Team Clean, Inc.Team Clean, Inc.
Removing Graffiti

BAG THE TAGS: Why Removing Graffiti is So Hard

Removing graffiti is still one of the toughest building maintenance chores to deal with.  Soap and water usually won’t do it. But a lot of harsh chemicals and sharp scrapers might. However you choose to deal with graffiti, the cleaning-off process is a long, messy one if you choose to do it yourself. And your results are not guaranteed.

To save time, money and the agony of defeat, a professional cleaning firm like Team Clean, which has successfully dealt with graffiti for decades, is probably the best way to go.

But if you’re determined to do it yourself, here’s what you’ll need in your graffiti fighter’s tool kit:

1.          Aerosol solvent
2.         Clean cotton painters’ rags
3.         Trash bags
4.         Inexpensive paintbrushes, rollers and paint containers
5.         Paint matching various surfaces around your neighborhood
6.         Paint scraper
7.         Dust mask
8.         Safety glasses
9.         Kitchen cleaner and water in spray bottle

Solvents and Cleaners
There are a number of graffiti removal products on the market. It can help to become familiar with each one. Learn about safe use and safe handling. Some of the better-known solvents available at major hardware stores can be hazardous to your health. Using a respirator is probably safer than using a dust mask. Breathing this stuff is obnoxious and NOT healthy.

You need to be aware of wind conditions. You need eye and breathing protection when you use it. Rags used with solvent should be discarded properly. DO NOT KEEP FLAMMABLE RAGS IN CONTAINERS in your vehicle or garage.

Know the product you are using and HOW TO HANDLE AN ACCIDENTAL INJURY when using the product.

Some of the markers the vandals are using are not permanent. We’ve been able to clean some signs with soap and water.

Safety Glasses 
Safety glasses keep paints, solvents, and dust from entering the eyes. Always use caution. Never compromise eye safety.

Cleaning Smooth Surfaces
Test an inconspicuous area of the surface with your cleaning material. Most modern signs clean quickly. Start by cleaning with soap and water first then proceed to solvents.

Cleaning from Rough Surfaces 
Many times paint on a rough surface causes permanent damage. The character of the surface will change because, in some cases, it is virtually impossible to remove all of the paint from a porous surface. A perfect example is a cinder block wall. You may be forced to paint the wall—the entire wall. Simply framing the damaged area leaves you (and the vandal) with an ugly blotch.

We have found that pressure washers, using sand, can actually etch a cinder block wall, further hastening the wall’s demise. A wire brush is somewhat limited in effectiveness as well. Our city, instead, uses a power washer with a biodegradable emulsifier approved by our sewer department. In most cases, we have been able to completely remove the vandalism. However in some cases, because of the porous surfaces involved, a slight hazy remnant of the graffiti still remains.

Elbow Grease and the Wire Brush
An inexpensive wire brush is excellent for removing paint from many surfaces. The surface will look like someone has wire brushed it but the vandal’s message will be history. Any surface where you use a wire brush should be a surface, that will over time, weather back to the original color or texture. Every graffiti fighter needs a wire brush in his or her tool kit.

Use the wire brush on: 
Telephone poles
Street curbs
Some rough metals
Smooth stone surfaces
Decorative rocks
Wood fences
Concrete

TIPS ON REMOVAL
1. When you engage in graffiti removal, you become very aware of how much more difficult it is to remove it than it is to apply it. This is especially true in the case of rough, unpainted brick surfaces. Painted surfaces are probably best repainted, though it would be wise to have a supply of graffiti removal solvent ready for rapid response. This is also true because recent graffiti seems to be easier to remove than old graffiti.

