• Feb 6, 2009

    Why Blame The Cleaner?

    It was the cleaner, in the kitchen with the waste receptacle. Mystery solved! Or is it? Recently there have been items from our break room that have gone missing. First, it was half of someone’s lunch, then a full lunch and a container of sugar. The latest item to go M.I.A. was half a dozen packets of our free coffee. Office administration is bound to get to the bottom of the thefts, but speculation swarms the office...
    • Jan 19, 2009

    Walking On Water

    I have never known anyone to successfully walk on water without getting wet, or in this case, wiping out. I recently attended a wedding reception at a county facility. As part of the décor, the three-level facility was only accessible by a beautiful stone staircase. But, the view was very deceptive on this wet evening and as I approached the stairs, it was obvious that this beautiful stone was actually a serious...
    • Jan 7, 2009

    Will There Be 'Green' In 2009?

    We are all familiar with the traditional “Best Of” lists that clutter our in-boxes at the end of every year. After all, the close of a year provides a great benchmark for looking back. What I wasn’t expecting — and what seems to be all the buzz — was a very popular “Worst Of” list come across my desk. If you haven’t heard of it already, it is “The 15 Words We Hate”...
    • Dec 22, 2008

    The Weather Is Here...

    As Jimmy Buffett would say, “The weather is here.” That certainly is the case for most of the country, but I don’t think he was singing of snow in his 1980 hit. Winters latest punch came late last week when even warmer cities, such as Las Vegas, got dumped on with the latest round of snow. Here in the Midwest, I found myself shoveling out of 14-inches and we are already looking forward to more heavy...
    • Dec 12, 2008

    Cross-Contamination, MRSA, Bacteria: Anything But A T.K.O.

    A couple weeks back, I was invited by a friend to attend a boxing event hosted in his town. With nothing better to do, I decided it might be fun to go and experience something new. What I didn’t expect was the complete disregard for health and safety. Upon arrival, I learned that there would be a total of nine five-minute, three-round fights with two intermissions. The first three fights were pretty uneventful...
    • Dec 5, 2008

    Wash Your Hands

    Cleaners are not immune from germs, which is why proper hand washing techniques are just as important for you as they are for the building occupants. As the weather turns colder and more people head indoors to share close quarters, the chance for spreading germs grows. In fact, public health officials say that as the temperature drops the rate of illnesses, missed work/school and the spread of bacteria spikes. Hand washing...
    • Dec 1, 2008

    Shout Out To Every "Janitor Jim"

    As I was perusing a social networking site recently, I reconnected with an old classmate that I hadn’t talked to since graduation. In speaking with him, I realized that we had a lot more in common than our alma mater. This old friend now worked on the custodial and maintenance crew at our old high school and is actually a reader of Housekeeping Solutions. During our discussions, I had to ask about Janitor Jim...
    • Nov 27, 2008

    Taking A Moment To Give Thanks

    About a week back, I was walking towards the entrance of a local mall. Just outside the doorway was a custodial worker changing out the garbage bag. Seeing me coming, he stopped to open the door for me, wishing me a happy holiday. Much appreciated, I smiled and thanked him. As I shopped near that entrance where he continued to work, I noticed this man open the door for many other patrons, but receive no acknowledgement...
    • Nov 21, 2008

    Celebrating The Toilet And Its Cleaner

    Wednesday was a big day for the cleaning industry: World Toilet Day. Yes, the commode has its own day, right up there with Earth Day, Flag Day and National Smoke Out Day. Laugh if you must, but the toilet should be celebrated. World Toilet Day was introduced to raise awareness of the need for improved sanitation. In fact, according to reports, over 2.5 billion people worldwide are estimated to be without access to...
    • Nov 14, 2008

    Do You Have The Germiest Job?

    I think that overall the American consumer has a very inaccurate perception of the average custodial worker. Case and point: As I was searching for industry news, I came across an article that started, “If you think you’re getting sick from your job, you’re probably a janitor.” Sure, cleaners encounter various germs on the job, but they don’t even rank in the top five as the germiest job...
    • Nov 6, 2008

    Questions Surround Green Laws

    In a recent discussion with a coworker, I uncovered some interesting questions regarding some of the current laws requiring green initiatives — such as green cleaning in schools throughout New York and Illinois, government buildings in New Jersey, etc. With these laws already in place, my first question was, “Who began discussions surrounding the implementation of such a law?” Was it an angry parent...
    • Oct 31, 2008

    Meeting Consumer Demands

    When it comes to innovative cleaning products, the professional cleaner is often the first to know of a breakthrough. Microfiber was available to commercial cleaners long before it was available in retail stores. Green initiatives are certainly not a new concept to cleaners, but have just recently hit mainstream consumers. So, it was no surprise when I saw sustainable initiatives hit retail shelves earlier this year....
    • Oct 22, 2008

