Thursday, September 22, 2016

Scotland Recalls Cleaning Wipes

A batch of cleaning wipes was recalled in Scotland due to contamination recently.  It began in one health-care facility but was quickly recalled from all facilities in the country.  The Herald Scotland reported on this incident.  Here's the link.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

FDA Says There's No Proof Antibacterial Soaps Work

In several previous posts (April 9, 2014; April 28, 2015; September 29, 2015) I shared articles on the concerns that antibacterial soaps were under consideration as to whether or not they were effective. Now the FDA has decided they are not.  Here's a copy of the article found in Yahoo! news in the health section last week.

The federal government has banned more than a dozen chemicals long used in antibacterial soaps, saying manufacturers failed to show they are safe and kill germs. Friday's decision primarily targets two once-ubiquitous ingredients — triclosan and triclocarban — that some limited animal research suggests can interfere with hormone levels and lead to drug-resistant bacteria. The chemicals have long been under scrutiny, and a cleaning industry spokesman said most companies have already removed the now banned 19 chemicals from their soaps and washes. The agency told manufacturers nearly three years ago that they must show their products are safe and effective. Regulators said Friday the data submitted for the chemicals did not meet federal standards for proving safety and effectiveness.
We have no scientific evidence that they are any better than plain soap and water.
Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research
The FDA ban comes more than 40 years after Congress asked the agency to evaluate triclosan and dozens of other antiseptic ingredients. Ultimately, the government agreed to publish its findings only after a three-year legal battle with an environmental group, the Natural Resources Defense Council, which accused the FDA of delaying a decision on the safety of triclosan. The FDA is now undertaking a sweeping reevaluation of soaps and washes used by consumers and health professionals. The FDA decision does not apply to hand sanitizers, most of which use alcohol rather than antibacterial chemicals.
Consumers may think antibacterial washes are more effective at preventing the spread of germs. In fact, some data suggests that antibacterial ingredients may do more harm than good over the long term.
Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research

Friday, September 2, 2016

Once Again - Don't Mix Bleach and Ammonia

Here's another news item about what happens when the wrong chemicals are mixed.  Always be safe and know what you're doing!

Wisconsin Custodian Accidentally Mixes Toxic Gas While Cleaning

A custodian at the Department of Corrections in Madison, WI, accidentally combined cleaning chemicals to produce a dangerous gas while cleaning Tuesday.

The custodian was cleaning restrooms when she mixed lemon bleach and toilet bowl cleaner, creating a toxic gas that can be deadly. The custodian then poured the mixture down a slop sink drain and vacated the building, according to a story on

Facility management called the Madison Fire Department and paramedics to the building to assess the situation after a building occupant reported having difficulty breathing. The fire department determined that while there was a slight chlorine odor in the building, the hazard was already under control.

The custodian declined to be taken to the hospital, but officials advised her to seek medical treatment.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

7+ Acres

Our recent poll asked if you thought the new Tahoma High School would be the biggest in the state. The answer is yes.  It will be around 325,000 square feet or just over seven acres.  Now that's big!  As we transition into the new building next year, the sheer size and immensity of this building will sink in.  We will be starting from the ground up building schedules for cleaning, maintenance and everything else that goes on in a building of that size.  It should be quite a building.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Be Sure to Always Report On-the-Job-Injuries

Here's some interesting thoughts on reporting injuries.  It comes from the cmmonline site.

Why Custodial Injuries are Rarely Reported
When it comes to on-the-job injuries and illnesses, janitors and other cleaning professionals are at a greater risk than the average worker, as they often suffer minor cuts, bruises, and burns from machines, tools, and chemicals, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
However, those injuries may often go largely unreported, says industry Ron Segura. In a recent press release, Segura offered insight into this phenomenon:
  • Fear. Some workers may fear that reporting an injury could result in lost time and wages—or losing their job completely.
  • Kept quiet. Rather than pay the resulting workers’ compensation fees, some contractors prefer to deal with injuries in-house, rather than report them.
  • Perception. If an injury stems from mishandling a chemical, piece of equipment, or tool, workers would rather keep quiet than express they are at fault.
  • Company culture. There are companies that focus more on service and performance than the reporting of injuries.
"The big problem about not reporting injuries or trying to deemphasize them is that it makes it more likely that they will happen again," says Segura.

"Instead of pushing injuries under the table, contractors need to put more emphasis on training and education. Ultimately, that is the best way to keep injuries from happening."

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A Museum That Sucks!

Meet Tom Gasko.  He's the curator of a museum he created that chronicles the history of the vacuum cleaner.  His vacuums date back almost 150 years.  Here's a link to some audio of vacuum sounds and a short article about this museum that sucks!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

And You Thought Your Cleaning Tasks Were Difficult?

How's this for a job request?  "Could you please clean the faces on Mt. Rushmore?" Or "Can you clean the Space Needle please?"  Come to think of it, someone has to do it.  And who better than Thorsten Mowes who works for the cleaning firm Karcher in Germany.

Thorsten has traveled the globe cleaning all kinds of huge cultural sculptures and buildings. The article linked here has some great pictures and fascinating comments about his job.  After reading it, ask yourself if your cleaning tasks are really that tough after all.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Zika Update

Here's an article on some new concerns regarding the Zika virus as mentioned previously in this blog. It seems that the virus was contracted by a woman who was taking care of a relative yet none of the normal means of transmission were present.


Here's some good reminders as mentioned on regarding the use of gloves when cleaning or doing other tasks.

While many cleaning workers use gloves while performing cleaning tasks, simply wearing the gloves might not be enough.

In a recent press release, Impact Products LLC has shared a number of best practices for wearing gloves while cleaning:

  • One “size” does not fit all. Most gloves are designed to be used in specific cleaning situations, or to protect the wearer from chemicals, bodily fluids, etc.
  • Selecting the proper glove is important when working with powerful chemicals such as degreasers, acids, or caustics.
  • Wearing long-sleeve gloves can offer better protection.
  • Change gloves between cleaning tasks, or when moving from one part of the facility to another, to prevent cross-contamination.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Anionic, Cationic, Nonionic and Amphoteric Surfactants - What Are They?

Have you ever heard the terms mentioned in the title of this post?  Most likely some or all of them have drifted past your mental pathways in the course of your cleaning.  But what are they and how do they differ?  Check out this article to learn more.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Sad News About This Year's JOTY

The following article was found on

Jerome Lewis, a janitor from Crestline Elementary School in Mountain Brook, AL, and the 2016 winner of Cintas Corp.’s Janitor of the Year contest, has died.

Lewis, who had been battling appendiceal cancer since 2013 and recently entered hospice care, passed away on Thursday, according to a story on

A post on the Mountain Brook City Schools Foundation Facebook page announced Lewis’ passing, saying, "We received word early this morning that Mr. Jerome passed away last night. He was such a bright, inspiring part of our Mountain Brook Schools community, and especially Crestline Elementary. Please keep him, his family and friends, in your thoughts and prayers. Rest peacefully, Mr. Jerome. You will be greatly missed."

Lewis worked at Crestline for the past 10 years.