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.

Enviro Chem Makes Green Cleaning Simpler

New green cleaners are proving that there’s no longer a trade-off between being green and being clean. Case in point, the Enviro Chem products we use from Rochester Midland Corporation is a complete system that includes biodegradable, non-toxic, non-corrosive, non-reactive solutions.

The colour-coded cleaning system we use makes sure that the right cleaning solutions are used, and that they aren’t contaminated. (Click the image for a larger view.)

Not only does Enviro Chem have a lower impact on worker health and building occupants than traditional cleaners, but the system is also colour coded to make cleaning simpler.

Cleaning chemicals are given a specific colour based on their function. For instance, deodorizers are teal, glass cleaner is purple, disinfectant is blue, and washroom cleaner is green. This means that cleaners know exactly what chemical to use for the job.

The cloths are also colour-coded, meaning that there’s no cross-contamination between, say, a glass cleaner and washroom chemicals. But it also ensures that no one ever uses the same cloth to clean a desktop as a bathroom.

Another great thing about the colour-coded Enviro Chem products is that if our clients have to clean up a mess right away, and can’t wait until we get there, they can follow a simple chart showing what coloured chemicals and cloths to use for each purpose.

We obviously think the world of our cleaners, and they’re top-notch professionals – but why make their job harder? Rochester Midland’s green cleaners help make choosing the right chemicals easy, environmentally friendly, and powerful. It’s enough to clean nearly everything we’re faced with, and that means a lot.

Importance Of Microfibers

Microfibers are extremely thin fibers made from polyester or nylon. They come in hard or soft weaves and are sometimes blended with cotton.

Cloths made from soft fibers are ideal for dusting and polishing. When cotton is blended, they are ideal for damp or wet cleaning. When the fibers are split, they become harder, which is useful for glass cleaning and the cleaning of other hard surfaces.

Microfibers are available in an assortment of colours, which offer great benefits to avoid cross contamination of both chemicals and the areas being cleaned.

Microfibers are launderable, they have multi purpose use and save you money in the long run.

Microfibers can be used for dusting, glass cleaning, wet cleaning, dust mopping, wet mopping, floor finishing, and scrubbing. They also reduce the amount of chemicals and tools required for different applications.

Clean Building = Productivity

Building related illnesses affect many Canadian workers. Many experience respiratory complaints, asthma, and allergies. This causes lost work times and poor productivity in employees.

Improving indoor air quality fights building related illnesses and saves organizations money.

Providing a clean and safe workplace encourages employees to maintain their premises. Intern, this too saves the organization money.

It also encourages employee moral and is a good representation of your company to your customers.