Help Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 by Cleaning, Sanitizing, & Disinfecting Touchpoints & Other Surfaces

COVID-19, commonly referred to as coronavirus, is a highly contagious respiratory disease that has been devastating countries worldwide. Its most common symptoms include dry cough, high fever, and shortness of breath. As of this posting, all 50 states have confirmed cases of COVID-19 and many states, especially Washington, New York, and California, have been hard hit by a high number of deaths due to the virus and its side effects, primarily pneumonia.

While many organizations are having people work from home, it is imperative to continue to maintain facilities and keep all frequent touchpoints clean and disinfected as much as possible. The cleaning supplies, chemicals, and equipment available at Imperial Dade are necessary now more than ever to slow down the spread of COVID-19 and help keep everyone safe and healthy.

Cleaning or Disinfecting? Know the Differences to Stay Healthy

When it comes to cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing surfaces, many people incorrectly believe that those terms and actions are interchangeable. While all three types of cleansing are effective and necessary, they have their specific uses and should not be treated as equally efficacious.

Cleaning

Cleaning is the first step to safe surfaces. It is, by definition, the removal of dirt, impurities, and some germs via soap and water or other surface cleaners. While cleaning surfaces with soap and water does reduce the number of germs on the surface and, thus, the risk of infection, remaining germs will continue to multiply.

Sanitizing

Another step for safer surfaces involves sanitizing. Sanitizing surfaces effectively reduces the number of harmful bacteria to safe levels according to most health standards and requirements. While sanitizing does kill approximately 99.99 percent of most types of bacteria, it does not kill or remove all viruses and fungi. In the current health climate, it is best to bypass surface sanitizers and head to the disinfectants after cleaning most surfaces.

DisinfectingAdobeStock_333403469

For the safest surfaces, use a disinfectant. Disinfecting surfaces involves using solutions that destroy or deactivate viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms after leaving the properly diluted solution on the surface for the stated dwell time, typically 10 minutes. Imperial Dade has many disinfecting solutions for commercial use, including Victoria Bay disinfectant sprays with EPA certifications and kill claims for emerging pathogens.

Common “Touchpoints” Requiring Cleaning & Disinfecting

As mentioned above, COVID-19 is a highly contagious and infectious disease, so surfaces used frequently by many people are considered high-risk touchpoints. The majority of individuals in the U.S. carrying COVID-19 are asymptomatic, meaning that they will not show symptoms but could still transmit the virus onto surfaces they have touched or on which their respiratory droplets (through coughing or sneezing) have landed.

Here are a few of the most common touch that should be disinfected in commercial and residential buildings:

ImperialDade_IG 

For more information regarding how to best prevent the spread of COVID-19, review Imperial Dade’s recent posts or contact your local branch today and ask to speak to a chemical specialist. Visit our website to find a location near you.

Making the Change to Take-out and Delivery Restaurant Sales

By Laura Craven

Many restaurants are temporarily shifting from a dine-in business model to take-out and delivery sales only. This requires different packaging than containers given at the end of a dine-in meal for “left-overs.” There are many packaging options on the market today and an experienced supplier can guide restaurant managers and kitchen staff on the best product selection and assembly practices.

  • Review your menu and edit according to what meals will travel well. You may need to reduce or change offerings to ensure your guests have a quality experience.
  • Designate an area for assembly and stage containers and other packaging supplies in a logical fashion to expedite the packing process.
  • Choose packaging based on your menu items. Use containers with various compartments to keep sides from mixing with entrées. Make sure your containers have a tight lid-fit to protect against leaking. Vented containers allow for steam to escape and help prevent food from becoming soggy. New fried-food packages are available that help keep items crisp. Microwavable containers are handy for customers who wish to reheat food.
  • Separate hot and cold foods into their own containers and bags to keep items at their proper temperature.
  • Use the correct size container for each application. One size does not fit all. If the container is too large, the food will shift and could break apart. If the container is too small, the food will be crowded and the container will be prone to leak.
  • Invest in the right ancillary items. Bags must allow for containers to stack neatly inside which will prevent tipping. The bags should also be the right weight and have sturdy handles that ensure safe carrying. For third-party delivery, tamper-evident bags may be needed. Wrapped cutlery kits keep the cutlery and napkins sanitary. The correct size soufflé cups will keep condiments, dressings, and toppings intact.
  • Brand your packaging. If custom-print is not an immediate option, use labels with your logo, phone number, website, and social media information so customers can connect with you.

