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.

cleaning myths

5 Dangerous Cleaning Myths

Cleaning Myths – Unproductive and Dangerous

Cleaning Myths are everywhere. This works better than that. “I sprayed this on and it was clean!” The impact of cleaning affects everyone. From the kitchen and tables in a restaurant, to the restroom in your home, the cleanliness or lack thereof, can influence odors, appearance and most of all health.

Since cleaning is actually a rather complicated science, most of us rely on what we have heard or on the broad explanations supplied by-product manufactures  in commercials or on bottle labels. The reality is that what you currently do  to clean may be the cause of your cleaning problems.

5 Cleaning Myths that explain the results you are getting and how to improve.

#1 – Clean Is A Matter of Opinion Cleaning Myths

“What I call clean and what you call clean are two different things.” This is a statement that moms make every day to their teenage kids when inspecting their rooms and although this may be a good  way to get a kid to improve the tidiness of her room, it is not the case when it comes to cleaning for health.

To clean something means to remove all soils that can attract bacteria and promote its growth.

With methods such as A.T.P. testing and even simple black light inspections, it becomes apparent that a surface that looks clean, is in fact not. Clean is not a guess or  opinion but a fact.

#2 – More Chemicals Equals Less Dirt Cleaning Myths

It is an old statement that many still believe, “A little works good. A lot works better” This couldn’t be farther from the truth for cleaning. The overuse of chemical concentrates can cause  your cleaning efforts to back fire.

When too much chemical is used it will leave a residue on surfaces that attract more dirt. Although these residues can be rinsed with clean water to remove, it adds another step to the cleaning process. Essentially you have to re-clean the surface to clean away the  cleaner. This makes no sense in the case of most cleaners.

To add to the confusion, an old trick that many chemical manufactures still employee is to direct users to use more than really needed. This leads to more product sold and also attracts more dirt so you have to clean it again sooner.

Note: Any product with an E.P.A. registration must be used at the required dilution to effectively provide the kill claims.

#3 – If It Smells Good, It’s Clean Cleaning Myths

Smell is a very powerful sense. It can influence perception in dramatic ways. When it comes to cleaning, we associate clean with an odor, in many cases it is bleach or pine or lemon. This is because these odors have been connected with many popular cleaning chemicals throughout the years. The problem is that most of these chemicals cover up to real issue and rely on a “clean scent.”

The smell of clean is no odor at all. The compounds used for fragrances are in many cases exaggerated to the point of leaving a bio film behind that can attract dirt and bacteria.

For the record, if a restroom smells like stale cherry, it’s dirty. End of story.

#4 – Disinfectant Cleaner Cleaning Myths

“Wow! It says right here on the label ‘Disinfectant  Cleaner!’ That means I only need one product to clean and disinfect!” Yes, but make sure your read the directions on the label. It won’t say it on the front of the bottle or even in the catalog descriptions, but there are always at least 2 steps to the process and the product must be used as if it were at least 2 different chemicals.

The E.P.A. disinfection guidelines all include the statement “On Pre Cleaned, Non Porous surfaces.” This means that you must clean the surface first before moving on to the next step. Very few do this. In fact, I would guess that less that 10% of housekeepers even know about this. The disinfecting step is to apply the product and allow it to remain moist for a prescribed amount of time. Then, in most cases you still have a third step to wipe the surface again to remove residue. This also removes bacteria killed in the disinfection process.

Dead bacteria become a great food source for live bacteria if not removed. If used to clean a floor, the residue can be so bad that your feet will stick to the floor.

#5 – Bleach Is The Answer Cleaning Myths

“Mom always used bleach to clean everything.” She may have but there was very little cleaning going on. Cleaning chemical properties help to loosen and suspend soil in the solution so that they can be removed. Bleach has no such properties. It is a killer of bacteria. That’s all.

If the surface is contaminated with any number of micro-organisms, bleach will kill them if used properly. The problem is that with even a moderate soil load, it is not capable of removing the excess soil and deceased bacteria. Once it has lost is killing ability in a very short time, other bacteria show up is droves to feed on this buffet and the effort put in to cleaning the surface is wasted. Bleach is also dangerous for humans since we are just a larger organism.

