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  • Triclo---what? What the Triclosan Ban Means for You

    Sep 21, 2017

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    On September 2, 2016 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a final ruling that bans 19 active ingredients in hand or body washes. One of the active ingredients affected by this ruling is triclosan, the most widely-used active ingredient in over-the-counter (OTC) consumer antiseptic washes.

    So, what does this ruling mean for you? Since this ban affects soaps that you may use at home, in school and other public settings, it’s important to understand what triclosan is and why this ruling took place.

    What is triclosan?

    Triclosan is an ingredient added to many consumer products like antibacterial soaps, body washes, toothpastes and some cosmetics in order to reduce or prevent bacterial contamination.

    Is triclosan safe?

    Unfortunately, how triclosan affects human health is not yet known. While there are several ongoing studies that involve the safety of triclosan, there is not enough scientific data to make any claims at this time.

    How do I know if triclosan is in a product?

    If a soap, body wash or any other product contains triclosan, it should be listed as an ingredient on the label. If you have any questions or concerns about a product you use, call the number listed on the product.

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    What other chemicals were banned?

    In addition to the triclosan ruling, these other chemicals we also banned:

    • Cloflucarban
    • Fluorosalan
    • Hexachlorophene
    • Hexylresorcinol
    • Iodine complex (ammonium ether sulfate and polyoxyethylene sorbitan monolaurate)
    • Iodine complex (phosphate ester of alkylaryloxy polyethylene glycol)
    • Nonylphenoxypoly (ethyleneoxy) ethanoliodine
    • Poloxamer-iodine complex
    • Povidone-iodine 5 to 10 percent
    • Undecoylium chloride iodine complex
    • Methylbenzethonium chloride
    • Phenol (greater than 1.5 percent)
    • Phenol (less than 1.5 percent) 16
    • Secondary amyltricresols
    • Sodium oxychlorosene
    • Tribromsalan
    • Triclocarban
    • Triple dye

     

    This rule goes into effect on September 6, 2017 giving companies a year to remove these ingredients from their products or discontinue the product line within the market. Some states are adopting this ruling early, such as Minnesota that put the ban into effect on January 1, 2017.

    This ruling does not affect antibacterial soaps used by healthcare professionals, food industry professionals or consumer antiseptic rubs (i.e. hand sanitizers).

    As a part of our innovative hand hygiene platforms, all Betco® skin care solutions comply with this new rule and are triclosan-free.

    If you have any questions or want to learn more, please click here.

    If you have any questions, please visit www.betco.com, call (888) GO-BETCO or please contact us at welisten@betco.com.

  • Get with the Program: Go Green

    Sep 21, 2017

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    The move toward green cleaning is the next step towards further reducing the impact left on the environment. We can always continue to maintain and improve the health, comfort and aesthetics of our surroundings. We know that green cleaning creates healthier environments, but what does it truly mean to go green?

    Sustainable solutions minimize the impact of cleaning on people and the environment. More importantly, it is a process to protect natural resources for the future – not a single product alone. This means meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

    Going Green is a journey that anyone can participate in. By being environmentally responsible, we can become more knowledgeable about the ingredients we are putting into products, leading to a healthier home and a healthier you. Wondering how you can help? Try these tips to get started:

    Save energy: Finished using something? Make sure you shut it off. You can easily conserve energy by turning off the lights or unplugging smaller appliances as soon as you’re done with them.

    Save water: No one likes a dripping faucet…especially the environment. From brushing your teeth to watering your garden, it’s important to be conscious of how much water you are using and how you can better conserve it.

    Reduce, reuse, recycle: These three R’s are the perfect triple threat. By helping to reduce waste, we can conserve natural resources and energy. When we reuse and recycle, we can avoid creating waste, reducing the amount of trash going to our landfills and keeping the environment healthier.

    It’s important to remember that every little bit helps when it comes to conserving natural resources within our environment. You can start out small and still make a positive impact. By focusing on maintaining the balance between people, profit and planet, we can protect our environment now and in the future.

    At Betco®, being environmentally responsible is a company standard. We are committed to developing products, programs and procedures that meet or exceed health and environmental standards while providing cost effective benefits to accomplish your maintenance goals. To learn more about our sustainability efforts and complete green program, please visit www.betco.com/solutions/sustainability for more information.

    Want to implement a Green Program at your facility? Click here to get started!

  • Creating a Facility Maintenance Program

    Sep 21, 2017

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    Developing a comprehensive approach to facility maintenance is not always an easy task to accomplish. While there are many best practices for creating a facility maintenance program, the path to finding and implementing a plan that meets the specific needs of your facility can be challenging. With efficiency as a common end goal, facilities are searching for ways to optimize opportunities without increasing costs. Here are some dos and don’ts to help you develop a maintenance plan that fits your facility.

    Dos:

    • Expect to Inspect. There is always room for improvement. Pay attention to the areas in which your facility maintenance program could become better. By determining what changes need to be made, you could increase efficiency and reduce expenses.
    • Calculate Costs. Assess the specific needs in your facility and develop a plan to convert to more innovative, cost effective solutions. When evaluating your current expenses and researching other options, you’ll feel more empowered to make a decision in your maintenance program and potentially get more bang for your buck.
    • Outline Opportunities. Building an effective facility maintenance program requires weighing the pros and cons. Presenting various options and showcasing the advantages of a proposed program will help you establish a customized plan for your facility.

