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  • 4 Cleaning Chemical Challenges Easily Banned from BSC Operations

    Jun 02, 2021

    Building service contractors (BSCs) provide cleaning and maintenance services at commercial, institutional, and industrial facilities. BSCs are the largest end users of cleaning products, accounting for over 30% of the market’s sales. In addition to performing floor maintenance, surface cleaning, restroom sanitation, and other diverse janitorial tasks, most are also responsible for supplying the needed chemicals and equipment. From the procurement stage to actual usage, here are 4 cleaning chemical challenges often faced by BSCs, followed by 1 solution that just might solve them all.

    1. Mobility

    Getting workers in their assigned areas and promptly working at the beginning of their shifts is one of the biggest hurdles faced by BSC supervisors—a problem exacerbated by bringing their own supplies in and out of smaller facilities each time they clean or perform project work. Especially given the variety of cleaning and disinfecting products needed to cover each surface (at a minimum, a floor cleaner, glass cleaner, multi-purpose cleaner, and broad range disinfectant are all necessary), cumbersome chemical transportation processes can turn into a huge source of wasted time and money.

    If a BSC has just 10 employees making $8 an hour, and each employee spends 15 minutes at each of 5 jobs per day loading and unloading chemicals from a vehicle or trailer and carrying them in and out of the building and to the location they’re needed, that’s $100 wasted. Multiply that by 260 working days per year, and you get $26,000 in lost profits, even before taking into account marginal workers who make more trips than are necessary, often return for forgotten tools, etc. This further costs BSCs in terms of customer satisfaction, by increasing the likelihood employees will run out of time to perform all the tasks they’ve been assigned. After all, missed work is the number 1 source of customer complaints and account churn.

    2. Space Constraints

    At larger locations, BSCs are usually allocated a supply closet, pantry, or other space in which to store their cleaning chemicals and tools. These spaces are often small, with less-than-adequate room on shelves or floor space to organize all the needed items. As with #1 above, space constraints contribute to wasted labor and dissatisfied customers, as employees spend time hunting for what they need instead of checking off their cleaning and maintenance to-dos (the same principle applies to overloaded carts). Tight closets also make just-in-time ordering difficult or impossible and even create unnecessary safety risks, such as increased trips and falls.

    While many smart BSCs may elect to leverage chemical concentrates for their space-saving advantages, if there is a water hookup in the designated BSC storage area—and that is a big if—standard dilution control systems may not fit. Cue the ticking clock as employees learn to manually mix chemicals.

    3. Price

    In addition to the space-saving benefits of concentrated chemicals mentioned in #2 above (as well as increased mobility), concentrates also provide cost savings. While more expensive than ready-to-use (RTU) products when directly comparing per gallon pricing, concentrated chemicals are the most economical when it comes to cost-per-use after dilution. Because the concentrate has more cleaning chemicals and less water than an RTU, concentrates are cheaper to ship and often utilize less packaging for additional savings. To get an idea of end-use costs, we offer 2 dilution calculators based on usage and ratio.

    Because dilution control systems that require a water hookup and some space in a supply closet are not feasible in many situations, the only options for the BSC are expensive portable dosing systems, pricey pods and pouches, or the labor-intensive and error-prone “glug glug” method. All of these, however, erode the cost savings associated with concentrated chemicals. 

    4. Improper Dilution

    If a BSC is using concentrates, accurate dilution is of the utmost importance.  Diluted too strongly, a cleaning chemical will leave a residue on a surface, which will waste the product and money spent on it. Residues lead to rapid resoiling of carpets, streaks on glass, and sticky films on surfaces. In extreme cases, chemicals that are too strong can permanently damage sensitive surfaces, like aluminum and marble. On the other hand, a concentrate that has been diluted too weakly leads to poor cleaning performance. For disinfectants, watered down active ingredients may increase infection rates in schools, long-term and acute care facilities, and other sensitive environments.

    In either case, the result is more labor to achieve acceptable cleaning outcomes, or a lack of cleanliness. Given that over 50% of BSC customers list a healthy and sanitary environment for building occupants as their first concern, and almost 30% cite a clean appearance, poor cleaning outcomes will invariably lead to loss of business for BSCs. 

    Our Recommendation

    To combat issues with mobility, space, cost, and improper dilution, Betco® created the FastPak Mobile Dilution Control Kit. This streamlined offering of concentrated chemical quarts is small and lightweight for effortless transportation and storage in tight spaces.The kit’s reusable proportioner and wall chart remove the manual mixing guesswork, resulting in perfectly diluted chemicals every time. There is no need for a water hookup, and FastPak provides huge savings over liquid pods and pouches.

    Simply:

    1. Twist the lid of the proportioner to set the orange fill line and secure to the bottle.
    2. Squeeze the bottle gently to fill the proportioner to the fill line.
    3. Pour into a secondary container with water.

    In fact, the BSCs who tested the kit gave a 98% satisfaction rate for ease of use, cleaning power, and added value. There was also 100% satisfaction with dilution accuracy, safety, and ease of transportation. As a result, FastPak has a 98% overall satisfaction rate among BSCs.

    Interested? Please click here to contact us to order.

  • Get Up to Speed on Grease Traps: How They Work, How They’re Cleaned, and How Bacteria Fit In

    Apr 19, 2021

    How Grease Traps Work

    A grease trap is a plumbing device designed to intercept most greases and solids before they enter wastewater disposal system, and they are required in most restaurants and food establishments throughout the U.S. The traps reduce the amount of fat, oil, and grease (FOG) that enter buildings’ plumbing, waste collection systems, and municipal wastewater treatment plants, helping prevent:

    • Structure fires (grease traps are the biggest culprit)
    • Decreased system capacity (as grease sticks to the insides of pipes)
    • Frequent cleaning and replacement of pipes and other vessels
    • Raw sewage backups and overflows, which pollute the environment and increase human contact with pathogens
    • Higher costs of operation and maintenance
    • Less effective treatment, which can affect the quality of local water sources

    While specific regulations vary by municipality, there is generally a maximum FOG discharge concentration of around 100 milligrams per liter per establishment, and grease must be captured from fixtures like:

    • Pot sinks
    • Rinse sinks at dishwashers
    • Dishwashers
    • Woks
    • Floor drains and sinks
    • Automatic hood washers

    This can be accomplished using 2 different types of grease traps: larger traps outside a building (usually in the ground) to serve an entire kitchen or smaller, point-of-use traps placed on or near the kitchen fixture it serves.

    In either case, the grease trap tank acts as a reservoir, holding the wastewater, FOG, and food solids that enter. As cooling occurs, the food solids settle, and the FOG (being lighter than water) float to the top. The water is flushed out, and the grease and solids remain in the trap.

    How Grease Traps Are Cleaned

    To maintain proper operation, grease traps need to be opened and the grease and solids removed on a regular basis. The grease trap manufacturer should be consulted for specific instructions, but general cleaning guidelines are as follows.

    • Grease traps should be cleaned when 25% of the liquid level is FOG, which is generally:
      • Quarterly for whole-kitchen traps
      • Once a month for point-of-use traps
    • Carefully remove covers to avoid gasket damage
    • Skim off floating FOG with a tool such as a ladle
    • Remove baffles and scrape them clean
      • Baffles should only be rinsed in sinks that flow into a trap
    • Scrape the bottom of the trap to remove settled food solids with a tool such as a strainer
    • Clean the bypass vent using a flexible wire
    • Reinstall baffles and cover

    Most establishments hire an independent contractor to clean whole-kitchen grease traps, but leave point-of-use traps to employees. No matter who cleans a grease trap, bleach, ammonia, or any other unapproved chemicals should NEVER be added. In fact, some municipalities only allow a single additive: bacteria

    How Bacteria Fit In

    Bacteria excrete enzymes, which break down organic waste, like FOG, into smaller particles, which the bacteria then consume.

    The byproducts of digestion are more bacteria, water, and carbon dioxide, which are natural and harmless. The bacteria continue to work (reproducing and consuming organic material) long after application and until their food source is eliminated, providing a continuous and effective method of cleaning grease traps.

    Green Earth® DT 7 from Betco® is a unique, NSF-certified liquid bacterial blend formulated specifically to control FOG levels and odors associated with grease traps and drain systems. The concentrated microbial blend aggressively targets proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates and is perfect for:

    • Lowering FOG levels that are in exceedance of discharge limits
    • Significantly reducing grease trap pump out frequency and cost
    • Lowering grease disposal costs
    • Preventing blockages
    • Eliminating malodors at the source

    By implementing consistent grease trap cleaning practices, including regular addition of bacteria through use of DT 7, restaurants and food service establishments can significantly reduce FOG-related headaches, including fines, legal issues, fires, plumbing blockages, overflows, and more.

  • 2 Quat-Caused Floor Phenomena You Should Know About

    Mar 31, 2021

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, facilities have been using more disinfectants more often than ever before. This includes on flooring, which contributes to cross-contamination so is an important surface to disinfect, especially given that each of us has as many as 50 direct and indirect contacts daily with floors according to studies. Most facilities have also had to redirect time and money from normal floor maintenance in order to keep up with new cleaning and disinfection protocols. The result has been 2 separate but related flooring epidemics: quat yellowing and quat walk-off.

    What Does "Quat" Mean?

    Quat is short for quaternary ammonium, and quats are another way of referring to quaternary ammonium compounds, the most common active ingredient in disinfectant products. In the U.S., the 3 main producers of quats create them by reacting alkyl halides with tertiary amines—the latter of which are made from ammonia and alcohols.

    Quats carry a positive charge, while surfaces of microorganisms (algae, bacteria, fungi, and viruses) carry a negative charge. When a quat-based disinfectant is applied to an object or surface, the positively charged quat attaches itself to the negative sites on the organism’s cell surface. This results in the disruption of the organism’s cell surface and eventual death.

    Quat Yellowing

    What Is It?

    When quat-based disinfectants are used at the dilution ratios specified on the label, quat yellowing does not generally occur. However, because quats are inherently alkaline, inappropriately high concentrations can act as a mild stripper to weaken the film on all types of hard resilient flooring, whether it is factory or site finished.

