The Magic of H2O2 | Hydrogen Peroxide – Part 2

Last time out we wrote about hydrogen peroxide and, the more we researched the topic the more we found out about the almost miraculous benefits of this ubiquitous, natural and inexpensive compound.

To quickly re-cap:

Hydrogen Peroxide: H202. You probably already have it in your home, and more than likely you use it to treat minor cuts and scrapes. But you’d be surprised at how many uses this colourless liquid has.

Used for household cleaning, health, hygiene, beauty and medical purposes — even as rocket fuel! — hydrogen peroxide is readily available at any drug or grocery store. It’s inexpensive, and is one of the handiest household supplies ever.

Best known for its medicinal uses — hence its availability at pharmacies — let’s continue with some common uses, and some that you may not be aware of.

Health, Hygiene and Beauty

Treating acne and boils

 Since H2O2 is so effective as a disinfectant for minor wounds, it makes sense that it would speed up the healing process for skin infections such as acne and boils. Apply a bit of the 3% solution on the infected area; it acts the same as it does on any wound, helping to kill unwanted bacteria. Just apply it the one time; if you apply it too often it’ll kill the good bacteria, as well.

Fight athlete’s foot

Fed up with the itching and scratching from going to the gym or hanging out by the pool? Let’s face it, foot fungus is a pain. Try applying a mixture of equal parts water and hydrogen peroxide to make it stop. Even if you don’t have an infection, as a preventative measure, it’s a good idea to regularly disinfect your shower shoes to prevent the agony of da feet.

Pardon me? Clean out your ears

If you’ve ever had “swimmer’s ear” you know the pain. Before seeking medical attention, sometimes it’s just a build up of ear wax and can be quickly cleared up by using a couple of drops of olive oil, followed by a couple of drops of H2o2. Keep your head tilted for a minute, and then tilt the other way to let the mixture drain out. It’s as simple as it sounds.

Household Cleaning Uses

Cutting board cleaning

Germs love to hang out on your cutting boards – especially when you use them to cut meat. Yes, you wash it thoroughly and are careful to not contaminate other foods. But if you want to be sure, just give it a spritz of hydrogen peroxide and a warm rinse. This will kill the lingering germs and protect your other foods and utensils.

Rugs and carpets

Tough stains, muddy stains, icky stuff in your carpet? On light-coloured fabrics only, spray H2O2 on the affected areas and vacuum the spots away. Be sure to try an unobtrusive test area first to make sure you’re not bleaching away the fabric colour. Perfect for white carpeting.

Again, if you have any interesting ideas that we might have missed about the fabulous uses of hydrogen peroxide, please let use know, and share in the comments section below.

And remember, we care about clean.

The Magic of H2O2 | Hydrogen Peroxide – Part 1

Hydrogen Peroxide: H202. You probably already have it in your home, and more than likely you use it to treat minor cuts and scrapes. But you’d be surprised at how many uses this colourless liquid has.

For household cleaning, health and hygiene, beauty, medical uses — even as rocket fuel! Hydrogen peroxide is readily available at any drug store or grocery store. It’s inexpensive, and is one of the handiest household supplies ever.

Best known for its medicinal uses — hence its availability at pharmacies. Let’s start with some common uses, and some that you may not be aware of.

Health, Hygiene and Beauty

Minor wounds

 This is the most obvious use that most people know about, that’s probably why you have it in your home. Applied directly to minor wounds, it can help clear up infections and clean away dead tissue.

Disinfect your toothbrush

 Once a week, soak your toothbrush in hydrogen peroxide for at least five minute, rinse the toothbrush thoroughly and let air-dry. This eliminates any bacteria that may be hiding there. If you’re sick, repeat after each use, so you don’t re-infect yourself.

Hair, Teeth and Nails – and Feet

 Speaking of teeth, swishing a solution of equal parts water and hydrogen peroxide will whiten your teeth and get rid of bad breath. And since peroxide is a bleaching agent, you can also use the same solution to lighten your hair.

To whiten your nails just soak some hydrogen peroxide onto a cotton ball and swab your nails. Oh, and BTW, it works well to cure athlete’s foot. Apply the same equal parts solution to the infected area on your feet, and that itching and discomfort will be gone.

House Cleaning Uses

Disinfect surfaces

Since hydrogen peroxide is a disinfectant, it’s a great cleaning tool all around the house. Leaving countertops, and other surfaces in the kitchen, bathroom, office, anywhere in the house, sparkling and clean.

