Aqueous Ozone Cleaning

Learn about Ozone:
Ozone (O3) is a powerful cleaner-sanitizer that:

Effectively deodorizes, disinfects and destroys fungi, mold, allergens and bacteria

  • Is made up of three oxygen atoms and is readily found in nature
  • Has long been used in water treatment, food sterilization and medical therapies for its remarkable anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties
  • Rapidly oxidizes bacteria it comes in contact with, then converts safely back into Oxygen (O2)
  • Lotus Cleaning System transforms ordinary tap water into the world’s most effective chemical-free commercial cleaner by infusing it with ozone. This ‘Aqueous Ozone’ eliminates germs, odors, stains, mold, mildew and other contaminants on any item or surface before changing safely back into water and oxygen.

Benefits of Ozone technology:

  • Requires minimal safety training – converts back into water and oxygen when done
  • Quickly kills odors, stains, viruses and bacteria including E.coli, Salmonella, MRSA,
    C-Difficile, and hundreds of other common germs
  • 3000 times faster and much stronger than bleach and chlorine-based cleaners
  • 100% chemical free – no toxins, carcinogens or chemical residue
  • Can be used on any surface, from toilet bowls to bedspreads
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How Aqueous Ozone Works

Trifecta of Hard Floor Care

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The Trifecta Of Hard Floor Care

It is said that all good things come in threes, the process of caring for hard floors not excluded.

By Ann Nickolas

April 5, 2013

Turn on any do-it-yourself channel and you’ll find a professional teaching you how to do something.

Whether it’s cooking a breakfast frittata or renovating your kitchen, show hosts proudly display the final gorgeous product, assuring that you too can achieve that result if you follow their process.

Failure to follow the suggested steps — for example, adding the egg after baking the frittata or laying new floors atop the old tile — will likely result in a final product less desirable than that which you hoped.

Floor cleaning is no different; if you want to maintain clean and safe floors that look inviting to guests, you need to follow the proper steps in order to achieve the desired results.

The floor care trifecta — the three essential steps to any program regarding ongoing cleaning and maintenance — encompasses:

  1. Deep cleaning
  2. Protecting
  3. Maintaining.

Neglecting to follow these essential steps will leave you with lackluster floors — those that are unfit for showcasing.

Why Doesn’t Cleaning Alone Work?

When a large national quick service restaurant chain headquartered in Southeast Texas began testing a new floor cleaning program, they knew they wanted a system that would provide clean and safe floors throughout their 230 locations.

The goal was to have floors that not only looked clean but stayed clean — and remained safe even after heavy use.

When testing a potential floor care program, they focused trials on 12-year-old flooring — large ceramic tile in dining areas and quarry tile in kitchen areas.

After mopping and cleaning the floors, testers identified the wet static coefficient of friction (WSCOF) on all floors using standards established by the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI); this established baseline measurements for the program.

Testers then deep cleaned the floors, measuring the WSCOF at the same location they measured previously and added a traction treatment application to help enhance floor safety.

The WSCOF was measured periodically over the course of the next three weeks to identify the overall condition of the floors.

Floors were only maintained during the course of this testing period; soiling was not prevented and the floors were not protected by a comprehensive matting system.

On the day of the benchmark test, testers found a substantial improvement in the overall traction of floors in the dining room areas — from .46 before deep cleaning to .60 after the deep cleaning.

In kitchen and food preparation areas, floor traction increased from .70 to .80 following deep cleaning.

And, after the application of the traction treatment, WSCOF in the dining and kitchen areas increased to .80 and .81, respectively.

Following the three-week trial, testers measured the WSCOF in the same areas.

The floors had been regularly cleaned throughout the testing period; however, the audit revealed that the overall traction of the floors had actually declined, particularly in the dining areas.

The floors in the dining room showed a WSCOF value of .55, and the floors in the kitchen and flood preparation areas showed .70.

To improve floor traction in the dining room — the area showing the largest decline in overall floor traction — testers suggested integrating a matting program into their floor care process.

Mats would be placed around beverage stations and buffet bars, as well as in transitional areas like those between food preparation stations and the dining room.

In addition, it was recommended that floors be deep cleaned more frequently to keep floor appearance high and to further reduce the opportunity for slip-and-fall accidents.

The Trifecta Revealed

As the study shows, comprehensive hard floor care should involve three primary steps.

Deep cleaning, protecting and maintaining floors — and consistently following the process in that order — helps ensure that the WSCOF levels remain high regardless of the current stage in the program.

        1.  Deep clean

The first step of the hard floor care trifecta is to deep clean.

The initial task when revitalizing a floor surface is a thorough deep cleaning, which should be completed on all hard floor surfaces.