    Don’ts

    • Rely on the Bare Minimum. You shouldn’t have to settle when it comes to the cleanliness of your facility. While your current maintenance program may be sufficient, there is always an opportunity to enhance it. When you analyze your program, you may discover new ways to achieve a higher level of clean.
    • Guesstimate. There’s no need to play the guessing game with your facility maintenance program. Many modern tools are available to you for free online to assist you in planning and executing the very best solution strategies.
    • Short-Change on Change. Every facility is unique and requires solutions customized to their specific needs. While modeling your maintenance plan off of another facility’s may be easy and effective, make sure you take the time to evaluate what’s best for your facility. Building an exclusive plan may present you with various new opportunities.

    For more solutions or guidance on creating a facility maintenance program, visit betco.com to learn about our innovative resources and training sessions.

  • Why is Green Cleaning Important?

    Sep 21, 2017

    Green Cleaning means more than using “green” products. The success of a green cleaning program is dependent on numerous factors. While the selection of sustainable products is important, it will have little effect in the case of an inadequate cleaning regimen that leaves facilities dirty and the health of occupants, visitors and the environment at risk. A comprehensive green cleaning program should include sustainable options for chemicals, procedures, equipment, paper, liners, mops and matting.

    The movement toward green cleaning does not imply that traditional methods are inadequate or have created unsafe conditions. Instead, it can be viewed as simply taking the next step beyond current approaches to further reduce impacts on the environment while continuing to maintain and improve the health, comfort and aesthetics of our surroundings.

    Sustainable solutions minimize the impact of cleaning on people and the environment. More importantly, it is a process to protect natural resources for the future – not a single product alone. In articles and discussions about green cleaning, you will typically read or hear themes about the triple bottom line: people, planet and profit.

    People – pertains to fair and beneficial business practices toward labor and the community and region in which a corporation conducts its business.

    Planet – refers to sustainable environmental practices. This practice entails reducing the ecological footprint by carefully managing consumption of energy, non-renewables and reducing waste as well as rendering waste less toxic before disposing of it in a safe and legal manner.

    Profit – is the economic value created by an organization after deducting the cost of all inputs, including the cost of capital.

    The cleaners used by the custodial staff have an impact on the residents and staff at Long Term Care facilities. By switching to safer chemistries, without sacrificing performance, residents and staff can perform in a safer environment and will reduce the spread of Hospital Acquired Infections (HAI).

    How do you know if a product is truly green? We know that green cleaning creates healthier environments. However, to make sure that you are green cleaning you need to look for some type of third party certification endorsements from Green Seal, EcoLogo, Design for the Environment or BioPreferred. These third party certifiers review a manufacturer’s product to make sure that it adheres to strict requirements based on the effects to the environment.

    Note: The facility janitorial staffs contribute as much to the well-being of patients as the medical staff. Keeping linens clean and reducing clutter helps improve the indoor environment and is conducive to healthy residents and staff.

    For more information visit www.betco.com/solutions/sustainability.

  • Tips for Cleaning and Disinfection in Hotels

    Sep 21, 2017

    During winter the general public spends more time indoors due to colder temperatures and inclement weather. Places like airports, hotels and public transportation can become a breeding ground for illness-causing germs due to the increased number of people spending more time there. Hotel staff should take note of this increase in the spread of germs during cold and flu season and have a strong cleaning and disinfectant program to prevent guests and staff from becoming ill.

    Germs can be lurking anywhere—even in 4 or 5-star hotels. A recent study by Travel Math found that the most significant spots for germs were high touchpoint areas like bathroom counters (1,011,670 colony-forming units in 5 star hotels) and TV remote controllers (2,002,300 colony-forming units in 5-star hotels).

    Many hotels have their own differing cleaning programs, but it is crucial to include touchpoint disinfection as a routine part of this program. Common touchpoint areas include phones, TV remotes, bathroom fixtures and soft surfaces like furniture and bedding. Paying close attention to these areas will help prevent the spread of illness-causing germs.

    Disinfect High-Touch Areas

    Surfaces that are touched frequently by guests such as light switches, doorknobs, phones, remotes and bathroom fixtures should be disinfected at least one time every day. Influenza and staphylococcus germs can survive on surfaces for hours, meaning there are plenty of opportunities for guests and staff to contract an illness from these surfaces. It is important to use products that are EPA-registered to kill germs.

    Eliminate Odors at the Source

    When guests walk into a hotel room that carries strong or even faint odors, they appear to be unclean. Some odors are hard to get rid of like urine or smoke. Hotel cleaning managers can empower their staff to remove these odors by choosing an aerosol product with active ingredients to remove the odors directly from the air by eliminating the odor-causing molecule. In bathrooms, odors can be especially persistent on porous and damp surfaces like tile grout which can trap bacteria that feeds on urine. In humid or wet conditions, the odor can also be reactivated. Using a ready-to-use hydrogen-based cleaner is the best choice for removing stains and breaking down the odor-causing uric acid. Ready-to-use formulas don’t require dilution, making them quick and easy to use.

    Soft Surface Odors

    Hotels change and launder sheets and linens after each guest, but other soft surfaces like curtains, carpet and upholstered furniture can hold odors. In-between launderings, refresh and sanitize these surfaces by using a one-step, multi-use product.

  • Overcome the Challenges of Salt on Floors

    Sep 21, 2017

    When it snows, it salts. While salt trucks go about their business keeping the roads a little bit safer for all of us, it’s our floors that wind up in danger. As people come and go in a facility they stomp, shake and dump snow, slush and salt on floors everywhere. This can wreak havoc on both carpet and hard surface floors.

