There is a lot of money to be saved when you use the correct tools. Mops, brooms, cleaning equipment, scrubbers, floor machines, brushes, squeegee, cleaning supplies, industrial supplies, microfiber, vacuum cleaners, backpack vacuum cleaners.

floor burnishing

Burnishing Floor Finish A Quick Guide

Burnishing Floor Finish

The best way to maintain floor finish shine is high-speed burnishing. This process is done with a rotary machine that has a pad turning speed of more than 1000 rpm but more commonly done at 1500 to 2000 rpm. Burnishing floor finish is helpful for two reasons. First it makes floor finish shine but more important, it makes the floor easier to keep clean. This is because it smooths out the scratches in the floor, removing areas for dirt to settle. Once dirt gets is in the scratches, it is difficult for regular cleaning to remove and with foot traffic will continue to further scratch the floor. Read more

brown paper towels

Brown Paper Is No Longer Only Post Consumer

While browsing the headlines to day, I saw this article from the Wall Street Journal on the brown paper trend to promote green cleaning. It reminded me of a humorous encounter I had while selling paper products early in my career.

Years ago, when I first made the switch to selling cleaning supplies from managing cleaning operations, I was working the showroom for a cleaning supply distributor. A very nice lady came in and was asking about paper products for her church. She explained that the church didn’t really have a paper program in place and that they had been relying on members to supply their toilet tissue and towels. I guess this system had faltered, leaving them out of supplies during a busy Sunday service. Read more

backpack vacuums back pain

Backpack Vacuums Not Back Pain Vacuums

Don’t Backpack Vacuums Hurt Your Back?

When asked this question, I always have to laugh and tell my soon to be famous story of the lady that worked for me cleaning offices and her experience with backpack vacuums. She was constantly having back and arm pain. Each day she would groan when she would stand up and say “Oh! My back is killing me!” One day I asked if she had every tried a backpack vacuum. Well you would have thought that I had asked her to move an entire room of file cabinets. She said there was no way that her back would be able to withstand an entire shift with “that thing” on her back. Read more

remove permanent marker from dry erase boards

Remove Permanent Marker From Whiteboards Easily.

I would bet the day the dry erase whiteboard was invented, while the creator was out to lunch, someone came in and wrote on it with a permanent marker. Thus leaving us all to battle with how to remove permanent marker from whiteboards. Read more

safe cleaning products

Are Biodegradable Cleaners Safe Cleaning Products?

Biodegradable is, by definition, made of substances that will decay relatively quickly as a result of bacteria breaking them down into elements such as carbon that are naturally recycled. Leaving little impact on the environment as a result. Safe cleaning products require more than just being biodegradable.

The claim “biodegradable” is being associated with environmentally friendly, or green cleaning products. In many cases they can be synonymous, but there are a lot exceptions. Many things that are biodegradable and natural and plant based and earth friendly and “green” are not friendly to our own personal environments. In the world of cleaning and green cleaning, several come to mind.

Not All ‘Natural’ Chemicals Are Safe Cleaning Products

d’Limonene is one of the first I think of. Back when I first started cleaning, we had a product that we called Sewer Sweet. It may have actually been called that but I never knew for sure. It seemed that the label had always eaten off by the product. It had a very strong orange smell. It was really greasy when you got it on your hands. (We rarely used gloves of any kind back then unless it was cold.)

It would cause our skin to tingle and if it was spilled on the ground, it would be slippery and was extremely difficult to wash away.  We poured from a 5 gallon metal container into a drinking cup to then be carried to a stinky storm or floor drain.

If we made it to the drain before the cup dissolved, it would then be poured down the drain, giving the area a fragrance of orange for a few hours until the foul odors returned. I know now it was a completely natural product called d’Limonene, which is oil that is extracted from the peal of citrus fruit.

Safe Cleaning Products and Not So Safe

Although  d’Limonene is a solvent that is much safer than most other chemical solvents and is much less toxic than compounds like mineral spirits but is classified as a skin irritant. It is biodegradable, but due to its low flash point, it must be treated as hazardous waste for disposal. It is also currently regulated by the E.P.A. as a VOC.  d’Limonene is an environmentally preferable product (EPP) when used as is or as part of an EPP formulation but has many precautions to follow when using it.

