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Identify Custodial Problems Correctly

Symptoms Are Problem Messengers

All too often, we look at a symptom as being the problem rather than themessengerwarning us of the existence of the problem.

In a building, baseboards and the bottoms of door frames can be loaded with “dirty wax buildup”. A common reaction is to search for a tool with which to scrub the surfaces clean.

One may think that an electric baseboard scrubbing machine would be a great tool to add to a custodial cleaning arsenal. Not so quickly! Unless you are a cleaning contractor who uses the machine on an unending succession of new “wax stripping” jobs, the investment is a waste of money.

The dirty baseboard issue is a symptom to a problem that can be tied to other troublesome issues such as filthy mop buckets & slop sinks; dirty and smelly wet mops; grout that is full of soil; odors and slippery floors in kitchens; slow running drains; and dust when burnishing floors.

The common thread in the above symptoms is an ineffective detergent. If Gabriel Fast-1-2-3 EFP cold water detergent (½ oz. per gallon water) was being used, the matter would be a non-issue. Just think about the money that could be saved by eliminating extra tools, special project labor, and added chemicals.

Moving to another issue…An unhealthy and unsafe approach to restroom housekeeping is to use an odor-conteractant air spray, disinfectant detergent, or bleach solution in an attempt to eliminate lingering odors.Odor is the symptom of a serious soil accumulation problem. When the soil is totally removed, the surface is odor-free, sanitary, and safe.

Lets move our focus to floors in kitchens, meat and deli shops, food processing plants, tubs and showers, etc. Too often, the flooring material is blamed for being slippery. Clean flooring is “safe” under foot unless something is present to “grease the skids”. If flooring material is washed well and left residue-free, it will continue to be as safe as when it was new.

A detergent that cannot leave a surface 100% residue-free will most likely foster a slipping peril when the surface is wet. It is not flooring material that is slippery, it is the soil residue that promotes unsafe conditions.

The same problem from another view…Left-behind grease, oil, and/or soil residues will also build up on peoples shoes to elevate the danger for slips and falls. Grease- and oil-filled soils attach to shoe soles, food cart wheels, or whatever passes over a kitchen floor to increase slipping perils throughout a facility. If grease is present on the bottom of shoes, slipping can take place on a clean floor!

Tracked soil gets deposited in carpet or upholstery fibers to cause soil collection that results in ugly, unsanitary, and sometimes damaging spots.

Scuffs and Black Marks…Left-behind soil and grease residue will build up on chair and patient walker glides to cause ugly scuffs and black marks. Detergents that work properly will prevent the buildup and minimize the problem.

The Bottom Line…

When trying to correct an issue, ask yourself, “Am I dealing with a symptom or a problem”? Compare issues in pursuit of a common thread that focuses on the real problem that will end the symptom issues. If all else fails, call Gabriel Technical Service for assistance… The help is free.

As always, thank you for allowing me this visit.