    A snowy, slushy mess doesn’t end after it dries as unmelted rock salt and stains can be left behind. The stains appear as white as snow across all types of floor surfaces. There is good news; these stains are actually preventable and your floors are savable. Salt stains are not harmful if attended to quickly.

    For an effective floor care solution to fight salt and other floor stains, use the FiberCAP 20 Carpet Machine with FiberCAP MP. FiberCAP MP is a low-moisture multi-purpose encapsulation cleaner system. Specifically designed to trap debris and lift it from the carpet fiber, the FiberCAP system is ideal for getting rid of stubborn salt stains in carpet.

    Another great solution to this winter weather woe is to use a reliable matting system. A matting system acts as a first line of defense against tracked-in contaminants on your floors. Over 80% of dirt and residues are brought in by people entering the facility; a good entrance matting system can trap 90% of this dirt and debris that is brought in!

    A successful matting system includes:

    • A high thread count mat with a rubber back to avoid slipping
    • Keeping outside entries clear by shoveling snow and ice up to 25 feet away from the building
    • Scraper mats in your entries, which contain rough threads that will trap more dirt and grime from shoes
    • Wider mats allow more time for shoes to dry before entering the facility
    • Regular maintenance cleaning can help regulate the amount of contaminants brought in—vacuuming floor mats daily can eliminate excess ice melt and dirt from entering the building

    It is important to keep in mind that hardwood floors are vulnerable during the winter. There is danger afoot due to a combination of increased moisture and salt that can potentially harm your hardwood floors and finish. A white film forming on the surface of the floor boards will appear from salt residue. The stain not only looks bad but if it remains too long it will begin to diminish the floor finish and shine. It is extremely important to use a matting system on high traffic entrances with wood floors. Keeping these entrances clean and free of debris, melted snow and slush is the most proactive step to protect your hardwood floor investment.

  • Extend Vacuum Life with Easy Maintenance

    Sep 21, 2017

    Vacuum cleaners may not be the most expensive piece of equipment in your closet, but for many it is the most used and abused. Operators tend to run over the power cords, forget to change filters and bags and even run them into walls and down stairs. These kinds of neglect can lead to maintenance problems later and can shorten the vacuum’s life.

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    Changing the vacuum filter is one of the easiest forms of preventative maintenance on your machine, but is often overlooked. Filters should be changed every ten bags or so for two-motor upright vacuums. When filters continue to collect dirt and debris, the machine loses efficiency and can even hurt the motor.Mechanical parts aren’t the only areas that can suffer from filter neglect. Damage can also occur to the circuit board if accumulating dust covers the electronics.

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    Operators should pay special attention to the moving components, like the spinning brush underneath the vacuum. Simply removing wound-on debris with scissors or your hands can extend the life of your vacuum. Make sure to pay special attention to the belt-to-brush connector. If debris is caught around this component, the belt drive can become strained or damaged. If needed, remove the brush component for easier access to built-up debris.

    When using your vacuum cleaner, note the status of the power cord. Checking the cord for cuts, kinks, knots and frays is important to avoid an electrical shortage as well as prevent serious injury. Another good habit to extend the life of the electrical cord is to always unplug the cord from the wall by hand; never pull the cord out of a socket from a distance as this could cause strain on the cord and outlet. Cord replacement is a costly expense for vacuum cleaners as it could cost up to 50 percent of the original cost of the vacuum to replace.

    Regularly inspecting your vacuum cleaner for these common kinds of wear can help identify any issues before they happen. After each shift, check the brush, cord, bag fill and filter for built-up debris. Also wipe down the machine to prevent dust from covering the interior components. These practices will not only prepare your vacuum to be used the next day, it will improve its life expectancy.

  • Effective Floor Care Starts with Daily Maintenance

    Sep 21, 2017

    The Betco U Certification Program offers three important components to floor care: daily maintenance, interim care, and restorative care. Of the three, daily maintenance is the most important. Not only does daily maintenance help keep the floor looking its very best every day, but properly performed, it can delay interim and restorative floor care, which are typically more costly and more labor intensive.

    So what does daily floor care entail?

    The tools typically used for daily maintenance include buckets, mops, dust mops, dust pans, and a putty knife to remove such things as gum and grit that may stick to the floor. As to the mopping of the floor, it should be performed using a figure 8 technique. A figure 8 motion overlaps floor areas and helps ensure all floor areas are mopped clean.

    Additionally, cleaning professionals must know the mop and cleaning solution should be changed frequently. As the mop or cleaning solution becomes soiled, the mop and water can spread soils and contaminants over the floor that not only discolor the floor, but over time can increase interim and restorative cleaning needs.

    Additional tips: If you can use a light “back pack” vacuum cleaner to clean the floor instead of a dust mop, the removal of dry soiling is much more thorough. As to the actual cleaning, if you can move from mopping to machine scrubbing, daily cleaning will be far more effective.  Automatic scrubbers now come in all shapes and sizes, allowing them to be used just about anywhere a mop and bucket is used, so there should be a system available to address your scrubbing needs.

    Further, and this is very significant, an automatic scrubber reduces the amount of time to clean a floor to a fraction. According to a report by the University of Minnesota, “an automatic scrubber or riding automatic scrubber can reduce the time it takes one person to clean 5,000 square feet with a mop and bucket from one to two hours down to 15-30 minutes. Furthermore, choosing riders over walk-behinds reduces fatigue.”

