Stop Using Bleach!

620466077c427f141effa294382f5fba_XLTraditionally, people turn to bleach as the ultimate cleaning product. It has such a strong smell, why wouldn’t it’s cleaning ability match, and destroy any and all dirt on a surface? There is a huge misconception in our society that bleach cleans and disinfects. While bleach is able to disinfect and kill bacteria on a surface, it doesn’t posses any cleaning agents to actually clean the surface. In fact, when used as a cleaner, the oxidizing effect of bleach gets tied up in the soils thus reducing it’s killing ability. Bleach also expires quickly, losing 50% of its strength after just 90 days of being packaged.
 
In addition to lacking cleaning capabilities, with continued use over time, bleach can destroy the surfaces it is used on. Surfaces will fade in color, floor polishes will dull or haze and the bleach will slowly eat away and degrade the surfaces.
 
There are also dangers associated with the use of bleach. Per OSHA, when using bleach in a workplace, you are required to wear gloves and a mask as the bleach can cause problems with the eyes, skin and respiratory track.
 
This is why, at Pike Systems, we recommend using Vindicator or Contact 256 to both disinfect and clean surfaces. These have the same capabilities of bleach, with the addition of a cleaning agent, without the harsh smell.  Do you know what your facility uses as a multi-purpose surface cleaner?

The Psychology Behind a Clean Facility

brain_gearsBooks and careers have been written and made all based on the psychology of why and how we shop. For example, Sephora Cosmetics is designed to look like a candy store for makeup, thus igniting our youthful joy from trips to a candy store potentially pushing us to purchase more. However, it wasn’t until a recent article in ISSA Magazine, that I really began to understand the psychology of clean… or dirty.

When we enter a new facility, we immediately begin to judge using our senses and visual cues. What does it smell like? Do we see dust or trash? Does it feel grimy? These reactions will solidify our overall perception of the facility and the business that resides within that building. Unfortunately, people tend to surmise the worst assuming that a surface is dirty even when they can’t see dirt. The tough part here is that, for the most part, cleaning is invisible. We notice when environments are not clean, but hardly do we take notice of an impeccably clean facility.

Most often, the spaces perceived to be dirty are the restrooms. It comes down to trust. Very few people trust that others have washed their hands after using the restroom – and rightly so – the percentages of people who wash their hands are absolutely not has high as they should be!

Interestingly enough, people tend to behave in a given environment in a way that corresponds with how they perceive that environment. For instance, at a sports stadium, it is completely acceptable to leave food cups on the floor near your seat and throw peanut shells on the floor, but put this in an entirely different environment, like a school cafeteria, and it would be frowned upon.

So how do you overcome this mentality of clean or dirty and have your facility perceived as clean? Have custodians clean while there are people there to observe them if you are able! But also, make sure your space is always impeccably cleaned, it is a combination of both perceiving, and actually being clean! Our job as a distributor is to give custodial operations the tools they need to increase awareness of cleanliness. 

Why Water Conservation is Important and How it is Changing the Way We Clean

concept of water conservation in AmericaWith more and more facilities striving to become green, we are seeing a rise in concern for our water consumption and justly so…

When you look at a map, it seems odd to think that water conservation would be an issue. There is WAY more blue water than green land on a map. However, 97.5% of Earth’s water is saltwater, leaving only 2.5% of freshwater, 70% of which is inaccessible in the polar ice caps (World Health Organization). The average American family of 4 consumes 400 gallons of water a day, 27% of which is just in flushing the toilet. While we as Americans are lucky to always have drinking, shower and toilet water accessible to us, if we don’t take steps to conserve, one day access might not be so convenient.

Some of the cleaning tasks required to maintain a healthy facility have required a large amount of water, but because of water conservation concerns, we are starting to see a shift in how we clean:

  • Scrubbers and other floor machines are using a fraction of the water they once did, some constructed with a water filtration and recycling tank. The Intellibot Robotic Floor Scrubber is just one of those machines. It has a 4-stage filtration and recycling system uses 85% less water and chemistry. The Intellibot is also able to run in the dark thus conserving both water and energy.
  • Bathroom facilities are shifting towards water-less urinals.
  • Mops and towels are being made with microfibers which use less water when cleaning.
  • Foam soap uses less water to rinse off than liquid soap

 

Water usage is interconnected to energy consumption. If you can conserve water in your facility, you can conserve energy at the same time. Start taking steps toward becoming Green today!  

