Month: November 2015

Matting 101

Matting 101

Time for a pop quiz, friends.

How many feet of proper matting does the average facility need in order to effectively wipe out virtually 100% of the moisture and debris from incoming foot traffic?

The answer is 30 feet. 30 feet of the proper matting will scrape away ice melt fragments and other debris and wipe away that winter slushy wetness from your employee and guests’ feet. 30 feet of the proper matting will save you hours of labor and gallons of cleaning chemicals. 30 feet of the proper matting will help reduce your chance of having a slip and fall accident on site by over 50%.

In the perfect world, your facility will have 30’ of a combination of outdoor scraper matting, indoor scraper/ wiper matting, indoor wiper matting. These three mats work together to clean off debris and moisture from foot traffic to not only keep people safe while walking indoors but also to protect your facility’s floors. We track in some pretty harsh stuff on our feet and floors can need a total overhaul by the end of winter if a facilities management team doesn’t properly care for the floors all along.

Remember last winter? How much inside care was your team providing when they were busy shoveling and salting and trying to make the outdoors safe for employees and guests? They probably had time to refill dispensers, do some spot cleaning and maybe swab some toilets. They weren’t focused on floor maintenance because there just were not enough hours in the day. And that is totally understandable. Matting is a solid investment that helps reduce the need of a daily floor maintenance routine in the midst of everything Old Man Winter throws at us.

If your facility doesn’t lend itself to 30’ of matting or if a three-mat system is not in your budget, having something is better than nothing. A small outdoor mat and indoor mat will still help alleviate the damage done to floors and protect your employees and guests. Don’t let a tight budget or space get you in to a heap of trouble later this winter.


Here is some more info about the three types of mats:

An outdoor scraper mat is usually made of a synthetic material like PVC, vinyl or polyethylene and has little blades to help clean off the larger chunks of debris. A good scraper mat will hold pounds of dirt per square foot.

A wiper/scraper mat has a deeply-grooved design that helps retain moisture and dirt. It is designed to scrape the dirt from shoes and hold it below shoe level while wiping water away.

A wiper mat is designed to do just that– wipe the moisture off shoes. When reviewing your options, you may want to consider an olefin mat because it can dry up to three times faster than nylon and polyester.

Is it clean?

Is it clean?

Imagine you and your team just spent an entire day cleaning the windows of one of the skyscrapers in Philadelphia and upon review of your work, you see that they are all streaky. Even if they don’t look great, are they at least clean?

The fact is, if a surface is left with streaks after being scrubbed with chemicals, it is not clean. Streaks occur because of one of the following reasons: there is either a. too much chemical used, or, b. too little chemical used, or, c. the wrong chemical is used.  When any of these three things happen, there is going to be a streaky mess. Let’s delve deeper into why these errors lead to unclean surfaces and how to avoid making a bigger mess.

  1. Too much chemical is used

When it comes to standard cleaning chemicals, you rarely need to use more chemical than what is suggested by the manufacturer in any application. There is a common misconception that more is better when working with chemicals but it is actually the opposite.  Too much chemical will leave a residue behind on the surface cleaned because the wiper will not be able to pick up all of the liquid. This results in a film of combined leftover chemical and dirt. This is what you see when you see streaks left by using too much cleaning chemical.

  1. Too little chemical is used

The opposite of using too much chemical is using too little. This can be equally problematic. When using too little cleaning chemical, there is not enough of the chemical compound on the surface to properly breakdown the soils and remove them. This results in the chemical basic moistening the soils, moving them around and then leaving them on the surface. You then see streaks on the surface you just tried cleaning.

The best way to avoid making mistakes A and B is to carefully read the instructions that come with the chemical used. Follow proper dilution rates and when spraying surfaces with chemical, be sure to wet the surface without over-saturating it. If you are concerned about chemical use and want to reduce waste, you may want to look into alternative wipers. Different wipers can use less chemical more effectively. For example, microfiber cloths can use little to no chemical to clean a surface (please note that we are not talking about disinfection in this article). The design of microfiber cloths makes them absorb liquid and grab soils easily.

  1. The wrong chemical is used

While there are some multi-purpose cleaners on the market, most cleaners are designed for fairly specific soils and/or surfaces. Chemicals work because they alter the chemical make-up of soils to break them down and suspend them in liquid, making it easy to wipe them away. If you do not have the right chemical to make the right alterations to the soil, your cleaning efforts will not be successful.

Keeping your business clean

Luckily, it is fairly easy to get back on track if you find that your surface cleaning has been ineffective lately. First, make sure you are using the right chemical. If you aren’t sure, review the product information; you can find most of our product information here.  If you have the right chemical, just review how much should be used and what kind of wiper you need.

