Defeating Restroom Odors

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARestroom Odor

There’s no doubt that you’ve been in a restaurant, commercial building or public facility and encountered a foul smelling bathroom. Everyone has had this negative experience. Chances are that a bad smelling bathroom impacted your entire experience and may deter you from returning.

This problem highlights the importance of restroom cleanliness. True cleaning disinfects and gets to the root cause of odors. A bathroom may look clean, but its smell will always give it away.

Deep Cleaning Bathrooms

Most persistent restroom odors are caused by the crystallization of uric acid, and the presence of bacteria. Spilled urine can soak into grout lines, wainscoting, trim or other hard-to-reach areas. Bacteria feed on the crystallized urine and create the pungent ammonia odor that wrinkles your nose.

Cleaning staff must be persistent in thoroughly removing urine before it forms into malodorous uric acid crystals. A bathroom deep cleaning regimen should be adopted by commercial cleaners that includes green cleaning products. Conventional cleaners can often leave residues that attract dirt and grime, creating breeding grounds for bacteria and gathering places for urine.

Adopting Effective Cleaning Methods

Having green cleaning products that target and destroy foul smelling bacteria is important. Using these cleaning products properly and adopting effective cleaning methods for targeting odor-causing trouble spots is just as important.

  • Target grout lines. These are hot spots for odor causing bacteria. Grout is porous and absorbs spilled urine, where it forms crystals and is consumed by bacteria. Instead of just mopping stalls and bathroom floors, clean grout lines with a grout cleaner and seal them regularly to prevent urine from soaking in. 
  • Make sure floor drains in restrooms are unblocked and open. Excess moisture creates a breeding ground for bacteria that will exacerbate an odor problem.
  • Consider adopting spray-and-vacuum cleaning appliances that leave a relatively dry surface immediately after cleaning.

It’s Worth the Extra Effort

Purchasing new cleaning products and appliances may seem like an obstacle, but in the long run it will save your cleaning staff time and it will save you money. By finding an effective way of eliminating bathroom odors, janitorial staff won’t have to keep addressing the problem and cleaning them over and over again with insufficient results. A clean and good smelling bathroom will also improve the reputation of the building or facility that you clean. This is especially important for restaurants and other private enterprises that rely on positive customer experience and satisfaction.

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Reducing Slip and Fall Accidents on Clean Floors

slippery-floorSlippery Floors

Slip and fall accidents can be dangerous, both for bodily harm and for liability. Cleaning staff need to be fully educated and trained in how to keep floors clean without making them excessively slippery.

The reason a floor is slippery isn’t always readily apparent. Factors like cleaning products, improperly applied finish, and poor equipment can all contribute to slippery floor conditions.

Cleaning Solutions

Safe and effective cleaning methods are one of the best ways to assure floors are suitable for use. Approaching floor cleaning with an eye for detail and a penchant for thoroughness will help reduce slippage. Properly cleaned and finished floors should have minimal slippage.

Some reasons for slippery floors and solutions are:

  • The wrong chemicals or cleaning products were used. Whatever product you use to finish a floor with, it should say on the label that it is slip resistant. Higher quality products, though often more expensive, are also usually worth the investment and will provide a better surface after a floor is cleaned. A good all-purpose cleaner used in tandem with a clean mop and bucket will do wonders.
  • Finish was improperly applied. Getting the right amount of finish on a floor is paramount to how slippery the floor may become. Too little or too much finish can both result in a slippery floor. The best approach is to apply three or four modest coats, checking for slippage before adding more. By testing a floor after each coat, you will gradually find the sweet spot.
  • Dirty or over-saturated mop. Mopping a floor with a dirty mop will result in a dirty, oftentimes slippery, floor. Use floor treatments that are non-oil based, and make sure your dust mop is clean.
  • Dirty tools. Buckets, floor mops, scrub brushes and machine washers can all become dirty, grimy and greasy over time. Thoroughly cleaning buckets, using new mop liners and mops when refinishing floors and keeping washing equipment clean and well-maintained will help reduce slippage.

