Monday, August 5, 2019

Flu Season is Finally Over

Just when you thought the 2018-19 flu season was over, it suddenly spiked. Lasting 21 weeks, the longest in a decade, the last flu season was unusual in that it had two separate waves of influenza, according to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
CDC officials explained the unusual pattern as almost having two flu seasons within one. Flu activity surged between October 2018 to February 2019, then a second surge occurred in mid-February lasting through mid-May. A typical flu season has one spike in winter.
Despite its length, the last flu season was only moderate in severity, with an estimated 36,400 to 61,200 flu-related deaths. In comparison, the severe flu season of 2017-2018 was responsible for more than 80,000 deaths, including 180 children.

Monday, July 29, 2019

12 Simple Steps for Better Deep Cleaning

  1. 1. Vacuum thoroughly first. It’s important to vacuum the carpet thoroughly to remove loose debris before extracting with water. Make several passes at different angles to remove as much soil as possible. 
  1. 2. Use a pretreatment cleaning solution. If the carpet is heavily soiled, consider using a pretreatment chemical spray. This will break down the dirt and allow for faster, more efficient cleaning. 
  1. 3. Use good-quality detergent. Not all detergents are made equal. Check both the quality of the detergent and the material that it’s designed to clean.
  1. 4. Use the warmest water possible. Check the material of the carpet and set the water temperature on the machine accordingly. Start farthest from the door. This will prevent you from having to walk on wet carpet. 
  1. 5. Use tools to good effect. Use the appropriate tools for cleaning stairs, upholstery, and other unique surfaces. Also, use the tools for concentrated cleaning to break down dirt near entrances and in high-traffic areas. 
  1. 6. Extract moisture after cleaning. This will speed up the drying process and prevent it from smelling musty. 
  1. 7. Allow carpets to dry completely. Damp carpet attracts dirt, so make sure your carpet dries completely before allowing footfall. Make sure the central heating is on and open the windows or use a fan.
  2. 8. Clean your dirty water tank. Debris from carpet fibers can build up and cause a blockage. 
  1. 9. Keep the unit clean, inside and out. Clean equipment will have fewer service issues and will make a better impression on anyone who may see it—clients, staff, supervisors, and the public. 
  1. 10. Keep the batteries in tip-top shape. Keep the batteries charged and check the water level on a regular basis. 
  1. 11. Service your machine regularly. Preventative maintenance reduces downtime and lowers your total cost of ownership. Don’t wait until the carpet cleaner breaks down before you contact a maintenance engineer. Waiting until the equipment is broken will cost you in staff time and more.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Workers Report Workplace Hygiene Concerns

A recent survey on worker behavior concerning illness in the workplace, conducted by cleaning firm Cleanology, found that facilities management employees were most concerned about workplace hygiene, Qube Magazine reports.

The survey found that 80% of facility management (FM) workers believe sick colleagues are responsible for passing on germs, compared to 66% or workers in other sectors. The FM workers also were more hygiene conscious, with just over half likely to carry sanitizing spray at the workplace to disinfect surfaces.
Among workers in all sectors, almost two-thirds said they feel pressured to go to work when they are ill, even when it impedes their productivity. More than 60% said they are not able to work to the best of their abilities when they are sick, and 57% of FMs felt they were more likely to make mistakes when sick.
Men were more likely to take sick days, with one-third of men calling off sick compared to just one one-quarter of women. Interestingly, men were also more likely to voluntarily do workplace cleaning, with 25% of male workers reporting they cleaned the workplace toilet even though it wasn’t part of their job duties, while only 17% of women picked up a toilet brush at work.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The Benefits of Backpack Vacuuming Hardwood Floors

From installation onward, hardwood floors must be cleaned on a regular basis. With a myriad of tools and techniques available, choosing the right tool takes careful consideration. 

1. Capture fine dust

Fine dust can sabotage the installation of hardwood floors and leave behind a gritty finish. Likewise, fine dust left behind after cleaning can scuff the finish and dull the floor. ProTeam backpack vacuums capture fine dust in a multi-level filtration system. Each filter captures smaller particles until all visible particles (and some invisible particles) are removed. Over time, backpack vacuuming can help extend the life of the floor.