Using d-limonene can cause polymers to swell. Many plastic materials can be damaged by its use. This includes equipment seals made of rubber or Neoprene, which are the materials used in many types of cleaning equipment and tools. It can also damage many surfaces that are plastic based or polymer coated. (ie: floor finish, sealed stone and poly based fabrics)

It is suggested that when working with d-limonene, solvent-resistant gloves should be worn as well as eye protection. It will deplete the natural oils in your skin and will irritate your skin and can cause sever damage to your eyes if not flushed immediately.

There is no question that biodegradable cleaners in general are a better choice. With the evolution of technology, there are very effective products available that can give you good cleaning results. Be cautious though. Be sure to read the label and safety data sheet before using any chemical product.

Just don’t assume that because something is natural or biodegradable that it is safe. Safety first. Results second. And if those two check out, then the product will almost always comply with green cleaning standards. Green cleaning means not only safe cleaning products, but effective ones as well.

sticky floor
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Why You Have Sticky Floor and How To Fix It

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Cleaning Chemicals - Neutralizer or Neutral Cleaner?

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Cleaning Rubber Gym Floors
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Cleaning Rubber Gym Floors

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Winter Floor Care Tips - Removing ice melt from floors

Winter Floor Care Tips

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High Speed Burnisher
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My First Experience With a High Speed Burnisher

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how to remove black scuff marks from shoes

My Take On Removing Black Scuff Marks

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25 Percent Solids Floor Finish
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25 Percent Solids Floor Finish. A Closer Look

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hand sanitizer caution dangers

Hand Sanitizer Caution

It seems everyone is worried about your health. The local pharmacy is offering donuts to everyone who comes by for their “drive through” flu shot. The facial tissue companies are in full production of ads to remind you to not use your sleeve. The rush is on to stock the shelves with as much hand sanitizer as possible. Are these on your shopping list? If alcohol based hand sanitizer is used, you should use caution.

Hand Sanitizer Risks

Alcohol based hand sanitizer is pretty much everywhere these days. There is a hand sanitizer stand at the gym. There is a hand sanitizer stand at the entrance to the grocery store. It’s installed throughout school buildings. Hand sanitizer does provide a quick fix for bacteria control when soap and water are not available.

Remember though, hand sanitizer needs to be used with some caution. The alcohol can dry out your skin dramatically. Make sure to keep your hands healthy by using hand lotion to keep your skin from drying out.

Hand Sanitizer and Fire

Always be mindful that these products are ethyl alcohol based. The same ethyl alcohol that is used for fuel. Just like with any flammable liquid, cautions need to be taken.

In this quote from the Centers For Disease Control Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Health-Care Settings dated October 2002, the dangers of alcohol hand sanitizer is recognized.

“Alcohols are flammable. Flash points of alcohol-based hand rubs range from 21ºC to 24ºC(69ºF to 75ºF), depending on the type and concentration of alcohol present. As a result, alcohol based hand rubs should be stored away from high temperatures or flames in accordance with National Fire Protection Agency recommendations.

In Europe, where alcohol-based hand rubs have been used extensively for years, the incidence of fires associated with such products has been low. One recent U.S. report described a flash fire that occurred as a result of an unusual series of events, which included a HCW(Health Care Worker) applying an alcohol gel to her hands, immediately removing a polyester isolation gown, and then touching a metal door before the alcohol had evaporated. Removing the polyester gown created a substantial amount of static electricity that generated an audible static spark when the HCW touched the metal door, igniting the evaporated alcohol on her hands. This incident emphasizes the need to rub hands together after application of alcohol-based products until all the alcohol has evaporated.”

In the winter months, humidity levels are much lower which leads to even more static electricity in the air. If you choose alcohol based sanitizers, be aware of where and how you use them.