2. For surfaces like mailboxes, utility boxes, steel roll-up doors, lampposts, etc., liquid graffiti removal solvent (Savogram) is the way to go. This graffiti should be removed as soon as it appears. This requires only some light duty steel wool, a small spray bottle of solvent, and a cleaner like TSP to wash the area down after removing the graffiti. Very little solvent should be used if the graffiti is recent. Just spray on some solvent, lightly rub with steel wool (or even heavy duty paper towels) and then wipe clean. You’ll want to use rubber gloves and lightly wash the affected area after removing the graffiti. Spray solvent such as Jasco, is not recommended for mailboxes or other painted surfaces since it will cause so much paint to bubble up that the “cleaned” area may look worse than it did with the graffiti.

3. For a brick surface, especially red brick, we recommend a professional cleanup, using a biodegradable emulsifier. This method minimizes the toll on the surface. It is generally too difficult to tackle a very rough surface with wire brushes and solvents, and the finished job will still bear a fair amount of the evidence of the graffiti.

4. For routinely painted surfaces like fences and some wall, it would be wise to have plenty of matching paint available for immediate cover-up within a day or two of the appearance of graffiti. In a business district, we recommend that some standard colors be employed in locations that are graffiti-prone and that an understanding be developed among property owners and business managers to allow for painting over graffiti quickly without having to secure permission from all affected parties. Rapid response is the key and this is only possible if the job is made as easy and automatic as possible.

Graffiti removal is not always a simple “spray it on, wipe it off” affair, especially when it involves brick or other rough surfaces or when paint has been there for a long time. You should expect to encounter examples where the best you can do is reduce the graffiti to an unrecognizable fade, even if it is not possible to completely remove it. Try both solvents if one doesn’t seem to do the trick. Don’t give up too soon. Sometimes, several applications of solvent or allowing to sit for a longer time will take care of things.

Commercial Cleaning

Commercial Cleaning: Cost or Investment?

Maintaining a clean workplace environment can pay for itself many times over, and often in unexpected ways. According to CleanLink, some of the most significant benefits kick in immediately:

  • There’s a direct correlation between a clean work environment and improved employee health. A clean environment can help reduce worker sick days.
  • A regular cleaning program preserves and protects building assets such as carpets, floors, tile surfaces, equipment. It prevents excessive wear and extends lifespans.
  • A sparkling workplace can be an excellent marketing tool, whether you’re trying to impress prospective clients, lease space or sell the building.
  • A clean, healthy building plays extremely well with occupants, creating a welcoming atmosphere, often subconsciously encouraging hard work and collective effort.
  • The appearance is one of the major elements that separates one building from another and brings added value.

Some experts say that the cleaning industry should be included under the umbrella of the healthcare industry, since cleaning plays such a vital role in keeping people healthy and productive. Aiding attendance, productivity and customer satisfaction can build a financial argument that will convince even the accountants.

Appearance will always be a major reason for commercial cleaning, but headlines about flu, MRSA, C. diff and other germs will mean higher cleaning standards and an increasingly important role for commercial cleaning companies like Philadelphia’s Team Clean.  As Donna L. Allie, Team Clean’s CEO, points out, “A well-maintained facility has the added effect of boosting employee morale, as well as contributing to an accident-free work environment. It also minimizes absenteeism caused by illnesses that can be prevented by the effective control and elimination of bacteria and germs.”

Stephen Collins of Stephco Cleaning & Restoration notes, “When we start to connect the dots between proper cleaning, employee attendance and performance, customer satisfaction and spending, then the value of commercial cleaning will be better understood and it will be harder to cut cleaning budgets — or to always choose the lowest bidder.”

Avoiding Classroom Germs, From Sniffles to Flu

The first and most effective defense against the flu is cleanliness.  John Rosales of the NEA outlines the five basic steps of flu-fighting in our schools:

From the first fall sniffles to the advance of flu season, educators and students can’t completely avoid being exposed to colds and viruses, but they can take actions to reduce the chances of getting sick.

