Tag: COVID-19

Indoor air quality matters

While the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance or indoor air quality, the recent extreme weather and disasters across the US have further emphasized it. As the person responsible for your facility’s cleanliness and overall wellness, it may be up to you to put some extra practices into place to ensure that the indoor air quality is up to snuff (no pun intended).

Install an air purification program- Air purification units have become a hot topic because of COVID-19, but they do so much more beyond removing viruses and bacteria from the air. Did you know that air purifiers—

  • Prevent mold and mildew. Mold and mildew thrive in environments with moisture and air flow problems. Installing an air purification system increases air flow which prevents their growth while also ridding the air of their harmful spores.
  • Eliminate odors. Foul odors in your workplace are a turn-off for both employees and guests. Air purifiers stop their spread and get those smoky, chemically, stinky odors at the source.
  • Provide allergy relief. Allergies affect over 50 million Americans and can be a major factor in chronic illness. Commercial grade air purifiers capture common allergens like dust mites and pollen so that they aren’t floating around in the air.
  • And more! Couple all of these benefits with an air purifier’s ability to knock out dangerous viruses and bacteria, and you have a winning solution for your facility. Not only will people feel safer and healthier on site—but you will also see productivity improve. Clean air makes people healthier and feel more energized!

HEPA filtration on cleaning equipment- Carpets, matting, and other soft surfaces in your building can be a holding place for many common allergens. Using cleaning equipment with HEPA filtration lets you deep clean without releasing these miniscule pests back into the air.

Green chemical use- It may seem silly to worry about the chemicals you are using to clean your surfaces when talking about air quality. However, opting for green cleaning chemicals for your program helps reduce indoor air pollution by minimizing the use of solvents, harmful reagents, and other components that may negatively impact your indoor breathing space.

Make masks available- Above all else, keeping masks on hand and readily available encourages employees and guests to take responsibility for their own health. These disposable barriers help keep germs at bay and reduce the spread of everything from colds to the flu to COVID-19.

A quality cleaning program includes air care and purification. This is your chance to ensure your facility is as healthy as possible! If you have any questions about what you can be doing to improve your site’s air quality, you can always email me at katie@pennvalley.com.

Wash. Your. Hands.

Autumn is quickly approaching and with it comes cold and flu season. Add in a super-contagious Delta variant, and we have the making of a very sick season. Whether you are concerned about COVID-19, the flu, or germs in general, hand washing is one of the best defenses we have against the spread of illness. However, many American adults aren’t doing it right!

The numbers around Americans and hand washing can be a little concerning. A recent survey performed by Puronics* indicates that:

  • American adults wash their hands approximately nine times per day
  • 71% do not always wash their hands after sneezing, blowing their nose, or coughing
  • 62% say that you should always wash your hands after being out in public, but only 46% actually do that
  • 51% do not use hand soap every time they wash their hands
  • 38% wash their hands for 15 seconds or less

With such staggering statistics, it feels like an appropriate time to remind everyone about proper hand washing techniques. Here is a printable handwashing poster that you can use as you see fit. The most important takeaways are:

  • The whole hand washing process should take 40-60 seconds
  • Use soap—and use enough to adequately cover all parts of your hands
  • Rubbing your hands together vigorously and in between your fingers and by your nails help to ensure you are getting rid of as many germs as possible
  • Paper towels help complete the hand washing process and help keep washers from re-contaminating their hands

Encourage healthy hands in your facility by keeping your dispensers in your restrooms fully stocked and in working order. You can also print the linked poster from above and laminate it so you can post in your restrooms to show people how to properly wash their hands. It’s one of our best defenses against the spread of illness.

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Not convinced that hand washing is all that important? Check out our video where we use an ATP meter to measure the microorganism count on our training manager’s hands before and after hand washing:

*Puronics performed a hand washing survey of 1,531 self-reporting Americans from April 27 to May 3, 2021. 52% were female and 48% were male with an average age of 38. You can see the full survey results here.

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 katie@pennvalley.com. We are here to help you keep your business clean!

What happened to Just-in-Time ordering?

Remember February 2020? Life was so different for those in the cleaning industry. There were more than enough opportunities because most buildings were full of employees, work was steady but often times flew under the general public’s radar, and when a cleaning contractor started a new site—they could call their trusty local supply company and get start-up supplies the next morning. So many things are different for cleaners now that we are almost a year and half into a global pandemic. One of the biggest pain points, however, is the shift from just-in-time ordering to what’s required now.

Over the last couple decades, most industries have moved to JIT for their inventory management and up until recently, it had been wildly successful. However, COVID-19 has changed things on every level of the supply chain. Over 4.2 million people have passed away from COVID-19 which has impacted the labor force. Additional circumstances have also thinned the labor pool in recent months. This has led to worker-related challenges in many industries, including manufacturing and transportation. The whole supply chain is running on what feels like a skeleton crew.

With shortages of select raw materials, slower output from manufacturers, and delayed shipping times, what was once a well-oiled machine is now facing many new challenges. Add in the bottle-necking we’ve seen in the supply chain because of the push to reopen, and it is a distribution crisis. JIT is not designed for crisis mode. What does this mean for contract cleaners who are responsible for one of the main tasks related to keeping COVID-19 under control? It means that there needs to be a shift in how they manage their supplies.

Cleaners cannot afford to run out of the chemicals, tools, and equipment they use to keep our facilities clean, disinfected, and safe. Here are some tips of what cleaners can do to better prepare for the coming months while the supply chain continues to be unstable and the world reopens:

  • On-hand inventory– maintain your own on-hand inventory and keep at least 4- 6 weeks’ worth of supplies on site.
  • Commit to controlled systems– controlled chemical and paper systems reduce waste and help cleaners better plan, use, and reorder their refills and supplies.
  • Utilize equipment and technology– there have been many advancements in the cleaning industry; make sure you’re taking advantage of them! From workloading software to floor machines, there are a lot of tools at your disposal to help maintain your inventory, tighten up your cleaning process, reduce waste, and make your cleaning team more productive with less people.
  • Engage in the conversation– manufacturers and distributors are on the cleaners’ side! Open communication from all parties helps ensure that all levels are aware of the needs and realities of the industry and its supply chain.

If you’re a professional cleaner and are concerned about your supplies and how to best move forward with ordering, reach out to your distributor contact so they can help you make a plan today.  We’re all in this together!