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Solve Todays Cleaning Problems By Re-Visiting Yesterdays Housekeeping Practices

Some Old Practices Still Have Merit

It seems that the harder one works at fighting infections, the worse the problem becomes.

In 2002, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published the Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Health-Care Settings, which established that hand hygiene is one of the most important measures for preventing the transmission of germs.

From gas pump nozzles to door knobs to sink drains to diaper changing stations, we get overrun with news reports about where germs hide. We are repeatedly advised to “wash” our hands thoroughly and often.

Three of the five main routes of transmission of microorganisms (germs) are contact, droplet, and airborne.

If proper hand washing, which includes thorough rinsing, is touted as the key to minimizing the transmission of germs, common sense should support the need to thoroughly wash and rinse any surface to ensure healthy results.

Lets focus on the word “rinse”. Why? Because water is the vehicle that holds and transports soil released in the “wash” process. The colder the water, the more completely soil is lifted to the waters surface. e.g. Binders (grease, oil, and fat) float best in cold water… And binders hold on to other soil particles.

Fresh water is the empty “truck” that will transport soil left behind by deficient detergent, malfunctioning equipment, and/or subpar work.

Why am I focusing on a second step in the washing process, when todays detergent manufacturers seem to no longer mention “rinsing” in their product label directions?

Prior to modern high-performance cold-water detergents, rinsing with clean fresh cold water was the second step with all surface washing or mopping practices. Older detergents needed to be activated by the heat in warm or hot water to break down binders that held on to the soil.

The heat would melt the binders and cause them to loose their hold on soil particles which would then float in the water. If cold water rinsing is not performed, sticky binders attach to the cold surface being washed and grab on to soil particles floating in the “dirty” water. Soon, there will be soil on grout, baseboards, etc., as well as a dulling soil film on floors.

Floor burnishers convert the soil film into dangerous germ-ladened airborne dust waiting to be ingested by humans or passed on by medical personnel.

Should everyone add a rinse step to mopping floors, washing walls, etc.? The answer is predicated on detergent efficacy, staff training, tool performance, and work scheduling.

Gabriel Fast-1-2-3 EFP and Walls N All EFP are high-performance cold water detergents that maximize results and minimize labor usage. If the task is performed properly, virtually 100% film-free washing results may be achieved without having to add a rinse step.

When “perfect” cleaning is required, or during flu season, rinsing well with clean cold water after washing or mopping is a great defense.

Bottom Line: Custodial managers need to bone-up on the Art of Cleaning. It is not good enough any more to institute a program simply because the product manufacturer touts a well-known brand name.

Custodial success is not only about cutting costs. It is about maximizing the health level of a facility for up to one-half the highest labor and chemical cost going back 5 to 10 years.

Why must there be a savings? If pristine results are achieved for dramatically less costs, maximum performance is easily sustainable.

As always, thank you for allowing me this visit.