The fumes that give us that desired “Bleach Clean” smell are toxic and can contribute to body burden.

Knowing the facts about cleaning can help to improve your overall results and also improve your health. Taking time to find out what is actually happening when you clean can save time, money and give you the peace of mind that if you say it is clean, it is clean!

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square scrubber floor stripping

Square Scrubber Floor Stripping 101

The idea of a square floor scrubber has been around for decades with limited success. The concept was good but not good enough to change the way the cleaning industry operates. This is quickly changing thanks to the pairing of square scrubber floor stripping with abrasive pad technology. This process mechanically removes floor finish without the need for hazardous chemical strippers. The concept is changing the way floor care is looked and giving those that choose to understand it, a lot of opportunities. But the majority of the industry does not understand why it works. Here is what you need to know about the dry stripping with a square scrubber phenomenon.

Square Scrubber Floor Stripping Pad

First of all, there is a specific pad that must be used. Make sure it has grit impregnated into it and not sprayed on. These are usually a maroon color and relatively thin, compared to standard floor pads.  They are about $10-15 per pad and will cover 1000-2000 sq/ft. when used to remove floor finish in a normal situation.

Surface Floor Stripping

The process is surface stripping. When you completely strip a floor traditionally, you remove all of the finish from the floor, including the pores of the tile. When you re-apply the new floor finish it must fill these pores. This is why the first few coats of finish do not shine. The light is being deflected by the pores. Once the finish is above the pores of the floor, (usually 2-4 coats) the surface is then smooth, so the light reflects directly back to your eye. This is the gloss or shine.

The surface stripping procedure removes the majority of the finish down to the tile level. Since the grit in the pad is larger than the pores in the tile, it does not affect the finish in the pores. Now if there are years of buildup on the floor or if the finish has been worn off and dirt is in the tile, this is not effective and chemical stripping is the best option.

Advantages of Surface Floor Stripping

But in a typical situation, the surface stripping will do a couple of positive things for you. It will allow you to save a ton of time and effort and product. It also will reduce the chances of slip and falls plus there is no odor.

The dust can be controlled with a dust kit which will allow you to attach a back pack vacuum (recommended highly) It will also save A LOT of finish. Since you don’t have to replace the 2-4 coat in the pores of the floor, your first coat of new finish will shine. You can also use it to strip a floor one day and come back later to apply finish. Since the pores are still sealed, dirt won’t settle in to them and require scrubbing to remove.

By integrating square scrubber floor stripping into your floor care program, you will be able to spend less time stripping floors, reduce the chances of injury and save gallons of finish. Learning the limitations and the effects of its use, gives you the knowledge to capitalize on a revolution in the cleaning industry. Send me pictures of your success!

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water base gym finish

Why You Want To Use Water Base Gym Finish

Water base gym finish has many advantages that make it an attractive option when refinishing your basketball hardwood courts, but understanding these benefits and making sure they are the right choice for your gym floor maintenance program is a must. Read more

buy green cleaning products

Don’t Just Buy Green Cleaning Products

Do a search for green cleaning and your results will look like a shopping list. You will find of every type of mop and chemical that has found a way to spin themselves as eco-friendly. If you really want to clean green, find out how to do it without a purchase. The act of cleaning green has a much bigger impact than buying it. Use less. Make smart, educated choices and grow into a green mindset. You can’t just buy green cleaning products and call it a green cleaning program.

To Buy Green Cleaning Products Is A Small Part

I am not saying that you should never buy green products. There are some truly great innovations out there that make cleaning easier, safer and reduce the amount of products needed to improve our environments. Cleaning chemicals work better and cause fewer health issues. They also reduce damage to facilities. Acid bowl cleaners are not used as much and trust me your chrome thanks you for that.

The Most Powerful Green Cleaning Product

With new ways of cleaning, you no longer have to throw powerful products at stubborn soils. When you use a green cleaning mindset, you see that proactive cleaning is one of the most powerful cleaning tools out there. Most difficult cleaning tasks, the ones that require the ‘good stuff’, are often the result of neglect. Restroom odors are caused by not being able to clean at source of the odor. Hard water deposits are the result of not cleaning toilet bowls often enough.

Using a long term green cleaning mindset will result in a proactive approach that will all but eliminate the need for deep cleaning. Educate yourself and the cleaning staff that a little work today will go a long way!

