When a spill happens and the intercom rings for a cleanup, every custodian in the world grabs the same old tired, dirty, stinky, dust pan and broom along with the dirty bucket of water sitting in the corner and heads to the issue.
But wait, what is the purpose of this? How can you clean up a spill with old, outdated, dirty tools? Just what is going to be the outcome if you keep doing the same thing?
NO MORE. The task is to remove the materials and liquids from the floor and leave the area like it never even happened and to do it in the least amount of time. If you are the Technician doing the job, you also want to do it with the least amount of effort too.
Whether it is dry debris or wet matter on the floor, the new method is to grab a squeegee on a handle and pull the materials into a plastic liner. The liner is then dropped off the holder into a trash can, rinsed clean and ready for its next call to duty.
Take a bucketless microfiber mopping tool, drop the cleaning solution on the small amount of film left, mop it up and your done.
To see this healthy, positive and proactive process in action, take a look at this short video.
How many times have you had the handle fall, only to find out that when you try to readjust the handle it is stuck? If you are like me, you have had this happen so many times you can’t count them.
This unit is brand new and one of a kind with a pin lock for the handle, as most every other floor machine has a sliding handle which never stays in place. This new pin-lock is easy to use and the handle stays where you put it. Additionally, it is all steel construction with a triple planetary gear, unlike many other low speed floor machine on the market.
Take a look at this new machine from A.C.E. and see if we can ship you a few. Special pricing is available for those who want a pallet of 12 units.
17″ Unit – $ 689
20″ Unit – $ 699
Both include a standard pad driver.
Don’t miss out on this on-off purchase of these brand new to the market units from A.C.E. and GEM Supply.
If you don’t need the foodservice product, next week I’ll show you the Professional Services product. If you want to purchase this product, just give me a call and New System will ship it to you out of St. Louis, MO.
That was the question I was asked this afternoon. As is most common to me these days, I have been asked this before. So the answer was, “Yes, I do know how and what to use; or at least what has worked before”.
I went to the high school this evening and was taken directly to the gym where the volleyball team was just getting ready to start practice and shown the dirty seats….white and red.
Here is what they looked like before I started. As you can tell, the white seat has a brown tint to it. You have sat on one of these at sometime. This is also where you put your hand, you child crawls around on and what else goes on here we just won’t mention. At this time we are all talking about the latest pathogen the late night news is alerting us to, but yet we don’t think anything about this area at our public schools. Thank goodness this group called me over to help.
While I was doing a test spot, the lead custodian is telling me that they have tried everything; including bleach water so strong they couldn’t breathe. OMG! Are you kidding me! This is most generally the issue. Custodians trying everything they have and in most cases, mixing the products.
I diluted the product according to the directions for the heavy duty strength, which in this case is an EPA registered sanitizer as well. After spreading it out with a hand scrub brush, we let it sit for 5 minutes and then continued to scrub. Although you can’t see it, these have quite a texture to them and the soils were set deeply, probably by some of all the products they had previously used.
As I conducted this test for the client, they made a comment about the lack of hazardous odor and the safety of the product labeling. We scrubbed a bit more and took a microfiber wiper and removed the soils. I sprayed the surface once more to remove more of the soil residue and then let it dry. I wish now that I would have taken ATP counts, but alas did not.
You have heard me talk about the EnvirOx 117 before and here again it performed as expected. Click on the picture to get a closer look, but the red and white seats came out looking brilliant. Now they will simply use a sprayer to apply the heavy duty solution, scrub with a motorscrubber and then rinse/vac with the Kai vac units they have in the school.
In a matter of 20 minutes, we had done three tests all with the same results and with a product that not only is safe for them to use, is easy to rinse, performs the tasks they wanted but also sanitizes these seats for the safety of the students, parents, visitors and community which uses this schools gym.
This is the start of a 6 month evaluation of a product sent to me called EcoSeal. You can find information about them at www.EcoSealSafe.com.
As I do will all products sent to me, I test them first before I do a complete evaluation in a clients setting and did a test with this product this past spring with encouraging results. Thus, the second round of testing which will be much more detailed and I will include a number of pictures to verify my evaluations.
First, we use brand new microfiber wipers each time so that the ATP numbers will not be altered by cross contamination caused by bad laundering, which some studies show are resulting in bad ATP readings and practices.