Grout whitener

 Nobody likes the look of dingy grout in the shower, but there’s an easy fix. To whiten your grout, make sure it’s dry, then spray H202 directly onto it. Go and do something else for a couple of hours (Netflix), then come back with a toothbrush and soapy water. Scrub away, and viola, perfectly white grout again.

The benefits of using this natural, and incredibly inexpensive compound are almost endless. This is one amazing tool that everyone can use to clean and disinfect the house. In fact, there are so many uses, that we’re going follow up with another blog post. So, stay tuned.

If you have any interesting ideas that we might have missed about the fabulous uses of hydrogen peroxide, please let use know, and share in the comments section below.

Remember, we care about clean.

Green Doesn’t Always Mean Sustainable

When talking about cleaning, some people use the terms “green” and “sustainable” as though they mean the same thing. And while something can be green and sustainable, it’s not always the case.

First of all, not everyone agrees on the definitions of these terms. When we talk about green cleaning, we mean the use of chemicals and procedures that are use with the health and environmental implications in mind.

Sustainability, to borrow a definition from the United Nations, means that a solution meets our present needs without compromising those of future generations. Environmental, social and financial factors all affect sustainability.

One of the factors is reducing the energy expended in global distribution which can take lots of energy and contribute to pollution. The idea of the 100-mile diet (in which produce is sourced within the 100 miles of where it’s consumed) has taken the food and dining industries by storm.

In the cleaning industry, we can reduce the energy used to ship chemicals by choosing concentrated cleaning products. For instance, the Enviro Chem cleaning products we use at Allcare are concentrated, helping them take up less space on trucks so that fewer trucks need to be on the road.

Instead of shipping the chemicals diluted in water, the concentrated chemicals can be mixed in reusable bottles using simple tap water. This cuts down on the energy spent on shipping and also cuts down on the number of bottles used because they can be reused.

The Enviro Chem products meet stringent environmental requirements and carry the EcoLogo and Green Seal. This makes them green. Being responsible for their environmental, social and financial impacts makes them sustainable.

Green cleaners constantly strive to make their processes less harmful to the health of building inhabitants and the environment as a whole. Sustainable cleaning means being mindful of the impact that cleaning techniques and the production and distribution of chemicals have on people and the environment today, and many years from now.

For more on the difference between green and sustainable, read Ronnie Garrett’s article on the topic published on industry news site CleanLink.

photo credit: Tc Morgan via photopin cc

Green Cleaning using RMC’s Enviro Chem Products

Rochester Midland Corporation’s Enviro Chem Green Cleaning Products Make Green Cleaning Effective

Allcare Maintenance Services uses sustainable, green cleaning products from Rochester Midland Corporation to help improve the health and safety of workplaces, and reduce its environmental impact. RMC’s Enviro Chem cleaning products cover a vast array of uses, which not only comply with green standards also feature a colour-coded system designed to make green cleaning much simpler. This has made the Enviro Chem product line a favourite at Allcare.

In this blog post, we talk with RMC’s Brian Stinson about the company’s line of certified green cleaning products, and how to reduce the environmental impact of cleaning.

Allcare: In the world of cleaning chemicals, how unique is a full line of certified green cleaning products?

Brian Stinson: When RML first introduced our EC (Enviro Chem) line of green products during the mid 1980’s, we were the only company who had a complete line. Nowadays a lot of manufacturers have either a complete line or almost complete line.

We have tweaked our products a number of times over the past 25 years to make them better for the end user. We were the first manufacturer to be awarded the “Green Seal” third party certificate. Now Ecologo is well known as a third party certifying body, especially in Canada, and we are continually expanding our Ecologo line with many additional products beyond the EC line.

Allcare: How does using these chemicals in concentrations help reduce waste?

BS: Selling concentrates reduces waste in many ways. Our products are very concentrated and in order to get them to an RTU (ready to use) format takes a lot of water.

There is not much use of shipping water to our distributors, then they ship water to end users, that means a lot of extra plastic and cardboard for packaging, as well as labels, along with a lot of extra diesel fuel to truck products all over the country. That is why we choose to ship concentrates and let the end user mix with his water. In addition, the end user can then reuse the RTU package to mix more product so they are not throwing out end user bottles.

We offer RTU labels to end users to make it simple and convenient for them to do their own mixing. We also offer dispensing equipment to simplify mixing.

Allcare: How does the colour-coded system ensure that Enviro Chem are used correctly? And does this affect the overall effectiveness of the chemicals in cleaning environments?

BS: We use colour coded labels so end users get to know which colour of label relates to which product for each application. In many cases our end use label will match the original colour of the label of the concentrate.

