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  • Top 3 Challenges Grocery Stores Face

    Sep 19, 2022

    The grocery business is extremely competitive with small margins. To thrive, grocers must effectively address the different challenges involving customers, employees, and profitability. Continue reading to learn more about the top challenges grocery stores face every day and how Betco® can solve them.

    1. Driving Customer and Employee Retention

    Customer loyalty is the core of the grocery business, and it is important to implement strategies that keep customers coming back. Providing a safe, clean, and pleasant experience every time for all customers creates a better perception of the grocery store overall, leading to increased satisfaction levels, brand loyalty, and market share. The overall appearance, smell, and cleanliness of a store can define a customer’s experience as soon as they walk through the doors.

    On the other hand, grocery store employees keep the business running and drive a positive customer experience. A high employee turnover rate is not uncommon in the grocery industry. In 2020, retailers saw an overall turnover rate of 58%, up from 40% in 2019, according to The Food Retailing Industry Speaks report. Professional training in a grocery store makes it easier to recruit, onboard, and retain high-quality and engaged talent.

    A standardized scope of work and field support ensures that all staff members are using the same procedures, which results in a uniform process and outcome. A lack of cleaning consistency and performance can be noticed by customers and skew the store’s clean reputation. Betco offers customized scope of work creation and documentation, as well as training and support that make it easier to retain high-quality talent. Free training covers proper cleaning procedures, restroom sanitation, dilution control, and more. Click here to view Betco’s Total Training Solutions.

    2. Maximizing Safety

    When safety is compromised, it can lead to a potential lawsuit against the store. Common causes of lawsuits include slips and falls and foodborne illnesses. Slip and fall accidents in grocery stores are the #1 cause of injury for both employees and customers. The $494 billion grocery store industry spends $450 million annually to defend slip and fall claims. Proper floor maintenance and risk management practices are the only prevention.  

    Especially in departments like meat, seafood, deli, and bakery where food is prepared, the risk of cross-contamination and health code violations can be high. The Center for Disease Control reports that 1 in 6 Americans get sick each year from food-borne illnesses. Of those, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die. Proper hand hygiene, disinfection practices, and sanitation of food handling areas boost adherence to health code requirements.

    Betco helps grocers ensure that proper practices are in place by providing custom wall charts to reinforce proper chemical application methods and directions, as well as task cards to guide staff with visual aids that highlight procedures, products, and tools needed to perform jobs consistently. The free training mentioned above also includes topics to increase safety—such as OSHA Hazard Communication Standard, disinfection basics, and hand hygiene.

    Our Slip and Fall Prevention Program has resources that teach about the common causes, risk management to avoid accidents, and emergency response efforts, including a Slip and Fall Prevention e-learning course. Our experts will recommend best practices and products to reduce slips and fall accidents, including floor cleaners and equipment. Additionally, all Betco floor finishes meet or exceed ASTM D 2047, which contributes to a safer walking surface. It is the most recognized test method of slip resistance in the United States court of law. Our expert witnesses for slip and fall cases are members of the ASTM D-21 Committee on Polishes as well as the D-21.06 Slip Resistance subcommittee that can testify in a court of law on your behalf for slip and fall accidents.

    3. Optimizing Profitability

    Supply chain disarray, wage growth, elevated freight, and other inflationary pressures have and continue to impact the grocers and their profits immensely. Optimizing expenses like cleaning supplies by carefully evaluating what you buy and how you buy it can provide cost savings across an entire business.

    Based on an analysis of a grocery store’s current delivery supply chain, Betco is able to understand all aspects of product procurement and use. The intention is to also help maintain or reduce budget through increased efficiencies and reduced transaction. Our fast delivery turn-around times and reduced minimum order sizes are combined with product consolidation and reduced consumption for greater bottom-line savings.

    Our innovative solutions will increase productivity, so more can get done in less time with fewer staff members needed.

    • Floor Care and Equipment: Drives down labor costs by extending maintenance cycles, improves gloss, and reduces slips and falls
    • Hand Hygiene: Stretches hand care budgets without sacrificing cleanliness with Clario®
    • Dilution Control: FastDraw® Chemical Management System saves up to 30% with accurate dilution of chemical concentrates
    • Warewash: Delivers one-wash clean performance

    SmartSteps® Program

    Betco is a partner for grocery stores with a unique approach to align building service contractors or in-house cleaning staff and stakeholders. Our SmartSteps® Program offers solutions to grocery’s top 3 problems by creating and executing a customized and holistic program for cleaning excellence in just 5 steps:

    1. Identification: Outline strengths, challenges, and opportunities for improvement through a store audit
    2. Diagnosis: Review cleaning procedures and techniques to create a baseline scope of work and define goals
    3. Prescription: Prescribe appropriate solutions for effective and sustainable outcomes
    4. Implementation: Spearhead delivery, installation, and inventory of assets and provide safety and certified training on relevant topics
    5. Evaluation: Proactively follow up, monitor, and inspect performance outcomes and adjust the program as necessary

    Betco has simplified solutions with guaranteed outcomes for grocery stores. For more information about the SmartSteps Program, click here. To speak with a Betco representative, click here.

  • FDA Warns Against Using UV Wands for Disinfection and Here’s Why

    Aug 17, 2022

    The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently warned consumers of the dangers of using certain ultraviolet (UV) wands. UV wands are handheld devices used to disinfect surfaces by projecting UV rays onto a surface. Continue reading to learn more about the dangers of UV wands and the best solution recommended by the FDA.

    UV Radiation

    Radiation is the emission of energy from any source that travels through space at the speed of light. The waves contain electric and magnetic energy that are associated with the frequency of the radiation. The electromagnetic spectrum measures the frequency and wavelength used to describe electromagnetic radiation and describes the activity level of photons and the size of the wavelength in each category.

    UV radiation is a type of non-ionizing radiation with the highest energy. UV radiation can come from the sun or artificial sources and is measured on the electromagnetic spectrum. UV radiation falls between x-ray and visible light on the electromagnetic spectrum. It is used for many different things, including transmitting sound, microwaves, and x-rays. The most common types of UV radiation include UVA, UVB, and UVC. UV wands give off UVC radiation to disinfect surfaces.

    UVC Rays

    UVC is the highest energy portion of the UV radiation spectrum. UVC radiation from the sun is blocked by the ozone layer in the atmosphere, but humans can be exposed to UVC rays through artificial sources, like UV wands. It has one of the shortest wavelengths, which makes it one of the most dangerous and damaging types of UV radiation.

    UVC uses a specific wavelength of UV light, between 100 and 280 nanometers, to neutralize microorganisms. When applied to a surface, UVC penetrates the bacteria and changes the structure of DNA and RNA inside the cell nucleus. It inactivates them by stopping the cell division function and prevents proliferation.

    UV Wand Effectiveness

    UV wands are only effective if the virus is directly exposed to the radiation. Therefore, soils like dust and bodily fluids can prevent the UV wand from inactivating the virus. Additionally, prolonged exposure to UV on a surface may be needed depending on the UV dosage. These limitations can lead to an increase in time spent disinfecting and an increase in health and safety risks by not killing the viruses completely on surfaces (without taking additional cleaning steps) and exposing the user to high levels of radiation.

    UV Wand Dangers

    Recently, FDA conducted a study by collecting and testing samples of UV wands from multiple manufacturers. The purpose of these tests was to identify safety risks of using UV wands for disinfection, including:

    • UVC exposure
    • Safety information
    • Disinfection claims
    • Protection

    "Some UV wands marketed to 'disinfect in seconds' were releasing as much as 3,000 times more UVC radiation"

    Some UV wands marketed to “disinfect in seconds” were releasing as much as 3,000 times more UVC radiation than the exposure limit recommended by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection. As a result, the user or people nearby can experience 2 types of injuries after only a few seconds of exposure. A red rash, burn-like skin reaction called erythema can form and have a severity range of mild to life-threatening. The eyes can experience photokeratitis, a painful and temporary eye condition caused by exposure to UV rays that is like sunburn. It can feel like having sand in the eyes and last up to 2 days.

    It was also discovered that not all UV wands are packaged with proper safety precautions and instructions that include eye and skin protection recommendations. Some do not have adequate safety features that reduce injury to the person using the UV wand or people nearby during application.

    Alternate Disinfection Method

    The FDA recommends not using UV wands and utilizing alternative disinfection methods, such as chemical cleaners to kill germs. Most chemical cleaners are able to disinfect just as well or better than UV wands without the risk of radiation exposure.

    Betco® has disinfection solutions for any situation with concentrates, ready-to-use products, and wipes readily available:

    • The FastDraw dilution control systems in conjunction with concentrates drive down disinfection costs and increase safety.
    • The powerful, ready-to-use products save time and effort when it comes to disinfection.
    • All the benefits of a ready-to-use product are wrapped up in a fast, convenient, and sustainable wipe.

    With close to 20 disinfectants available in a variety of formats, it can be overwhelming to understand which disinfectant will be the most effective. To help, the Disinfectant Selector Guide will assist with determining which disinfectant will work best for a facility or space. Click here to take the test.

    For more information about Betco disinfectants, click here. To speak with a Betco representative, click here.

     

  • The Dangers of Oil-Based Finish

    Jun 15, 2022
    Dark brown, light brown sport floor with blue lines and yellow wildcat logo in the middle

    Safety is always a huge priority during and after any cleaning and maintenance task, including gym floor projects. Oil-based finishes are the most traditional finishes for wood sports floors and known to be extremely flammable, smelly, and dangerous if not properly stored or used. Continue reading to learn about the risks of using oil-based finishes and how waterbased finishes are a safer alternative.

    Ingredients

    Many oil-based finishes consist of petroleum distillates, varnish, and linseed oil. Each contribute to the danger of oil-based finish. Petroleum distillates are colorless, flammable liquids that cause mild gasoline or kerosene-like odor when the oil-based finish is applied. When petroleum distillates are inhaled, ingestion, or come in contact with the skin or eyes, it can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat and cause dizziness, drowsiness, headaches, nausea, and dry, cracked skin.

    Varnish is the combination of resins, oils, and solvents that creates the transparent, hard, protective film on a wood floor after application. Many varnish products contain benzene, a highly flammable carcinogen. It also emits a strong odor with intense fumes that cause drowsiness, headaches, skin irritation, and dizziness. High exposure can even cause unconsciousness and respiratory distress.

    Linseed oil is derived from dried seeds of flax plants and is a carrier in many oil-based products. When linseed oil is exposed to air, it combines with oxygen molecules that cause a chemical reaction, creating heat. The heat can cause a fire on a flammable object, like a rag, at as low as 120 degrees Fahrenheit without a spark.

    Clean Up

    When applying oil-based finishes, applicators like towels and rags are used and need to be disposed of properly after use. What can you do with the oil-soaked rags? Most would just assume they should be thrown out or stored away for the next job. This is when a finish project becomes more dangerous. If not properly disposed of or stored, as the rags begin to dry, the combination of heat, oxygen, and cloth can lead to spontaneous combustion and start a fire. As mentioned above, linseed oil can spark a fire just by being exposed to the air.

