What equipment and tool system works best for restorative deep cleaning of luxury vinyl plank and tile floors?

You Should Have Already Noticed the Unprecedented Rise of Luxury Vinyl Plank Floors

Luxury Vinyl Plank continues to be the fastest growing floor covering material. At first glance to the professional carpet cleaning, the meteoric rise in the market share growth of LVP floors may not present an immediate obvious opportunity. After all, with the numerous benefits of LVP (water resistant, stain resistant, easy to install, less expensive, etc..) the first impression of most homeowners is that they can easily clean these floors themselves. Whether they are using a Swiffer®, a mop and bucket, or a hard surface floor steamer or cleaner, they can pretty much convince themselves that the floor looks clean. A deeper dive into reality though starts to unlock some often-overlooked challenges and pitfalls.

Just how dirty are your customers “clean-looking” LVP floors

We have discussed in previous articles that there are fur pressing issues with these floors

  1. Even after cleaning with traditional home methods, the floors measure for higher amounts of germs, bacteria, fecal matter, and soil.
  2. The grooves in LVP floors hold onto embedded soils and other unwanted matter. The use of professional chemical solutions and higher levels of safer but aggressive agitation are required to remove these embedded materials.
  3. Drywall dust and other fine particle construction materials also embed into the flooring during construction or remodeling and need a professional deep cleaning to remove them
  4. Conventional hard surface floor cleaning solutions typically don’t contain the necessary ingredients to effectively deep clean an LVP floor and contain special soil inhibitors that help the floor stay cleaner longer

Restoring the appearance of LVP floors to “like-new” condition is more than just cleaning. It takes a comprehensive approach that can penetrate deep into the grooves and textured surfaces of your floor for a higher level of soil removal that eliminates dirt, scuffs, grease, and other potentially harmful contaminates. HydraFresh LVC does all of this while it also helps the floor stay cleaner longer because it contains special soil inhibitors and is a low residue formula that does not contain any sticky or tacky cleaning agents. It can be used as part of a prespray and rinse system or as part of a no rinse system. The neutral PH makes it safe for luxury vinyl plank and tile floors, resilient tile floors and wood (polyurethane finish only) and laminate floors. The concentrated formula allows you to adjust the dilution ration to meet the soiling conditions of the floor. HydraFresh LVC allows you to extend the life of the flooring investment and keep it looking great all the time.

So now that the cleaning solution question is settled, what is the best equipment and tool system to get the job done?

How do you do it? There are several ways to approach this cleaning. In all of them, let the properly formulated chemical do the trick. Don’t use any old neutral floor cleaner for tile, or your favorite high power, high PH hard surface cleaner. HydraFresh LVC has been formulated specifically for these floors.

Industry instructor and consultant Shawn Bisaillon discussed this in the HydraMaster SmartShare Virtual expo recently. You can access the video here and see some of the different systems: Click here to watch this video

System 1 – Apply Solution, Agitate with CRB Machine, Mop-up, or extract with wet-dry vacuum

One proven system for this is to apply the HydraFresh LVC to the floor, then agitate it in with a counter rotating brush machine or system with the brushes appropriate for these types of floors. You can then mop or extract it up with a wet-dry vacuum.

System 2 – Apply solution, Use portable or truckmount with stationary hard surface wand, rotary hard surface wand, or extraction wand with hard surface brush glide attached

Click here to see where you can get this hard surface brush glide

Apply the Hydra-Fresh LVC to the floor with your favorite sprayer. Then  use your portable or truckmounted extractor to rinse off and extract the solution from the floor. Use it at a lower pressure (200 to 300 psi max) with a stationary hard surface tool. Hard surface brush glides are being developed that you can attach to your EVOLUTION wand which apply the proper amount of agitation and leave the floor almost dry There are also high-quality stand-alone hard surface wands made

So what about using your rotary hard surface tool? Many companies are successfully doing this. However, here are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • You don’t want to blast the floor with copious amounts of water under pressure, To get most rotary tools to spin properly, you need at least 400-800 psi of water pressure. There is also some concern by LVP flooring manufacturers that higher pressures could penetrate between the planks and allow moisture to build up underneath, potentially breaking down the adhesive, or worse, allowing for mold and mildew growth.
  • Some have questioned whether the physical rotary action of the spinner tool itself could dislodge the installation of the planks of flooring, but to a trained conscientious technician, they would immediately stop and use a different tool.

