Tuesday, December 17, 2013

FDA Questions Antibacterial Soap Safety

WASHINGTON — On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that it would require soap manufacturers to demonstrate that the substances were safe or they would be required to take them out of the products altogether, according to the New York Times.

The proposal was applauded by public health experts, who have been urging the agency to regulate antimicrobial chemicals for years, warning that they risk "scrambling hormones in children and promoting drug-resistant infections," the article stated.

According to the article, the proposed rule does not require producers of the soaps to take them off the market immediately; the FDA has given companies a year to "produce data showing that the chemicals are both safe and effective."

If companies cannot prove that their products are safe, the chemicals will need to be removed, the article noted.

The rule will be open for public comment for 180 days, and does not currently apply to hand sanitizers, which will be considered separately, the article added.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Most Hands Are Not Being Washed Long Enough

IRVINE, CA — U.S. research is indicating that only 5 percent of those who use a restroom wash their hands long enough to kill the germs that cause infection, according to the United Press International.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Environmental Health, indicates a third of the people involved in the study didn't use soap and an alarming 10 percent didn't wash their hands at all, the article stated.

According to the article, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that it takes 15 to 20 seconds of vigorous hand-washing to effectively kill germs, but the study found that, on average, people are only washing their hands for roughly six seconds.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

4 Tips for Limiting the Spread of Flu in the Workplace

To help limit the spread of the flu in the workplace this flu season, ITW Professional Brands offers four tips for proper building cleaning and sanitization:

1)    Promote hand hygiene:  Frequent hand washing is the single most effective way to reduce the spread of illness. Post proper hand washing protocol in public facilities and ensure employees wash their hands frequently with anti-microbial hand soap and water. In areas without sinks, offer hand washing and sanitizing wipes to ensure proper hand hygiene. 

2)    Disinfect high-touch surfaces frequently:  High-touch areas should be cleaned more frequently than other areas within a facility.  Use a multi-purpose disinfectant with a fast dwell time. When selecting a disinfectant, it is important to consider contact time and cleaning ability.  Common high-touch surfaces to consider include door handles, railings, light switches, desks, keyboards, telephones, chairs, desks and tables.

3)    Encourage the use of pre-moistened wipes:  Providing cleaning staff with pre-moistened wipes simplifies the cleaning process and ensures cleaners follow correct chemical dilution ratios.  Pre-moistened wipes also eliminate exposure to chemical concentrates and reduce the chance of cross-contamination.

4)    Review best practices for disinfection with staff:  Instruct cleaning staff in appropriate procedures for disinfection as well as protecting themselves from picking up viruses during their work. In addition to making sure staff understand the proper procedures for disinfecting, it is equally important that cleaners understand the significant role they play in combating disease.

Click here to read the release in its entirety.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Carpet Cleaning and Pet Safety

MUKILTEO, WA — Cleaning professionals and carpet cleaning technicians must always practice special safeguards when cleaning carpets in the homes of pet owners, according to a press release.

Just as children are closer to floor areas and can be more impacted by chemicals, chemical fumes, as well as contaminants on floors and carpets, pets are also vulnerable to these risks, the release stated.

"The big problem appears to be [the] chemical residue left in the carpets after cleaning. It is very important that moisture and chemicals be thoroughly extracted when carpets are cleaned," says Mark Cuddy, national sales manager for U.S. Products.

According to the release, to help avoid this from happening to you and your customers, Cuddy suggests the following:
  • Be very careful when using spotters. Spotters can be powerful and leave a chemical residue in the carpet.
  • Pre-spray carpets sparingly, placing more emphasis on heavily soiled areas. "Pre-spraying carpets typically results in less chemical being used," adds Cuddy.
  • Use low moisture carpet extractors. Extraction is the most thorough way to clean carpets. A low moisture system typically uses less water, which can translate into less chemical used in the cleaning process.
Click here to read the release in its entirety.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Study Finds Paper Towels More Hygienic Than Hand Dryers

Looks can be deceiving: Despite their reputation for being messy, hand towels are more hygienic than dryers because they physically remove germs.

Bio-medical scientist Cunrui Huang says this is because wet hands are better at passing on germs than dry ones. Huang's review of 12 studies found that, overall, paper towels were ‘superior’. One study found they leave hands 96 per cent dry after just ten seconds. After 15 seconds, the hands are 99 per cent dry.

By contrast, a drier takes at least 45 seconds. The amount of time is important because most people spend only a few seconds on drying their hands.

One study found men spend 17 seconds using hot-air driers and women 13.3 seconds – a fraction of the time needed.
Paper towels also scored higher because the rubbing motion may physically remove germs.

