When you think of pollution, tailpipes and smokestacks are probably what come to mind — not your office. But our offices are filled with noxious substances that can be harmful to your health.
Given the fact that we spend from 65 to 90 percent of our time inside, according to the Washington Department of Health, it’s important to keep indoor air clean.
“Most of the things that cause problems are odorless.” Dr. Nicholas Busba. “So, in many cases there’s nothing to alert you to the problem.” That is theres nothing other than the symptoms thease allergens can trigger. Such as respritory problems (including asthma flare ups) and fatigue.
Here are some tips to keep you office air fresh and healthy.
Keep it clean- Good indoor hygine can greatly cut down on dust mites, germs and mold.
Dust surfaces regularly.
Change your filters regularly.
Vacuum all floors daily wth hepa filter vacuums.
Invest in a good floor matting system. This traps dirt in the mat instead of making it airbourne.
Have a good carpet cleaning routine in place.
Mop hard floors daily.
Use eco-friendly cleaning products whenever possible.
Let fresh air in.
Invest in an air purifier.
Cutting out smoking – over 4000 chemicals are in cigarette smoke.
Monitor humidity – it should be between 30-50%.
Keep some greenery indoors. Many plants scrub you air.
Hi everyone, Hope you are all having great day. I am pleased to announce Carter Cleaning Company got our first battery backpack vacuum. Yay! We have been wanting to get one for years and finally it has arrived. The benefits to our clients and employees are vast. Here is an article I found that highlights some of the benefits. Thank you for all your support clients, employees, friends and family. We are looking forward to continuing to serve you.
Cutting The Cord
BY SUSAN THOMAS SPRINGER
Everything is cordless today. From phones to computers, it’s convenient to be untethered.
The same is true when vacuuming. Battery-powered backpack models eliminate wasted time searching for outlets, create a safer environment without cords to trip over and easily clean hard-to-reach places, such as elevators and stairwells.
For years vacuum manufacturers hesitated to bring battery-powered backpacks to the market, waiting instead for batteries to become lighter and have longer run times. Now, technology has caught up to demand and building service contractors and in-house custodial departments are discovering the advantages of this equipment firsthand.
Here, three end users explain what factors are driving them to buy battery-powered backpack vacuums. Jan/san distributors can use these case studies to help educate their customers on the benefits of battery backpack equipment.
Rechargeable Vacuum Leads To Company Growth
When two young men founded Southeastern Janitorial, a BSC in Charleston, South Carolina, less than three years ago, they knew emerging technology was key to their success. From their active social media presence, to streamlining online work order systems and cordless vacuums, they embrace technology and the benefits it brings both to their clients and to their business.
“There’s a lot of competition out there and anything that makes us look better than the next is something we want to do,” says Brandon Schneider, who along with Chris Abel co-founded the company.
Schneider says some janitorial companies hesitate to invest in equipment, but Southeastern tries to put the best tools in its employees’ hands.
“Backpack vacuums are one of the major ways that we are differentiating ourselves,” says Schneider. “You see some crews walk in with upright models and it looks like they’re back in the 1960s.”
A couple of years ago, Schneider says backpacks were a “wow factor,” but recently many cleaning companies, especially larger ones, have switched to the machines. Southeastern finds the backpacks are more efficient than uprights because they’re easier to handle in tight areas such as under desks, around chair legs and in stairwells. Now, the leading technology is battery backpacks.
Schneider says rechargeable vacuums save time and, therefore, money.
“It saves us about 45 minutes to an hour of vacuuming time per 100,000 square feet,” says Schneider.
While more expensive than traditional backpack vacuums, battery models can pay for themselves in seven to eight months because of the significant labor savings, says Schneider.
In a few short years, Southeastern has grown into four states — South Carolina, North Carolina, Mississippi, and Louisiana — and now cleans approximately 7 million square feet on a nightly basis. The majority of their business is in commercial and medical office buildings, as well as arenas and industrial spaces.
“We have structured the company for growth and are really starting to concentrate on expanding our markets this year,” says Schneider, who adds one ingredient to that growth is using backpack vacuums.