    According to the National Fire Protection Association, an estimated 14,000 fires occur annually from spontaneous combustion. The garage/storage room was the most common area of origin (20% of fires) and oily rags were the most common items first ignited (35%). To prevent spontaneous combustion, oil-based finish rags must be stored and disposed of in a specific way.

    • Rags should not be in a pile
    • Keep them outside and away from building structures
    • Put dried rags in a metal container that is airlocked and sealed
    • Keep the containers in a cool place out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources

    Removing oil-based finish or cleaning up spills requires a solvent, like mineral spirits that dissolve oil, and quick thinking to eliminate a potential fire hazard. There are many different methods and options, but they require additional supplies and steps to be successful.

    Odor

    Volatile organic compounds (VOC) are emitted into the air as soon as a container of oil-based finish is opened. They’re also emitted when the finish is applied and then again as it dries. As an oil-based finish dries, the solvents evaporate and release VOCs into the air, contributing to air pollution and a strong solvent smell.

    VOCs are carbon-containing substances that become vapors or gases and assist with the application and drying of finish. When combined with other pollutants, smog can form and create even more environmental and health problems. VOCs contain the solvent odor that comes from oil-based finish. It is an unpleasant scent that could last for months or even years after finish application. It can be irritating for the people who smell the odor and inhaling fumes are harmful to human health. Prolonged exposure can a burning sensation, blurred vision, and a potential collapse.

    Adequate ventilation in the work area is important to reduce oil-based finish odors and help with the indoor air quality. A good ventilation system is necessary to help with eliminating odors and improving air flow and air quality. The EPA reports that the indoor concentration of VOCs can be up to 1,000 times higher than what it would be outdoors, and low air quality can cause health problems.

    Betco® Sports Zone® Emulsion® PRO+

    The best defense against oil-based finishes and their hazards is to avoid them completely. Waterbased finishes are a safer alternative to oil-based finishes because water is used as the solvent as opposed to oil. Acrylic resin forms the bond between the wood and solids of the waterbased finish as it is applied. Then, the water evaporates from air exposure, leaving behind the resin and colorants on the wood surface. It also allows the finish to dry quickly and be ready to walk on in as little as 30 minutes. The ingredients are the clear difference between an oil-based finish and waterbased finish. Removing the petroleum distillates, varnish, and linseed oil of oil-based finish from the equation significantly creates a safer finish and reduces dangerous risks.

    Emulsion PRO+ product

    Emulsion® PRO+ is a one component, ambering commercial grade, self-leveling finish and sealer. It’s an excellent choice for professionals that are looking to make the transition from OMUs to waterbased because it’s an ambering finish that delivers a rich look of traditional oil but with all the advantages of a waterbased finish. Benefits of a waterbased finish include:

    • Non-flammability, which makes the clean-up process easier. Because water is the solvent, used rags can be piled together, stored together, and disposed of in a regular garbage can without the risk of sparking a fire. Used rags will not spontaneously combust.
    • If there is a spill, only soap and water are needed to clean up. Accidental drips of water from sweat or bottles will also not affect the project.
    • Low odor, which avoids issues associated with offensive, extreme fumes.
    • Low VOCs increase sustainability and improve air quality.

    For those looking for a safer finish option, Emulsion PRO+ is the best choice for sport floors. For more information, click here. To speak with a Betco® representative, click here

     

  • 4 Floor Finish Factors to Consider

    May 27, 2022

    Floors are the foundation of every structure and contribute to the overall look and impression of a facility as they are one of the first features noticed by building occupants and visitors. Floor finish helps improve the quality of floors by forming a top layer that is expected to protect and extend the life of a floor. The kind of floor finish that should be used on a floor is dependent on many factors, including performance, maintenance, ingredients/solids, and sustainability. Continue reading to learn more about these influential factors.

    1. Performance

    Each kind of finish has different attributes that will define the look and performance based on what the customer wants. A customer must determine their floor finish needs based on their floor type, appearance expectation, level of traffic, and safety concerns.

    If the floor is linoleum, sheet vinyl, VCT, LVT, or similar floor types, it is a resilient surface floor. Floors like wood, stone, tile, grout, laminate, concrete, and terrazzo are hard surface floors. Choosing a floor finish that is formulated to the floor type is important for maximum performance, particularly regarding adhesion, and looks.

    The floor finish appearance varies on the amount of luster or sheen produced when the light reflects the floor surface. The scale goes from high gloss to matte with some sheens in between:

    • High gloss: Most shiny and most reflective
    • Semi-gloss: Moderate amount of shine that is reflective just enough to be noticeable
    • Satin: Medium to low sheen and serves as the median point of sheen levels
    • Matte: Very low sheen level that has virtually no light reflection

    Every floor finish is prone to scruffs, black heel marks, and other smudges that appear from everyday wear and tear. However, some floor finish is formulated to reduce markings, which boosts productivity and saves time. Specific Betco® floor finishes are equipped with Scuff Resistant Technology (SRT), an innovative technology specific to Betco. SRT uses a proprietary technology polymer, wax, plasticizer, and additive package that drastically reduces black heel marks. A floor finish’s hardness also contributes to resisting scruffs, scratches, and dirt embedment. The higher the hardness percentage, the more durable and long wearing the finish will be, which is especially important on floors with high traffic.

    High traffic can also increase the risk of slips and falls. Slip resistance is the static coefficient of friction between a shoe and a coated floor tile. All Betco floor finishes meet or exceed ASTM D 2047, which contributes to a safer walking surface. It is the most recognized test method for slip resistance in the United States court of law. To learn more about preventing slips and falls, click here to take our Slip and Fall Prevention module. 

    2. Maintenance

    Male
        using burnishing in a grocery store

    After the floor finish has been chosen and applied, it is important to maintain it. Burnishing helps the high gloss and semi-gloss floor finish sheens achieve their highest possible shine without needing to perform a full strip and refinish or scrub and recoat. It also helps floors hold up longer against everyday wear and tear by removing dullness and repairing scratches for an overall cleaner appearance.

    The frequency of burnishing is dependent on the type of floor finish. Ultra high-speed floor finishes offer the highest possible gloss on floors but require burnishing 1-7 times per week and usually need to be done with a propane or high-speed burnisher. This is because these kinds of floor finishes tend to dull quickly and need extra attention to keep them looking their best. Consistent and proper burnishing will reduce additional maintenance and increase the time between top-scrubbing and stripping. It also reduces the need for a frequent floor restorer, which rejuvenates the floor finish and extends the Life Cycle of Floor Care.

    On the other hand, no to low maintenance floor finishes require no burnishing or very little burnishing, potentially once a week or once a month. These floor finishes do not drop in gloss as quickly as they experience wear and tear and therefore do not need as much maintenance, ideal for facilities with time constraints. 

    3. Ingredients and Solids

    Floor finish is typically made up of the following ingredients.

    • Polymers: Commonly called plastics that dictate the main characteristics of the floor finish, like durability and gloss levels
    • Resin: A substitute for polymer solids that are usually less expensive, have lower durability, and a poor color
    • Plasticizer: Adds to the coatings’ flexibility, gloss, and film formation
    • Wax: Provides lubricity to the finish film and allows floor finish to be repaired more easily
    • Cosolvent: Helps hold polymers in suspension and aids in film formation
    • Additives: Assist in easy application, product storage, and long-term performance of floor finish
    • Water: Acts as a medium to evenly distribute all components

    After the floor finish is applied, the volatile ingredients—cosolvents and water—will evaporate.  The non-volatile ingredients—polymers, waxes, and plasticizers—remain on the floor after the volatiles evaporate. Usually expressed as a percentage of the total formula, these are referred to as solids, and they provide the protective coating. Floor finishes with over 25% of solids are considered a high solid finish.

    High solid floor finishes have more active ingredients, which reduce the number of coats needed during floor finish application and lengthen the time between reapplying floor finish. What may be lesser known is that solids refer to anything that does not evaporate during the curing process of floor finish. There could be unwanted, harmful ingredients included in the formula that causes a floor finish to not perform as expected. Always consult the label for ingredients before application.

    In addition, solid finishes tend to be more expensive due to more additives, like slip resistance, surface textures, and bonding. However, low solid finishes manufactured in recent years are able to perform just as well or even better than high solid finishes at lesser of a cost. Therefore, comparing solid percentages between finishes should not be the sole factor in deciding a floor finish type. 

    4. Sustainability

    Floor finish that is considered green does not contain zinc, excessive levels of which can pose a threat to environmental and human health. Elevated levels of zinc can cause be harmful to natural ecosystems by inhibiting the uptake of other essential nutrients by plants. When a floor finish with zinc is stripped, the zinc travels down the drain and eventually ends up in a wastewater treatment plant. It is a difficult material to remove during wastewater treatment and is also now regulated in wastewater discharge limits.

    Metal-interlock finishes use metal ions like zinc to bind together and form a crosslinked network with polymer chains. This technique can help the dried film to be more durable and detergent resistant, which is why most floor finishes commonly contain zinc.

    For more sustainable floor finish options, Betco offers Green Earth® Floor Finish and Green Earth Prelude Floor Finish and Sealer, both of which do not contain zinc or any heavy metals but are still formulated to shine as brilliantly and last as long as conventional finishes. The use of these finishes allows facilities to satisfy green mandates and even attain LEED certification.

    Floor Finish Selector Guide results with Hi-Tech featured

    Betco Floor Finish Selector Guide

    Betco has a variety of high-quality floor finishes for many floor types that fulfill different performance, maintenance, and sustainability needs. To understand which floor finish will work on your floor, our Floor Finish Selector Guide is a great tool. Answer a series of questions regarding maintenance, floor type, and budget, and it will recommend the best Betco finish for your floor.

    To use the Floor Finish Selector Guide, click here. If you have any questions about Betco floor finish or any of our floor care programs, please fill out our online contact us form, or call 1-888-GO-BETCO to speak with a representative today.

     

  • Top 4 Benefits of Bag-in-Box Packaging

    Apr 22, 2022

    Here at Betco®, efforts towards sustainability and environmental responsibility are held to a high company standard. We work hard to meet or exceed health and environmental standards through our ever-evolving products, programs, and services. We are now taking our next step towards a greener Earth by introducing the new bag-in-box packaging initiative.

    A bag-in-box is one way to store and transport liquids from place to place. Instead of utilizing a plastic pail, liquid product resides in a strong plastic bag inside of a corrugated fiberboard box. Usually, a spigot is also attached for easy dispensing of the product. The bag-in-box packaging as a whole is more compact for increased transportation and storage efficiency as well as easier use. In addition, the change from plastic pails to bag-in-box allows for an overall lower carbon footprint. Continue reading to learn the top 4 benefits of bag-in-box packaging and why the conversion from plastic pails is important.