    A weaker film is softer, making the finish more susceptible to dirt embedment, which—especially in conjunction with the slightly yellow hue of quats—causes it to yellow. A weaker film also wears prematurely, meaning that the floor does not have adequate protection against potentially damaging chemicals, as well as a host of other physical risk factors, including surface abrasions, tears, and indentations. Additionally, the positive charge of quats can attract negatively charged soils that, if allowed to build up, appear dingy or yellow.

    What Can I Do About It?

    Reinvestment in usual floor maintenance cycles, however, is biggest key to minimizing the risk of quat yellowing, as well as removing it via top scrub and recoat or stripping and refinishing.

    Always use quat-based disinfectants (and all products, for that matter) at the proper dilution ratios. If a slight yellowing has begun to occur, rinsing after disinfecting may help prevent further discoloration. You may also consider switching to a neutral formula—such as pH7Q and pH7Q Dual—as these will not dull, haze, or attack finish and will not leave a residue, or a formula that uses an alternative active ingredient—such as citric acid in GE Fight Bac RTU.

    Reinvestment in usual floor maintenance cycles, however, is biggest key to minimizing the risk of quat yellowing, as well as removing it via top scrub and recoat or stripping and refinishing.

    Quat Walk-Off 

    What Is It?

    Most quat-based disinfectants are “1-step disinfectants,” meaning that they clean and disinfect in 1 operation. When this type of product is applied to a hard floor surface, surfactants that help with cleaning attract soils and form micelles—soft spheres of surfactant molecules—around them.  These micelles can sometimes be inadvertently transferred to carpeted areas via foot traffic, particularly when disinfectant cleaners are applied in great quantities. If they reach carpets, and if carpet cleaning chemistries—which typically carry a negative charge—are present, the positive charge of quats cause the micelles-soil-quat particles to “stick” to the carpeted floor (reverse saponification). The particles may also grab more soils from the shoe soles of passersby, contributing further to an unclean appearance.

    What Can I Do About It?

    Once quat walk-off has occurred, routine and interim maintenance methods will not be effective until the attraction of the 2 opposite charges is dissipated, which can be accomplished by extraction cleaning. We recommend FiberPRO® Es-Steam used in a FiberPRO 8 or FiberPRO 20 carpet extractor. As with quat yellowing, rinsing after disinfection, switching to a formula that does not leave a residue (pH7Q, pH7Q Dual) or utilizes an active ingredient other than quat (GE Fight Bac RTU), and resuming regular floor maintenance will prevent quat walk-off. 

     

    Quat yellowing and quat walk-off are most commonly observed in healthcare settings, but these problems can occur in any facility that is using quat-based disinfectants on floors with extreme frequency. While most manufacturers of disinfectants don’t like to talk about these topics, Betco® believes in equipping our customers with the knowledge and products to create healthy environments through floor disinfection while also maintaining a level of appearance that contributes to positive facility perception. It’s all a part of our promise to provide Professional Performance, Every Day.

     

  • 3 Keys to Establishing a Successful Collaborative Cleaning Program

    Feb 10, 2021

    The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to establish new healthy habits in every facility, from schools to offices and gyms to hospitals. While regular, professionally executed deep cleaning and disinfection is an indispensable part of any cleaning and maintenance program, it cannot replace daily disinfection of high-touch surfaces and objects.

    Implementation of a collaborative cleaning program, wherein all (or some) building occupants participate in cleaning and disinfection procedures alongside dedicated cleaning staff, is the most practical pathway to creating truly safe environments in a world changed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The “all hands on deck” approach is successful because it:

    • Increases the overall breadth and frequency of disinfection.
    • Lessens the burden on cleaning teams, so they may dedicate more time to disinfection of high-touch objects and surfaces.
    • Promotes greater personal accountability and inspires greater confidence.
    • Circumvents illness-related closures and absenteeism, both of which directly affect business and/or funding in diverse markets.

    Read on for the 3 keys to instituting a successful program.

    1. Identify collaborative cleaning tasks.

    Many cleaning and disinfection functions will still be the responsibility of cleaning staff, particularly if they are complex, time-consuming, or otherwise inappropriate for a building’s average occupant. Facility managers or other stakeholders should, however, consider encouraging or requiring those who use the facility or certain areas within it to complete tasks that don’t require specialized training and won’t cause significant disruption to established routines. These include:

    • In shared spaces:
      • Throwing away all trash.
      • Disinfecting used surfaces and objects in shared spaces.
    • In individual spaces:
      • Disinfecting daily.
      • Emptying one’s own trash and recycling bins.
    • In cafeterias or cafés:
      • Doing one’s own dishes and throwing away trash.
      • Covering food with a paper plate or paper towel before placing it in the microwave and cleaning up if food splatters.
      • Disinfecting tables after use.
      • Labeling items placed in refrigerators.
      • Cleaning up any solid or liquid spills and cleaning and disinfecting as needed.
    • In restrooms:
      • Replacing soap dispenser cartridges and paper towels when empty.
      • Cleaning and disinfecting counters and toilets/urinals, mopping floors, and cleaning mirrors in the event of an accident or as needed.
      • Alerting the cleaning team by calling or emailing if special attention is needed.

    2. Choose collaborative cleaning products.

    The goal of collaborative cleaning is to ensure health and safety, so “green” products that meet or exceed health and environmental standards (while still providing desired performance) are the best choice where possible. Sustainable products that are verified by testing, easy to use, and require little or no personal protective equipment (PPE) are the gold standard.

    Particular attention should be paid to selection of disinfectants, as elevated and often uneducated use carries serious risks, with many active ingredients causing skin corrosion, asthma, and other long-term health issues. For example:

    • Thymol, which has grown in popularity as an active ingredient in disinfectant products due to the short supply of quats:
      • Is a suspected asthmagen
      • Is a skin sensitizer (can cause skin allergies)
      • Is a terpene that can react with ozone to form formaldehyde, which is a carcinogen in addition to an asthmagen
      • Did not pass the Design for the Environment Antimicrobial Pesticide Pilot Project criteria to be considered a safe disinfectant
    • Bleach, which has a long history of unnecessary use as a cleaner or disinfectant:
      • Is an asthmagen
      • Can make existing asthma worse
      • Is corrosive and can damage eyes and skin
      • Can be fatal if swallowed
      • Gives off a potent vapor
      • Creates gases that cause lung damage and death if mixed with ammonia or acids.

    On the other hand, the following disinfectant active ingredients are considered safer in terms of asthma, cancer, reproductive toxicity, and skin sensitization:

    • Citric acid
    • Lactic acid
    With a citric acid active ingredient, Betco specifically recommends GE Fight Bac™ RTU  and Wipes  as the disinfectant of choice for collaborative cleaning programs. It is also suitable because it:
    • Does not require any PPE
    • Scored all zeroes for every category on the Hazardous Materials Identification System (HMIS) scale
    • Is in the lowest toxicity category for any disinfectant
    • Is on the EPA Design for the Environment list (RTU)

    All supplies should be conveniently placed according to identified tasks. Non-chemical needs may include:

    • Trash can liners
    • Paper towels
    • Labels and pens
    • Mops
    • Microfiber cloths

    3. Set and communicate collaborative cleaning expectations. 

    Finally, building occupants at whom a facility’s collaborative cleaning program is aimed should be informed of what to do and how to do it. We recommend taking the following actions:

    • Outlining the program via newsletter, audio or video announcement, bulletin board, etc., with a special focus on how participation will benefit building occupants
    • Encouraging supervisors, authority figures, or other leaders to set positive examples of compliance
    • Placing signage that outlines specific tasks and cleaning/disinfecting processes in relevant areas

    For your convenience, a zip file of sample signage can be downloaded by clicking here.


    Do you have questions about establishing a successful collaborative cleaning program that were not addressed in this post? Please click here to let us know, and a Betco representative will reach out shortly to provide answers, advice, and insights to promote the health and safety of specific facilities and their occupants.

     

  • DIY Disinfectant Wipes? 3 Reasons to Leave Cleaning Chemistry to the Pros

    Jan 20, 2021

    The COVID-19 pandemic created an explosion in demand for spray disinfectants and disinfectant wipes. While spray disinfectant supply has largely recovered—and contrary to the natural conclusion of Betco® having just launched GE Fight Bac™ Wipes in Big Bucket and Little Bucket formats—the disinfectant wipe shortage lingers on in the market as a whole. This combination of factors has inspired countless attempts by distributors, facility end users, and consumers to make DIY (do it yourself) disinfectant wipes.

    Unbeknownst to many who make and use them, DIY disinfectant wipes may actually increase the risk of infection, jeopardize user health and safety, and violate federal law.

    1. Legal Concerns

    • As covered in a previous blog post, any disinfectant or disinfectant wipe sold or distributed in the United States must be registered with the EPA. Even if the liquid disinfectant itself is registered, a disinfectant wipe product made using that liquid disinfectant requires a unique EPA registration number. For example, liquid GE Fight Bac RTU’s EPA registration number is 34810-35-4170, while GE Fight Bac Wipes have an EPA registration number of 34810-36-4170.
    • Only EPA-registered disinfectant wipes produced in an EPA-registered facility—such as Betco—can make any kill claims. DIY disinfectant wipes cannot legally claim to kill any viruses, bacteria, mold, or fungi, because:
      • The EPA has not reviewed or approved their efficacy data, as is required during the registration process.
      • Distributor warehouses and end user back rooms are not EPA-registered facilities.
    • As stated by EPA regulations and on the label of every single legal disinfectant, “it is a violation of Federal Law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling.” If pre-saturated wipes are not listed explicitly on the label as an approved use for the product, making DIY disinfectant wipes with that product is illegal.
    • Legally, all disinfectants and disinfectant wipes must bear an EPA-approved label and, if used in the workplace, be accompanied by a Safety Data Sheet (SDS). DIY wipes, by nature, do not tick either of these required boxes, especially as the labels and SDSs for liquid disinfectants are not transferrable to wipes made from them

    2. Health and Safety of Users

    • All EPA-registered products have been tested for toxicity, irritation, and sensitization hazards, and—based on a series of required standardized tests—carry appropriate precautionary statements and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) recommendations on the label. As DIY disinfectant wipes utilize liquid disinfectants that have not had their safety tested or approved for use in this manner, and also because (as stated in #1) SDSs and labels for a liquid disinfectant do not apply to pre-soaked wipes, users of DIY wipes:
      • Have no way of learning:
        • Safe handling.
        • Proper use, including required PPE.
        • First aid measures.
        • Exposure controls.
        • Toxicological information.
        • Proper storage and disposal.
      • Are vulnerable to risks associated with uneducated use of many types of disinfectants, including:
        • Skin corrosion.
        • Toxic vapors.
        • Serious eye damage.
        • Increased incidence of cancer.
        • Organ damage.

