters that are designed to spray and walk away. One such product is called Proxi Spray and Walk away. The nice thing with this is it completes the healthy carpet cycle. Having only one product instead of 5 also works well in a green or sustainable program as we have switch 5 different product for 1 which may not be green certified but is safer for everyone involved as it creates less chance of someone using the wrong product. A custodian can carry it on his cart and as they do there cleaning routine if spots are seen on the carpet the product is sprayed on the spot and by the next morning it is virtually gone. Another use for some of these spotter is as a presoak or prespot for laundry. If you have a stained garment simply spray on the spot before putting in the laundry machine and it will help remove tough stains.

By having a regular carpet spotting routine this will help avoid staining which will physically change the dye in the carpet and may not be easily removable or repairable. This will increase the life span of the carpet in your facility which will save you money in your capital budget.

Remember that nothing is too Filthy for Phil-T.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Choosing the right hand sanitizer

Hand Sanitizer - With so many on the market which one is right for me? When should I use them? and where should I keep the dispensers?

We can begin by breaking hand sanitizer down to 2 groups Alcohol and Alcohol Free. To begin both types have several problem. Alcohol can be corrosive, look at walls below sanitizer dispensers, or floors and carpets in the vicinity of an alcohol based sanitizer bottle. Usually they are discolored and damaged. Alcohol Free sanitizer is not recognized as being effective and while some companies have published research about their product other companies are just trying to sell a product.

Here's is what to look for. Alcohol based hand sanitizer should be a minimum of 62%. Some hospitals have done research and found internally that a minimum of 70% alcohol should be used, but it's important to note that to be 99.9% effective Health Canada and WHO require a 62% alcohol. When possible spending the extra for a foam sanitizer is going to be worth the investment as this will be less likely to damage floors and carpets. When it comes to Non-Alcohol sanitizer a little research will go a long way. Some alcohol free sanitizers will stay active on your hands for a while after using them continuing to kill bacteria. They will also have a micro efficacy data sheet to prove how effective they are against which strains of bacteria. These are also usually foam based and are not corrosive, so your floors and walls will stay nice. Many also find that alcohol free sanitizers are easier on the hand. Which ever you choose there are a few important tips to remember.

Sanitizer is to encourage voluntary hand washing. What does this mean? As in past it was not always accessible or convenient for some to wash there hands, hand sanitizer was introduced to help. It does not replace hand washing. Using sanitizer is part of a complete hand hygiene program and should be used only when hand washing is not available.

When install dispensers remember the following. Never place a hand sanitizer dispenser in the washroom, (we want to encourage hand washing) if there is need for one close to a washroom then outside the doors is acceptable. Having a dispenser at reception where there is a lot of traffic is a good idea. Some have even liked one near the lunch room. Any where that has a high volume of traffic and no access to soap and water. It also a good idea to have a bottle in our purse for ladies and the car.

Yes while hand sanitizer has simplified our life on the go we never want to forget the most important part of good hand hygiene, Washing our hands with soap and water.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Maintaining Healthy Carpets

For years now carpet has been getting the blunt end of the stick, and yet many people still want and love carpet. So then how can one maintain and feel healthy while have carpets in their facility and home. Here are a few tips.

1)Good news - Vacuuming picks up 87% of all particulate in the carpet. Yes daily vacuum of all available areas is like sweeping your floor everyday. A good vacuum schedule will be improved if you using HEPA Filtration or a vacuum that filters particulates 99.97% at 0.3 microns. This is a very important aspect in maintaining low particulate count in your home or facility and keeping the air and carpets healthy.

2) Have a regular maintenance clean on your carpets. What is a maintenance clean? Years ago this could have been called bonnet cleaning, but if your contractor is doing bonnet cleaning today have a good talk with him, as this will void your manufacturers warranty. Today we perform Low Moisture Cleaning usually done with an encapsulation product. How a encapsulation product works is that the diluted chemical is applied to the carpet with a buffer or cylindrical cleaner that creates agitation on the carpet. Product will dry within an hour (if applied properly) to a crystal format which can then be vacuumed up. After which you have clean carpets.

3) Finally you have your yearly hot water extraction. This step will remove whatever has been left from vacuuming and low moisture cleaning. This step is still crucial and should not be skipped.

By following these 3 basic tips you can have beautiful healthy carpets in any facility.

Stay tuned for more carpet tips next time when we will discuss carpet spotting in my new Video Blog. And remember "Nothing is too filthy for Phil-T"

Friday, February 12, 2010

Maintaining Wood Floors

I have beautiful wood floors but how do I clean them? What should I use?

Some of the things people have said to use are vinegar, murphy's oil, Mr. Clean, and so on. Should these be used on wood floors? There are a few things to consider when choosing a product to maintain your expensive investment. The first thing to consider is the floor itself. Your wood floor has a in laymans terms a plastic coating on it. Most coatings are affected negatively by acids so that would sorry to say rule out many cleaners like vinegar and Mr. Clean. The next thing to consider is the soil load. Most of the soil that comes into your house or facility is acid based, again we usually don't clean an acid with an acid. That's what makes using vinegar even harder on your floors as now you will have too much acid on the floor and could have premature fading.

So how do you choose the right cleaner? First you want to look for something that is Neutral. A good neutral cleaner will be effective on acid or alkaline soil loads, and not fad your floor prematurely. Second if you are wanting something green look for something that is ECP certified. If this is not available ask for an environmentally preferable cleaner but ask what makes the cleaner environmentally preferable.

Yes finding the right cleaner is not always easy but is sure well worth the time and investment.