Spike in Shigella Cases Creates Concern in Kansas City

Authorities have been concerned about an uptick in the number of reported shigella (which causes shigellosis) cases in the Kansas City area. Shigella symptoms include vomiting, diahhrea and strong cramps. Nationally, concern has been on-going that shigella bacteria are becoming more resistant to antibiotics.

According to the KCTV 5 website,

"About 60 students at Faxon Elementary School, 1320 E. 32nd Terr., have become ill and could have shigella, the health department says. It hasn't been confirmed yet, but the symptoms are similar and the metro is dealing with a shigella outbreak."

Shigellosis is a diarrheal disease caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella. Shigella causes about 500,000 cases of diarrhea in the United States annually 1. There are four different species of Shigella:

  • Shigella sonnei (the most common species in the United States)
  • Shigella flexneri
  • Shigella boydii
  • Shigella dysenteriae

(S. dysenteriae and S. boydii are rare in the United States.)


Cleaning the Unseen (Flipbook)

Disinfectants are different from antibiotics in that they are not designed for use with humans, but instead to help control harmful germs externally on general surfaces in the environment before those germs can picked up and ingested by humans. (Ingestion is just one portal of entry for harmful "pathogens.") Once a person is infected, and antibiotics are required, the process is much more expensive and uncomfortable for the victim.

Not all disinfectants kill all forms of germs. There are several ways in which disinfectants achieve control. Newer methods are generally considered safer, and easier on the environment, than older, more toxic methods. The first method listed below, for example, uses modified water (converted to stabilized aqueous ozone) to achieve disinfection. All the methods below are EPA-Registered for specific shigella bacteria types. Please click on the disinfection method to see the efficacy data.

Note that all disinfection methods require 

PUR-O-ZONE Stocking Disinfectants Registered to Kill Shigella

LOTUS PRO - Stabilized aqueous ozone from water disinfectant
KAIBOSH - Touch-free restroom cleaning system disinfectant
Q.T. - Quaternary disinfectant
RE-JUV-NAL - Hospital grade disinfectant

MRSA Watch Page May Provide Additional Assistance

MRSA incidences are also up this fall. Please visit our MRSA Watch page for information on breaking the cross-contamination cycle, what products help control MRSA and how to deal with active MRSA cases. The methodology for controlling microorganisms in the workplace or school environment is called cleaning for health, and is similar for most threats.

MRSA Watch

Color Coding Helps Break Cross-Contamination

Although there is not an official color-coding system for cleaning in the United States, there is an increasingly accepted general practice being followed. Here are the general color categories in use today:
  • Red: Used in areas with a higher risk of cross-contamination and spread of infection — most commonly for cleaning restroom areas including toilets and urinals

  • Yellow:  Used for cleaning objects and surfaces in rooms and lower risk areas of restrooms including sinks

  • Green: Used in areas where food is handled and prepared

  • Medium/Dark Blue: General use, and patient rooms in hospital settings

  • White: Specialized use, including isolation rooms in healthcare.

Why separate cleaning materials into zones of use? Well, for the same reason you don't usually care to use a spoon after it has fallen on the floor, but you would probably go ahead and use it if it simply fell on a relatively clean countertop. By the same token, germs on a restroom toilet flush handle should probably not be brought directly to a sink in that room - or any room - by a cleaning cloth or sponge. Cleaning can improve sanitation, but sometimes it actually spreads germs around, bringing them to new food sources or moisture.  

Cross-contamination is the process of bringing pathogens, those germs that can cause us illness, from one spot to another, and in particular a spot where it can infect. For example, a cloth used to wipe a patient's curtain in an ER can deposit germs if it is later used to clean a door knob. Then the germs can come in contact with hands, and an infection that would otherwise might never have moved out of the ER, ends up being carried to a sandwich and later being ingested.

In addition to ingestion through our mouths, we can also become infected by germs entering through our eyes, noses, ears, lungs and other "mucous membranes" or entrances into the body.

So the idea behind segregating germ zones is to reduce the chance of giving germs of one type a free ride into a zone they would not normally make it to. From a psychological standpoint, color coding also helps remind custodians and infection control personnel of the important job of breaking infection cycles that they perform.


Custom-Cut Mats are Beautiful and Functional

Your entryways are key to three important safeguards in your building. First, they protect the impression people form about your oganization when they arrive. Those first impressions set the tone and are very important to all that follows.