Alcohol Hand Sanitizer Safety Tips:

  • Keep away from heat sources.
  • Use caution when applying them where static electricity is high.
  • Do not store in unapproved containers.
Dirty Cleaning Tools

Cleaning Tools Can’t Clean When They Are Dirty?

Can a dirty mop clean? Can you use a dirty rag to sanitize a table? How much dirt can a vacuum expel before turning it off and just pushing it around would make more sense? When your cleaning tools are dirty, you aren’t cleaning.
If the cleaning tools you are using to clean, are in fact dirty, the effort, time and expense is wasted. You would never begin cooking with a dirty knife so why do so many continue to use cleaning tools? (cleaning is the act of controlling the spread of illness) It does not matter how extensive your everyday cleaning procedures are and how much training you give your staff, if they are cleaning with dirty cleaning tools.

Dirty Cleaning Tools Aren’t Cleaning

It seems that it has become acceptable for cleaning tools to be dirty. After all, that is the way it has always been, right? At least once a day, while out and about, I see one of the following offences when it comes to cleaning tools in the work place.

  • Dust mops that look filthy but are still pushing debris down the hallway.
  • Mop buckets that are full of dirty water, but are still being used to spread dirt around the floor.
  • Feather dusters causing dust to be moved from the counter top into the air where everyone gets to breathe it in.

Cleaning Tools Are Wasting Your Time

  • The dust mop is leaving behind more dust that was there in the first place
  • The mop and bucket are just evenly distributing the dirt across the floor.
  • There is a cloud of dust in the air, settling back down on the surface.

There is a cost for complacency. The cost is moving the same dirt tomorrow that was moved today. This takes precious time. Time that is already in short supply, yet every day we just accept the fact that these are the tools we work with and this is how it is.

Next time you use a cleaning tool ask yourself “Is this going to help me clean better or just make more work tomorrow?”

automatic floor scrubber

Automatic Floor Scrubbers Are No Longer A Luxury

While shopping with my family the other day, we saw a custodian mopping the floor. Both the water and mop were extremely dirty and as was the floor she had just “cleaned.” My first thought was to wonder why they didn’t use an automatic floor scrubber. She was working really hard and getting poor results. It frustrates me when custodians put so much effort into cleaning but are not given the best tools for the job. Read more

How Microfiber Cleans

How Microfiber Works To Clean

If you are using microfiber cleaning tools, then you know how well they work. Cleaning is much easier with microfiber mops, dusters and cloths. But have you ever wondered how microfiber cleans so much better?

What Is Microfiber?

Microfiber cleaning tools are made up of tiny fibers. They are 10x finer than silk. Up to 30x finer than cotton. 40x Finer than wool. And 100x thinner than a human hair. That’s pretty thin!

Cleaning Microfiber Size

Microfiber fibers are actually made from plastic. Cleaning microfiber consists of two types of plastic. Polyester and Polyamide. Polyester provides the scrubbing action while polyamide gives it the absorbing properties. Typical cleaning microfiber consists of 70-90% polyester and 10-30% polyamide.

These 2 plastics are extruded under high pressure into the fibers. Then they go through a splitting process that opens spaces or channels between them.

microfiber after extrusion

These microscopic fibers are spun together to form a strand of thread. This thread is woven in to cloths, yarn and even fabric.

How Microfiber Cleans

Microfiber cleans because of both the properties of the 2 types of plastic material and the channels between them. When a surface is wiped with a microfiber cloth or mop, dirt is scrubbed away by the polyester, and held in the channels by the polyamide. This trapping and holding of dirt is what really makes microfiber work so well when cleaning.

Traditional cotton cleaning materials have to trap the dirt in between the fibers and threads. Because they are solid, there is no where for the finer particles to be trapped. They rely on chemicals and liquid to assist in absorbing dirt. Microfiber can capture much smaller particles and hold on to them with its gripping fibers. Which makes how microfiber cleans, so different than traditional fibers.

How Microfiber Cleans

Other Factors That Make Microfiber Clean So Well

Microfiber is plastic. Plastic will not rot. Also, unlike cotton which is a natural fiber, microfiber will not aide in the growth of bacteria. This means that as long as it is rinsed out, and cleaned on a regular basis, it will not stink. Yay! No more smelly mops!

