The Healthy Schools Conference

Every student deserves a healthy learning environment; at least that’s what we were thinking when we decided to put together the Healthy Schools Conference. Taking place March 8, 2017 at Youngstown State University, the event will be comprised of various presentations on issues that are impacting the health of your school. Topics include the future of disinfection, indoor air quality, proper nutrition, physical education, green cleaning and more. We will be releasing the schedule of presentations within the next few week, but still feel free to visit the event website, sign-up for event updates, and you can even register for the event today!

While most people know us for cleaning supplies, we saw this event as an opportunity to bring together speakers on a diverse array of factors impacting school health. These presentations will be 15 to 20 minutes in length so you can get a high-level view of each topic and from there decide what you would like to learn more in-depth. This allows us to focus on the student as a whole and allows you to determine what actions will have the greatest positive impact on enhancing outcomes for your students.

We are very excited to be able to be part of a movement that is centered around creating the best, healthiest, environment in which students can thrive. Visit the event website for more details and we look forward to seeing you there!

healthy schools conference more information

It’s Time to Dwell on Disinfectants

True or false? My disinfecting wipes leave my surfaces safe and disinfected immediately after use? …False. In fact, unless you used the wipes to keep the surface visibly wet for somewhere around 5 to 10 minutes then you really haven’t disinfected at all! Let’s dive into this subject a little deeper because the health of your facility depends on it.

Choosing the right disinfectant to use and applying it properly is a critical step in the cleaning process. Important information regarding dwell times and kill claims can be found on the product’s label. These label instructions will provide your staff with explicit information on how to properly use the product. But what are kill claims and dwell times? Helping your staff understand these important key terms will go a long way in assisting them to do their jobs well and ensure proper application of a disinfectant.

A dwell time is the contact time the disinfectant is required to remain on the target surface to effectively kill bacteria and germs. Each disinfectant will have a manufacturer’s recommended dwell time; these times may vary and must be followed closely for the product to perform effectively. These dwell times are established through various 3rd party EPA labs and may differ based on the target pathogen and specific product being tested.

Professionals are less likely to follow the instructed dwell time, especially if they are pressed for time. So, although the stress of janitorial work can be overwhelming, following the requirements of the disinfectant is a crucial part of cleaning for health. If the disinfectant isn’t left on the surface for the suggested contact time, the pathogens on the target surface are less likely to be killed, leaving customers, employees, staff, students, etc.  susceptible to infections and illnesses.

Additionally, disinfectants should only be used when needed. The CDC explains that some microorganisms have an innate resistance to certain disinfectants.  To ensure the safety of your cleaning team, your staff, the environment, and the efficacy of the product, be sure that your team is using these products only when needed and as recommended. Dwell time affects kill claims, kill claims are the key to a successful disinfecting program.

How effective is your disinfection routine? Take our free


Kill claims are a list of the microscopic organisms (bacteria, viruses, and fungi) that each disinfectant is effective at eliminating. These lists are provided on the label of every disinfectant on the market.  Additionally, most disinfectants have an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registration number.  This number, in combination with the EPA establishment number, indicates that a disinfectant has been proven effective, with a minimal risk to the user.

Every disinfectant is different and the labels are there to indicate which microscopic organism they can kill. For example, disinfectants can kill TB (tuberculosis) bacterium, H1N1 Influenza A virus, MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), and other pathogens. However, the disinfectant that kills MRSA may not work against the TB bacterium. Although this may not always be the case, it demonstrates the importance of selecting the proper disinfectant that is effective against the particular pathogen you want to kill.

Improperly used disinfectants are ineffective, so it’s important to ensure your staff  understands the label instructions before applying the product to any affected surface.  This will ensure that the job is completed in a safe and effective manner.

For more detailed information about our recommended disinfectants, contact us at Rhiel Innovative Solutions.

5 steps to a healthier school ecourse

What Should I Be Using to Disinfect?

Last week I answered the question “How often should I disinfect?” This brought up questions such as, “what should I use to disinfect?” I will briefly give you a quick overview of what you should look for to choose the best disinfectant for your facility.