    Reading Between The Lines

    In the cleaning industry there are four groups: manufacturers, distributors, building service contractors and in-house cleaners. Each group has different objectives and varying needs, forcing educational sessions and seminars to be general. As I sit through many of these events for the industry, I have realized that in order to truly benefit from the information shared, each group has to weed through the jargon to determine...
    • Oct 16, 2008

    Defending The Restroom

    On my way into work this morning I was listening to the local radio personalities discuss areas where the average person will come into contact with major bacteria. Obviously intrigued, I listened in. Although I agreed on a couple points, I thought the overall generalization was misleading. One place mentioned was the back seat of a city cab. This doesn’t really fall into my jurisdiction, so I cant make a comment...
    • Oct 8, 2008

    Pest Control In Action

    On my recent trip out to Las Vegas for the ISSA/INTERCLEAN show I had the opportunity to do the traditional tourist thing and walk the Strip once or twice. As I walked from one hotel/metropolis to another, it was difficult not to notice the cleaning and facility maintenance that these facilities require. At one hotel in particular, I had my first up-close-and-personal experience with pest control at its finest. Perched...
    • Oct 1, 2008

    The Impact of the Economy

    Everyone is talking about how the economic downturn is the worse it has been since the Great Depression. Republicans and democrats are still arguing over whether or not to pass the bailout bill. Talk about depressing, but through this economic downturn, many are asking how it will affect them. Well, on a personal level, for those who are relying on pensions, retirement accounts and personal savings, the recent drop...
    • Sep 19, 2008

    Toilets: Donation's Always An Option

    Earlier this week we posted an article in the news that addressed options for disposing of toilets and urinals. In response to this announcement, I had a reader contact me and I felt compelled to share his comments with all my readers. The news piece addressed how the push towards water conservation has resulted in updated fixtures and plumbing systems. It read that the old fixtures were often crushed and the parts...
    • Sep 11, 2008

    Translation: ¿Habla usted inglés?

    Think fast: How do you say “flat-head screwdriver” in Spanish? When a cleaner is strapped for time, the last thing they need is to differentiate between a “destornillador” with a “cabeza plana” or a “cabeza Phillips.” With that in mind, two University of Tennessee roommates developed a hand-held translation tool for Spanish and English-speaking workers. In this...
    • Sep 4, 2008

    Ah, That New School Smell

    The other day I did my brother a favor and picked up my nephew from school. It had been a long time since I had to show up for the first week of school, but I was welcomed by that oh-so-familiar new school smell. It wasn’t overpowering, but not exactly subtle either. The combination of newly waxed floors, disinfected surfaces and freshly cleaned carpets brought back memories of my first days of school when you...
    • Aug 22, 2008

    Shopping Around

    My husband and I were in the market for a new roof on our house. To make sure we get the most bang for our buck, we called multiple contractors for estimates. Some of those contractors came recommended to us, while others were contacted simply for competitive reference. We attempted to play them off each other in an effort to get the price lowered, but what resulted was more of a standoff. They each held their ground...
    • Aug 15, 2008

    Cleaning After A Facility Upgrade

    Over the last year, our facility has been under construction for major renovation. During that time, hard floors have changed to carpeting, restroom fixtures have been updated to touch-free and space has been optimized to include additional cubicles and work stations. The renovations got us talking about how the changes would affect our cleaning program. Surely the addition of carpet will affect the cleaning crew as...
    • Aug 7, 2008

    Purchasing In 2009

    As July 1 has come and gone, many large manufacturers have closed out another fiscal year and are exposing the future of their brands. I recently read about one large cleaning retailer that has revealed that 2009 might be an expensive year for their customers, as prices will forcibly rise to offset elevating expenses. (Reportedly, end users can see price increases as early as this fall.) While manufacturers can often...
    • Jul 30, 2008

    Putting "Green" Under The Microscope

    Today, regardless of where you go, it is hard to miss all the “green” labels. Whether for retail or commercial use, green product claims are everywhere. By one count, manufacturers launched at least 325 new supposedly environmentally friendly products in 2007, up from just 5 in 2002. But, some people are questioning those environmental claims. Many of the green claims are supported through third-party...
    • Jul 24, 2008

    How Loyal Are Your Employees?

    I recently read about a retail company that requires a four-week training period that compensates new employees with their full salary. Once the training period is over, the company presents the freshly trained group with something called The Offer: “If you quit today, we will pay you for the amount of time you’ve worked, plus we will offer you a $1,000 bonus.” The Offer is meant to test the commitment...
    • Jul 15, 2008

    Purchasing Possibilities

    A relative of mine works in the trades, specifically home building, and the other day we got into a discussion regarding purchasing. I quickly realized that his purchasing options were very comparable to those of a cleaning manager. He has options to purchase direct from a manufacturer, cut some corners and buy from a big-box store, or look to his distributor for the answers he needs. I asked him the benefits to each...