    "Switching to bag-in-box cuts greenhouse gases by 52% and energy in production by up to 81%."

    1. Sustainable Manufacturing

    The manufacturing of bag-in-box packaging is significantly more sustainable than plastic pails because it uses fewer resources. Most pails are made entirely from a high-density polyethylene, which is a more rigid plastic that—according to the Environmental Protection Agency—is only recycled about 30% of the time. The production process of plastic uses petrochemicals as a raw material and generates greenhouse gas emissions as it’s produced. Bag-in-box uses less plastic because only the bag part is made out of plastic, and it is a lower density type, reducing the overall amount of plastic used as well as emissions and waste.

    Cardboard is a material with one of the lowest environmental impacts because it is 100% biodegradable and recyclable. More specifically, corrugated cardboard degrades within a year maximum. More than 75% of a bag-in-box package is corrugated and fully recyclable, renewable, and biodegradable. The other 25% is the plastic, the recyclability of which depends on the geographical location and its collecting, sorting, and recycling infrastructure. 

    A graph comparing plastic pails and bag-in-box and their total material, energy, and process greenhouse gas. Bag-in-box has lower numbers. A bar graph the shows pails versus bag-in-box and the pounds of material sent to landfill yearly. Bag-in-box is significantly less.
    Click to enlargeClick to enlarge

    Thanks to sustainable manufacturing, less resources, and more recyclable materials, switching to bag-in-box cuts greenhouse gases by 52% and energy in production by to up 81%.

    2. Efficient Transportation

    Bag-in-box products are more convenient to ship and transport. Their rectangular-shaped package takes up less space and are able to easily be stacked together. A skid comprises 50 bag-in-box units but only 36 plastic pail units. This means more bag-in-box products can be shipped at once. As a result, CO2 emissions are lowered because fewer trucks are needed to transport bag-in-box products.

    Similarly, for inbound freight, there can be 3,000 empty bags-in-boxes per skid and only 132 empty pails per skid. Empty bag-in-box packaging can be delivered flat and take up very little space. Using the same logic as above, this means there are fewer CO2 emissions due to needing fewer trucks to transport empty bag-in-box packages.

    Another important note is the ability of bag-in-box packaging to protect the product as it is shipped, so it arrives undamaged and sealed. Compared to pails, the risk of damaged goods is lower for bag-in-box products. With pails, the rigid plastic can crack and bust, especially when the product is stacked too high and/or when a truck hits a bump on the road. This can also happen when pails lean forward if the driver needs to brake hard or if the bales are facing inward. Bag-in-box is more flexible due to the cardboard and plastic bag, which makes it harder for the packaging to break and product to leak during transportation. Further protection is provided by shrink wrap.

    3. Storage Benefits

    Once the product arrives at a warehouse or facility, it needs to be stored in the appropriate location to await shipment or for later use. This can be a challenge due to small and tight spaces. Bag-in-box’s simple shape and size help minimize space requirements. When stacked, there is no dead space between the boxes. On the other hand, pails are usually circular. When stacked, there is a dead space because they do not fit evenly next to each other, as shown below. 

    On the left, there is a skid of bag-in-boxes. On the right, there is a skid of pails

    In total, there is a 39% reduction in cubic feet for bag-in-box compared to pails. Bag-in-box skids, for example, are 33 cubic feet for 200 gallons. Pail skids are 59 cubic feet for 180 gallons. That’s 20 more gallons of product in 26 less cubic feet for bag-in-box.

    4. Ease of Use

    Beyond just efficient transportation and storage, the rectangular shape of bag-in-box makes it easier for employees to carry or haul the products to wherever they are needed. Once there, to help with dispensing, there are conveniently placed spigots that release product when opened and block product when closed. This means product can be dispensed without the bag-in-box ever leaving the storage shelf or other flat surface. This is more convenient for customers because, unlike a pail, it does not require additional labor and strength to lift and pour product out.

    Other common issues with plastic pails include heavy surging or glugging when product is poured out, as well as extra time and effort to scrape the sides to use all available product. With the bag-in-box spigot, customers can dispense a specific amount of product, eliminating overflow and extra mess. The spigot feature also allows a 99% evacuation rate, meaning nearly all the product inside the bag can be used without hassle, so customers receive the full value of what was purchased more easily. 

    Hard as Nails in a bag-in-box package

    Betco Bag-in-Box

    Betco is making the switch to the bag-in-box packaging to improve sustainable efforts and help eliminate our carbon footprint. We believe this change will help our customers and the environment simultaneously through many benefits, including manufacturing, transportation, storage, and application.

    For more information, click here. If you have any questions about bag-in-box, please fill out our online contact us form, or call 1-888-GO-BETCO to speak with a representative today.

     

  • The Attack on Aerosols

    Mar 10, 2022

    The air we breathe every day is usually clear and fresh, signifying it is healthy and clean. What we don’t realize is the air is made up of tiny liquid droplets and solid particles that are inhaled every time we take a breath. Aerosols is a “catch-all” term for the particles that are suspended in the atmosphere. It means “atmospheric particulate." Aerosols can naturally come from the planet, like dust, soot, or sea salt, or form when particles in the atmosphere react to each other. Aerosols are also created by humans through fossil fuels, like cars, airplanes, and industrial plants. These kinds of aerosols influence the climate and the environment.

    Aerosols and the Earth

    Aerosols influence the climate and the environment by changing the amount of heat that enters or leaves the atmosphere. Some aerosols reflect light, preventing sun rays from reaching Earth. Others absorb heat from the sun's rays, trapping the solar energy within the atmosphere and warming it. Both ways control how much energy reaches the Earth’s surface, which changes the balance of energy. Earth’s energy balance is how the incoming energy from the sun is used and then returned to space. If those 2 factors are balanced, the Earth’s temperature remains constant.

    Aerosol Cans

    Aerosol cans are probably one of the first things that come to mind when the term “aerosol” is mentioned. An aerosol can is a self-contained dispensing system in which a substance is stored inside a small canister and pushed out as a mist, spray, or foam. The substance mix is pressurized within the canister in order to be released by pushing the button to open the valve. Cleaning products are just one of the many items that can be applied with an aerosol can. More specifically, disinfectants, glass cleaners, and air fresheners are usually found in an aerosol can.

    Click to enlarge

    Aerosol cans were first popular in the 1920s. They were filled with insecticide and propellants to protect United States service people from diseased insects. In the 1950s, the first mass-produced aerosol valve was produced, and the aerosol industry developed quickly around the world. It wasn’t until the 1970s when scientists discovered Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), the chemical used to propel the product out of the can, was harming the environment, specifically the ozone layer. CFCs destroy the ozone layer, which protects the Earth from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays by rising into the stratosphere and coming into contact with ozone molecules. In response, The Clean Air Act was implemented to ban all use of CFCs in the United States, and the trend followed around the world. Companies were challenged to find a different way to continue to sell aerosol cans for products.

    Today, aerosol cans use hydrocarbons and a type of compressed or liquefied gas to function. The gas pushes down on the liquid, forcing it through the tube and out the valve. The liquid is a mixture of product and liquified gas in order to get the misty spray expected of the aerosol can.

    "The combustion of hydrocarbons releases carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, contributing to pollution and climate change. Although carbon dioxide is essential to the survival of living things on Earth, increasing levels in the atmosphere are linked to global warming and can be harmful to life on Earth."

    Volatile Organic Compounds

    Aerosol products also emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air. VOCs are carbon-containing substances that cause pollution as they interact with nitrogen oxides. When combined with other pollutants, ground-level ozone, or smog, can form. Ground-level ozone triggers a variety of respiratory health issues when humans are exposed. When used inside a facility or home, VOCs can lower air quality. The EPA’s Total Exposure Assessment Methodology studies found that levels of a dozen common organic pollutants can be 2–5 times higher inside homes. In a recent study by the University of New York and the National Centre for Atmospheric Science, it is estimated that 1.3 million tons of VOC air pollution is released every year and could rise to 2.2 million tons by 2050.  

    Disposing of Aerosol Cans

    More than 25 billion cans are used and disposed of each year. Most of these cans are steel or aluminum and can be recycled. However, only 30% of these cans actually make it to a recycling center. Investigate different recycling options for aerosol cans in your local area as these cans cannot be thrown away or recycled in the standard way. Simply throwing aerosol cans into a trash can is bad for the environment, non-compliant, and unsafe because it is considered hazardous material from their highly pressurized chemicals within the can. If there is any product or pressurized gas left in the can, it must be disposed of through a hazardous waste program. If recycled or thrown away with substance still inside, it can cause a fire. Refer to the aerosol can label for specific instructions on how to properly and safely dispose of the product. 

    Beyond environmental effects, aerosol cans and sprays are dangerous for other reasons:

    Pressurization: Any kind of problem with the pressurization of an aerosol can cause depressurization. Unintentional depressurization from punctures, excessive temperatures, corrosion, or faultiness can cause an explosion. An explosion may burn the user or cause pieces of the can to fly through the air at random.

    Ingredients: The actual product being dispensed by the can may be hazardous due to the ingredients. Depending on the product, the chemicals that create the product are released into the air and can be inhaled by the user. The product can come in contact with the skin or eyes, causing irritation. Leftover product in an aerosol can is classified as hazardous waste.

    Flammability: Aerosol cans and heat do not mix. Leaving these types of cans in the sun, near high heat or an open flame can result in an explosion. The substance inside is also most likely flammable and may catch fire. When an aerosol can is disposed of, any leftover product inside is at risk of catching fire.

    "Simply throwing aerosol cans into a trash can is bad for the environment, non-compliant, and unsafe because it is considered hazardous material from their highly pressurized chemicals within the can."

    Aerosol Cleaning Products

    In the commercial cleaning industry, aerosol sprays are popular for certain products, but the best defense against the dangers of aerosol cans is to stop using them completely. As an alternative, ready-to-use (RTU) quarts yield similar application and the same results without the harmful environmental and health effects. Quart RTUs contribute to “green cleaning” due to the longer life span of cleaning solution, refillable bottles, and increased safety from reduced hazards and chemical waste.

    Most commercial and institutional aerosols, including cleaning products, are made from stainless steel material. Today, prices and demand for stainless steel are at a high, but supplies are low. Long shipment times, lack of imports, and high prices for stainless steel scraps have all contributed to a delay in production. As a response, material skyrocketed to $50+ per roll and continues to trend upward.

    Although RTUs cannot replace every single aerosol product, those that can be replaced should be replaced. Betco® has a variety of RTU cleaning products that are great substitutes to aerosol cleaning products with enhanced sustainability benefits, including:

    • Do not cause environmental pollution
    • Do not emit hazardous gases into the environment
    • Do not increase radiation
    • Are easier to dispose of properly and recycle

    Refer to the chart below to determine which quart RTU is the best alternative to an aerosol product. Our RTUs are readily available and subject to less stringent regulations. To learn more and to speak with a Betco representative, please click here.