In the future, Schneider believes backpack vacuums will weigh less and carry extended battery-life, further enhancing the company’s productivity.
“The technology’s there and it’s much better than it was a year ago,” says Schneider. “So I see in the next couple years us buying much more of those than we do already.”
This is currently my favorite graphic. Interesting about how cleanliness is the most important factor to customers. This also seems to highlight the cleaner the building the happier and healthier people are inside of it 🙂
With 80 percent of infections being transmitted through direct contact, it’s no wonder that proper cleaning is as vital as good personal hygiene. In addition to identifying key areas that harbor infectious bacteria, custodial managers are charged with implementing best practices for the removal of these microorganisms. This includes providing custodians with appropriate cleaning tools to mitigate the spread of germs.
Cleaning cloths are an important component of any custodial program, but often facilities settle for cheap rags in place of quality products that facilitate cleaning and disinfection.
“We’ll spend $150,000 on a UV robot housekeeper, but we’ll nickel and dime the cleaning cloths,” says Mark Heller, president of Hygiene Performance Solutions in Toronto. “So we might use a torn-up, discarded towel rather than a finished, engineered product.”
Yet, given the right tools, Heller believes custodians aspire to meet the standards set forth by housekeeping to achieve and maintain a clean, healthy environment.
Increase Your Fiber
When choosing an appropriate cloth engineered to remove soil and bacteria, there’s no substitute for microfiber, say consultants.
“Microfiber cloths are synthetic and have grooves built into the fibers themselves, so they’re very absorbent and trap soils,” explains Steve Tinker, chemist and past president of the American Reusable Textile Association (ARTA), Shawnee Mission, Kansas. “As a result, soils can be picked up very quickly and held in the fibers very efficiently.”
Although cotton is also highly absorbent, it is not as effective as microfiber at grabbing and holding onto soil.
“The pros of cotton are that it’s readily available and fairly cheap, but it doesn’t do a very good job of soil collection,” says Darrel Hicks, author of Infection Prevention for Dummies. “When it comes to infection prevention, our number-one job is to remove the soil from the surface so that the disinfectant has a better chance to work.”
Another disadvantage of cotton cloths is the problem of quat binding, which occurs when fabrics have a strong attraction for the active ingredients in quat-based disinfectants, thereby reducing their efficacy. For this reason, Hicks is seeing an increasing number of facilities switching from cotton to microfiber cloths.
University of Minnesota Medical Center — Fairview in Minneapolis, switched from cotton to microfiber cloths several years ago after testing the efficacy of both materials.
“We found microfiber will pick up the spores and microorganisms, even without the use of disinfectant, whereas cotton will just wipe them around,” says Amanda Guspiel, environmental infection preventionist. “We use quat-based disinfectants with the microfiber, and we haven’t had any issues with the quat binding that occurs with cotton.”
Guspiel has seen a reduction in the number of hospital acquired infections since switching to microfiber cloths.
For facility managers in healthcare facilities, working with an organization’s infection control staff to do everything possible to prevent HAIs — healthcare-associated infections — is of high priority, especially in light of the recent Ebola scare. Among the areas of primary concern to FMs in managing this problem is air pressure and airflow.
The fancy term for HAI is “nosocomial” — it means an infection a patient or visitor acquires at a healthcare facility. What’s frightening is that they’re amazingly common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 20 patients has a HAI on any given day, and there are about 1.7 million cases — leading to 99,000 deaths — of HAI in U.S. healthcare facilities each year.
Three main areas of an FM’s core competencies are directly related to infection control effectiveness: air filtration and room pressure relationships, cleaning and housekeeping, and waste management and disposal.
Pressure and Airflow
“The most important thing about infection control is air flow,” says Bert Gumeringer, assistant vice president for facility operations at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. “Do you have the right exchange rates? Is the pressure negative when it needs to be negative and positive when it needs to be positive?”