In extreme cases where a floor has been mistreated or damaged over a long period of time and remains slippery, a floor may need to be stripped and refinished. Machine scrub a damaged floor before resorting to stripping, however. Sometimes a thorough wash with a powerful machine can set things straight.

The most important thing a cleaning agency can do to keep floors minimally slippery is regular, proper cleaning with high quality products, all-purpose cleaners and equipment.

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Tips For Cleaning Hard Floors

hard-floor-cleaningHard Floor Cleaning

Among the most ubiquitous of cleaning projects for any commercial cleaning staff, the cleaning of hard floors is a simple task. Even simple tasks can be done with excellence. Floors are one of the parts of a building that are the most interacted with, draw a lot of attention and are very visible. Cleaning them well is essential to keeping your client satisfied and maintaining your cleaning contract.

Cleaning Tips

There are two basic types of hard flooring: resilient and non-resilient. Special care should be taken when cleaning each type.

Resilient Flooring

Resilient floors live up to their names: they have an amount of give and a relative softness that makes them comfortable to stand on. This quality also makes them less durable that non-resilient flooring like tile, marble and hardwood. Chairs, furniture and other heavy or large objects may gouge, scratch or imprint the surface of resilient flooring.

To maintain resilient flooring, it is important to control soil, grit and dirt from building up and causing damage to the surface. Sweeping and mopping are effective cleaning methods. It is wise to use a nonabrasive cleaner or an all-purpose cleaning product.

While cleaning resilient floors:

  • Avoid abrasive cleaners and tools or equipment that make blunt contact with hard components. Find a good all-purpose cleaner.
  • Solvent-based polish, harsh detergents, paste wax and other products that create a shiny floor surface should be avoided.
  • Consult the manufacturer’s recommendations if you are in doubt about how to properly clean a vinyl or other resilient floor surface.

Non-resilient Flooring

Tile, marble, hardwood, stone and other solid flooring materials are referred to as non-resilient. They do not have the softness and give of resilient flooring. They do, however, have incredible durability, resistance to staining and scratching, and a long lifespan.

Keeping them looking new means keeping them clean. Make sure you understand what kind of non-resilient floor you are dealing with before cleaning it. Ceramic tile flooring, for instance, doesn’t require special cleaning products or care. Coarse tile or stone have unique needs and should be cleaned accordingly by a trained professional.

Cleaning non-resilient flooring begins with sweeping or gently vacuuming to remove dirt. Using a mild detergent or all-purpose cleaner mixed with warm water, wash the floors using a soft cloth or mop. Using a soft mop isn’t recommended, as they can force dirt and soil into grout or spaces between hardwood strips. Change the water as necessary. Buff dry and watch them shine!

Hard floors are meant to last. Keeping them clean improves their visual appeal and extends their life. Use proper cleaning products and techniques and the hard floors you service will look new for years.

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Evaluating Practices & Maintaining High Cleaning Standards

cleaning-bidBidding on cleaning contracts takes a thorough understanding of the industry, some experience, and a bit of savvy. There will always be the low-ballers who promise to do more for less just to get the job. Not only can that kind of behavior lead to disagreements between a client and a cleaning provider, it can tarnish the reputation of the commercial cleaning industry as a whole.

It is important for commercial cleaners to regularly evaluate their services and review their standards. Ask yourself some important questions about how you do business and what kinds of commercial cleaning you are equipped to handle:

Cleaning Practices

  • What is your cleaning company good at doing? It is tempting to bid on an attractive job. A well-paying contract is enticing, but make sure you have the staff, the training and the equipment to adequately perform the job before bidding on it.
  • What is your company not as good at? Many cleaning companies have expertise with a set of tasks, such as hard floor care, window washing, and medical facility cleaning. Not every cleaning company can do everything perfectly. Know your limitations and strengthen your strengths.
  • Are you working to improve your weakenesses? There is always room for improvement in the cleaning industry. Better commercial cleaning products and practices help you do jobs better and improve the cleaning industry at large.