If you have any questions regarding your current cleaning plan and the chemicals you are using, you are also always welcome to call your Penn Valley sales representative or email me at We want to help you keep your business clean.

The perks of going automatic

The perks of going automatic

So this may be because I am a millennial or it could be because I am a little bit of a germaphobe—but I am obsessed with automatic accessories for restrooms. They are cleaner, more efficient and just make for an all-around nicer restroom experience for guests. This means that when you use automatic accessories, you are improving human and building health AND creating a better, lasting impression on people which will make them want to come back to your business.

How do automatic dispensers and fixtures help human health?

Think about the average restroom experience.  You push open the door (touch point), head to the stall and lock it (touch point), do your business (major touch point), flush the toilet or urinal (another touch point), unlock the stall and head to the sink (double touch point), push the button on the soap dispenser to wash your hands (touch point) and then you do the funky elbow dance to push the lever on the towel dispenser because you need to dry your hands (an unusually complicated touch point), and FINALLY you leave by using your paper towel to wrangle the door (half a touch point?). You just came in contact with an astronomical amount of bacteria and germs doing something that we all do several times a day. And the more people who do this very regular activity in your restroom, the more germs find their way in there throughout the day.

Automatic towel and soap dispensers, automatic toilet and urinal flush systems and automatic faucets all reduce touch points which in turn reduces the opportunities for cross contamination and spread of germs. The less germs people are in contact with, the less likely they are to get sick.

How do automatic dispensers and fixtures help building health?

In addition to helping keep your team and your customers healthier, automatic dispensers and fixtures help control waste, which in turn creates a healthier building. Battery-operated dispensers help control how much towel or soap is released per use, which makes it much harder to waste these products. Automatic faucets can help reduce water waste by up to 40%. In a time where sustainability is a pressing issue on everyone’s mind and the environment is becoming an increasingly important topic, there is no need to be wasting water.

How do automatic dispensers and fixtures create a better, lasting impression on guests?

People will notice if toilets are not flushed. They will remember that they had to jam the button on the soap dispenser 27 times to get some soap out of it.  And I promise you, they will not forget that there was water dripping off of your towel dispenser and on to the floor from the previous guest who washed his hands. Automatic dispensers and fixtures help you manage your restroom so it doesn’t leave a negative impression on guests. They provide a cleaner, more distinguished image that will be positively associated with your facility for many visits to come.

If you wish to further discuss the benefits of automatic dispensers and fixtures or want to know more about how to update your restroom, please keep the conversation going. You can always email me at Let’s make sure we are keeping your business clean.

Cleaning vs. Disinfecting vs. Sanitizing

Cleaning vs. Disinfecting vs. Sanitizing

Many people use the words cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing interchangeably. I know I used to be guilty of this particular faux pas. The only reason I learned the difference is because in our industry, it is downright dangerous to mistake any one of these words for another one. Each one of these actions has a different end result and in facilities and maintenance, you need to know what you are trying to accomplish in order to start the proper process.


Cleaning refers to the physical removal of dirt and grime from a surface. This is usually done with water and some kind of detergent or general cleaning agent.  When someone is finished cleaning a surface, it will be visibly clean—you will not see chunks of dirt, messy streaks or any lingering residue from the cleaning process. It is also important to note that cleaning is the first step to disinfecting or sanitizing a surface. If a surface is not cleaned of physical dirt and dust, it will be practically impossible to kill the germs on the same surface.


Disinfecting refers to the process of killing mass amounts of bacteria, viruses, fungi, etc. on a particular surface. When a surface is properly disinfected, the germs on that surface are killed and unable to do more damage. Please note that once a surface is contaminated again, it will need to be disinfected again. In order to properly disinfect a surface, it is important to follow the directions for the chemical as outlined by the manufacturer. Many people don’t realize that many disinfectants need a dwell time of 10+ minutes or that only certain wipers can properly pick up the chemical from the surface in question.  Disinfection is a process that needs to be done by the book in order to be effective.


Similar to disinfecting, sanitizing also refers to killing bacteria, viruses and fungi. However, during the sanitizing process, far fewer germs are killed. The point of sanitizing a surface is to make it safe for users in a short period of time. While disinfection takes 10 minutes or so, sanitizing can happen in as little as 30 seconds. Sanitizing lowers the number of bacteria or germs on a surface to a safe amount but it doesn’t make the surface uninhabitable for these microorganisms.  This is an ideal process for restaurants and other food service venues that need to quickly get rid of germs but need to keep moving.

If you are unsure of which process you need in your site or don’t know which chemicals in your arsenal will work best for what you need to accomplish, please feel free to email me at or check out our training library for helpful tips and information. We like keeping your business clean (and disinfected and sanitized too)!