Team Clean, Inc.Team Clean, Inc.

asthma epidemic, asthma initiative, asthma management, cleaning, dust, environmental triggers, infections, mold, open airways, out sick, school season

Lower Bills with Efficient Cleaning Equipment

Of course, you have to clean your home. But the amount of resources you use for house cleaning can balloon if you’re not careful.  Team Clean, the Philadelphia-based janitorial service, points out that your automatic dishwasher likely uses between three and fifteen gallons per load of dishes. Your washing machine takes 16-40 gallons for every load of dirty clothes. To use them in an environmentally friendly manner to reduce the amount of water, energy and other resources being used requires efficiency, which in turn requires a plan.

The Plan

Step One would be listing your cleaning chores that use resources, including water and energy used by appliances and water used for mopping floors. Where are time, energy, water or other resources being wasted? And can you reduce the waste with more efficient cleaning?

The Prep

The goal here is to not intentionally waste your time or resources. So before any cleaning task is undertaken, set yourself up in a cleared area, without the clutter that can slow things down, and with the tools you’ll need at hand (that includes buckets, cleaning products, squeegees, rags and so on).

The Fine Print

With cleaning products, the label is your best friend. It has the instructions on how much to use for the best results.  Following them will help prevent wasting the product or getting less than the cleaning power you need.

Step By Step

To take your cleaning seriously, plan your cleaning progress methodically. If you’re wet-mopping a floor, plan your route so you don’t cross your own path and mop over where you just mopped, wasting water. You’ll use less cleaning materials if you clean methodically instead of impulsively.

Cleaning Ideas That Save Resources

Kitchen: Fun Fact: Dishwashers use less water and energy than you do when you hand-wash a load of tableware. So the green thing to do here is to run a dishwasher only when it’s full. If your washer has an air-dry feature, use it and save the energy needed to heat your dishes dry. And please, just scrape the plates and put them in the washer. Pre-washing your dirty dishes only wastes time and a great deal of water.

Laundry: Take a little longer to stare at your washing machine to figure out what green options came with it. Make sure you’re selecting the right load size—running a full “Heavy Load” cycle for three socks and a pillowcase wastes detergent, water, time and electricity. Some clothes, like jeans and good shirts, can benefit from cold-water washing, which also saves energy. Use only the manufacturer’s suggested amount of laundry detergent; more won’t get your clothes cleaner.  Once your things are out of the washer, hang-dry them if you can.

Floors:  The more often you sweep up, the less mopping you’ll have to do. And when you do finally mop, the already-cleaner floor won’t require excessive amounts of detergent or water.

For countertops: Brush crumbs and other table debris off your kitchen surfaces before you spray or wipe them. You won’t need as many towels or rags to get the surfaces clean. So you won’t have to do as much laundry, and you won’t need to buy more paper towels as frequently.

Founded in 1983, Team Clean, Inc. is a commercial janitorial services company in Philadelphia. Due mainly to the service focus and vision of its founder/president/CEO—Donna L. Allie, PhD.—the company enjoyed huge growth. By 1999, it was the fourth-largest woman-owned business in Philadelphia, and the Wharton Small Business Development Center identified it as one of the fastest-growing small businesses in the Greater Philadelphia area.

Cleaning Ice Melt

It’s another brutal winter, one where unusually large snowfalls are blanketing the country. And that means hardwood floors will not only get wet (which they shouldn’t), but the rain and snow that’s tracked in on them will likely be mixed with salt or ice melt, leaving streaks and puddles on your floors.  Here’s how to keep them clean and protected during this snowy, rainy, icy winter:

Be Prepared.

Keep an abundance of rags, old towels, and other clean wiper-uppers near your doors to use immediately. The faster you clean the floor up, the cleaner you’ll get it—don’t give the moisture and chemicals time to soak into the wood.  Keep a broom or vacuum handy to sweep away granules of salt or ice melt that could scratch your floors’ surfaces. And, if you can, lay down mats on every walking surface to keep the moisture from touching your floors at all, as well as a large, absorbent mat by the front door for shoes.


One More Tip: Consider spreading kitty litter on your sidewalks and steps instead of salt or ice melt. While it won’t melt snow or ice, it will vastly improve your visitors’ traction while being safer for your floors.