    Click to enlarge

     

  • Top 4 Reasons to Implement BiCarbonX in an Industrial Facility

    Feb 25, 2022

    Industrial workers face the toughest work environments, where they use their hands as their tools to fulfill intense and challenging responsibilities. Hands are at risk of becoming dirty, and even worse, skin can be painfully damaged, as they handle soiled tools and equipment. The first thought would be to head to a sink and wash with hand soap, but that may not always be the best way to thoroughly clean hands, especially ones that may have more than the usual grime. It is crucial to have access to a hand cleaner specifically engineered to remove grease, oils, and other industrial soils. The industrial hand cleaners on the market, however, often pose their own set of challenges…until now.

    Patent-pending BiCarbonX™ Premium Industrial Hand Cleaner was launched to address the needs of industrial workplaces where hands are exposed to more than everyday filth, as well as provide answers to the crucial failures of competing solutions, like lingering solvent odors, clogged sinks, and poor skin health. Continue reading to learn more about the importance of hand hygiene in an industrial facility and the specific benefits of BiCarbonX.

    1. Unparalleled performance

    BiCarbonX is a proprietary blend of natural emulsifiers, surfactants, and sodium bicarbonate, nature’s most versatile exfoliant. These ingredients—combined with the fact that BiCarbonX contains a whopping 40% more exfoliant than leading competitors—results in unmatched degreasing and cleaning power for thorough removal of dirt, grease, oil, paint, adhesives, and other industrial contaminants that are potentially damaging to skin.

    Total Weight % Grit
    Competitor G Competitor Z BiCarbonX
    25% 3.20% 35%

    Strong solvent smells come with these soils and also need to be eliminated, but both standard hand soaps and competing industrial hand cleaners with pumice or walnut shell scrubbers fail to completely remove them. The chemical makeup of the sodium bicarbonate abrasives in BiCarbonX allow them to naturally absorb even the strongest odors by neutralizing their pH—for example the acid buildup in used motor oil. All that’s left behind is the light, clean scent of 1 of 3 fragrances: Cherry Blast, Orange Crush, and Timber Jack.

    2. Increased hand health and productivity

    Not only can repeated contact with any of industrial soils listed above remove natural oils from the skin, but so can competing industrial hand cleaners, causing the skin to dry out. We again put BiCarbonX head to head with two of these products, this time in a multi-user lab test. As shown in the table below, the results prove that BiCarbonX increases skin moisture after the initial wash, while the others actually decrease it.

    Difference in Initial Moisture Reading on Average
    Competitor G Competitor Z BiCarbonX
    -1.43-1.98+0.64

    Dermatologist recommendation reiterates the findings that BiCarbonX Premium Industrial Hand Cleaner’s “gentle formulation with exclusive abrasives [allows] for deep cleansing without stripping the skin. ”

    The moisture zapping characteristics of other solutions, especially in combination with incomplete removal of industrial contaminants (see #1), can lead to cracked and dry hands, infection, inflammation, irritation, a rash, or even burns. According to the American Family Physician organization, work-related skin diseases such as these are responsible for an estimated 25% of all lost workdays. Routine use of BiCarbonX, however, can heal and prevent further dry skin, as well as ensure thorough removal of damaging compounds. Healthy and clean hands reduce absences, improve efficiency and morale, and create an overall safe work environment.

    3. Cost reduction

    Because BiCarbonX cleans hands while also moisturizing them (see #2), the need for costly, secondary skin-moisturizing lotions or barrier creams is virtually eliminated. This makes BiCarbonX the most cost-effective option for industrial facilities, and they can save up to 80% by switching!

    Click to enlarge

    In addition to operational savings realized in the cost of the hand hygiene program itself, BiCarbonX also offers decreased maintenance expenditures and hassles when it comes to a facility’s plumbing. Competing industrial hand cleaners contain pumice or walnut shells that can slowly build up in pipes over time and eventually clog drains. Cost factors to consider with a clog include labor, difficulty, parts, and how much of the drain is clogged. On average, it can cost upwards of almost $4,000 for a contractor to repeatedly unclog pipes and upwards of $25,000 to repair a damaged pipe or to replace multiple damaged pipes. Even a minor clog that can be cleared by a custodian will require additional supplies, maintenance, and labor.

    Click to enlarge

    To avoid plumbing problems and hundreds of dollars in repairs, choose a formula that will not harm plumbing. BiCarbonX has the industry’s only Clog-Free Guarantee due to its water-soluble formula. It is broken down and flows easily through a drain, and will never build up. If a build-up or clog does occur, BiCarbonX is not the cause because it is 100% water-soluble.**

    Click here to read about how BiCarbonX delivered a 6-figure savings for a company.

    4. Sustainability Promise

    More and more industrial facilities are making the commitment to go green. Switching to BiCarbonX can help realize sustainability goals, as only bio-based, renewable resources are used to develop its effective formula. Bio-based resources are natural materials and do not deplete Earth when used. Because of these properties and its water-soluble formula, there are no negative downstream environmental effects. Downstream environmental effects are everything that happens to a product when it is disposed of.

    BiCarbonX is also Betco® Green Earth® certified, a rigorous process that ensures products are sustainable and safe while also having high performance qualities. Products must meet or exceed specific criteria compared to traditional products, which include product performance, safety for end users, environmental impact, and cruelty-free. Read more about our sustainability promise here.

    BiCarbonX is available in 3 package sizes to best meet the needs of any facility. The 1-gallon option comes with a pump attached, while the 2- and 4-liter bottles are able to slide into Triton dispensers.

    By using BiCarbonX, industrial workers can keep their hands clean and healthy while on the job. Industrial facilities are able to cut costs while simultaneously supporting sustainable initiatives. For more information about BiCarbonX and industrial hand hygiene, click here. To speak with a Betco representative, visit this link.

    *Based on total formula weight

    **No agreement for compensation is express or implied.

  • The Truth About Residual Efficacy Claims

    Jan 20, 2022

    The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has increased the use of chemical disinfectants to prevent the spread of germs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends consistently disinfecting high touch point surfaces as one strategy to combat the spread of COVID-19. With no end in sight of the pandemic, a greater use of disinfectant products is the new normal for facilities and custodian crews to keep building occupants safe and healthy.

    Determining the best disinfectant for application can be challenging, especially with many different claims and benefits circulating from product to product. It is important to be knowledgeable about specific disinfectant claims and application methods. Residual efficacy is a specific claim that grabs attention of customers because it allows the user less applications with the same efficacy of a traditional disinfectant. Continue reading to learn more and what to look out for.

    What is Residual Efficacy?

     According to the EPA, residual efficacy means a product provides an ongoing antimicrobial effect beyond the initial time of application, ranging from days to weeks to months. Traditional disinfectants, like List N disinfectants, will treat the surface at the time of application but not continuously disinfect over a period of time. Residual efficacy claims market a disinfectant as long-lasting, yet there are no EPA-registered List N disinfectants with residual efficacy against SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19.

    What are the Different Residual Efficacy Claims?

    The EPA has 3 types of residual efficacy claims that could be listed on a product label:

    • Residual self-sanitization – liquid antimicrobials
      • Products with this claim have “residual sanitization” or “residual sanitizer” on the label. It kills 99.9% of bacteria on surfaces for up to 24 hours after application and must be able to demonstrate a residual kill within a 10-minute contact time.
    • Residual self-disinfection – liquid antimicrobials
      • Products with this claim have “residual disinfection” or “continuous disinfection” on the label. It kills 99.999% of bacteria and 99.9% of viruses on surfaces for up to 24 hours after application. It also must be able to demonstrate a residual kill within a 10-minunte contact time.
    • Supplemental residual antimicrobial – Antimicrobial surface coatings, films, fixed/solid, and paint products
      • Products with this claim have “kills 99.9% of Staphylococcus aureus within 2 hours of exposure when used as part of a comprehensive infection control program/protocol” on the label. They are eligible to be used a supplement to routine application for an EPA-registered disinfectant. The products kill 99.9% of bacteria or viruses for up to weeks or months and must demonstrate residual kill within 2-hours after application

    Residual disinfectants must also pass abrasion testing and supplemental residual antimicrobial products must pass both chemical and abrasion testing. This testing is required to mimic real world situation where repeated cleaning will not affect the efficacy of these products. Visit the EPA Pesticide Product and Label System to learn which products have which claims.

    Can Surfaces Become COVID-19 Resistant from List N Disinfectants?

    EPA-approved disinfectants on List N have been proven to kill SARS-CoV-2, kill a harder-to-kill virus, or kill a similar virus. However, no EPA-approved List N disinfectants are able to keep surfaces resistant to COVID-19 for long periods of time. The disinfectants on List N kill the virus at the time the disinfection occurs on the surface but will not prevent new germs and viruses from contaminating it. As soon as new viral particles come in contact with the clean surface through hands, clothes, objects, etc., the previously applied disinfectant will not be useful against the new substances.

    What are Supplemental Residual Antimicrobial Products for COVID-19 on List N Appendix?

    According to the EPA, traditional disinfectants kill viruses at the time they are used, while supplemental residual disinfectant products kill pathogens on previously treated surfaces for a certain amount of time. Because these products are labeled as supplemental, they should not replace routine cleaning and disinfection products. Supplemental residual disinfectant products are not considered to be true disinfectants because they do not meet a higher standard of efficacy. There are currently 2 products on List N listed as a supplemental residual antimicrobial product type.

    • Copper Armor, a supplemental residual antimicrobial – anti-viral and anti-bacterial interior paint
    • Antimicrobial Copper Alloys – Group 1, supplemental residual antimicrobial – solid surface

    Although they are EPA-registered and can remain effective for a long period of time, they are not considered disinfectants.

    How do Disinfectants Receive a Residual SARS-CoV-2 Claim?

    The EPA has a protocol in place for disinfectants to apply for a residual efficacy claim. Residual efficacy claims can only be made for products that will be used as a stand-alone disinfectant. Products must meet all standard disinfection claims and requirements and undergo testing to support the claims. The product must also already be on List N or qualify to be on List N.

    Second, products must utilize the EPA’s Residual Self-Sanitization Protocol with specific modifications for viricidal claims. As of January 13, 2022, the EPA has not approved any List N disinfectants for a residual SARS-CoV-2 claim.

    What Happens to Companies That Make Unsubstantial Residual Claims?

    If a company includes a residual efficacy claim not approved by the EPA on a product, it can be pulled from the market and the company can face substantial violations from the EPA, including expensive fines. Companies will also face reparations for marketing, selling, or distributing the product.

    How Do I Prevent COVID-19 with a Disinfectant?

    When selecting a disinfectant, be sure to read the label for details and application directions. The label will feature all approved claims.

