Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Rare Superbug Resistant to Antibiotics Reported in U.S.

Mcr1-positive, a rare form of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) has been reported in the United States.  A 49-year-old female in Pennsylvania had the presence of this bacteria in her urinary tract from an infection.  CMM Online reports the following regarding this discovery.  It's definitely something to keep an eye on as it could be deadly.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials have confirmed the country’s first case of mcr-1 positive, a rare and potentially deadly form of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE).
First identified in China in 2015, the mcr-1 positive strain of CRE is resistant to most forms of antibiotics, including colistin. Health officials view colistin as the last line of defense against antibiotic-resistant bacteria, as it normally is effective against bacteria that has acquired resistance to other antibiotics.
Doctors in Pennsylvania discovered the presence of mcr-1 positive bacteria when testing the urinary tract infection sample of a 49-year-old female. The patient has been successfully treated and released, and no other cases of the bacteria have been reported. The CDC is working with local health officials to determine the source of the bacteria, Fox News reports.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Janitor of the Year Winner for 2016

Jerome Lewis is this year's winner for Cintas Janitor of the Year contest.  Sadly, Jerome has terminal cancer and received his award at home.  Here's two links with stories about this custodian.

1. Cintas
2. Cmmonline

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Avoid Embarrassing Accidents - Monitor Your Urination and Defecation Rhythms

A small company in Japan has developed a device that monitors your bodies activities and notifies you via a PC or smartphone when you'll need to use the bathroom.  This alert happens about 15 to 20 minutes before you have to "go". The device uses ultrasonic waves and monitors the rumblings and fullness of bowels and bladder in order to warn the wearer before an accident occurs.  The device may find great use in nursing homes.  For more details on this invention and the future of this small unit, read the full article here in the Japan Times.

Friday, May 13, 2016

That's Just Ducky

Cleaning toilets.  Washing windows. Running the HVAC systems.  Moving furniture.  Saving ducks. It's all in a days work for those in the custodial world. Check out this human interest story about Steve Fatamico and Jim Gale and how they saved their middle school's ducks in Illinois.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016


Wow!  I've just reached my 500th post.  It's hard to believe I've been blogging about custodial issues for over seven years.  I've had many comments about various posts in that time as well as input and thoughts on the items shared.  It's amazing how much information is out there in the news and otherwise that deals with cleaning and maintenance of buildings.  I've tried to funnel the pertinent information that relates to a school environment into my posts plus add a few interesting and unusual stories that are loosely or completely related to custodial issues.  Thanks for following this blog and sharing your occasional comments or input about the information provided.  I hope you've learned something new now and then.

How About a Six Hour Workday?

Most of us work an eight hour day, five days a week.  But if given the opportunity, would you work a six hour day for the same pay and prove yourself more productive?  It seems that in one of several experiments in Europe this has been the case.  Although the acceptance of this hasn't caught on completely, the idea is intriguing and is being observed with interest.  Here's the full article you might find interesting.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


Kinetex.  "A soft-surface floor covering with long-wearing performance of hard-surface flooring," so says Cleanfax.com.  This unique new flooring product competes with hard floor care, but is cleaned like carpets and dries 75% faster. It's also made out of polyester.  Intrigued?  Read the full article here.  

Aqueous Ozone

Aqueous ozone.  What is it?  According to Cleanfax.com, "aqueous ozone is created mechanically. The interaction of electricity and oxygen creates ozone, which is infused into water. The combination can then be poured into a container, such as a sprayer, for use in cleaning or to prespray carpet. In fact, some systems are designed to be connected directly to a sink in a janitorial closet. Referred to as “fill stations,” these systems dispense aqueous ozone."