System 3 – Apply solution, Use a low pressure floor washing machine with counter rotating brushes that also has extraction capabilities

Apply the Hydra-Fresh LVC to the floor using your favorite sprayer. Some of the floor washing machines apply the solution for you, allowing you to skip the spraying step. These machines use counter rotating brushes to agitate the floor while also having vacuum recovery capabilities to pick up the cleaning solution and released soils as you go along.

System 4 – The best system for the deepest cleaning. Apply solution, Use CRB machine to agitate the cleaning solution. Use portable or truckmount with stationary (non-rotary) hard surface wand, or extraction wand with hard surface brush glide attached

Apply the Hydra-Fresh LVC to the floor using your favorite sprayer. Agitate it in with a counter rotating brush machine or system with the brushes appropriate for these types of floors. Then  use your portable or truckmounted extractor to rinse off and extract the solution from the floor. Use it at a lower pressure (200 to 300 psi max) with a stationary (not rotary) hard surface tool. Hard surface brush glides are being developed that you can attach to your EVOLUTION wand which apply the proper amount of agitation and leave the floor almost dry There are also high-quality stand-alone hard surface wands made

So how do you market all of this to Your Customer? – Make the Unobvious, Obvious!

Alright so here is the dilemma – homeowners mostly think they are getting their LVP, and laminate flooring cleaned with their favorite home remedy or method. It often even “looks clean” to the naked eye. How do you as a professional cleaner deal with that? It is quite simple and a proven successful method for selling. Make the unobvious, obvious. How do you do that? Demo, Demo, Demo! After all you are in the home anyway cleaning carpet or upholstery When you apply HydraFresh LVC from HydraMaster to their Luxury Vinyl Plank or Laminate floor and clean it with any number of methods or applications, they will see a marked difference between their so called “clean floor” and the clean floor you just provided them with.

But let’s take a quick look at marketing. In a nutshell, marketing any service or product is a 3-step process. First you need a marketing message. One that we have found to be effective without being overtly threatening is “bacteria does not leave footprints. “We have developed two special marketing print/electronic ads which convey this message you can use or customize to your business.

Now that you have the message defined, choose your delivery system – the second step in marketing. You can use your social media pages, your email programs, your company newsletter, or even printed flyers you can “five around” with. The catch headline and quick summary of what you are going to accomplish well beyond making their floor look better may need to be delivered to them more than three times before they will start to react. So don’t get too dependent upon one single delivery system.

The third part of marketing is what your desired outcome is. Now that may seem obvious. You want a sale. But sometimes we forget that timing is often the most important key to getting a sale. If now is not the time, then your desired outcome can often be permission to do more marketing, or the opportunity to do a demonstration on their LVP floors the next time you clean the carpets.

How much do you charge? Generally about the same as you would to deep clean their ceramic tile.

Your customer invested in the LVP floor they did for specific aesthetic and “livability” advantages. Plus, they want and desire a healthier atmosphere for their home. Of course, they want it to look great to.

A Comprehensive Cleaning and Sanitizing System for Escalator Handrails

HydraMaster is partnering with Thomsen’s Escalator Handrail Cleaning System to be used in conjunction with its TreadMaster Escalator Cleaning Machine. Let’s look at exactly how the Handrail Cleaning and Sanitizing System Works

What about the handrails?

In the past, truthfully the handrails were generally overlooked and ignored. With the COVID-19 pandemic focusing more attention on potential touch-point transmission of infectious diseases, there has been a greatly increased awareness of the need to clean and sanitize the handrails. Unfortunately, a false sense of security has been caused by the idea that you can routinely spray (with or without an electromagnetic sprayer) a disinfectant and eliminate any potential threat. We know that to properly clean and sanitize any surface requires first that you clean the surface, and secondly then you apply the appropriate disinfectant or sanitizer.