    3. Efficacy and Stability

    • Efficacy testing methods required for EPA registration of disinfectant wipes are different than spray products. For example, efficacy with the specific wipe material must be tested and documented. This is important because certain materials may absorb the disinfectant solution differently, inhibiting release on surfaces and providing inadequate disinfection.
    • Quat-based disinfectants lose their efficacy when used with pulp/cellulose wipes due to quat binding. As a result, the level of disinfection may not be adequate to meet the disinfection rating of the product.
    • The amount of liquid in disinfectant wipe containers are specified through the EPA registration process. DIY wipes require estimation of solution, often resulting in:
      • Premature drying out of wipes and mold growth inside the canister (pictured right) if too little liquid is used.
      • Oversaturation, which causes wipes to degrade, if too much liquid is used.
    • Because the EPA has not reviewed or approved efficacy data for DIY disinfectant wipes (as stated in #1), the wipes cannot carry a single kill claim against any viruses, bacteria, mold, or fungi, which begs the question…why use them?

     

    We understand that it is still difficult to find disinfectant wipes but posit that making or using DIY disinfectant wipes simply isn’t worth the risk. If EPA-registered wipes cannot be procured, the best course of action is to use a spray disinfectant as directed on the label.

    you are having trouble procuring disinfectant wipes, Betco may be able to help. Our new GE Fight Bac Wipes feature the EPA List N benefits of GE Fight Bac RTU in a convenient wipe.

    • Kill 99.9% of bacteria and viruses in 5-minute contact time.
    • No need for safety signal words like “Danger” or “Warning” on the label, easing the minds of users.
    • In EPA’s lowest toxicity category (category IV) and certified by Green Earth standards.
    • No PPE required thanks to non-irritating ingredients with no harsh fumes.

    Please click here and fill out the online form to request ordering information.

     

  • ORM-D Classification Change: Distributors, Ask Yourselves This 1 Question

    Dec 17, 2020

    ORM-D stands for Other Regulated Materials for Domestic transport only, and it is a classification used for packages shipped by ground that contain hazardous materials in such small quantities that hazard during transportation is considered limited. There are numerous benefits to using the ORM-D designation to ship hazardous materials:

    • Less cost
    • Exemption from the usual requirements of:
      • UN specific packaging
      • Hazmat labels
      • Shipping papers (with a few exceptions, such as hazardous waste)
      • Hazmat placards

    Examples of Betco® product categories that have had select SKUs qualify for ORM-D shipment include:

    • Alcohol-based hand sanitizers
    • Degreasers (e.g., Speedex, Oven Jell, Citrus Chisel, Citruspray™, Kitchen Degreaser)
    • Bowl cleaners (e.g., Bol Maid®, Pull®, Kling™, Stix™)
    • Symplicity™ laundry products (e.g., Pro R Prewash, Color Safe Destainer, Sanitizing Softener 550)
    • A limited number of general cleaners, floor cleaners, and disinfectants (e.g., Best Bet™, Daily Scrub SC, Sure Bet™ II, Green Earth® Restroom Cleaner)

    There has been, however, a prolonged phase out of the ORM-D classification. Betco stopped shipping packages with the ORM-D label in late October, and the last day for anyone to use it is December 31, 2020. Effective January 1, 2021, shipments bearing the ORM-D mark will be rejected and can even incur civil penalties, so we are taking this opportunity to ask our distributor partners:

    Do you have inventory on your shelves in ORM-D packaging?

    If you answered yes, here is some good news:

    • Most SKUs that qualified for ORM-D shipment will qualify for ORM-D’s replacement: DOT (US Department of Transportation) Limited Quantity shipment.
    • The benefits of shipping Limited Quantity are similar to the benefits of shipping ORM-D.
    • You can still get ORM-D packages where they need to go, as long as you appropriately alter their markings and labeling to comply with DOT Limited Quantity regulations.

    As shown in the illustration above:

    • The ORM-D label has been replaced by the new limited quantity white square-on-point label (pictured right).
    • Orientation arrows are still required under DOT if you’re shipping liquids.
    • Shipper’s and consignee’s name and address are no longer needed.

    Distributors that need to get ORM-D boxes in compliance with DOT rules should:

    1. Refer to the DOT Chemical table to ensure your materials are eligible to be shipped as limited quantity.
    2. Purchase the needed number of limited quantity white square-on-point labels (1 per package).
    3. Carefully cover the ORM-D label with the new limited quantity label. You should not be able to see any part of the ORM-D box beneath, and it also cannot wrap around a side or touch any other labeling.

    Note that name and address of shipper and consignee do not need to be removed or covered.

    And that’s it! Well, almost...

    Each employee who can affect the safety of HAZMAT shipments in transport, included Limited Quantity shipments, must also receive the hazardous material training stipulated under 49 CFR 172.704. This includes training that employers are legally obligated to provide their employees in compliance with the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard.

    Betco offers a FREE OSHA Hazard Communication Standard online training module that satisfies those requirements. It focuses on:

    • The content of the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard
    • The Globally Harmonized System (GHS)
    • How to use Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
    • The proper chemical labeling to prepare for hazards and/or react to exposures

    Click here and log in or register free of charge to access the module, and get your employees started on the right track and your shipments moving safely. 

  • Prevent Bulk Soap Dispenser Contamination

    Oct 14, 2020

    The conjunction of Global Handwashing Day and the COVID-19 pandemic underscores the importance of handwashing as one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of viruses and other pathogens (see: Why Skin Cleansers Are Effective Against Viruses). Together, we can ensure every person in every facility has access to contamination-free soap.

    Research by the American Society for Microbiology has found that using contaminated soap actually INCREASES bacteria on hands. Upgrading to closed sanitary sealed dispensing systems prevents cross contamination, but it isn't always feasible. To keep bulk soap dispensers from becoming contaminated, check out these tips:

    Click here to view our array of hand hygiene products, including skin cleansers and dispensers.

  • 3 Tips for Handling Difficult Cleanup After a Disaster

    Sep 24, 2020

    After floods, hurricanes, or other natural disasters, the cleanup phase begins. Owners of facilities, businesses, or homes, maintenance personnel, and others should follow the tips and product recommendations below when grappling with the water damage, mold growth, contaminated water supply, increased prevalence of disease, and other hazardous conditions that often accompany disasters.

    1. Put safety first.

    When assessing a building’s condition and repairing damage or otherwise preparing to get back up and running, safety is the single most important consideration. If local officials have indicated that it is safe to return to the area, it is critical to:

    • Wear appropriate personal protective equipment, including:
      • Hard hat
      • Goggles
      • Heavy work gloves (rubber if sewage is present)
      • N95 mask or respirator with a higher level of protection
      • Waterproof boots with steel toe and insole
      • Earplugs or protective headphones (if working with loud equipment)
    • Wait until daylight to visit the site, especially if the power is out, so it will be easier to spot and avoid danger.
    • Visit the site with a partner, if possible.
    • Check for structural damage and downed power lines before entering the building.
    • Test major appliances one at a time and don’t use wet or damaged appliances.
    • Be wary of:
      • Standing water, which could have submerged debris or carry an electrical charge from underground or downed power lines.
        • If there is pooled water and you can turn off the electricity without actually standing in the water, then do so. Otherwise, call an electrician.
      • Gas leaks
        • If a gas leak is suspected, turn off the central valve if possible, leave the area immediately, and contact the utility company, taking care to avoid any actions that could cause a spark.

    2. Prioritize removal and prevention of mold.

    If standing water has been present in the building for more than 24 hours, it is safe to assume that mold is growing. As continued mold growth in the wake of a natural disaster often proves to be a difficult and long-term problem, it is important to dry everything and remove all mold as quickly as possible, ideally within 24 to 48 hours.

    • If there is no electricity, use a generator to power equipment, but ensure it is at least 20 feet away from the building and is operated with a proper transfer switch or interlock device.
    • Use a wet/dry vacuum to remove standing water.
      • Product recommendation: Workman® 20 (E83012-00) 20-gallon wet/dry vacuum with powerful 1.75 hp motor for maximum recovery and multi-task toolkit.
    • Remove all soaked materials, including furniture, and dry or discard them.
    • Remove mud or silt before it dries.
    • Open doors and windows.
    • Use fans, dehumidifiers, and similar devices to blow air out of/away from the building and aid in the drying process.
    • Check to see if water has seeped into your HCAV system, behind walls, into the building’s insulation, beneath the carpet or floor boards, behind tiles, and similarly “hidden” areas.
      • HVAC flooding leads to corrosion, mold growth, and other problems. An affected system will likely need to be entirely replaced.
      • Remove and discard drywall and insulation that has been in contact with flood waters.
      • Remove and discard carpet that has been flooded with highly contaminated water and/or soaked for more than 48 hours. For salvageable carpet, a hot-water extraction holds the best chance for remediation.
        • Product recommendations:
          • Fiberpro® 20 (E87303-00)  carpet extractor with 20-gallon solution and recovery tanks, Carpet and Rug Institute certification, and floating vacuum shoe for superior water recovery.
          • Fiberpro® 8 (E87304-00)  carpet extractor with 8-gallon solution and recovery tanks, Carpet and Rug Institute certification, and floating vacuum shoe for superior water recovery.
          • Fiberpro® ES-Steam™ (402)  for extraction with a highly concentrated formula that quickly penetrates heavy soil and eliminates odors at their source.
          • Green Earth® Peroxide Cleaner (336)  as a carpet pre-spray with reduced toxicity and powerful mold removal capabilities.
          • Green Earth® BioActive Solutions™ Push® (133)  with cultured bacteria and malodor counteractants capable of digesting organic waste for use with or without powered equipment.
    • Clean everything with mold on it by using appropriate products according to label directions.
    • Fix any leaks as soon as possible.
    • For especially intense and/or hazardous cleanup, consult a professional.

