How Clean is Your Clean? By Krysten Comperchio

How Clean Is Your Clean?

Did you know

  • Infections are one of the main reasons people are admitted into hospitals?
  • Proper disinfection prevents 36% of healthcare acquired infections (HAI’s)?
  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states ATP Monitoring Systems are an objective method for evaluating cleaning methods and recommends having a critical “Touch Point” cleaning program?

Touch Point Clean ATP

It is estimated that HAI’s are on the rise and are costing healthcare facilities $7 billion dollars each year (Per Centers for Disease Control – CDC). Every aspect of healthcare is scrutinized in an effort to reduce the risk of healthcare associated infections (HAI’s). No one can truly know if a surface is clean just by looking at it. ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) is an enzyme that is present in all living cells, and can detect the amount of organic matter that remains after cleaning an environmental surface. ATP Monitoring Systems provide real-time, accurate and reliable results allowing users to assess and measure surface cleanliness, validate efficacy of cleaning procedures and with implemented cleaning procedures and protocols, immediately address critical “touch points” in healthcare facilities, i.e., long term care. “Touch Points” are referred to as:

  • Floors and Hallways
  • Organisms survive up to 5 months on floors
  • Chairs and Arms of Chairs
  • Over 90% are rarely cleaned where millions of micro-organisms “live”
  • Door Knobs
  • Viruses, like H1N1 can survive up to 24 to 48 hours on these surfaces
  • Bed Rails
  • VRE can survive up to 7 days on bed rails
  • Sinks and Faucets
  • 75%  of all sinks contain extremely high levels of micro-organisms
  • Toilet Seats
  • Norovirus survives on toilet surfaces for 12 hours

A clean environment and proper hand hygiene programs are important factors in reducing the risk of cross contamination and transmitting disease contributing to HAI’s. In the US, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for multiple drug-resistant organisms, i.e., CRE, VRE and MRSA, recommend that healthcare facilities “monitor cleaning performance to ensure consistent cleaning and disinfection of surfaces in close proximity to the patients”. Most healthcare facilities rely on visual inspection as a cleaning monitoring method. Although easy to implement, visual inspection has shown to be inadequate for ensuring that proper cleaning has been performed, especially on critical “Touch Points”. Proper cleaning procedures and policies need to be in place to monitor daily cleaning effectiveness using methods beyond visual assessment. With increased risk of hospital acquired infections, healthcare providers need real-time results in order to make good decisions regarding proper cleaning and disinfection of rooms before the next patient/resident rooms. Monitoring patient/resident rooms, as well as other departments within a healthcare facility, is a proactive approach with measureable results, helping reduce HAI’s and saving money due with better cleaning procedures.

Krysten Comperchio is the Product Manager for Skin Care and Education at the Betco Corporation. 


Top Benefits of Mats from

Top Benefits of Mats Identified

High-performing matting systems are known to help facilities stay safer, cleaner and healthier.  But many facility managers and cleaning professionals are unaware of their benefits. The following Q & A with Dennis Knapp, Director of Sales for Crown Mats and Matting, will outline some of the many benefits of mats.

How do mats help keep facilities clean?
We know that an effective matting system can prevent as much as 80 percent of outdoor soils from being walked into a facility. In fact, they play such a vital role in keeping soils and moisture outside that they are required to be installed for buildings seeking LEED certification.

Will any mat accomplish this?
No. An effective matting system requires approximately 15 feet of matting made up of three components:
1.     A scraper mat, located outside a facility
2.     A wiper/scraper mat, placed directly inside a facility
3.     A wiper mat, installed in a building’s lobby

What does the term “high-performance mat” refer to?
A high-performance mat is typically purchased, not rented, and is warrantied to last for one or several years. A rental mat, in comparison, may be guaranteed to last only a few months.
How do you maintain mats?
Mats should be vacuumed regularly, preferably with an upright vacuum cleaner, and in different directions. The roller brush on an upright agitates the mat’s fibers, helping to release soils stored in the mat so that they can be removed.