    Whether using an automatic scrubber or mopping a floor, a highly effective floorcare cleaning chemical is also required. The chemical helps dissolve and “suspend” soils so that they can be removed with the machine or by the mop. Because this chemical will be used daily, a highly-concentrated heavy duty floor cleaner, diluted correctly, is the economical way to go.

    Eventually, daily cleaning tasks may need to be increased a notch or two. After several cleanings, a Restorer should be applied. Some Restorers can also be applied by an automatic scrubber or mopped on the floor. An effective Restorer provides the following benefits:

    • Cleans and reconditions the floor, improving its appearance
    • Increases the slip resistance of the floor, which regular daily cleaning may reduce
    • Further helps delay interim and restorative cleaning
    • Some Restorers also leave a fresh, appealing fragrance that most building users appreciate

    When selecting a Restorer, be sure and read the manufacturer’s instructions. Some Restorers require that the floor be burnished after application. The burnishing not only helps remove soils from the floor’s surface but puts a high-gloss shine to the floor as well, giving the floor the look and appearance you and your customer can be proud of and appreciate.

    Betco U Certification Program is one of the most comprehensive teaching and learning programs in the professional industry. Information is available on a number of topics from floor care to green and sustainable issues. Sign-up for free access to Betco U and take advantage of this important resource.

  • Improve Restroom Appearance by Cleaning For Health

    Sep 21, 2017

    In public and commercial settings like office buildings, restaurants, schools and healthcare facilities, restrooms are most frequently cited as the number one source of customer complaints and unsurprisingly one of the toughest areas for cleaning professionals to maintain. Cleaning for health and aesthetics are both important. Consumer perceptions of a facility’s restrooms can impact bottom lines, but restroom cleanliness is also very important to public health in general.

    Illness-causing germs and multi-drug resistant organisms (MDROs or “superbugs”) are commonly found in public restrooms and are easily transmitted through contact with contaminated surfaces. “Microbial Biogeography of Public Restroom Surfaces,” a 2011 study in which researchers took samples from 10 restroom surfaces at the University of Colorado campus in Boulder, found that human-associated microbes like Staphylococcaceae were commonly found on a variety of restroom surfaces.

    This was a significant finding because the high number of skin and gut-associated bacteria found in the restrooms could readily be transmitted between individuals by touching these surfaces.

    In another restroom study on the San Diego State University campus, researchers found that bathrooms were completely recontaminated with microbes and fecal bacteria on a variety of surfaces from toilet seats to soap dispensers, just one hour after cleaning and disinfection.

    The question being asked, “How can cleaning professionals ensure that aesthetically clean-looking facilities are actually hygienically clean?” The solution to the problem is to modify the cleaning strategy to a health-focused approach and take these steps to prevent the spread of germs and improve aesthetics simultaneously.

    1. Pre-clean surfaces. Remove debris and body soils and then use and EPA-registered product with kill claims for hard-to-kill pathogens such as influenza, norovirus and staphylococcus to disinfect surfaces.
    2. Research your products. Pay close attention to the products being used to disinfect toilet surfaces and other surfaces commonly touched by hands. Make sure the proper products are being used and remember to check product labels for manufacturer’s instructions for proper use and contact time.
    3. Eliminate odors, don’t mask them. Restroom odors should be broken down at their source. Not all air freshening products can actually break down and eliminate uric acid crystals; the root cause of urine odor. Using hydrogen peroxide-based solutions fight urine odors and stains and do not require additional training to use.
    4. Clean the floors. Floor care is important too. Remove grime and scuff marks on restroom floors and don’t forget to disinfect them. Restroom floors are a breeding ground for over 230 bacterial species, compared to 150 species in over restroom locations according to “Microbial Biogeography of Public Restroom Surfaces.”
    5. Clean glass and mirrors. Remove water marks, soils and streaks with a glass and surface cleaner. Eliminate built-up soap scum and grime on sinks and countertops by using products specifically formulated to break it down.
    6. Encourage hand hygiene. Handwashing is the most important step in preventing the spread of infections. Cleaning staff should always wash their hands regularly with warm water and soap, especially after touching waste baskets, used tissues and using the restroom. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) states that you should scrub for at least 20 seconds before rinsing under clean, running water.

    Public restrooms will always carry the high potential for germ transmission. Implementing thorough cleaning and disinfecting protocols at the sign of contamination will enable cleaning professionals to provide a healthier environment for building occupants and visitors.

  • Green Floor Care Machines

    Sep 21, 2017

    Did you know floor machines have gone green? Betco®, a leading manufacturer in the cleaning industry, has developed green floor care machines specifically designed with sustainability in mind. However, it can be difficult to determine which types of floor machines are green and which are not.

    One way to determine if a machine qualifies as a green floor care machine is to see if it meets the requirements of LEED-EBOM credit 3.7. In general, this credit references floor care equipment that uses less water, chemical, and energy than older or conventional floor machines. Additionally, to promote sustainability, a green floor care machine is made to last longer and be more durable.

    Some of the other criteria for LEED-EBOM certification include the following:

    • Electric and battery-powered machines have a shroud covering the base of the equipment as well as a vacuum system. These are often referred to as “dust control machines;” they help capture fine particulates, preventing them from becoming airborne.
    • Noise levels must be less than 70 decibels; there are burnishers now available that are far quieter than this, generating as little as 59 decibels of sound.
    • Automatic scrubbers use eco-friendly batteries; these batteries typically require very little maintenance.
    • Green floor care machines are ergonomically designed, with reduced torque and vibration to minimize user fatigue.