    3. Prevent disease.

    Flood water can contain dangerous pathogens, which is why it is important to safeguard your health and the health of others after a natural disaster.

    To learn more about any of the products recommended above, click on each. For information regarding specific cleanup procedures, please click here, sign in or register, then click Betco U to access our training library.

  • Save Yourself from Fraudulent Disinfectant Products

    Sep 02, 2020

    Background

    Prompted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, surges of profiteers have entered a variety of high-demand product categories, from masks and gloves, to hand sanitizers, and more recently to disinfectants. Many of these entrants—some of whom pivoted out of financial necessity, others of whom had capital and sensed opportunity to cash in—are operating in a “Wild West” of sorts, with complete ignorance or disregard of regulations and quality specifications.

    • N95-style masks imported from overseas have fallen short of certification standards.
    • Sanitizers have been improperly labeled, riddled with false claims, formulated with suspect ingredients, or otherwise out of compliance with FDA guidelines.
    • The disinfectant market is now being exploited in a similar manner. We will reference the handful of examples pictured above throughout this post:
      1. Disinfectant that was falsely labeled as a registered disinfectant.
      2. Unregistered stickers that claim to provide protection against viruses without supporting evidence reviewed by the EPA.
      3. Unregistered disinfectant wipes shipped from Asia without EPA registration.
      4. Unregistered disinfectant that promises long-lasting or residual protection specifically from COVID-19 without supporting evidence reviewed by the EPA. 
      5. Unregistered lanyard that claims to provide 60-day residual protection against the virus without supporting evidence reviewed by the EPA.
      6. Services claiming use of multi-week residual disinfectant without supporting evidence and in direct conflict with statements from the EPA.

    EPA Regulation

    As explained in a previous post, disinfectants are considered pesticides—further classified as antimicrobial pesticides—because they control bacteria, viruses, mold, and fungi, which are considered pests. As such, they are regulated by the EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs, and any disinfectant sold or distributed in the United States must be registered with the EPA.

    In order to register a product, manufacturers submit:

    • Proposed labeling.
    • Safety data.
    • Efficacy data:
      • In order to be labeled a disinfectant, a product must meet specific testing requirements against certain bacteria.
      • Any virucidal claims, such as efficacy against SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), are considered additional claims, and they must also be supported by data and approved by the EPA.

    If the EPA is satisfied with the information provided by the manufacturer, registration is granted. While the burden of EPA regulations and registration should pose a larger hurdle to entry into the disinfectant market, the tidal wave of newcomers is both mostly unaware of their violations and too large for the EPA to police. Eventually, these dishonest marketers will receive fines and be ordered to cease and desist, but until then, buyers (and users) must beware.

    Illegal Disinfectants

    Illegal disinfectants are sold or distributed without a valid EPA registration. This includes products without an EPA registration number listed on the label—such as examples 2 through 5 above—as well as products using a fake EPA registration number—such as example 1 (click here for more information).

    To ensure that a disinfectant is legal:

    • Don’t buy or use products from suspicious sources.
    • Don’t buy or use products that seem unusual in their packaging or labeling.
    • Check the label, which must be in English, for:
      • A valid EPA registration number (validity can be confirmed here).
      • A list of active ingredients, as any product registered with the EPA must state them on the label.
      • Hazard and precautionary statements.

    Illegal Claims

    As stated in the EPA Regulation section above, disinfectants may only make virucidal claims that are supported by data and approved by the EPA. This includes both legally registered and illegally unregistered disinfectants claiming to kill SARS-CoV-2.

    As stated in the EPA Regulation section above, disinfectants may only make virucidal claims that are supported by data and approved by the EPA. This includes both legally registered and illegally unregistered disinfectants claiming to kill SARS-CoV-2.

    There are also disinfectants approved by the EPA for use against SARS-CoV-2, based not on a demonstrated efficacy against SARS-CoV-2, but on demonstrated efficacy against:

    • A pathogen that is harder to kill than SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).
    • A different human coronavirus similar to SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).

    To confirm the legitimacy of a disinfectant’s claim that it outright kills SARS-CoV-2 or that it is recommended for use against SARS-CoV-2 due to other kill claims:

    • Navigate here and input the EPA registration number found on the label. If there are 3 sets of numbers (separated by hyphens), only input the first 2. 
    • If there are no matching records found, the disinfectant’s claims are illegal—as is most evident in examples 4 and 5 above (which claim 99.9% protection against COVID-19 and to "block coronavirus," respectively).
    • If there is a matching record found, but the product information does not match the information on your label, it is likely a sub-registration marketed under a different name, which is legal. 
    • Note that List N search results also indicate whether a product is proven or simply expected to kill SARS-CoV-2.
    Because the EPA has not evaluated the “long-lasting” or “residual” efficacy of disinfectants against viruses, however, NO disinfectant can legally claim effectiveness against viruses . . .

    Residual Claims and Treated Articles

    There are products that claim 24-hour sanitizing against bacteria only. 

    Because the EPA has not evaluated the "long-lasting' or "residual" efficacy of disinfectants against viruses, however, NO disinfectant can legally claim effectiveness against viruses over hours—as in example 4 (24 hours)—days—as in example 5 (60 days)—or weeks—as in example 6 (36 weeks), with the exception of 1 recently granted short-term exemption.

    In a similar vein, there are antimicrobial pesticides that can be incorporated into plastics, textiles, or other materials to protect the “treated article” from mold or bacteria that would harm it, such as a shower curtain. These pesticides are used more in the manner of preservatives, preventing discoloration, odor, or deterioration, and treated articles may not have any claims associated with public health. In other words, treated articles CANNOT legally claim that they are effective against viruses, such as SARS-CoV-2.

    In other words, treated articles CANNOT legally claim that they are effective against viruses, such as SARS-CoV-2.

    Our Promise

    We would like to take this opportunity to assure our customers that each Betco® disinfectant is registered with the EPA and adheres to their every guideline. Not only can we guarantee our total regulatory compliance, but as demonstrated by our legacy in disinfectants, we can also guarantee their quality and efficacy.

    We have prioritized production toward disinfectants that appear on List N and are recommended for use against SARS-CoV-2. We are currently maximizing output of all products effective against the spread of COVID-19, and we continue to take every possible step to ensure the health and safety of our customers.

    If you would like to request information about List N disinfectants, please click here to fill out the online form, and a Betco representative will contact you.

  • FAQ: Methanol in Hand Sanitizers

    Aug 03, 2020

    Background

    Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning regarding hand sanitizers that are labeled to contain ethanol (also called ethyl alcohol) but have tested positive for unhealthy levels of methanol (or wood alcohol), which can be toxic to users. Contamination levels range from 1% to 80%.

    The agency maintains an online list—available here—of hand sanitizers that have tested positive for methanol contamination, as well as hand sanitizers that are purported to have been produced in the same facilities. As of July 29, 2020, all but 1 of the 86 products on the list are made in Mexico, and recalls and import alerts have been implemented for a vast majority.

    The ongoing ordeal has spurred many questions from our customers and the general public regarding methanol in hand sanitizers, which we have addressed below. 

    Do all hand sanitizers contain methanol?

    The FDA regulates the manufacture of hand sanitizers as over-the-counter drugs. Prior to COVID-19, all hand sanitizers sold in the U.S. were required to be made at FDA-registered facilities and formulated with United States Pharmacopeia (USP) Grade ethanol. USP Grade ethanol must be tested for adherence to very strict impurity limits, which are summarized in the table below.

    NameAcceptance Criteria
    MethanolNMT 0.5, corresponding to 200 μL/L
    Acetaldehyde and acetalNMT 10, expressed as acetaldehyde
    BenzeneNMT 2 μL/L
    Sum of all other impuritiesNMT 300 μL/L

    As you can see, USP Grade ethanol can contain methanol, and so too can the hand sanitizers that have been formulated with it. However, it is such a minute amount that it is far below contamination levels and has been deemed acceptable by the FDA.

    It is important to note that this is NOT the same as formulating a hand sanitizer with methanol, which is both dangerous and illegal. 

    How has methanol in hand sanitizers changed due to COVID-19?

    Due to the pandemic and resulting spikes in demand, the FDA has temporarily adjusted their policies to facilitate the production of greater quantities, though certain requirements must still be met.

    Among those requirements, which are available in their entirety online here, is an active ingredient of either:

    • Ethanol that is not less than 94.9% ethanol by volume* OR
    • USP Grade Isopropyl Alcohol

    So, under the temporary policy, ethanol no longer has to be USP Grade, but that does not mean that any ethanol can be used. Ethanol may be considered for use in hand sanitizer if:

    • It is produced in a facility used for consumable goods and with the same fermentation and distillation processes.
    • It is derived from synthetic processes and meets USP Grade or FCC16 (used in food applications) Grade requirements.
    • It is produced in facilities normally producing fuel or technical grade ethanol AND:

    ◦ It is produced using fermentation and distillation processes used for consumable goods, and no other additives or other chemicals have been added.
    ◦ It meets USP or FCC17 Grade requirements OR the conditions summarized in the table below.
    ◦ It has been screened for any other potentially harmful impurities (not specified in the USP or FCC requirements) possibly present based on the manufacturing environment.

    ImpurityInterim Limit under Temporary Policy
    MethanolNMT 630 ppm
    BenzeneNMT 2 ppm
    AcetaldehydeNMT 50 ppm
    Acetal (1,1-diethoxyethane)NMT 50 ppm
    Sum of all other impurities*NMT 300 ppm

    As you can see in the table above, there is flexibility for certain impurities under the temporary policy, including methanol. While more methanol is acceptable, the interim limit is still vastly lower than the contamination levels found in the banned hand sanitizers, and still no hand sanitizer can be formulated with methanol as an ingredient.

    *Lower ethanol content alcohol is acceptable in the temporary policy if it labelled accordingly, and the finished sanitizer meets an 80% ethanol concentration.

    **If fuel or technical grade ethanol does not meet these limits because the sum of all other impurities exceeds 300 ppm, it may still be considered for use if individual impurities are identified and meet the interim limits in Table 2 on p. 11 of the entire temporary policy.

    What is used in Betco® hand sanitizers?