    The CDC recommends frequently cleaning contaminated surfaces with a liquid, List N disinfectant product to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses. Betco® has multiple products on List N to help combat COVID-19. Refer to our comprehensive COVID-19 product guide for more information. Refer to our Disinfectant Selector Guide for assistance with selecting the right general disinfectant for your facility.

    Our Enhanced Facility Disinfection (EFD) Program is another resource to ensure your facility is abides by COVID-19 guidelines and disinfection strategies. A COVID-19 game plan, supported by evidence-based infection control strategies supported by agencies that include CDC, EPA, FDA, GBAC®, will help put the minds of facility leadership and occupants at ease.

    For more information about List N, Betco disinfectants, and EFD, or to speak with a Betco representative, please visit this link

  • Solutions for LVT Flooring’s Top 3 Problems

    Jan 11, 2022

    Luxury vinyl tile (LVT) floors are one of the most popular floor products due to their aesthetics, durability, low maintenance, and ability to mimic or match other flooring products. LVT consists of 3 laminate layers: core structure, top layer, and wear layer. The core structure layer is located above the floor backing and provides high stability and thickness. The next layer is the top layer, which gives off the pattern and color of the floor. The wear layer is the top layer, the main protection of the floor.

    Together, these layers help LVT floors withstand heavy traffic and contribute to extreme durability. However, despite their longevity and low maintenance qualities, LVT floors are still prone to damage and require maintenance to ensure the floor looks good and performs well. Continue reading to learn about 3 problems with LVT floors and how the Elevate™ Multiple Surface System is the solution.

    1. Finish Scratches

    Cause: LVT floors are susceptible to scratches in the wear layer, despite being known as the toughest floor surfaces in the industry. Scratches appear when substances are pressed into the floor by shoes, objects, and more. They ruin the LVT floor’s look and aesthetic by leaving marks on the top layer. They also dull the shine and pattern of the floor, destroying its overall appearance.

    Solution: Daily cleaning on LVT floors reduces the risk for scratches in the wear layer. Sweep the floor regularly to dispose of any debris or hard substances resting on the floor. Use Reinforce Cleaner and Protectant for daily wet mopping and as a protectant. Its neutral formula contains a small amount of polymer and waxes that continually fills in scratches with a slight residue. The residue hardens and the wear layer is smoothed out, creating a better and newer looking LVT floor.

    Routine maintenance with Reinforce will extend the life of the floor up by to 25% and prevent the need for a costly strip and recoat. A strip and recoat on 10,000 square feet of LVT can cost an upwards of $10,000 annually, including maintenance costs.

    Apply Rescue Finish to protect the wear layer of LVT flooring to avoid costly floor replacement. An LVT floor replacement can cost around $100,000 on a 10,000 square feet floor. The formula contains a specific polymer for adhesion that has the capability to bond to LVT and make it last longer. To suit every floor aesthetic, Rescue is available in Gloss or TruMatte.

    2. Stains and Discoloration

    Cause: LVT floors can stain and become discolored due to a wide variety of causes, including moisture, liquid, food, constant sunlight, and using the wrong cleaning chemicals or stripper. A yellowing coloring is usually the first sign of damage on LVT floors and tends to stay permanently.

    Solution: Be prepared with Reinforce to clean up any contaminants before they penetrate the floor layers. To help remove heavy soiling and stains, deep clean with Reinforce at the proper dilution rate by double scrubbing affected areas.

    Rescue Finish adds an additional layer of protection to the LVT floor. If that layer is stained or discolored, the finish can easily be removed and reapplied. Conventional floor strippers that are not made for LVT floors can also cause yellow discoloration. High alkalinity found in these strippers’ formulas attaches to the wear layer and grabs onto soils that causes a yellowing or a darkening color on the floor.

    Recover Finish Remover is safe for multiple low-maintenance flooring types because its lower pH will not harm LVT and other non-traditional floors such as linoleum. Recover can also be used as a deep cleaner to remove scuffs and black marks when diluted at a low rate. The floor will look like-new and routine cleaning with Reinforce can resume.

    3. Peeling and Cracking

    Cause: LVT floors can start peeling and cracking after enduring significant amounts of wear and tear. It usually starts around the adhesive in corners as it wears out. Cracking happens between tiles due to the nature of the environment where the LVT is applied. Dirt, soils, and other substances are able to unintentionally contaminate underneath the floor through the exposures.

    Solution: A combination of Elevate system products reduces the risk of peeling by providing superior protection. Reinforce has a specific blend of surfactants, polymers, and waxes that continually protect LVT with daily cleaning. Its pH balance will not harm LVT from delamination and removal of flooring flexibility.

    Rescue extends the life of the LVT wear layer with additional protection while finishing the floor. It also contains a flexibility polymer, which is important because LVT tiles are flexible and move and bend as the floor endures wear. Without flexibility, the floor will crack or peel.

    Elevate Multiple Surface System

    The Elevate Multiple Surface System caters to LVT floors and other alternate flooring types such as vinyl tile, linoleum, rubber, and laminate. It is also the only program that provides a cleaner, a finish, and a stripper specifically for these floor types. Reinforce, Rescue, and Recover are designed for no to low maintenance flooring with advanced technology to keep floors looking cleaner for longer. Each play a role in combating the top problems with LVT.

    Regardless of the floor’s current condition, the Luxury Vinyl Tile Floor Assessment quiz will help determine which Elevate products meet the needs of the floor. The following videos teach about the different processes and procedures for each phase of the Life Cycle of Floor Care.

    If interested in the Elevate Multiple Surface Program, please click here to contact us for more information. 

  • 4 Major Winter Floor Mistakes for Facilities to Avoid

    Nov 29, 2021

    Facilities invest a significant amount of money and time to install the best flooring for their functional and aesthetic needs. To protect this investment, in-house and/or contract custodial staff must clean and maintain floors properly. Too often, the optimal chemicals, equipment, and processes are unknown, especially as they can fluctuate with the seasons. Here are 4 mistakes that many facilities unknowingly make during the winter months, along with remedies to ensure their floors make it through to spring, unscathed by moisture from snow, ice, and the salt used to combat them.

    1. Dismissing Mats

    Sturdy mats and rugs should be every facility’s first defense against salt and moisture. In fact, an effective matting system can trap 90% of debris.

    • A coarse, sturdy mat should be placed right outside the facility for the purpose of stomping off snow and dislodging salt particles before entering.
    • Another mat to wipe shoes on should be placed directly inside each doorway to catch any remaining salt or moisture before it can be tracked into the facility.
    • Depending on the type of facility, it may also be worth considering addition of a third waterproof mat to the side of select doors, where heavy snow boots can be placed to dry, as well as keeping towels handy to wipe up any wetness that makes its way onto floors.

    2. Letting Moisture Linger

    When liquid, slush, or ice is spotted resting on floors, cleaning professionals should make every possible effort to remove it immediately. Not only is moisture a slip/fall hazard, but depending on the floor type, it can also seep into the floor and cause mold growth beneath the surface or warping.

    • If the amount of liquid is excessive, a wet/dry vacuum, like the Workman® 20, may be the best tool to start. Take heed, however, that some sensitive flooring types when utterly soaked may crack if they are dried too quickly, like wood.
    • Heat should also be avoided during the drying process, as it may cause damage to the finish or flooring itself.

    3. Shrugging off Salt

    Most cold-weather salts or ice melt products are made from Calcium Chloride, which is popular due to its affordability and relative effectiveness.

    • Calcium Chloride is crystalline, and the rough texture of each individual crystal—most visible under a microscope—has the potential to scratch and abrade floor finish if tracked inside and dragged across or ground into the floor.
      • Custodial staff should regularly vacuum floors to suck up these micro-abrasive particles. If equipped with a rotating brush, it should be off or removed entirely before vacuuming.
    • When Calcium Chloride is dissolved in water, it creates Calcium Hydroxide and Hydrochloric Acid, both of which leave behind a noticeable white residue. If the residue is not promptly removed, it can chemically damage the finish, causing hazing and premature degradation, which can also increase dirt embedment.
      • If the residue is “fresh,” it can likely be removed with a dampsoft cloth. Older or more stubborn salt stains will require a thorough cleaning.

    4. Cleaning with Whatever's in the Supply Closet

    After vacuuming over and around an older or more stubborn salt stain, it is important to thoroughly clean it.

    • Don't be misguided by advice on some websites to use a mixture of vinegar and water on salt stains. This “quick fix" will leave a residue of its own and is harsh on finish if concentrated too strongly.
    • The temptation should also be resisted to use general cleaners or disinfectants facilities may already have on hand, and instead opt for a cleaner specifically formulated for finished floors. Otherwise, they risk damage from inappropriate pH levels and ingredients, such as Hydrogen Peroxide, acids, Sodium Hypochlorite, etc.

    No matter the floor type, Betco® has solutions to help facilities safely remove salt stains while maintaining the finish.

    • Suitable for use on most hard floors, pHerfect is formulated with neutralizing agents and surfactants to remove tough soils and neutralize common ice melt ingredients and byproducts, such as sodium, Calcium Hydroxide, and Hydrochloric Acid. Using pHerfect cuts labor by 50%, as there is no need for a separate neutralizing step. Please note that this product is NOT recommended for use on surfaces that may be harmed by acid products.
    • For Formica®*, marble, polished stone, or other acid-sensitive surfaces, Top Flite all-purpose cleaner will suspend salt-related soils safely. 
    • For wood floors specifically, begin with I.F.T. (Intensive Floor Treatment) and finish with Squeaky floor cleaner.
    • For larger spaces or excessive salt levels, our GeneSys 15 cleaning machine is designed to provide a risk-free and complete clean that mopping alone cannot, as well as suction excess water away from the floor surface.

    If severe damage is already present, facility managers may need to hire a professional to replace a portion of floors or the entire floor itself. If the floor is in good condition, however, and these 4 mistakes are avoided, they should be able to successfully escape the floor care perils of winter weather. 

    *Formica® is a trademark of The Diller Corporation.

  • The Science of Handwashing Versus Hand Sanitizing

    Oct 14, 2021

    It’s well known that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends washing hands with soap and water whenever possible, and using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when soap and water are not available. In honor of Global Handwashing Day, which is celebrated on October 15 each year, we’re delving into the science of hand hygiene to help explain how handwashing and hand sanitizing are different and why they have different best uses.

    The Chemistry

    At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we published an  infographic explaining why skin cleansers  and hand soaps are effective against viruses like SARS-CoV-2. As indicated in that infographic, surfactant molecules are amphiphilic, meaning their heads are “water loving,” and their tails are “water hating.” That’s how, in water, they pull apart oil and the fat/protein coating of enveloped viruses, including coronaviruses, H.I.V., the viruses that cause hepatitis B and C, herpes, Ebola, Zika, dengue, and many others. This is true for various strains of bacteria that attack the respiratory track and intestines as well. Proteins that perform tasks necessary to keep the bacteria cells alive are imbedded on their lipid membrane, which is pried open by soap when handwashing occurs.