    Betco also utilizes cylindrical brush floor machines. These can be considered green machines because they use less chemicals and water. Whenever less chemical can be used when cleaning, it is usually better for the user and the environment.

    Some cylindrical machines are also exceptionally quiet. Noise can negatively impact the user and cause worker fatigue. Additionally, because they are so quiet, the machines can be used in day cleaning situations.

    Administrators and cleaning professionals should realize that when following a green cleaning strategy, it means that all components, tools, chemicals, and equipment used in cleaning should also be green. In many ways, green cleaning is only as effective as its weakest link. To ensure all facets of your green cleaning program are strong and effective, make sure to include a green floor care machine.

    Betco is an industry leader in helping building owners, managers, and cleaning professionals keep facilities clean, healthy and environmentally responsible.

    For more information on green cleaning solutions, visit Betco.com or call 1-888-GO-BETCO

  • Beat the Heat: Tips for Summer Refinishing

    Sep 21, 2017

    When the weather turns hot, a host of refinishing problems can pop up. Here are some common problems and tips for prevention.

    Streaks, haze, micro-scratches or bubbles after second coat:  One of the most prevalent causes of finish failures during the hot summer months happens during recoating.  When high humidity is present during drying conditions it causes the drying time to slow down.  When this happens extra time needs to be taken when recoating to avoid possible issues.  The use of a moisture meter before and after coating is the best way to solve this issue.  Simply read and record the moisture level before coating and after, when the readings are within one of each other it is safe to recoat.  Remember, in humid conditions give the first coat some extra time to dry before recoating.

    Small Bubbles after Drying: Whenever finish is applied with an applicator, the churning action of spreading works small bubbles into the floor surface. Normally the bubbles will break out in a few seconds, resulting in a smooth and even finish. However, when airflow is warm, the warm air blowing across the freshly applied finish will “freeze” the surface very quickly, trapping application bubbles on the surface. In an air-conditioned environment this can still happen, as the air conditioner pushes a large volume of air in order to keep up with the heat.

    Prevention: To avoid this problem, add a small amount of water to the finish in order to lower the viscosity. Adding a small amount of water allows a few extra seconds for any bubbles to break before the finish surface dries. If the ambient temperature is between 85◦F and 95◦F, add 5% water to the finish after mixing the finish with catalyst. If the ambient temperature is above 95◦F, mix in up to 10% water, adding a little water at a time until the working level is just right. As a good rule of thumb, 12 ounces of water added to one gallon of finish is close to 10%. Do not add more than 12 oz. of water.

    Hot Floors Cause Blistering and Peeling Finish: Solar gain is a difficulty any time of year but tends to be more common during hot weather. Sunlight beating down through windows, patio doors or window walls will considerably heat up wood floors. If a dark stain is on the floor, even more heat will be absorbed. Floor temperatures in these situations can reach as high as 180◦F. If finish is applied over such a hot floor, the finish will set up so quickly that the finish will blister. In addition, the finish may not wet the wood well enough to stay bonded, drying so rapidly that it never penetrates the wood and may later peel.

    Prevention: The easiest way to prevent solar gain is to cover any windows, doors, etc. with an opaque material that does not allow sunlight to heat up the floor. Another way to control solar gain is to work at a time of day when the sunlight does not penetrate the gloss. If it is not possible or practical to cover the glass, the work can be completed very early in the morning (4-6 AM) before the sun can heat up the floor.

    Hot Finish Causes Bubbles: Hot finish on a cold floor will create millions of tiny bubbles. If the finish is stored in the back of a truck sitting in summer sun, it can get as hot as 160◦F. When this hot finish is brought into an air conditioned job site and applied to a cold floor, the finish begins to penetrate the wood and heats up the air within the boards. This air expands as it is heated and is trapped by the swiftly drying finish. This is visible because the bubbles will be very small and at the end of the grain.

    Prevention: Bring all finish into the job site before beginning and allow it to come to room temperature before applying it. Never apply finish that is warmer than the floor.

    Job site problems in the hot summer weather are all too common. Stay cool as the temperature rises by using these simple solutions to stop problems before they start!

  • Do Foam Soaps Save Water?

    Sep 21, 2017

    It often comes as a surprise to building owners that the typical restroom faucet can use as much as 2.5 gallons of water per minute. If used ten times in an hour, that’s 25 gallons of water going down the drain. Over the course of an eight hour day, water consumption can top 200+ gallons per faucet. There are very effective aerators available along with other water-reducing systems that work to reduce consumption, however, the amount of water used for hundreds of hand washings in a typical facility every day can be excessive.

    In today’s world, and especially in large areas of the United States, this is no longer sustainable. Building owners and facility managers must consider all measures possible to conserve water and use it more responsibly. When it comes to hand washing, one way to reduce water consumption is to simply change the hand soaps available for people to wash their hands.

    According to an independent study in the UK, foam soaps can reduce water consumption by 10 percent to as much as 50 percent per washing. This is because foam soap is lighter than traditional liquid soaps, so it requires less water to rinse off. Foam soaps also tend to lather more quickly than liquid hand soaps, helping to reduce water waste.

    Building owners and facility managers should note that many facilities have found that switching to foam soaps results in cost savings. This is because less time is spent running water while money runs down the drain.