Why use it?  It is a great green cleaning product.  It's safe.  It limits the need for chemicals when cleaning.  The Cleanfax article linked here goes into greater detail on using aqueous ozone.  It might be something worth trying.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Dust Mop Frame

Our recent poll asked what a dust mop frame was for.  The answer?  It is the metal frame that connects to the end of the handle upon which the dust mop head is placed.  The frame keeps the dust mop rigid so that it can be used to sweep the floor.  Another name for the dust mop frame is a dust mop bale.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Vaccinated but Infected

Usually vaccines help people avoid a particular disease.  However, they are not always 100% effective.  Here's an article discussing an outbreak of mumps at Harvard University where all the infected students were immunized against mumps.  But it is not just Harvard. Other schools have been infected too.  Read on.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Quick Answers to SDS Questions

Here's a great quick glance at five commonly asked questions regarding the new SDS format.

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) have been replaced by Safety Data Sheets (SDSs), which have inevitably given rise to a number of questions about the change.

To clear up any confusion, Tobi Colbert, business development manager for National Service Alliance (NSA), a group purchasing organization for contract cleaners, has highlighted some of the most frequently asked questions about this change, along with the answers.

  1. Why was the change made? The SDS was designed to make the information on labels consistent around the world.
  2. Are SDSs on every cleaning solution? An SDS is required for any product that will be used, handled, or stored in a workplace and is classified as “potentially hazardous.”
  3. Do the new SDS look different from the old MSDS? Yes. A key difference is the use of pictograms in place of words.
  4. How will I know if it is updated? The SDS will have a revised date.
  5. When should a cleaning worker use an SDS? Before working with any new cleaning solution. Workers should make sure the SDS matches the name of the product; review the hazards; understand the safe handling and storage procedures; and know what to do in an emergency.
For more information on safety label changes and deadlines for implementation, check out Cleaning and Maintenance Management's article from August 2015, called "The 411 on GHS.

Information taken from cmmonline.com.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Gun-Toting Staff

Here's an interesting article out of California.  I perceive this could be a controversial issue, but it seems that more districts are considering it. What do you think about this?

California school district allows staff to carry guns on campus

Another school district in California will now allow staff members to carry concealed weapons on campus.
Last week, the Kingsburg Joint Union High School District, located in Fresno County, approved the policy following months of review, reports the Fresno Bee.
The superintendent is reported to have said the new policy will create "a safe environment for students and staff members."
Up to five members of the faculty with concealed-carry permits will be allowed to bring their weapons to school, after an application process, a review of their discipline records and school conduct. Nobody on school grounds will know which five staff members have been chosen to carry guns, school officials say. 
Those allowed will also be required to take firearms training twice a year. 
According to the Bee, while the state Department of Education doesn't track the schools that allow guns on campus, the Kingsburg superintendent pointed to the Folsom Cordova Unified School District. That school district has allowed employees to carry guns on campus for several years. 

How Can Teachers Work With Custodians?

Here's some great information for custodians and teachers taken from the PSE website.  

Cleaning for Health in the Classroom
Best Practices for Teachers
School Environmental Health and Safety Program