Mats also need to be cleaned occasionally. The most effective way to clean them is with a carpet extractor, which removes deeply embedded soils and contaminants and keeps the matting performing in a top-notch manner.

“How to purchase a high-performance mat is another question that often comes up,” says Knapp. “A distributor knowledgeable about building safety and green cleaning will know the value of matting and can typically help you select the matting that best meets your facility’s needs.”

What Customer Service Should Be. By Erica Cruz Lopez

What Customer Service Should Be. By Erica Cruz Lopez

We, as Customer Service/Passenger service representatives sometime forget why our customer mean so much to both our industry, company and image.

I would like to share this short story about a well-trained, well-mannered and professional Customer service Representative, my Father. I sometimes go to my father’s place of employment to say hello. What I witness every time I am there inspires me to be both a better person and an even better Customer Service Representative.

The minute a customer walks into my father’s shop, they are greeted with a smile that lights up the room, this immediately let’s every person know that they will be greeted with warmth and personalization. These customers respond to my father with handshakes, warm hugs and sometimes kisses on the cheeks just because he smiled. All attention from my father is diverted solely to the customer. Coffee is offered, asking about family and health is exchanged and the biggest thing: Laughter, like they knew each other for years and some of them do.

My father’s customers always have a personal story to tell him, being a family man my dad can relate to almost all of them. My Dad always said that the company he works for is “The Barber Shop of the Cleaning Industry” cause as customers come to buy, they leave with a little extra and a smile.  His attention to their needs and the knowledge of every product he sells make them come back for more.

Step by step, ounce by ounce, my dad assures them about the product they are buying, the best equipment to use, etc. And with that a trust is forged. Some customers don’t even care what the cost is, because my dad knows and made the customer know they are investing well.

I have seen my dad go to every facility this company opened, sending him to either train or help train their customers. The company he works for cares that the customer comes first and everything else is second, which is a lesson we can all take, a lesson I have also learned.

Customers are the bread and butter of any company, they pay our salary, and keep our place of employment running. My father also always said that a good working team can accomplish the most difficult of tasks and best serve our customers better than any automated “press one” machine or phone.

Customers are people who need and want the attention of the business they patronize, they want assurances of our product, the courtesy of their time and the presence of a Customer Service rep with knowledge of product and mostly humility.

Thank you!




Hooray for Handwashing Story Book and Music Tracks, American Cleaning Institute

Hooray for Handwashing

Hand hygiene education materials for teaching pre-school children when to wash their hands and why it’s important. These include digital copies of the storybook, coloring sheets, music tracks (mp3) and sheet music:

Hooray for Handwashing storybook

“Blowing Smoke” Can Be Life Threatening, by Fred Broder

  Despite living in homeless shelters or in a car, with her mother and siblings for the past four years, Chelsea Fearce, graduated, this month, from Charles Drew High School, in Georgia, as Valedictorian of her class.
 She often studied at night by the light provided from a cell phone. Chelsea refused to allow her circumstances to serve as an excuse, alibi or justification for being anything but the best.
For every Chelsea that refuses to be denied, dissuaded or deterred from pursuing and achieving his/her dreams, there seems to be a ten fold number of people who prefer to “blow smoke”.
 That is a politically correct phrase to describe the self talk and interactive talk they engage in to rationalize their laziness, procrastination,  inaction and underperformance.
It’s a fact, some people are born with the proverbial ” silver spoon” and others are born into unbelievably difficult situations.
Your starting point is not based on “fairness”.
It’s what you do with the cards you are dealt that is the true measure of you as a person.
Do you have an “I will” attitude or are you busy “blowing smoke”?
Helen Keller overcame being blind and deaf to become an educated, inspirational proponent of women’s rights.
Winston Churchill overcame a stuttering problem and poor school perfomance to become one of the most significant political figures in history.
Wilma Rudolph, the 20th of 22 children overcame polio, scarlet fever and double pneumonia to win three Gold Medals, in track, in the 1960 Rome Olympics.
 J.K. Rowling, born poor and a single mother living on govenment assistance, was turned down by most publishers when she wrote her first Harry Potter book.
  How Well Do You Handle Adversity In Your Life?
 Here Are A Few Tips:
  • Be aware of, and accept that, in life, adversity is inevitable
  • Prepare yourself mentally and physically to aggressively respond to adversity
  • Create a support system of family and friends
  • Take comfort and learn from others who have faced similar adversity
  • Control your emotions and analyze your adversity and options as objectively as possible
  • Create and have a plan, timeline, tactics and resources to address your challenge
  • Focus and implement your plan with confidence
  • Be realistic, there is no guarantee that you will overcome the adversity 
  • If unsuccessful, regroup. Review your options, in light of your new reality
  • Move Forward, Move Forward!!!- You Are Resilient!!!!!!
“Adversity has the effect of drawing out strengths and qualities of a man that would have lain dormant in its absence.”
“You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you. “ Walt Disney
” The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.”                 Dutch Proverb                     