2. Keep the weight off the floor

The weight of an upright or canister vacuum rides on the wheels. When the vacuum is moving around a room, the unit can easily scuff a floor, mark a wall, or dent a baseboard. A backpack vacuum moves with the user. The lightweight wand and floor tool are the only parts that come into contact with the floors, reducing the risk of damage. 

3. Clean without kicking up dust

Brooms and dust mops move soil into a pile, so it can be removed. They also kick dust up into the air where it lingers. Both methods redistribute particles across the floor, leaving minute scratches and dulling a high-gloss finish. A backpack vacuum captures dust and soil directly off the floor, protecting the flooring surface. Regular backpack vacuuming also keeps dust bunnies away longer.

A backpack vacuum cleans without kicking up dust.

4. Match the tool to the surface

When it comes to hardwood, different floors have different maintenance needs. With a backpack vacuums, simply changing the floor tool can customize the unit to the floor surface at hand. The 14" scalloped felt brush tool works well on delicate or high-polished finishes. The 8” Sidewinder tool with horsehair brush excels at cleaning baseboards, architectural details, and hard-to-reach areas. For debris along walls, the Problade Hard Surface tool cleans flush against baseboards. Whatever the flooring surface, there is a ProTeam tool to match it.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Corners and Crevices: The Nastiest Restroom Areas

True or false: The toilet seat is the dirtiest part of the restroom.
Regardless of what patrons may think, the toilet seat—unless visibly soiled—is probably cleaner than many other surfaces in the restroom and is a less-likely source of cross-contamination compared to other high-touch point areas in the toilet stall, such as the flush handle, stall door handles, or handicap grab bar. 
From urine- and mold-prone surfaces to tough-to-clean stains, here we explore some of the grossest and most difficult-to-clean areas of the restroom. 

Gross Area No. 1: The Toilet Bowl 

When cleaning the toilet, the focus should always start below the toilet seat, according to infection control expert J. Darrel Hicks, as it’s important to clean from the dirtiest area to the cleanest.
To get started, take a compact mirror and use it to look below the rim where the toilet’s water ports are located. This is the area that passes water when someone flushes the toilet. When you do this, you will probably see a buildup of mineral deposits, stains, or even black bacteria. Buildup like black bacteria is not only a source of germs and decay, but it can cause odor issues in your restroom, as well. 
Cleaning tips: When cleaning the toilet bowl area, make sure the bowl brush remains inside the toilet until you are done cleaning, Hicks says. Using the brush to clean the outside of the toilet will only bring more germs onto the toilet seat and outer bowl. If you are trying to remove a stubborn stain like hard water or rust, a pumice stick may come in handy. You may also want to try an acid-based bowl cleaner or a calcium, lime, and rust remover. 

Gross Area No. 2: Surfaces with Bodily Fluids 

While this gross area is pretty vague and can apply to a variety of restroom surfaces, the rule of thumb is pretty similar across the board: Leaving bodily fluids to rest on surfaces or in receptacles can lead to more bacteria growth and putrid odors. This applies to feminine hygiene receptacles—a commonly missed area, Hicks says—urinal mats and screens, or any other surface that is prone to urine, fecal, or blood exposure.
Cleaning tips: Clean early and often. Change feminine hygiene receptacles at least once daily, with increased frequency depending on your restroom’s foot traffic. Employees should check to make sure the bags have not leaked, and clean the inside of the receptacle if necessary. 
Change urinal mats and screens at least every two weeks. When replacing the mats and screens, write a date on when they next need changing. This will help to remind employees when it’s time to make a switch and provide a quality assurance checkpoint for supervisors during inspections. 
Of course, when cleaning any of these areas, make sure your employees have access to and are trained to use proper personal protective equipment, such as gloves. 

Gross Area No. 3: Grout 

Grout is prone to developing mold and other bacteria because of its exposure to moisture, whether from standing water, vapor in the air, or urine. This can lead to discoloration and odor control issues among other problems.
Cleaning tip: Avoid using mopping systems that leave moisture behind in the grout lines to prevent mold from coming back. Additionally, apply steam to the grout while using a brass wire brush to remove the mold. Last, improve air circulation in the restroom and any shower areas to help encourage drying of wet surfaces.