    None of our hand hygiene products are formulated with methanol.

    The active ingredient in all Betco® hand sanitizers is USP (U.S. Pharmacopoeia) Grade ethyl alcohol that meets the stringent requirements specified by the FDA.

    In fact, Betco is an FDA-registered facility, which means we have proven that we have identified and are effectively preventing potential hazards regarding the hand hygiene solutions being produced in our facility, as well as strictly following cGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Practice) guidelines for their manufacture, fill, and shipment. The FDA even conducts audits of our facility, in which we have never incurred a major violation, thanks to:

    • On-staff scientists, who perform rigorous quality testing of raw materials—including ethanol—production and storage equipment, as well as final products.
    • A dedicated skin care manufacturing and filling room that prevents cross-contamination and features a closed system.
    • A quarantine area, from which skin care products are only released for shipping after having passed testing for contamination.
    • Storage of samples from every run 1 year past the expiration date and examination of them for product integrity prior to disposal

    The safety and health of our customers is our number one priority, and we take every possible step to ensure it. Hand sanitizers produced at Betco can be used with complete confidence in their ingredients, efficacy, and overall quality.

    How were the banned hand sanitizers contaminated?

    Although we don’t know for sure, it is safe to assume that if the level of methanol is over 1%, either a contaminated source of ethanol was used (certainly not compliant with FDA recommendations) or methanol—which is cheaper than ethanol—was intentionally added.

    How can I avoid hand sanitizers with methanol contamination?

    We encourage everyone to regularly check the list maintained by the FDA and to cease use of any hand sanitizer product from the companies or with the names or National Drug Code (NDC) numbers on the list. Do not use a hand sanitizer that:

    • Has been tested by the FDA and found to contain methanol.
    • Has been made at the same facility as a product that has been found to contain methanol.
    • Is labeled to contain methanol.
    • Is being recalled by the manufacturer or distributor.
    • Is fraudulently marketed as “FDA-approved” (no hand sanitizers are approved by the FDA).

    What should I do if I think I have been exposed to contaminated hand sanitizer?

    Methanol is toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested. If you are experiencing symptoms of methanol poisoning—such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headaches, weakness, visual disturbances, and loss of consciousness—seek immediate treatment for potential reversal of toxic effects.

    How do I dispose of suspect hand sanitizers?

    The bottle and remaining sanitizer within should be disposed of in a hazardous waste container. It is important not to flush or pour them down the drain or to mix them with any other liquids.

    Do you have other questions regarding methanol in hand sanitizers that were not addressed by this post? Please email us at social@betco.com, so we can add your question and the answer to this list.

  • 4 Reasons Your Business Should Focus on New GE Fight Bac™ RTU as an Alternative to Quat-Based Disinfectants

    Jul 10, 2020

    1. It's Sustainable

    Citric acid, the active ingredient in GE Fight Bac™ RTU, is one of the safest disinfecting active ingredients currently available, topping the list in terms of both human and environmental health considerations.

    As shown in the table above, citric acid:

    • Is not a carcinogen—nor is it likely to have endocrine disruptor properties.
    • Does not cause reproductive issues—nor is it likely to cause developmental, mutagenic, or neurotoxicity issues.
    • Is not a skin or lung irritant—nor does it have any unresolved or unreasonable adverse effects.
    • Is not toxic to aquatic life.
    • Does not break down slowly in the environment or accumulate in humans and other species.

    Further, each of these active ingredient safety and health assurances also extends to all of GE Fight Bac RTU’s inactive ingredients, which—along with its rating in the lowest EPA toxicity category—have qualified GE Fight Bac RTU for the EPA’s Design for the Environment (DfE) label for use on antimicrobial products, like disinfectants and sanitizers.

    This label is intended to help distributors and end users identify products that are proven safer by meeting the program’s stringent requirements and high standards. Currently, there are only 11 disinfectants that have qualified for DfE certification, less than half of which appear on EPA’s List N and are approved for use against SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19).

    In fact, GE Fight Bac RTU and its ingredients are so nonhazardous that this product scores 0 for every category on the Hazardous Materials Identification System (HMIS) scale*! 

    • Minimal Health Hazard: The slash in the left box indicates that the chemical does not cause chronic health problems, and the 0 in the right box that these chemicals cause little or no significant acute health risk. This category includes chemicals that are basically nonirritating to the skin and eyes. 
    • Minimal Flammability Hazard: These chemicals will not burn when exposed to a temperature of 1500 degrees F for a period of 5 minutes.
    • Minimal Reactivity Hazard: These are chemicals that are normally stable, even under fire exposure conditions, and are not reactive with water.
    • Furthermore, no special technical protective measures are necessary, which is why the white box at the bottom usually reserved for PPE is blank.

    *HMIS is a voluntary hazard rating scheme to aid employers and employees in day-to-day compliance with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) revised Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). It includes a rating system for acute and chronic health, flammability, and physical hazards, with ratings based on a 0–4 scale: 0 represents minimal hazards or risks, and 4 represents significant hazards or risks.

    2. It's Effective

    GE Fight Bac™ RTU is a hospital-grade disinfectant that kills 15 viruses and bacteria in just 3 to 5 minutes, saving on time and labor costs.

    In 3 minutes, kill Hepatitis B and C and the common cold.

    • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
    • Salmonella enterica
    • Staphylococcus aureus and MRSA
    • Aids Virus
    • Influenza A virus
    • Feline Calicivirus

    Plus, in 60 seconds, sanitize food contact surfaces against Staph and E. coli. GE Fight Bac RTU is also tuberculocidal, meeting OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogen Standards.

    Because it has demonstrated efficacy against harder-to-kill feline calicivirus, citric-acid-based GE Fight Bac RTU is recommended by the EPA for use against SARS-CoV-2 under the emerging viral pathogen policy.

    All the various viruses and bacteria that GE Fight Bac RTU is proven effective against are listed in the table on the right.

    3. It's Versatile

    Because GE Fight Bac RTU is free from harsh chemicals, it can be used:

    • As a food contact sanitizer with no rinsing or wiping required.
    • In sensitive environments—such as day care centers.
    • On sensitive surfaces without leaving damage, streaks, or residue.

    A more complete listing of surfaces on which and areas in which GE Fight Bac RTU can be used are summarized in the table on the right.

    GE Fight Bac RTU is also versatile when it comes to application methods, because package sizes range from quart bottles, gallon bottles, and 5-gallon pails all the way up to 55-gallon drums and 275-gallon disposable totes. The quart bottles come with a trigger sprayer for immediate use, and the larger package sizes can be used to fill:

    • Pump-up sprayers
    • Electrostatic handheld sprayers, backpack sprayers, and carts
    • Airless sprayer floor units and carts

    4. It's Available

    Quaternary ammonium compounds—often referred to as simply “quats”—are the active ingredients in most disinfectants. In the U.S., the 3 main producers of quats create them by reacting alkyl halides with tertiary amines—the latter of which are made from ammonia and alcohols. An explosion in demand for quat-based disinfectants due to the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with related challenges regarding importation of necessary raw materials from usual international sources, has led to quat shortages.

    As a result, alternative disinfectant active ingredients are gaining traction in the industry, such as citric acid, GE Fight Bac™ RTU’s active ingredient. Citric acid is found naturally in citrus fruits, particularly lemons and limes, and is currently much easier to source than quats.

    Because citric acid is abundantly available at the present moment, Betco is running a promotion on 55-gallon drums of GE Fight Bac RTU through the end of July. To learn more and begin leveraging this citric-acid-based disinfectant as a sustainable alternative to quat-based disinfectants, please click here.

  • Why Choose Smart Tools™ Enhanced Facility Disinfection to Achieve GBAC Star™ or Another Accreditation?

    Jun 26, 2020

    What Is the Smart Tools™ Enhanced Facility Disinfection Program?

    The Smart Tools™ Enhanced Facility Disinfection Program is a turnkey solution from Betco® with specific guidance and ready-to-use tools to prevent and respond to outbreaks of infectious diseases—such as SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

    The program combines evidence-based infection control strategies supported by U.S. agencies—including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Food and Drug Administration (FDA)—with tactics to put the minds of facility leadership and occupants at ease. It provides the framework and confidence to ensure healthy facilities needed by in-house and contract cleaners during and beyond this crucial period and is comprised of 5 easy-to-follow steps:

    1. Site Assessment and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
    2. The Right Application Method and Disinfectant
    3. Proper Infection Control Procedures
    4. Critical Touch Points
    5. Documentation of Tasks Performed

    What Is GBAC Star™ Accreditation?

    GBAC stands for the Global Biorisk Advisory Council, and it is a division of ISSA (The Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association). In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic reopening, the council formed the GBAC Star™ performance-based facility accreditation program. Accreditation is intended to help facilities demonstrate a comprehensive system for cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention, including:

    • Commitment to strict protocols
    • Confirmation of work practices, procedures, and documented systems in place
    • Convincing customers that a facility is safe for business

    Comprised of 20 steps, GBAC Star is promoted as the “gold standard of prepared facilities.” It is currently the industry’s only outbreak preparation, response, and recovery accreditation, though others may soon follow.

    How Does the Smart Tools Program Support Accreditation?

    Clearly, the goals of the Betco Smart Tools Enhanced Facility Disinfection Program and GBAC Star accreditation have much in common. Adoption of the Betco program and the act of seeking GBAC Star accreditation are extensions of the mission to provide safe and clean environments. Both communicate to facility occupants that providing services in a way that exceeds quality and compliance standards means something to your organization, and both lead to higher quality cleaning and disinfection, as well as better business performance.

    The difference between the two, however, becomes more apparent in the steps themselves. While the steps for accreditation focus on actions a facility must take, the Smart Tools program is your go-to source for easy and straightforward information on how to take those actions. For example, the GBAC Star accreditation stipulates that “the facility shall share their PPE requirements for their cleaning and disinfection activities with the GBAC STAR™ review team.” Step 1 in the Betco program equips you with the knowledge to determine which types of PPE will be necessary, as well as resources for proper donning and doffing techniques.

    In fact, the processes and tools in the 5 steps that comprise the Smart Tools Enhanced Facility Disinfection plug directly into the 20 steps that are required for GBAC Star accreditation, as demonstrated in the comparative guide below. In other words, Smart Tools provides a simple recipe and almost all of the ingredients for a stress-free and successful accreditation attempt the first time.