Do you know the difference between green and sustainable? Read here!

 

What is the difference between Green and Sustainable?

sustainability-in-material-handling

It is often thought that the terms “green” and “sustainable” can be used interchangeably, tomato/tomoto right? Wrong. Being “green” is actually just one component in a much more complex system that is Sustainability. As it becomes more and more popular to make things green or sustainable, especially when discussing facility operations, we wanted to make sure that you knew the difference between the two as well! 

 Let’s start with the term “green.” Green is focused solely on products and procedures that reduce the impact on users, building occupants and the environment. This could mean using a chemical that has a green seal and less hazardous materials or it could be implementing machines that require significantly less water and electricity than the norm. Today, we have many options available for implementing green procedures into any and all types of buildings.

“Sustainability” is a much more broader term than “green.” Being green or environmental is just one of the three components that make up sustainability.

3 Legs of the “Sustainability” Tripod:

  • Environmental: Green Cleaning. Using products that are more efficient with chemicals that do not harm the environment.
  • Social: Looks at social equality and human resource. Are the employees making a fair living wage, do they have health insurance, do they have safe working conditions? This is historically the hardest area of the tripod for compliance. Part time workers, because they do not qualify for health insurance, are not considered sustainable.
  • Financial: Company must be able to sustain itself before it can implement other sustainable practices. Ie. Have a fair amount of profits.

 As you can incite from the definitions above, implementing green practices into custodial operations is a much more achievable goal than becoming sustainable.  However both are important components of reducing our footprint on the earth and creating a place for many future generations to live happily. 

 Call us for more information on what your facility can be doing to become more green!

How to remove ice melt and rock salt

 

Winter weather brings with it additional challenges for keeping hard floors and carpets clean and looking great. Ice melt/rock salt leaves a haze on carpet and hard flooring. Some products do a better job than others at removing ice melt/rock salt residue. For instance, Top Clean and Delta Mild work great, but Super Shine All and LinPol do not. All floor cleaners will remove small amounts of ice melt/rock salt residue but when conditions get particularly sloppy, a neutralizer is required. We have some good news – whether you are removing ice melt from carpet or floors, you can use the same product: NutraRinse. It is important to take the proper steps in cleaning to ensure good results!

 

For those of you who pay someone for snow removal and salting, it is highly likely that you are getting rock salt, which is harder to remove than ice melt (Hint: ice melt is typically colored, rock salt is not). There are two challenges with removal: (1) selecting the right product and (2) putting down enough water to remove residue.

 

Here are the proper steps we recommend in cleaning ice melt off your floors:

 

– Be sure to follow directions on ice melt so that you do not over apply – over application causes more mess and more work for you later!

 

– Place entrance mats at all doors to prevent excess salt from entering your building – Note: an overly wet and saturated mat will not be able to its job and needs to be replaced or extracted.

 

– Procedure for cleaning:

  • Remove all obstacles and furniture including entrance matting
  • Dust mop the area if the floor is dry
  • Place “wet floor” signs at the entrances and exits
  • Fill your mop bucket, scrubber, or extractor with NutraRinse (HIL0021906), a high quality neutralizer and conditioner formulated to help eliminate alkaline residue on floors. Mix NutraRinse at 4 oz per gallon in your mop buck/autoscrubber/extractor
  • Autoscrubber: After you fill the autoscrubber, begin scrubbing the floor using a double-scrub method. Leave the squeegee and vacuum motor off for the first pass, then turn the vacuum motor on and lower the squeegee while continuing to apply solution during the second pass.
  • Extractor: Follow standard floor extraction process, if there si still a large amount of salt residue present, repeat treatment
  • Once the floor is dry, return any furniture or mats and remove the “wet floor” signs.

 

Here’s to keeping your sanity and your floors clean during the long winter months!