Daily vacuuming and mopping reduces surface-level particulates, but often fails to capture and remove all contaminants.

As a result, floors become worn over time, and white grout lines become black from grease and other organic buildup.

Periodic deep cleanings revive floors to enhance the image of the business and protect staffs and patrons.

In addition to making floors look better, deep cleaning helps improve hard surface traction, effectively making them safer for use.

When combined with a traction treatment, particularly with natural substrates like quarry tiles, deep cleaning increases the traction by removing surface polishing of the tile due to foot traffic and rejuvenating the naturally rough surface.

Selecting a deep cleaning provider that is certified by the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) or a service certified by the NFSI can help guarantee superior levels of clean.

        2.  Protect

The second step of the hard floor care trifecta is to protect.

Once floors are restored, the next step is to protect them from indoor and outdoor contaminants that could create conditions conducive to a slip-and-fall accident or that could mar the floor’s finish.

Mats act as the first line of defense in buildings by capturing dirt and water before they enter the facility.

Strategically place mats throughout your facility to capture dirt and water and reduce slips and falls.

At entrances, combine rubber scraper mats outside of the building with carpet mats inside to reduce the amount of water, dirt and contaminants tracked into the building.

Limit the tracking of interior soil by placing matting in critical locations like exposition areas or in transitional walkways such as those leading from the kitchen to dining areas.

This can be the last line of defense to help prevent common materials such as grease, oil or other organic matter from building up throughout guest areas, thereby improving image and limiting hazards.

Transitional mats can also be effective in areas leading into restrooms — a frequent site of water buildup.

The NFSI tests mats in laboratory and real-world settings to ensure they meet the highest safety standards.

Select mats that are certified to provide “High Traction” by the NFSI to reduce the risk of slips, trips and falls.

        3.  Maintain

The third step of the hard floor care trifecta is to maintain.

Possibly even more so than other locations, daily floor maintenance is essential to a clean and safe foodservice operation.

Dedicate one mop to each area within a restaurant — kitchen, dining and restroom areas — to further reduce the chance for cross-contamination.

And, while it might seem like common sense, make sure all tools and equipment are sanitized before any cleaning is completed.

A dirty mop fails to remove soils and increases the risk of cross-contamination — essentially nullifying your efforts.

However, damp or wet mopping by itself doesn’t clean a floor: Agitation using deck brushes or other tools that work with a mop, such as an autoscrubber for larger areas, is important to keep surfactants and soils from building up on flooring.

In addition, proper dilution is essential to ensuring floor care chemicals work properly.

Many cleaning professionals use wall-mounted dispensing units that accurately dilute chemicals to ensure there isn’t an excess or lack of chemical concentration.

Provide ongoing training so employees know how to properly clean floors, remembering to reinforce cleaning frequencies with checklists so other team members know exactly when the floors were last cleaned.

The Final Product

Whether you want to develop a hard floor care program for a new substrate, to restore an old one, for protecting building occupants against slip-and-fall incidents or to simply keep your floor care program in line with industry best practices, following the three steps of the floor care trifecta is essential.

Adhering to the three-step hard floor care process of deep cleaning, protecting and maintaining will help ensure that your floors remain in top condition so you can showcase the final results with pride.

Protect Your Floors With Matting

Consider the following four areas for matting placement to help limit indoor contaminants from slips, trips and falls:

  • Entrance zones

These areas include front and back entrances and peripheral doors that lead to the outdoors.

  • High-risk zones

Zones of increased risk include transitional walkways between risk areas.

For example, spaces between the kitchen and front-of-house areas or offices and hallways leading from restrooms to dining areas are particularly susceptible.

  • High-traffic zones

Most hallways and corridors in restaurants are considered to be high-traffic zones and should be protected with a matting program.

Also, consider cashier and check-out stations, as there is often increased foot traffic in these locations.

  • Productivity zones

Areas where staff members or patrons frequently stand, such as work stations, check-out counters or produce kiosks, are considered to be productivity zones that can benefit from the placement of matting.

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Ann Nickolas is director of foodservice for Cintas.

