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By Harrell Kerkhoff, Maintenance Sales News Editor

Lynn Webster

What is clean? Is it clean? — those two questions are unavoidable, regardless of where cleaning fits in as it relates to a specific organization. However, those two questions aren’t always asked, because there is an underlying assumption that everyone will give the same answer. And that is simply not true, according to Lynn Webster, director of LWC Ltd. (www.lwc-ltd.co.uk), an independent cleaning consultancy, based in the United Kingdom.

Everyone seems to have an opinion — or can offer a definition — of “clean.” The problem is, just because something “looks clean,” does not mean it “actually is clean.”

During a presentation directed at cleaning industry professionals, Webster addressed different fundamental aspects to the definition of “clean,” and discussed ways a person can truly measure “clean.”

With 36 years of experience, Webster is recognized for her expertise in the cleaning and associated facilities industries, providing independent, professional support to a wide range of organizations across health care, retail, leisure, hospitality and education sectors. She is also an ISSA Certification Experts (I.C.E.) consultant, providing support to companies working toward CIMS (Cleaning Industry Management Standard) accreditation.

Webster is involved with cleaning audits in the UK and other parts of Europe. A key objective of her presentation was to provide definitions and various approaches to the meaning of “clean.” She noted that there are often disagreements between different stakeholders involved in facility care when it comes to their ideas of “clean.”

“It may well be that a service provider’s interpretation of ‘clean’ is different from a client, who is complaining or not happy with the level of cleaning taking place. There may be a miscommunication involving various expectations of ‘clean,’” Webster said. “There are also the different perceptions of ‘clean’ to take into consideration among a facility’s actual occupants — those people living or working in a facility on a continual basis.”


While conducting research for her presentation, Webster looked through various dictionaries to find what she felt was the best standardized definition of “clean.” She settled on the following:

■ As an adjective — “clean” is free of soil, pollution and other undesirable materials; and,

■ As a verb — “clean” is a process that makes something clean, such as removing dirt, marks or stains.

Webster added that with this definition comes four important areas to explore related to cleaning. They are: Perception, Process, Procedure, and Frequency.

“Preception focuses on what ‘clean’ really means to a specific person, while the process centers on ‘what we do to actually clean.’ The proper procedure and frequency follows,” Webster said.

She explained those four points in greater detail:

■ Perception: According to Webster, “clean” can take the form of a smear-free surface, shiny floor, stain-free carpeting, and/or a pleasant fragrance in a room.

“That ‘perception’ can start to define what a person believes ‘clean’ to be, even if something is really not clean,” Webster said. “For example, many of my clients who work in the health care segment would say, ‘Clean has no smell.’ Smell, even if it’s pleasant, can actually be a problem.”

There is also the perception that something is, or is not, clean based solely on the sense of touch.

“If a person feels something sticky on a surface, there is the belief that the surface is not clean,” Webster said. “On the other hand, if there is some type of squeaking noise from touching the surface, a person may feel it’s clean, thus the term ‘squeaky clean.’”

■ Process: It’s also important to look at the various cleaning methods/processes designed to create “clean,” when using the word as a verb.

“There are people outside our industry who say, ‘Anybody can clean,’ or ‘It’s only cleaning,’” she said. “However, as we all know, it’s possible to clean correctly and to clean incorrectly. The main question is, how do we clean correctly? What is the best process or processes to use?”

That often involves proper training and using the right products, such as those that are color-coded, in an effort to prevent cross-contamination.

Webster added that along with using the right products, it’s also critical to follow manufacturer directions and properly label items. To make her point on the importance of proper labeling, Webster showed a slide of two bottles labeled “glass cleaner.” Both bottles had been refilled, one with a blue liquid and the other with a yellow liquid.

“They were both found in the cleaning cupboard. Which label is correct?” Webster asked. “I don’t know, and I don’t think anybody else does, either. If you don’t have cleaning chemicals properly labeled, and if you don’t use the right dilution rate, then proper cleaning is not going to take place.”