When I am visiting a customer’s facility and we take a look at what is being used to disinfect we find that the disinfectant either doesn’t have the necessary kill claims to achieve the desired results or that the dwell times are so long that the product cannot achieve the claims it already has. This then leads us into a conversation about what they could be using to disinfect in a safer and more effective manner. Here are a few of the main points that are part of our discussion.

Kill Claims

Selection of the appropriate disinfectant or inhibiting agent should best align with a specific touch point environment at any given time. First consider the categories or types of anticipated pathogens. Certain illnesses and infections are transferred through surfaces every day. In these cases, a preventative agent is usually broad spectrum in design and appropriate. Other pathogens are seasonal in behavior and disinfectants may need to be more specific during these times. In some cases, more than one disinfectant application is required to maintain healthy touch points. Areas can also experience outbreak conditions where special disinfectants are needed above preventative disinfection efforts. With the correct systems and disinfectants in use, both preventative and outbreak conditions are managed more effectively. Many cleaning products are used with the expectation of disinfection properties, but remember you must first clean and then you disinfect. Water can be a viable cleaner when the right disinfectant is applied afterwards. Eliminate the step of wiping to disinfect. Additionally, most disinfectants need dwell time on the surface to perform so if that dwell time isn’t achieved then wiping can render the best disinfectants useless.

How effective is your disinfection protocol? Take our free “5 Steps to a Healthier Facility” ecourse

Dwell Times

To achieve the best result, source a disinfectant with a fast kill claim ( 30 seconds) without the need to wipe it off. This type of product can be sustainable in nature which makes it friendly to people and the environment which in turn helps maintain a healthy chemical free environment. An onsite generated disinfectant is a great source for this type of product which can achieve a 30 second kill claim and promote the healthy and safety of your staff and the environment.

This is not an exhaustive explanation of how you should choose your next disinfectant, but if you focus on the two main factors mentioned above then you will be well on your way to a healthier facility. If you would like more content like this then scroll to the bottom of the page and subscribe to our blog. Also, be sure to check out our 5 Steps to a Healthier Facility ecourse (it’s free so you have nothing to lose!).

5 steps to a healthier facility ecourse

How Often Should I Disinfect?

A question I often get when discussing disinfection is “how often should I disinfect?” The answer is it depends. If you are disinfecting a room daily that is only used twice per week then you are doing more than you need to. If you disinfect a room once a week that is used everyday then you are not disinfecting enough. Below I will briefly explain how you can determine the frequency at which you should be disinfecting by analyzing the touch points in your facility.

The more a surface is touched, the more often it should be disinfected. A protocol unique and best suited to your environment begins here. Touch points, or touch point surface areas can be categorized three ways. Each will receive the appropriate level of disinfection frequency.

Not all touch points require the same frequency of surface disinfection. For example, door knobs, computer equipment, elevator controls, hand rails, chair arms, table tops and many other surface points are designed to be touched and should be considered high touch points. Touch points surrounding points designed to be touched including doors, door frames, locker surfaces and tabletop bottoms are touched less, and may be categorized as medium touch points.

Low touch points are areas that may include any surface mentioned above, yet touch traffic is limited or infrequent altogether. Examples may be walls that are not around areas of heavy foot traffic or floor boards. By reducing how often you disinfect these low touch points you can focus your time and energy on addressing areas that receive more touches.

A proper surface disinfection protocol will become most effective if aligned to the real activity in your spaces. Document your touch points and begin to map out your frequency of disinfection schedule or best practices accordingly. It is important to disinfect your high touch point as often as possible. Many times we look at the cost of labor and product over the cost of sick people in the space.  Productivity and lost work time is a much higher cost then disinfecting . Its also important to remember you will actually save labor and product by identifying the high touch points from the medium and low so that you can maximize your labor and product by not giving equal time to low and high touch points.

5 steps to a healthier facility ecourse

7 Unhealthy Places in Your School

Schools are full of “hot spots” for germs and bacteria. Keep your school and students healthy by focusing on these 7 places.

Let’s start with the bathroom door, even though the bathroom is cleaned on a regular basis the bathroom door is another story.  Not all kids wash their hands like they should, so when they leave the bathroom it could be hazardous to your health.  A bathroom door should be considered a “high touch point” and should be part of the daily cleaning protocol. When cleaning the bathroom door remember to disinfect the door jam as well, many times students will run their hand across the door jam as they leave a room causing the transfer of germs and bacteria to others.