Second, properly handled, entryways can control 85% (or more) of the soil that enters your building. The same soil, debris and grit that creates wear and tear on the floors throughout.

Finally, but perhaps most important, they can reduce your slip/fall risks, particularly during rainy and snowy seasons. One slip/fall claim alone - even if unsuccessful - can run up costs far exceeding the relatively inexpensive methods of prevention through moisture and soil intake management.  

Therefore, your company or organization has a lot to gain from attractive, customized mats that are long enough and absorbent enough to do their very important jobs.

Especially if you are renting, which is the most expensive way to get the least effective moisture and soil control, you have a lot to gain. In just six months to a year and a half of rental costs, you can usually own mats that will last 3-5 years in many cases.

In Kansas and Western Missouri, please call to get the ball rolling on an entryway review, measurement and recommendation so you can size up the investment and returns for yourself. 

7 Tips for Designing Effective Entryway Mat Systems


Flu Season Runs October to May

Although scientists are unable to predict how severe or when a flu season will peak until data beings rolling in, one thing is certain. There will be an influenza outbreak. For some it will be serious, for many it will cost work or school days, and in every building throughout the United States, custodial staffs can have an impact on how many are affected, and to some degree the severity of infections.

That is right, studies of practices like daily desktop disinfection have shown that not only how many students are absent, but the length of absence (an indicator of severity) can both be reduced. In businesses, treatment of shared surfaces from October through May may even reduce colds, and have been shown to reduce the norovirus which causes a very severe form of abdominal and stomach sickness.

Handwashing Helps

Breaking the infection cycle starts with reminding everyone to wash their hands thoroughly. Hands are part of the cross-contamination cycle. Yet we all short-change hand washing from time to time, and many report having seen co-workers not wash at all after activities like using the restroom.

These signs are 11" by 8.5" and are available from PUR-O-ZONE printed on glossy index stock for just 95 cents each plus shipping. Call 785-843-0771 to order.







GHS Poster "Label Elements"

CLICK TO ENLARGE.The third in our series of GHS posters is being released this week (7/13/15). Great for helping comply with GHS training requirements. Reserve your copies with Trey today, they're only $1.95 plus shipping, or add them to an existing order.
This poster addresses the general label elements and specifically how those elements appear on an in-use PUR-O-ZONE label.
Order item LABELPOSTER from Bobbi at 785-856-9456.
This joins our GHS pictograms posters in English and Spanish.
PICTOPOSTER (pictograms English version)
PICTOESPANO (pictograms Spanish version)

Protect Yourself from Icky Worker Habits

Did you know that more than 80% of illnesses can be transmitted by the hands? [1] Did you also know that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends hand hygiene as one of the most important steps to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others? [2] Yet, is hand hygiene one of the measures you take to stay healthy?

Find out what people are doing about it, below.Earlier this year, GOJO Industries, the makers of Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer, took a closer look at the most recent cold and flu season and found some interesting, icky and fun facts in a survey that was commissioned with Wakefield Research. One thousand adults across the United States were asked a variety of questions about hand hygiene and this past cold and flu season, and some of the answers really stood out. [3]

  • Did you know that 69% of working Americans don’t take sick days because they don’t want to miss a day of work, even if they are actually sick?
  • Did you know that 59% of working Americans frequently cover up their cold and flu symptoms while at work?
  • Did you know that 57% of Americans engage in “icky” habits, which include not washing their hands after sneezing or using the restroom?
  • Did you know that 60% of those surveyed have witnessed a coworker sneezing without a tissue?
  • Did you know that out of those who haven’t gotten sick this season, the majority of them, nearly 67%, say that hand hygiene is the reason why?


While these facts may tell a lot about human behavior, especially during cold and flu season, one item that stands out is the important role hand hygiene plays in preventing the spread of illness-causing germs and reducing the risk of illness, anytime of the year, not just during cold and flu season.

In order to reduce the spread of those illness-causing germs, it is important to remember to practice hand hygiene at key moments, which include:

  • Before and after preparing food
  • Before eating
  • After using the bathroom
  • After sneezing or coughing
  • After touching anything that is in a high-traffic area that may have been touched by many different hands, such as a door handle, gas pump handle and a restroom doorknob

This infographic details the survey results—all the fun, and maybe even some icky, details.

