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A story from a few years back, that happened to come to mind: From my operations manager's over night report: "While Ernie was doing the floor at ..... a pipe burst in the ceiling and started pouring water down on top of him. He was able to get his wet-vac and keep the water from flooding the building until I arrived. I spoke to Bob, the emergency contact, who walked me through where to find the shut off valve for the water pipes. Had to climb up above the ceiling but I got everything shut off. Lucky for them we... Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2022 at The Janitors' Closet
Another great season for color, at my office! Continue reading
Posted Apr 28, 2022 at The Janitors' Closet
Musings, from a longtime friend and CBN Board member I retired and moved to Oregon about three years ago... the new routine has given me time to reflect and reconsider what I thought I knew... and sometimes to just confirm some things. Take work for instance. You could look at job titles, or you can look at work activity... that is what actions are being done, how, and where, and perhaps most importantly, why it's being done in a specific way. Let's look at the job called 'janitor'. Forty-five years ago I was stripping floors, mopping floors, dusting desks and... Continue reading
Posted Apr 8, 2022 at The Janitors' Closet
So, how do pathogens travel through a building? Enjoy (?) a good article on exactly that, from our friends at CleanLink. To quote the study, "...many pathogens start their journey on floors, which, according to the study, were frequently contaminated with pathogens. From here, they managed to get on the hands of patients and staff in the hospitals. And then they traveled on to high-touch objects in hospital rooms such as side tables and call buttons." I'd like top see a bit more information on the floor-to-everything-else connection, but clearly one's sanitation focus needs to be on floors. As I've... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2022 at The Janitors' Closet
The old days of pins 'n strings on a cork board have been over for some time now, but the practice of planning our work continues. Years ago I was the sales manager at CBN, and when I brought a new account's paperwork into Bob's office, he would get excited, jump up from his desk and go over to a large map we had on the wall. Bob would then select a colored pin with a number, the color representing the frequency that we would clean the account, the number representing the account's ID number. These pins would be grouped... Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2022 at The Janitors' Closet
By my decades-long friend, Bill Black There are many management trends afoot, as there have been for many decades. For a long time we could read books of wisdom written by former and famous Fortune 100 presidents and CEOs who turned into business consultants, and we could be inspired to try some of their story suggestions ourselves. Do you recall The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, From Good to Great, First Break All the Rules... and the 'ol granddaddy of them all, How to Win Friends and Influence People? If you're over 40 years old then it's likely you... Continue reading
Posted Apr 3, 2022 at The Janitors' Closet
Now and again, a janitorial client will install a (rather expensive) luxury vinyl tile (LVT) floor, justifying the expense with the expectation that it will not need any maintenance over simple vacuuming and wet mopping. Sometimes, it's best to take the sales guy's pitch with a bit of salt. Problem is, the wood grain that looks so pretty is embossed into the surface, creating texture - low spots that attract dirt, oily substances, and detergent residue (if you're mopping with detergent). Mopping will not get into the low spots. A machine scrub, with the proper pad, is necessary. We scrub... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2022 at The Janitors' Closet
An article from our friends at CleanLink, about the advantages of using smaller, local suppliers: "SME (small & medium size enterprise) owners focus more on direct-to-consumer contact and are typically tuned with a particular product or service needed in that community. This model allows SME owners (typically) to be nimbler and more adaptable to changes in consumer behavior, market trends, and economic climates....Focusing on your community and the small businesses is a socially responsibly, fiscally minded duty we all share as community members and neighbors. It is a way to directly impact the overall economic health and wellness of a... Continue reading
Posted Mar 22, 2022 at The Janitors' Closet
Received an article on entry mat selection from the good folks at CleanLink. If I might quote the article: “Remember the ‘Rule of 15s,’ which dictates that at least 15 feet of matting should be installed at all entry doors — five feet each of coarse scraper, wiper/scraper, and wiper mats. The American Institute of Architects reports that five feet of matting will capture 33 percent of walked-in debris; 10 feet will capture 52 percent; and 20 to 25 feet can capture as much as 100 percent of soil on a person’s shoe bottoms, preventing the soil from entering the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2022 at The Janitors' Closet