Know Your Chemicals

Most ice melt products use essentially the same calcium chloride (i.e. salt)-based recipe, with variations and blends that can also include potassium chloride, sodium chloride, magnesium chloride and urea. The makeup of most ice melt products is based on calcium chloride because (a) it melts snow and ice effectively and (b) it’s cheap.

One More Tip: The downside with salt is its high pH levels, pretty much the same levels you’ll find in, say, floor strippers. These pH levels break down your floor’s finish, leaving the wood underneath defenseless. Immediate cleaning action is recommended.

Wiping Out the White

Once the salt starts breaking down your hardwood floor’s finish and the moisture dries, you’ll note how it leaves a white residue or film on the floor. That’s the alkaline salt residue, which should be neutralized.  Dampen a soft cloth with warm water and gently wipe in a circular motion. After the floor has dried, if there’s still a white residue, dilute one cup of white vinegar in one gallon of warm water, and wipe the area, again with a circular motion. Buff-dry the spot immediately.

One More Tip: There’s most likely a commercial floor cleaner made specifically for your home’s floors. Determine what that cleaner is and add it to your anti-snow arsenal before the next blizzard hits.


Founded in 1983, Team Clean, Inc. is a commercial janitorial services company in Philadelphia. Due mainly to the service focus and vision of its founder/president/CEO—Donna L. Allie, PhD.—the company enjoyed huge growth during its first two decades. By 1999, it was the fourth-largest woman-owned business in Philadelphia, and the Wharton Small Business Development Center identified it as one of the fastest-growing small businesses in that metropolitan area.

Is Your House Making You Sick?

Cold and flu season is hitting hard this winter, and your challenge is twofold: First, making sure that cleaning your house isn’t making you sick.  Second, if you’re feeling ill, figuring out if your symptoms originated from the flu or from your house.


After all, many of the symptoms of the flu—coughing, sneezing, fatigue, congestion, runny nose, sometimes a fever—can also be the result of allergies from dust being kicked up or commercial cleaners being used improperly.


But yes, your indoor environment and its microscopic inhabitants could be making you sick. Here’s where they’re hiding:


1. Heating and Cooling Systems


Problem: When your HVAC system cools your home, it also leaves traces of water in the ducts, creating the perfect breeding ground for mold and bacteria. That microbial growth can trigger respiratory issues like headaches and coughing.

Solution: Stay on top of your monthly air filter replacements. Hire professional cleaners to clean out your air ducts every couple of years, and ask for their suggestions for your heater’s cleanest and most efficient operation.


2. Indoor Leaks

Problem: You can’t see the leaks in your HVAC system that are causing mold growth in your home, and that’s bad news for anyone in your household susceptible to asthma and allergy-based breathing problems.

Solution: Moisture is your enemy. Think dry, dry, dry. Dry closets, dry pipes, dry basements, dry attics. Clean and dry where any moisture, even a little drop, has accumulated. Remember, you’re only seeing, and cleaning, surfaces; what’s not visible can make things even worse. And if you’re feeling overwhelmed, ask a professional. A good plumber or roofer has been through this situation many times.


3. Furniture

Problem: The comfy upholstered chair you’ve had for decades. That big pillow your sister gave you when you bought what became your kid’s go-to TV couch. The only mattress you know you can sleep on. These are a few of your favorite things. Especially if you’re a dust mite. Microscopic dust mites see us humans as large, soft bags that provide them with warmth and humidity. Dust mites live everywhere people live. Most people can safely ignore them, but each dust mite is a little time bomb for someone with asthma or allergies, triggering strong, debilitating reactions.


Solution: Cycle your linens every week. Sheets and towels should be washed in the hottest possible water, and thoroughly dried. Give furniture, throw pillows, carpeting and curtains a weekly vacuuming and dusting. If your household includes someone who’s sensitive to dust mites, look into specialty mattress and pillow covers specifically designed to keep dust mites out.


4. The Bathroom


Problem: If an older mattress is like Times Square for dust mites, the bath mat in front of your shower is Hawaii.  Bath mats provide a warm, wet breeding ground for bacteria, mold and dust mites. When your shower’s over and you step on that bathmat, you’ll be drying yourself off while standing on dust mites. Oops.

Solution: First, towel off while you’re still standing in the tub or shower. (Slippers might come in handy here.)  Don’t sprinkle cornstarch on yourself—dust mites love the stuff.  And make sure washcloths, towels and bathmats get nice hot baths of their own in your washer, followed by a thorough drying, at least once a week.

