It seems neutralizer and neutral cleaners get confused a lot. Using the correct product, in the correct manner, can save you hours of hard work and frustration. For years, I have heard the terms “neutralizer” used to describe a general purpose floor cleaner, which would be incorrect. Like wise, there are many cleaners that use a “neutral floor cleaner” when they should be using a neutralizer. Here are the correct uses for each. Read more
When it comes to commercial janitorial supplies, no area gets more attention than cleaning chemicals. There seems to be a chemical for everything. Windows, tile, grout, brass, stainless steel. The list goes on an on. But these precious liquids can also be one of the biggest hazards in the janitorial supply closet. This is why it is important to take some time when evaluating your needs. Read more
Winter Floor Care
Winter weather brings with it additional areas of concern for cleaning professionals. The cold and snow add steps to many cleaning routines and present different challenges to maintaining the cleanliness of facilities. One of the most common is trying to remove salt residue from floors. Read more
Cleaning without leaving streaks on windows and other surfaces is always a big challenge. When there are still smudges on the glass after cleaning, it makes the effort seem wasted. Why does this happen? After all, it is window “cleaner” isn’t it? The whole reason for its existence is to get rid of marks on glass, not add to them? How to clean without streaks isn’t really difficult. You just have to understand what is going on. Read more
Restaurant cleaning has always perplexed me. Why do they make it seem so difficult?
I recently went out to eat with my family and some friends to an upscale chain restaurant. This particular chain goes overboard on decorating. Large concrete statues and fountains great you as you approach the rotating door. Natural stone walls, expensive lighting and very plush seating were carefully selected and placed to give the feel of luxury. After being seated, the menu prices matched the decor. This is not my normal environment. I am more comfortable in a “mom and pop” style place where a cheese burger and fries tops the selection.
I can tell you though, I will probably never return to this restaurant. All of the money spent on appearance was wasted as soon as we walked through the circular door. It was covered with hand prints, splatter, and general dirt. Inside was the same. The plush bench we sat on in the waiting area was sticky and the floor was un-swept. The table where we were sat was more of the same.
We gave my 2-year-old son some crayons and paper to occupy him. As 2 year olds do, he dropped one of his crayons on the floor. When I picked it up, it was covered in some sort of sticky goo that really made me question whether or not the floor had ever been cleaned. Since it was the green crayon and there was no way I was going to give it back to him, we ended up with a pink tractor and grass in the drawing.
When he needed to use the restroom, I cringed, and carefully lead him to the men’s room. As expected, it was more of the same. The sticky, dirty, expensive tile floors and walls made me constantly guard against him reaching out and touching. (Anyone who has ever taken a 2-year-old to the restroom knows the challenges involved with this.) If this is what the lobby, restrooms and eating area looked like, I would hate to see the kitchen.
Restaurant Cleaning Has a Cost
Why do we tolerate poor restaurant cleaning? Businesses spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop and promote their products. They invest in lavish decorating. Spend countless hours refining their offering, to have it all go to waste by not putting the same amount of care and thought into cleaning. What would the cost have been to solve all of these issues? I am going to say less than the cost of a statue.
The cost of not fixing these is un-measurable because people typically will not say anything to the business, but will tell everyone they know.
The really disturbing issue that comes to mind is that they probably do clean. I am sure someone cleans the restroom every day. Someone does sweep the floor and wipe off the entrance glass. They are spending the time and money to go through the motions. But again, this time and money are wasted. The procedures are incorrect or the products they use are ineffective or not used in the proper manner. This is something I see all the time.
Facilities allocate the time to clean. They invest in the products to clean and then have staff put forth the effort to clean, but the results don’t match the effort. If it isn’t working, find a different way. Does it take any more effort to mop a floor with a dirty mop than a clean one? I am still sliding the mop along the floor. Would it cost more money to use a clean mop and change the water in the bucket?
Reflection On Over All Quality
The cleanliness of any facility speaks volumes to the type of service that will be given. Retail stores, restaurants, office buildings and schools can all have their image affected by cleanliness. What is your level of cleanliness saying about you? Despite best efforts are you still getting the same results?
With a few small adjustments, time spent cleaning can produce better results which will pay for themselves very quickly. Most of the time it is just a change in the way cleaning is done.
In the case of this or any eating establishment, the return business would far outweigh any increase in restaurant cleaning cost.
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.
Do you know how much it cost to clean? You will probably point to a stack of papers or a spreadsheet that is the “ Cleaning Budget.” A budget is defined as “An estimate, often itemized, of expected income and expense for a given period in the future and a plan of operations based on such an estimate” How has your plan changed lately? Where did this estimate come from? Is it realistic? Read more