Customers will appreciate your attention to detail when their meals are packaged in high-quality containers and include the necessary extras such as full-size cutlery kits and napkins.

For a personalized packaging consultation, please contact your Imperial Dade Sales Consultant or visit http://www.ImperialDade.com for a location near you. 

10 Steps to Going Green!

By Vickie Holland

You may have been told to “green” your facility or “We’re going green”.  This may have immediately raised questions for you, your staff, and your customers. Where do we start? What will this cost? When does this happen? How do we know if we missed anything?

Our Greensafe Program is designed to help you understand what “going green” really means and where to start.

10 Steps to Going Green

  • Conserve Energy: Turn off computers, lights, and printers when not in use. Use LED light bulbs.
  • Implement a Comprehensive Recycling Program: Place recycling containers for ease of recycling paper, plastics, and other materials.
  • Reduce Waste: Print less paper by going digital. Conserve water.
  • Use Green Cleaning Products: Switch to third-party certified green chemicals. If possible, use a dilution control system which reduces waste.
  • Use Sustainable Cleaning Tools: Microfiber mops and dusters reduce chemical use.
  • Use Proper Matting: Control soiling near the building entrances saves time and money and protects your floors.
  • Use Green Cleaning Equipment: Select CRI certified vacuum cleaners with optimal filtration to provide best indoor air quality.
  • Use Green Towels and Tissue: Switch to  third-party certified green products.
  • Use Green Trash Liners: Proper sizing reduces waste and save money. Use liners with third-party certification.
  • Train Employees: Train employees on proper equipment use and correct cleaning procedures to reduce cost and improve safety.

If you need to meet the requirements of LEED Certification, we can help. If you need to switch your entire program tomorrow or take the first step, we can help.

Please contact your Imperial Dade Sales Consultant or visit our website to learn more about the following services:

  • Greensafe cleaning program including site surveys, consultation, and product selection
  • Cleaning chemical dilution-control systems with third-party certified products
  • EcoLogo, Safer Choice, Green Seal, UL Certified, and EPA Compliant product offerings from major manufacturers
  • Carpet & Rug Institute Green Label Certified equipment from major equipment manufacturers
  • Complete custodial green cleaning training programs

Great Training Leads to Janitor Pride

By Jennifer Jaworski

Have you thought about the impact a janitor has on a building? Properly trained janitors keep your occupants and visitors healthy with the work they do. Producing a successful cleaning operation starts with the supervisor and/or trainer. This is where your janitorial staff looks for guidance and leadership within their position. Here are some ideas to increase janitor pride in your workplace.

Properly Train Janitors

It’s important to take enough time to train correctly, including explaining all safety precautions. Give examples and answer all questions when they arise. We all know training can become repetitive and unexciting – find ways to make it interactive and fun. Additional materials should be available for staff to review on their own.

Promote Green Cleaning

The key to green cleaning success is training your janitorial staff to use effective cleaning methods that reduce environmental impact and promote sustainability. By including various resources that combine traditional approaches with new tools and practices, you can ensure that janitorial operations will be effective. Green cleaning products have also been proven to be safer for your janitors as they have fewer chemical sensitivities.

Improve Productivity

Building strong staff skills doesn’t stop after your training programs are complete. Encourage janitors to continue developing their expertise and show your appreciation for those who shine in their work. Trainers can increase the self-esteem of their janitors, leading to the improvement of cleaning quality and productivity.

Imperial Dade can help you design a training program for your cleaning staff. Contact your representative today or visit us at www.ImperialDade.com for a location near you. 

6 Benefits of an Ongoing Training & Development Program

By Vickie Holland

The need to train new employees is obvious. New employees need to learn your company’s procedures and policies. Does your training program stop a few weeks after hiring? Are new employees the only team members receiving any training? Continuing to train and develop your employees has many benefits including lower turnover rate and reducing your overall costs.

We pulled together this list on why establishing an on-going training and development program for your team is important to both you and your employees.

    1. REDUCES EMPLOYEE TURNOVER   A recent survey by SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) states the average cost per hire for a company is $4,129 and it takes 42 days to fill an open position. Investing in employee training makes the employee feel valued. Valued employees are happier, tend to contribute more and are less likely to look elsewhere for employment.
    2. REDUCES OVERALL COSTS In addition to saving on hiring costs, training promotes consistency throughout the organization leading to increases in efficiency and improved performance.
    3. IMPROVES PERFORMANCE Training increases learning. This is a great way for your team to adopt new methods or technology.
    4. PROMOTES TEAMWORK Cross-training skills across your staff helps when employees are absent or on vacation. Consistency across your team leads to teamwork, improved performance and cost reduction.
    5. INCREASES JOB SATISFACTION Investing in employee’s professional growth keeps employees engaged and motivated.
    6. IMPROVES SAFETY AND WELLNESS Establishing correct procedures, creating awareness and confirming all employees are following your standards will promote safety throughout your organization. Proper techniques, such as correct procedure on lifting heavy objects or wearing PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) will help ensure employee well-being. 