We asked four experienced, award-winning custodians—those professionals on the frontlines of keeping schools clean—for their advice on minimizing the spread of germs in the classroom. Here are their top five tips:

1.         Wipe It Down

Fortunately, custodians provide a thorough cleaning of classrooms before and/or after school, but teachers and paras can help contain the spread of germs in between classes by “cleaning desktops, counters, sinks, soap and paper towel dispensers especially during a flu outbreak,” says Pat Nicholson, winner of the 2009 C.L.E.A.N. Award (Custodial Leaders for Environmental Advocacy Nationwide). “Wiping door handles and frames, walls and counters that are touched by hundreds of hands every day with an effective sanitizer and a micro fiber towel will limit the spread of viruses.”

2.         Stock Supplies and Cover Up

“Teachers and paras should keep tissues, hand sanitizer, and sanitizer wipes in classrooms for when kids sneeze or cough,” says Briana Rivera, from Saks Elementary School in Anniston, Alabama, and a runner-up in this year’s C.L.E.A.N.  Award competition. “As a preventive measure, they should talk to the kids about covering their mouths and washing their hands to contain the spread of germs.”

Steve Brooks of the Maryland State Teachers Association has spent 15 years in school maintenance. He says that classrooms with sinks should have the proper hand sanitizers to take advantage of a quick way to kill germs before they spread.

“When students cough, immediately ask them to go to the sink and wash,” says Brooks, president of the Calvert Association of Educational Support Staff. “Keep disinfector wipes in stock and continuously wipe off.”

3.         Monitor Students and Send Them Home When Appropriate

When necessary, teachers should send sick kids home.

“Paras can help keep an eye on the kids who are coughing,” says Brooks, a graduate of the ESP Leaders for Tomorrow program. “Because kids cough and keep going.”

Nicholson confirms that staff should be on the lookout for students as well as teachers with flu symptoms. “Staff with the flu should stay home as well,” he says.

4.         Minimize Objects That Attract Germs

Teachers and paraeducators should also “always work to minimize the number of objects in a classroom that are handled by students and can carry germs,” says Arnold.

Nicholson says sofas, beanbag chairs, recliners, and rugs are “asthma trigger reservoirs,” providing a home for dust, dust mites, pet dander, and pathogens which can trigger asthma attacks. Nearly one in 10 students has asthma.

“These students will benefit from the removal of these items,” Nicholson says. “This type of furniture also obstructs cleaning in your classroom.”

And while you’re at it, cut down on clutter.

“Uncluttered horizontal surfaces can be cleaned quickly and easily,” says Nicholson. “Desks and countertops collect dust and particulates. It takes custodians longer to clean surfaces covered with clutter.”

5.         Work as a Team

“Dealing with germs is a team effort,” says Brooks, who works at Patuxent High School in Lusby. “We might not get 100 percent of them, but you need to have the teacher and para supporting what custodians do in the morning and after school.”

Other vital members in this team effort include students.

“We teach kids everything else, so we can teach them how to keep from spreading germs,” Brooks adds.

This article has been edited. The original appeared here.

 

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 http://www.team-clean.com

Clean Schools

Clean Schools = Better Students = Higher Grades

Where do you prefer to shop?  In a spotless, fresh-smelling boutique, or in a grimy store with sticky floors and a mysterious stench permeating everything? Where do you prefer to lunch?  In a sparkling-clean cafe with that wonderful fresh-baked aroma, or in a fly-infested diner that might not have been cleaned since Diana Ross was a Supreme.   Ask anyone where they’d rather live, work and study, and clean/fresh beats dirty/grimy every time. This is especially evident in schools and other educational settings, where productivity is essential.

According to several studies, there’s a strong correlation between the cleanliness of school facilities and the achievements of students and teachers.

PROMOTING HEALTH HELPS

In one Australian study, respondents said an approach that promotes health and cleanliness significantly impacts productivity of students and teachers. Cleaner school environments generally have a more positive influence on an educator’s job stress.

Such work environments foster employee commitment. The more teachers are happy with their work environment, the better they teach, and the more students will learn.

