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Bob
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Phoenix hit 119 degrees yesterday; we were shooting for an even 120. Perhaps today. It's a good time not to be traveling; quite a number of flights out of Sky Harbor were cancelled yesterday due to the heat. American Airlines by itself cancelled 50. The issue is lack of lift produced by the hot air; hot air expands, so supports less weight - and aircraft. The situation is worst for smaller commuter aircraft; the larger planes, with more power and larger wings, have less of an issue. It's also the time of the year when a few customers (we provide... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at The Janitors' Closet
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Caught an interesting study on indoor smoking and its effect on indoor air quality. The article headline stresses marijuana smoke, perhaps to garner audience, but mostly talks about smoking generally and the size particles (half micron down to quarter micron in diameter), generated by smoking, that impact health. Removing fine particles from clients' indoor air, and thus benefit their health, is central to our Cleaning for Health program, utilizing HEPA filtered vacuums, microfiber wipes and microfiber damp mops. And why we measure client indoor, ongoing. I'll let you peruse the article on your own. The only caveat I'd mention is... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at The Janitors' Closet
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This has nothing to do with janitorial service in the metro Phoenix area, my usual subject, but the recent shootings in Washington got me thinking. Several years ago, the U S Army and Marine Corps got together to produce a counter-insurgency field manual, kicked off by Petraeus and Mattis, Army and Marine generals respectively, and two of the brightest and most widely read fellows in anyone's military; as senior commanders in Iraq, they both found themselves fighting insurgents on the fly, with no doctrine available. They recruited a stellar group of folks to write the manual. In the introduction to... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at The Janitors' Closet
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Took a call from a long time client a bit ago; they wanted us to quote and provide a day porter for their facility, perhaps an hour per day, mid-day. They're a large call center, with lots of folks using a couple of large restrooms, in something of a high pressure environment. So the restrooms get hammered, and my client thought they needed an extra mid-day cleaning I dropped by, early afternoon, to check the restrooms with the client and to probe a bit on exactly what his concerns really were. Turns out that overflowing trash cans and empty towel... Continue reading
Posted Jun 13, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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I go out on a fair number of quotes, to assess both the potential client facility and its needs in the way of janitorial or office cleaning service. I do my best to get a look at the janitor closet. Clearly, it's useful to see if there is a floor sink, and to see if there is enough safe storage for whatever paper goods, and hand-soap, need be kept on hand. I also like to see what the current cleaning service uses (both chemicals and equipment), and what kind of potential liability the client is (usually unknowingly) covering. I almost... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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Amazon claims to be on the edge of revolutionizing janitorial work, according to an article in the Puget Sound Business Journal. Being as I have no robots (nor little available cash to acquire any), the article caught my eye. How soon will cleaning robots do me in? It turns out that Amazon intends to equip, as necessary for the given task, it's warehouse stocking robots with floor scrubbers, vacuums, buffers, and so on. Seems a nice piece of equipment multi-tasking, but it's hardly revolutionary. We've had for a few years operator-less equipment to do all those tasks, directed by wires... Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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My ruminations yesterday on check cashing firms, and banking (and its history), and the day-to-day impact on a lot of the contractors who provide janitorial service to our clients, got me to thinking about a recent conversation. CBN Building Maintenance's office is a 1914 prairie style house in Phoenix's oldest historic district (the Roosevelt neighborhood). The fellow who built it was the president of an early local bank, and of the building and loan firm that constructed the house for him. Several years ago, we did a quite thorough restoration of the building, taking it close to its original layout... Continue reading
Posted May 26, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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I run a janitorial firm in the Phoenix area. For better than 30 years, we've been based on small, usually owner-operated independent contractors for much of our small client work. They're straight, down to earth hard working folks, often immigrants or their children, trying to make a decent living for their families. Good people. I've noticed that quite a number of them use check cashing firms to cash their monthly payments; it's seemed to me, repeatedly, that the couple of points charged, plus the time to visit the check cashing shop, has (from my perspective) got to be a drag... Continue reading
