All these cleaners, sanitizers and disinfectants are helping to improve health outcomes in the US. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), healthcare-associated infections have decreased across the US. The CDC’s 2018 National and State Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAI) Progress Report examined a select number of HAI types in 22,000 active acute care hospitals, critical access hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation facilities and long-term acute care hospitals between 2017 and 2018. It concluded that C. difficile infections decreased by about 12% in acute care hospitals, while Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bactermia (MRSA) stayed about the same during the time of the report. Central line-associated bloodstream infections decreased by 9% and catheter-associated urinary tract infections by 8%, in that same setting. Still, more can be done to improve the health of health care facilities.
“Each day, approximately one in 31 US patients has at least one infection in association with his or her hospital care, underscoring the need for improvements in patient care practices in US healthcare facilities,” said the CDC in the executive summary of the report. “While much progress has been made, more needs to be done to prevent healthcare-associated infections in a variety of settings.”
This public health crisis is no longer isolated to a “healthcare or hospital” issue, and the I&I industry needs to shift its focus from reactionary cleaning and disinfection to prevention, according to Brad Ferris, director of brand engagement and vertical marketing, CloroxPro.
“In addition to providing new and innovative products with kill claims for emerging pathogens threatening communities, cleaning professionals often search for ways (beyond product) to efficiently train their teams on cleaning and disinfection best practices,” said Ferris. “We partner with our customers to develop tailored disinfection programs and training resources. Our training program includes both on-demand and live in-services as well as resource guides for both managers and front-line staff. Taken together, our portfolio of best-in-class, ready-to-use cleaner disinfectants along with our tailored training resources enable us to effectively partner with facilities.”
One new resource for its customers is the CloroxPro blog, where the company shares timely information and resources from experts across the industry to support public health awareness, best practices and the role of environmental cleaning and disinfection.
Another resource is its partnership with Project for Public Spaces that will help improve public health by connecting individuals and empowering them to thrive as a community.
Working with Project for Public Spaces, CloroxPro will further its commitment to public health and work to strengthen the social fabric of communities. Communities thrive when people feel connected to each other, beyond just a shared zip code, according to CloroxPro, which will work with Project for Public Spaces to create spaces and programs where people can share experiences and build relationships to improve well-being, public health, social connections and economic opportunity within their local community.
“Our commitment to public health dates back more than a century and our mission is to reduce the burden of illness by creating healthy, clean spaces where people come together—as neighbors, colleagues and friends—to thrive as a community,” said Ferris. “But, we know that public health is not just about preventing illnesses. It is also about protecting and improving the health of people and their communities. That is why we are proud to partner with Project for Public Spaces as part of our ongoing efforts to foster connections, enable community and protect public health.”
Killing pathogens is critical in hospitals and other healthcare settings, such as extended care centers. P&G Professional recently released the new Febreze Professional Sanitizing Fabric Refresher, which has proprietary technology that kills 99% of bacteria while preventing the growth of mold and mildew and eliminates smells and odors in soft surfaces leaving only the light, fresh scent of Febreze behind.
“Disinfection is not a new trend, but it is an important one in cleaning, especially when we think about communities who are most at risk—such as the elderly population in home care facilities.
Disinfection is critical in these environments, but also presents challenges,” explained Renee Buchanan, communications manager, P&G Professional. “For example, what is the best way to disinfect a soft surface that cannot easily be washed, such as rugs, sofas, or even the window treatments? Traditional disinfectants often contain bleach, which cannot be used on such soft surfaces without ruining the item. Other soft surface disinfectants can leave behind chemical odors that can be harmful to the sensitive respiratory systems of the elderly.”
According to a study by Kaiser Health News, nearly three-quarters of nursing homes have been cited for lapses in infection control, more than any other type of health violation. In addition, travel experts often warn against touching hotel carpets because the number of germs harbored there can be up to 200,000 bacteria per square inch, which is thousands of times more than what lives on the average toilet seat.
Buchanan notes that as the elderly and retired population grows, so does the opportunity to provide safe, engaging, and “just like home” care centers, retirement communities, and extended care facilities.
“Keeping these facilities clean, germ-free, and home-like is critical,” she said. “P&G Professional is proud to offer brands like Febreze Professional, Tide Professional, and Spic and Span to help keep facilities clean, disinfected and feeling just like home.”
When used as directed, P&G Professional maintains that Febreze Professional Concentrated Sanitizing Fabric Refresher kills 16 types of soft surface bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus; Enterobacter aerogenes; community acquired Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA); hospital acquired Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Health care is only one driver of I&I growth; other trends, including robotics and biologics, are leading suppliers and their customers to rethink what it means to clean and be clean in the 21st Century.