10 Steps to Faster Carpet Drying

Carpets cleaned professionally using the extraction method should dry in four to six hours. However, drying time can depend on a variety of issues, from how soiled the carpet is to how much chemical is used in cleaning. CFR’s Doug Berjer offers the following 10 steps, which are designed to help carpet cleaning technicians and professionals dry carpets faster:

  1. Vacuum carpets before extraction; this can result in less water and solution needed to clean them.
  2. If prespraying carpets, prespray in moderation, concentrating on problem and high-traffic areas; some carpet cleaning chemicals contain alcohol or petroleum that can cause carpets to stay wet longer.
  3. In the winter, turn up the heat; in summer, turn up the air-conditioning; look for ways to keep air circulating.
  4. If the room has a lot of movable contents, extract the center first and then move contents to the center of the room and extract the perimeter, placing blocks under furniture legs. Leave contents in the center of the room as long as possible to allow perimeter areas to dry.
  5. The extraction hose should be the largest diameter approved for the tool and the extractor; use the shortest length possible as air flow decreases with hose length.
  6. Avoid loops or bends in the hose.
  7. Select wands that atomize the extraction process; this minimizes the amount of water left in the carpet.
  8. Place air movers (blowers) at 45-degree angles to the floor to ensure the air blows over the carpet, not down onto the carpet.
  9. Install one air mover for every 15 feet of carpet cleaned.
  10. Select “low-amp” air movers to avoid power blowouts.

Back to Basics Hand Hygiene

By Mary Shinn

The healing hands of a healthcare professional too often bear the risk of spreading infection while administering care. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), failure to engage in proper hand hygiene is the leading cause of healthcare-associated infections and the spread of multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs), including vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile. Unfortunately, proper hand hygiene can be easily forgotten by busy healthcare workers. A study of 2,834 opportunities for hand hygiene found that hands were cleansed only 48 percent of the time, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) report (2009).

Diane Jacobsen, director of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), says visible reminders to complete hand hygiene can be powerful. “Staff are busy responding to unexpected calls from the bedside,” she says, “so things as simple as making sure that hand hygiene supplies are very visible are helpful. Make sure there are sinks or alcohol-based hand sanitizers outside the patient room, so staff don’t have to go down the hall and the around the corner to find a sink,” she says. “Keep things very much within their work stream. Those are simple changes, but they make a big difference.”

Some programmatic changes can be implemented on one unit to help a hospital see what kind of reminders — such as posters near sinks, –work best for their hospital, Jacobsen says. Starting small can also help the hospital identify the factors particular to their work environment that prevent healthcare workers from practicing good hand hygiene, she adds.  “The hospital would look at their own local environment because not the same thing is going to work in every single organization,” Jacobsen says.

The WHO reports indicates that a lack of time, insufficient or inconveniently located sinks and irritated hands as some reasons healthcare professionals give for not engaging in hand hygiene.  According to the 2009 WHO report, working as a doctor or nursing assistant was associated with a lower rate of compliance. In addition, working in intensive care, surgical care, and emergency care was associated with poor hand hygiene. Understaffing and overcrowding also contributed to low compliance, according to the report.

Keeping positive data visible can be a powerful technique in encouraging staff to work together to create a culture in which best practices are the priority, Jacobsen says. “Not all infections are totally preventable, but many of them are, and just keeping that kind of information visible to people in their staff lounge − for example, to say it’s been 20 days since an infection. Again, it engages everybody as a team,” she says.

The WHO report (2009) notes that healthcare workers often contaminate their hands or gloves by touching the environment before touching a patient. As such, hand hygiene would be more effective if implemented in conjunction with environmental hygiene, says Philip C. Carling, MD, director of infectious diseases and epidemiology at Caritas Carney Hospital and a professor at Boston University School of Medicine. “If we don’t have good environmental hygiene, then as good as we want to get with hand hygiene, we’re not going to get as much bang for the buck as we could if we had good environmental hygiene, because hand hygiene is not perfect,” Carling says. “You can’t be cleaning (the environment) all of the time, just like you can’t be doing hand hygiene all of the time. And so you need the combination of optimizing both practices.”

The WHO and the CDC recommend established best practices for hand hygiene. According to the WHO, there are five key moments when a healthcare worker should engage in hand hygiene:
– before touching the patient
– after touching a patient
– before touching an area of at risk of infection
– after body fluid exposure risk
– after touching the patient environment

Hand hygiene should also be practiced after touching wound dressings and before handling medication or preparing food. Hand hygiene is also needed before putting on gloves to insert an invasive device, such as a catheter. After removing sterile or non-sterile gloves, hand hygiene should also be practiced. The CDC says that bacteria linger on the hands of healthcare workers after they remove gloves. It is thought pathogens penetrate glove defects or hands get contaminated when healthcare workers remove their gloves. Depending on the procedure, hand hygiene is also recommended before wearing gloves.

Alcohol handrubs and soaps should not be used at the same time. Here is a review of the appropriate times for each:

Handwashing:
– Wash with soap and water after using the restroom, before eating and when hands are visibly contaminated. It is also recommended when multi-resistant spores are present. The mechanical friction of handwashing helps remove the spores and should be practiced in conjunction with wearing gloves. Medicated soap does make a difference in this case.
– Wash hands for 40 to 60 seconds and avoid hot water because it increases skin irritation
– Pat hands dry using paper towels or use hand driers to reduce the risk of recontamination. Patting hands dry reduces hand irritation. Hand dryers should dry hands quickly without aerosolizing pathogens.
– Use a paper towel to turn off the tap to avoid recontamination.