5. The Refrigerator

Problem: Frost-free refrigerators have an electric coil in each freezer that melts frost every four hours. The melted water drips into a pan and then evaporates, thanks to warm air from the refrigerator’s compressor. But if that pan is filled with dust, your refrigerator will blow that dust into your home.

Newer refrigerators may not have a tray, but the coils on the back of the machine need to be dusted off regularly. Shut off the refrigerator’s power before undertaking this, and be sure to wear gloves to avoid injury from the sharp edges of the coils.

Solution: Give your refrigerator a regular cleaning, along with the wall and floor behind the refrigerator. Check your manufacturer’s instruction manual to determine whether there is a tray and to learn the best cleaning methods.


6. The Vacuum Cleaner

Problem: We all need a vacuum cleaner to suck up the allergens.  But your vacuum could be spewing them all back into the air. The best vacuums have HEPA filters (for High-Efficiency Particulate Air). These filter more than 99 percent of the particulates in the air. But beware of the “HEPA-like” filter, which doesn’t do much more than release particles into the air without filtering.

Solution: Double-check your vacuum for a HEPA filter. Make sure your cleaning service uses a HEPA-filter vacuum, as well, so your home isn’t being contaminated from allergens in previous houses.

7. Cleaning Products

Problem: Conventional cleaning products, like the ones you’ve been buying for years, may cause eye irritation, headaches, breathing problems, and at worst, be carcinogenic.  Many people clean with them, but they don’t take precautions against the harmful effects of commercial cleaning products.

Team Clean, the Philadelphia-based janitorial service, offers Green Clean solutions, which employ green cleaning best practices, including the use of safer and Earth-friendlier cleaning products.

Solution: Clean glass with a mixture of water and vinegar. Toss your abrasive scrubbing product and use baking soda instead. Soap and water can work just as well as a commercial cleaner for most surfaces. Alternatively, look for cleaning products marked “green” and be careful not to confuse “natural” products for those that are safer to use.




Founded in 1983, Team Clean, Inc. is a commercial janitorial services company in Philadelphia. Due mainly to the service focus and vision of its founder/president/CEO—Donna L. Allie, PhD.—the company enjoyed huge growth during its first two decades. By 1999, it was the fourth-largest woman-owned business in Philadelphia, and the Wharton Small Business Development Center identified it as one of the fastest-growing small businesses in that metropolitan area.

Now, Team Clean Combats the Flu As They Clean

Philadelphia’s premier cleaning company, Team Clean, tackles office buildings, stadiums and national treasures.  And now, they’re armed with the very latest in cleanup technology, a system that attacks the flu as it cleans your space.

Say hello to the Clorox® Total 360® System, a revolutionary new surface treatment system that uses electrostatic technology to provide superior coverage. “The innovative system applies an electrostatic charge to the Clorox disinfecting or sanitizing solution, delivering a powerful flow of charged particles that are attracted to surfaces with a force stronger than gravity,” explains Kristina Vannoni, Associate Director of Marketing, Clorox Professional Products Company. “It covers up to 18,000 square feet per hour, providing superior surface coverage up to four times faster and using up to 65 percent less product compared with conventional trigger sprayers per square foot.”

The professional cleaning industry voted the Clorox Total 360 System the 2017 ISSA Innovation of the Year and named it the Visitors’ Choice Award winner.

Team Clean founder and CEO Donna Allie was impressed enough to switch all of her janitorial teams exclusively to the Clorox Total 360 system. “Schools and similar institutions make up a large part of our business. The 360 represents a major breakthrough in the fight against illness-causing germs, helping our cleaning professionals prevent and contain outbreaks and keeping facilities healthier during cold and flu season and beyond.

“Illness and absenteeism can have a huge impact on businesses,” notes Ms. Allie. “We do everything we can to help prevent the spread of infectious germs. The Clorox Total 360 System lets us do it in less time and with less product so we can provide efficient, comprehensive surface treatment that delivers an even cleaner, healthier environment for our clients.”


Over the past four decades, Team Clean’s experience and expertise have successfully serviced companies and organizations requiring: General office cleaning; Government offices and facilities; the Education sector; Events and Sporting venues, including stadiums and convention halls; and services for industrial plants and warehouse facilities.

Social Responsibility: Doing Business For Good

Vendor A and Vendor B have both made their pitches, and now it’s up to you. Both offered very similar products at very similar prices.  But Vendor A has been cited numerous times for illegal dumping of waste and other transgressions, while Vendor B has a clean record and is an active member of a city-wide Zero Waste initiative.