Diversey, the No. 2 player in the I&I category behind Ecolab, saw the future back in 2015, when its parent company at the time acquired Intellibot Robotics LLC.
“Robotics will turn the cleaning industry upside-down,” insisted Marcel Muller, global marketing director, Taski machines, robotics, Taski.
Of course, Muller may be biased, but there’s no doubt that machines offer many benefits over humans; they’re tireless, are more precise and consistent, and they allow for increased production and profit margin because they complete tasks faster.
Human error may have led to the death of an employee of a Buffalo Wild Wings in Massachusetts last month. On Nov. 7, emergency responders in Burlington were called to the scene following the report of a “sick individual and a potential chemical release,” interim Fire Chief Michael Patterson told reporters. Patterson said the fire department arrived and found a man being treated by paramedics outside of the restaurant. He was transported to a hospital, where he died.
The man, a restaurant employee, was exposed to Auto-Chlor System’s Super 8, a sodium hypochlorite floor cleaner. Of the 11 people hospitalized as a result of the incident, only two were customers. A Buffalo Wild Wings spokesperson in a statement referred questions to local authorities, citing an ongoing investigation.
“We are shocked and saddened to learn of this tragic accident at our franchise-owned sports bar and are working closely with our franchisee and the authorities while they conduct an investigation,” the spokesperson said.
Another worker “prepared the floor” with the cleaner and then immediately stepped outside for fresh air, according to Patterson. The worker who died then tried to squeegee the cleaning agent out of the restaurant “when he was overcome,” Patterson said.
Auto-Chlor Systems COO Joseph Pawlak issued the following statement regarding the incident at the Buffalo Wild Wings:
“We understand the concerns, fears, and questions you may have following the Buffalo Wild Wings chemical incident which may have involved Auto-Chlor’s product Super 8 in Burlington, MA.
“First and foremost, our condolences are with the individual and their family as well as those affected yesterday during the incident. The safety and well-being of our customers are our first priority, always.
“At this time, working with OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), local authorities, and emergency teams on site, we are doing everything we can to determine all details behind this incident. We appreciate your patience as we work to understand all details that led to such an unfortunate outcome.”
Could a robotic cleaning system have helped prevent the Buffalo Wild Wings tragedy? Maybe, but even Muller admits that much more research and development is needed to make robotic cleaning go mainstream. Market pressure, such as labor scarcity, training costs and demand for higher productivity, makes robotics more attractive, but the technology needed to clean a variety of surfaces remains elusive. Still, Muller estimates sales of robots in the I&I category are growing at CAGR of 12-16%.
Specifically, he pointed out that when it comes to floor cleaning, robotics are very close to providing a complete solution. Other areas, such as cleaning a toilet or desk still requires human intelligence.
“One thing we can never forget is that, at the end of the day, a game-changer only occurs when a super-intelligent solution meets the right industry mindset,” he told Happi.
The Human Touch
Biological solutions are driving sales at State Industrial Products, according to Rebecca Korwin, EVP-science and innovation. She pointed out that BD-150X biological drain maintainer is a super-concentrated bacteria with odor suppressants. It features free enzymes for quick breakdown of organisms. Plus, because it is concentrated, there is no need for employees to cart five-gallon pails.
“It fits in the palm of your hand (yet) the biological actives chew through waste products like fats, oils, greases, sugar, starch proteins and sugars. It can be used in any environment, such as health care, funeral homes, animal care and municipalities,” explained Korwin, who said the novel delivery form is preferred by customers because it is small, yet powerful.
“For us, the biggest areas of growth have come in wastewater treatment and biologicals,” she explained.
Odor control, too, has been a fast-growing category for the company. According to Maggie Gottardi, R&D manager, State Chemical has the capability to provide odor control solutions ranging from small spaces (100 cubic feet) to over one million cubic feet.
“We have provided odor control and air care systems for concert halls, arenas and casinos,” she explained.
Many of these solutions are EU- and IFRA-compliant.
“The EU allergen list is pretty restricted and includes a lot of citrus-type fragrances,” said Gottardi. “We have allergen-free options for large spaces. There is nothing else like them on the market.”
State is also a recent US EPA Safer Choice Partner of the Year. Korwin says her company is committed to obtaining certifications in other areas.
“In the laundry space, if you are a homemaker, you can choose hypoallergenic products; but when you walk into a public space you don’t have control over the air you breathe; it was important for us to develop a line of allergen-free fragrances.”