Our quality control rep noticed and photographed a promotional banner while out visiting clients. (We do at least a monthly daytime inspection of all our clients, in addition to nighttime inspections, during or after the cleaning. So he'd on the road a lot.) It advertised free coffee for veterans, and being a Navy vet, he was temped. But then he reconsidered; he plans to not give the establishment any business for a very long time. It's a funeral home. Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2022 at The Janitors' Closet
Started a new account a bit ago. I'm a bit bemused by the alarm procedure. The doctor in charge is big on security, so he's asked his office manager change the alarm code weekly. She (the office manager) doesn't have the time, so she changes it "when she thinks of it". And then tells everybody. They all have the same code, because changing all those codes would be even more time consuming. I can envision the over-worked office manager changing the code, and then getting pulled onto another task, and forgetting to tell someone of the new code - probably... Continue reading
Posted Mar 18, 2022 at The Janitors' Closet
A bit ago, I got a call from a long-time client, a small medical facility. They needed to tell me that they are changing their restroom stock storage location (towels and TP); it had been in a locked closet, also containing their hard copy patient records. In a security review (something I wish more clients did regularly), they quite reasonably decided that limiting that closet's key access to only those dealing with patient records made good sense. So the TP and towels will be on a cart, down the hall. Good call. The restroom stock is not of quite the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2022 at The Janitors' Closet
I attended an intimate dinner last night; one of the speakers - and a very convincing one at that - was a young lady, recently arrived in the US, from Ukraine. It got me cogitating a bit on our response to the Russian land grab. We've announced "stiff" sanctions, but are not yet considering sanctions on oil and natural gas, which make up by far the largest sector of Russian exports, and thus of Russian foreign income. To truly hurt Putin, and thus to not only discourage him, but disable him financially and therefor militarily, from further conquest, we should... Continue reading
Posted Mar 3, 2022 at The Janitors' Closet
A large study out of a couple of hospitals in Saudi Arabia reveals, at first glance, something a bit counter-intuitive: "One of the findings that surprised investigators involved the higher risk of COVID-19 infection among support staff, such as administrators, researchers, cleaning and maintenance crews, food service, and security staff. The data showed support staff had a 15.1% chance of contracting COVID-19, compared to all other staff who had a 7.2% chance of contracting the disease. Previous studies suggested that nonclinical staff have lower risk of infection." Further, "“The finding underscores the importance of strict implementation of preventive measures among... Continue reading
Posted Feb 1, 2022 at The Janitors' Closet
It seems, due to the unusual nature of lockdowns in Holland, one of Europe's more progressive societies, that you can visit a house of ill repute, or a church, or a gym, but not a museum or a bar or a comedy club. So one of the clubs has reconstituted itself as The Philosophical Society; the Community of Reason, a brand new church. According to Unherd, one of my favorite sites, a group of Dutch mayors have sent a note to the appropriate ministry, predicting a resurgence of religion. It's an interesting world. Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2022 at The Janitors' Closet
Now that folks are finally realizing that any mask shy of a KN95 or N95 is less than optimal for protecting from Covid, there's been a bit of study on re-using them, and laundering them. Been doing both with mine for a while. You can get a good 25 uses out of one, if you're careful. From the article: "N95 respirators were decontaminated with vaporous hydrogen peroxide 25 times. No alterations to respiratory integrity or filtration efficiency seen by 25 cycles. Vaporous hydrogen peroxide does not appear to impact fit or filtration efficiency using this defined process." And another take... Continue reading
Posted Jan 14, 2022 at The Janitors' Closet
"Exercise caution when removing bats" was the headline in my daily feed from Cleaning & Maintenance Management. No kidding. Bats have claws, very sharp teeth (and seem not afraid to use them), and there is this whole Covid originated in bats thing. I'd be a bit cautions myself. Turns out the article focused on rabies (something else I'd prefer to avoid). Serves to remind one that there are more pathogens out there than just the coronavirus. A good reason to select a janitorial firm with a firm (no pun intended) foundation in disinfection. Continue reading