Another item that gets passed by is the cafeteria tray which rarely gets wiped off let alone disinfected. With a variety of food and students touching them they can be a hot dwelling point for some serious germs.  Kitchen staff should wash and sanitize the lunch trays after each day’s use to keep down the spread of germs and bacteria. Again another “high touch point “ in a school environment.

How about sack lunches? Typically the contents of a sack lunch will spoil before lunchtime. Packed food should be refrigerated in an insulated lunch box with frozen ice packs in the box to freeze any juice boxes. Doing this will reduce the number of food-borne illnesses which in turn will keep the school building safer from the transfer of illness. Typically once a child becomes sick in school the chances of spreading bacteria germs and viruses triple.

Students spend most of their time at their desk and at lunch tables during the day, which means sneezes, coughs, nasal leakage, well, you get it… ends up all over these surfaces. Even though these surfaces are cleaned, very few are actually disinfected with the proper disinfectant and allowed to dwell the proper amount of time to be effective. It’s important that the schools be sure to properly disinfect these surfaces to reduce bacteria and viruses on these surfaces.

Probably one of the most overlooked place for germs and viruses are art rooms and band/music rooms. Most of these classrooms have students sharing supplies which in turns to the spread of bacteria and viruses. The teachers and building maintenance department people do not make these supplies and instruments a priority for disinfection, however, can be a leading cause of the spread of germs in a school building.

Sports equipment, especially wrestling mats are the most likely cause of staph and MRSA infections in a school. These areas although cleaned and disinfected at a high rate are not usually disinfected with the proper dwell time or a disinfectant with the appropriate kill claims and therefore are a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses to spread to the student-athlete. Football helmets, basketballs, and other sports gear need to be disinfected to help reduce the outbreaks of illness.

Finally, school buses rarely if ever are cleaned properly let alone disinfected. This is a very high source of spreading viruses and bacteria to other students. From kids licking the condensation off the window to sneezing and coughing in a closed space, it’s easy to see how the school bus is most likely the most likely place to spread germs and bacteria.

Does your school have a disinfection protocol that is designed to address high-risk touch points and help you achieve your infection control goals? I’d love to spend a few minutes discussing the health and safety of your students and staff. You can book time with me directly or if you would prefer to learn a bit more about keeping your school healthy then I would suggest you check out our free email course “5 Steps to a Healthier School.”

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Electrostatic Disinfection: What, How, Why?

Electrostatics is not hard to understand. Remember when you were a kid and you rubbed a balloon against your head? Rubbing the balloon against hair forms an electrostatic force between the two objects. When you rub a balloon against your hair, the balloon steals electrons from your hair. This leaves your hair positively charged and the balloon negatively charged. Your hair will be attracted to the surface of the balloon because opposite charges attract.

electrostatic clouds cartoon gif

Magnets are another simple illustration. Remember when you first discovered that two magnets snapped together and stuck like glue? When you held the two magnets close, you could feel them either attract (pull toward) or repel (push away). Magic? No, it’s simply magnetism at work. Magnetism isn’t exactly the same thing as electrostatics, but this example is good for visualizing the concept.

As we’ve seen from the above examples, opposite charges attract (pull towards each other) and like charges repel (push away from each other). Two positively charged things ( + and + ) will repel each other. Two negatively charged things ( – and – ) will repel each other. On the other hand, one positively charged thing ( + ) and one negatively charged thing ( – ) will attract each other. Opposites attract. This attraction also exists between negative and neutral as well as positive and neutral. That’s the basis of electrostatic spraying.

Some Real World Examples

In the auto industry, paint is sprayed onto millions of cars each year. The process is made more efficient by using electrostatics. The paint particles are electrostatically charged and then the car part being painted is either sprayed with or dipped into these charged particles. This promotes better, more comprehensive coverage while at the same time reducing the amount of paint needed.

This technology can also be seen in the agricultural industry in the application of pesticides to crops. The electrostatics allows the pesticide particles to more evenly coat each plant. Additionally, the attraction between the plant allows the pesticide application to be more targeted and be less likely to blow over into neighboring fields.

