The Cost of Clean

By Tom Branna, Editorial Director | December 3, 2013

Building operators and facility managers are learning how eliminating dirt and killing germs can improve their balance sheets.

Shiny hotel floors are inviting. Germless desktops are a necessity and bacteria-free hospital rooms are critical. More lodging professionals, school administrators and health care operators are beginning to understand that a clean environment plays a crucial role in their success. As a result, while sales in the slow-growth industrial and institutional cleaning market merely track the population expansion in the US, there are signs that sales may improve a bit in the years ahead. Industry experts expect US I&I sales to climb to nearly $14 billion as we head into 2014.

“Industry growth is tracking the population growth rate,” observed Cali Sartor, director marketing, Spartan Chemical. “But the value of having a clean facility is trending upward for building owners and health care operators.”

Similarly health care facilities benefit tremendously when the emphasis is on clean. Infection rates can drop dramatically when a hospital or nursing is cleaned properly. But how can operators be sure that the staff is cleaning properly?

Spartan offers HealthCheck, a three-pronged program that ensures proper environmental cleaning and reduces health care-associated infections (HAI). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one out of every 20 hospitalized patients will contract an HAI. HAIs are also a public health issue; adding approximately $30 billion to US health costs each year. Meanwhile, Spartan notes that training is the No. 1 issue in helping to prevent HAIs.

Money-, time- and resource-saving I&I solutions were front and center last month at the International Sanitary Supply Association’s (ISSA) Interclean North America tradeshow in Las Vegas. Exhibitors promoted products with plenty of data to back up their claims.
Diversey, a unit of Sealed Air, for example, highlighted the benefits of its Oxivir cleaner disinfectants, which rely on hydrogen peroxide to kill a wide variety of pathogens (including TB, MRSA and Norovirus) in as little as 60 seconds.

“We’re always trying to improve the customer’s productivity,” explained Carolyn Cooke, VP, North America-Healthcare. “Now, we’re rolling out larger sized (11x12 inches) Oxivir wipes that provide the same kill in an easy to use form.”

The focus on infection control is stronger than ever in health care facilities, noted Cooke. An estimated 100,000 Americans die annually from HAIs, according to the CDC.  At the same time, health care administrators are boosting their efforts to eliminate pathogens that cause these HAIs, due to more rigid penalties packaged into the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Facilities that report high rates of HAIs also risk losing reimbursement from Medicare, Medicaid and many private insurance companies for preventable infections acquired during a patient’s stay. To help health care facilities stay in compliance, Diversey offers the VeriClean System, a fluorescent marking spray that enables supervisors to ensure that their staff is properly cleaning and sanitizing areas.

“We have 75 hospitals using the VeriClean system and they’ve seen a radical change in the way their staffs clean a facility,” Cooke noted. The VeriClean system includes a software program that enables supervisors to track improvements quickly and easily.

To ensure that health care staff is keeping their hands clean, Gojo launched SmartLink Hand Hygiene Solutions earlier this year. It monitors and measures compliance on a community level to provide real-time, actionable data by floor, unit or room, according to Samantha Williams, public relations director, Gojo. In addition, the company’s SmartWatch system allows users to automatically upload, visualize and analyze data from i-Scrub, a free application for Apple devices that lets supervisors electronically collect observed hand hygiene events.

When it comes to surveillance, the National Security Administration can learn a thing or two from a lot of I&I companies. At an ISSA session on cleaning management systems, speakers explained how radio-frequency identification (RFID) lets management put an effective time and attendance program in place that can accurately measure staff operations.

“It protects against fraud, analyzes cleaning operations and reduces administration costs,” explained Judy Gillies, co-author of “Behind the Broom,” a guidebook based on the opinions of three cleaning consultants: Gillies of The Surge Group, Kevin Keeler of Keeler Consulting and Lance Witschen of 1Class Consulting.

All three authors urged cleaning operators to utilize a cleaning management system (CMS) that enables them to analyze cleaning programs, manage employee activities, maintain job assignment records and justify costs.