This does not affect the performance of the chemicals.

4 Reasons to Remove Dirt and Dust with Microfiber

Small things often make a big difference. And this is certainly the case with microfiber, a synthetic textile made from microfibers with a diameter approximately 1/16 the thickness of a human hair.

At Allcare, we use these microfiber cloths and dusters to clean surfaces better and more efficiently than conventional rags and dusters. In this post, we explain some of the reasons why we use microfibers.

1. Microfibers Capture More Dust and Dirt Particles

Microfiber materials are densely constructed out of microscopic polyester and polyamide (or nylon) fibers. These microfibers, which are so small, have more surface area for cleaning than traditional textiles. The pockets between fibers help hold dirt and liquid, and these tiny fibers are able to penetrate the microscopic surface pores of most flooring materials.

In comparison, dry dusters (including feather dusters) do a poor job of trapping dust and dirt, and often simply move it around.

Dust, dirt, hair and lint are also all attracted to microfiber cloths. Without getting too much into the science, positively charged microfibers have a pull, so to speak, on negatively charged dust.

2. Microfibers Reduce Waste

Microfiber cuts back on waste by lasting longer than other cleaning textiles. While microfiber mops initially cost about twice that of traditional loop mops, a microfiber mop’s lifespan is about 10 times as long. Microfiber, unlike paper towels or cotton rags, can be used hundreds of times after laundering. This means that materials can get reused, and less is thrown away.

3. Microfiber is Easier on Cleaning Staff

Microfibers make cleaning easier because they can be slid over surfaces smoothly and easily. And since microfiber is more effective at removing dirt,  cleaners don’t have to put as much effort into scrubbing surfaces to clean them.

Also, since microfibers require a smaller volume of water and chemicals to be effective, it’s easier for staff to transport equipment easier to the job site. In fact, microfiber dusting wands can help pick up dust without any water or chemicals at all.

Because they’re not weighed down and slowed down by their equipment, our staff can clean more area, more quickly and more easily.

4. Microfibers Require Less Water and Fewer Chemicals

Microfiber is able to absorb more liquid than conventional textiles. Because more water is retained (and less is dripped on surfaces), microfibers require less water overall.

And because they more efficiently clean surfaces, they can also reduce the amount of chemicals needed to clean. Microfibers have been found to reduce the use of cleaning chemicals by two-thirds. Reducing the use of chemicals (even the eco-friendly ones we use) helps us be greener, and save money.

 

At Allcare, we use microfiber technology to make sure that our clients have the cleanest surfaces as possible. Microfibers make the removal of dust and dirt from desks, countertops, and other surfaces easier, less expensive, and more sustainable.

Do you use microfibers for cleaning? Please let us know why you chose this method in the comments!

Making Cleaning Smarter with CleanTelligent

A message from Cleanteilligent sent to an iPad saying that a problem has been resolved
Cleanteilligent software helps facilitate communication between cleaning customers and clients.

CleanTelligent software helps provide Allcare Maintenance Services an open communication channel for clients, helping ensure that all services are delivered in a professional and timely manner.

Implemented in early 2012, this application helps managers and clients stay in constant communication, and helps make cleaning services more organized and simpler to manage for clients. Customers can expect to have their requests sent to the correct personnel and receive a response to your request – all within an hour.

CleanTelligent helps clients stay in the loop by keeping an archive of tickets, issues reported and response times, as well as notifications of requests made by others in the company.

Site inspectors also use CleanTelligent to deliver timely site inspection reports which they complete using Blackberrys and uploaded them immediately to a secure website that can be accessed by the individual client.

CleanTelligent has helped Allcare adhere to the highest levels of Quality Control and Training. In this special Q&A interview, we found out from CleanTelligent president Michael Jenkins about the importance of communication between cleaners and clients, the origins of CleanTelligent platform, and how it can help cleaning business work smarter.

Allcare: How did the idea of developing software for the cleaning industry come about?

Michael Jenkins: In the 1990’s, I was running a successful cleaning company in Salt Lake City, Utah. We used paper journals to communicate with our customers, who could communicate directly with the cleaners. We thought this was the best idea, but it turned out to be a huge mistake – it took the home office out of the loop and put the burden of being professional in the hands of the cleaners.

I had a friend in the software business.  We decided to write a web based journal for our clients to use. It was so successful that we broke off from the cleaning company and have since added other modules like inspections, scheduling, reporting, and much more. With the software, cleaning companies are able to have the automation needed to be more customer facing and productive.