Electrostatics Improve Efficiency in Two Ways:

The droplets spread out more as they leave the electrostatic nozzle. This happens because they all share the same charge and as a result repel each other. This is more effective than coming straight out of the sprayer because the liquid covers a wider area more evenly (think about how smooth and consistent car paint looks).

The droplets are highly attracted to a negative or neutral surface, and so fewer particles are wasted (landing on floors or walls). The droplets are extremely small (usually between 40 and 60 microns in diameter), so small that they are tinier than the diameter of a human hair (70 microns).

E-Mist Electrostatic Infection Control Systems

This proven technology has been used to develop a patented application system. As mentioned, most surface areas are neutral (uncharged) or negative. These systems are used to apply an EPA-registered water soluble disinfectant. The E-Mist Electrostatic Systems place a positive ( + ) charge on the droplets as they leave the spray nozzle. The dispersed droplets spread out more evenly and seek out a negative ( – ) or neutrally charged surface. The end result is that your disinfectant is more targeted, provides more uniform coverage with less waste, and like the magnets, the disinfectant is attracted to the surface with remarkable force. In fact, the charged droplets will adhere more consistently and more comprehensively to vertical and horizontal surfaces when compared to droplets with no charge.

As proven in the automotive and agriculture industries, this electrostatic application process takes less time to achieve the desired effect, while substantially reducing chemical costs.

Research studies show that environmental cleaning and disinfection play important roles in the prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections. Though prevalent and widely used since the 1960’s in other industries, electrostatic technology is now being adopted in the application of disinfectants.

By using this technology we are now able to reduce or eliminate viruses and bacteria more efficiently from our spaces to create a healthier environment. I encourage you to reach out to us about how electrostatic surface disinfection can help you!


The Touch Point Healthy Process [Infographic]

With the cold and flu season quickly approaching it is important to review your infection prevention protocol. Maybe you don’t have one or maybe you’re looking to revamp what is already in place. No matter what your reasoning is, you are reading this for a reason so let’s get any of those lingering questions answered. The Touch Point Healthy process focuses on 5 disinfection best practices from the FACTS Based Protocol. This protocol was developed by E-Mist Innovations to address a need for proper surface disinfection and helps facilities achieve Touch Point Healthy Certification.

The infographic below aims to briefly sum up the protocol so you can get an idea of what it is all about. After you are through feel free to follow any of the links above or check out our free self-paced 5 Steps to a Healthier Facility e-course.

Touch Point Healthy FACTS Protocol Infographic

5 steps to a healthier facility ecourse

What is the ISSA CITS Certification?

What is CITS? There are a lot of people in the facility cleaning and facility maintenance industry that are just becoming familiar with the term. CITS stands for the Cleaning Industry Training Standard. It is provided through the International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA), the leading trade association for the cleaning industry worldwide. CITS has been designed specifically to help address the need for training and improved professionalism throughout the cleaning industry. This includes the cleaning of facilities such as commercial buildings, educational institutions, office buildings and all other workplaces. It is designed to assist with the training and education of all commercial custodial and cleaning personnel whether they are in-house or contract service providers. The CITS program is authored by the American Institute for Cleaning Sciences (AICS) who are the leading authorities on the commercial cleaning industry.

CITS consists of several programs to give your cleaning staff a better understanding of how to clean a facility more effectively and efficiently. It is designed to create a healthier, safer environment, reduce waste, reduce risk, increase productivity and standardize the cleaning process. These programs include:

  • General Cleaning

  • Hard Floor Care

  • Carpet Care

  • Restroom Care

  • General Safety

  • Hazard Communication

  • Health Care

  • Value of Clean

  • Customer Service

  • Green Cleaning

  • School & Educational Institution

These programs are available through Accredited, Certified Trainers who can instruct your custodial staff in the proper and most efficient and productive means available to clean and maintain your facility. CITS ensures the workers cleaning your facility are trained and certified.