Business Practices

  • Are you maintaining profitable accounts? Contracts should be re-evaluated on a regular basis to determine their profitability. Over time, jobs may need to be renegotiated or terminated in order to make room for more profitable opportunities. Determine whether your high maintenance accounts are worth the extra time and effort, as well.
  • Measure your productivity. Compare clients and jobs that are similar to get an idea of what a good productivity rate is for that type of client. Every job will be different, but having a ballpark standard of how productive your staff should be will help you maintain a high standard for each job. You can get a rough idea of your productivity for each cleaning job by dividing the square footage being cleaned by the direct labor hours.
  • How are you measuring your standards? Based on your contract for a cleaning job, are you giving the customer what they are paying for and performing the best work  you can? Are you using the best cleaning products and equipment available to you? Is your staff properly and regularly trained so they can clean to the highest of industry standards?

National Purity develops and supplies cleaning products that meet the highest standards of the cleaning industry. Contact us to order and learn more about our all purpose cleaners, degreasers and hand soaps.

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Reduce Cleaning Mistakes With Adequate Training

cleaning-staffIt’s important to equip your cleaning staff with safe and effective cleaning equipment and cleaning products. It is equally important to equip them with adequate and useful training. The efficiency and safety of your cleaning team could rely on a thorough and thoughtful training program.

You can help improve your cleaning department and avoid money-losing mistakes with these suggestions:

  • Create a standardized cleaning procedure for each cleaning task. Equipment, supplies and tools should be used in the same manner by all members of your staff. This will streamline the cleaning process and will create less opportunity for mistakes. It will also allow your cleaning staff to naturally hold each other to the same standard.
  • Communicate with the vendors of the cleaning products and equipment you use to find out the most effective and safest way to use their products. This is especially relevant for specialty cleaning tasks, like carpet cleaning, foodservice floor degreasing, etc.
  • Many unsafe practices are developed as a result of insufficient training. Remember that a little bit of ignorance can go a long way.
  • Consider training an ongoing process. Take opportunities to train and retrain your staff as safety and best practices are updated, when you add new members to your staff, after an accident occurs or when new equipment or products are introduced into your department. Training goes beyond a conference room or mandatory meeting. Take it into the field by observing your staff, finding teachable moments and giving positive reinforcement.
  • In addition to enough training, make sure to give the right type of training to your cleaning staff. Many cleaning applications involve chemicals and sophisticated equipment. Staff members should be trained to the level of certification so there is no doubt that they are qualified to perform a task or operate a certain pice of equipment.
  • Create a set of safety information, including accessible and easy-to-read posters and lists. Include educational materials about the chemicals, labels, safety procedures and equipment that your staff interacts with.

Cleaning mistakes can compromise the health and safety of your staff, and can also be costly. Taking the time to thoroughly train your staff on an ongoing basis will reduce the incidence of of mistakes. The bid you put in on a job, or the budget your department receives often doesn’t take costly accidents and mistakes into account. To be an efficient, safe and profitable organization, your cleaning staff needs to operate at high efficiency.

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Keeping Your Campus Clean

School buildings and campus facilities are subject to daily wear and tear.  Cafeterias, restrooms, dormitories, classrooms, administrative buildings—the list of areas that needs to be cleaned on campus is long. No stone can be left unturned when it comes to creating a safe and healthy learning environment.

Hundreds, sometimes thousands of students, faculty and visitors pour through college and university campuses every day. Keeping school buildings, floors and facilities clean is essential for health and the positive image of your institution.

Schools are designed for teaching and learning. Clean, nice-looking facilities are a key component to a learning environment. Campus cleanliness is so important that schools across the country maintain in-house cleaning staff or contract cleaning to larger janitorial companies.

Whether your campus is maintained by a janitorial department or a contracted company, the cleaning products and methods they use are important to keep your campus running smoothly. National Purity can provide the appropriate products for your school environment. From handsoap to all purpose cleaners, our products keep campuses clean and safe. We also offer a line of green cleaning products that can help your school lessen its environmental impact.

Essential daily and/or weekly campus cleaning includes:

  • Sweeping and mopping all hard surface flooring.
  • Vacuuming floors and carpets in administrative, classroom and dormitory buildings.
  • Cleaning the walls, windows and other surfaces of rooms and buildings throughout campus.
  • Maintaining handsoaps and toiletries in public and dormitory restrooms.
  • Maintenance of floor drains to assure that floors drain and dry properly after cleaning.
  • Proper storage of cleaning equipment and supplies to prevent rodents and pests.
  • Use of effective and safe cleaning products in restrooms, cafeterias and food preparation spaces.
  • Creation of cleaning schedules that are checked and maintained by cleaning staff to assure that every building and room is attended to on a regular basis.

National Purity gives campuses the opportunity to reduce waste, protect the health of students and staff, and lower greenhouse gas emissions by offering green and environmentally friendly cleaning products. Our line of green cleaning products and supplies includes all purpose cleaners for , handsoaps for restrooms and degreasers for kitchen and cafeteria floors.

Contact us to talk with a member of our staff to determine the cleaning products that will be most effective for your campus. We have been specializing in cleaning products since 1924. Our experience and expertise will help create a beautiful, clean learning environment at your school.

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New Hand Washing Statistics Released

hand washingDespite recent flu epidemics and the rapid spread of other communicable diseases — American’s still aren’t very good at washing their hands.

In fact, a new study published in the Journal of Environmental Health has found that only 1 in 20 Americans properly wash after using the restroom.

And though it takes between 15 and 20 seconds of vigorous washing to eliminate germs, the average wash only lasts about six seconds.

“It’s horrifying,” said Carl Borchgrevink, the study’s lead author.

To collect these statistics, researchers set-up shop in bars, restaurants and other public establishments to observe people washing (or not washing) their hands. A total of 3,749 people were included in the study results.

The Worst Offenders

This may or may not be surprising, but men were particularly bad at hand washing. Fifteen percent didn’t even bother washing their hands at all (compared to 7% of women).

And when they did wash their hands, only half used soap (compared to 78% of women).

“Maybe some men don’t like being told what to do or they feel they’re invincible or they think it’s unnecessary,” Borchgrevink said.

Take Away Message

Nearly 80% of all infectious diseases are spread through the act of touch. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hand washing is the most effective strategy for stopping the spread of infectious disease.

Collectively improving our hand washing practices has the potential to save thousands of lives every year. And as a facilities manager or business owner, you have the power to increase hand washing rates by upgrading your cleaning strategies.

Previous research has indicated that men and women are more likely to wash their hands in public if the restroom is clean and orderly. Automated foaming hand soap, hands-free faucets and hand dryers as well-stocked paper towel dispensers can make a huge difference. Restroom signs can also encourage increased hand washing.

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Spring Cleaning Tips for Facility Managers

restroom-cleaningSpring is finally here which means it’s time for facility managers and building owners to review and amend their current cleaning procedures for the new season.

Below are five spring cleaning tips to consider during this year’s annual assessment.

Focus on Flooring

Most high traffic floors take a serious beating during the winter months — leaving they dull, dingy or stained come Spring. Invest your time in some deep cleaning services, which can revitalize tile and carpet. A seasonal deep clean can make your floors look brand new. It can also increase their lifespan over time.

Have Air Conditioning Units Serviced

If your AC units have been turned off for several months, they need a thorough coil cleaning. This will not only improve your unit’s energy efficiency, it will improve the indoor air quality of your facility. AC units that don’t undergo spring maintenance can lead to unpleasant odors, allergens and other symptoms of “sick building syndrome.”

Deep Clean Restrooms

Hopefully you already have a thorough daily cleaning routine in place for restroom maintenance. That being said, periodic deep cleans are the best way to eliminate lingering bacteria and dirt. A quality deep clean should remove built-up dirt and grime, sanitize all restroom surfaces and polish fixtures.