State offers a range of chemical and biological solutions for the I&I market, but Korwin maintains that it is the level of service and knowledge that sets the company apart from its competitors—especially when it comes to the highly-technical challenges that come from waste water and water treatment problems.
“There is a lot of value to having an expert on-site to explain the chemistry in your boiler or cooling tower,” said Korwin. “We provide a premium level of service. Our experts are on-site with facility managers to navigate technical problems. A lot of companies have sales reps, but they don’t have technical experts. Everyone who sells our products has a high level of training; we make sure that our salesforce is not just a group of salespeople.”
Although it is one of the original six founders of ISSA, State did not exhibit at last month’s show.
“From an innovation standpoint, rather than sell, it is more advantageous for us to learn,” explained Korwin. “We attend and try to talk to as many partners and suppliers that we can. We consider it an information-gathering opportunity.”
Korwin maintains that the future for State Industrial Products lies in providing higher-end technical solutions. The company still offers commodity cleaning products, she explained, but State spends its money and resources teaching its sales force and putting effort into technical capability and knowledge with its field service engineers.
“We will be a total solutions provider with a lot more technical product expertise for the I&I industry,” she concluded.
Show & Tell
State Chemical may not have exhibited, but Diversey’s solutions were front and center at last month’s ISSA show. The new Taski Swingobot 3000 machine is the latest version of the popular robotic floor care machine offers improved and customizable navigation capabilities through its Taski IntelliPath function and increased processor power. According to Diversey, Taski IntelliPath is a highly intelligent teach-and-repeat function that allows anyone to easily customize a floor cleaning routine in seconds. The one-button operation lets users record and save their own floor care routes, including specific cleaning settings, while operating the machine at full speed.
“The new Taski IntelliPath feature transforms robotic cleaning by giving users collaborative and flexible control of floor care within their facilities,” said Muller. “After years of proven success with Swingobot, we’ve now combined human skills with the repeat accuracy of a robot for cleaning excellence time after time. This machine will help companies raise their game by driving operational efficiency, improving cleaning performance and empowering employees working in essential cleaning roles.”
Swingobot 3000 does not rely on outside markings like QR codes to understand its positioning; sensors are said to deliver the highest intelligence of robotic navigation and obstacle avoidance for safe and fully autonomous cleaning. Once users have created their customized path, one-button operation allows them to start the machine’s shift so they can focus on other high-level tasks. And, because it is connected to the cloud, the machine offers remote support and data monitoring, as well. For example:
- IntelliPath – a build-your-own-route function that enables users to record and replay cleaning paths to have the full control and flexibility of autonomous cleaning;
- IntelliTrail – a fleet management system that gives managers remote access to machine location, activity and critical service information;
- IntelliTrak – a solution for measuring site performance of the machine and for conducting software updates;
- IntelliDose – a closed-pouch system that lets facilities select the optimal amount of chemical for any task and floor type; and
- IntelliFlow – solution-flow technology that delivers the proper amount of cleaning solution and water onto the floor according to the speed of the machine to reduce waste and ensure floors are always dry after cleaning.
Muller insists that robotics can save training time and money. Diversey’s relatively new Twister technology can save on chemical costs, too. The pads can be used with just water, replacing a need for deep cleaning chemicals, according to the company. Furthermore, floors cleaned with Twister and water provide increased slip resistance. From 100% chemical-free daily cleaning polishing to significantly reducing the need for consumables, Twister is a sustainable approach from every perspective. Diversey maintains that switching to Twister pads instantly equals less waste handling, less administration and fewer transports.
Researchers at Kline Group, Parsippany, NJ, agree. The company recently published a study on the floor pads and tool markets and found more usage of floor pads, which, in turn, has led to less use of strippers, sealants and floor cleaners.
“The key findings were that these pads, especially diamond pads, are used to maintain shine on floor, with fewer chemicals,” explained Laura Mahecha, industry manager, Kline Group. “It’s really a combination of pads and low-maintenance floor substrates.”
These surfaces require less care and fewer coats than traditional flooring. Segments that have jumped on the floor pad wagon include retail, corporate and education settings. As one might suspect, health care facilities remain more committed to traditional floor care systems, according to Mahecha.
In October, Kline published a study on I&I wipes usage. Wipes are fast-growing, as end-users appreciate the convenience, ease of use, and the elimination of cross-contamination issues, so it’s no wonder that wipes are most popular in food service and health care environments.
“There has been a fair amount of innovation in the category,” noted Mahecha. “In food service and retail there are more electronic screens to order food, pay for purchases or, in health care, use of iPads.”
As a result, wipes manufacturers are developing wipes that sanitize surfaces but remain safe for electronics, and dry quickly without leaving streaks.”