Good companies have good employees. Exceptional companies have well trained employees.

A WELL TRAINED STAFF IMPROVES CUSTOMER SATISFACTION!

Imperial Dade also offers free training programs to customers. Contact your Imperial Dade Sales Consultant or visit www.imperialdade.com for a location near you. 

Safety Checklist: 6 Points of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

By Vickie Holland

Ask any employee and they will know that wearing gloves is the first line of protection in worker safety. But does everyone know that employee safety involves more than just wearing gloves?  Wearing the proper equipment minimizes exposure to hazards that cause serious workplace injuries and illnesses. Employers are also required to train each worker who is required to use personal protective equipment (commonly referred to as “PPE”) to know:

  • When it is necessary
  • What kind is necessary
  • How to properly put it on, adjust it, wear it and take it off
  • The limitations of the equipment
  • Proper care, maintenance, useful life, and disposal of the equipment

All PPE should be comfortable to wear to encourage employee use. It should be safely designed, clean and well maintained. Here are 6 points of PPE that are designed to limit injury exposure to your employees.

  1. FACE PROTECTION

Goggles should always be worn, and workers should also consider face shields. This is true if working near stored chemicals, large mechanical equipment, mixing cleaning chemicals or similar hazards.

  1. HEARING PROTECTION

Hearing loss is becoming one of the most common occupational health hazards in a variety of industries, including professional cleaning. OSHA requires ear plugs/coverings to be worn if workers are exposed to “average” decibel exposure (about 85 decibels) for eight hours or longer.

  1. PROPER HAND PROTECTION

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), each year more than a million workers visit emergency rooms due to hand injuries. Of these workers, 70 percent weren’t wearing gloves or were not wearing the right glove. We can help workers select the proper hand protection for a variety of cleaning tasks.

  1. BACK SUPPORT

An estimated 20 percent of all workplace injuries are injuries to the back. Different types of back belts are available to address this problem. Studies indicate that installing posters advising workers on how to work without harming their backs can be very effective.

  1. FOOT PROTECTION

Many cleaning workers go to work without giving a second thought to the shoes they wear. This often leads to an accident. Work shoes and protective overshoes are available to protect workers from slipping, falling objects, even electrocution.

  1. BODY PROTECTION

The main purpose of wearing PPE for the body is protection from chemicals, heat, sparks, infectious material or other hazardous substances during work activities. Wearing the proper protection will reduce injuries and keep employees safe. Rips, tears or other defects should be reported to the supervisor immediately and not worn by employee.

For more information on PPE ask your Imperial Dade Sales Consultant or visit us at www.ImperialDade.com for a location near you.  

The Internet of Things (IoT): How Does this Relate to the Cleaning Industry?

By Vickie Holland

Do you use a Fitbit or Apple Watch to track your fitness activity? Do you use a Nest thermometer or other Smart Home devices? How about a remote car starter to warm up your car when temperatures dip below freezing? If you answered yes, you are one of many people already using the Internet of Things (IoT).

IoT is made up of devices, vehicles and appliances embedded with sensors or software that can connect and exchange data. IoT devices send and receive information from devices such as your computer or smartphone. This communication enhances the performance of the object and/or provides valuable information (“Did I meet my step goal?”, “Did I turn off the lights in the living room?”, “Has the package I am expecting been delivered?”). Soon almost everything we touch will be connected.

In addition to changing our personal lives, IoT devices are already making inroads in our industry. Several manufacturers have already developed dispensers and equipment with this technology.