CLEANLINESS AFFECTS LEARNING

In another study, this time in the United States, more than 80% of students polled said a lack of cleanliness is a big distraction in schools. The study is based on the five levels of cleanliness outlined in APPA’s (Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers) Custodial Staffing Guidelines for Educational Facilities.

The results said a lack of cleanliness becomes a distraction for student at APPA Level 3 (or casual inattention) and Level 4 (moderate dinginess). Most of the students said they desire APPA Level 1 cleanliness (or orderly spotlessness), or at least a Level 2 (ordinary tidiness).

How important is cleanliness to the way the immediate environment is perceived? Cleanliness was named the fourth most important building element that affects the personal learning of students. Noise, air temperature, and lighting were named top three. Students reported a dirty learning environment aggravates allergies, spreads germs, worsens distracting bug and rodent infestations, and promotes higher stress levels in individuals.

These studies show that cleanliness is important not just in schools, but in other establishments as well. Healthy building occupants are productive, and for students, this often translates to better grades and performance.

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 http://www.team-clean.com

Losing Money

Is Your Cleaning Cleaning You Out? 8 Signs You’re Squandering Money

You may think you’ve gotten your office and building cleaning systems right where you want them.  But your current cleaning systems could be costing your business extra money and decreasing your bottom line.  Here are 8 key factors that could be costing you 20%, 30% or even 40% of your budget for cleaning and supplies.

  1. Too Many Products

It’s said that a great chef needs only two knives: a chef’s knife and a paring knife. An efficient janitorial staff also knows how to do more with less.

4+ cleaning products are too many. Specialty cleaners add up quickly, especially if you’re using multiple ready-to-use products. Look for products that can do all your multi-purpose cleaning– glass, grout, tile, floors, stainless steel, carpet and general surfaces.

  1. Inconsistent Training

How long does it take to train each new custodian? If you have to develop your own training program from scratch, or if the training materials provided are difficult to use, you’re wasting time and money while training your staff. A good training system is simple and crosses language barriers to get your custodians up to speed quickly. Of course, if you use a professional corporate janitorial service like Team Clean, no basic training is necessary.

  1. Accidental Surface Damage Costs

If an irate customer sends you a bill for bleach spots on a carpet, you’ve paid too much for your cleaning chemicals. Reduce your risk by using safer cleaning products. Look for products that are marked safe on any water-safe surface. If you must use products that could potentially damage surfaces, make sure the training is clear (see above) and that custodians know the proper handling procedures according to the product’s instructions.

  1. Workers’ Compensation Claims

6 out of 100 custodial workers file chemical-related Workers’ Comp claims per year.  No one wants to see staffers injured, and no one wants to deal with a Worker’s Comp claim. If you have reoccurring issues with chemical-related Worker’s Comp, it probably ties back to the safety profile of the products. How do you pick safer cleaning products?

  1. Those Ready-to-Use Blues

Ready-to-use (RTU) products seem convenient, but they’re far more costly than concentrated chemicals. You always want to look at the in-use cost per gallon. An RTU carpet spotter could run you $4 or $5 per quart, whereas a concentrated chemical could cost less than a dollar per quart. Plus, you get the added sustainability bonus of not having to dispose of all those RTU plastic bottles.

  1. Residue = Sticky = More Cleaning Time

Some cleaning products work by adding more and more detergent to the formula. Products like these can leave behind a lot of sticky chemical residue, meaning surfaces get dirtier faster. When your shoe (or, worse, your bare foot) sticks to the floor, that’s the excess detergent in the cleaning chemical making itself known. If your staff cleans the floor again with the same chemical, it just leaves more and more residue. It’s a vicious cycle that can only be broken by replacing that particular chemical with something that’s easier to work with.

  1. Angry Customers

If you have to go back and redo a cleaning task because of customer complaints, you’ve wasted extra time and money. This issue comes back to basic customer service, product effectiveness, and simple, straightforward training.

