Thursday, January 22, 2015

Cleanliness Affects Productivity

Here's an interesting study out of the UK on cleanliness. It is self-explanatory. How do you measure up in the areas that you clean?


Urine Trouble!

Is it okay for men to urinate standing up? That question went to court in Germany where standing to urinate is a real debated issue. Without further ado, read the short article from NBC News below.

German Court Upholds Tenant's Right to Pee Standing Up

BERLIN - A German court ruled in favor of mens' right to pee standing up on Thursday, after a landlord tried to retain part of a tenant's 3,000 euro deposit for allegedly damaging the marble floor of a toilet by sprinkling it with urine.
The debate about whether men should stand or sit is no laughing matter in Germany, where some toilets have red traffic-style signs forbidding the standing position. There is also a derogatory term for men who sit down to pee - "Sitzpinkler" - which implies that it is not masculine behavior.
Judge Stefan Hank in the city of Duesseldorf said men who insist on standing "must expect occasional rows with housemates, especially women" but cannot be held to account for collateral damage. "Despite growing domestication of men in this matter, urinating while standing up is still widespread," he said. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Perfluorinated Chemicals - Leaving by the End of 2015

Almost 10 years ago the EPA ruled that perfluorinated chemicals needed to be phased out by the end of 2015. That deadline is approaching. These chemicals are a toxic chemical that is found in some cleaning chemicals. This news brief explains more.

Interestingly, in 2008 in the Custodial/Maintenance newsletter, an article appeared dealing with Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals of which perfluorinated chemicals are such. You can find the link to archived issues here.  Sort by volume and look for Volume 6, Issue 7.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Surfactants, Encapsulants, Absorbent Powders and Wicking

Have you ever cleaned a carpet only to have some areas or spots "wick" or reappear? This is usually due to a deeply embedded spot in the carpet backing that works its way to the surface of the face yarn as it dries; much the way a candle wick pulls fuel from the container it sits in.

Often the only way to remove spots that have wicked back up is to re-clean them and even then that doesn't always do the trick. This article by Jim Smith gives some technical background into wicking and ways to stop the spot from reappearing. Have you tried this method? Did it work well?

Friday, January 9, 2015

Sanitizing Wipes - There's A Standard for That

Thousands of products have UL standards attached to them to help control and monitor environmental and health concerns of humans and the planet. One that was just released on January 5, 2015 has to do with wipers used in cleaning. This new standard covers commercial, industrial, institutional and household applications (excluding personal care) wipers. Here's a short blurb from Cleaning and Maintenance Management Online that touches on and provides a link to the UL website.

UL Environment has introduced a new environmental standard for wipers under its ECOLOGO certification program.
UL Sustainability Standard for Wipers (UL 2883) is the first standard to specifically address the fast-growing wipers sector. The standard establishes human health and environmental criteria to certify disposable wipers designed for commercial, industrial, institutional, and household applications (excluding personal-care wipers).
UL 2883 addresses all woven and nonwoven disposable wipers derived from either natural or synthetic fibers that are designed and used primarily for cleaning, dusting, and sanitizing surfaces or tools. It also includes those wipers intended for absorbency tasks, according to a press release.
 The standard is available for download at   

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Now You Can Know If You Have the Flu In Just Minutes

Instead of waiting a day or more for results the FDA has now authorized the use of testing for influenza that can yield results in just minutes. Here's the short blurb from Cleaning and Maintenance Management Online about this new procedure.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved wider usage of a test designed to quickly detect the influenza virus.
The procedure, developed by Alere, Inc., uses a molecular test to detect the genetic presence of the virus in a nasal swab. The test produces results in as fast as 15 minutes and has been cleared for use in all health care settings without a prescription.
The FDA previously approved the test as a prescription-only device last June, reports Fox News.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Maybe Eating Dirt Isn't Such A Bad Idea After All

Many a kid, and even some adults have eaten dirt. Naturally, that doesn't bode well for your body for obvious reasons. But some of the bacteria in soil may just end up being useful as an antibiotic according to an article by health writer Maggie Fox. Read this article to get more details about this potential medical breakthrough. One never knows what has been created on the planet that can be helpful when used correctly.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Are You A True Cleaner?

