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Q.  How do I remove scratches from stainless steel, likely from a scratch pad? 

Evidently the scratch pad was too aggressive and was pulled across the grain. Elevator doors normally have the stainless steel grain going top to bottom. You can try using a white nylon scouring pad and the stainless steel cleaner. Scrub it only with the grain.

You may have to graduate to a green pad next if the white does not remove the scratches. It is possible you may end up with a dull spot, but it will be uniform with the direction of the grain and less noticeable.

Q. How do I clean and properly disinfect tanning beds and salon surfaces and equipment? 

A.  A thorough cleaning with an approved hospital grade quat or hydrogen peroxide based disinfectant cleaner will do the job. The most popular method is to spray on the solution and let it dwell for recommended contact time and then wipe dry with a clean microfiber cloth. With recent outbreaks of MRSA and other transmittable diseases, it would be good to have your bases covered.

Your supplier should be able to verify if the disinfectant you plan to use is effective on MRSA.
 Your clients may object and there are other risks to the use of bleach. If the product you use requires a 10 minute contact time, you would probably need to use bucket of disinfectant and a damp towel to apply an ample amount to the equipment before it evaporates.

Some new products on the market require a one-minute contact time. These would be worth looking into. The other critical concern is to not only clean the beds and rest rooms, but all hand touch areas such as door knobs, chairs, bed handles, exercise equipment, sign in counter, clipboards, pens, etc. Don't forget the number one source of contamination - hands that are not properly or regularly washed.

Here are some links regarding procedures and products:

Center of Disease Control info on MRSA

EPA’s Registered Sterilizers, Tuberculocides, and Antimicrobial Products Against Certain Human Public Health Bacteria and Viruses

Q. What is the best cleaning procedure for a gym or exercise room?

A typical cleaning process for a school or university gym and rest rooms would be as follows:
Restrooms, Locker Rooms and Showers
Daily Duties:
1. Empty waste receptacles and change liners.
2. Thoroughly clean and disinfect toilets and urinals.
3. Thoroughly clean and disinfect shower rooms and dressing rooms.
4. Restock dispensers: soap, paper towel, toilet tissue and sanitary napkins.
5. Clean mirrors; clean and disinfect urinals and stools; clean basins; polish stainless steel and chrome surfaces.
6. Spot wash walls, lockers, and partitions.
7. Dust mop and wet mop floors with disinfectant solution.
1. Damp clean and polish partitions thoroughly.
2. Pour at least one gallon of water down floor drains.
3. Dust wall and ceiling vents.
4. Clean doors and wall tile.
Twice Monthly:
1. De-scale fixtures.
2. Scrub floor with floor scrubber.
Shower Rooms, Locker Rooms and Dressing Rooms Procedures
1. Empty all trash containers (including small pieces of soap and other debris) into cart.
2. Reline containers with plastic liner.
3. Spray or wipe containers with germicide/disinfectant solution. Wipe dry with clean cloth or paper towel.
Benches Furniture and Lockers
1. Spray or wipe (with cloth) with germicide/disinfectant solution and scrub or wipe dry with clean cloth.
2. Spot clean walls and lights as needed (as above). Replace burned out lights.
3. Replenish paper towels, soap, etc. Clean dispensers and lock.

1. Wipe down walls with germicide/disinfectant solution and cloth, wedge mop, sponge mop, or brush. Let solution stay on walls for a few minutes to allow chemicals to work (dwell time).
2. Scrub or agitate solution to loosen soil and scum. Rinse with clean water.
3. Polish handles, shower heads, and other hardware and wipe dry.
4. Clean hair, etc. from shower drain.
Floor Surfaces
The flooring surfaces vary considerably in the different buildings. However, the following is recommended:
1. Sweep or dust mop (treated) floor to remove large pieces of paper and other debris.
2. Pick up towels, socks, shoes, etc. and store appropriately. Lightly flood floors with germicide/detergent solution and warm water.
3. Let stand 3 minutes or more for chemical action.
4. Agitate or scrub with wet mop, brush (long handled),or power buffer, if necessary.
5. Pick up soiled solution with mop, squeegee to drain, or wet vacuum up.

1. Empty waste receptacles and replace liners.
2. Dust mop court floors and spot clean using recommended treatment for dust mop.
3. Clean glass in doors and partitions.
4. Clean and disinfect drinking fountains.
5. Vacuum traffic patterns on carpeted floors; remove gum and soil spots.
6. Dust furniture.
7. Dust mop and wet mop tiled floors.
8. Spot clean walls; remove graffiti.
1. Vacuum carpeted areas thoroughly.
2. Clean door surfaces.
3. Vacuum upholstered furniture. Clean all wooden and vinyl furniture. (low dusting, below 5 feet)
4. Clean and polish brass or chrome.
5. Spray buff tiled floors; remove scuffmarks.
High dust (above 5’) or vacuum vents, lights, pipes, Venetian blinds, drapes, connecting horizontal and vertical wall surfaces.
Annually: Reseal floor using manufacturer’s recommended procedures and finishes.

Q. What is the best way to remove water spots from tubs and shower glass?

A. To remove mineral deposits from glass, porcelain and chrome you will need a safe acidic cleaner - normally phosphoric acid formulated as a lime and scale remover. Protect any vulnerable areas such as carpet, and wear gloves and goggles when applying the acid. Do not mix with any other chemicals. Begin scrubbing with a white nylon pad and observe the results. Make sure the scouring pad does not scratch the surface. Squeegee or wipe off the residue and observe the results. Repeat until mineral deposits are removed. Finally, rinse with water and polish dry.