    This is all very good, especially with concerns about water conservation mounting, it sounds like foam soaps are the way to go. However, before making the switch, there is one more question to ask: are foam soaps as effective at cleaning hands as are liquid soaps?

    Foam soaps are manufactured from traditional liquid soaps and because they are lighter, easier to use, and faster to lather, many observers believe they are actually more effective than traditional hand soaps.

    We should also note that similar to traditional liquid hand soaps, Betco manufactures regular foam hand washing/cleansing soaps as well as antibacterial foam hand soaps. These soaps provide a thorough hand washing that helps protect the health of building users along with the budgets of building owners as they promote sustainability.

    Talk to a Betco representative about your hand soap and hygiene needs. Also, Betco U, Betco’s free certification and training program, has a study guide specifically addressing hand hygiene issues. Along with hand hygiene, Betco U includes information and training programs on a variety of health-protecting and facility maintenance related issues. To contact a Betco representative please email welisten@betco.com.

  • EPA Denies Request for Triclosan Ban

    Sep 21, 2017

    The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) announced recently they denied a request to ban all use of the chemical, triclosan, and impose new regulations on releases of the antimicrobial pesticide into bodies of water.

    Two environmental groups also petitioned the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to ban triclosan in personal care products such as cosmetics and soap, as the EPA's authority on antimicrobial products extends only to those not meant to be applied to the body. The FDA has yet to respond to their petition.

    The EPA disagreed with the environmental groups asking for a ban on their claims that triclosan poses a danger to human health. Triclosan is claimed to interfere with endocrine systems of humans and animals, and can accumulate within the body at high levels. The agency cited recent risk assessments it conducted through its required re-evaluation of the chemical's pesticide registration.

    “Antimicrobial uses of triclosan meet the applicable statutory standards, and the petition and supporting comments did not provide sufficient evidence to significantly change those conclusions,” the leaders of the EPA's water, pesticides and science and technology divisions wrote in their May 13 response to the environmental groups.

    The EPA did say it would take a biological assessment to see if triclosan affects endangered species. If determined, it would require work with the Fish and Wildlife Service and the NOAA Fisheries Service to base a comprehensive study on triclosan's ecological impact.

    For more information on this announcement, click the link below:

    Letter from US Environmental Protection Agency – Petition to Ban Triclosan

    http://op.bna.com/env.nsf/id/dscz-9wmmny/$File/EPA-HQ-OPP-2010-0548-0787-2.pdf

  • Green Cleaning in Schools: Why We Need it Now

    Sep 21, 2017

    Have you ever wondered why so many school districts throughout North America have switched from using traditional cleaning chemicals to green cleaning in their schools?  The reasons for green cleaning in schools are many but it typically comes down to two things: protecting health and improving student performance.

    Several reports have been published over the past decade, all indicating that environmental conditions such as airflow, lighting, ventilation and the overall cleanliness of schools, as well as the types of chemicals used to clean and maintain schools, all influence a student’s health, performance and achievement. These studies focused more specifically on test scores in several categories—math, reading skills, comprehension, and vocabulary. They found that test scores invariably are lower among students in poorly cleaned and maintained buildings and where traditional cleaning chemicals are used, but scores are improved in clean and well maintained schools where more environmentally responsible cleaning chemicals and products are employed.

    For instance, two studies conducted by researchers at the University of North Carolina found that when more thorough cleaning methods were implemented, the following environmental results were obtained:

    • Airborne dust declined 52%.
    • Total volatile organic compounds declined 49%.
    • Total bacteria declined 40%.
    • Total fungi declined 61%.

    And when these cleaning improvements were implemented, the following resulted:

    • Passing math scores on standardized tests increased 51%.
    • Passing reading scores on standardized tests increased 27%.
    • Attendance increased 4.5%.

    These researchers concluded that the improved indoor environment positively affected teacher and student morale, attendance, and retention, which improved teachers’ ability to teach and students’ ability to learn.

    ell, this explains why effective cleaning is so important in schools, but where does green cleaning in schools come in? Similar studies also report that the type of cleaning chemicals used also affect student performance. We now know that many traditional cleaning products can be harmful to people and the environment. Specifically, in the indoor environment of a school, these traditional cleaning products can affect the health and well-being of students and their performance.

    Some cleaners are made using ingredients and solvents that are known to be harmful if inhaled or ingested. These products are often applied by using a trigger spray or aerosol, creating a fine mist or vapors, which can mar indoor air quality in the area where used. Application of these cleaning products may cause respiratory irritation and, with repeated exposure, possible asthma attacks and other breathing disorders that can effect children.

    Intensifying the problem, these vapors can enter HVAC systems, which  will spread the fumes throughout the school, effecting both students and staff. Many researchers have concluded that the use of these traditional cleaning chemicals is one of the reasons childhood asthma has increased 160 percent in the past two decades in some school districts around the country.

    A green cleaner contains fewer ingredients and those ingredients are safer to people and the surrounding environment. Additionally, applying cleaners directly onto wipe cloths or using foam cleaners will reduce or eliminate the possibility of vapors becoming airborne. This is an example of how green cleaning in schools often involve changing a cleaning method as well as the cleaning chemicals used.

    This is why there is more of an emphasis on proper cleaning and green cleaning in schools. Along with more effective cleaning, green cleaning in schools help reduce the negative impacts of cleaning on health and the environment which invariably translates into improved learning and improved student performance.