Allcare: How does CleanTelligent software add intelligence to the delivery and monitoring of cleaning services and improve the way a cleaning business operates?

MJ: CleanTelligent is quality control software. It improves performance by helping cleaning companies to determine and exceed client expectations. CleanTelligent combines inspections, communication, and reporting.  These three factors are what determine performance and quality. When CleanTelligent gets involved in these processes, cleaning businesses have the ability to manage performance and ensure attention in real time to their clients through quality control.

Allcare: Will people and companies receiving cleaning services notice a difference in their service and options when their cleaning services provider uses CleanTelligent?

MJ: Absolutely, client retention is the #1 benefit we can promise to our users. Communication is the key to unlocking client satisfaction. With CleanTelligent, the cleaning services provider can generate reports to create company goals and prove performance to clients. The companies receiving the cleaning service recognize a big difference when they are able to simply submit work orders and view reports.

It has always been important to me that the software simply integrates into the cleaning company’s operations. This includes branding the software to the cleaning company. We don’t want the businesses receiving the cleaning services to recognize CleanTelligent as the solution; we want them to recognize service providers, like Allcare, as the solution. The software is branded to the cleaning company using it, positioning clients to recognize their service provider as the answer to their needs.

Allcare: What are some of the features that you’re particularly proud of, and which features are you planning to add in future releases?

MJ: It may not exactly be a feature, but I am most proud of the customization ability in CleanTelligent. Technology is not only for automation, but for empowerment. Each company has its own goals and needs. CleanTelligent is designed to be customizable so individual companies can maintain their standard and proprietary way of doing things. We set a general direction and then commit ourselves to creating the resources that our customers need to reach their full potential.

We plan to stay ahead of the current trends of mobility because of the communication it offers for our customers between them and their clients. We recently released our app for the iPad and Blackberry tablet. This makes it so that users can perform inspections and access information whenever needed. We believe the more freedom a company has with its operations, the better employees and management can reach full potential with quality control and client satisfaction.

For more information on CleanTelligent’s software, please visit cleantelligent.com.

8 Tile Floor Cleaning Tips from Allcare Maintenance

There are numerous reasons to choose tile flooring. For instance, it’s attractive, has a long lifespan, and is inhospitable to dust mites, mold, other particles that can trigger allergies. And it can also be easier to clean than other surfaces like carpet.
Tile has many advantages, and to keep tile floors looking great we have a few cleaning tips that can come in handy:

Proper cleaning and maintenance can help tiles look their best.
(Image by Andres)
  1. Wipe Up Spills the Moment They Happen: Don’t wait until tile floors are so dirty you can’t stand it any longer. To avoid serious stains or damage, clean tiles regularly to avoid having to resort to strong chemicals and serious hands-and-knees scrubbing.
  2. Keep Dirt from Getting In: Door mats at entrances help keep outside dirt at bay. Some people keep a towel near the door during snowy or rainy weather to sop up water and dirt that collects in doorways. You could also invoke a “no shoes” rule in the winter to help stop Toronto slush from making its way inside.
  3. Sweep Often: Adheres easily to the surface of ceramic tile, especially styles with textured surfaces. Sweeping loosens and dirt Regular sweeping loosens and removes most dirt. A vacuum cleaner can also be used to sweep, but make sure you use one without a beater bar to avoid dulling and scratching the tiles. Vacuum cleaner attachments are great to suck up dirt along edges or in between tiles.
  4. Avoid Using Bleach and Ammonia: Bleach and ammonia based cleaners are known to discolor grout lines gradually over time. Instead, use a mild all-purpose cleaner, or the manufacturer’s suggested product. Additionally, a non-epoxy grout sealer applied twice a year will protect the grout from staining.
  5. Be Gentle with Tile: Don’t use abrasive materials such as steel wool that will damage the finish on your tiles. Use soft cleaning cloths and mops instead – preferably using Microfibers that are extremely gentle on surfaces and trap dirt particles easily.
  6. Never Wax a Tile Floor: Tile shouldn’t have to be waxed. Tile floors that are sealed or waxed with an acrylic or urethane coating, it requires a great deal of added maintenance. For instance, the coating may scuff and show foot and drag marks, and it could build up and yellow if it’s stripped and waxed at least every year.
  7. Don’t Use Your Vacuum’s Beater Bar: A vacuum’s beater bar (or roller) is meant to brush and lift carpet fibers to pull hair and dirt from deep within. This is okay for carpets, but using it on your tile floors could scratch or dull the finish. Vacuum cleaners allow you to turn off or raise your beater bar so you can vacuum hard surface floors like tile.
  8. Dry Tiles after Cleaning: The dirt and minerals dissolved in the water you use to clean the tile floor can damage and discolor your tile, and even lead to mildew. Tile surfaces exposed to water regularly should be caulked, and the caulk should be regularly inspected to make sure it isn’t peeling away from the tile surface. Sealing the caulking will protect your grout from wear and tear, as well as stains.