You know that smoke, both direct and secondary, is detrimental to your health.
What you may not know is that ” Blowing Smoke”- (“BS”) is also quite dangerous and life threatening.
The excuses, lies, projections, the “victim mentality” that too many unhappy, unsuccessful people employ, in both their personal and professional lives, is basically,”BS”.
 “Blowing Smoke” may be indicative of immaturity and an unwillingness to be accountable.
Adults possess self confidence, commitment passion.
Adults have the will to fight, rebound, get bloodied, and confront adversity.
Dr. Broder, Your Attitudinal “Surgeon General” says:
Stop Blowing Smoke and Stop Inhaling the Secondary “Smoke ” of others!
 It may Adversly affect your attitude, your behavior, your life!
In addition to preparing several, speaking, sales and managment programs, I will be the guest speaker, for the 5th time, for the passengers of the Queen Mary 2 Cruise Ship the first week of July.
 I am booking programs for 2013 and 2014. Please contact me if you or someone you know might want to discuss my serving as a resource. As always, I welcome and encourage your feedback.
Until Next Time,
Fred Broder,


Hard Surface Hygiene, Advice from the Experts!



Clean homes. Clean workplaces. Clean schools. We’re all drawn to the clean we can “see.” But we also know that just because something looks clean, doesn’t mean it really is clean.

For decades, the American Cleaning Institute in the United States and the Canadian Consumer Specialty Products Association in Canada have been leaders in educating the public on the role of disinfecting and sanitizing in preventing the spread of illness- causing germs. You can’t see germs — like Salmonella,

E. coli, or Influenza. But “pathogenic,” or disease-causing, germs can be alive and thriving on surfaces all around you — at home, at work and at school. And as we continue to hear words
like “pandemic” more frequently in the news — the idea of disinfecting and sanitizing the surfaces we touch becomes even more top-of-mind.


Disinfecting and Sanitizing Products

Products formulated to kill germs on surfaces at home, at work and at school.

American Cleaning InstituteSM

Supporting Public Health for over 80 Years

The soap and detergent industry cares about safe and proper use of its products. In fact, the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) has been educating consumers on topics such as hand and home hygiene for over three quarters of a century.

This Fact Sheet explains the purposes and proper usage of disinfecting and sanitizing products. When used properly, these products play an important role in helping to ensure that our homes are clean and our families are healthy.

In the Kitchen

In the Bathroom

At the Office

In the Classroom

You’ve just finished cutting up your gourmet chicken, and it’s ready for herbs and spices worthy of your most important dinner guests. But as you’ve been working away, the discarded packaging — and the various kitchen tools you’ve used — have been dripping raw chicken juice all over your counter. These germs have the potential of being the dinner guests who “just won’t leave”! In fact, once they’ve settled on your kitchen countertops, they’ll stay to mingle with your salad and whatever else you’re preparing there. Ready to show them the door?

Bathroom germs: no one wants to even think about them. But in fact, studies show bathrooms top kitchens as the cleanest room in a house.1 Surprised? Maybe not. Moms with small children say they clean the family bathroom just about everyday, for reasons they don’t necessarily even want to discuss. Which room tops your “Most Cleaned List”?