It’s also vital that cleaning products, including equipment, are properly stored during off-hours.

“The first thing I do when conducting an inspection is visit the housekeeping closet. That tells me what is really happening at a facility and what is really getting cleaned,” Webster said. “For example, when I see equipment not properly stored, such as left in one big pile, that tells me how little somebody cares about that equipment. It’s hard to properly clean with poor or damaged equipment.”

■ Procedure: The act of cleaning is as critical as the products being used. Through proper training, those involved in the cleaning profession learn the proper methods to cleaning various parts of a facility.

“If we don’t have the right training and skills in place, none of us can clean correctly,” Webster said.

She showed a slide detailing the proper use of a dust mop while cleaning a floor, involving a continuous stroking action and overlapping passes. There are other proper techniques that should be followed when cleaning glass, vacuuming carpet, etc.

■ Frequency: How frequently an area is to be cleaned often involves the level of dirt, dust and overall grime tolerated by the client, according to Webster. For example, when it comes to dusting, there is often a greater tolerance for a lower level of white dust to collect, compared to the darker gray or black dust that can develop over time.

“If an area of a facility is to be cleaned just once a day, there is bound to be a level of dust that collects until the next day’s cleaning,” Webster said. “That must be taken into consideration when measuring ‘clean.’”

She added it’s important that cleaning frequency specifications include all areas of a facility, not just those places that are easy to reach and/or see.


When determining how clean something really is, Webster explained that, “If you can measure it, you can see and improve it.”

She added that, according to ISSA, being able to properly measure “clean,” leads to healthy indoor environments for occupants of buildings. Proper measuring also allows valuable activities to take place in the constant effort to achieve continuous improvement.

The process of measuring clean, Webster added, involves determining if something is truly clean or dirty, as well as what should be inspected, who should do the inspecting, how the cleaning process should be audited, what records should be taken of the cleaning process and how those in charge and involved in the cleaning process should properly review what has taken place, to ensure consistent improvement.

Webster also addressed the different stages of cleaning audits. They are:

■ Technical Audit — Checks and scores cleanliness outcomes against predetermined standards.

“That type of audit can involve somebody who is qualified and competent to judge the outcome of ‘clean,’ based on different areas I have just discussed,” Webster said.

■ Efficacy Audit — Checks a cleaning team at the point of service delivery, and validates the efficacy of the cleaning process. It also supports policies and procedures.

“An efficacy audit finds out if the cleaning routine has been done correctly as it pertains to the chemicals, machinery and other cleaning tools used,” she said. “Basically, the audit determines if those who cleaned did the job in the correct manner. It gives people a greater assurance that something is truly clean.”

■ External Audit — Provides an independent quality assurance check.

“That (type of audit) is what keeps me working,” Webster said. “I make sure what is being done on a regular basis, in the name of proper cleaning, is actually taking place at a client’s facility.”

She added that for any audit to be effective, it has to be easy. It should also have structure, a framework and fit a purpose.

“If a type of audit is not working well for you, there is nothing wrong in changing to another system,” Webster said.


Cleaning is hard work, and failures will happen. Such failures can stem from high-traffic areas that leave floors dull and dirty, hard-to-reach surfaces where proper cleaning can be very difficult, and thoughtless facility occupants who never look twice for a trash can.

Webster explained that if a person knows why he/she failed in the cleaning process, then proper corrections can be made. She outlined four basic reasons for cleaning failures in a facility:

■ The end result being continual issues with dust, stains, smears and sediment. It can involve both light and heavy instances of contamination, depending if proper cleaning did not take place for a day, or a longer period of time.

■ Build up — Which can appear over a period of time, and involves ingrained dirt, body fats and/or scale.

■ Debris — Including dispersed litter not removed during the cleaning process.

“Inevitably, the general public will drop stuff on the floor. Keeping debris at a reasonable level is always a challenge, no matter how many times you clean,” Webster said.

