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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:

– 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.

1. World Health Organization. Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care. World Health Organization. 2009 Accessed at:
2. MMWR. CDC Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Health-Care Settings. 2002.  Accessed at:


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,

Cold and flu season is upon us

Cold and flu season is upon us. Is your child’s school clean enough to prevent the spread of those germs? Watch as Bill Balek, ISSA’s director of legislative and environmental services, discusses the importance of cleaning and disinfection during the Health Watch news segment on CBS affiliate WDJT-TV. In this clip, he also explains how looks can be deceiving, when it comes to cleanliness.