Monday, February 24, 2014

The Causes Of Flooring Failures: Part II

This article was originally published in Cleaning & Maintenance Management.

While a number of problems can cause flooring failures, one of the key culprits is the actual chemicals used to clean and maintain floors. Many floorcare chemicals today are effective at cleaning floors, but they may contain ingredients that, over time, can reach their way below the surface, and this is when flooring failures begin. 

As mentioned earlier, many installers are now using low-VOC adhesives. However, these adhesives can become brittle and easily broken down when they come into contact with certain chemicals and chemical compounds.

Citrus-based cleaners: While they may work well and may have less adverse impact on the user and the environment, they may contain d-limonene.

In some cases, if it seeps down below the floor, d-limonene can, over time, break down low-VOC adhesives as well as some concrete-type adhesives used for floor installations.

Additionally, some citrus cleaners can leave a sticky residue on floors, which results in rapid resoiling, requiring the floor to be cleaned more frequently.

Acidic cleaners: With moisture, if these cleaners flow through spaces in the floor surface, they can cause concrete and materials used to secure the floor to “powder.”

As this happens, it can cause the floor to lift, resulting in a flooring failure.

High-pH strippers: Often used for excessively soiled floors, high-pH stripping chemicals can seep under the floor surface, again breaking down adhesives.

This is especially true if strippers contain high amounts of potassium and sodium phosphates.

Soiled water: Cleaning professionals are always advised if mopping floors to use clean water and change water and solution frequently.

Soiled water, especially if used when mopping tiled restroom floors, can seep down grout areas resulting in mold growth.

As mold grows, it can cause adhesive breakdown and flooring failure.

Check back next week to read part three in this series on how to prevent flooring failure.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Causes Of Flooring Failures

This article was originally published in Cleaning & Maintenance Management.

Flooring, whether it is hard surface or carpeting, is typically one of the most costly capital investments a building owner makes in a facility, and when something goes wrong, it can be another costly investment to repair it. A good example of this is when individual floor tiles or entire parts of a floor start to loosen from the floor backing (or substrate) or begin to buckle.

When this kind of flooring failure occurs, it is often blamed on poor installation. However—and unfortunately—the methods used to clean and maintain the floor can also play a role. And as floor installers turn to more environmentally friendly adhesives, which typically produce fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs) than more conventional adhesives, these problems may actually increase.

Often, moisture, soil, contaminants, oils, salts, acids, small particulates and floorcare chemicals and chemical residues make their way down cracks, pores and grout areas, eventually reaching the bottom of the floor. As these build up under the surface, they can cause either the concrete or the adhesives securing the floor to break down. When this happens, tiles loosen and flooring failure problems begin.

A lot of this can be prevented by ensuring there is proper protection—a sealant along with adequate coats of finish—applied to the surface of the floor when it is first installed. However, this protection must be maintained because over time it typically wears away. And today, because many facility managers are choosing not to apply finish to floors, whether for cost or environmental reasons, flooring failures can be the result.

Check back next week to learn about various causes of flooring failures.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Five Cleaning Activities That Impact Health And Safety

This article was originally published in Clean Link.

Improving the health and safety of the public is one of the primary missions in custodial operations. This recent article on Clean Link identifies the top five activities cleaning workers can do to impact health and safety of the public. 

1. Train and re-train Hygiene Specialists (custodial workers) that their role is not cleaning for appearance sake, but for health’s sake. Workers should be trained on the science of cleaning and disinfecting.

They should understand that the custodial department performs both the clinical function of removing and inactivating/killing pathogens that could cause a preventable HAI (Healthcare Associated Infection). Workers also must understand the practical function of cleaning (no dust, no spots, no smudges, no smells all equals clean).

2. The cost of not performing their job as directed could cost the employer millions of dollars by way of lawsuits. Our patients enter our facilities worried about germs and about getting an infection. We can impact patient satisfaction by allaying those fears while communicating, “While I am here today, I am going to disinfect all the high touch surfaces in your room and then disinfect your restroom before I leave.”

The Hygiene Specialist can also impact HAI rates by doing a good job of providing a safe, clean and disinfected facility that could save their employer millions.

3. Train those who clean that there is a pattern for cleaning. That is, clean the room from top to bottom, and from the cleanest part of the room to the dirtiest, leaving the restroom for last. When cleaning the “patient zone” (the 3-foot area around the patient’s bed, including the bed rails), use a new, clean cloth. When done performing that task, ask the patient, “Is there anything I missed?”

4. Never double dip a cleaning cloth. Set up a clean bucket of properly diluted disinfectant at the beginning of the shift and then add 10 to 15 microfiber cloths to the solution. When it comes time to disinfect hard surfaces, merely reach into the bucket for a clean, disinfectant-charged cloth. Fold the cloth in half and then half again. As a surface is cleaned, unfold the cloth to the next unused portion. Keep doing this systematically until all eight sides have been used. A good microfiber will “catch micro-soils, but not release them."

Never return (double-dip) a soiled cloth into the clean solution because the disinfectant will become contaminated and less effective as time goes on. By utilizing this method, the same properly diluted disinfectant could last an entire 8-hour shift without having to be changed.

5. Using a quaternary ammonium disinfectant with retired cotton cleaning cloths (such as surgical towels, terry cloth towels and washcloths, T-shirt material) and cotton, string mops is counter-productive and dangerous. Unfortunately, this quat and cotton combination is used in most hospitals and hotels.

Cotton inactivates quat disinfectants by binding the active ingredients to the cotton rather than releasing them to the surface. This happens within 5 minutes of introducing cotton wipers or mops to the bucket of properly diluted quat disinfectant. In fact, you might as well be using water after 5 minutes because the ppm (parts per million) of active ingredients in the quat disinfectant is out of specification and in violation of US federal law.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Clarke Vantage 14 Scrubber [Video]

Combining innovation, reliability and performance, the Clarke Vantage 14 marks a breakthrough in daily scrubbing for small area cleaning. Never skip those hard-to-reach areas again. The Vantage 14's integrated rotating deck enables complete scrubbing in both forward and backward directions, allowing operators to easily clean under and around obstacles. Simply push the machine forward; then when needed, easily flip the machine up to allow the deck to quickly rotate for reverse scrubbing operation.