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"