In Summer 2020, Kline will publish its Janitorial and Housekeeping Cleaning Products study.
A Big Show
The annual ISSA North America Show, the largest exhibition and conference in the US I&I market, took place last month. This year’s event included more than 100 education sessions from experts in residential and commercial cleaning, labor relations, product formulations and more. More than 700-plus exhibitors promoted cleaning formulations and equipment, air care, software and more.
At the show, Whittaker, New Castle, PA, launched the 12-inch Smart Care Trio machine for low-moisture encapsulation carpet cleaning. It features a machine-mounted solution tank, making it even easier to conduct interim carpet maintenance.
“The addition of an on-board tank means that employees won’t have to walk around with a separate sprayer anymore,” said Keith Gallagher, VP-sales and marketing. “This not only simplifies the carpet care process but makes cleaning teams more productive.”
The Smart Care Trio machine has three counter-rotating brushes for greater mechanical action for heavily-soiled and high-traffic areas. It also features an integrated collection hopper for debris pick-up, landing gear to protect the brushes when not in use and lite-touch control for easy operation. In addition to the 12-inch version, the Trio machine is available in 15-, 20- and 25-inch options to accommodate a wide range of environments and productivity requirements.
In the warewashing category, Hydro Systems, Cincinnati, introduced EvoWash, a powder/solid detergent dissolver with an optional, integrated rinse pump, and EvoRinse, a solid rinse dissolver to be used in conjunction with EvoWash. According to John Goetz, global product manager, Hydro Systems, EvoWash and EvoRinse are essential dispensers because they help bring the benefits of the growing market for solid detergent and rinse formulations to any kitchen.
“Solid chemistry can result in more racks completed per pound of product, less risk of spillage and easier handling by kitchen staff,” he explained.
Because they are simple to install and cost-effective, the EvoWash and EvoRinse are ideal for commercial kitchens in restaurants and hotels as well as non-commercial foodservice operations in schools, corporate offices and hospitals, according to Hydro Systems.
Both offer an alternative to the traditional method of dispensing solids, which requires three pieces of equipment—a warewash dispenser and a separate dissolver bowl for each product. The dispensers come in a single aesthetically-pleasing package containing the controller, pre-wired conductivity probe and cabling, the dissolver bowl and rinse pump. The units can be hung easily with just a few screws and take up 50% less wall space, said the firm.
Ecolab is the world’s largest I&I player. During ISSA, the company was set to roll out new floor care solutions, disinfecting wipes with norovirus kill claims and large-space odor control.
New Leadership at Gojo
While most companies were announcing new products at ISSA last month, Gojo Industries announced changes in the C-suite. On Jan. 1, 2020, Carey Jaros will become president and chief executive officer of the 73-year-old, family-owned company. At that time, Mark Lerner will become senior advisor and president emeritus.
In her new role, Jaros will continue her years-long partnership with Marcella Kanfer Rolnick, who was named executive chair of Gojo in May 2018.
“Carey brings a rare combination of strategic perspective, practical business skills, and real heart,” said Kanfer Rolnick. “As president and chief executive officer, Carey will focus on continuing the company’s progress as a market-making, growth-oriented business that cares about the well-being of people out in the world and within Gojo. Carey is a smart and courageous leader. There is no one else I would rather partner with than Carey as we shape the future of Gojo.”
Jaros joined Gojo in 2016 as chief strategy officer and transitioned to chief operating officer in July 2018. Prior to joining Gojo, she was president of Walnut Ridge Strategic Management Company, vice president at Dealer Tire, and spent over a decade as a management consultant at Bain and Company. She has significant experience as an operator, investor, and board member in growth companies, according to Gojo.
To expand its influence to the entire cleaning industry and affiliated groups, during the past three years, ISSA has partnered with more than 15 organizations to bring the cleaning industry closer together, said Rosie Rangel, VP-membership, outreach and business intelligence, ISSA.
“The closer we are, the stronger we are to fight regulations and labor laws that negatively affect us,” she explained.
For example, in 2017, ISSA merged with the Executive Housekeepers Association, which focuses on healthcare and hospitality, and the Association of Residential Cleaning Services International (ARCSI).
“We have more partners and voices because our advocacy efforts have increased,” she explained. “A major benefit to our members, who are so diverse, is that we involve everyone in the supply chain. We want to aid anyone looking for standardization and proper processes.”
The ultimate ISSA goal, said Rangel, is to change the way the world looks at cleaning.
“We can’t do that with a staff of 50 and niche member groups. We are breaking down silos to change the way people look at cleaning. Cleaning is truly important. It is at the forefront of public health.”