  1. Saving Green by Cleaning Green

A lot of people think that staying green is more expensive, but green is all about resource reduction.  Green cleaners are typically in concentrated form, reducing cost over ready-to-use products. They’re safer alternatives to traditional chemicals, so you’ll see less damage and less workers’ comp. Green products often come in eco-friendly containers. If you add greener cleaners on top of other green practices, like entry mats and high-efficiency equipment, you’ll be directly addressing almost all 8 of these cleaning issues that are unnecessarily costing you time and money.

5 Ways Cleanliness Helps your Business

5 Ways Cleanliness Helps your Business

Unsanitary office, let us count the ways you sicken us: Keyboards, telephone receivers, photocopiers, shaking hands with potential customers, reheating lunch in the microwave, dropping a pen on the floor and picking it up, a visit to the restroom—if there are germ-infested surfaces to touch, you’ve probably touched quite a few of them on your way to doing other things. And by the way, you’re not looking well. Time to call in sick?

Germs can spread like wildfire, hiding on unexpected surfaces, just waiting to give you and your co-workers various levels of illnesses. And it’s not just in office environments; it happens in warehouses, retail stores, and of course, healthcare facilities. So, yes, a clean workplace is important. Here’s why

1. Healthy employees = fewer sick days: It doesn’t take a genius to figure this one out. Check out the stats. Sick days cost businesses more than $225 billion dollars each year and result in 54% loss in productivity. Keeping your work environment clean keeps your employees healthy and lowers the number of sick days. Your janitorial team should focus on the daily disinfecting of surfaces, vacuuming carpets, washing floors, and sanitizing restrooms to minimize the spread. Hand sanitizer wall dispensers help too.

2. Cleanliness breeds satisfaction: When you walk into a spotless room that smells lemony fresh, it can make you light right up because you’ve walked into a clean space. Some people get absolutely giddy, and some feel an improvement in their energy levels as well as their overall satisfaction. A dirty office, on the other hand, affects morale. Honestly, would you want to put your lunch in a grimy fridge with a dead-food smell? Or not be able to look outside without dirty windows, ledges, and blinds degrading your view? For an employer, keeping the workspace clean lets employees know that their work is appreciated and respected.

3. Improved productivity: Coughing, sneezing or just feeling out of sorts are the calling cards of a dirty work environment. Employees might not even make the connection between their impaired performance and the effects that lingering dust and germs can have on their breathing, energy levels, headaches or skin. They may be feeling a lack motivation or initiative due to the unhealthiness of the workplace. Improved cleaning practices and quality janitorial cleaning supplies will positively impact the overall health of employees, improving their productivity.

4. It’s your image at stake: It’s not just your employees who interact with your spaces each day. It’s also your suppliers, potential and current clients, business partners and prospective hires. Do you want them leaving with the next communicable illness and an impression that your workplace is filthy? Of course not. Word spreads almost as fast as germs, so make sure you have the right cleaning strategies in place, from the front door to the forklift, restrooms, and boardrooms.

5. Cleanliness preserves assets over the long term: You have expensive assets in your building, particularly carpets and hard floors. If they’re not getting regular cleaning with the right cleaning products, you can kiss those pricey carpets and scratch-free, shiny floors goodbye. A good janitorial service will have commercial carpet cleaning equipment and/or commercial floor scrubbers that can make the cleaning process more effective and efficient. Your carpets and floors will last longer, and the professional equipment used to clean them makes the job much quicker. If your company has an in-house janitorial staff, consider equipping them with commercial cleaning equipment.

Speaking of cleaning efficiency, your company can follow all the suggestions above and still stay environmentally friendly. Philadelphia corporate janitorial service Team Clean notes, “The cleaning products we use are formulated to achieve maximum cleaning effectiveness while exceeding all environmental and safety requirements. We use Green Seal certified cleaning chemicals for general purpose, restroom, glass, and carpet cleaning, or recommended products for those not covered by the Green Seal Standard but do go beyond current, industry specifications. Our walk-behind carpet extractors and floor scrubbers reduce water consumption by 70%, along with a corresponding reduction in chemical usage.”