■ Method Failure — Involves cleaning something the wrong way. That can result —among other problems — in streaky and/or smeared surfaces.

She noted that following a disciplined process of inspection is important. That includes checking for proper cleaning practices in out-of-sight areas, such as behind and under furniture, fixtures and fittings.

“A good inspection routine is really helpful,” Webster said. “It’s also important to find a way to properly interpret data from an inspection, and understand what the results mean to the client.”

The end result, she added, is to realistically define the level of “clean” taking place.

“There is a worldwide assumption that ‘anyone can clean,’ but it’s far more important to clean properly. Knowledge and training are invaluable for professional operatives in all cleaning sectors — from those helping save lives in a health care setting to providing safe educational establishments for young people,” she said. “There are far too many people who start out as housekeepers or other cleaning professions who have no actual knowledge, training or experience in cleaning itself. That is why education, training, certifications and true knowledge are so important.

“It all leads to the development of professionals who know how to clean properly, meet the right standards and provide services the correct way. That gives the cleaning profession added credibility.”

From Essity
New Study Finds More People Prefer Paper Hand Towels

Expectations of cleanliness in public spaces, and demands for solutions that provide improved hygiene, are higher than ever before. According to the Tork study in relation to the impact from COVID-19 — as it relates to people’s perceptions of public hygiene — 86 percent expect public washrooms to provide a safe hygiene environment to a higher extent now than before COVID-19.

The increased concern for hygiene in public restrooms is expressed in people’s changing preferences for hand drying solutions. According to the study, 70 percent of people wish more facilities offered paper hand towels as an alternative to air dryers. The study also shows that 68 percent of people prefer paper hand towels before air dryers. The most common reasons respondents give for their change in preference are that paper hand towels are perceived as more hygienic (71 percent) for the user, do not spread virus and bacteria in the air (43 percent), and are safer to use (38 percent). The cost of not offering paper hand towels can be high for facilities, according to Tork. More than 40 percent surveyed said they are less likely to visit places that do not offer paper hand towels as a hand drying alternative, and 33 percent said they feel unsafe entering a restroom with air dryers.

“The research addresses a number of concerns. The biggest takeaway is the 86 percent figure. Those surveyed in the United States have said, now more than ever, they expect public restrooms to offer a safer environment when it comes to hygiene. There is a heightened awareness, a heightened expectation,” Rachel Olsavicky, Regional Marketing Manager of Commercial & Public Interest, Essity Professional Hygiene, said. “COVID-19 has changed the way people are viewing standards in hygiene. In particular, public restrooms are under greater scrutiny as they are areas where people are congregating, and this space oftentimes does not have the best ventilation.”

She added it’s important to note that, according to the survey, 70 percent of the respondents wish more facilities offered paper hand towels.

“Tork offers a wide portfolio of hand towels and hygiene solutions to help different types of facilities meet today’s demands, brought about by COVID-19,” Olsavicky said. “Restroom safety and hygiene are more important today. Knowing, through this research, that a greater number of people prefer paper hand towels provides a really good opportunity for distributors, and their customers in charge of facilities, to see those expectations are met.”

Olsavicky noted that when available, paper hand towels provide additional hygiene benefits for guests, when it comes to opening doors, turning on and off faucets and protecting hands from other high-touch locations.

For hygiene-critical areas, such as food processing plants and hospitals, paper hand towels have long been the only acceptable hand drying solution.* Unlike paper hand towels, air dryers produce more airborne droplets,** which increase the risk of bacteria spread in the environment.

“Because of COVID-19, more public areas are being scrutinized by visitors, who demand increased standards in hygiene everywhere, including public restrooms,” according to Tork. “The study suggests that people now view all public spaces as ‘hygiene critical,’ as a result of the global pandemic.

“Providing solutions that make people feel safe and facilitate social distancing, while visiting public spaces, must be a top priority for facility managers who want to re-attract guests. The cost of not using the most hygienic option is simply too high.”