Do you have any other tips to add about cleaning file floors? Please let us know in the comments!

Places We Clean: The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority’s “Restoration Services Centre”

Allcare cares about clean, and we’re happy to say that we keep clean Toronto and Region Conservation Authority’s “Restoration Services Centre”, the first green building in Ontario to earn the industry’s top designation for eco-friendly design.

The two-story building, which houses office space for 50 occupants and a works garage, was awarded Platinum ranking in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (or LEED) program administered by the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) in 2008.

The LEED certification basically assesses the energy efficiency and environmental impact of buildings, and assigns a rating based on the number of credits they get for these practices. For instance, the Restoration Services Centre attained all 10 LEED energy credits, having won points for having solar panels that provide the facility with a portion of its electricity.

It also employs water conservation through the use of ultra low-flow plumbing fixtures and other techniques that helps it consume 95 per cent less indoor water than a typical building of this size. Their composting toilets and waterless urinals seem right at home in the office, thereby contributing to this significant reduction in use of potable water for sanitary purposes.

This, of course, is only part of the story. The Restoration Services Centre strives to maintain its eco-friendliness and sustainability through a sustained commitment to green practices. In turn, they chose Allcare Maintenance Services to provide green cleaning services, and ensure that the thoughtfully constructed indoor environment does not become tainted by harmful chemicals.

Lorne Mlotek, a green building consultant for LeadingLEED, said in an email message that there’s no specific LEED credit that awards points for green cleaning, but it’s consistently given an Innovation in Design point as a means of on-going cleaning. “In fact,” writes Mlotek, “the CaGBC actually use ‘Green Cleaning’ as an example of how to achieve an  innovation in Design point because it is out of the scope of the LEED rating system, but still attributes to a sustainable building.”

Allcare cares about clean, and so do our clients. In its “Restoration Services Centre”, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority  is one such organization that has made a commitment to environmental sustainability and responsibility, and we’re happy that others see a value in that commitment.

The Health Effects of Cleaning with Aerosol Sprays

Aerosol sprays send a very fine mist of particles or droplets into the air. They’ve been used for decades to dispense cleaning chemicals and air fresheners. Chemicals sprayed into the air, however, may be inhaled or absorbed by the skin, which can sometimes cause adverse health effects.

Unclean indoor environments can make people sick or trigger allergy and asthma attacks; however, the very products used to remove these pollutants can contribute to indoor toxins.

One major concern is exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which can be dangerous to human health.

According to a report from Air Quality Sciences, Inc., products packaged as an aerosol increase the potential for exposure to VOCs because they atomize the particles during use. The particles, which are smaller and lighter, “can be inhaled more deeply into the lung, stay suspended longer in the air than larger, heavier particles, and can travel around an indoor environment easier via the heating, ventilating and air-conditioning system.”

In contrast, cleaning products delivered using a trigger sprayer, course mist, stream or in a bucket diminish the risk for exposure.

A connection has also been established between spray cleaners and the incidence of asthma and other respiratory difficulties in adults.

“The continued use of aerosols by cleaning workers can trigger asthma,” says researcher Jan-Paul Zock, who was part of a project that looked into the effects of aerosol cleaning products. He says these products release harmful chemicals into the air that we, in turn, breathe. Zock says his findings are echoed by other studies that found cleaning professionals have a disproportionately higher rate of asthma than in the rest of the workforce.

Some of the chemicals found in solvents, cleansers and aerosol propellants such as chlorinated hydrocarbons can be highly toxic to humans. According to Health Canada, chlorinated hydrocarbons are mostly absorbed into the body through breathing, but they can also be absorbed through the skin and the mouth.

Those suffering from the acute effects of chlorinated hydrocarbons exposure, says Health Canada, can usually recover completely. For those repeatedly exposed, however, adverse health effects can include depression of the central nervous and even permanent damage, as well as irritation of the eyes and lungs, and damage to the skin, liver and kidneys.

Given the potential risks of using aerosol sprays, we avoid them at Allcare since we don’t like to take risks with the health of our employees and clients.