Here are some exciting things you can already see in the market:

  • Restrooms
    • Restrooms that are low or out of products are the number one complaint of clients and users.
    • Dashboards with real time information provide product levels in your IoT connected dispensers. Knowing when, what and where products are needed helps to take a more proactive and efficient approach to cleaning, saving labor hours.
    • Information on the traffic flow of each restroom will minimize complaints and increase user satisfaction. Higher volume can dictate a more rigorous cleaning schedule. Patterns can be analyzed to dispatch staff at peak times. Alerts can tell you about situations that need immediate attention.
    • IoT devices can support compliance monitoring by employees in health care environments (e.g., use of hand sanitizer).
    • Better real time information can provide procurement and budgeting efficiencies based on actual usage.
  • Equipment
    • Cleaning equipment is often moved around a large building or campus and is sometimes “lost.” Equipment with built in sensors allow managers and supervisors to view where each machine is on their property. This is great for large campuses with multiple buildings and large buildings or office complexes.
    • Equipment breakdowns can disrupt your cleaning program and reduce productivity. Alerts can be set to notify a manager when there is an issue in your fleet.
    • Do you know which machines are most often used in your fleet? Are they being used as much as they should? Comparing equipment usage by site and machine can identify any underutilized equipment. This information can be used in developing your cleaning plans and your capital budget.

We have just begun to scratch the surface with IoT in the cleaning industry. As this technology continues to expand, more customers will be participating in programs that will increase efficiency and save money.

If you would like more information, please contact your Imperial Dade Sales Consultant today! Visit www.ImperialDade.com for a location near you. 

High Labor Costs Impacting Bottom Line? Invest in Innovative Equipment to Lower Costs!

By Vickie Holland

Whether you are a building service contractor or an in-house service provider, your budget may be your biggest challenge. And while you could spend plenty of time “shopping” for lower supply costs, you may be missing a much larger opportunity to impact your bottom line: decreasing your Labor Costs. In the past few years, new innovative equipment has been introduced to the cleaning industry to increase productivity and reduce labor time for your employees.

New equipment is designed to increase employee productivity by working faster, smarter, and safer.

A mop and bucket are OK for small areas, but for larger areas an auto scrubber is best. Some equipment manufacturers have designed smaller scrubbers that are perfect for areas too small for an auto scrubber, but too large to cover with a mop & bucket. Scrubbers, such as the Clarke Vantage Auto Scrubber and the Windsor Recover Wet/Dry Vacuum, are excellent additions to any fleet.

Having the right equipment for the job will maximize efficiencies, allow employees time for other projects and ultimately save on your labor costs.

You may be thinking about the last time you bought new equipment that was innovative but did not provide a return on your investment. Perhaps the large auto scrubber sat idle for months and the batteries weren’t maintained. Bad decisions can lead to underutilized or improperly maintained equipment.

Features and Benefits on Innovative Equipment Mentioned

Clarke Vantage Auto Scrubber

scrubber

  • Easy to operate. Foldable/adjustable handles with control panel
  • Quickly and easily remove solution tank for refills
  • Leaves floors safe, dry, clean, and ready-to-use
  • Battery Charger saves time and increases productivity
  • Easily transport up and down steps or ramps
  • Integrated squeegees allow forward or backward cleaning

Windsor Recover Wet/Dry Vacuum

vac

  • Ideal for wet or dry-cleaning tasks
  • Designed for ease of operation and heavy use
  • Equipped with on-board tool storage compartment
  • Features built-in handle and transport wheels

We can schedule time to tour your facility and learn your cleaning procedures. Our expert Sales Consultants can recommend the best equipment based on your needs.

Visit us at www.ImperialDade.com for more information and a location near you.

Increasing Floor Care Productivity

By Laura Craven

The New Year often brings new budgets and goals for reducing costs while improving productivity. For this issue of The Expert Interview I spoke with Jim Lety, Imperial Dade’s Director of Janitorial Sales and a champion of productivity initiatives. With over 30 years of experience in the janitorial industry, Jim has held positions with distribution companies, national marketing organizations, chemical manufacturers and a floor equipment manufacturer. For the last 17 years, he has been part of the Imperial Dade team. 

LC: What are the major changes that you have seen in recent years that impact facility managers?

JL: One of the most significant changes is the availability of labor to perform the task of cleaning the facility. Turnover is one of the toughest challenges that face many of the facility managers today. Properly training an ever changing workforce on proper product usage is a major challenge.

An answer to such a challenge is the new P.L.U.S. labeling system. The PLUS label system provides a universally understood icon based system to train your team. The label is easy to understand, reduces product waste, encourages proper product usage and requires less time to train.

LC: Saving time is a big factor.

JL: Yes, facility managers are now required to do more with less. They have additional square footage to maintain yet their budgets have been cut and they have fewer employees. Increasing the productivity of their labor is a major challenge.

LC: What can they do to address that issue?