Alcohol-based handrub:
– Use alcohol-based handrubs for hand hygiene at every other hand hygiene opportunity when handwashing is not recommended.
– Use a palm full of alcohol handrub and cover hands completely. Rub hands until dry, this should last between 20 seconds to 40 seconds. If it takes less than 15 seconds you should use more of the product.

Mary Shinn is a writer for ICT.

References
1. World Health Organization. Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care. World Health Organization. 2009 Accessed at: http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2009/9789241597906_eng.pdf
2. MMWR. CDC Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Health-Care Settings. 2002.  Accessed at:http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/rr/rr5116.pdf

 

Cleaning for Health and Safety

Question: What are the top SIX activities in cleaning that will have the greatest impact on safety and health?
Answer: Here is my list of the top SIX activities necessary to impact the health and safety of our public.

  1. Train and re-train housekeepers (custodial staff) that their role is NOT cleaning for appearance sake, but for “health’s sake.”  For too long we have judged the cleanliness of surfaces based on a shiny floor, smudge-free glass, spot-free carpet and a clean nice smelling rest room.  The indoor environmental surfaces can be clean, but unhealthy or unsanitary.  BUT, if those same surfaces are healthy and sanitary, THEY ARE CLEAN! There is a science to cleaning and disinfecting.  The Environmental Services (ES) staff performs both the a.) Clinical function of removing and inactivating/killing HAI producing microbes, and, b.) The practical function of cleaning by restoring the room to order after soil removal activities are completed.
  2. The time has come to turn cleaning professionals into Hygiene Specialists (trade marked by UMF PerfectClean).  Moreover, infection prevention will only become a reality when the hygiene specialist is properly regarded, educated and equipped.  The hygiene specialist must be: a) Well trained and coached; b) Equipped with the necessary tools to clean, sanitize and/or disinfect; c) Allotted time to do the necessary tasks; d) Provided the tools to enable scientific measurement of “clean”; e) Educated about the prevention and transmission of disease.
  3. Train those who clean that there is a pattern for cleaning; Clean the room from top, down and from the cleanest part of the room to the dirtiest; leave the rest room for last. When cleaning the “patient zone” (the area 3′ [1 meter] around the patient’s bed, including the bed rails); use a fresh, clean cloth for the patient’s zone.
  4. Never double dip a cleaning cloth. Set up a bucket of properly diluted disinfectant at the beginning of the shift; add 10-15 microfiber cloths to the bucket. Reach into the bucket for a clean, disinfectant-charged cloth; NEVER return (double dip) a soiled cloth into the solution bucket. The analogy I like to use is this; when you pull a disposable disinfectant wipe from a container and use it to wipe a soiled surface, do you return it to the container? No, it is disposed of. The same should be true for soiled microfiber cleaning cloths…they are put into a bag to be laundered daily.
  5. Using a quaternary ammonium disinfectant with “retired” cotton cleaning cloths (i.e., surgical towels, terry cloth towels and washcloths) and mops is counterproductive. Unfortunately, this combination is used in most hospitals and hotels. The cotton in these retired cloths 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 to the bucket of quat disinfectant. In fact, you might as well be using water after 5 minutes because the ppm of active ingredients is out of specification for EPA registration. At that point, you are using the product “in a manner inconsistent with the manufacturer’s label” and are in violation of US federal law.
  6. Regardless of whether or not a “One-Step” disinfect (manufacturer claims surfaces do not need to be pre-cleaned) or a “Two-Step” disinfectant (must be applied to pre-cleaned surfaces) is being used, the surface SHOULD be cleaned with a general purpose cleaner and a high denier microfiber cloth for soil removal and followed by the disinfectant of choice.  The AOAC testing that is done on disinfectants before submitting them to the US EPA for registration is “in the presence of 5% blood serum.”  If surface soil is greater than 5%, the disinfectant is most likely over challenged (ineffective due to the soil load).  For a surface to have greater than a 5% soil load, the soil most likely is NOT VISIBLE.  If 90-95% of the soil (and micro-soil) can be removed with a general-purpose cleaner and superior microfiber cloth, most of the food and moisture necessary for microorganisms to survive on a surface are removed.  Then, the disinfectant that is applied has a much better chance of killing the remaining microorganisms.

Reference: Darrel Hicks, April 16, 2013; Infection Prevention Q&A Part 3, Darrelhicks.com