Face it: your desk is a bacteria cafeteria. You work at it, eat at it, and may even feel like you live at it — but if you’re like most people, cleaning it is likely the last thing on your mind. But once germs make their way into an office, they can spread like the latest merger rumor. The “bad-guy” lineup starts with germs on telephones, followed by those inhabiting desks, water fountain handles, microwave door handles and computer keyboards. What germs are living on your mouse?

Ask any teacher and they’ll tell you: when one child comes to school sick, illness can spread through the classroom like wildfire. Germs
live on the surfaces the kids touch everyday: desktops, computer mice, the pencil sharpener, paper towel dispenser handles, faucet handles on classroom sinks and the doorknob to the classroom. Chances are that more than learning and new ideas are being shared at school!

Hand washing is the first step to staying healthy, but there is more that can be done. Germs are spread by touching surfaces, so while you can’t — or shouldn’t — try to control every germ in your environment, it makes good sense to defend against the germs that can make you sick.

1 P. Rusin, P. Orosz-Coughlin and C. Gerba. 1998. Reduction of fecal coliform, coliform and heterotrophic plate count bacteria in the household kitchen and bathroom by disinfection with hypochlorite cleaners. J. Applied Microbiology. 85:819-828. 

What about Public Places?

When you’re not at home, you don’t have control over how often — or how well — surfaces have been cleaned. So try to avoid touching surfaces that could harbor large numbers of germs whenever possible . . . and take extra care in practicing diligent hand cleaning behaviors.


Ten Reasons to Have Carpets Cleaned Year Round, from

Ten Reasons to Have Carpets Cleaned Year Round

As the weather warms and people head outdoors, it is important that custodial departments don’t lose sight of what needs to be done inside. There are many reasons why carpets should not be neglected. Doug Berjer product manager for CFR, manufacturers of recycling portable carpet extractors, offers these top ten reasons to have carpets cleaned year round.

Properly cleaning and maintaining carpets:

1. Prolongs the life of carpeting. Regular carpet cleaning using the extraction method can increase the life of carpets significantly, protecting your floor-covering investment.

2. Protects indoor air quality. Carpets trap airborne pollutants; however, eventually those pollutants must be removed in order to protect the carpet and maintain indoor air quality.

3. Makes carpets easier to maintain. Most carpet soiling is made up of dry soils; when carpets are kept thoroughly cleaned on a regular basis, most dry soils can be removed with regular vacuuming.

4. Removes spots and stains. As with other soils, spots and stains can attract more soiling. Removing them promptly protects carpeting from damage.

5. Prevents buildup of allergens and bacteria. Moist soiling of carpets can result in the buildup of several unhealthy contaminants.

6. Enhances the appearance of any room. Clean, well-maintained carpets speak volumes about the overall cleanliness of a home or facility.

7. Improves worker morale. Workers feel better about their work environment when it is clean. This includes the carpeting.

8. Makes carpeting look and feel clean and fresh.

9. Removes dust mites and bedbugs that may have found a home in carpets.

10. Maintains the carpet’s warranty. Most carpet warranties require that carpets be cleaned using the extraction method within a specific amount of time, usually every 12 to 18 months.


Green Guides Updated by Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

Green Guides Updated by FTC

By Dan Weltin, Editor-in-Chief of Sanitary Maintenance and Contracting Profits magazines, sister publications to Housekeeping Solutions

The terms “green” and “environmentally friendly” are common vernacular in the cleaning industry; unfortunately they are often loosely applied and lead to greenwashing. The latest revisions of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Green Guides should put an end to misleading environmental marketing claims.

“The introduction of environmentally friendly products into the marketplace is a win for consumers who want to purchase greener products and producers who want to sell them,” says FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz, in a press release. “But this win-win can only occur if marketers’ claims are truthful and substantiated.”

First introduced in 1992 to help marketers avoid making misleading claims, the Green Guides were revised in 1996 and again in 1998. However, a lot has changed in the last 14 years and the new rules, released in 2012, include new guidelines for environmental claims that were not common in 1998.