“Management will say, ‘cut costs by 10%,’” noted Gillies. “A CMS will document the value of a good cleaning operation.” (See side bar below).

But not every surveillance system is designed to track cleaning staff activities. Hand sanitizer manufacturers are offering systems that help keep hospital and nursing home staff in compliance with health care guidelines, too.

The SaniCheck system from Simoniz is aimed at getting hospital staff and hospital visitors to use hand sanitizer on a regular basis. The system works so well, that it more than doubled the use of sanitizer in one hospital, noted Cope.

“The staff told us they were getting 17% compliance (before implementing SaniCheck), were hoping for 25%, but when they installed SaniCheck, compliance jumped to 38%.”

While not every hand cleaning application gets so closely scrutinized, they still play an important role in I&I. For example, new Boraxo liquid hand cleaner with pumice may not kill germs, but it does a great job of removing dirt and the lotion-like formula is gentle on hands, explained Robert Lewis of Henkel/Dial. Boraxo powder has been around since 1894, but the new formula contains moisturizers, too.

Chemicals make up just a fraction, about 5%, of I&I cleaning expenses. To grab a bigger slice of the pie, for years marketers have rolled out an array of dispensing systems, floor care equipment and monitoring devices.

Colgate-Palmolive’s newest entry at ISSA is the Ajax mop station dispensing system, which eliminates manual mixing, measuring or overdosing. Similarly, the Ajax triple sink dispensing system automatically dispenses the correct dilution of dishwashing liquid for first-sink ware washing and liquid sanitizer for third-sink sanitizing.

“It is much more cost effective to dispense $.30 of a product rather than purchasing a $4 spray bottle,” noted Mike Wiacek of Colgate. For laundry applications, in January, Procter & Gamble Professional will introduce a dispensing system that’s more durable and easier to maintain. Also from P&G Professional is a C.dif. kill claim for its Comet disinfecting cleanser with bleach.

Something in the Air
Zep acquired Amrep back in 2010, but it’s only been in the past couple of months that new products have rolled out under the Zep, rather than the Amrep, aegis. One of the newest is Time Mist, which utilizes air to push fragrance into the room. Unlike competitive products, Time Mist lasts 60 days and the unit’s battery lasts two years, according to Deborah Heilig-Roach, director of marketing.
While more marketers are emphasizing efficacy and price in their new product offerings, Sierra Technologies & Industrial Specialties (STIS), a first-time exhibitor at ISSA, promoted the environmental benefits of Ecomate multipurpose cleaner. Company president Olabisi Carlton-Carew explained Ecomate’s wide range of applications include: carpet, concrete, floor and appliance cleaner; degreaser; spray and wipe; stain remover and wax stripper. It is approved for use in food service by the USDA.

“Ecomate is green and safe and odor-free,” added Carlton-Carew, who said the product’s unique surfactant system keeps dirt and oil from redepositing on surfaces.

Other time- and money-saving solutions were also on display at ISSA. Simoniz’s Gripcoat anti-slip floor care system not only provides 25% more slip resistance than OSHA requirements, it requires less scrub and recoats and extends the normal recoat application 2-3 times, according to Bryan Cope of Simoniz.

3M touted the benefits of its new Glass Cleaner & Protector. The formula contains ScotchGard which, with regular application, protects glass and makes it easter to remove spots, dirt and grime up to 50% faster than traditional glass cleaner, according to Jamie Gardner, laboratory manager, 3M, who also noted that the formula is certified by Green Seal.

“After five applications, the formula imparts an invisible layer of protection on glass for easier cleaning,” he explained. “It reduces fogging on windows and mirrors with repeated use, leaving an attractive shine.”

Rochester Midland Corp. promoted the benefits of its new Enviro Care Novus floor finish, which is said to outperform and outshine competitive products thanks to a unique, cross-linking iXT technology. The formula was third-party certified and is odorless and transparent, yet delivers a very high gloss.

“It benefits people, the planet and the bottom line,” insisted Jim Bruno of RMC.

