Cleaning Awareness Starts With You

Cleaning Awareness Starts With You! — Learn Clean

I often get frustrated at the lack of attention paid to cleaning. For all of the money that is spent on labor, supplies and equipment, we should really be getting better results. Has our society just become use to poor results? It seems that cleaning awareness is missing.

Lack of Cleaning Awareness

I took the picture below in a public restroom where I was helping my son use the facilities. Since he could not reach the urinal, I had to hold him up. His feet were on top of my feet and left a sticky residue on my shoes. Also, due to excessive use of cleaning chemicals, the floor was sticky. And as you can see, there was obviously a lack of attention paid in the “Dribble Zone.”

Dirty Restroom Floors are unacceptable. Lack of cleaning awareness.

Wasted Cleaning Effort

My real problem with the situation is that someone was paid to mop this floor, a lot! It was obvious from the sticky chemical is evidence!  They are doing the job. A supervisor should be inspecting the work. It was a busy restroom. Have we just come to accept it. No one seems to notice or care that the floor is not fit for zoo animals? The monkey house is at least hosed out once a day?

Therefore, all the work, time and money put into restroom cleaning would be better spent on a portable toilet just outside that will be sucked out each day and hosed out weekly.

In addition, this restroom exited into a carpeted area. As a result, everything that is on the restroom floor is tracked out on to the carpet. Carpet that parents have no problem allowing their children to crawl around on.

Who’s Fault Is It?

So who is to blame? First of all, the custodian is at the bottom of the list. This person is doing their job with the tools and knowledge they are given. Maybe it should be the supervisor? Is it this person’s fault that they have never been shown what is acceptable or even possible?

I really feel it is the patrons. An industry study has shown that 94% of patrons will not return to a business if the restrooms are not clean, but do they ever tell the business? We can’t just walk away without saying anything. We have to let them know that their idea of clean and ours is not the same.

Unhappy customers equals no customers. Hence, no customers equals no business, jobs, money ect…

Trust me, if you talk, now more than ever, they will listen and act.

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.

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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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.

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