In other words, one vendor is taking its social responsibility seriously, and the other is not. With everything else being equal, which vendor do you choose?

Research has found that shoppers, who have plenty of other options, will abandon a business that isn’t socially responsible.

At the very least, engaging in socially responsible actions helps give companies a good reputation.

Right now, many companies that want to begin CSR initiatives start with one or more of these four broad categories:

  1. Green efforts:  Businesses have a large carbon footprint. Reducing those footprints is a step that’s good for the company and for society as a whole.


  1. Philanthropy: Money is always welcome at nonprofits that deal with social causes. But donations in kind are also welcome; your company may have products and services that could benefit charities and community programs. One good place to start would be joining the Giving Tuesday charitable movement, which takes place the day after Cyber Monday to kick off the holidays.


  1. Ethical HR: It’s socially responsible to be fair and ethical with all employees.  And it also sets an example for your industry, especially in other nations with labor laws that are different than those in the US.


  1. Volunteerism: By doing good deeds without expecting anything in return, companies can demonstrate their commitment, voice their concerns about specific issues and show their support for positive initiatives and organizations.


Philadelphia’s Team Clean embraced CSR from the day they opened for business. As a professional janitorial service, Team Clean lost no time in joining the citywide Philly Spring Cleanup, where 21 Team Clean volunteers removed approximately 75 bags of trash and debris.  Team Clean’s CEO Donna Allie also served as the chair of the American Heart Association’s “Go Red For Women” yearlong national campaign against heart disease.  And her “Think Green” initiative promotes green cleaning products instead of the standard commercial cleaners, which can be harmful if touched or inhaled.

Major corporations can have an outsized impact on whatever causes they choose to champion. But you don’t need to be in the Fortune 500 to make a difference.  Even a boutique business or a one-person company will discover that the long-term benefits of corporate social responsibility far outweigh the cost of donating a portion of their profits

Rethink Recycling

The dress is a knockout. A form-fitting scarlet sheath with a train that goes on for miles. The fact that it’s made from cereal boxes, recycled paint and parachute scraps almost seems beside the point.

Titled “Eco-Flamenco,” this dress was created by artist and environmental advocate Nancy Judd, who has been rethinking recycling. “It is in the challenge of transforming materials that are difficult to work with or that are seen as ugly, into something that is pretty, glamorous or interesting that makes me come alive,” she told reporters at an exhibition of her work in Ft. Collins.  And “Eco-Flamenco” carries her message in numerous ways. For example, the red ruffles on its train carry 5,000 eco-pledges written on the scraps before they were sewn onto the dress. (Many of Judd’s fashion pieces are referred to as “sculptures,” depending on whether they can be worn or not).

One of Judd’s more versatile materials is called “plarn”—plastic yarn, made from those flimsy plastic shopping bags that cannot be recycled. Plarn is very much a homegrown solution to the problem posed by these bags; anyone who can crochet, braid or knit can make plarn at home with a pair of scissors. Once you have enough, you’ll be crocheting sturdy, reusable tote bags, purses, doormats, and more in no time. Crafters across the country have embraced plarn as another way to rethink recycling, and the humble plastic yarn that would otherwise have been waste has inspired countless communities, websites and YouTube videos for the curious.

While some are rethinking how plastics can be reused or recycled as formal wear or pocketbooks, others are looking at recycling the stuff that came in those pesky (and unrecyclable) clamshell containers.  Yes, food.

In New York City, residents already had blue and green recycling bins for glass, metal, paper and plastic. Brown bins for organic waste began appearing on sidewalks last summer.  Food waste had been ending up in landfills, which was no longer tenable. Besides hogging the lion’s share of each landfill, organic waste was heavy and expensive to ship. It also released methane, a greenhouse gas, as it decomposed.  New York sanitation officials say that the goal is for every resident of the city to have a way to recycle food scraps, along with other trash organics, like yard and leaf waste. The organic waste will be composted and used as garden fertilizer, livestock feed, and as biogas that can be used as fuel.

These are just some of the positive results that have emerged from people and communities who rethink recycling.  After dinner tonight, take an extra few moments to contemplate your table scraps, and where they’ll be going after they leave your kitchen. Is there something better, more useful and less hazardous your organic waste could be doing?