Ecolab recently rolled out a new and improved StainBlaster program that is designed to keep lodging linens on the beds and out of the trash bins. 

“If you look at the lodging sector, there are a number of expenses,” explained Tony Johnson, senior marketing manager, institutional, Ecolab. “Linen replacement cost is a significant component of that, so extending the life of the fabric is important. Proper stain management extends linen life.”

Lotsa Laundry
Keeping hotel linens and towels clean can be an expensive proposition, according to Ecolab. The company estimates that a typical 150 room-lodging establishment spends $75,000 a year on laundry costs, which translates into $205 per day! But not all that cash is going toward detergent and water. In fact, Ecolab estimates that linen replacement represents 25% of overall costs. And just what is the shelf life of a typical towel? According to Ecolab, the average life of a bath towel is 50 turns; a hand towel, 25 turns, and a washcloth, just 10 turns (Ecolab defines turn as once through the complete laundry process).

The end result is that it costs a hotel or motel $18,800 a year to replace linen for 150 rooms. The StainBlaster line encompasses four proprietary products. StainBlaster Multi-Purpose features a proprietary detergent combination that removes the most common stains such as grease, oil, ink, blood, lipstick, body soils and food. StainBlaster Specialty is formulated to eliminate the most challenging stains such as foundation makeup and baseball clay. It also aids in the removal of sunscreen stains. StainBlaster Destainer is for use on bleachable stains such as coffee, tea, wine, fruit juice and mildew; and StainBlaster Rust Remover is for removing spots caused by rust and iron. Like so many other successful I&I new product launches, the StainBlaster introduction is built around simplicity.

“Now users don’t have to choose from a variety of products and they don’t have to understand every stain to remove it,” explained Johnson. “We have done a lot of work in the on-premises laundry category. Linen replacement is big, but water and energy represent a significant cost, too.”

Similarly, Ecolab saves customers water and energy via its Aquanomic on-premises laundry program. It uses 40% less water and energy, but delivers the same results—sustainably, according to Johnson.

“The industry continues to do a good job of teaching about sustainability, formulating with the right chemistry such as NPE- and phosphate-free, and our customers are more astute and operating sustainably, too,” Johnson insisted.

One way to improve their sustainability profile is to use an onsite-electrolyzed water system, such as Ecolab’s Hydris. Introduced last year, Hydris can create three daily cleaning products (all-purpose sanitizer, glass cleaner and daily floor cleaner), using a patented electrolytic cell technology that controls output composition better and gives the user multiple cleaning options, according to Brandon Carlson, project leader, R&D, Ecolab.

“We recommend Hydris for large square foot areas, such as airports, arenas and universities, or any facility that is at least 500,000 square feet,” explained Carlson, who noted that the system is EPA-registered, can save up to 25% over other cleaning systems and provides 50% faster disinfection than standard 10-minute contact time.

What’s Ahead?
While 2013 has been a year of modest growth for the I&I industry, some observers expect bigger gains in 2014. For offices and other non-health related facilities, Spartan offers the CleanCheck training system, an online training tool that enables employees to view training manuals, take tests and log in their activities for managers to review. It has a module on The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS), too.

“GHS is going to be an expensive endeavor for everybody in this industry,” insisted Sartor.

Also new from Spartan is the CompuClean custodial maintenance management software program that enables custodial managers to track cleaning operations, inventory and personnel.

“Spartan has always been strong in education,” noted Sartor. “Customers don’t necessarily need new products. They need to know how to use them properly. You can have a closet full of chemicals, but if you don’t use them right, you won’t see the benefits.”

Along those lines, ISSA has developed Clean Standard: K-12, a scientific-based standard to measure what constitutes “clean” in schools. The standard means that cleaning personnel will no longer need to “eyeball,” it, but rather can confirm, based on the standard, that dangerous germs and bacteria have been removed to better protect the health of children and teachers worldwide.