And, as part of any Green Clean program, Team Clean can also create an effective recycling process for your company, including the collection of materials, separation of recyclables from non-recyclables, and the removal of both.

How Athletes Can Fight MRSA

How Athletes Can Fight MRSA

Football season and MRSA season arrive hand in hand to make everyone’s lives more miserable. MRSA is a staph infection, spread by skin-to-skin contact.  Gymnasiums, health clubs, hospitals and nursing homes are hot spots, and MRSA can announce itself with painful skin boils before it gets even worse.

Team Clean endorses the Centers for Disease Controls recommendations for cleaning and disinfecting athletic facilities for MRSA:

Shared equipment that comes into direct skin contact should be cleaned after each use and allowed to dry. Equipment, such as helmets and protective gear, should be cleaned according to the equipment manufacturers’ instructions to make sure the cleaner will not harm the item.

  • Athletic facilities such as locker rooms should always be kept clean whether or not MRSA infections have occurred among the athletes.
  • Review cleaning procedures and schedules with the janitorial/environmental service staff.
    • Cleaning procedures should focus on commonly touched surfaces and surfaces that come into direct contact with people’s bare skin each day.
    • Cleaning with detergent-based cleaners or Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered detergents/disinfectants will remove MRSA from surfaces.
    • Cleaners and disinfectants, including household chlorine bleach, can be irritating and exposure to these chemicals has been associated with health problems such as asthma and skin and eye irritation.
      • Take appropriate precautions described on the product’s label instructions to reduce exposure. Wearing personal protective equipment such as gloves and eye protection may be indicated.
    • Follow the instruction labels on all cleaners and disinfectants, including household chlorine bleach, to make sure they are used safely and correctly.
      • Some key questions that should be answered by reading the label include:
        • How should the cleaner or disinfectant be applied?
        • Do you need to clean the surface first before using the disinfectant (e.g., precleaned surfaces)?
        • Is it safe for the surface? Some cleaners and disinfectants, including household chlorine bleach, might damage some surfaces (e.g., metals, some plastics).
        • How long do you need to leave it on the surface to be effective (i.e., contact time)?
        • Do you need to rinse the surface with water after using the cleaner or disinfectant?
      • If you are using household chlorine bleach, check the label to see if the product has specific instructions for disinfection. If no disinfection instructions exist, then use 1/4 cup of regular household bleach in 1 gallon of water (a 1:100 dilution equivalent to 500-615 parts per million [ppm] of available chlorine) for disinfection of pre-cleaned surfaces.
      • Environmental cleaners and disinfectants should not be put onto skin or wounds and should never be used to treat infections.
      • The EPA provides a list of registered products that work against MRSA (List H):
    • There is a lack of evidence that large-scale use (e.g., spraying or fogging rooms or surfaces) of disinfectants will prevent MRSA infections more effectively than a more targeted approach of cleaning frequently-touched surfaces.
    • Repair or dispose of equipment and furniture with damaged surfaces that do not allow surfaces to be adequately cleaned.
    • Covering infections will greatly reduce the risks of surfaces becoming contaminated with MRSA.

For Women-Owned Businesses, Success is Spelled “WBENC”

“When women are economically empowered, they become engines of growth for their communities.”  So says Adele Gulfo, president of Pfizer. And if yours is a woman-owned business, the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) has good news—and benefits—for you.

Marcy LaFond, owner of WBENC member on3 Promotional Partners, answers the most-asked questions:

What are the benefits of working with a WBENC supplier?

Increased Revenue:

There are more than 350,000 US companies that have a Supplier Diversity program that are looking to do business with companies that support women-owned businesses. Partnering with these companies can bring your company new business.

Research shows that companies who embrace diversity are more profitable (some are generating more than 130% greater return, according to the Hackett Group’s research results) than companies that do not embrace diversity in its business suppliers. Members from diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives avoid “groupthink,” creating greater solutions and creativity. Also, many companies are mandating that as much as 25% of their purchases are allocated to Women’s Business Enterprises.