    Click here to download the flyer.

    With Smart Tools, you can get started immediately with our online tools that remove the guesswork and minimize disruption to your facility. Resources—many of which are available in both English and Spanish—include: 

    • Outlines: Guide selection of the best products and application methods based on the needs of a specific facility
    • Task cards: Explain cleaning procedures with step-by-step instructions and guide clean teams to specific chemical products and equipment to accomplish any cleaning or disinfection task
    • Wall charts: Define chemicals, show the proper methods of application, and highlight the surfaces on which chemicals should be used
    • Touch point lists: Establish a baseline for a successful disinfection program by identifying and confirming critical high-touch surface disinfection objectives
    • Certificates, posters, signs, flyers, and table tents: Provide reassurance to your employees, customers, and vendors that enhanced disinfection was completed according to the highest industry standards
    • Survey: Confirms your facility has been disinfected properly with EPA-registered products that meet CDC guidelines

    With Betco, you are also gaining a partner in the process every step of the way. Our experts provide practical, straightforward guidance for your specific business model. Whether your facility is large or small, new or established, Betco’s Smart Tools Enhanced Facility Disinfection Program can stand on its own and—should you wish to pursue GBAC Star accreditation—provide an “easy button” to help you streamline your application efforts for a positive outcome.

    If you’re interested in learning more, please click here to fill out the online form, and a Betco representative will contact you.

  • PART 2: SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19 FAQ

    May 22, 2020

    To view questions 1–13 in Part 1 of the SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19 FAQ Series, please click here.

    14. What is the difference between masks and respirators?

    Respirators have filters to remove specific contaminants. Face masks simply create a barrier, preventing materials from getting into or excretions from getting out of the wearer’s mouth.

    15. What is the recommended PPE when performing corrective disinfection?

    • N-95 surgical mask or powered air purifying respirator (PAPR)
    • Eye protection – face shield, safety glasses, safety goggles
    • Disposable gown or properly laundered reusable covering
    • Gloves
    • Shoe covers or shoes that can be properly decontaminated

    16. Are all sprayers in the Application Method Guide available at Betco?

    No, Betco only makes the disinfectants that can be used in these sprayers. Please consult the applicator companies directly for purchase.

    17. Can I use microfiber wipes to apply the disinfectant?

    Yes, microfiber wipes are an excellent way to apply disinfectants. These wipes must be changed when visibly dirty and should be laundered on a frequent basis.

    18. Which products are safe to use when disinfecting food-contact surfaces?  

    All Betco disinfectants can be used on food-contact surfaces (areas where food may be prepared, served, or stored). You simply need to rinse with potable water after the required dwell time.

    Betco’s Symplicity™ Sanibet™ Multi-Range Sanitizer may be used to sanitize food contact surfaces and does not require a rinse with potable water. Please consult the product label for more specific instruction.

    19. How long do you have to wait after disinfection before allowing people to enter the room?

    This answer depends greatly on several conditions, such as the size of the room, the amount of ventilation and air flow in the room, and how the disinfectant is applied. In general, if spraying a coarse spray directly on the surface, people should be able to enter the room shortly after the necessary dwell time (5–10 minutes).

    20. How effective are alternative disinfection methods, such as ultrasonic waves, high-intensity UV radiation, and LED blue lights?

    From the CDC, “The efficacy of these disinfection methods against the virus that causes COVID-19 is not known. EPA only recommends use of the surface disinfectants identified on List N against the virus that causes COVID-19. EPA does not routinely review the safety or efficacy of pesticidal devices, such as UV lights, LED lights, or ultrasonic devices. Therefore, EPA cannot confirm whether, or under what circumstances, such products might be effective against the spread of COVID-19.”

    21. Can sanitizing tunnels at a building's exit or entrance prevent the spread of COVID-19?

    CDC does not recommend the use of sanitizing tunnels. There is no evidence that they are effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19. Chemicals used in sanitizing tunnels could cause skin, eye, or respiratory irritation or damage.

    22. How do I disinfect children's toys?

    Be careful when disinfecting any item that could enter children’s mouths. The best recommendation is to wash the toys in soap and water, rinse, and allow to air dry. If this is not feasible, use either Betco’s Symplicity™ Sanibet™ Multi-Range Sanitizer or Sanibet RTU according to label directions, making sure the toys are completely dry before allowing children to use them.

    23. How long are dilutable disinfectants effective for after dilution? 

    Check the specific label. In general, if a disinfectant solution becomes visible dirty, it must be discarded. A few products at use-dilution have bactericidal stability for extended periods, like Symplicity Sanibet (up to 5 months) or Triforce (up to 1 year). Other diluted products on List N must be made fresh daily according to the EPA label.

    24. How often should cleaning and disinfecting be done?

    The CDC states, “Surfaces frequently touched by multiple people, such as door handles, bathroom surfaces, and handrails, should be cleaned with soap and water or another detergent at least daily when facilities are in use. More frequent cleaning and disinfection may be required based on level of use. For example, certain surfaces and objects in public spaces, such as shopping carts and point of sale keypads, should be cleaned and disinfected before each use. Cleaning removes dirt and impurities, including germs, from surfaces. Cleaning alone does not kill germs, but it reduces the number of germs on a surface.”

    25. Is there any residual efficacy after the disinfectant dries?

    No, that is why it is important to disinfect high-touch surfaces and areas. Be wary of products that claim residual efficacy. These claims are only relevant to preserving the surface where they are applied (prevent odors or staining). They do not have residual viral efficacy and none of these products are recommended on List N.

    26. How long do I leave the disinfectant on the surface?

    All disinfectants have different and specific dwell times depending on the organism you are trying to kill. Refer to the EPA List N for the recommended dwell time for use against SARS-CoV-2.

    27. I have heard the virus can spread on shoes, is this true?

    A recent study published in Emerging Infectious Diseases suggests that SARS-CoV-2 can potentially be spread by shoes. In the study, researchers took samples from various surfaces at Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan, China, the early epicenter of the outbreak—including samples from the soles of ICU staff members' shoes. Half of the samples taken from the shoes tested positive for the virus.

    This demonstrates the importance of disinfecting floors during corrective disinfection.

    28. Do you need to wipe down surfaces after disinfecting? 

    This depends on the disinfectant and the surface. Most surfaces can be allowed to air dry. For sensitive surfaces like electronic equipment, after the required dwell time, it is advised to wipe any residue from the surface. Food-contact surfaces should be rinsed with potable water after disinfecting.

    29. Is it safe to vacuum a facility after a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case has been present?

    According to the CDC, “The risk of transmitting or spreading SARS-CoV-2 during vacuuming is unknown. At this time, there are no reported cases of COVID-19 associated with vacuuming. If vacuuming is necessary, first follow the CDC recommendations for Cleaning and Disinfection for Community Facilities that apply, which includes a wait time of 24 hours, or as long as practical.

    “After cleaning and disinfection, the following recommendations may help reduce the risk to workers and other individuals when vacuuming:

    • Consider removing smaller rugs or carpets from the area completely, so there is less that needs to be vacuumed. 
    • Use a vacuum equipped with a high-efficiency particular air (HEPA) filter, if available.
    • Do not vacuum a room or space that has people in it. Wait until the room or space is empty to vacuum, such as at night, for common spaces, or during the day for private rooms.
    • Consider temporarily turning off room fans and the central HVAC system that services the room or space, so that particles that escape from vacuuming will not circulate throughout the facility. 

    30. Do I need to disinfect the tools and equipment used after performing corrective disinfection? 

    Yes, it is advisable to disinfect all materials. Betco has a guide to proper equipment disinfection.

    31. How does the EPA regulate companies with cleaning services claiming to disinfect for COVID-19?

    The EPA does not specifically regulate cleaning companies. However, if the company uses a product or makes an efficacy claim that cannot be backed up by an EPA registration, then that is a violation, and the company can be subject to substantial fines and penalties.

    32. Are non-alcohol hand sanitizers effective?

    The CDC recommends using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol and has stated, “Hand sanitizers without 60-95% alcohol 1) may not work equally well for many types of germs; and 2) merely reduce the growth of germs rather than kill them outright.”

    33. How long can SARS-CoV-2 survive on various surfaces? 

    According to an NIH (National Institute of Health) study, SARS-CoV-2 remained active on plastic and stainless-steel surfaces for 2–3 days under the conditions in this experiment. It remained infectious for up to 24 hours on cardboard and 4 hours on copper. The virus was detectable in aerosols (in the air) for up to 3 hours. These times will vary under real-world conditions, depending on factors including temperature, humidity, ventilation, and the amount of virus deposited.

    34. What is the recommendation for areas that cannot be disinfected, like paper or cardboard (that break down when wet)?

    Since the virus has only been shown to survive for 24 hours on these surfaces, it is best to remove these items to a secure spot and not handle them for a few days.

    35. Should outdoor playgrounds in schools and parks be disinfected?

    From the CDC, “Outdoor areas generally require normal routine cleaning and do not require disinfection. Spraying disinfectant on outdoor playgrounds is not an efficient use of disinfectant supplies and has not been proven to reduce the risk of COVID-19 to the public.”

    36. Is it recommended to disinfect roads or sidewalks to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

    CDC does not recommend disinfection of sidewalks or roads. Spraying disinfectant on sidewalks and roads is not an efficient use of disinfectant supplies and has not been proven to reduce the risk of COVID-19 to the public. The risk of spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 from these surfaces is very low and disinfection is not effective on these surfaces.

    37. Is it necessary to disinfect the duct work in the ventilation system?

    It is not necessary to disinfect the HVAC system, including ductwork. We are focusing on the high-touch points.

    38. Does an ATP meter show the virus is killed?

    An ATP meter shows how much organic material has been removed from a surface and is a good measure of cleaning performance. It cannot show if there are any microorganisms present or what those specific organisms are. The only way to do this is to swab the surface, transfer to a growth plate, and check for growth over 24–48 hours. This is normally done in a microbiology laboratory.