This concept has been reinforced by many studies of how unwanted materials end up on so many surfaces indoors. But Dr. Charles Gerba, PH.D, from the University of Arizona had this to specifically say about escalator handrails: “In our testing, we have found food, E. coli, mucus, feces, and blood routinely on escalator handrails. And where there is mucus, you may also find cold, flu, and COVID-19 viruses.” In seminars conducted by the Cleaning Industry Research Institute (CIRI – http://www.ciriscience.org) PH.D microbiologists repeatedly warned that most viruses are “encapsulated” in saliva and mucus, and may live for days left untreated.

Because of this, TreadMaster has partnered with the world’s most efficient and complete solution to effectively cleaning and sanitizing escalator handrails – the THOMSEN’s HANDRAIL CLEANING SYSTEM. This comprehensive enterprise escalator handrail cleaning and sanitizing program encompasses:

  • Dual System for Safe and Easy Cleaning
  • Complete Solution Approach
    • Heavy Duty Cleaner
    • Cleaner Conditioner
    • Sanitizer Solution   
  • ATP Testing For Documenting Results Monitoring Software and Reports

Escalator Handrails are Generally Poorly Cleaned, If They are Even Cleaned at All! 

Escalator Handrails are considered essential safety equipment. On average 30 people die and 17,000 are injured due to escalator accidents in the US each year with nearly 10,000 trips to the emergency room, many of them children. If people were not holding onto handrails before Covid-19. What do you think will be happening now?

So why have they been so overlooked? Escalator handrails are universally considered filthy, but cleaning handrails has historically taken a lot of time and is incredibly labor intensive. Therefore, cleaning handrails has been expensive and could easily be called into question how effective it even is. Add to that fact that cleaning often took the escalator out of service for customers. Often times, owners and operators landed on, “no one cares, why bother?”

So How Does the Thomsen’s Escalator Handrail Cleaning and Sanitizing System Work?

It is a non-motorized, safe, and simple system that when used properly removes dirt, grime, viruses and bacteria, and other unwanted substances from moving handrails. The specially designed microfiber cleaning pads attached to molded pad holders clean the moving handrails from “bead to bead.”The Maestro System attaches to non-obstructed moving handrails and cleans without interrupting the escalator operations. The handrail Cart System’s patented swivel arm easily placed for access to any handrail.  The system is nested for compact, convenient transport and storage.

The Thomsen’s System also comes with a handheld stationary handrail cleaning tool for surfaces that are around many escalators. The Flexible handle connection allows for easy maneuvering to ensure the best cleaning results. Small, compact, and fits easily on any janitorial cart. It Utilizes the same supplies and technology as the Maestro system for easy, efficient cleaning of stationary handrails. This system will clean handrails, guardrails, guide rails, banisters. i.e., ADA handrails, stairways, walkways, and more. It is safe and effective on Metal, Rubber, Fiberglas, Wood, Linoleum, and Plastic. The tool is used with All Thomsen’s Cleaning, Conditioning, and Sanitizer solutions or with rail-specific manufacturer recommended solution i.e., brass cleaner for brass rails, hospital rail required cleaners and more.

What Kind of Results Does it Get?

By properly cleaning and applying a sanitizing solution to the handrail, it prevents the spread and transfer of viruses, germs, bacteria and other unwanted substances.. It extends the life of moving handrails by 3 to 5 years, reducing untimely handrail replacements costs.. It actually lowers labor costs and increases productivity by allowing staff to perform other essential duties, maximizing labor efficiency.  A prescribed cleaning frequency and time chart detailing labor time required to complete each cleaning or sanitizer application. No downtime equals happy customers! Cleans while moving rails are in use.

The system consists of microfiber cleaning pads, along with a three step chemical application system. First a deep cleaner is applied to break down, dissolve, and emulsify body oils soil, sticky substances, snot and saliva, and virtually anything else previous users of the escalator had on their hands. Secondly, a conditioner is applied to help maintain the form and substance of the handrail rubber material, along with restoring a clean-looking sheen and shine. Finally, an EPA registered disinfectant/antimicrobial is applied to treat and kill a wide range of germs, viruses, bacteria, and other unwanted substances. All of this can be confirmed with the use of ATP Testing For documenting results

What impact can investing in this system make?

The Thomsen system is easy to Implement and safe to use. It reduces labor costs and allows cleaning staff to be focused on other areas while they system is working. It extends the life of the handrail and reduces overall escalator downtime. It provides a cleaner, safer, and healthier rider experience, while reducing rider accidents because they are more confident to hold on to the handrails. The process effectiveness can be documented and reported by ATP monitoring.