Another advantage is being plastic, it does rinse out very easily and is very durable. If cared for properly, microfiber mops and cloths will last a long time. And long lasting cleaning tools equals money saved!

 

Backpack Vacuums Improve Indoor Air Quality

Backpack Vacuums Improve Air Quality and Comfort

There are many choices on the market today for vacuum cleaners. Everything from the ultra light weight fancy (and expensive) models to having a central vacuum installed in your home.  Through the years it seems that everyone has focused on cleaning the carpet, but what about the health and comfort of the user? Backpack vacuums improve indoor air quality while making cleaning comfortable. And they make it possible to clean in those hard to reach areas too!

I have been using a backpack vacuums for years both on the job and around my house. To be honest, I rarely use my uprights anymore because they are simply not as handy.

Here are just a few of the benefits of backpack vacuums:

More Effective at Removing Dirt From Carpet

With an upright vacuum you typically have a brush roller that agitates the carpet. This actually stirs up dust that escapes the vacuum of the machine. This goes into the air for you and your family to breathe. Backpack vacuums are almost always direct suction.

This is helpful in a couple of ways. It forms a better suction with the floor that allows much less dust and dirt back into the air. It also has no brush belts to replace. If there is a loose strand of carpet, it will not make it pull. The turning brush can wrap the yarn, pulling an un-repairable line across some types of carpet.

Much More Maneuverable

You can reach areas under and behind furniture very easily. Without having to stop and change brush heads or pull out a wand as you have to with upright vacuums. You will find yourself more apt to tackling additional tasks when it is easier.

Also, since there is no brush to grab those unknown objects, you don’t have to worry about damaging cords or other unseen obstacles. Around my house, Legos are fair game. If the backpack vacuum finds them before you do, they are gone.

You can also easily go from carpet to hard floors as well. This is a great advantage when tasked with cleaning different types of flooring. Stairs are also simple to clean!

You Can Vacuum More Than The Carpet

Since the motor and canister of the machine are kept comfortably out of the way, you are free to raise the light weight wand or hose up off the floor and reach places that you would typically need a ladder for.

Ceiling fans, plant ledges, light fixtures, vents and baseboards are just part of the process. No need for those dreaded full day projects. This helps to control even more dust and air pollution that goes unchecked with most other types of vacuums.

When you vacuum these areas rather than wiping them, you put less dust back into the air. Backpack vacuums improve indoor air quality simply by being able to get to the areas that normally don’t get cleaned.

Backpack Vacuums are Easier on You

Our backs and hips are designed to support weight. Our arms are not. When you are using an upright vacuum, you are pushing several pounds repeatedly in awkward directions. The result is sore arms, wrists, and even shoulders and back.

With the backpack, the weight of the machine is where we are suppose too support it, on our backs. Without the extra housing, wheels and handle that upright have, backpack vacuums weigh a lot less than you would think. Most are less than 10 pounds empty.

Because you only have to move the wand and hose, there is less risk of fatigue from repetitive motions. Moving less bulk also means less damaged walls and furniture as well.

If it is more comfortable to vacuum, you are likely to spend more time vacuuming, right? More vacuuming means less dirt. Less dirt means cleaner air.

Backpack Vacuums Improve Indoor Air Quality

Most have very efficient filtration systems and some have H.E.P.A. options available as well. If you are going to go to the trouble to vacuum, make sure your vacuum cleaner isn’t putting the dirt back in the air. It is really amazing how much backpack vacuums improve indoor air quality!

Backpack vacuums very in specification based on the manufacturer. Much like anything else you wear, they need to fit you. Most have very adjustable
shoulder and waste straps to fit just about anyone.  There are many different configurations and designs so find one that is right for you. Like I tell everyone who objects at first to the idea of a trying a backpack vacuum, if you just give it a chance you will like it. I have not had anyone want to give it back.

Find many different styles and models of backpack vacuums here. If you have any questions about the use or specs of specific units, drop me a line in the
comments section of this post.