The topic of Covid-19 and how it is dealt with in dish machines has started to come up at several distributor locations.
Currently the CDC, WHO, and EPA all suggest that, just like in the laundry, if you wash the surface and remove the soil you are also removing the virus from the surface. They do not differentiate between high temp and low temp dish machines.
I have found recommendations from several dish machine manufacturers and they all follow the same logic stream. They suggest that in a high temp application the heat will neutralize the virus, and washing the surface will remove the virus from the surface of anything washed in the dish machine. In low temp dish machines they use the same thought process, that if you wash the surface you are removing the virus from the surface and providing a clean, sanitized, food contact surface.
There have been calls we have received from healthcare facilities that want to go a step further. They are filling bus tubs with a disinfectant, placing ware from patients with Covid-19 into the bus tubs for the appropriate contact time, removing the ware, rinsing it, and then running it through the dish machine.
Hopefully this information will help you if you have customers asking these types of questions. I will continue to monitor the CDC, WHO, and EPA sites in case they make recommendations regarding dish machines and Covid-19. There is more information available from the dish machine manufacturers on the topic if needed.
Posted at 07:15 AM, 29 April 2020
Covid-19 Contaminated Laundry
We are starting to receive calls from both end users and our distributor partners regarding proper laundering procedures for fabric contaminated with Covid-19.
At this time the recommended procedure for washing fabric is to follow normal wash procedures based on soil classification using proper temperatures, wash chemicals, and formula. The thought is that if we are able to remove the soil we will also be removing the virus from the fabric.
The CDC suggests setting your wash temperature at 160 degrees for 25 minutes to kill the virus. Since most laundry accounts cannot achieve wash temps of 140-160 degrees, much less maintain that temperature for 25 minutes, we can rely on the dryer to provide a temperature of 180 degrees for an average of 20-25 minutes.
If the account is looking for an additional level of kill claim we can inject Shurguard Ultimate into a pre-wash operation with warm water at low level for 10 minutes at a concentration of 3.5 ounces per 4.5 gallons (450 ppm concentration). Directions for use in laundry as a presoak are listed on the Shurguard Ultimate tech sheet. (This is not for use in California)
To test the concentration in the laundry you can use either the QT-40 test strip, sku D6009920 or the QC-1000 test strip, sku D014947. The QT-40 is good up to 500 ppm and the QC-1000 is good up to 1000 ppm. Test the ppm concentration at the drain after the pre-wash cycle is complete.
Posted at 07:54 AM, 13 April 2020
Removing Sunscreen Stains
During summer months and at warm weather resorts we start to encounter yellow spots on the pool/beach towels and in some cases on the sheets and pillowcases.
One of the biggest reasons for the yellow spots is the use of sunscreens containing zinc oxide. The sunscreens containing zinc oxide are very popular due to its ability to prevent sunburn but also because they can help with chapped skin and abrasions. The downside of using sunscreen with zinc oxide is that when the sunscreen gets on a towel or onto bed linen it can cause yellow spots to appear during the laundering process. The good news is that it is fairly easy to prevent the spots from becoming an issue.
The spots can be eliminated by increasing the laundry sour during the final rinse to 1.5x the normal amount, and increasing the final rinse time to 6:00 minutes. This will prevent the zinc oxide from becoming a problem and preventing the yellow spots on the linen.
Posted at 08:24 AM, 19 March 2020
Quat Sanitizers and Cotton Rags
Quat Sanitizers and Cotton Rags
When sanitizing dining tables in a cafeteria it is common for the staff to use a designated sanitizer bucket with a quat based sanitizer. They will generally use a rag or sponge to wipe the tables and then keep the rag or sponge in the sanitizing solution for future use.
The issue that arises is that if the rag is made of cotton it will absorb the quat based sanitizer into the rag. This minimizes the ability of the solution to sanitize the table tops that is necessary to prevent bacteria from creating a health risk.
To prevent the rag from absorbing the quat based sanitizer we suggest using microfiber rags. Microfiber rags will NOT absorb the quat like cotton. You can also use a ready to use sanitizer to spray the surface prior to wiping. This eliminates the need for the sanitizer bucket and the issues associated with rags absorbing the quat based sanitizers all together.
Please share this with your customers to help prevent the dreaded check mark on the Health Inspectors report.
Posted at 09:00 AM, 13 February 2020
How many coats of floor finish?
How many coats of finish do I need to lay on my floor?
This is a question we receive periodically from end users that does not really have a black and white answer. In some cases we might ask what the gloss expectation is, in other cases it might be what type of maintenance will be provided on the floor.
The most consistent answer that we can give is the “Rule of 100”. The “Rule of 100” proposes that you take a look at the percentage of solids of the finish and divide 100 by the percentage. So for example if the finish has a 25% solids you divide 100 by 25 and you come up with 4 coats of finish for the floor. If the solids content of the finish is 19-20% you would divide 100 by 20 and it would let you know that you should use 5 coats of finish on the floor.
This practice is designed to allow for cleaning the floor which can remove some of the finish without exposing the bare floor to be damaged or stained.
Posted at 10:37 AM, 17 January 2020
Removing Blood from Fabric
What is the best way to remove blood from fabric?