By contrast, air driers may blow them on to the body – a concern in public toilets, where regular flushing of cisterns disperses germs in the air.
'This can increase the number of germs by an astonishing 255 per cent,' said Keith Redway, senior academic in Microbiology and Molecular Biology at Westminster University.
Bacteria are then blown on to the hands of users and into the atmosphere.
This leads to the potential for the spread of organisms such as salmonella and E. coli, as people often dry their hands before cleaning them properly.
In the Mayo Clinic Proceedings journal, Dr Huang, of the Queensland University of Technology in Australia, said: ‘There is a risk of persons standing at air driers acquiring the bacteria dispersed in the air current towards them.

Click Here to read article in its entirety 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Bio-Based Cleaners: Myths and Realities

Like any new product, there are some misunderstandings and misconceptions surrounding bio-based cleaning chemicals. Here we provide clarifications about these products

PETERBOROUGH, ON — Bio-based cleaners continue to gather greater attention from both the public and private businesses.
Although U.S. Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack may have been overly optimistic when he predicted a "50 percent increase in the number of newly designated bio-based products" a few years ago, more manufacturers are indeed developing bio-based cleaning products.

Experts believe that increasing numbers of these products will become available to the industry in coming years.

But like any new product, there are some misunderstandings and misconceptions surrounding bio-based cleaning chemicals.

Below are some of the most common myths about bio-based products, with clarifications provided by Jennifer Meek, Director of Marketing for Charlotte Products/Enviro-Solutions.

Myth: Bio-based cleaners are new. Reality: While some are new, bio-based cleaning products actually date back to the 1930s. With more research, manufacturers and distributors discovered that some of these products are ideal for use in schools and other settings frequented by individuals with compromised immune systems, those who are chemically sensitive, and those who suffer from multiple or life-threatening allergies.

Myth: Bio-based cleaners don't work for serious applications. Reality: While bio-based cleaners cannot replace acid-type cleaners, many bio-based cleaners are as effective as many traditional cleaners.

Myth: Because all bio-based cleaners are made from agricultural byproducts, they are pretty much all the same. Reality: In fact, these products are not actually all the same. For instance, they are not all proven-Green, and there is no "one-size-fits-all" bio-based cleaning product. Users are encouraged to try different products to find the ones that are most cost and performance effective for specific cleaning tasks.

Read full EnviroSolutions release here

Thursday, August 8, 2013

States Beginning to Require Green Cleaning Supplies

VANCOUVER, WA — Two states have adopted a new "green janitorial supplies contract" that directs public agencies to purchase supplies that reduce the use of toxic chemicals without raising costs, according to The Columbian.
The contract addresses a variety of issues including low environmental impact cleaning products, tools, equipment, consultation and training, the article stated.

According to the article, new price agreements with companies such as Coastwide Laboratories, Waxie Sanitary Supply, Interline Brands and West Coast Paper, will begin August 1, and may be extended in two-year increments until 2018.

Oregon Executive Order No. 12-05 calls on state agencies to "adopt purchasing policies focused on less-toxic products," while Washington Executive Order 04-01 directs state agencies to "purchase equipment, supplies and other products that do not contain toxic chemicals unless no feasible alternative exists," the article noted.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

Click here for more information on Cleanway's Green Cleaning Services

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Top Ten Reasons to Have Carpets Cleaned Year Round

Doug Berjer product manager for CFR (manufacturers of recycling portable carpet extractors), offers these top ten reasons to have carpets cleaned year round:
  1. Prolongs the life of carpeting. Regular carpet cleaning using the extraction method can increase the life of carpets significantly, protecting your floor-covering investment.
  2. Protects indoor air quality. Carpets trap airborne pollutants; however, eventually those pollutants must be removed in order to protect the carpet and maintain indoor air quality.
  3. Makes carpets easier to maintain. Most carpet soiling is made up of dry soils; when carpets are kept thoroughly cleaned on a regular basis, most dry soils can be removed with regular vacuuming.
  4. Removes spots and stains. As with other soils, spots and stains can attract more soiling. Removing them promptly protects carpeting from damage.
  5. Prevents buildup of allergens and bacteria. Moist soiling of carpets can result in the buildup of several unhealthy contaminants.
  6. Enhances the appearance of any room. Clean, well-maintained carpets speak volumes about the overall cleanliness of a home or facility.
  7. Improves worker morale. Workers feel better about their work environment when it is clean. This includes the carpeting.
  8. Makes carpeting look and feel clean and fresh.
  9. Removes dust mites and bedbugs that may have found a home in carpets.
  10. Maintains the carpet’s warranty. Most carpet warranties require that carpets be cleaned using the extraction method within a specific amount of time, usually every 12 to 18 months.