Following the directions on the EcoSeal bottle, the surfaces selected for the control sites were first cleaned thoroughly. The client uses a hydrogen peroxide product with health ratings of (0). ___________________________________>
In this Jr. High classroom we choose to do all thirty-two desktops in order to give us a range of surfaces to use as samples as the months go on. Each desk was simply sprayed and wiped with the cleaner, not a sanitizer or disinfectant. Once the surface was dry, an ATP reading was taken to see that the surface was clean. This reading came out to a (19 ).
Remember, this is summer cleaning time and these desks will not be used for at least 45 days before the actual testing with grimy, dirty, germy hands starts. This room has already has been cleaned and will sit ready for students this fall.
The EcoSeal was applied with a new wiper once the desktops were dry from the cleaning. Each desktop got from 3-5 squirts, applied to the wiper and then the surface. Since the surfaces were already clean, there was no need for scrubbing and they were simply wiped and left to air dry. Once dry, they were buffed with a new wiper and then tested.
This ATP reading came to a ( 6 ), and this number will be our baseline number for the fall/winter testing in this classroom. For these control surfaces, the EHS staff and teacher will be instructed to use only a microfiber wiper and water to remove any unwanted, visible soils. For all three of our control surface, there will be no chemicals used on them for the duration of the testing.
Now that you understand what we did to set up the control sites, here are two other areas we wanted to focus on. The next surface is the counter at the front entrance to this Jr. High School, where every student, parent and visitor has to stop in order to gain entrance into the building during the day. Although this is summer, this counter is being used daily all summer long, even though it is not as much as it will be once school opens in the Fall.
Entrance counter after cleaning.
<———- ATP reading was a ( 31 ).
Entrance counter after application of EcoSeal.
ATP reading, ( 21). Again, this number will be our control number for the test.——>
The last control site is the push bar to the door where all the student go in and out during the school day. The office personnel consider this one of the hazard areas in the office along with the counter and the public phone. We did clean and seal the phone, but did not do APT testing on it for this test.
ATP reading after cleaning the push bar on the entrance door, ( 27).
ATP reading after application of EcoSeal, ( 5 ). This will be our control number for this surface.
As you can see from the numbers. This EHS operation runs a clean ship. With only a cleaner, the spray and wipe of these test sites still produced very healthy numbers on the APT meter. Remember, any number under 30 is considered by ISSA as a safe number. During the test period, I will be updating you as to the numbers the ATP provided us with on these test sites.
Your comments are welcome as we go. I will be doing our first testing around the second week of September. Check back as I update us all.
OCTOBER 23, 2014 UPDATE
It has now been 9 weeks since school started and we are just getting ready to start the ‘Flu Season’ for most schools. As promised, I am continuing the EcoSeal testing. As you know, I advocate simple pH and physical removal while using less harmful products in the process. So I have introduced the Karcher Window Vacuum to the testing to see what results we can get on these surfaces.
On with the results: At the front office main countertop, using only water and a new microfiber, the count was a 6. On the pushbar at the door, the count was a 9.
Now on to the classroom desktops. We did three different tests here. Remember that all of our desktops are protected with the EcoSeal so at random we tested the first one the way we did the others surfaces in the front office. A spray of water and a single wipe with the new microfiber wiper. When testing using any wiper, always make sure to only wipe in one direction. The test will be contaminated if you ‘scrub’ the surface back and forth. This redeposits microbes back to the surface from the wiper.
Here again, the test came back under the 30, under the 20 and with only water as the pH.
On the next desk, there was some visible soils that needed a bit of rubbing and knowing that this ‘rubbing/scrubbing’ action would result in re- contaminating the surface, I used the vacuum to remove the soils/contaminates. As you can see, we were able to get the count into single digits on these highly used surfaces.
The last desktop tested was not visibly soiled so just a few sprays of water and a quick vacuum resulted in a 4 on this surface. Remember, all of these are protected with the EcoSeal and we only used water as the carrier for the removal of the organic materials.
You be the judge. What are your thoughts?
December 16, 2014
And the field test continues as we are now well into the flu season and would be expecting numbers to be escalating most everywhere. We are hearing it in the news as to how many students are out due to the flu this season already. So, what are the numbers now going to be looking like since this location is not using a sanitizer or disinfectant but relying on best practices, using physical removal.