[1]2013 Meta-analysis of germ transmission data by Dr. Gerba, University of Arizona.
[2]Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).Handwashing: Clean Hands Save
Lives. http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html December 11, 2013.
[3]Wakefield Research conducted a survey between January 22nd and February 2nd, 2015,
among 1,000 U.S. nationally representative adults aged18 and older. The margin of
error at the 95 percent confidence level is +/- 3.1 percentage points. Survey
sponsored by the makers of Purell Hand Sanitizer.

How a Florida School System Saved Money Extending Carpet Life

"We started this whole carpet research program because we were working too hard to make only marginal improvement."  - District Custodial Coordinator, Florida School District

A Sustainable Model for High Performance

A unique, hands-on study, called simply The Manual, documents how one Florida school district's Plant Manager's Executive Committe developed a radical, high-performance program that turned commercial soft floor maintenance and cleaning wisdom on its head. The manual is available via PUR-O-ZONE for $45 plus shipping/handling.

The management model drives every aspect of soft floor maintenance within the district. The top ten steps reflected in the detailed how-to guide are:

1. Get Organized

Buy-in from management allows you to organize and take on tasks. 

2. Identify the Problems or Needs

There is probably a better way to do what you are charged to do. Identification of the need is the starting point for gradual change.

3. Conduct Research

Find and consult with other organizations wrestling with the same things you identify as issues.

4. Gather the Data

Numbers help you clarify and focus.

5. Decide

Based on the data, make a plan. It doesn't have to be perfect, but it does have to be started.

6. Request the Budget

Thorough preparation. Thorough preparation. Thorough preparation.

7. Orient Users for Buy-In

Let those who will implement know what is coming and why.

8. Training

Hands-on training with supervision makes the difference between theory and practice.

9. Monitor

Follow up and identify where to re-train. You get what you measure.

10. Assess Sustainability

What works in testing may not be sustainable in your actual environment under "real world" constraints. Plan for improvement, then start the process gain.

This Executive Summary will help you understand the value of Host's guide.

To order The Manual, for $45 plus $12.35 shipping/handling, notify us here, and we will contact you directly.


How Removing Your Burnisher Pad Can Save You One or More C-Notes

Our service department has started tagging repaired burnishers to help customers avoid an expensive, but surprisingly common, repair problem. Replaced pad drivers.

Burnisher pad drivers are cupped so the edges apply more pressure to the pad than the center. Because burnishers turn at high rates of speed, variables like this are important. The design prevents drag. Too much drag from a warped (no longer cupped the right way) burnisher pad driver and the unit is harder to maneuver, and more amperage is drawn from the motor. The additional heat created can cause wiring and motor problems.

To keep the pad driver cupped and working properly, the pad should be removed for standing upright when not in use so the driver simply hangs, suspended from the unit. A block of wood is recommended as a spacer for the front of the unit to keep it level. It is a simple process, but one often overlooked. Pad drivers are not inexpensive to replace, and overheated motors and wiring can also lead to repair expense. So removing the pad helps reduce costs and keeps your burnisher ready to do your bidding.

6 Advantages of Sustainable Cleaning Plans That Make Them Good Business Plans

Why emphasize sustainable cleaning for the built environment?

Sustainable solutions are not just better for the environment, they are a sound business strategy.

Here are 6 reasons why:

#1 Sustainable approaches are all about extending the life of your building surfaces and fixtures.

If you restore and replace less often, your expenses are lower. Labor costs are reduced. The cost of replacement or restoration occurs less frequently. Sustainable approaches make all this possible.

#2 Risks and liabilities are reduced.

Risk management calls for using safer processes to clean and maintain buildings. Manufacturers have responded with more effective, yet safer formulations and equipment. Many reduce toxicity, others reduce slip/fall risks and yet others require less musculoskeletal demands on the cleaner. In many cases, ergonomics and sustainability go hand-in-hand to produce better working conditions and lowered worker compensation insurance costs.

#3 Employees are more efficient and more effective.

Your staff works more productively using formulations that have fewer unpleasant side-effects and equipment that is less demanding to control. They complete more work with less fatigue, illness and fewer compensation days. Ultimately, this reduces overall payroll.

Better, Faster, Cheaper Floor Care

#4 Water is saved.

