Category: cleaning knowledge

Preparing your facility for the Delta variant

The Delta variant of COVID-19 is spreading throughout the country and everyone is beginning to scramble to make sure their facilities are ready for what comes next. With so much uncertainty of what to expect come fall time, it is crucial that companies are doing all they can to make their buildings as safe as possible. As the person responsible for your facility’s cleanliness, you have the opportunity to create a healthy space where both COVID-19 and its Delta variant will be less likely to spread. Here’s what to look at:

Air quality– COVID-19 is an airborne illness and the Delta variant is no different. The biggest issue is how much more contagious this new strain is—which makes air quality that much more important. This video from Good Morning America is a great overview of the benefits of a solid air purifying program. While they specifically discuss schools, the science checks out for all public spaces.

Cleaning and disinfecting– The pandemic has renewed the public’s interest in commercial cleaning practices. As facilities work to remain open, they can help ease employees and guests’ minds by implementing a regular cleaning schedule that includes a disinfection regimen. Making sure to use the right cleaning chemicals and disinfectants for your surfaces and to follow all instructions related to dilutions and dwell times to ensure that you are maximizing your cleaning power.

Safety first– Keeping products like hand sanitizer and face masks on hand will make guests in your facility feel more secure. If you are not sure of where to strategically place these items, keep them in entryways, common areas, and places with high-touch points.

Staying stocked– The ongoing global labor and transportation crises have created supply chain issues on every level. Maintain plenty of stock in your janitor’s closet so you don’t run out of the supplies you need to keep your building running safely and smoothly.  You’ll want to adjust your par levels to be ready for two-months at a time, wherever possible. If you have questions about stock levels, what’s available, and how to best manage your inventory, reach out to your vendor partners for support.

As always, the cleaning industry is doing important work to make the world safer for all. We are so proud to do what we can to support you and your work. If you have any questions at all, please reach out to me at We are here to help you keep your business clean!

Proper planning is necessary for a successful summer floor care season

Proper planning is necessary for a successful summer floor care season

A good plan saves the executor time, energy, money and manpower when completing a large task. Summer floor care is a task where a good plan is not just a nice idea, but a necessity. Between employee summer schedules/ vacations, buildings with limited accessibility, and the humidity in the air, a thousand things can go wrong if a site manager or custodial supervisor has not taken the time to create an action plan.

Here are things to keep in mind when making your summer floor care plan:

Survey the floors. Walk through the facility and make note of what types of floors you have, and what kind of square footage each kind of floor covers. Whether they are rubber, hardwood, carpet, marble, terrazzo or vinyl, these floors each require a unique cleaning and care plan.

Determine what needs to be done where. Some floors may need to be stripped and refinished. Others may only need a good top scrub and recoat. Calculate how many square feet of your facility needs which tasks and what kind of floor is in that location so you can start getting supply lists and employee hours organized for your summer floor care program.

Consider your workforce and plan employee hours. Keep in mind which employees have training in which kinds of floor care and make sure you have these individuals scheduled strategically to maximize your floor care program.

Evaluate your equipment. Look over your machines. Are repairs or PMs needed? Do you need additional parts on hand? Is it time to replace some of your equipment for newer, more efficient models? Keeping stock of your equipment like you would do for your other supplies will help keep everything running smoothly.

Planning for your summer floor care program will help your team avoid major issues and will save you time, money and energy. How do you keep your plans for your summer floor care program organized and moving forward? Feel free to keep the conversation going by commenting below or emailing me at

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.

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)!