As we have been doing since summer, we tested the counter at the front office. After getting the first reading, I thought that the unit was not working, it was too low. So, I took another swab and got the same result. Thinking there was still a problem with the Hygenia unit, I did a swab test on the pushbar and up went the count to 171…the unit was working right all the time. We then wiped the pushbar with water and new microfiber wiper the the count came out at 18.
Oh, the countertop reading. See for yourself. This was the number we got twice. The lead custodian does believe that the ladies at the front desk use some type of cleaning when they are working, as many staff members do these days around their own workspace. That said, I have taken numerous counts after this type of cleaning and have never gotten this number.
Not forget the student desk we did do the testing on it as well. We were out of swabs to do a before and after, so only took a reading of after the spray of water and a wipe. The result was a respectable 28.
This district has been using a barrier cleaner for several years that requires application of the product every week. These numbers are the same we have seen here for most of that period of time. However, the lead custodian here states that this shows that a once per year application as done per the manufacturer is proving to be as effective thus saving labor, time and expense. What are your thoughts?
This is the end of our 6 month field test of the EcoSeal product and I have to agree with the lead here at this school. It has proved to me that it in fact does what it is marketed to do. As to the cost effectiveness, that is going to depend on your situation, but it certainly is another tool in the war chest to fight the everyday war on infections in the workplace.
January 2, 2015
As a result of this test I now have this product available to you, my readers.
Click on the EcoSeal logo to go to the order page to get your own bottle.
Recently a client contacted me looking for a way to remove the adhesive left behind when the ‘glued down’ carpet was removed from a classroom floor at a middle school. He had called the local carpet store and even talked with an installer. No luck. They knew how to get it in place, but he and staff were on their own as to how to remove the sticky stuff.
Oh, they has suggestions and they tried a couple of them. One was to take sanding screens, put them on under the floor machine and grind it off. It did work, well if you wanted to breathe the powder and spend 8 hours on a 4×4 and then find it wasn’t down to concrete yet. This is what the floor looked like when they started and found that scraping and grinding just wasn’t going to work.
I get this type of call just about every summer. This summer I had a new product to test and review. Here is what we found out and information you might be able to use should you have this issue at your place of business.
The product is from Misco and is called Orange Solv. I used a product from Fuller Commercial some years ago that was a citrus solvent and it worked great. Products in this area are very high in D-limonene and have a strong ‘Orange’ smell of course. While this is not a ‘Green’ product, as it has a pH of 12 and a HMIS health rating of 2, it is water rinseable and does have natural ingredients. You should use in a well-ventilated area and take breaks when using it.
Now, how did it work? Here are some pictures of how this client applied it and worked with it. The custodial simply poured it directly from the shipping container onto the floor and then used a wide broom to cover the area of floor he wanted to work on.
Once the concentrated product was brushed on over the next area, it was allowed to sit for 5-10 minutes. A low speed, 175 rpm Tornado floor machine with red pad was brought in. Under the red pad was a 100 grit sanding screen. After a couple passes with the machine, water was sprayed onto the floor area.
Whenever the water hits the Orange Solv, it will turn a milky white color. Upon working this in, the solution went from a paste to a liquid very quickly. This is when you will hear the screen start to work on the concrete. Keep applying water a little bit at a time, keeping the floor wet and diluting the solvents. When it comes time to pick up the solutions, it will make it much easier to remove.
During this test, the client used a wet vac. I recommend to use a Kai Vac unit so that water can be sprayed on and removed with one machine. if you have one.
Even with applying water while working in the Orange Solv, when it came time to p/up the slurry we had to rinse and vacuum twice before we really could tell if we were getting down to the concrete.
Take a look at the short video to see more about how we went about removing the first layers of adhesive. I will post more later as to the finished product.
For now, let me say that this was really a great product to work with and the results were as expected. As a chronic asthmatic, I did have to leave the room a couple of times, which I would suggest to anyone. Be sure to wear ‘stripping shoes’ for traction as this is VERY slick when it starts to let the adhesive loose. Wipe down tools with wet rag as you go as this will become a gooey mess if you don’t.
As always, thanks for looking at this review and leave your comments or questions in the blog space below.