Posted May 25, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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It occurred to us a good many years ago that, in vetting our staff, a thorough back-grounding (criminal and civil, national in scope, plus driving record and so on) made little sense without a formal program for confirming the identity of the applicant. And back-grounding of entire staff is crucial - we have key access, after office hours, to a great many client facilities, many with sensitive documents on site, as well as the obvious pilferage targets. We require and verify a current Arizona drivers license (hard to fake, and easy to teach my screening folks to spot a fake);... Continue reading
Posted May 23, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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Working on yesterday's article on UV lights, and bedbugs, an article from some months ago came to mind, and I could not help but re-post it. So here it is: Bedbugs seem to be making a comeback; in a recent survey, Chicago tops the list of cities with infestations. Phoenix did not make the top ten, but we cannot be far behind. So, I'm dusting off an old plan. I caught an article some years ago in our Arizona Republic about a New York retailer hiring a specially trained beagle to sniff out potential bedbugs in the establishment. Central to... Continue reading
Posted May 19, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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Black lights are used to help you locate the hidden sources of odor regular cleaning might miss. When everything else is dark, a black light makes certain objects glow in the dark. This is because certain objects "fluoresce" under ultraviolet (UV) light, which is what a black light emits. Black lights are required to observe fluorescence, since other types of ultraviolet lamps emit visible light which drowns out the dim fluorescent glow. A black light looks dark purple, but most of the light it emits is in the ultraviolet (UV) range of the spectrum, which is invisible to the human... Continue reading
Posted May 19, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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Take a look at the little card wired to your office fire extinguisher - those little boxes on the back. They let you date and initial each time you do the monthly visual inspection of the unit. Didn't know that you need to do a monthly inspection? Neither did I, once upon a time. We're in a restored 1914 two story house, less than a mile from the center of Phoenix. Old wood, untreated, doubtless very dry; wiring's been updated and fooled with, from time to time (all up to code, but who knows?). I've got a half dozen fire... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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Theft of toilet paper has gotten so severe in Beijing's Temple of Heaven Park (a major tourist destination) that the authorities have installed facial recognition software on the TP dispensers; anyone wanting more that his proper allocation must sit tight (as it were) for nine minutes before being allowed another two sheets. (Here's the full CNN article.) It seems that China does not usually offer said necessity in public restrooms - one must bring one's own. So perhaps folks have not gotten used to an economy that provides abundance, at least of necessities. (Or perhaps, the economy does not provided... Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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A great example of how transmission of disease around the facility can devastate any enterprise. It seems that over the last few days, 9 members of the Boston Red Sox, plus their play-by-play announcer, are down with the flu. The thing about a ball club is that many of their players are specialists; you only have one go-to shortstop (not all can be a utility infielder). That many players out, performance suffers. Kind of like most firms. Which is why well designed janitorial service, in addition to a bit of sanitation through the workday, is important to your bottom line.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 13, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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Interesting study out of Harvard: worker productivity, and cognition levels, are influenced by indoor air quality. The double blind study had office workers do their normal jobs, but in a facility that could be controlled. The focus was on increasing ventilation, to remove VOCs and other pollutants (and likely increase oxygen content). Seems that productivity can be significantly enhanced at an annual cost of $40.00 per employee (much less with energy efficient systems), in increased heating and cooling costs associated with more airflow from the exterior. Makes sense, and looks like a good investment. A few things one can do,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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Caught an article, on an evocative topic, from the Portland Press Herald: indoor houseplants will not only brighten your mood, but benefit your air quality. It's based on research done decades ago for NASA; they were trying to find ways to filter air during long-distances space voyages and in space stations. The article references B. C. Wolverton's 1997 book, "How to Grow Fresh Air". The article is correct, as far as it goes. Certain common house plants will absorb particular chemicals, such as formaldehyde, which tend to off-gas from facility furnishings and materials. Problem is, the low amounts absorbed by... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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In a survey of five Cleveland area hospitals, patient room floors were found to be contaminated with various pathogens, according to a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control. The concern is not so much for the health of one's shoes, as for the high-touch objects often found in contact with the floors, such as call buttons and blood pressure cuffs. We clean a good many health care facilities as part of our commercial janitorial service. I find myself more than a bit surprised at the lack of knowledge exhibited by healthcare facility managers regarding what they need,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 22, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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Caught an interesting study out of the University of Leicester. It seems that some particulates in air pollution impact the behavior of bacteria in one's respiratory tract: how they grow and form communities, and thus how they are able to combat our immune system. While the study is concerned with carbon particles, common in highly polluted big city exterior air, it does seem to me to have some potential bearing on what we ought be concerned about in indoor air. Some studies have toyed with the idea that it is as much the existence of heavy particle load, rather than... Continue reading