    The alcohol in hand sanitizers similarly destabilizes the outer coat of enveloped viruses and the cell membrane of bacteria when they are used properly. Proper use, however, excludes application to unclean hands, as the presence of dirt, grease, and other substances can interfere with the efficacy of the active ingredient. Additionally, while soap molecules disrupt chemical bonds that let germs, dirt, and other impurities stick to hands—serving to lift them off of skin and “trap” them for washing away—hand sanitizer may not, which brings us to…


    Click to enlarge.

    The Physics

    As per a study published in the journal Physics of Fluids, there is science to dislodging viruses and bacteria from rough surfaces they’re attracted to, like skin. The researchers created a handwashing simulation using mathematical model to show movement of germ particles on 2 such surfaces separated by a small layer of liquid as they moved against one another. A specific amount of energy was needed for removal from the surfaces into the fluid, with flow of the fluid and speed and force of movement all playing factors. Using reasonable estimates for variables, they concluded that 20 seconds of scrubbing was required.

    Of course, hand sanitizing does not necessarily facilitate the same physical removal of viruses and bacteria as handwashing does, because no rubbing with water takes place. Because some viruses, like hepatitis A virus, poliovirus, rhinoviruses, adenoviruses, don’t have an envelope for skin cleanser or alcohol to destroy, physical removal through handwashing becomes more important. Similarly, the lipid membrane of some bacterial strains is protected by additional proteins or sugar, such as those that can cause meningitis, pneumonia, diarrhea, and skin infections. Germs like these are more resilient and not as vulnerable to chemical damage by soaps or sanitizers, but they can still be eliminated by scrubbing hands with soap and water.

    The Implications

    Hand sanitizer kills germs that are susceptible to alcohol, but is most effective at doing so when soils are not present. The process itself, however, may not remove soils or dislodge germs that are unsusceptible to alcohol. Handwashing reliably destroys germs that are susceptible to soap, washes away soils (the innocuous like dirt or grease and the dangerous like heavy metals and pesticides), and removes germs that are unsusceptible to soap. In other words, hand sanitizer kills certain germs, and soap and water kill or remove all types of germs while also removing other contaminants—that’s why handwashing is considered the gold standard for hand hygiene and is preferred overall.

    That said, as we all know, washing hands is not always feasible, especially when on the go. When soap and water are unavailable, using hand sanitizer is the next-best thing you can do to reduce the transmission of infection. Hand sanitizing is especially important before and after visiting a hospital or nursing home (unless seeing a person sick with Clostridioides difficile, in which case soap and water should be used) and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

    Both hand hygiene products should be strategically based around facilities, with soap always offered near water sources (in restrooms, locker rooms, cafeterias, etc.), and hand sanitizers in locations that maximize visibility. Key sanitizer placements vary by building type but include outside of restrooms (to sanitize washed hands after touching the door handle), break rooms, conference rooms, auditoriums, entrances and exits, work stations, and near transaction or check-in counters. Whether soap or sanitizer is needed, the Betco® Clario® hand hygiene program has facilities covered with high-quality formulas—many of which carry EcoLogo, FDA, and NSF certifications—that fit both manual and touch-free dispensers. The bags are factory sealed to prevent cross contamination, but the pump is actually built into the dispenser for huge cost savings compared to other brands.

    To summarize:

    Hand Sanitizing

    • Kills germs that are susceptible to alcohol
    • Is most effective when soils are not present but does not remove soils
    • Does not remove germs that are unsusceptible to alcohol
    • Helps prevent illness on the go

    Handwashing

    • Kills germs that are susceptible to soap
    • Washes away soils (dirt, grease, heavy metals, and pesticides)
    • Removes germs that are unsusceptible to soap
    • Is the gold standard for preventing illness

    While chemistry and physics certainly play a role, CDC recommendations are actually based on scientific studies of microbes on hands after performing different hand hygiene tasks. As a result, we have a greater understanding than ever before of cleaning our hands with soap (click here to view an infographic that explores soap’s fascinating history) as well as alcohol-based sanitizer. This week, we join the Global Handwashing Partnership in celebrating and advocating for increased awareness about the importance of handwashing using soap and clean water through Global Handwashing Day.

  • 5 Important Considerations When Selecting a Disinfectant or Sanitizer

    Sep 15, 2021

    The COVID-19 pandemic pushed disinfection and sanitization to the forefront of public consciousness like never before, revealing also just how misunderstood these crucial infection prevention products are. As spiking COVID-19 cases coincide with the beginning of what is expected to be a rough flu season, public health experts are once again warning of a possible “twindemic.” Cleaning professionals may not be able to halt the threat of either virus altogether, but a renewed commitment to infection control best practices is certainly a vital step in the right direction—starting with careful selection of disinfectants and sanitizers.

    Before jumping in to the 5 most important factors to consider when choosing a disinfectant or sanitizer, a common misconception needs to be dispelled: While disinfecting and sanitizing are both commonly employed strategies to protect public health, they are not the same.

    • Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces or objects. Surface disinfectant products are subject to more rigorous EPA testing requirements and must clear a higher bar for effectiveness than surface sanitizers.
    • Sanitizing lowers the number of germs on surfaces or objects to a safe level, as judged by public health standards or requirements, without necessarily eliminating them completely.

    How does one know, first, which type of product to use and, second, which specific product within that type to choose? Read on!

    1. Target germs

    Sanitizers and disinfectants claim to kill organisms so both are regulated as pesticides by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In order to be classified as a sanitizer or a disinfectant, a product must meet specific testing requirements against certain bacteria, and their efficacy data must be reviewed by the EPA. Any claims made outside of those specific bacterial claims—such as other bactericidal claims, virucidal claims, and fungicidal claims—are considered additional and must also be supported by data and approved by the EPA.

    Though widely held, the belief that sanitizers can only kill bacteria is incorrect; sanitizers and disinfectants can both carry kill claims against bacteria, viruses, and fungi. That said, due largely to differences in active ingredient concentration, disinfectants tend to have a wider range of kill claims than sanitizers so are preferred when the objective is stopping disease transmission.

    When deciding between individual products, it’s best to consult each label to identify which best addresses your pathogens (and strains) of greatest concern, which is often informed by facility type and/or area. In a childcare setting, for example, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) may be of concern, or VRE in a healthcare environment, and Serratia may be a target in a facility’s restroom, while MRSA is a focus in their gym.

    Because SARS-CoV-2 and influenza are high priorities throughout most facility types and areas, public health antimicrobial products with a wide range of claims against viruses are particularly suitable. Betco® infection prevention products that are EPA recommended for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 can be viewed here and here, and some of their more widely applicable kill claims—including influenza—are listed here. For a comprehensive document of all Betco disinfection claims, please click here to contact us.

    2. Surface type

    Disinfectants and sanitizers are suitable for use on most hard, non-porous surfaces, but extra caution must be taken when it comes to food-contact surfaces, or areas where food may be prepared, served, or stored. While disinfectants can be used on food-contact surfaces, they must be rinsed with potable water after the required dwell time. Sanitizers, on the other hand, are divided into both food-contact and non-food-contact categories, and most food-contact sanitizers have directions for use on food-contact surfaces WITHOUT rinsing (though the specific label should always be consulted), like Sanibet™ RTU and Symplicity™ Sanibet at proper dilution. As such, they are usually favored for food service settings.

    When it comes to soft, porous surfaces, such as carpets, curtains, and upholstery, no product can make legal claims of disinfection. Though these surfaces cannot be disinfected, they can be sanitized, and there are both disinfectants (like Betco Triforce) and non-food-contact sanitizers that have soft surface sanitization claims. Appropriateness for use as a soft-surface sanitizer would of course be indicated on the product label.

    Finally, label directions should always be consulted to determine if a certain disinfectant or sanitizer can be used on sensitive surfaces.

    3. Intended application

    It is crucial to consider whether a disinfectant or sanitizer is compatible with your intended application according to the label directions, and contact time or dwell time in particular cannot be overemphasized. In order for either of these product types to work as intended, the surface or object must remain wet for the entire length time that is listed on the label. If cleaning staff members are working under significant time constraints, a product that eliminates enough of your pathogens of concern in a shorter amount of time may be a better choice than a product that takes longer. Dwell times for Betco disinfectants against common pathogens are outlined here.

    In a similar vein, the time needed to take additional steps before or after application may influence product choice, such as rinsing food-contact surfaces after use of a disinfectant. As another example, almost all sanitizers require pre-cleaning, but many “combination” disinfectant cleaners allow clean teams to cut pre-cleaning out except in cases of gross filth or heavy soil.

    Other facets of application that must be evaluated revolve around product format. Are tools and training in place to ensure proper dilution of chemical concentrates? Is there adequate room in the supply closet to house enough bottles of ready-to-use (RTU) product? Additionally, except in the case of wipes, the compatibility of available equipment with a specific product should also be reviewed on the label.

    4. Safety

    Any sanitizer or disinfectant sold in the U.S. is approved by the EPA, and just as efficacy data is required for approval, so is data regarding safety. Included in this are recommendations for personal protective equipment (PPE), which should be carefully considered during the product selection process. Not only should access to appropriate PPE be evaluated, but so also should ability and willingness of cleaning staff to adhere to more intensive requirements—such as a half respirator mask for electrostatic spraying of certain disinfectants.

    The general safety of all EPA-approved products when used in accordance with directions is not to say though that all sanitizers and disinfectants are created equally in this regard. The EPA actually has a Design for the Environment (DfE) program by which qualifying antimicrobial pesticides (disinfectants, sanitizers) can demonstrate their elevated safety for human and environmental health. Betco’s GE Fight Bac™ RTU is one such disinfectant. The EPA states on their website that each product that bears the DfE logo:

    • is in the least-hazardous classes (i.e., III and IV) of EPA’s acute toxicity category hierarchy;
    • is unlikely to have carcinogenic or endocrine disruptor properties;
    • is unlikely to cause developmental, reproductive, mutagenic, or neurotoxicity issues;
    • does not require the use of Agency-mandated personal protective equipment;
    • has no unresolved or unreasonable adverse effects reported;

    For food-contact sanitizers, NSF food service certification verifies that a product has been proven safe to use in food and beverage processing and food service establishments. NSF, a highly respected, independent third party, requires rigorous testing to ensure sanitizers, disinfectants, and other types of products comply with food safety schemes. Our NSF products are documented here.

    5. Cost

    Finally, as with any selection of any cleaning solution, cost is a factor. Concentrates dispensed via chemical management systems—such as Betco FastDraw®—can certainly help cut down on costs by providing a much lower "in-use cost" as compared to ready-to-use products. Other benefits include decreasing shipping weight, guaranteeing accurate dilution of cleaning chemicals, eliminating spills, and discouraging theft. 

    In addition, purchasing the types of “combination” products mentioned above can lead to savings through reduced inventory and stocking levels:

     

    If you need more help selecting a Betco disinfectant for any given application, head over to our Disinfectant Selector Guide on our Disinfection Solutions page. Answer a few simple questions like preferred format, primary application, and food-contact or soft-surface sanitization needs and the tool will pick the best product for you. For help building the framework and confidence needed to ensure healthy facilities during and beyond this crucial period, turn to our Enhanced Facility Disinfection Program. Combining evidence-based infection control strategies supported by agencies such as the CDC, EPA, and FDA with tactics to put the minds of facility leadership and occupants at ease, this 5-step program is the ultimate weapon against infectious diseases.

     

  • 4 Reasons Facility Managers Should Embrace Restroom Automation

    Aug 27, 2021

    Restrooms are small spaces that have a big impact on facilities. Because they are the number one health hazard in a majority of buildings and are, on average, the number two most visited room, contamination from a restroom’s 77,000 bacteria and viruses tends to spread to other areas. Restrooms also have a disproportionately large affect on the perception of building occupants regarding overall cleanliness and prompt the greatest number (50%) of complaints.

    Clearly, the importance placed on restrooms by savvy facility managers and the cleaning and maintenance programs they implement is not misplaced. Recently, endeavors to improve restrooms have revolved around automation, with major benefits that warrant consideration for any facilities with restrooms that have not yet been upgraded with automatic, touch-free fixtures.

    1. Enhanced Perception of Cleanliness

    According to a survey of 2,050 U.S. adults conducted by The Harris Poll earlier this year, restroom automation has the power to seriously improve individuals’ perception of an entire facility’s cleanliness.

    • 59% stated that the presence of touch-free hand hygiene dispensers would boost their overall impression of cleanliness.
    • 60% indicated that inclusion of touch-free paper towel dispensers would enhance their feeling that a facility is clean.
    • 65% agreed that touch-free toilets and faucets would positively impact their opinion of a building’s sanitary practices.

    Given responses to a different survey by Bradley Corp., the ramifications of those perceptions shouldn’t be underestimated:

    • 64% of people said they make a conscious decision to choose a business based on cleaner, well-maintained restrooms.
    • 52% stated they’re likely spend more money at a business with a well-maintained restroom.
    • 55% shared that they’d be unlikely to return to a business after a bad restroom experience.

    Restrooms with more touchless accessories correlate to a better perception, and a better perception correlates to repeat business and customer loyalty; whether or not a facility manager truly understands this equation can significantly impact the bottom line. This is especially true in a COVID-19 world, where the relationship between cleanliness of environment and personal health and safety continues to be emphasized.

    2. Infection Prevention

    The notion that restroom automation improves cleanliness is actually rooted in science, as nearly 80% of illness-causing germs are spread by hands. Hands coming into contact with and then transferring germs to the nose, mouth, eyes, or environmental surfaces is particularly concerning in restrooms, given that surfaces within them often function as reservoirs of contamination. Fortunately, increasing the number of touchless fixtures decreases the number of touch points, especially high touch points, by which facility occupants encounter and spread germs, directly reducing the transmission of infection.

    Studies also show that individuals wash their hands more often when they feel safe to do so. Because handwashing is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of pathogens (see Why Skin Cleansers Are Effective Against Viruses), it is important to foster feelings of safety and encourage compliance through touch-free soap and sanitizer dispensers, faucets, and paper towel dispensers. In fact, 30% more people will wash their hands if touch-free products are provided.

    Soap and sanitizers should also be free from contamination, which is best achieved through a sealed system (for more information on bulk soap dispenser contamination, click here). Otherwise, not only will visitors to the restroom be less likely to wash their hands, but also those who do wash their hands with contaminated soap will experience an increase in bacteria on the skin.

    Increase handwashing compliance with annual savings of up to 60%!

    The Clario® Touch-Free Dispensing System from Betco® stretches hand care budgets without sacrificing the safest, cleanest space possible.

    • The pump is built in to the dispenser and not allocated in the cost of each refill
    • Sanitary, factory-sealed refill bags eliminate cross contamination
    • Precise portion control for cost-effective dispensing (see #3 below)
    • Industry-leading 98% “no-waste” evacuation for more usable product per bag
    • Product formulations with EcoLogo, FDA, and NSF certifications
    • Twice the battery life of the leading brand
    • Durable ABS construction and 2-year warranty for customer peace of mind

    3. Greater Cost Savings

    Automation allows facility managers to decrease waste and associated cost through exact proportioning. Because touch-free fixtures are programmed to dispense a certain amount of product or water at one time, the result is often a reduction in the amount used.

    • Automatic hand hygiene dispensers prevent the reflexive double or even triple pump common among users of manual dispensers by dispensing the exact right amount of soap or sanitizer needed. Use of foaming products instead of lotion soap or gel sanitizer further compounds savings, as foam lasts twice as long.
    • Touchless paper towel dispensers allow users one sheet at a time. This eliminates the option to unnecessarily grab handfuls of paper towels, which are almost as likely to end up on the countertop or floor as in the trash.
    • The average person uses over a quart of water when washing their hands for the recommended 20 seconds with a standard faucet, but touch-free faucets reduce water waste by turning flow off during handwashing steps that don’t require running water, like lathering. Many automatic faucets feature low flow aeration to further lessen the amount of water discharged. Plus, they prevent restroom users from leaving the faucet running.
    • Touch-free toilets and urinals also decrease water usage by thwarting multiple flushes in a short period of time and those who hold manual handles down longer than necessary in a (misguided) attempt to increase flushing power. Some automatic urinal flush valves can also be programmed to flush once in a specific period of time. 

    Retrofit any faucet with a low flow aerator and start saving!

    Typical commercial faucets are supplied with flow rates of 1.5–2.2 gallons per minute (gpm). Our Low Flow Faucet Aerator converts them to 0.5gpm.

    • Reduces both water usage and energy costs required to heat water
    • Installs in minutes
    • Fits most standard faucets

    Save up to 40,000 gallons of water or $200–600 per urinal per year!

    Betco’s SmartValve® Auto turns nearly any urinal into a water-conserving urinal!

    • Set to flush every 2, 4, 6, or 8 hours for a cost-effective alternative to more consistent flushing
    • Earn LEED and BOMA 360 points
    • Easy installation
    • Couple with SmartSCREEN® to combat odor and scale buildup

    4. Increased Efficiency

    Automated fixtures not only make a restroom more efficient for those who are actually using it, they also increase efficiency for cleaning and maintenance teams, many of which are already stretched thin by new cleaning and disinfection protocols spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic. Exactly how touch-free accessories allow facility managers and their staff to “do more with less” is implicit in #1–3 above.

    • Restrooms that are perceived as clean and well-maintained are more likely to be respected and kept that way by those who use them.
    • Fewer touch points in a restroom also equal fewer touch points for staff to clean and disinfect.
    • Precise proportioning results in less frequent product outages and less time spent replacing refills.
    • Automation prevents vandalism common in some types of facility. For example, a student in a school restroom would have a more difficult time flooding a restroom with touchless faucets and paper towel dispensers. 

     

    Once high-tech, restroom automation is becoming mainstream. With advantages like these, it’s little wonder that the large demand for touch-free hand hygiene dispensers, paper towel dispensers, flush valves, and faucets is expected to grow 37% by 2023. If you’re a facility manager or distributor interested in leveraging Betco’s touchless Clario® dispensers, hand soap, sanitizer, Smart Restroom System, or chemical products to improve restroom experiences, please fill out the online form here

  • 9 Tactics Schools Can Use to Combat the Delta Variant

    Aug 3, 2021

    Since the COVID-19 pandemic forced a near-total shutdown of schools in the spring of last year, students, teachers, school staff, their families, and local communities have shared dual fears about education and safety. With the Delta variant now surging through the U.S., the 2021–22 school year is shaping up to be similarly concerning, and schools will likely need to quickly and continually adjust their reopening plans in response to the rapidly changing virus.

    With the back-to-school season just around the corner, the time is now for everyone with a stake in uninterrupted in-person learning—from district and school leaders to distribution partners and cleaning professionals to parents—to get up to speed on best tips for transmission prevention.

    What Is the Delta Variant?

    “…compared to the Alpha variant, Delta spreads 50% faster [and] has a 50% higher contagion rate.”

    Delta is the name of a strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. Originating in India during the winter of 2020, the mutation that differentiates the Delta variant from others allows the “spike protein” to bind more effectively to the surface of cells. As a result, compared to the Alpha variant, Delta:

    • Spreads 50% faster.
    • Has a 50% higher contagion rate.

    As of writing, the Delta variant accounts for about 85% of cases in the U.S. and is on track to become the dominant strain in the world.

    The symptoms caused by the Delta variant also tend to differ from those traditionally associated with COVID-19, with loss of taste or smell and cough being less commonly reported, and fever, sore throat, and runny nose being more commonly reported.

    Why Are Schools of Particular Concern?

    “Studies have shown that children are 2.5 times more likely to catch the Delta variant…”

    Studies have shown that children are 2.5 times more likely to catch the Delta variant than those in the 18–49 age range. This is due in part to the fact that no vaccine is currently approved for children under 12, and that vaccination rates for eligible children over 12 are comparatively low.

    The increased likelihood of children becoming ill with COVID-19, coupled with the higher transmissibility of the Delta variant mentioned in the section above, has stoked concerns for schools everywhere, and especially where vaccine uptake is low. Indeed, outbreaks in both schools and the community at large can grow exponentially and more quickly than with previous strains.

    How Can Transmission Be Prevented?

    According to Cleanlink, the cleaning industry’s leading information resource for distributors, building service contractors, and in-house cleaning professionals, “the next best step for facility cleaning managers looking to keep occupants safe is continuing the practices of hand washing, disinfecting key touchpoint[s], and reinforcing the priority of students staying home at the sight of any symptoms.”

    These recommendations are firmly rooted in the guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While schools and districts should also consult state, local, territorial, and tribal public health departments, the CDC’s proposed policies are generally considered the gold standard. The July 9, 2021, iteration on which this post is based emphasizes selecting and implementing the multiple, layered prevention strategies summarized below based on:

    • Level of community transmission.
    • Community and school COVID-19 vaccination coverage.
    • Community and school outbreaks or trends.
    • Screening testing program for non-vaccinated individuals.
    • Ages of students and relevant social and behavioral factors.

    (1.) Cleaning and Disinfection

    The CDC indicates that cleaning once a day is usually sufficient enough to remove potential virus particles that may be on surfaces, and that disinfecting with EPA List N disinfectants “removes any remaining germs on surfaces, which further reduces any risk of spreading infection.” Other CDC-issued advice includes:

    • Pre-cleaning surfaces that are visibly dirty prior to disinfection, unless the disinfectant’s label cites both cleaning and disinfection.
    • Continuing to prioritize high-touch surfaces, such as counters, tables, pens, doorknobs, stair rails, desks, phones, toilets, faucets.
    • Both cleaning and disinfecting if someone inside the school has been sick or tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 24 hours. For best practices, see #13 in Part 1: SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19 FAQ.
    • Cleaning and/or disinfecting more frequently in high-traffic shared spaces, due to the presence of those with increased risk for severe illness, or based on some of the factors listed above (high community transmission, low vaccination rates, etc.).
    • As always, keeping disinfectants out of the reach of children and following all label directions, paying close attention to PPE, dwell time, and application method.
    • Avoiding “disinfection” methods for which effectiveness against COVID-19 has NOT been established (ultrasonic waves, high-intensity UV radiation, LED blue light).