    Our new Smart Tools™ Enhanced Facility Disinfection Program provides the framework, tools, techniques, procedures, safety guidelines, and support materials for facilities of all types to develop and execute a comprehensive cleaning and disinfection work plan, allowing them to confidently reopen while keeping all who enter safe.  It combines evidence-based infection control strategies supported by agencies such as the CDC, EPA, and FDA with tactics to put the minds of facility occupants at ease in just 5 steps. Click here to learn more. 

    Click here to visit our dedicated SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19 web page, which also has crucial information and resources.

  • Why Skin Cleansers Are Effective Against Viruses

    Apr 07, 2020

    Click here to view our array of hand hygiene products, including skin cleansers and dispensers.

  • PART 1: SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19 FAQ

    Mar 31, 2020

    To view questions 14–38 in Part 2 of the SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19 FAQ Series, please click here.

    1. How do I know which disinfectants to use against SARS-CoV-2?

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provided a list of recommended and approved disinfectants for our fight against COVID-19 through the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. You can view the list—called List N—by clicking here.

    2. Why doesn’t Betco have any products on List N?

    As stated in List N’s introductory text, "these products may be marketed and sold under different brand names, but if they have the same EPA registration number, they are the same product. " These are known as supplemental, secondary, or sub-registrations.

    Currently, Betco® has 10 such products. We have isolated them for your reading convenience in a Betco-only version, which you can download by clicking here.

    All disinfectant product labels must include the EPA registration number. For secondary registrations, a company EPA ID follows the registration number, which is why Betco's ID—4170—appears after the EPA registration number on our labels.

    3. How does the EPA know these products work against SARS-CoV-2? 

    Because SARS-CoV-2 is such a new virus, it is not available commercially for laboratory testing. The EPA expects these disinfectants to be effective against SARS-CoV-2 based on:

    • Demonstrated efficacy against a harder-to-kill virus
    • Demonstrated efficacy against another human coronavirus similar to SARS-CoV-2
    • Qualification for the emerging viral pathogens claim

    4. What is an emerging viral pathogen claim?

    The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases defines emerging infectious diseases/pathogens as those “that have newly appeared in a population or have existed but are rapidly increasing in incidence or geographic range.” Many of the emerging pathogens of greatest concern are pathogenic viruses, and the ability of some of these viruses to persist on environmental surfaces can play a role in human disease transmission. SARS-CoV-2 is such a pathogenic virus.

    Because the occurrence of emerging viral pathogens is less common and predictable than established pathogens, few if any EPA-registered disinfectant product labels specify use against this category of infectious agents. Therefore, in 2016, EPA provided a voluntary, two-stage process to enable use of certain EPA-registered disinfectant products against emerging viral pathogens not identified on the product label.

    A company can apply for an emerging viral pathogen claim, even before an outbreak occurs, based on previous EPA-approved claims for harder-to-kill viruses.

    The emerging viral pathogen guidance was triggered for SARS-CoV-2 on Jan. 29, 2020. EPA reviews the supporting information and determines if the claim is acceptable. Once approved, a company can make certain off-label claims as specified in the policy in the event of an outbreak such as SARS-CoV-2. For instance, the company can include an efficacy statement on:

    • Technical literature distributed to health care facilities, physicians, nurses, and public health officials
    • Non-label-related websites
    • Consumer information services
    • Social media sites

    5. Why are there no skin care products on list N? / Can skin care products make COVID-19 claims? 

    List N only includes EPA-registered surface disinfectants. Hand sanitizers, antiseptic washes, and antibacterial soaps are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). EPA-registered surface disinfectants, including surface wipes, SHOULD NOT be applied on your skin or ingested.

    Only products approved as pharmaceutical drugs can legally make COVID-19 claims, not over-the-counter topical anesthetics, which skin care products are considered. The CDC recommends washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. It does not differentiate between different types of soaps (antibacterial or plain soap). When soap and water is unavailable use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

    6. What is the difference between disinfectants, sanitizers, and cleaners?

    Cleaners use soap or detergents to physically remove dirt, dust, other soils. While cleaners do not kill germs, they do remove them. Cleaners are not regulated or tested by the EPA.

    Sanitizers reduce bacteria on a surface by at least 99.9%, while disinfectants kill bacteria, viruses, mold, mildew, and fungi. Both sanitizers and disinfectants are regulated and tested by the EPA and must be proven efficacious for specific germs.

    7. How do I use disinfectants against coronavirus?

    The CDC recommends pre-cleaning surfaces before using a disinfectant.

    All disinfectant label instructions should be followed carefully, especially with regard to:

    • Dwell time, or amount of time that the surface must stay wet to ensure that germs are killed
    • Concentration, as some products may need to be diluted before use
    • Application method, including whether to use a sponge, paper towel, microfiber cloth, etc.
    • Personal protective equipment and other safety considerations
    • Suitability for use on different types of surfaces (see question #9 below)

    8. Can I use disinfectants in an electrostatic sprayer, fogger, or mister?

    In order for a disinfectant to remain effective, it has to be applied as a wet spray. Most disinfectants recommend a coarse wet spray. This can be achieved by use of a spray bottle, pump up sprayer, or an electrostatic sprayer. The key is that the particle size of the droplets has to be greater than 80 microns, and most electrostatic sprayers are 80–150 microns. Check the specific disinfectant label for further instructions on use in these machines.

    Foggers/misters create a thick fog or—in the case of thermal (heat) foggers—steam and use very little product. This is an insufficient delivery system for disinfectants.

    9. What surfaces should I disinfect?

    All reachable hard, non-porous surfaces can be disinfected, but high-touch surfaces should be paid special attention. These include but are not limited to tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

    The World Health Organization says studies have shown that SARS-CoV-2 may last for a few hours or several days on surfaces, depending on the kind of surface, temperature, and humidity. Under the conditions in at least 1 experiment, the virus remained active on plastic and stainless steel for 2–3 days.

    Not all disinfectants are appropriate for use on medical devices or food-contact surfaces. Disinfectants that are suitable for use on these surfaces may, furthermore, require additional actions, such as rinsing after disinfection. This information will be located on the product label.

    10. What about soft or porous surfaces, like carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes?

    No disinfectant can claim to disinfect soft surfaces. You may, however, sanitize with an EPA-registered soft surface sanitizer, such as Betco’s Triforce Disinfectant and Soft Surface Sanitizer, according to label directions.

    You may also clean soft surfaces with soap and water or a suitable cleaner, then launder if possible (see question #11 below).

    According to Juan Dumois, a pediatric infectious-diseases physician, “In general coronaviruses last a lot longer on hard non-porous surfaces compared to porous surfaces.”

    11. How should I do laundry with regard to SARS-CoV-2?

    Clothing, towels, linens, and similar articles should be laundered using manufacturer’s directions in the warmest suitable water and be completely dry before use. Items used by an infected person can be washed with other items.

    Dirty laundry should not be shaken to avoid releasing the virus into the air and should only be handled when wearing disposable gloves. Wash hands with soap and water immediately after removing the gloves.

    Remember to pre-clean and disinfect hampers according to label instructions.

    12. How should I disinfect electronics?

    First, always check with the manufacturer of the electronics to see if there are any explicit requirements or specifications. To apply disinfectant to most electronics, spray the disinfectant onto a microfiber cloth or towel, do not oversaturate the fabric, then wipe the surface and allow to air dry.  Never spray directly on electronics.

    13. What precautions should I take when cleaning/disinfecting?

    If someone in a facility is sick, all areas they have used should be closed off, with any outside doors and windows opened to increase air circulation. Wait 24 hours or as long as possible before cleaning and disinfecting all areas and surfaces used by the sick person.

    Whether a sick person has used an area or not, always wear disposable gloves and gowns for the entire cleaning and disinfecting process, including handling trash. After you carefully remove these items, immediately wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. If hands are not visibly dirty and soap and water are unavailable, you may use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

    Additional personal protective equipment (PPE), such as safety glasses, might be need based on the cleaning/disinfectant products being used and whether there is a risk of splash. Always consult product labels and ensure proper ventilation of the area.

    Never mix bleach with any other chemicals.

    Our new Smart Tools™ Enhanced Facility Disinfection Program provides the framework, tools, techniques, procedures, safety guidelines, and support materials for facilities of all types to develop and execute a comprehensive cleaning and disinfection work plan, allowing them to confidently reopen while keeping all who enter safe.  It combines evidence-based infection control strategies supported by agencies such as the CDC, EPA, and FDA with tactics to put the minds of facility occupants at ease in just 5 steps. Click here to learn more. 

    Click here to visit our dedicated SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19 web page, which also has crucial information and resources.

     

  • 2019 Novel Coronavirus, Wuhan, China

    Jan 21, 2020

    outbreak-coronavirus-china-2019

    This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation, and CDC will provide updated information as it becomes available, in addition to updated guidance.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring an outbreak caused by a novel coronavirus in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. Worldwide, there have been hundreds of confirmed human infections—including in the U.S.—and several deaths reported. For the most up-to-date statistics, please consult the CDC's website . A number of countries, such as the U.S., are actively screening incoming travelers from the Far East.

    Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals—including camels, cats and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people and then spread between people, such as has been seen with  MERS  and  SARS . Past MERS and SARS outbreaks have been complex, requiring comprehensive public health responses.

    There is much more to learn about how the virus (2019-nCoV) spreads, severity of associated illness, and other features of the virus. Investigations are ongoing. Based on current information, however, the immediate health risk from 2019-nCoV to the general American public is deemed to be low at this time. Nevertheless, the CDC is taking proactive preparedness precautions.

    The following information is for Common Human Coronaviruses:

    Symptoms of human coronavirus may include:

    • Runny nose
    • Headache
    • Cough
    • Sore threat
    • Fever

    The transmission method when spread from an infected person to others:

    • The air by coughing or sneezing
    • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
    • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands
    • Rarely, fecal contamination

    Usually infections occur in the fall and winter, although there is a possibility of infection throughout the year.

    Best prevention measures include:

    • Staying home when sick
    • Avoiding close contact with others
    • Cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces
    • Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, discarding the tissue, and washing your hands with soap and water—or, when soap and water are unavailable, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing a minimum of 60% alcohol as recommended by the CDC.