Many processes PUR-O-ZONE recommends and educates custodians to perform require less water, which has important benefits to the bottom line:

  • Moisture is a time-intensive component in cleaning. Waiting for cleaned carpets, hard flooring, upholstery and surfaces to dry slows down labor and places a drag on productivity. Labor represents 95% of most cleaning budgets.
  • Moisture can lead to additional cleaning and restoration required. When moisture leads to mildew or damage to surfaces either being cleaned or nearby, the cost of cleaning can increase greatly. So low- and no-moisture processes are a good investment, even if they add cost on the supply side.
  • Water is on its way to becoming a much more expensive resource. While 20th Century generations came to think of clean water as a relatively "cheap" commodity, those times are rapidly approaching a close in the early 21st Century. Scarcity of municipal potable and agricultural-use water will lead to significantly increased future costs. Learning to do with less today will pay big dividends tomorrow.

10 Perks to Cleaning Carpet with Ultra-Low Moisture

Cleaning with Activated Water

#5 Improves imagery and is good for business.

 Your organization, institution or business is more likely to be seen as sensitive to green issues if you use and promote more sustainable methods in your built environment. A June 18, 2014 Neilson study says North Americans view sustainability so positively that 42 percent are willing to pay more for products and services from companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact. If you sell globally, that commitment increases to 55%.

#6 It is the right thing to do.

 The long-term costs of harm to the environment we live in are, in the final analysis, incalculable. Much of what we lose to environmental degradation cannot be replaced. Each business, governmental body, church and institution owe it to current and future generations to attempt to tread more lightly in this unique planet upon which we live.

Line Card with Environmental Links 

Cleaning Sustainability Certification Groups

Sustainable Floor Refinishing

6 Upright Vacuum Remedies for Under $25 Before You Send it in for Repair

Via Tornado Blog


Looking for ways to trouble-shoot and save money on vacuum equipment maintenance to keep your vacuum cleaner running longer?

Here are some easy, low-cost fixes for common upright vacuum cleaner problems ranging from free (most peoples' favorite by a wide margin) to about $25. 

FREE DOWNLOAD: Staff Reminder Sign


ISSUE: Vacuum isn’t picking up dirt and particles effectively.

Possible Fix #1

Your collection filter bag may be full, and this can reduce air flow which can, in turn, cause the motor to overheat. Overheated motors cause other cumulative problems. Open the front lid/housing to see if your collection bag is full, and if it appears more than three-quarters full, try replacing the collection bag with a brand new one. More than likely, the unit will resume its normal cleaning effectiveness.

(Cha-ching monitor: $2 – $3 per bag)

Possible Fix #2

As a rule of thumb, you should change the HEPA filter on your vacuum every 6 months, unless it appears dirty or clogged upon inspection. In the Midwest, you can use Day Light Saving time as a reminder. Change your fire alarm batteries, then change your HEPA cartridges. If your vacuum is not performing well, this can be a proactive, preventive measure to ensure best performance. A clogged HEPA filter cartridge can reduce vacuum performance, and may even cause the filter to warp or buckle such that dirt goes right around.

(Cha-ching monitor: $25 twice a year for vacuums used frequently. Note: Some filters are higher.) 

Possible Fix #3

Check all hoses for a clog. What often happens is the hose and wand assembly are removed and checked/cleared, but the bottom hose that connects with the brush head is not checked. This channel can often be the location of the clog. The bottom hose must be removed from the back housing and straightened out. If you cannot see the brush roller through the hose, it is clogged. In most cases, you will find a paper clip or some object that has created the blockage. Once all hoses are cleared, the unit may return to its normal service.

(Cha-ching monitor: $0)

Possible Fix #4

Check your beater brush. It is common for hair and string to get wrapped around it, which can impact the vacuum’s ability to clean. Flip the vacuum over to inspect the beater brush, and if needed, use a pair of scissors or sharp object to cut out all of the hair and string that is tangled around the bar. This will help to improve cleaning productivity. 

(Cha-ching monitor: $0)

Possible Fix #5

Check the carpet height setting. If you have recently vacuumed plush, high-pile carpeting, you will need to lower the vacuum height for shorter commercial-grade carpeting to ensure that you vacuum at maximum capacity. If too much space is allowed between the vacuum and the carpet, suction is dramatically reduced, and results as well.

(Cha-ching monitor: $0)


Possible Fix #6

See if the system is airtight. Upright vacuums have multiple locations where hoses attach to the body or to the wand or to other hoses. The wand has several attachment options on most machines. Often, the hose option requires attachment to the vacuum line in a way that circumvents the floor opening on the upright. A leak at any of these attachment points, or trying to floor vacuum when the hose is attached, may result in reduced suction.

 (Cha_ching monitor: $0)


Quick 8-Step Vacuuming Guide