Founded in 1983, Team Clean, Inc. is a commercial janitorial services company in Philadelphia. Due mainly to the service focus and vision of its founder/president/CEO—Donna L. Allie, PhD.—the company enjoyed huge growth during its first two decades. By 1999, it was the fourth-largest woman-owned business in Philadelphia, and the Wharton Small Business Development Center identified it as one of the fastest-growing small businesses in that metropolitan area.

CLEANING OUT ASTHMA: How Schools Can Protect Their Students

Back-to-school season means back to watching out for diseases and infections that could keep your student home instead of in class. The Environmental Protection Agency has issued these guidelines for managing asthma in schools, which include detailed information about reducing risk through careful cleaning and meticulous building maintenance.

Why It’s Important

• Asthma is the leading cause of children’s absence from school.

• Numerous environmental triggers can cause asthma attacks, such as:

o Mold, excess moisture, and dust

o Pests and animal dander

o Diesel exhaust o Chemicals in some cleaning products

• Addressing asthma triggers can reduce the number of nurse visits and keep children focused on schoolwork.

What You Can Do

• Perform regular and thorough cleaning and building maintenance to help children avoid environmental triggers.

• Avoid using cleaning products containing strong odors or fragrances that might trigger asthma symptoms.

• Implement an integrated pest management program to reduce the risk of triggers.

• Ensure the school has policies in place to reduce unnecessary car and bus idling.

• EPA’s Model School Environmental Health Program addresses key components that can reduce asthma triggers.

EPA and Federal Partners

• EPA’s Asthma and Indoor Environments website provides information about common indoor asthma triggers and how to avoid them.

• EPA’s Best Practices for Reducing Near-Road Air Pollution Exposure at Schools publication can be used by schools to reduce exposure to traffic-related air pollution.

• Managing Asthma in the School Environment by EPA offers nine tools for schools: 10 Ways to Manage Asthma, The Asthma Epidemic, Asthma in Schools, IAQ Tools for Schools, Environmental Asthma Triggers, Asthma Management and Education, Additional Resources, Asthma Action Card, and Daily Asthma Management Plan.

• Managing Asthma: A Guide for Schools (44 pp, 1.1 M, About PDF) helps schools plan or maintain an asthma management program for their students with asthma. The guide was a collaborative project of the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools in the U.S. Department of Education.

• EPA’s School Flag Program helps children, parents, school personnel and the community to be aware of daily air quality conditions. Participating schools raise brightly colored flags that signal the level of air pollution for that day to help school members and the surrounding community adjust their activities to reduce their exposure to air pollution.

• Role of the State Asthma Program in Implementing Multicomponent, School-Based Asthma Interventions by CDC’s National Asthma Control Program highlights activities three state asthma programs have undertaken to support school-based initiatives.

National Organizations

• Asthma in Schools on the American Lung Association website helps families and schools make sure that children with asthma stay healthy, in school and ready to learn. The website includes: o Open Airways for Schools Program

• The State Honor Roll, produced annually by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, identifies states with the most comprehensive and preferred statewide public policies supporting people with asthma and related allergic diseases in U.S. elementary, middle and high schools. The goal of this report is to identify state-level progress toward better school-based policies and to provide a blueprint for asthma and allergy advocates nationwide.

• Just for Kids on the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology website includes games, storybooks, videos and more to help kids learn about managing their asthma and allergies.

• Mold, Mice and Zip Codes: Inside the Childhood Asthma Epidemic by NBC News, report on the links between asthma, poverty, and where you live.

Regional, State and Local Resources

• Visit the Sensible Steps for Healthier School Environments web page for an overview of issues related to asthma and asthma triggers in schools.

• Asthma and the School Environment in New York State by the state’s Department of Health summarizes research on asthma hospitalization among school-age children as well as school building conditions. The report identifies the strengths and remaining challenges of managing asthma and associated environmental factors in the school setting.

• Schools and Asthma on the Asthma Initiative of Michigan website offers numerous tools to support children with asthma in schools as well as related state laws and policies and resources for school staff and parents.

Team Clean has provided this blog information as a public health service. Over the past four decades, Team Clean’s experience and expertise have successfully serviced companies and organizations requiring: General office cleaning; Government offices and facilities; the Education sector; Events and Sporting venues, including stadiums and convention halls; and services for industrial plants and warehouse facilities. For further information about Team Clean, please visit


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