Cleaning is more than just cleaning. It takes a sharp eye, a demand for detail and the ability to observe what needs to be done. Lynn E. Krafft has written an article in the Cleaning and Maintenance Management magazine of December, 2014 that highlights some great points on being a true cleaner. Because of its importance, I've included the whole article below. See how you measure up.

Do you have what it takes to be a true cleaner?

DECEMBER 29, 2014
If the first thought that comes to your mind when you read the word “discipline” is that time your mom made you clean your room because you had misbehaved, you are thinking in terms of the common use of the word discipline to de- scribe punishment.
Maybe your mom’s approach was effective when it came to attitude improvement, but in the cleaning industry, we want the word discipline to mean self-controlled behavior, i.e., “discipline” from within. And it should not call to mind any sort of punishment.
Rather, the meaning of the term in this con- text is, “Training that is expected to produce a specified character or pattern of behavior” or the “Controlled behavior resulting from such training.”
Cleaning technicians are especially in need of this training-focused self-discipline because they often work without direct supervision, constantly making decisions that are based on factual observation and known cleaning principles. Their approach to the work must not be casual or nonchalant. Competent cleaning is not a casual pastime; it is a discipline. Let’s review three of the prime development areas involved in developing this discipline.


First on the list is the essential discipline of developing confident self-esteem. The custodian must view the work as skilled and essential. When cleaning is done properly, the removal of unwanted soiling conditions eliminates the habitant of microorganisms, thereby reducing possible health risks from these.
If ever there was proof of the importance of proper cleaning—and those who perform it—it is now amidst such deadly communicable disease outbreaks as the Ebola virus. Cleaning also increases safety—clean floors are safer to walk on—while it enhances the appearance of the facility and extends the life of all surfaces.
No matter what others may think or believe about cleaning, the successful cleaning technician will have developed a true appreciation for his or her skills and the work’s contribution to the well-being of others.

Powers of Observation

Acute detection skills are not found in all per- sons. Sherlock Holmes was a standout due to his unique ability to observe details and make accurate deductions based on them. Cleaning technicians need these same abilities in soil detection, and this, too, is a discipline they must work to cultivate.
The least costly and most effective manner of fulfilling the cleaning task is to look closely at all surfaces, find and identify the unwanted substances, choose the correct removal technique, and then implement it. This blemish detection is properly called “indication cleaning” because when an unwanted substance is found, it indicates the best method of cleaning.
For example, some indicators require only dry cleaning (without solvents, including water)  such as:
  • Dust—the most common unwanted substance due to its airborne nature
  • Lint—remnants from fiber source
  • Litter—scraps dropped that need to be picked up
  • Grit—sand and gravel tracked in from outside, especially near the en- trances, that will soon destroy the floor finish.
Wet cleaning indicators, or blemishes, that require water or other solutions include:
  • Streaks and spots—smears on surfaces created by incomplete cleaning, such as when mopping with poor technique, or spots such as those left by beverage containers
  • Grime—gradual build-up on touched surfaces that need special cleaning effort
  • Film—almost opaque covering on window glass caused  by  smoking  (less frequent now that smoking is prohibited in most buildings); the sedimentary de- posits inside toilet bowls, often including heavy mineral deposits in hard-water locales that may require an acid to dissolve
  • Adhesives—unsightly tape remnants and chewing gum requiring removal with scraping and solvents.
These eight basic items cover 99.99 percent of the detectable surface blemishes that are indicators of the need for cleaning. They are not hard to remember. The disciplined custodian has developed powers of observation that allows her/ him to immediately identify the blemish and automatically select the most effective removal technique.