    Betco® Advanced Alcohol Hand Sanitizer is a new formula that contains 70% alcohol. Though tough on germs, this sanitizer is gentle on hands, thanks to added aloe that moisturizes and conditions:

     

    The following Betco® disinfectants have proven efficacy against the human coronavirus (10-minute kill claim unless otherwise noted):

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    There are no specific treatments for illnesses caused by human coronavirus. Rest, drink plenty of liquids, and take fever medications. If symptoms persist, you should see your healthcare provider.

    Visit the CDC's website for more information.

     

  • This Year's Flu Disproportionately Affecting Children

    Jan 17, 2020

    flu stats
    (click to enlarge)

    For handwashing to be maximally effective against the flu virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend following this process:

    1. Wet your hands with clean, running water, turn off the tap, and apply soap.
    2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to clean all surfaces on your hands (backs of your hands, between your fingers, under your nails, etc.).
    3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
    4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
    5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

    During scrubbing, the World Health Organization has outlined the following steps:

    1. Rub your hands together, palm to palm.
    2. Rub the back of each hand with the palm of the opposite hand with fingers interlaced.
    3. Again, rub palm to palm, but this time with fingers interlaced.
    4. Rub the backs of your fingers using opposing palms with fingers interlocked.
    5. Rub around each thumb with the palm of the opposing palm.
    6. Finally rub the palm of each hand with fingers of the opposing hand.

    By using this model for hand hygiene, you can protect yourself and others—especially children—from the spread of germs.

    To view Betco’s comprehensive line of flu-fighting hand soaps, please click here.

  • How to Slow the Spread of Infection: An Infographic

    Dec 02, 2019

    blog header

    blog body

  • Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Manually Mixing Chemicals

    Oct 29, 2019

    IMG_4996

    Introduction
    Manually mixing concentrated chemicals with water—also known as the “glug glug” method—is a practice that still permeates the commercial cleaning and maintenance industry today. Every facility has unique needs, but improper dilution of chemicals in any environment not only results in ineffective and inconsistent outcomes, but furthermore is costly and even dangerous.

    Improper dilution of chemicals can lead to unsightly streaks on glass, sticky residue on carpet (which causes rapid resoiling), or permanent damage of sensitive surfaces like aluminum and marble. It could also expose patrons of a restaurant to foodborne illness, increase slip and fall accidents in the aisles of a grocery store, or leave patients in a hospital vulnerable to infection.

    Clearly, it is of critical importance to properly mix concentrated cleaning solutions, and the first step in doing so is to consult the product label for the dilution ratio. If a product is multi-purpose, the label will often indicate different dilution ratios for different applications, so it is important to select the appropriate ratio for the task at hand.

    Dilution Ratios and Ounces per Gallon
    Dilution ratios are written as 2 numbers separated by a colon. The number to the left of the colon represents the amount of concentrated chemical, while the number to the right of the colon represents the amount of water. For example:
    ratio diagram
    In this example, the dilution ratio can be verbally expressed as 1 part chemical to 32 parts water.

    In place of or in addition to the dilution ratio, the label may supply the number of ounces of concentrated chemical per gallon of water.

    If given the dilution ratio only, ounces per gallon may be calculated by dividing 128 (the number of ounces in a gallon) by the amount of water (the number to the right of the colon). In continuing with our previous example of a 1:32 dilution ratio:

    128 (ounces in a gallon) ÷ 32 = 4 ounces per gallon of water

    If given ounces per gallon only, the dilution ratio may be calculated by dividing 128 by the recommended number of ounces per gallon. The quotient is the number of parts water to 1 part chemical, and as such goes to the right of the colon. For example, if a label indicates 4 ounces per gallon:

    128 (ounces in a gallon) ÷ 4 = 32, or a dilution ratio of 1:32

    Other Units of Volume
    If you would like to calculate ounces of concentrated chemical per a different amount of water, simply swap 128 for the appropriate number of ounces:
    • 10 gallons = 1280 ounces
    • 5 gallons = 640 ounces
    • 1 gallon = 128 ounces
    • 1 quart = 32 ounces
    • 1 pint = 16 ounces
    • 1 cup = 8 ounces

    For example, if you want to know how much concentrated chemical to use with a quart of water, and the dilution ratio is 1:32:

    32 (ounces in a quart) ÷ 32 = 1 ounce per quart of water

    To download a chart with ounces per gallon for common dilution ratios, click here.

    The Metric System
    If calculating milliliters per liter from dilution ratio or dilution ratio from milliliters per liter, the same logic holds. Using a dilution ratio of 1:32:

    1000 (milliliters in 1 liter) ÷ 32 = 31.25 milliliters per liter

    1000 (milliliters in 1 liter) ÷ 31.25 = 32, or a dilution ratio of 1:32

    If conversion between metric and imperial is necessary, here are some common metric volume equivalents:
    • 1 ounce = 29.6 milliliters
    • 1 cup = 236.6 milliliters
    • 1 pint = 473.2 milliliters
    • 1 quart = 946.4 milliliters (or 0.9464 liters)
    • 1 gallon = 3.8 liters (or 3785.4 milliliters)
    • 5 gallons = 18.9 liters (or 18927.1 milliliters)
    • 10 gallons = 37.9 liters (or 37854.1 milliliters)
    • 33.8 ounces = 1 liter (or 1000 milliliters)

    Real-World Applications
    Most of the time, the ready-to-use solution will go into a receptacle with an actual volume that is slightly greater than the advertised volume. For example, a 5-gallon pail really holds approximately 5.75 gallons. For this reason, it is often easiest and most expedient to use 5 gallons of water plus the appropriate amount of concentrated chemical, even though this results in more than 5 gallons. Using our familiar 1:32 dilution ratio example:

    4 (ounces of concentrated chemical per gallon of water) x 5 (gallons of water) = 20 ounces of concentrated chemical

    20 (ounces of concentrated chemical) + 5 (gallons of water) = 5 gallons, 20 ounces of ready-to-use solution

    The total volume of 5 gallons, 20 ounces will usually not be a problem.

    If, however, an exact amount of ready-to-use solution is required, then click here to download and use a chart that takes this into account.

    Cost per Diluted Gallon
    Finally, it may be useful to calculate cost per diluted gallon.

    For this calculation, the parts concentrated chemical and water expressed in the dilution ratio must be added together. For our 1:32 dilution ratio:

    1 + 32 = 33 parts

    Then divide the concentrated chemical’s cost per gallon by the total parts. For example, if the cost is $10.00 for 1 gallon of concentrated chemical:

    $10.00 ÷ 33 (total parts) = $0.30 per diluted gallon

    Safety
    When manually mixing chemical, it is important to always add water before you add the concentrated chemical in order to minimize chemical splash and foam. As with any chemical, always read the Safety Data Sheet before use and be sure to wear the proper PPE, such as gloves and eye protection.

    If you would like to avoid the hassle and safety risks associated with manually mixing chemicals, Betco® offers several closed dilution control systems that consistently provide the correct dilution for cleaning staff. Learn more here.  

     

  • To Coat or Not to Coat; That Is the Question!

    Sep 25, 2019

    Concrete Floor

    No longer reserved for manufacturing plants and warehouses, concrete flooring has been infiltrating retail stores, trendy hotels and restaurants, offices, and even homes over the past 15 years. With concrete’s relative ease of maintenance and long-term cost savings, combined with its durability and versatility of aesthetic, it’s little wonder that this flooring solution is continuing to grow in popularity.

    For all its advantages, however, the comparative ease with which both polished and non-polished concrete stains and chemically etches is a definite disadvantage. In order to combat this issue, three types of products have been developed.

    1. High-solids topical coatings have been widely rejected, due to their insufficient adhesion to the substrate and failure when there is high vapor drive.

    2. Guards are not susceptible to the same vapor drive and adhesion problems. Guards are also known as semi-topical coatings/sealers, because while they sit on top of the concrete surface, they also lightly fill in its surface pores. Guards successfully protect concrete floors from stain and etch, while also creating gloss on non-polished surfaces and augmenting gloss on polished surfaces. Their primary drawback, however, is the need to recoat due to wear. The number and frequency of recoats required is largely dependent on environment in which they are used, particularly foot and/or wheel traffic.

    3. Penetrating sealers, as indicated in the name, fill in surface pores to prevent stain and etch. When using a penetrating sealer, none of the product remains on the surface of the concrete, unlike topical and semi-topical coatings. This penetration means that foot and/or wheel traffic, stain- and etch-causing substances, as well as sealant-infused cleaning and burnishing pads make direct contact with the concrete surface, instead of with a coating. This is the reason penetrating sealers are somewhat less effective against stain and etch than guards, but it is also the reason penetrating sealers wear less and require fewer reapplications than guards.

    The Betco® Crete Rx™ system offers both a penetrating sealer in the form of our Stain Defense product, as well as a new guard in the form of our LiquiShield product. Wondering which product may be right for your concrete or terrazzo floor?

    LiquiShield performs best in these applications:

    • Floors that require heavy stain protection, such as cafeterias
    • Providing gloss and protection to non-polished concrete floors
    • Terrazzo floors that cannot be polished due to:
      -Bleed off from divider strips (zinc, aluminum, brass, or PVC)
      -Topical dyes that bleed when dry polished
      -Non-cementitious terrazzo
    • Combination floors with topical guard/penetrating sealer for quick and easy avoidance of tedious edge work:
      -Polish the floor using the Crete Rx system
      -Apply LiquiShield along the edge, 3–4 inches wide, and it will shine like the rest of the floor
      -With little-to-no wear at the edges, LiquiShield will last for many years using the Crete Rx daily cleaning program
    Stain Defense penetrating sealer performs best in these applications:
    • Floors with very heavy traffic, such as grocery and retail floors or warehouse floors exposed to heavy forklift traffic
    • Floors that require an extremely high DOI (distinctness of image)
    • Floors that require high levels of scuff and scratch resistance
    • Lowering annual maintenance costs associated with annual and/or semi-annual recoats
    CharacteristicsLiquiShieldStain Defense
    Initial gloss ratingExcellentExcellent
    Clarity of imageGoodExcellent
    Wear and durability in average trafficGoodExcellent
    Wear and durability in heavy trafficFairExcellent
    Scuff and scratch resistance ratingGoodExcellent
    Stain and etch protection ratingExcellentGood
    Annual recoat maintenance requiredYesNo

     

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