This is a call we receive periodically, and talk about in our Laundry Training class. When dealing with blood in fabric there are several concerns to be aware of. First is how to remove the blood, but second is how we handle the item that has blood on it.
When dealing with bodily fluids we must use precautions and proper PPE to insure we do not place the person laundering the fabric at risk of blood borne pathogens. Please follow OSHA requirements for Occupational Exposure to Blood Borne Pathogens.
Once the items containing blood are delivered to the laundry we can remove the blood in one of two ways. If the blood stains are occurring on a frequent basis and the volume is fairly high we can address the removal of blood in the laundry formula for the commercial washers. We do this by adding a cold water flush to the beginning of the laundry cycle. This prevents the hot water from setting the stains into the fabric and making it much more difficult to deal with. If the blood is a once in a while event we can rinse or soak the item in cold water to remove the blood.
The key here is to identify the blood before washing so we can use the correct process to remove the blood without setting the stain in the fabric.
Posted at 08:25 AM, 9 December 2019
Chlorine Bleach Presoak?
Is chlorine bleach a good presoak for (flatware, coffee cups, laundry stains, etc.)?
This is an observation we make over time when visiting customer locations. Chlorine bleach is a common product to encounter in multiple uses at a variety of locations. We have seen it used as a presoak for stained fabric in laundries, we have seen it used to remove coffee stains from the inside of coffee cups, we have had food service facilities use chlorine as a presoak for their flatware, and we have even witnessed people washing their floors with chlorine bleach.
Chlorine is a very popular product for several applications. It can be used as a sanitizer in low temp dish machines and 3 compartment sinks, it can be used as a destainer in commercial laundry operations, but it is not a good choice when soil and other conditions are present.
First of all, chlorine bleach is an aggressive chemical that can start to deteriorate the surface of anything it comes into contact with. It does not have any cleaning ability, and it can not sanitize a dirty surface. There are many products that are better suited for removing stains. If the stains are present in the laundry we would suggest using a prespotter or presoak.
If the stains are present in coffee cups or other plastic food contact surfaces we would suggest using an oxygen based presoak to remove the stains without harming the surface. For flatware, there are several presoaks in both a liquid and powder format that will breakdown the food soils very quickly and efficiently without causing any damage to the flatware. And for floors, we have a large variety of floor cleaning products to choose from depending on the floor type and location.
As I mentioned earlier, chlorine is a good choice for low temp dish machines. As a matter of fact, chlorine is the only approved sanitizer for low temp dish machines because it will not foam. However there are many other product alternatives for cleaning surfaces in both the food service industry and in the laundry that will provide much better results without damaging the surfaces to be cleaned.
Posted at 10:35 AM, 17 October 2019
Pet Friendly Cleaning
Here is a call we received a while back. “Will using a general purpose cleaner to clean my carpets harm me or my pets”? When cleaning carpeting we recommend using approved carpet cleaners and following the label directions for use.
That being said, we cannot control what people decide to use when cleaning carpets or other surfaces. In this case a woman hired a carpet cleaning company to clean the carpets in her apartment building. The carpet cleaning company used a general purpose cleaner as a carpet spotter and a carpet cleaner. The general purpose cleaner contained surfactants, alkalinity, and solvents, which in most cases is an excellent choice for removing tough soils on “non-porous surfaces”.
Because the general purpose cleaner contained alkalinity it could potentially be a concern for anyone or their pet who come into contact with that carpet. Alkalinity can cause burns to the skin and can be serious if it comes into contact with the mouth or eyes of people or animals.
In this case, because the general purpose cleaner was already on the floor, we suggested using the carpet extractor with fresh water to rinse the carpet repeatedly until there was no residual general purpose cleaner left on the carpet.
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At the end of the day there were no injuries to people or pets, or damage to the carpet. But in the future we recommend using appropriate carpet cleaners and carpet pretreatment products.
Posted at 07:13 AM, 3 October 2019
Washing new linen
One of the more peculiar issues that comes up from time to time is when we get a call from the field asking “why when they have washed a load of new linen that the whole load comes out a light green, or light blue, or light yellow color”?
Due to a majority of the new linen used in today’s hospitality environment originating in India, Pakistan, Egypt, and other foreign countries, we must be aware that they will use harsh chemicals to prevent mold and mildew on the fabric, and pesticides to prevent bugs from infiltrating the fabric during the long shipping process in cargo containers.
That being said, if the new linen is washed for the first time in a standard formula with Break, Suds, Destainer, Sour, and Softener it has a tendency to turn a light shade of green, blue, or yellow.
The best way to prevent this from happening is to wash the new linen in a formula with only a suds type product. The alkalinity, and acidity of the other products reacts with the harsh chemicals to cause the color change, by adding nothing more than suds to the new linen formula you can remove those harsh chemicals and prevent the discoloration.
Every facility, whether a hotel, motel, or healthcare, should use this type of new linen formula to prevent the shock of having all of the new linen change color when washing it for the first time.
On a side note, if the facility has washed their new linen and it has changed color all is not lost. By washing the fabric a second time in the appropriate formula based on the fabric type it will remove the discoloration from the fabric.