One longtime WBENC member is Philadelphia’s Team Clean. Donna Allie founded the company on a shoestring, and it now serves a variety of clients in government, education, industry, professional offices, and sports and entertainment venues and events. Among the highlights of Team Clean, Inc.’s growth are clients such as the landmark National Constitution Center, the Pennsylvania Convention Center, and Citizens Bank Park, the home of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Let your clients know that you partner with WBENC companies. Include this in your presentations, quotes and sales conversations. It may give you the competitive advantage in their decision-making process to determine who will get the company’s business. Corporations are seeking suppliers that work with WBE’s; this is referred to as 2nd Tier Sourcing.

Tax Incentives:

The federal government provides tax breaks for companies that utilize minority and women-owned businesses as suppliers. There is also a second tax incentive that reduces tax liabilities for companies that use minority and women-owned businesses that supply labor or services to a project funded with federal or state grants or loans. State tax incentives may be available as well.

Additional Benefits:

A Supplier Diversity commitment benefits a company for many additional reasons:

  • Promotes innovation through the entrance of new products, services and solutions
  • Provides multiple channels from which to procure goods and services
  • Drives competition (on price and service levels) between the company’s existing and potential vendors
  • Displays an organization’s commitment to doing business beyond consumerism in diverse markets
  • Showcases the company’s interest in and commitment to the economic growth of all communities.

As small businesses grow, so will our nation’s economy. Since most diverse businesses are small businesses, they aid in the economic recovery and sustainability of their communities. In addition, supplier diversity is important because it provides products and services to emerging consumer markets. While traditional products and services remain available to consumers, demographic shifts create opportunities for diverse suppliers to meet the needs of emerging and shifting populations in the US and across the globe.

Thanks to the WBENC, women-owned businesses not only grow their markets, but corporations can now access quality services and products that meet their requirements. In fact, WBE’s are one of the fastest growing sectors of the American economy, and a key force behind job growth and job creation in the economic recovery.

This article has been edited from the original.

Green Cleaning

Green Cleaning: Why It’s Important

Carpeting, flooring, waste bins, windows, bathrooms; all areas of your building need to be cleaned, that’s a given.  Nobody is ever delighted to walk into a dirty building or room.  Cleaning is important to maintain the look and feel of your establishment.  What’s more important than that?  Your health. Routine cleaning takes away dirt, allergens, and food sources for pests who carry bacteria and disease.  Air quality is a big issue especially for those who have a chronic health condition.

Ok, so, we’ve cleaned and polished, and reduced any contaminants in the air; We’re done, right? Not so fast.  How did you accomplish that clean?  What kind of products are you using?  To some this might seem “nit-picky,” but it is a very valid question.  Are you using the safest products to achieve the goal? Cleaning chemicals are known to be abrasive and powerful solutions that are meant to destroy dirt and odor.  Often these chemicals are branded with disclaimers and warnings about the effect they might have on health.  These products can be a danger.  Working toward using safer “greener” products can reduce or eliminate the dangers revolving around using such abrasive chemicals.

According to EnvirOx:

  1. Safer products reduce worker’s comp issues. Right now, six out of 100 custodial workers have a chemical-related worker’s comp claim per year.
  2. Safer chemicals also reduce surface wear & tear. If it’s safe for the environment and safe for people, the product probably isn’t going to hurt your carpet, either.
  3. Sustainable, concentrated chemicals often have a high yield — that is, the concentrated chemical makes a lot of in-use cleaning product. This can lead to big in-use savings over ready-to-use products that end up in landfills.

Taking steps now to move toward safer cleaning products will save you money, and create an even healthier environment.  Team Clean proudly uses green cleaning products in our operations.  Ensure the safety of your facility and the well-being of your staff; all while saving money. It’s a win-win.

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