    For more information on which surfaces to disinfect, as well as how to clean and/or disinfect soft or porous surfaces, laundry, and electronics, click here and see #9–12 in Part 1 of our COVID-19 FAQ. To learn about SARS-CoV-2 specifically regarding food-contact surfaces, children’s toys, and outdoor areas, please consult Part 2: SARS-CoV-2 /COVID-19 FAQ, #18, #22, and #35.

    A shield that reads
    How do you communicate that a facility is clean and safe?

    With our broad range of disinfectants and highly rated Enhanced Facility Disinfection Program, Betco® is helping facilities achieve a new level of clean. Download our free tools to help put building occupants at ease. Click here to learn more and order your free Advanced Clean Facility static cling today.

    (2.) Handwashing and Respiratory Etiquette

    It is still necessary to teach, monitor, and reinforce healthy personal habits for both fully vaccinated and non-vaccinated individuals, as well as provide adequate supplies. These behaviors include:

    • Covering coughs and sneezes.
    • Frequently washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or more, helping young children as necessary.
    • Using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when handwashing is not possible.

    (3.) Promoting Vaccination

    According to the CDC, “vaccination is currently the leading public health prevention strategy,” and it is believed important for teacher, staff, eligible students, and families. Schools and districts should consider:

    • Providing information about COVID-19 vaccination—including where vaccinations are available (visit vaccines.gov for details)—through hosting informational sessions, using CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Toolkits, etc.
    • Encouraging vaccine trust and confidence, specifically by adapting key messages based on the school and community populations.
    • Making vaccination as easy and convenient as possible by:
      • Partnering with public health authorities or local healthcare organizations.
      • Offering vaccines on-site
      • Allowing absences for the purposes of getting vaccinated or recovering from potential side effects.

    (4.) Consistent and Correct Mask Use

    While schools may universally require masks depending on the factors listed above and especially if serving students under 12, the CDC advises that:

    • Teachers, staff, and students (age 2 and older) who are NOT fully vaccinated wear a mask indoors, unless they are exempt due to:
      • Age (under 2).
      • Disability.
      • Risks to health or safety.
    • It is not generally necessary for teachers, staff, and students who are fully vaccinated to wear a mask indoors.
    • It is not generally necessary for vaccinated or unvaccinated individuals to wear a mask outdoors, unless in a crowded area or engaging in close-contact activities.
    • Everyone, including passengers and drivers, be required to wear masks on school transportation (regardless of vaccination status or policies at school).

    (5.) Physical Distancing

    While the CDC broadly recommends that anyone who is not fully vaccinated maintains a distance of at least 6’ from others who are not in their household, within classrooms:

    • At least 3’ of physical distance should be maintained.
    • When 3’ is not possible:
      • Distance to the extent possible.
      • Lean on other prevention strategies, such as regular cleaning or cohorting.
      • Do NOT exclude students from in-person learning for the purposes of distancing.

    (6.) Ventilation

    In order to reduce the number and concentration of virus particles in the air, the CDC suggests:

    • Opening several doors and windows.
    • Using appropriate fans to increase air circulation.
    • Changing HVAC or air filtration systems as necessary.
    • On buses in particular, opening windows a few inches.

    (7.) Screening Testing to Promptly Identify Cases, Clusters, and Outbreaks; (8.) Staying Home When Sick and Getting Tested; (9.) Contact Tracing, in Combination with Isolation and Quarantine

    According to the CDC’s guidelines, it is NOT necessary for fully vaccinated individuals to participate in screening testing. Those who have NOT been fully vaccinated, however, should participate in screening testing that:

    • Quickly identifies cases, so teachers, staff, and families of students who were close contacts can be informed within the same day if possible.
    • Is performed at least once per week, with results reported in 24 hours or less.
    • Takes privacy laws into consideration.

    Schools should work with state and local health departments to confidentially provide information about people diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19.

    • Those with a positive COVID-19 test should isolate.
    • Individuals who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and are not fully vaccinated should quarantine.
    • It is not necessary for fully vaccinated individuals without symptoms to quarantine or get tested after exposure.

    Regardless of vaccination status, anyone with symptoms of infectious illness should stay home and consult their healthcare provider. Such absences should be non-punitive for students, teachers, and staff. 

     

    Like you, Betco believes that in-person learning benefits students and communities. Our team can answer your questions, provide advice, and offer insights to help schools continue their fight for safe education against the larger COVID-19 pandemic and the Delta variant. To get in touch, please call us at 1-888-GO-BETCO, or click here to fill out an online form.

  • 4 Secrets to a Clean Grouted Floor

    Jul 12, 2021

    Grouted floors are considered one of the toughest floors to keep clean, resulting not only in an unattractive appearance and poor impressions of a facility, but often also safety hazards. Because stone, tile, and grout are all porous, grime is easily attracted to these surfaces and can be difficult to remove. When routine maintenance is no longer effective, it’s time to deep clean floors with moderate or severe soil buildup. As leaders in the floor care industry, we decided to ask our floor care experts to share some secrets to ensure any grouted floor is restored to like-new conditions in the interim and restorative maintenance portions of the lifecycle of floor care.

    1. Determine the Type of Soil

    The kind of cleaner you should use will depend on which kind of soil is on the floor. Acidic cleaners are more effective at cleaning alkaline-based soils, such as hard water. These soils can form insoluble salts that are easily removed by the acid in cleaners like MAD, Green Earth® Restroom Cleaner, and Tile Clean. The following soils are usually found in bathroom and shower areas of facilities and can be cleaned with acidic cleaners:

    • Hard water stains
    • Soap scum
    • Urine
    • Mold and mildew
    • Rust

    Alkaline cleaners/degreasers are best used for eliminating acid-based soils and fats, oils, and greases (FOGs). The alkalinity in degreasers like Super Kemite®, Ultra 2000™, and Citrus Chisel works to break down these soils, and a high surfactant suspends them in solution for the best results. The following can be cleaned with these types of products:

    • Cooking oils and greases found in kitchens and cafeterias
    • Body oils found in showers and locker rooms
    • Motor oil
    • General soil embedment 

    2. Verify Your Floor Type

    Knowing which type of cleaner is most appropriate for which soils, however, is not enough. It is important to also match the floor substrate with the correct cleaner, because certain flooring types can have adverse reactions to different cleaning products.

    Many natural and cementitious floor types react negatively to acid-based cleaners. These floors contain chemicals like calcium carbonate or other salts that can oxidize and cause etch and stain, damaging floors. For this reason, we recommend cleaning alkaline soils with neutral pH Green Earth® Peroxide Cleaner instead of an acid cleaner on:

    • Terrazzo
    • Sand stone
    • Lime stone
    • Concrete
    • Quartz
    • Travertine
    • Marble

    On the other hand, porcelain, glazed, and quarry tile, as well as grout lines, brick, and slate CAN tolerate acid cleaners.

    While appropriate for use on most other floor types, degreasers should NOT be used on:

    • Porcelain tile
    • Glazed tile

    A white insoluble haze can be created by chemicals in certain degreasers, forming semi-permanent bonds to the above surfaces, which is why Green Earth Peroxide Cleaner should be used for FOGs and acid-based soils instead in these cases.

    While some floors, like brick and concrete, are easy to identify, others are more challenging. If the floor type is unknown, use these tests to help determine the type of grouted floor:

    • See if the tile absorbs water by pouring a small amount on the surface. If the tile has darkened, the water has absorbed. Stone tiles absorb water.
    • Inspect the tile for variations, coloration, and markings:
      • Marble has veins throughout the tile.
      • Travertine has holes filled with resin, which feels smooth to the touch.
      • Ceramic and porcelain tiles’ characteristics are in a more uniform pattern.
      • A glaze may also be present if there is a thin line above the joint. Ceramic tiles have a glaze while stone and porcelain tiles do not.
      • Quarry tile is usually a dark red color and unglazed without a pattern. It tends to have a rough texture and mimic the look of bricks.
    • Texture can also help determine what kind of grouted floor. A uniformed texture may be a porcelain tile floor, while natural stone tiles will have irregularities.

    When floor type cannot be ascertained, Green Earth Peroxide Cleaner or another mild daily peroxide cleaner can be safely used to clean and whiten tile and grout.

    3. Use the Correct Equipment Accessories

    Stone, tile, and grout floors are porous and sometimes uneven, so brushes or pads that can get into the crevasses will increase the cleaning efficacy during interim and restorative maintenance. 

    • Disk auto scrubber: Use stiff brushes. (Call 1-877-856-5954 for assistance with choosing the correct brush.)
    • Orbital machine: Use green turf pads and other brushes designed for square machines. (Stealth™ Orbital: SKU E84073-00, GeneSys™ Orbital: SKU E84074-00)
    • If equipment is not available: Use a stiff bristle brush or broom.

    View our equipment brochure to learn about our machines and determine which one will best fit your specific needs. 

    4. Follow Manufacturer's Directions for Sealing

    Most manufacturers actually require floor sealing after cleaning, because it reduces the porous nature of stone, tile, and grout floors and helps prevent staining and dirt embedment. To seal a floor:

    1. Make sure the floor is clean and dry.
    2. Thoroughly saturate all surfaces and grout with sealer using a synthetic mop, sponge, or squeegee. Apply sealer at a 45-degree angle for best results.
    3. Use a second coat of sealer on more porous surfaces. 

    STG Maintenance Program

    Still need help determining which cleaning products to use for interim or restorative maintenance? Click here to view a decision map for a variety of floor types and soils, part of our new Stone, Tile, and Grout (STG) Maintenance Program!

    This program provides a simple and easy solution to clean and protect these notoriously difficult-to-clean floors with innovative products, procedures, and training programs. In addition to cleaners for interim and restorative maintenance, the program also offers STG Penetrating Sealer to prevent stain and soil embedment with 25% more wear for extended use versus the competition. For routine maintenance, STG Cleaner uses Easy Clean Technology to form a barrier to block stains and expels soils for a deeper daily clean.

    Regardless of phase in the lifecycle of floor care, our selector guide quiz can help determine which products suit the needs of your grouted floor the best, and the following videos can teach you the proper processes for use:

    If interested in the STG Maintenance Program, please click here to contact us for more information. 

  • 4 Cleaning Chemical Challenges Easily Banned from BSC Operations

    Jun 2, 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.

     

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