About the survey

The survey was conducted by United Minds, in cooperation with CINT, using web-panels. Data was collected between April 8-13, 2020, in the U.S. market, with a total of 1,012 respondents.

About Tork
"The Tork brand offers professional hygiene products and services to customers worldwide, ranging from restaurants and health care facilities to offices, schools and industries. Tork products include dispensers, paper towels, toilet tissue, soap, napkins, wipers, but also software solutions for data-driven cleaning. Through expertise in hygiene, functional design and sustainability, Tork has become a market leader that supports customers to think ahead so they’re always ready for business. Tork is a global brand of Essity, and a committed partner to customers in over 110 countries," according to the company.

About Essity
"Essity is a leading global hygiene and health company. It’s dedicated to improving well-being through products and services. Sales are conducted in approximately 150 countries, under the leading global brands TENA and Tork, and other strong brands, such as JOBST, Leukoplast, Libero, Libresse, Lotus, Nosotras, Saba, Tempo, Vinda and Zewa. Essity has about 46,000 employees. Net sales in 2019 amounted to approximately $13.5 billion. The company’s headquarters are located in Stockholm, Sweden, and Essity is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm. Essity breaks barriers to well-being and contributes to a healthy, sustainable and circular society."

For more information about making the safer choice and switching to Tork paper hand towels, visit www.TorkUSA.com/saferchoice.

*Source: Huang, C Mayo Clinic, 2011
**Source: Margas E. et al, J Applied Microbiol, 2013

From ACS Cleaning Products Group
The Maroon FPP Chemical-Free Stripping Pad

The ACS Maroon FPP is a chemical-free stripping pad. It is an alternative to using a black pad and stripper to take the finish off the floor prior to re-coating the floor with new finish.

Used with or without water, the ACS Maroon FPP will provide a “green” solution to stripping the floor. Green, because you will not be introducing stripping chemicals, and the non-woven fibers are 100 percent recycled.

Thin Line pads are 3/8-inches thick, and are packed 10 per case.

Use with 175 – 350 RPM machines.

For more information, visit www.acs-cp.com or phone 800-222-2880.

R.J. Schinner Hires/Promotes Personnel

Tim Scott

Ann Erpenbeck
Mike Mirarchi

R.J. Schinner Co., re-distributor to the commercial wholesale trade, announced that Tim Scott joined the company as vice president of corporate strategy/business development August 3.

“Tim is an industry veteran with a long list of accomplishments. Having had the opportunity to work with Tim in various capacities over the years, we feel fortunate to get him on board at R.J. Schinner,” said Ken Schinner, president. “He is well respected within our industry, and he’s developed a great working relationship with many of us here at R.J. Schinner.”

R.J. Schinner Promotes Ann Erpenbeck To V.P. Customer Success And Mike Mirarchi To V.P. Sales In NE Region

R.J. Schinner also announced the promotions of Ann Erpenbeck to vice president of customer success and Mike Mirarchi to vice president of sales in the northeast region.

Erpenbeck is the first vice president of customer success at R.J. Schinner.

“Her ability to lead our customer service and inside sales teams, while working cross-functionally with other areas, has helped elevate our company to new heights,” according to Ken Schinner.

“In three short years Mike has helped us establish a strong presence in the northeast. We’re really excited about our future growth and expansion plans in that region of the country.”

For over 65 years, the company has been selling non-food disposables to the commercial marketplace through distribution. The company has 17 locations servicing the United States.

For more information, visit www.rjschinner.com.

Jones Family Of Companies Adds To Operations Team

Brian Trent

Leo Franzinetti

“Jones Family of Companies is continuing to rethink its organization as it plans and executes growth initiatives while operating in a very challenging business environment. With the recent addition of Brian Trent as the new director of supply chain and Leonardo Franzinetti as a new business analyst and IT resource, Jones is looking to finish out 2020 on a strong note and complement its current operations team with exciting talent,” according to a press release.