If students are helping:
 They should only use soap and water.
 Fragrance-free baby wipes could be used for quick cleaning.
 Most store-bought cleaning products are not safe for children to use. School custodial staff is responsible for cleaning schools. Some teachers choose to do additional cleaning. Here is how to ensure those efforts tackle dirt and germs safely and effectively.
Teach good handwashing habits - the #1 way to keep germs from spreading.
Use plain soap and water for handwashing – before eating, after using the bathroom, after recess, etc. Antibacterial soap is not recommended. Use plain fragrance-free soap. When there is no access to a sink, as on a field trip, alcohol-based (at least 60% alcohol, dye-free and fragrance-free) hand sanitizer or alcohol-based sanitizer wipes can be used. Hand sanitizers are not a substitute for handwashing. They are not effective when hands are dirty or greasy.
Know the difference between Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting.
Use the right product for the task:
 CLEANING removes dirt and most germs. Use soap and water. A third
party certified green cleaner is preferred. In the classroom, cleaning is
the focus.
 SANITIZING reduces germs to safe levels, for example in food service environments. Food code regulations have specific requirements for sanitizers in the cafeteria and kitchen.
 DISINFECTING kills most germs, depending on the type of chemical, and only when used as directed on the label.
 In schools, custodial staff use disinfectants and sanitizers regularly only in high-risk areas – nurse’s office, bathrooms, cafeterias, kitchens, drinking fountains, sink and door handles, and athletic facilities; preferably, when students are not present. Overuse does not provide any additional protection and can expose students and staff to harmful chemicals. Teachers can rely on basic cleaning to remove dirt and germs in the classroom.
If staff, besides trained custodial staff, needs to assist with classroom cleaning, they should use a school or district provided basic cleaner. A third party certified green cleaner is preferred.
 Custodial staff can make a simple all-purpose cleaner for classrooms. Mix one teaspoon of fragrance-free dish soap in a spray bottle filled with water. Spray on surface and scrub with paper towels or a microfiber cloth. Rinse and wipe dry to remove any residue.
 Microfiber cleaning cloths improve cleaning – the removal of dirt and germs. Dampened with water they are great dust removers. With soap and water, they remove most germs.
 Disinfecting is the responsibility of school custodial staff. They are trained to use disinfectants in a safe and effective manner and to clean up potentially infectious materials and body fluid spills – blood, vomit, feces, and urine. Contact your custodian or school nurse if students are ill and your classroom needs cleaning and disinfection. IF teachers use disinfectants, the district must provide training and supply the appropriate cleaner and sanitizer or disinfectant.
Cleaning for Health benefits all
 Lowers absenteeism
 Increases productivity
 Improves indoor air quality
 Reduces asthma and allergy triggers
Good to know:
 Kids are more vulnerable to chemical exposures.
 Many common cleaning products have ingredients that can harm health, especially the lungs.
Students should never use disinfectants. Disinfectant wipes should not be used to clean hands. This includes Clorox wipes.

Cleaning for Health in the Classroom
Frequently Asked Questions
School and Indoor Air Quality Program

How does cleaning reduce germs?
Cleaning works by removing dirt and organic matter that contains and protects germs. Soap breaks down oils and allows dirt, contaminants, and germs to be more easily removed. Cleaning with soap, water, and a microfiber cloth will remove most germs.
Why is handwashing better than hand sanitizer?
Soap and rubbing hands together under running water removes oil, dirt, and harmful surface germs. Hand sanitizer does not remove dirt in which germs hide and only kills a few easy-to-kill ones.
Why use plain soap for handwashing?
Antibacterial ingredients, in particular triclosan and quaternary ammonia compounds (quats), only kill a few types of germs and are unnecessary when washing hands. It doesn’t matter if germs are alive or dead when they are washed down the drain.
What about non-alcohol hand sanitizers?
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention only recommends hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol. Non-alcohol ones are even less effective than alcohol hand sanitizers.
How does this guidance affect fall classroom supply request lists? Okay to Request  Fragrance-free baby wipes.  Paper towels (recycled content preferred). DO NOT Request  Disinfecting wipes.  Non-alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
What are the issues with disinfecting wipes?
 Disinfecting wipes are often overused. They are not appropriate for general cleaning when an all-purpose cleaner or soap and water would suffice.
 Disinfecting wipes (e.g. Clorox, Lysol) usually contain quats and fragrance chemicals. These ingredients can trigger asthma and are associated with adverse health effects.
 Disinfectants can give a false sense of security because when they are not used exactly to label instructions, they don’t work properly. Most disinfecting wipes require the surface to be cleaned first, and then remain visibly wet 4-10 minutes (dwell time) to be effective, requiring multiple wipes.
Why is it important to use fragrance-free products in school?
Fragrance is one of the most frequently identified allergens, can irritate the respiratory system, cause headaches, and exacerbate asthma.
What’s so great about microfiber cloths?
Their split fibers create more surface area and are superior for removing dust, dirt, and germs. They are reusable and can be laundered or washed by hand.
Why should teachers not bring common cleaning products (including bleach) from home into the classroom?
 Some common cleaning products are dangerous when mixed. Never mix bleach with ammonia, acids, or other disinfectants. An example: Comet, containing bleach, would react with Windex, which contains ammonia, to form poisonous vapors.
 Common household cleaners and disinfectants may not be appropriate for schools and may cause allergic reactions or have other health impacts.
 Schools and districts must have a Safety Data Sheet for each chemical used in the school.