Isolation rooms for patients with very infectious diseases — like tuberculosis and Ebola — must be negatively pressured to prevent air (and airborne pathogens) from escaping and infecting others. Conversely, says Gumeringer, patients who are immune-compromised must be placed in rooms with positive pressure to keep contaminants away. Operating rooms must also be positively pressured, because “you don’t want dirty air to be sucked into a room,” says Alan Neuner, vice president of facility operations for Geisinger Health System.
Properly pressurizing these isolation rooms is standard operating procedure for any healthcare facility, but where things get more complicated in regards to airflow is when changes are made to building operating systems or when performing any level of facility work — from replacing ceiling tiles to full-scale renovations.
Making a change to the temperature in a patient’s room as a response to a hot/cold call can also change airflow rates and pressures. “The engineering staff is well-intended,” says Gumeringer. “They’re trying to meet the needs of the customer.” So identifying a way to monitor pressure and airflow in patient rooms is important.
For rooms where directional pressure and airflow can’t be compromised, Neuner says his facilities include devices that monitor pressure and flow, and alarms if something is amiss. For less critical areas, quarterly checks are performed to ensure airflow and pressures are within tolerance. At Texas Children’s, the largest pediatric hospital in the United States, Gumeringer says his staff performs spot checks, but also has contracted with a company to do monthly checks on airflow. Gumeringer says the cost of this contract more than pays for itself, citing CDC statistics that a single HAI can cost $20,000 to $40,000 to treat. As well, he says, more than 50 percent of hospitals in Texas have been cited for not having proper airflow. “We believe in this testing very strongly,” he says. “The duty we all have is not only to look at cost, but also to look at the impact to the patient and the family.
Our industry has its share of myths. Myths can confuse, frustrate or cause extra work. Let’s clean-up a few floor care ones. Myth: Additional coats of floor finish make a floor more slippery with each coat applied. False. Floor finish manufacturers go to great, if not extreme, lengths to make certain their floor care products meet or exceed industry slip/fall standards. In fact, should a floor coated with any quality finish become “fast” or slippery, the best fix is to top scrub and apply a fresh coat of the same finish.
Myth: Top scrubbing with a weak solution of stripper is a good procedure to deep clean a floor prior to recoating. False. The chemicals formulated into strippers are designed to reverse the process that occurs when floor finish is initially applied, allowed to dry and cure. The stripping process is a chemical process and even a weak solution attacks the chemical makeup of the floor finish coating left behind. Consequently, after scrubbing and removing the dirty solution, damage has been done to the healthy floor coating.
Myth: A 25 percent nonvolatile solids content floor finish is harder or more durable than an 18 percent nonvolatile solids content floor finish. False. Higher percentages of nonvolatile solids are just that — higher percentages of nonvolatile solids. Durability or hardness is determined by the type of solids, not the percentage.
For example, finishes that are formulated for daily burnishing will be “softer” than finishes formulated for less frequent or no burnishing (easily buffable, easily scuffable). A high solids finish may be formulated to meet bid specifications calling for high solids but the type of solids can have a higher percentage of lesser quality ingredients to help lower costs. These formulations may not be durable and may be receptive to impacted soil, which leads to oxidation and discoloration and other problems.
Myth: Only some finishes are susceptible to furniture sticking to a freshly finished floor. False. This problem can happen with any finish at any time, but usually occurs in the summer months when humidity is highest.
The problem is related to relative humidity and drying/curing time. One common example occurs frequently in schools. When a classroom is coated with finish, there is no way to determine the relative humidity in that room. The only way to prevent the desks from sticking is to leave the desks in the hallway until the new finish is completely cured. But how do we know when it is cured? We don’t.
To minimize the problem, apply thin coats, keep the application to 100 percent solids or less in any 24-hour period (four coats of 25 percent nonvolatile solids finish), leave the air handler on, leave the door(s) open, and when the desks are returned to the room, lay them on their sides, if possible. Should you encounter desks sticking, do not attempt to pull them up as you risk pulling up parts of tile. Instead, gently tap the legs of the desks down low near the floor until the desks separate from the finish.
These are a just a few of the myths we sometimes encounter as we clean and care for buildings.