Posted Mar 9, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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Losing a client's keys, in the commercial janitorial service industry, is a nightmare. Particularly if, like we do at CBN, one stresses tight security in serving clients. The issue, of course, is the unintended (or sometimes intended) separating the cleaner from the keys. The clip to your belt may break; or you may put the keys down, say on the front desk, after locking yourself into the building, and forget where you put them; or have them in your hand (you think) as you take out the trash. Or you carefully set them on the front desk, went out the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 23, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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What with being in the commercial janitorial service field, and stressing the health and safety benefits of how we organize our cleaning, a recent article in Romper on the dangers of public restrooms caught my eye. The lead paragraph quotes an acquaintance, Dr. Charles Gerba, a microbiologist down the road at the University of Arizona: "... the real threat of germs lies in the area surrounding the toilet, and not the toilet itself. Because public toilets have eliminated toilet lids, it makes it impossible to guard the surrounding area from the spray of droplets that tend to escape when you... Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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Received a call yesterday, and quoted the same day as the call, nightly janitorial service, for a largish distribution center pretty close to my office in downtown Phoenix. They currently have the folks who do cleaning and miscellaneous chores in the warehouse catch the office cleaning when (and if) they finish in the warehouse, with predictable results: flu and colds traveling through the office, various breathing issues, and so on. And lots of dust. Disinfect the coffee maker - handle, controls, and reservoir The vacuum (when used, which seems not very often) is an ancient, unfiltered model. No thought has... Continue reading
Posted Feb 16, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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This has precious little with janitorial service, save that we strive to create healthy facilities for our clients, but portends great things in diagnostic medicine - provided the FDA does not get in the way. A material sciences prof at the University of Texas has developed an inexpensive device that detects the bio-markers of flu in a sufferer's breath, using similar technology to that used by our friendly local police when they pull me over on a Saturday night. With luck, the device could be available at drugstores; it looks to be as accurate as a run-up in your doctor's... Continue reading
Posted Feb 14, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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Received a call from a client this morning, the facility manager of a large insurance agency. He has something of an epidemic of "pink eye" around the office, with perhaps a half dozen of his folks affected. Wanted to know what he, or we, might be able to do about it. Pink eye can be several things. A somewhat unusual allergy affecting multiple people simultaneously seems unlikely, so we are left with viral or bacterial infection. Bacteria is the more serious, and indicates medical treatment, but the symptoms (green discharge, eyes swollen shut) are not present. So, we're likely left... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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Formaldehyde is a flammable, colorless gas that you might remember from high school biology. To my mind, anything that preserves frogs is likely something that you do not want to ingest much of. Besides frogs, the stuff is used extensively in building construction and furnishings, for instance in the resin used to bond pressed wood (I have real wood in the antique furniture at home and office, but mostly see the fake stuff everywhere else). Normally, a few days ventilation will let your new furniture off-gas enough to solve the problem, but with poor ventilation ongoing it can accumulate. So,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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Here's something cool, from the journal Infection Control Today. "Surgical masks were originally designed to protect the wearer from infectious droplets in clinical settings, but it doesn't help much to prevent the spread of respiratory diseases such as SARS or MERS or influenza," says Choi, the study author. "Airborne pathogens like influenza are transmitted in aerosol droplets when we cough or sneeze. The masks may well trap the virus-laden droplets but the virus is still infectious on the mask. Merely handling the mask opens up new avenues for infection. Even respirators designed to protect individuals from viral aerosols have the... Continue reading
Posted Jan 9, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet