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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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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Why You Want To Use Water Base Gym Finish

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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.

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Cleaning Up Close: Gym Floor Finish

Refinishing gym floors is a very labor and time intensive process. I wanted to understand the effects of use on gym floor finish and how the damage to the surface caused the floor to lose it’s shine. I had an opportunity to take a closer look at a floor using a microscope at 400x magnification. I was surprised at what I saw. Read more

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.

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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

green cleaning focus

Green Cleaning Focus On Health

So much has been said about green cleaning. Too often the green cleaning focus is simply grabbing a products with a green claim. If this is what your green cleaning program consists of, you may be making a big mistake.

To understand what it really means to clean green, you must first understand what it means to clean. When we go through the process of cleaning, we are doing more than just removing dirt. Cleaning has 3 main focuses, preventing long term damage, improving the appearance and most importantly, keeping the facility healthy.

Preventing Damage

When you clean a surface, you are stopping the build up of contaminates. If left unchecked, dirt, residues and minerals will deteriorate the surface. Long term damage will occur from not maintaining the cleanliness of a facility.

Green cleaning should look to not only stop the damage to a facility, but to aid in lengthening the life of the materials within a building. Reducing the need to remodel and replace, prevents the use of raw materials to create replacements.

Improving Appearance

It is often said in the cleaning industry that we shouldn’t clean for appearance. While this is true, if it looks dirty, it usually is. Appearance isn’t not something that should be overlooked but used as a measuring tool. It shouldn’t be the only factor used, but it is the one thing we are constantly being graded on. So keeping things looking good should always be important

Green Cleaning Focus on Health

Health should always be the goal of any cleaning program. When we reduce and remove germs from a building, those that work and live there benefit. Because green cleaning focus is on using safer practices and products, everyone wins. Keeping building safe and healthy for everyone should be included in everyone’s mindset. From educating the cleaning staff on the best ways to reduce contaminates, to the build occupants understanding the need to reduce use. Green cleaning focus is what will make the biggest difference when going green!