    Betco® is an industry leader in helping building owners, managers, and cleaning professionals keep facilities clean, healthy, and more environmentally responsible.

    For more information on this and other facility maintenance issues, visit the Betco video solutions library, Betco U for even more information, or call 1-888-GO-BETCO

  • Day Cleaning Can Reduce Commercial Energy Use

    Sep 21, 2017

    Building owners and managers are always looking for ways to increase their attractiveness to potential new tenants. While building from scratch or major renovations can be costly and time consuming, there are many small steps that can be taken to make a building more attractive.

    An easy way to improve the first impression of your building is by utilizing a day cleaning schedule. First shift cleaning shifts are becoming more popular and for good reason. One of the numerous benefits of day cleaning can be the major savings on energy costs. Industry consultants predict that within 10 years, day cleaning will be more common than traditional nighttime cleaning because of its effective reduction of cleaning costs as well as increasing sustainability.

    Reduced costs by changing a building cleaning schedule to the day shift can come from eliminating the need to illuminate buildings overnight. Day cleaning also enables building owners and managers to reduce their heating or cooling costs overnight. Doing so will effectively reduce the environmental footprint and can help attract new tenants in a market with growing interest in sustainability.

    The United States Energy Information Administration, or EIA, has determined that commercial buildings now account for roughly 20 percent of energy consumption. Switching to a day cleaning schedule will help reduce overall consumption and energy footprint.

    Day cleaning can also be beneficial to building and property staff. Some of the numerous benefits include:

    • Higher employee retention and levels of job satisfaction
    • Increased visibility of cleaning staff, which leads to increased respect amongst building and office occupants who work during the day
    • Improved communication between tenants and cleaning staff
    • Maintained confidence amongst tenants that their premises are routinely well-cleaned

    Casinos and hotels have been taking advantage of day cleaning for decades. With good communication and willingness to make a change, day cleaning can be implemented in virtually any facility. The recent push for day cleaning has been largely associated with commercial offices and property management. It adds to a return on investment by lowering overall operating costs, contributing to tenant retention, and attracting new customers or tenants seeking a green property.

  • Hospitals - Bathroom VS Elevator

    Sep 21, 2017

    When most people think of hospitals they think sterile, but that’s not the case - hospitals are dirty places and hospital-acquired infections, like C. difficile, are a common occurrence. Everyday objects in hospitals—from white coats to ultrasound equipment—are well-known harbors’ of bacteria. But, what is one of the dirtiest touch points in a hospital ... A new study in the journal Open Medicine has revealed a little-known germ hotspot: the hospital elevator button.

    To find out just how the dirty hospital surfaces were, researchers tested numerous touch points by swabbing elevator buttons, handles of bathrooms stalls and toilet flushers. The results, elevator buttons have more bacteria than toilet surfaces!  "The prevalence of colonization (with bacteria) of elevator buttons was 61 percent," the study reads. On the toilets, it was 43 percent.

    Now, the study has a few limitations. The samples were taken during flu season, which may have prompted people to use more hand sanitizer. It was also cold outside, when many folks wear gloves. This means the hospital surfaces may be even dirtier than the researchers found. On the other hand, since influenza was in full swing, there may have been more hospital traffic than usual, which would also bias the research.

    But there's some good news: the kinds of bacteria the researchers found had "low pathogenicity," meaning they are unlikely to make people sick.

    That doesn't mean they're not possible vectors of disease, however. "Patients remain at potential risk of cross-contamination because of the frequent use of these buttons by diverse individuals," the study authors wrote. "In addition, a visitor is more likely to come into contact with an elevator button or a toilet than with inanimate hospital equipment and may transmit organisms if interacting with inpatients."

    Interestingly, while they found elevator buttons were dirtier than toilets, they were actually cleaner than hospital computer-keyboards and ultrasound transducers. Maybe this means everything in a hospital should be touchless, or at least as clean as the bathrooms.

    Hospital-Elevator-Buttons-Chart

  • Five Trends Impacting the Cleaning Market

    Sep 21, 2017

    Now more than ever keeping the environments we spend our time in clean has gained importance, and the products used are under greater review. The following trends that are impacting the cleaning market were complied by CleanLink based on Smithers Apex data. This data shows that consumers are now concerned with more than having a clean environment: They want to understand the product choices.

    1. Performance: Products which combine their efficiency with innovative features have an advantage in this marketplace. While it is essential to differentiate the pack on-shelf, the product itself should also have innovative functions to establish the product and brand as cleaning market leaders.
    2. Cost-effectiveness: While a number of customers in more developed regions are willing to pay more for a product if it performs better, others may prefer cheaper products, and will accept a certain reduced level of performance. Manufacturers of cleaning products must balance these two aspects in order to succeed in the cleaning market.
    3. Ease of use: Consumers have increasingly busy lifestyles, so products which make the process of gaining a spotless home more quickly and at minimum effort are becoming increasingly popular. Identifying ways to make products as intuitive and easy to use as possible will be key to succeeding.
    4. Environmental awareness: Consumers have become more aware of how their everyday activities are affecting the world. It will be most important for manufacturers to balance the preference for eco-friendly products with an ability to meet the genuine and perceived needs of consumers.
    5. Fragrance, aesthetics and packaging: As the market becomes more saturated, differentiators such as an attractive packs or pleasant fragrances have increased shelf appeal and can influence buyer's quick purchasing decisions. Many cleaning product packaging solutions are clear in order to allow the consumer to see the consistency and color of the products, which can be key indicators of perceived performance.
  • A Cluttered Mind

    Sep 21, 2017

    When we think of living “healthy” we are told to stay active, exercise daily, eat right, drink enough water and sleep at least 8 hours each night.