Challenge yourself to resist the urge to buy green cleaning products because of green claims and buy only when improved results, reduced consumption and improved efficiency merge to change the mindset of how your cleaning is done.

back pack vacuum benefits

6 Back Pack Vacuum Advantages You May Not Realize

Do you use a back pack vacuum? You should be. There are many back pack vacuum advantages that many have yet to adopt.

The concept of the back pack vacuum is very simple. There is a canister that contains a motor, filters and collection bag. This is connected to a light weight wand by way of a hose. The wand typically has a floor tool attached that swivels. Once you place the canister on your back with the shoulder straps all you have to do is adjust the fit to be comfortable and start vacuuming. Although early designs were revolutionary in the cleaning business, they did have some drawbacks including comfort, weight, heat dispersal and maneuverability. That has all changed.

Here Are 6 Back Pack Vacuum Advantages

1. Limited Maintenance

Since back pack vacuums are direct suction, meaning there is no brush or belt blocking the flow of air, there is nothing to break or clog. Clogs can occur if the volume of debris is extreme, but items such as pebbles, paper clips, wood chips and even pen caps are not a problem to pick up. There is usually a replaceable paper bag and filter that will need to be replaced but no major replacement items. Less downtime makes everyone happy!

2. More Than The Floor

Back pack vacuums are great for more than just cleaning the floor. Because you don’t have a bulky machine on the floor, it is possible to reach a lot more places. Window sills, vents, cobwebs up in the corner. Almost anywhere you can reach, you can use a back pack vacuum. When you have a telescopic wand, reaching new heights and places is as easy as sliding the floor tool off and adding a dusting or crevasse tool.

3. Quiet

No one likes to be distracted. This usually makes vacuuming an after hours event. With technology advancing everyday, back pack vacuums are more quiet all the time. The fact that they don’t have brush motors that add excess noise makes them great for accomplishing more during business hours.

4. Go Places No Other Type of Vacuum Can Go

Without the limiting factor of a big canister or upright body, back pack vacuums let you get in areas other types of vacuums wouldn’t reach. I love being able to get those dust bunnies behind desks and cubicles. You can even get those areas behind trash cans where no one has seen since the carpet was new!

5. Not Just For Carpet

We tend to think of vacuuming as a carpet only operation. But with back pack vacuums, you can pretty much vacuum any type of floor. Instead of grabbing a broom, put on your back pack vacuum. Brooms have been shown to stir up dust which leads to more cleaning. When you vacuum a pile of dust rather than sweeping it, the debris gets captured and thrown away without worrying if it will settle back down to fight another day.

6. Stand Tall and Save Your Back

Vacuuming is one of the worst activities you can do on a regular basis for your back. The twisting action combined with the weight of the machine itself puts an unnatural strain on your body. Because back pack vacuums mainly use a light weight wand, there is a lot less demand for your back and arms. If you have a good harness built into the unit, you will hardly even notice you are wearing it!

What Is To Come For Back Pack Vacuums?

It seems like I am always find more back pack vacuum advantages. As they become more popular, their uses are always evolving. With cordless back pack vacuums entering the market and technology making them even more effective all the time, who know? You may find yourself relying on back pack vacuums for a lot more than you ever did your upright. I know I do.

cleaning hardwood gym floors

5 Tips For Cleaning Hardwood Gym Floors

The gym floor is the focal point for any school. The classic hardwood gymnasium has been a standard in the American high school for decades. Although the materials used can hold up to the most aggressive of sports, care and maintenance is required to ensure long life. Knowing the right ways for cleaning hardwood gym floors will make yours a reflection of your school’s image. Read more

square scrubber stripping video

Square Scrubber Floor Stripping Video

If you have not heard, square scrubber stripping is taking the floor care world by storm. Because they simplify the removal of floor finish, many building service contractors are finding that there is a great opportunity to improve profits. These oscillating floor machines mechanically remove floor finish, rather than using messy chemical strippers, making the floor refinishing process much faster, safer and easier.

Faster Floor Stripping

Using a surface prep pad that is very course, the high-speed oscillating head of the square floor scrubber grinds off the plastic layers of floor finish. Setup is a breeze. Simple put the pad on the square floor scrubber. Plug in the machine. Start stripping the floor.