Product manufacturers are updating their marketing materials to comply with the new guidelines. Distributors, too, will soon follow suit, making sure their catalogs, brochures and even sales pitches are up-to-date — or face stiff penalties. It is important that custodial managers familiarize themselves with these changes in preparation for future purchases.

Defining Green Claims

The purpose of the Green Guides is to eliminate greenwashing. The best way to do that is by making product claims as precise as possible. The most notable change to the 2012 Green Guides is that marketers are discouraged from using broad terms such as “green” or “environmentally friendly.” The FTC wants manufacturers and marketers to qualify such vague statements with specific environmental attributes. This will help purchasers easily identify those products that have a minimal impact on the environment.

“A term like ‘environmentally friendly’ is inherently deceptive and misleading,” says Arthur Weissman, CEO of Green Seal, Washington, D.C. “The FTC appreciates that all products have some environmental impact. Products can’t be all positive.”

The FTC wants marketers to clearly explain why a product would be considered a better alternative for the environment than other products currently on the market. The Green Guides outline acceptable criteria for a number of environmental claims (see sidebar on page 16).

For example, if products are promoted as “free-of” a harmful ingredient, there can’t also be an ingredient in the product that is of equal harm. In addition, a free-of claim can’t be made for an ingredient that has never been associated with the product.

In accordance to the new Green Guides, these substantiated claims need to be prominently displayed on product labels and marketing materials.

Broad terms like “green” and “eco-friendly” are so common in the cleaning industry that it will take time to get used to avoiding such vague descriptors. But ultimately, custodial managers will benefit because they will know the exact environmental benefits of a product.

“This is an opportunity for the cleaning industry to be more specific and really communicate what the environmental benefit of the product, service or operation is,” says Dr. Angela Griffiths, director of research and service delivery at UL Environment, Marietta, Ga.

While the Green Guides ask for specificity with environmental claims, it does not define “sustainability.” The FTC lacked guidance or accurate use of the term, according to a press release.

DAN WELTIN is the editor-in-chief of Sanitary Maintenance and Contracting Profits magazines, sister publications to Housekeeping Solutions.

Ozone, the cleaning change we can live with…By Don Tracy, A.C.E., Gem Supply Company

Nobody likes change……

Someone once said…”nothing is constant but change”

So here’s a change, I believe is long overdue and should revolutionize the way we clean buildings.

 Aqueous Ozone Cleaning”

Aqueous ozone (the process of turning water into a powerful cleaner) has been used commercially for over a century and is now widely used to sanitize drinking water, fresh produce, beverage bottles, swimming pools and surgical instruments.  Because of its power, purity and regulatory approvals, aqueous ozone is the sanitizer of choice for the bottled water industry.

Ozone is readily found in nature. Lightning can create it,  and it is needed in our atmosphere to maintain balance. Remember the fresh “storm smell” you may have experienced after a summer thunder storm, that was ozone. We have used it to get rid of odors in the air for years.  It (Ozone) is now able to be stabilized in a water solution for up to 24 hours without dissipation, and used to clean and sanitize any surface, not affected by water.

I believe this system of cleaning is about to change our industry for the better.

Remember when…….

o   Machine technology, coupled with floor care products?  …..changed and made more efficient the processes we now use to keep our floors protected and beautiful.

o   the introduction of package-sealed soap systems, originally introduced back in the 80’s? ……..changed forever the dispensing of hand cleaners.

o   Microfiber was introduced for wiping surfaces? ……. changed and improved our cleaning processes dramatically.

All were “game changers” for the Jan-San industry.  Much has been written regarding the effect of ozone, but not on a cleaning level.  Ozone, when properly controlled and infused into water becomes a powerful cleaner, by oxidizing all bacteria and organic soil it contacts.  The challenge, up to this point in time, has been how to stabilize it in an aqueous solution.  Ozone generation has been used and accepted to eliminate odors in the air for years. So we understand it’s attributes. However there have been many companies, who have tried to introduce it into aqueous cleaning, and fell short due to the short life cycle of the ozone molecule.