“In the face of difficult budget cuts and a misunderstanding of the importance cleaning has in the success of student education, our members and the schools they work with can use science to help make the case for proper cleaning,” explained John Garfinkel, executive director, ISSA. The program focuses on three elements:
  • The desired levels of cleanliness that can reasonably be achieved;
  • Recommended monitoring and inspection procedures to measure the effectiveness of cleaning; and
  • Assessing and improving cleaning processes and products, ultimately resulting in a clean, healthy and safe learning environment.
The I&I industry is sure to benefit as more building managers, school administrators and of course, health care operators put more value on cleaning—from the hotel manager with fewer vacancies to the hospital administrator with lower infection rates to school principals with better attendance records.

“The smart people are getting it,” observed Sartor.

The High Cost of Getting Sick
• It sucks to get sick, as everyone knows, but illness is also a drain on the economy. ISSA points out that sick employees, averaging 7.7 sick days a year, cost the US economy $225.8 billion a year. Taking a closer look at the damage caused by a dirty workplace, ISSA found that cold/flu symptoms resulted in an overall loss in performance of 3-8%, and dust exposure affected workers’ cognitive skills by 2-6%. What’s more, unplanned absences cause a 54% decrease in productivity/output and a 39% drop in sales/customer service.

In contrast, a properly clean environment reduces the probability of catching the common cold or flu by 80%, reduces virus-contaminated surfaces by 62% and, perhaps most importantly, reduces absenteeism by 46%.

And what common surfaces require special attention due to high levels of contamination? According to ISSA, they include: computer mice and keyboards, desk phones, break room sink faucet handles, microwave oven and refrigerator door handles, and water fountain and vending machine buttons.

Cleaning has a very real and measurable value, then, according to ISSA. It leads to a 2-8% increase in productivity and 94% of people said they would avoid a business in the future if they encountered a dirty restroom.

Among quick-service restaurant customers, cleanliness is ranked No. 1 in customer satisfaction—ahead of value, speed, convenience and variety, noted ISSA.

Clean facilities are not just a cost, according to ISSA, they generate revenue.

New Ingredients for I&I Products
Below is a list of new ingredients for industrial and institutional cleaners that were introduced during the past 12 months. To get more information on any of the products here, contact the supplier directly using the information provided.
Ashland Specialty Ingredients
Bridgewater, NJ
Tel: 800-505-8984
Email: mstandish@ashland.com
Website: Ashland.com/homecare
Chromabond S-350 dye transfer inhibitor
Description: Poly-4-vinylpyridinium-N-oxide
Applications: Laundry detergent
Use levels: 0.1-0.6%
Comments: Manufacturers may create color-safe laundry detergent with Chromabond S-350 dye transfer inhibitor. It may be used at low use levels to prevent colors from transferring from one garment to another during the wash cycle, is tolerant of anionic surfactant and performs well in neutral pH systems.
Jaypol HN70 scale inhibitor
Description: Maleic copolymer
Applications: Laundry detergent
Use levels: 1-3%.  
Comments: Manufactures of laundry detergent may use Jaypol HN70 scale inhibitor to prevent salts from depositing on clothes during the wash cycle. “Hard” water conditions can often discolor clothes and may affect other qualitative attributes.
Sorez HS 205 polymer
Description: Vinylpyrrolidone/dimethylaminoethylmethacrylate copolymer
Applications: Hard surface cleaners
Use levels: 0.5-1.5%
Comments: Sorez HS 205 polymer is an innovative technology that enhances the soil-releasing performance of hard surface cleaners. The technology affords less energy and cleaning time and may be used to keep surfaces cleaner for longer.
Evonik Corporation
Hopewell, VA

Tel: 804-452-5605

Email: dana.nystrand@evonik.com
Website: www.evonik.com/northamerica
Rewocare BDS 15

Description: Readily biodegradable nonionic surfactant with super-wetting characteristics is soluble in water, alcohol or aromatics, and can be used alone or readily combined with other types of surfactants. The organo-modified silicone surfactant, a siloxane, is “readily biodegradable” (per OECD 301 F); i.e., greater than 60% biodegradability within 28 days.
Applications: Ideal for rinse aids in automatic dishwash and other hard surface kitchen and bath cleaning products. Rewocare BDS 15 can boost the performance of nonionic and amphoteric surfactants in kitchen, bath, glass and all-purpose cleaners; and anionic surfactants in floor, plastic and glass cleaners.