Best practices in environmental health services is not all about product selection and the labeling. It is about RESULTS. While appearances are important, there is much more that goes into the selection of the right product for a professional EHS (Green) program.
Product for this review, Touch Up SRT from Betco. This is a product with two significant attributes which prompted me to engage in this review. SRT stands for ‘Scuff Resistant Technology’ and that the product is marketed to be used only in cases where full chemical finish removal has not been performed.
Over the last 4 decades I have reviewed many, many different products used on floors and may look at a floor finish test in a different way than most individuals. These are my first four tests of any floor finish product.
A. Initial Application Attributes
1. How does the product lay?
2. Is there any streaks or cloudiness as I apply the product?
3. What is the leveling qualities?
4. How much product was used?
If you have read my book, “The New Generation of Cleaning“, you will find reference to the ‘Top Stripping’ procedures that the industry is starting to warm up to. For this test, we first choose one of the toughest places in a K-12 school to handle, the elementary hall coming from the playground. Second, once the product test was laid on the floor the client was to use dry microfiber dust mops daily and clean the floor with an autoscrubber, white pad and neutral cleaner as needed, NO BURNISHING. I evaluate four other attributes when looking at whether the product works in an EHS floor program.
B. Performance Attributes
1. What was the ‘black mark’ resistance of the product during the first week of traffic?
2. What was the ‘cleanability’ of the finish?
3. How long before it required interim maintenance?
4. How did the product respond?
Now that you know how I judge a product for EHS best practices, l will share with you the findings of this test and you be the judge of the product!
A.1. Touch Up SRT laid very easily. The three individuals in the test, all indicated that it went down smoother than any current product they had applied. (All used the same applicator and flat pad during application).
A. 2/3. Touch Up SRT showed no visible hazing or streaking. Product leveled out extremely well on each coat and cured in minimal time (less than 20 minutes on this test) with each coat appearing to bond well with previous coat.
A. 4. When compared to the Untouchable SRT product test done at the same time, there was 20% less finish used. Client indicated that there was also less product used compared to current product being used, 3 coast in the test to the standard 5-6 coats normally applied. (Note, application method and persons where the same for this test).
After two weeks of traffic where Missouri weather in March is still damp, rain and storms with plenty of tracking of mid-grade debris, the test patches are again evaluated for initial performance attributes. Areas were only dust mopped, scrubbed and left to the wear of little feet, backpacks with wheels and gravel.
B.1. After only 48 hours of curing, the floors showed moderate ‘black heel marks’, less than 6 in test hall. Removal took less than a minute compared to a normal 3-4 minutes previously.
B.2/3. When the microfiber dust mop was used, there was a visible difference in the amount of debris collected. Due to the physical removal of marking done by the microfibers, this increased the performance of the white pad on the scrubber and neutral cleaner, therefore reducing the perceived need to burnish the test floor.
B. 4. Although the test floor did not appear to require the interim procedure, the floor was burnished to test its responsiveness. Client reports that the finish burnished to a level that appeared to be that of the initial gloss during application.
While I am sure you have found this lengthy, reviewing a floor finish that will be on the floor for 3-5 years is not a quick and easy task and should not be taken lightly. In my reviews, I am first concerned with a products impact and viability to add value to an EHS program. Take it from me, a person with chronic asthma, the product had so little VOC’s, that I and the test individuals all made note of the almost complete absence of odor during application, a great indicator of an environmentally sensitive product. While I am not giving you my final review here, I will tell you this review and test is going in the right direction and I will most definitely be following the clients’ responses.
I encourage you, the viewer to ‘weigh in’ on the review of this product and any thoughts you might have.
Dave ‘ThomKatt’ Thompson
UPDATE June 14, 2014
The elementary school choose the Betco Untouchable with SRT to recoat their entire school VCT floors. The Untouchable is the same product as the Touch Up, but has a sealer with it. For this year, this location wanted to do a very aggressive ‘top strip’ and put this down for more durability. Later, they plan to us the Touch Up as recommended.
They are in the process now and wanted to share these pictures. To say they are very happy with its application, is an understatement. It is great when a client shares with me their successes….it don’t happen too much in this business. Mostly, they call when there is an issue that needs resolved.
With the amount of reduced burnishing, less labor to remove black marks and better leveling they feel they are moving in the right direction from the previous product they were using that cost them $12 more per 5 gallon pail. I will update this as they go through the next school year.
