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.