Recently great strides have been made to keep it stable in water for up to 24 hours, which makes a wonderful cleaner for any type of surface, not affected by water.Imagine the freshness of ozone cleaning working in a restroom, locker room, or health club. Schools and Universities are implementing this process daily. Hospitals are using it to clean non-critical areas, with remarkable success. You can smell the “freshness” of areas cleaned without harsh chemicals, and feel confident knowing they are sanitized and clean.  Workers will no longer have to be negatively affected by the fumes or irritating skin problems associated with the use of harsh chemicals.  Allergies and asthma are triggered by the introduction of cleaning chemicals into the closed indoor environment.  When properly used, Ozone cleaning has none of those negative traits.

Ozone cleaning is as close to truly GREEN cleaning as I have ever witnessed.  It has finally been proven to work in solution and for those looking for an alternative to the “same ole, same ole” . This is the “next best thing”.  For the first time a building could be advertised as  cleaned with chemical-free cleaning processes only”.   Properly implemented these processes could save budgets, and be widely used to promote and market the healthiness of the buildings.

I see no down-side, other than large chemical companies trying to dissuade.

Believe me, I have made my career on selling chemicals and I understand their vested interest in continuing to use their products.

There will still be areas which will need chemical additives, but a new age is coming.

Having spent over 30 years of cleaning, training and selling within this industry, I believe this is the next great change in the way we look at “clean buildings”.

It will take time to be accepted, but those who understand and research the process, will be far ahead of the others, who say it will never work.

“Clean well, live long and stay healthy”

Don Tracy can be contacted at or by leaving a reply on this Blog.



Is the 5-Second Rule a Myth? Warning: You May Never Look at “Dropped” snacks the same way again!

Is the 5-second rule a myth? Warning: You may never look at ‘dropped’ snacks the same way again.

By Chanie Kirschner Thu, May 30 2013

Everyone has heard of the 5-second rule. You know the one: if a food item drops on the floor and you pick it up within five seconds, it’s still perfectly safe to eat. Undoubtedly invented by a child or teenager anxious to eat the last bite of dessert he accidentally dropped on the floor, the 5-second rule has been accepted and employed by kids and adults just about everywhere. You’ll be dismayed to find out, however, that the rule does not have much scientific credence.

You read that right — that Hershey Kiss you dropped on the floor while you were reading this article? Not as clean as you may assume it to be after having picked it up and popped it in your mouth a mere three seconds after it fell on the floor. (Of course your floor is clean enough, right? Right?) In 2003, high school student Jillian Clarke disproved this rule while doing an internship at the University of Illinois. She found that food picked up E. coli bacteria as soon as it was dropped on a contaminated surface. (Interestingly, but not surprisingly — at least to me — she also discovered that women are more likely than men to eat food that fell on the floor.) The motivated student’s research earned her an Ig Nobel Prize at Harvard University in 2004, awarded to scientists whose research “first makes you laugh, then makes you think.” In 2007, researchers at the University of Clemson at South Carolina took the research a step further to determine if leaving food on the floor longer actually meant more germs would attach to its surface, and if different types of floors carried more or less germs.

Their findings? Not pleasant. They found that bacteria such as salmonella can thrive on floor surfaces like hardwood, tile and carpet for as long as four weeks! They also found that food dropped on these surfaces can pick up anywhere from hundreds to thousands of bacteria. When left for an even longer period of time, say a minute? The number grew to 10 times that amount. Enough to make you stop and think before eating that precious potato chip. (This article is making me hungry …)

Another interesting (and particularly unsavory) point to note: Dr. Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona, found in his studies that 93 percent of our shoes contain fecal bacteria on them. That’s because we’re walking everywhere in them — in the grocery store, the parking lot, even the public restroom. And if you wear your shoes in your house, where do you think that fecal bacteria is landing? You bet — right on your kitchen floor. Yet another reason to toss that tasty snack that landed on the floor, no matter how good it’ll taste. Bottom line: Though you may not like it (and you may hear your mother in your ear telling you not to waste food), better to toss the fare from the floor into your garbage can than into your mouth.