Posted Jan 12, 2022 at The Janitors' Closet
I'm finally seeing recognition of the inadequacy of the cloth facemask - even if it makes a fashion statement. Here's a Wall Street Journal article on physicians advising same. Folks started advocating cloth face masks early in the pandemic, partly because they were about all that was available to other than medical personnel, and partly because we'd assumed that Covid transmission would be similar to the annual flu - via larger droplets (not aerosols) and touchpoints. I cannot complain much about the latter - we did a brisk business disinfecting touchpoints - indeed, the entire office - using sophisticated electrostatic... Continue reading
Posted Jan 2, 2022 at The Janitors' Closet
"Tis the season for Christmas and holiday parties, at home and at the office. Might also be time to look at disinfection, both before and after the party. State of the art disinfection involves applying a broad spectrum disinfectant to all surfaces, using an electrostatic device, to coat tops, sides and back of the objects, including hard-to-reach "nooks and crannies". We've used the top-of-the-line Clorox-360 electrostatic applicators since near the start of the Covid epidemic. While the obvious target of surface disinfection these days is the Coronavirus, many other pathogens like to find new victims via "touchpoints" - door knobs... Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2021 at The Janitors' Closet
After a few months of "out of stock" responses, we finally got in a case of real N-95 masks. We've been using the KN-95 masks for months, and studies show little real world difference between the two. N-95s meet US standards, and are generally manufactured here (largely by 3M); KN95s come from China (no, the K does not stand for "Knock-off"), and there is a bit of variation in effectiveness between manufactures. Both stop 95% of particles in the 0.3 micron range but, interestingly, they work much better for both larger and smaller particles. At 0.1 micron, the size of... Continue reading
Posted Nov 26, 2021 at The Janitors' Closet
As reported by our friends at Cleaning & Maintenance Management, researchers at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, have worked out a system for detecting the presence of Covid virus by sampling air in the air conditioning system. They tested it in a student dorm (quite a logical place to start) but it opens a host of scenarios. There is progress, here and there. Continue reading
Posted Nov 11, 2021 at The Janitors' Closet
Conversing with a friend recently about his experience in a somewhat trendy northeast community. He generally goes without a facemask (admittedly something of a political statement) and received a number of less than friendly glances, and a few comments, from masked folks in shops and on the street. It occurred to me that, while I've seen and heard much in recent months regarding masks, from both "sides", I've seen and heard close to nothing regarding the quality of masks. Evidence is solid that an n-95 mask offers a good deal more protection than a surgical mask, which in turn is... Continue reading
Posted Oct 25, 2021 at The Janitors' Closet
Due to my last post, regarding my janitorial background, I seem to be thinking about public restrooms. An often overlooked aspect of a city's livability, and thus civility, is the availability of public toilets. If one is not at one's home or office, and not patronizing a particular business, one is often out of luck. And it's a bit of an imposition, and an economic hardship, to require a shop or restaurant to open its restrooms to general street traffic. Here's an interesting article out of Marketplace, that includes the following: "In the middle of the twentieth century, public toilets... Continue reading
Posted Oct 5, 2021 at The Janitors' Closet
My long ago sales manager reminded me of this; had not thought of it in years. When folks with a long time in the janitorial field, particularly in the operations end, find themselves washing up in a public restroom, they tend to automatically wipe the water spots from the faucet and handle. Perhaps a commendable habit, but it can still gain you unwanted notice. My sales manager went on to a career in high end commercial real estate. He tells of visiting a restroom at our Phoenix Country Club, with a couple of the local real estate magnates, and finding... Continue reading
Posted Oct 5, 2021 at The Janitors' Closet
Glancing through several issues of the three janitorial industry trade journals to which we subscribe, I noticed a recurring theme. In illustrations of folks sanitizing surfaces - restroom counters, office and school desks, lunchroom tables, elevator control panels - the cleaner and/or disinfectant is always being applied with a cloth, bunched up in the hand. And, given the times, there were a lot of articles, and pictures, on disinfection. Key in cleaning, and in disinfecting, such surfaces is in "wall-to-wall" coverage, and uniformity of solution application. You don't disinfect without ample dwell time (a minute or two with a decent... Continue reading
Posted Sep 30, 2021 at The Janitors' Closet