    Ask yourself this question, what about while you are at your workplace? Keep in mind, a person spends 8-10 hours a day in their work environment. Can a “clean lifestyle” affect your work performance?

    Dr. Jennifer  Baxt, DMFT, an online metal health therapist states there is a direct correlation between mental health and a clean lifestyle. Similar to exercising, a person can feel happier and more relaxed in a fresh, clean environment by removing dirt, dust and clutter.

    Keeping a clean and workspace helps decrease a stressful environment and lead to higher productivity.  Here are a few quick daily maintenance techniques to keep your space clutter and germ free and productivity soaring!

    • In between hand washing (which is the key at reducing the spread and transmission of germs, keep hand sanitizing wipes within reach around your work station. Sanitizing your hands several times a day, such as, after, answering the phone, working at your computer) helps decrease the spread of germs and you getting sick, resulting in absences at work.
    • Carry hand sanitizing gels with you at all times. By keeping hand sanitizer gel with you, you can put your mind at rest knowing that your hands will always have the opportunity to be clean in any situation.
    • Clean touch points daily with general disinfectants/wipes. Some common touch points such as telephones, keyboards, desktops and your mouse harbor germs.
    • Avoid a clutter pile up! Keep papers and office supplies organized. This will leave your desk in order and your mind at ease knowing needed documents are easily accessible.
  • Conserving Water: How One Hotel Saved Three Million Gallons of Water

    Sep 21, 2017

    San Francisco’s Intercontinental Hotel is the largest hotel in California to earn Gold Status under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program for existing buildings from the U.S. Green Building Council. One of the most important ways it was able to earn this coveted status was by conserving water throughout the hotel’s operations.

    The hotel had several water conservation options available—from replacing toilets in all the guest rooms and installing systems that consume less water to replacing heating and air-conditioning systems that use water more efficiently. However, these steps would be costly, disruptive, and likely impact hotel guests. So, the Intercontinental Hotel decided to look for steps that would be easy to implement, cost effective, and still produce a considerable reduction in water consumption.

    In other words, they were in search of the “low-hanging fruit” when it came to conserving water and what they came up with was nothing less than phenomenal. They decided to install aerators throughout the hotel’s hundreds of sinks and faucets. In 2010, aerators - which are surprisingly cost effective - were installed in all 550 guest rooms of the 32-story property, in the main kitchen, as well as staff hand-washing stations.

    The aerators reduced water use to 0.5 gallon per minute, similar to the aerators that are part of Betco’s Smart Restroom System. This is considerably less than the 2.2 gallons per minute that the sinks and faucets used previously. Plus, installing the aerators took a minimal amount of time—about five minutes each—was not disruptive to guests or hotel operations, and was surprisingly cost-effective.

    The result: along with other measures, the hotel has managed to save three million gallons of water per year on guest room operations.  Fully two-thirds of that amount was due to the aerators alone.

    But, what about guest satisfaction?  Was water pressure adequate?  According to Harry Hobbs, the hotel’s director of engineering, “it’s been a good decision. We have had some folks think the pressure was too little, but maybe only one in 100,000 guests will bring this to our attention … a very low percentage.”

    For more information on ways to conserve water and reduce water consumption for your hotel property or any commercial building, please contact a Betco representative by emailing @welistenatbetco.com or learn more about Betco’s water conserving Smart Restroom System.

  • When Clean Really Matters - Hospital Standards

    Sep 21, 2017

    With the risk of Hospital Acquired Infections (HAI’s), a clean patient room is more important than ever. A person’s definition of “clean” can be a subjective one; however, in the health care industry, there is a clean standard that must be followed to insure a sense of comfort and quality for the patient. When a patient is admitted into the hospital, it is far from home, but the least a health care facility can do is provide their patients with a clean and welcoming environment. You may be wondering, what all should a health care facility do to meet this cleaning standard? The list below is a guide recommended by an experienced cleaning contractor that may be helpful for a health care facility cleaning staff.

    • Knock on the door of the patient’s room and announce “Housekeeping.”
    • Introduce yourself by name to the patient.
    • Clean the room from ceiling to floor
    • Look  for furniture that is out of place and rearrange to the standard layout.
    • Organize the patient’s personal items as requested.
    • Pick up all debris on the floor.
    • Empty the trash by removing the entire liner and replacing it with a new liner.      If the trash basket is soiled, wipe it clean with a disinfectant.
    • Work in an organized fashion around the room.
    • Spot clean horizontal surfaces.
    • Disinfect correctly all the high touch points and clean all surfaces.

    Even further, patient room floor cleaning also calls for a uniform sequence of steps, including the following:

    • Assemble your mop and adjust the height.
    • Begin cleaning the floor, starting from the back of the room and working toward the door.
    • Collect dirt and debris at the door with a cleaning brush and dustpan.
    • Look around the room to make sure furniture is not out of place, supplies are not left behind and that waste receptacles are clean. Also, look for soiled areas missed earlier.

    Health facility staff members interact with numerous patients on a daily basis, meaning that daily cleaning is crucial for the health and satisfaction of their patients. For more information on improving the quality of a patient’s room at a health facility, visit Health Facilities Management Magazine!

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