The basics of all courses in the CITS program cover

  • Expected Results

  • Tools and Equipment needed to perform each task

  • Chemical Products needed to perform each task

  • Personal Protective Equipment needed to perform tasks

  • Cleaning different surface types

  • Safety Considerations and avoiding Risk

  • Cleaning issues unique to your facility

At the end of each training session each participant will be required to pass a written exam to prove they have the knowledge needed to perform the job and gain the certification.

People are hired every day to clean buildings. It is commonly assumed that people inherently know how to clean a building. This has been proven over the years to not be the case. Workers need training and education to become productive, efficient and capable of performing multiple tasks in a set period of time. Training and education is essential to perform the job safely and quickly. It is necessary to avoid risk to themselves, risk to facility occupants and risk that may cause property damage. Training also reduces complaints that may arise from the condition or appearance of the facility.

CITS is the Standard in Cleaning. In fact, as you now know, it is the Cleaning Industry Training Standard. If you would like your cleaning staff to become more productive, exercise all safety precautions, avoid risk of injury and damage to property, increase the health of your facility occupants, and reduce complaints about facility appearance then CITS is your answer. If you are interested in having your cleaning staff become Accredited in their profession, please contact us at the Rhiel Innovative Solutions. We can help you achieve your goals.

ISSA CITS Certification

School Cleanliness: How Dirty is Your Child’s School? [Infographic]

To demonstrate why effective cleaning is so important in schools, ISSA has created a useful and actionable infographic. Having a clean, safe, and healthy school is crucial to the development of young minds. Combining the insights here with ISSA’s new CITS certification is a great way to start this school year and create a healthy, safe environment for our future leaders.

How Dirty Is Your Child's School?

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What is Touch Point Healthy?

This entry is a follow up to a post I made about a month ago dealing with proper surface disinfection. Take a few minutes to read that post first may help give you a bit of context.

By definition, Touch Point Healthy means that all of the touch points in a space have been properly cleaned and disinfected. Touch Point Healthy has evolved into a global health initiative that fully integrates technology with proper protocols to close the gap between where we are today in terms of healthy surfaces and where we want to be.

By combining the latest application technology with new, advanced disinfectants we can now cover surfaces more completely and effectively to reduce and eliminate viruses and bacteria. This promotes cleaner, more sanitary surfaces which lead to a healthier environment.

Pathogens in our environment  represent the introduction of stronger or changing microbes that our current  application methods have not been able to eliminate or prevent. Our protocols for cleaning and disinfecting have been lagging for years while viruses adapt and become more resilient to current chemicals and application techniques.

Taking advantage of new advances in disinfection and product chemistry is critical to not only have safe surfaces and space but to also be cost effective. Touch Point Healthy is a decision you make for the advancement of safe surfaces in your space for the health and well being of the people who occupy that space at any given time.

When your facility is TOUCH POINT HEALTHY you demonstrate that you are committed to proper surface disinfection and to the health and safety of the people in your building.

The Touch Point Healthy process relies on the use of the FACTS protocol as a way to measure the effectiveness of your current disinfecting program and where you need to improve. FACTS is an acronym that stands for:

(F) FREQUENCY-  Count your high touch point surfaces and compare to your surface treatment frequency to see if you are properly treating every touch point each time you are disinfecting.

(A) AGENT –  Check the appropriateness of your disinfectant of choice and compare it to your current disinfection needs. For example if your trying to kill a pathogen that takes 10 minutes of dwell time ( meaning how long the surface has to remain wet) most times the solution will either evaporate before the 10 minutes or will be wiped off by the person applying due to time constraints.

(C) COMPREHENSIVE – Review application methods to gauge the effective treatment coverage of the entire touchable surface.  Spray bottles do not achieve 100% coverage of a surface

(T) TOUCHLESS –  Witness how your handheld cleaning and disinfection methods only further spread the pathogens. Spray bottles are ineffective to cover the surface completely . Wiping off with a rag will only cross contaminate the surface and spread viruses and bacteria from one surface to another

(S)  SAFE – Consider exposure to pathogens, chemicals, inhalation and injury during touch point treatments.

Touch Point Healthy means safer and healthier surfaces which translates into safer and healthier spaces and safer and healthier people. Higher productivity & less absenteeism at work or school is a benefit to everyone. Click the button below to start a conversation about Touch Point Healthy!

touch point healthy surface disinfection