Cleaning failures stem from two sources: the blemish was only partially removed or not enough effort was made to clean.
Inner motivation—or drive to do what is needed when it is needed—is yet another discipline of the successful custodian. Without it, all the detection skills and self-esteem in the world will mean little.
Cleaning is a discipline. Those who controlled behavior to become reliable cleaners can feel good about themselves and what they do. 

Osmics - Do You Use It To Your Advantage?

Osmics? What in the world? It is the study of olfactory sense and odors.

For the custodian, smell is an important function used every day. We use smell to detect bad odors and try to counteract them or find the source of them and remove them. Smell also can be pleasant. When people smell fresh, clean restrooms, buildings and rooms they are put at ease and feel safe and clean. They rarely look beyond the obvious in search of dirt and grime if their sense of smell is coddled. Thus, a clean smelling environment is the key to cleaning success.

Here's a short article about osmics and what science has found regarding the study of smell. Interesting and beneficial for cleaners everywhere.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Columbus Day It Is

My last survey asked which holiday custodians did NOT get off. 75% of the answers said Columbus Day. That is correct. In our district we get 13 paid holidays. Columbus Day is not one of those.

Another Disinfecting Alternative

Taken from cmmonline.

As hospitals increasingly use electronic devices, such as smartphones and tablets, at the bedside, researchers are looking for alternatives to traditional disinfecting techniques, according to Becker’s Infection Control and Clinical Quality.
One method that shows promise is ultraviolet light, according to a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control.
 In the study, researchers found that using a UV-C-emitting portable device can significantly reduce bacteria, such as C. diff and E. coli, on electronic devices.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Fat Custodians - Not According to Medical Studies

Here's an interesting comparison of different occupations. Check it out and see what you think.

Janitors, maids, and landscapers are among the occupations with the lowest obesity rates (23.5 percent), while police officers, firefighters, and security guards have the highest (47.7 percent), according to a recent American Journal of Preventive Medicine report.
Social workers, clergy, and counselors are also among the workers with higher obesity rates (35.7 percent), along with home-health aides and massage therapists (34.8 percent).
Other groups on the low end include food service workers (23.1 percent) and artists, actors, athletes, and reporters (20.1 percent). Economists, scientists, and psychologists have the lowest rates at 14.2 percent, reports The Wall Street Journal.
The average for a U.S. worker is 27.7 percent.

Pop, Snap, Crackle

This article from cmmonline describes an incident in the Netherlands of a man being injured by a popup toilet. The article speaks for itself.

A man in Amsterdam, Netherlands, was hospitalized this week with abdomen injuries after a popup public toilet arose from the ground without warning.
The unidentified man was injured in the early evening after the retractable toilet sent a nearby moped airborne and struck him. The man was standing near a Urilift retractable urinal when the incident occurred, reports the European Cleaning Journal.
City authorities are investigating the incident, which occurred on Weteringschans, a thoroughfare in Amsterdam’s city center.  
The toilets appear to be manhole covers in the ground during the day, but are raised by remote control at night as crowds flock to the area for its nightlife. This is the first injury attributed to the units, which are self-cleaning and can serve up to 125 people per hour.   

Monday, December 15, 2014


We use a Zamboni to clean our floors in the Commons (lunchroom), hallways, gyms and other large areas. It is a time-saver and does a great job.  Ours runs on batteries. There's a great advantage in that.

Some Zamboni's run on propane.  As with any fuel, there is always the potential for fumes, carbon dioxide and other petroleum product problems.  The linked article is one of those.  Read on.

Restroom Cleanliness in the News - Again!

Clorox and ISSA worked together to investigate the cleanliness of public restrooms. Several interesting comments by cleaning professionals were made. Improvements were needed in many areas after talking with cleaning technicians and looking at the restrooms themselves.

This link will take you to the article in

This link will take you to the Clorox chart.