Use levels: In laboratory wetting measurements, just 0.05 percent Rewocare BDS 15 in water reduced surface tension (on a PVC substrate) to 22.9 mN/m at 20oC. Typical range: 0.05 to 0.5%.
Comments: Rewocare BDS 15 is a super-wetting liquid concentrate. Even at low use levels and on hydrophobic surfaces, this readily biodegradable silicone surfactant can out-wet fatty alcohol ethoxylates and other standard surfactants by a factor of 10 or more. Rewocare BDS 15 gives soap and detergent makers a cost-effective way to meet both environmental and performance goals.

Innospec Performance Chemicals
Salisbury, NC
Tel: 888-633-8028
Email: nccustomerservice@innospecinc.com
Website: www.innospecinc.com

Finsolv TN-G
Chemical Description: C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate
Applications: Suncare, AP/DO, creams/lotions, shaving preparations, cosmetics and hair styling
Use levels: up to 50%
Comments/Attributes: Utilizes nearly 50% naturally derived feedstocks while still offering the same unique properties as our flagship product, Finsolv TN

Finsolv TN-LB
Chemical Description: C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate
Applications: Suncare, AP/DO, creams/lotions, shaving preparations, cosmetics and hair styling
Use levels: up to 50%
Comments/Attributes: Offers the lowest benzyl benzoate content on the market while still offering the same unique properties as our flagship pr

Lonza, Inc.
Allendale, NJ
Tel: 201-316-9200
Email: contact.allendale@lonza.com
Website: www.lonzabiocides.com
Lonzagard RCS Family of Products
Description: Quaternary ammonium-based disinfectant concentrates
Applications: Healthcare, I&I, consumer/household, animal care
Use levels: .5-4oz, varies by product and application.
Comments: Visit the website to learn more.
Lubrizol Advanced Materials, Inc.
Brecksville, OH
Tel: 800-379-5389
Website: www.lubrizol.com/noverite100
Noverite 100 Polymer
Chemical Description: Proprietary film-forming polymer technology
Applications: Floor finishes and polishes, Hard-surface cleaners
Use levels: 0.5-15 wt%
Comments: Noverite100polymer is based on a new film-forming technology that provides gloss and stain protection benefits that can be used in a variety of floor finishes and surface cleaners. It is suitable for use on a wide range of substrates, from hard woods to granite and synthetic surfaces.Customized performance from a typical cleaner application to premium surface appearance restoration can be obtained by choosing a use level that balances the cleaning performance with the visual impact of shine, protection and micro-scratch filling abilities.
Pilot Chemical
Cincinnati, OH
Tel: 1-800-70-PILOT
Email: info@pilotchemical.com
Website: www.pilotchemical.com
Calfoam ES-562
INCI: Sodium laureth sulfate
Use Levels: Varies by application
Applications: Laundry detergent, liquid dish detergent, all-purpose cleaner, hard surface cleaner, and household and industrial cleaners
Comments: Calfoam ES-562 provides copious foam and excellent wetting detergency properties for use in earth friendly household and industrial cleaners.  Calfoam ES-562 offers powerful, non-corrosive, non-filming detergency with a stable foam and mildness. Calfoam ES-562 brings the benefits of high active ingredients, with the storage and handling of a low active product, and is derived from renewable vegetable resources.

Cranbury, NJ

Tel: 800-973-7873 

Email: NovecareCC@solvay.com
Website: www.solvay.com

Mirapol Surf-S Ultra

Description: Acrylates Polymer

Use Level: 0.1%

Applications: Automatic dish wash, toilet bowl cleaners, hard surface cleaners

Comments: Mirapol Surf-S Ultra delivers long-lasting hard surface hydrophilization for effortless, spot-free cleaning