JL: Understanding proper cleaning procedures, including the use of powered equipment, to increase productivity is paramount. I often compare floor care to lawn care. Lawn care companies have equipment purchased based on the increased productivity of their labor. This increased productivity allows the crew to complete each job efficiently and move on to the next project. Floor care productivity can be increased by using equipment designed for the square footage of your facility. increase-cleaning-productivity

LC: That makes sense, but what about the cost?

JL: Rider equipment pays for itself. There is a minimum 20% increase in productivity compared to a walk-behind scrubber and 500% productivity increase over a mop. New models are available in smaller sizes as well. Micro-riders have the same foot print as a 20 inch walk behind. We have productivity calculators that can determine the ROI based on square footage, frequency of cleaning, and the hourly wage of the crew. It is an investment that really pays off.

LC: Sustainability is a hot topic right now. How does floor care fit into a green cleaning program such as Imperial Dade’s Greensafe Program?

JL: Manufacturers of floor care equipment have been tasked with creating equipment that fits into a green cleaning program. The use of orbital technology prevents cleaning solutions from “slinging” out, or spraying into the area being cleaned. This type of equipment also uses 50-70% less water and chemicals compared to conventional scrubbers. Chemical-free stripping is another process that is ideal in education and healthcare facilities where indoor air quality is critical.

LC: What is something a facilities manager can do today to improve their operations?

JL: Consult with a knowledgeable supplier about their challenges. There are many new cleaning technologies on the market today that can save time and money and produce better results. Also, never trade service for price. Expect both and partner with a supplier that provides the overall best value.

Jim Lety and his team are available to consult with customers about floor care and facilities maintenance programs. Jim can be reached at jlety@imperialdade.com.

5 Ergonomic Janitorial Tools

By Vickie Holland

Many work-related injuries are internal and occur after months or years of exposure to lifting, bending, reaching, twisting, turning and generally repeating the same tasks over and over. These conditions can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, rotator cuff injuries, muscle strains, lower back pains and more.

According to the US Department of Labor, these types of injuries, known as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are among the most frequently reported causes of lost of restricted work time.

MOST COMMON AREAS CAUSING WORKER INJURY AND ILLNESS

  • Excessive lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling, reaching, or stretching
  • Repetitive motion
  • Working in awkward positions
  • Sitting or standing for prolonged period
  • Vibrations from equipment (vacuums/buffers)

 The good news is many work-related injuries can be prevented by reducing workers’ risks. Daily communication between supervisors and their teams will pinpoint any problem areas. For example, simply adding an employee rotation to a repetitive task can help reduce injuries. Companies can also invest in ergonomic products to improve efficiencies while avoiding muscle strains and other injuries.

 5 ERGONOMIC ITEMS FOR YOUR JANITORS’ CLOSET

  1. Microfiber Flat Mops – If you are still using string wet mops, we urge you to give flat mopping a try. String mops get heavy. Ask any custodian who’s had to rinse one out after a long shift. Microfiber mops are thinner and lighter than string mops. Their lightweight design is much easier on the lower back when moving over several hours.
  2. Ergonomic Handles – Do you use a handle for tasks that require pushing, pulling, reaching, and stretching? If you answered yes, you need an ergonomic handle. These handles are designed with bends to minimize the force and leverage required for smooth mopping. Some have unique handle grips that swivel avoiding wrist strain. Many handles can be adjusted in length based on the task, reducing the user’s effort. Don’t forget; the longer the handle, the heavier it will feel!
  3. Material Handling – Employing dollies, flatbeds, utility, and janitor carts for easier transporting will help with awkward loads and improve efficiencies. Dollies are not just for brutes. Dollies are also available for Slim Jim containers with an ergonomic foot pedal release. New Utility Carts have ergonomic adjustable handles for maximum comfort. Janitor cares are lightweight and have proper space for tools and equipment to glide along floors and carpets.
  4. Vented Brutes & Slim Jims –Rubbermaid Commercial Products improved their refuse line by adding venting channels to their Brute and Slim Jim Containers. These venting channels make removing liners from the container up to 80% easier, improving productivity and reducing the risk of worker injury.
  5. Ergonomic Cleaning Equipment – Backpack vacuum users have more neutral position compared to an upright vacuum user. The custodian’s legs and large back muscles are doing most of the work. The arms of an upright vacuum custodian are more likely to be easily fatigued. Walk-Behind Floor Scrubbers are easy to operate. Many units, like the Focus II Boost, have an ergonomic design using orbital scrubbing actions to produce high speed agitation. This allows for less water and chemicals to be used.

For more ergonomic equipment ideas please reach out to your Sales Consultant or visit www.imperialdade.com.