Safer Floor Stripping

Everyone who has had to strip floors the old fashioned way knows that stripper is slippery. The layers of finish soak up the liquid stripper and start to slide as they dissolve. Many floor care professionals has war stories about slipping and falling. Square floor scrubbers don’t dissolve the old finish, so you always have solid footing

There is also the odor from the stripper. With chemical strippers, the V.O.C.’s can be a breathing hazard. With square floor scrubbers, there is no harmful chemicals, so no odor. Using a backpack vacuum will keep the dust under control or you can also use it wet, to completely eliminate dust all together.

Easier Floor Stripping

You cannot strip a floor with traditional methods without knowing exactly what you are doing. I have seen many floors ruined by inexperience. Not to mention the time that it takes to learn how to do it the right way. Square floor scrubbers are easier to operate that a standard single disk scrubber. The motion of the scrub head makes the machine extremely easy to move around. There is a very small learning curve!

The Square Scrubber Stripping Video

I made this video to show you how easy it is to strip floor finish with a square floor scrubber. Take a look and let me know your thoughts!

microfiber cleaning products

Not Using Microfiber Cleaning Products? You Are Wasting Money.

Microfiber cleaning products have taken the North American cleaning industry by, well, spring shower. For some reason, cleaning professionals have been lukewarm when it comes to converting to the use of this material that in Europe is the standard. Why is this? I say it is a perceived value over cost issue. Yes, in most cases, the upfront purchase of microfiber is significantly more than the traditional tools.

The Cost Of  Microfiber Cleaning Products

Buying a dozen microfiber mops that cost 25% – 50% more than a traditional mop has understandably met with resistance. They do also have to be laundered regularly.  You also need new hardware which also needs to be replaced. The old mop handles and buckets are obsolete. Don’t forget about the learning curve for microfiber cleaning products too. They do cause you to clean differently.

I can imagine that you are thinking “That sounds like a huge waste of money and time.”

Trust me. It is not.

Microfiber Cleaning Facts

Here are some facts associated with microfiber cleaning products.

  1. Microfiber removes 2 to 3 times more soil from a surface than traditional fibers.
  2. Depending on the system that works best for your cleaning program, very few mops are actually needed.
  3. The life expectancy of microfiber is 10 to 15 times longer.
  4. Moping with microfiber is easier, more ergonomic and reduces the amount of cleaning
    chemical needed.

A Different Way Of Cleaning

The biggest problem is that the cleaning processes are different. Using microfiber causes you to have to re-look at the way you clean. Since it’s physical properties are actually removing the majority of the soil from the surface, chemicals that have been used for years to remove soil are not are not as important. We just keep trying to use them because it is all we know. You have to have a chemical to clean right?

What Is Microfiber Made From?

Since the term microfiber only describes the thickness of the thread, 1-100th of a human hair, there is some confusion as to what makes microfiber a cleaning tool. When you purchase an article of clothing or furniture that is made of microfiber, it will typically be 100% polyester. Unlike the leisure suits from the 70’s though, the thread is much smaller, thus softer, making it more comfortable. Since polyester is a type of plastic, it is also much easier to clean.

When it comes to microfiber that we use in cleaning, there is another element, polyamide, which is a different type of man-made material. Polyamide has grabbing power that retains soil and moisture. When combined with polyester, and then split, chambers and openings are formed between the two materials that collect soil. This is different from traditional materials that are solid strands that rely on moisture and chemicals to hold soil. (see my post on how microfiber cleans)

Hold the Dirt. Don’t Just Push It Around

By actually holding the soil with in its fibers, microfiber has much more capacity. Since, again, it is all just plastic, and with limited sticky detergents, it will release then easily when rinsed, making them more effecting for longer periods. The other factor over natural fibers such as cotton is that plastic will not support the growth of bacteria. The reason cotton mops tend to have a foul smell, is that the bacteria that is picked up can actually feed on the fibers. As bacteria eat, they give off gases which is where not only mops get their smell but as do restrooms, carpets and anything else that attracts bacteria.

By using microfiber cleaning tools, you make your efforts much more productive. You will also will not need to purchase replacement mops and cloths nearly as often. And the results will be a cleaner, healthier and much safer environment.