“And there is one more reason carpets should be cleaned regularly,” says Berjer. “Clean carpets simply make people feel good about themselves and where they live and work.”

Click here to read full article

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Bleach vs. Disinfectant: How do I know which one to use?

When To Use Bleach

Bleach has been around for more than 50 years and, when it is not being utilized as a weapon, it is both tried and true for many common tasks.
In fact, bleach is an appropriate chemical for removing or "bleaching" stains on many surfaces such as grout, shower curtains and, of course, our laundry whites.
Bleach is recommended for use as a sanitizing agent for direct food contact surfaces such as dishes and utensils prior to putting them into service.
It can also be used to disinfect fabrics and other "soft and porous" surfaces that have been contaminated with harmful germs, a task which ready-to-use disinfectant (RTU) cleaning products are not designed to perform.
Although bleach can be used effectively as a disinfectant for many tasks, it has some attributes that can make it less desirable than a RTU disinfecting product for some applications.
Household bleach is made up of about five percent active sodium hypochlorite.
At this concentration, bleach can be damaging to and/or cause discoloration of surfaces, clothing and other materials with which it comes in contact.
It also emits a strong odor that can become unpleasant or irritating in areas that do not provide sufficient ventilation.
Bleach must be diluted according to the label instructions to prepare the appropriate solution strength for the various cleaning and disinfecting tasks it can perform.
The contact time required for bleach to disinfect a surface is 10 minutes.
In some circumstances, it is recommended that the contaminated surface be pre-cleaned prior to the disinfection step.
Therefore, while it can be used effectively as a disinfectant, bleach has some inherent limitations, and a general purpose RTU disinfectant product may be the more appropriate choice.

When To Choose A Disinfectant

The formula common to most RTU disinfectants on the market today is an aqueous alkaline base with a quaternary ammonium compound (quat) as the active disinfecting ingredient.
In addition to disinfecting, many of these products contain detergents for use in cleaning heavily soiled surfaces prior to the disinfection step.
These disinfectant products will not "bleach" or discolor surfaces when they are used according to the label instructions.
RTU disinfectants are generally not corrosive or damaging to eyes, skin or contact surfaces in their final concentration.
Most of these products have added fragrances to impart a pleasant scent when they are used.
As RTU products, they do not require any diluting and, in fact, they must be maintained in their original concentration to ensure adequate disinfection of treated surfaces.
The required dwell time for many RTU disinfectant products is far less than the 10 minutes required for bleach to disinfect surfaces; it may be under one minute for some common germs.
The main limitation in using RTU disinfectant products is that they are designed to kill germs on hard and non-porous surfaces, and they are not proven to be sufficiently effective in killing germs on fabrics and porous surfaces such as concrete.
But, for cleaning staffs and facilities maintenance personnel, the ability to apply a disinfectant product in a RTU spray applicator to most hard, non-porous surfaces to both clean and disinfect them can be a major benefit compared to the time and effort required to dilute and apply an appropriate solution of bleach.
With a RTU disinfectant product, as long as you do not dilute or contaminate the contents inside the bottle, you are ready to go.

Click here to read full article

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Majority Of People Use Their Phone On Restroom Breaks

LONDON — A new survey reveals that more than half of people use their mobile phone while sitting on the toilet, according to Digital Spy.

phone on the toiletThe poll, conducted by Sony and O2, also revealed that a quarter of men choose to sit on the loo rather that stand, just so that their hands are free to use their phones, the article stated.

According to the article, 59 percent of men and women admitted to sending texts and 45 percent to sending e-mails, while nearly a third said they had taken a call and 24 percent revealed that they have phoned someone while on the toilet.

Twenty-nine percent of those polled said they used their phones in the restroom because they "wanted to prevent boredom setting in," and 12 percent said that they felt pressure to stay on top of e-mails and messages, even while in the restroom, the article noted.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Australian Norovirus Now Spreading Through U.S.

NEW YORK — A new strain of norovirus, first identified in Australia and dubbed the Sydney Strain, is now spreading throughout the U.S., according to Time.

stomach fluThe U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting that the strain, technically termed GII.4 Sydney, is the current leading cause of norovirus outbreaks in the U.S., and accounted for more than 50 percent of all cases of the infection for the month of December, the article stated.

According to the article, this new strain was identified in March 2012 and has been sickening people on several continents; the CDC does say, however, that it is too early to determine whether or not this new strain is infecting people at a higher rate than previous years.

While there are currently no treatments for norovirus, Dr. John Treanor, chief of the Infectious Diseases Division at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and a group of scientists are in the process of testing a vaccine, developed by LigoCyte Pharmaceuticals, that contains a part of the norovirus' outer layer, which they hope will generate a strong immune response in those who get immunized, the article noted.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.