Fall Update October 22, 2014
Another school in the area chose to lay the product down in their entire Elementary after their Spring testing as well. They found much the same results as to the lack of black marks, and the ones that do appear seem to just come off with ease. This district does not burnish their floors very often however, and in this picture the elementary hall has not been burnished since the start of the school year, 9 weeks.
They do run an autoscrubber over it a few times a week. This picture was taken at 3pm in the afternoon on a Monday before the Technician was there to start the daily cleaning. We did find a few marks, but they wiped right up with a cloth. At this location, she reports that there is a bit of black balls that are in the dust when she runs the microfiber dry mops. Believe this to be the black marks just coming off when dry mopping.
I feel that if it were burnished every week there would be less of this due to the smoothing of the finish, which would stop more of the marking due to roughness. However, no one is complaining at this point.
November 24, 2014 Test ONE
Well, it looks like the word is spreading and I have now worked with two more clients, who what to see if this will be good for their areas. While the first two are going well and more footage is scheduled to be added this coming summer, this past week I worked with another school district and a parks department. The school says their current product put down this summer isn’t holding up to traffic well. The parks department has a community center floor that needs help and they have never done floors before.
On both of these locations I choose to use the Tomcat Edge technology to remove the finish. I term this ‘Top Stripping’ in my book. It is what I feel is the most effective process to remove finish from the surface and get a floor refinished in the least amount of time. Using only water and a pad on both of these location, I worked with the staff showing them the process and was applying the Untouchable finish after an hour per thousand feet. If you have never used this type before, the head on these units are square and oscillate. The special pad under the red cushion pad is what does the work. We used a KaiVac to rinse the edges and clean out the corners. Since there is no high alkaline chemicals used to remove the finish, there wasn’t a need to use a neutralizer either.
In this hallway to the cafeteria for this school, middle – high school, I used about a gallon of Untouchable for the 3 coats. That is coverage of 3,000 sq.ft. per gallon.
I will check back with them in a few weeks and see how the test is going. We have had our first snow for the winter and then rain this week. Should be some great weather to test the durability of the product long before decision time for next summers rework of floor surfaces.
Test TWO This Month
Using the same equipment I went to a local parks department and worked with a crew of guys whom had never stripped and refinished a floor before. That said, the didn’t know the difference between using a chemical stripper and using the Edge and water method. They did catch on very quickly and in a couple hours had a large part of the community center ready for finish.
Again, we used their KaiVac to clean edges and under the sinks in the kitchen, but the Magnum did most of the work for us. The supervisor grabbed the Stick unit and in a short order they were working like they had done this before. Then came time for the finish application and since it was a Friday night and it was a one person job, I choose to used the Betco applicator and lay the Untouchable. I am really coming to like this product the more tests I do. The product just flows out so well and levels beautifully. Might I also add that I really enjoy doing floors in the fall/winter as the humidity isn’t so high and since we aren’t using stripper in the process, we don’t have a room full of moisture which as said helps the finish to dry very nicely. In no time I had four coats of product on the floor and we all are happy. We’ll have to see how the finish holds up to wheelchairs, sliders, tables and chairs the senior citizens will be sliding as we go into the holiday season. But here is how it came out.
Stay tuned for updates and if you have a comment or question, please let me know. ThomKatt
December 15, 2014
Clients are hearing about these two products and the top-stripping method and wanting to field test this low impact program during the winter here in Missouri. We have had a touch of snow and ice and the ice melt issues and we all are looking to improve our programs. This week was a test at the local courthouse community room. It had not been stripped in 7 years and was looking fairly yellow. I took in the Tomcat Edge system, both hand machine and Mini Mag autoscrubber in and using only water and the Eco pad, top stripped this 2300 sq. ft. room.
We laid three coats of the Untouchable and came out with this result. The total job took 6 man hours to complete. The client is very happy with this stage of his field test, so much so that the custodians from the county jail house came and watched the process and are not going to wait for a few months for the test to prove out, they are going to get the product now.
This is environmentally healthy stripping/refinishing of VCT floors at it’s best. The client realized there was no risk management issues from slippery stripper, no tracking onto other areas and in 4 hours the 2,300 sq. ft. was stripped and ready for finish. Time, product and exposures were all reduced.