Q. Will mopping a floor with a chlorine solution dull the floor finish? The lab floor needs to be disinfected.

A. I would check first with your local jan/san vendor for a chlorinated cleaner that is compatible with the finish you use. A normal disinfecting ratio is 200 ppm chlorine, which weakens many finishes. Check the label dilution which may run 3/4 cup per gallon of cold water. Remind the customer that chlorine is corrosive on most metals that it comes in contact with and you can not be responsible for damage. Chlorine has a distinct odor compared to a safer lemon quat disinfectant or an orange H202.

Check to see what might be spilled on the floor in the lab and what is being tracked in from the outside. Parking lot sealant can raise havoc, so make sure there is adequate matting. With high traffic and a light color, you will need to schedule in a regular scrub and top coating of the traffic lanes. A scrub with a neutral cleaner and blue pad should remove all the soil, if performed often enough.

Check some of the answers in this column for procedures on scrub and top coat. This will avoid frequent stripping. Also, mopping thoroughly with a premium floor cleaner and then burnishing can also help remove the discoloration. Some products work better than others, but what is important is using high performance products that are readily available in your trade area.

Q. What is the best way to clean the baseboards and corners of our marble floors?

A. Detergent solution and elbow grease. Actually, there are lots of ways to approach the challenge including: steam vapor, automated baseboard cleaning machines, and clinging-foam spray and a doodlebug. If you choose a hand method, your best bet is to provide adequate contact time and agitation.

You could mix up a heavy duty cleaner in a pump-up sprayer. Apply it liberally to the baseboard and edges and allow it to set 10 minutes. Spray a second time and begin scrubbing with a brush or doodlebug. Wet vac and rinse, or follow with a spray rinse of baseboards using an autoscrubber for pickup. Since it is marble, you will undoubtedly avoid using any acid-based product. And once the mess is cleaned up, a lesson in proper mopping technique is in order.

Q. How do we clean stainless steel commodes that are tarnished and have a urine buildup?

A. Your janitorial product supplier should have a recommendation for phosphoric acid or liquid pumice-based cleaners. You apply it to the damaged area (commode or sink) and then scour with a green nylon pad. It is crucial to determine the direction of the grain and only scrub with it. Cross-grain scrubbing can leave permanent scratches. Rinse the fixture and re-clean, if required, with your normal cleaning product. Strong hydrochloric acid products should be avoided as they tarnish stainless.

Proper use of cleaning solutions 

Q.  I know there is a dilution ratio with chemicals when diluted with water, but recently my staff is putting less water in their mop buckets due to worry about spillage. . This concerns me due to not only the waste of chemicals but to the dilution not being effective. Are there procedures for properly wringing out a wet mop? Example: You should have enough water to rinse mop out before wringing out the mop. We typically use a 26-31 quart bucket.

A.  You may have to provide a written procedure for your staff, since they obviously need to follow one that will avoid wasting time and chemical.

The first problem with only having a small amount of water in the mop bucket is accelerated saturation levels in the cleaning solution. Let me explain. If you have a 26 quart mop bucket and fill it half full, you would have 13 quarts of clean water. If the disinfectant mix ratio called for ½ oz. per gal, you would add 1.625 oz. of disinfectant.

Now, at this dilution ratio, you should be able to mop a given amount of floor (usually 600-2,000 sq. ft. depending upon the soil load and type of soil being removed). If you add only 6 quarts of water to the bucket, the cleaning solution would reach a soil saturation level much faster and you will have to change the solution sooner.

Secondly, using less water sets you up for mopping with a dirty solution as well as a dirty mop. With only a slight amount of water, there will be insufficient rinsing action of the mop head. How often would you take a bath with only 1 inch of water in the tub?

If the workers are concerned about spillage, ask them to curtail filling above the halfway point. Always push by the mop handle with the mop in the bottom of the bucket, never in the press. Carry the setup over thresholds.

Dilution Ratios

Q.  What does it mean when the label says to mix the product 1:3 for a floor stripping product?

A.  Normally, the mix ratio is given in parts (units) of undiluted product to parts (units) of water. So, if the label ratio shows mixing 1:3, it means measuring 1 part of stripper to 3 parts of water. If you were mixing up a gallon of stripper solution you would add 1 quart of stripper to 3 quarts of water. Likewise, if the label shows mixing 1:6, you would have 1 quart of stripper to 6 quarts of water. Keep in mind that, as long as the ratio is maintained, you can use any part or unit of measurement, pints, quarts, gallons, liters, even tablespoons.

Most mop buckets have quart calibrations marked on the inside of the bucket. So you might see 4 quarts, 8 quarts, 16 quarts, and so on. For a large job, you would consult the label, and if the mix ratio is listed as 1:4, you could add 2 quarts of stripper to 8 quarts of water (2 times 4=8). Or, you could add 1 gallon of stripper and then refill the bottle four times with water (4 gallons) to achieve a 1:4 ratio.

Keep in mind that most strippers have variable mix dilutions for light, medium, or heavy buildup. If the floor has no gloss or buildup, use the light mixture, and if there appears to be a heavy buildup, then mix it heavy according to the label.

The first 30 minutes of the initial strip operation gives you time to observe if the mixture is correct. If you started light and the results are poor, then you would progress to a stronger mix. This can be judged by squeegeeing the area immediately after the strip operation to observe the percent of removal. A complete removal of 100% shows a dull, yet clean floor. It’s important to tweak the mix ratio at the very beginning of the job.

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