Take Care of Small Details

Winter can be a drain on your cleaning staff. Removing snow and constantly cleaning dirty floors can leave little time for much else. This spring make it your goal to shift away from the big picture and focus on the small details. Small changes like replacing bulbs and ballasts or patching caulk lines can really freshen up the interior of your building.

Consider Going Green

The benefits associated with green cleaning are endless. It’s not only good for the environment, it’s also safer for your cleaning staff and more cost-efficient in the long run. Green cleaning products should be biodegradable, free of any known carcinogens, and have lower impact on the environment.

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3 Reasons to Choose Green Janitorial Products

cleaning-supplies
The concept of “going green” is a hot button issue in the janitorial industry.

Should you, or shouldn’t you go green?

If you’re still on the fence about making the switch to green janitorial products, it’s time to check out the benefits below:

Health & Safety

Most traditional cleaning products contain a toxic brew of harsh chemicals. As a result, they can have a negative impact on the acute (immediate) and chronic (long-term) health of your cleaning staff. So much so that according to recent statistics, a whopping 88 percent of janitorial injuries are related to skin or eye irritation, skin burns or chemical inhalation.

Some of the most common health problems associated with traditional cleaning chemicals, include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Eye irritation
  • Skin burns
  • Respiratory problems
  • Reproductive disorders

Traditional cleaning chemicals can affect the health of more than just your cleaning staff. A workplace phenomenon known as “sick building syndrome” which is related to a high concentration of indoor pollutants, can cause uncomfortable symptoms for anyone spending long periods of time in a toxic environment.

Long-Term Cost Reduction

Generally speaking, green janitorial products cost around the same (or sometimes slightly more) than traditional commercial cleaning supplies. However, over the long-term they can save you a significant amount of money.

Because they don’t contain the same harsh chemicals found in conventional cleaners, they require less stringent employee training and waste disposal. They also have the potential to reduce onsite injuries, decrease workers’ compensation and even lower insurance rates.

Environmental Responsibility

The environmental impact associated with traditional cleaning products is endless. Approximately one-in-three ingredients found in commercial cleaning products pose risk to human health and the environment. These chemicals also inevitably find their way into lakes, streams and other bodies of water, presenting even more environmental concerns.

Do you still have questions about green janitorial supplies? Contact National Purity for more information today!

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Why Janitors Shouldn’t Use Bleach

Bleach-bottleIn the world of professional cleaning, greenhas become the norm. These days most facility managers base their cleaning product selection on whether or not products have a reduced impact on the environment (and for good reason).

However despite this massive shift within the industry, some cleaning professionals are still under the impression that harsher chemicals, like those found in bleach, are more suitable cleaning options.

The Problem With Bleach

Though bleach has remained a tried-and-true option in the professional cleaning industry for more than 50 years, it’s important to note that bleach isn’t actually cleaning agent — which is part of the reason it doesn’t belong in most routine cleanings. It does however, carry disinfectant properties which sometimes make it an appropriate option in health care settings (though broad spectrum disinfectants will work just as well).

Besides being incredibly toxic (especially when it comes into contact with ammonia), there are number of reasons to avoid bleach.

  • It has a short shelf life. Bleach has a “chemical shelf life” of 3-6 months, depending on the stored temperature. Whether you use it or not, it will quickly lose it’s potency over time. If you mix it with water (to lower its concentration of hypochlorite), it’s shelf life will be reduced even further.
  • It’s corrosive. Bleach is an extremely harsh cleaning product. So much so that it can destroy or damage metal or stainless steel. If accidentally spilled, it can even etch floor finish and sealed concrete, which can equate to significant repair or replacement costs down the road.
  • It contains zero surfactants. Though it doesn’t kill bacteria, a surfactant is one of the most important components of almost any cleaning product. When dissolved in water, they work to dislodge and remove dirt. Bleach alone is not enough to wash away dirt and grease.

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