With more than two decades of experience in the packaging and supply industry, Brian Trent has been named director of supply chain. Trent graduated from North Carolina State University in 1996 with a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering, and started his textile career at Milliken. Before coming to Jones, Trent most recently served as the director of purchasing at InVue Security Products, where he increased productivity and developed new ways to manage and improve his team’s efficiency. Trent is a recipient of the Legrand Summit Award and a four-time winner of the Legrand New Heights Award, recognizing his leadership and lasting contributions to the industry.

“We needed Brian’s broad base of experience to address all key facets of our supply chain operation,” said CP Davis, president and CEO of Jones. “Brian’s strong industry background and technical know-how will make him an invaluable asset. We want to leverage his world-class expertise ‘end to end’ from procurement, demand planning and forecasting, to scheduling and customer service. Our singular goal is to significantly enhance our service to our customers, while driving greater efficiencies within our plant operations."

Leonardo (Leo) Franzinetti comes to Jones after recently graduating from Virginia Military Institute with a Bachelor of Science degree in applied mathematics, and a minor in computer and information science. Franzinetti has participated in two separate internships, a student research position at VMI in the summer of his sophomore year, and the following summer at the city of Virginia Beach Information Technology, where he worked as a data scientist.

“With offices in Charlotte, NC, Richmond, VA, and Humboldt, TN, and production facilities in Morristown, TN, Humboldt, TN, and North Las Vegas, NV, Jones was founded in 1936 as a provider of sustainable yarn solutions, primarily for the floor care industry. Today, Jones Nonwovens' business includes engineered non-woven products spanning multiple markets such as sleep, furniture, cold chain and protective packaging, and acoustics, as well as floor care. Additionally, Jones provides value-added services to clients such as warehousing, packaging, and distribution. For more than 80 years, Jones continues to be dedicated to its original mission of introducing new product innovations, responsible manufacturing, and building strong customer and supplier relationships that leave a lasting impression.”

For more information, visit jonesyarn.com.

Pat Cassidy New Director Of Sales For Tolco

Pat Cassidy

Pat Cassidy has been named director of sales for Tolco Corporation. Cassidy has been with Tolco since 1992, when he began as a territory manager.

“He later became regional sales manager, overseeing the growth of numerous Tolco territories and accounts. Recently, he was instrumental in the restructuring of our sales team while continuing to work with select accounts. In his new role, Pat oversees all aspects of Tolco’s sales efforts as we continue to grow,” said the company.

Will Lewis, president/CEO of Tolco Corporation said, “Pat is uniquely qualified to build and grow our sales team. His work ethic, customer relationships, and product knowledge are second to none.”

For more information, visit www.tolcocorp.com.

WAXIE Sanitary Supply Announces Promotion Of Sandy Nourian

Sandy Nourian

WAXIE Sanitary Supply announced the April 13 promotion of Sandy Nourian to vice president of procurement.

She began her career at WAXIE in March 2000 when she was hired as a purchasing manager for the Santa Ana, CA, branch. Over the years, she has held many roles within the procurement team.

“Over the course of Sandy’s career with WAXIE, she has enabled the company to grow our sales through her passion and dedication to all things procurement,” said Eric Cohen, vice president of supply chain for WAXIE.

“She has been instrumental in reinforcing the organizational growth of the company by championing the integration of asset software, supporting multiple acquisitions, designing and implementing a procurement reorganization, and earning both an MBA and black belt in Lean Six Sigma.

In addition to these efforts, she has planned several WAXIE community outreach events to support the local military. These include the Pocket Flag Project to honor currently deployed (and ready to deploy) servicemen and women, and a food and supply drive to welcome home members of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit back to Camp Pendleton following a six-month deployment.

“Sandy is a shining example of a WAXIE leader, always learning, always growing and always willing to do more than expected,” said Jeff Roberts, WAXIE’s president/COO. “Throughout her career, she has proven that success comes through hard work, and she has earned this promotion to be named an officer within WAXIE, due to her numerous contributions, expertise, tenacity and her commitment to serving others.

For more information, visit www.waxie.com.

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