Stop wasting money and start using microfiber!

cleaning chemical labels

Do You Read Chemical Labels?

Have you ever actually read the cleaning chemical labels? I always find it interesting to ask people about their cleaning procedures. In health care, offices, schools and even in their homes, most people rely on what the front of the bottle says and not what is in the smaller print on the back.

In several meetings with clients, I had asked about their procedures for cleaning and disinfecting. Not one of them knew or was following the directions on the product label. To be honest, this didn’t surprise me at all.

After reading the label and learning about the procedures set by the E.P.A. and the manufacturer, most of them decided that their way was acceptable. Either they didn’t have time to allow a disinfectant the prescribed dwell time or it seemed to work better at a different dilution. Regardless of the reasoning, the choice to not follow the label instructions can have very dangerous results.

Find Out For Yourself

Here are a couple of examples of cleaning chemical labels, from common household chemicals. I would bet very few know about these.

Spray Disinfecting Cleaner Chemical Labels

Did you know that disinfectant and cleaner are actually two completely different uses for the same product? According to the label, you can CLEAN with this product, you can SANITIZE with this product or you can DISINFECT with this product.

You CANNOT do all with one big swipe of the cloth though. You must do one or the other. In the case of disinfecting, you must clean prior to applying the product as a disinfectant. Then you have to let it sit on the surface for 10 minutes before wiping it off.

I can’t say this for every brand of this type of product, but the 3 I looked at all said the same thing.

Bleach Chemical Labels

First and for most, read all the warnings that any bleach product has on its label. It’s a wonder that they can squeeze that many words on the bottle. There are at least 3 different dilutions you must have ready to go prior to cleaning and sanitizing just your kitchen.

1 table-spoon of bleach to a gallon of water for washing the baby’s bottles and your dishes. Then ¾ of a cup of bleach in a gallon for the trash can, sink and counter top. You will also need 3 table spoons mixed with a gallon of water to clean your wooden cutting boards, but only need the 1 table-spoon mixture for your plastic cutting boards.

Who does this? Mom always grabbed the spray bottle that had Bleach written in pen on the side. What was the mixture in that? Oh and you will need to clean all of these surfaces with water, prior to applying the bleach which will need to stand for 5 minutes prior to wiping off.

Window Cleaner Blue Chemical Labels

If you are familiar with the pH scale, you will know that 7 is neutral, 7.1 to 14 is alkaline and 6.9 to 0 is acidic. Good ole’ Blue Window Cleaner is 10.5 to 11. That is one notch lower than a good floor stripper, which is usually 12+.

These are just a few examples of what you can learn by turning the bottle around and learning how to properly use the products you pay good money for. Regardless of whether it is a green cleaning product or not.  If you are going to spend the money to by a disinfectant, then it should be used properly to disinfect. A cleaner should be used to clean the correct surfaces at the correct dilution. If you are not following the label, then you may as well use water.

Safe Cleaning With Water!

****Update**** Activeion is no longer in business. Learn More Here

Ionized water for cleaning is nothing new, but the ability to use it at home is. Ionized water is regular tap water that has been “activated” with a slight electrical charge. This charge splits the positive and negative ions. Just like a magnet, these ions want to get back together with an opposite charge. They combine with the positive and negative ions in soil, releasing it from surfaces. After a few seconds the water is just regular water with dirt suspended in it.  The electrical charge also kills bacteria by causing their cell walls to rupture, much like chemical do, but in a lot less time. Surfaces can be sanitized with a 6 second spray. Most household sanitizers and disinfectants take up to 10 minutes to have the same effect. It’s kind of like a bug zapper for bacteria.

With the Activeion HOM, you can replace many chemical cleaners in your house. Window cleaner, sanitizing spray, wood polish, carpet spotter (yes, it works great on carpets) and general purpose cleaners.

Since it is rechargeable, and refillable with tap water, you can keep it handy to clean at home and on the go. Cleaning dishes while camping, washing hands while at sports practice, even to clean fruit and vegetables picked from the garden.  There really is no limit to what or where you can clean.

Click the banner below to see more about Activeion HOM and to order yours. We have been using this for months and find new uses for it every day!