For more information on the HydraMaster TreadMaster Escalator Cleaning System, visit https://hydramaster.com/product/treadmaster-escalator-cleaner/

For more information on the Thomsen’s Escalator Handrail Cleaning and Sanitizing System, visit https://hydramaster.com/product/thomsen-escalator-handrail-cleaning-system/

Finally, A Cleaning and Sanitizing System for Escalator Handrails

HydaMaster has been manufacturing the TreadMaster Escalator Cleaning System for over 30 years. Throughout that time, many of the facilities and customers who invested in the TreadMaster System have asked us if there was a better and more efficient way than hand wiping to clean the most common touchpoint on an escalator – the handrails. Chris Thomsen, the founder of the Maestro Escalator Handrail Cleaning System was recently introduced to HydraMaster and together the two companies immediately recognized they needed to work together to build awareness, especially in light of the recent focus on sanitizing common touchpoints in buildings related to the COVID-19 pandemic. So Doyle Bloss, Vice President of HydraMaster recently had a chance to interview Mr. Thomsen about his handrail cleaning system and where he came up withe the idea.

Question 1 – Chris, what is the Maestro Escalator Handrail Cleaning System?

Chris Thomsen

Answer – I created and patented the most comprehensive escalator handrail cleaning system because nothing else existed. Having spent 50 years in the escalator and elevator industry designing, operating, and maintaining these people movers for several companies (Kone, Schindler, Montgomery, Otis, Westinghouse) something needed to be done. The Maestro escalator handrail cleaning system cleans the moving escalator handrails with self-guiding handrail cleaning pads cleaning the entire face of the handrail from bead to bead-not just the top surface! The foam pad holders and cleaning pads are specially designed to fit the newel curve of the escalator handrail while the rubber pores are stretched open the most to maximize deep cleaning and the conditioning process. The cleaning, conditioning, and disinfecting solutions are formulated specifically for rubber and plastic handrails. Of great importance, all Thomsen’s solutions are certified by the manufactures of escalator handrails, as well as the European EU Reach SDS regulatory program.

Question 2 – What was wrong with the way facilities were dealing with cleaning escalator handrails?

Answer – Two hands, rags, and non-certified chemicals simply was not working well enough or fast enough. The task is to always maintain low levels of bacteria on Plastic and Rubber escalator handrail surfaces. Unknown to most people (even industry experts), escalator handrail system return rollers can accumulate a heavy coating of debris, contamination, viruses and more. Soil and contaminants from the escalator handrail face swaps back and forth with the return rollers and then back to the handrail face. High levels of handrail surface contamination will be evident from the contact between the handrails and the rollers, thus an endless cycle of clean to contamination begins. The answer is simple, but widely neglected. While an escalator is being serviced for mechanical or routine maintenance, the rollers must be cleaned prior to reassembling for continuation of standard operation needs. Clean return roller systems and clean handrails can be maintained with Thomsen’s handrail cleaning systems. Thomsen’s goal is to provide safe and clean escalator handrails for the end user and break the cycle of swapping contamination from the rollers to the handrail face

Question 3 – Why is better cleaning and sanitizing of escalator handrails so important?

Answer – 17,000 US citizens per year who injured while riding an escalator because the escalator handrail is not safe to touch and the Owner /Operator of the Escalator is the one that face the risks and potential liability because of it. An annual average 17,000 US citizens report an injury from riding on an unsafe, unclean, or poorly maintained escalator. 10,000 of those are emergency room required visits and 30 of those injuries fatal. Can an escalator handrail be safe to touch? The answer is yes, clean the escalator handrail regularly using Thomsen’s Maestro escalator handrail cleaning system (weekly is suggested by the manufacturers) and many of those 17,000 accidents can be eliminated. Proper riding instructions include standing in the middle of the escalator step, holding onto the escalator handrail, and facing forward. Studies show that less than 50% of escalator riders will use the handrail and the primary reason is lack of confidence in cleanliness.

Question 4 – Is there a scientific way to validate the effectiveness of the cleaning and sanitizing system for escalator handrails using the Maestro system?

Answer – Thomsen’s partners with Hygiena, a global leader in surface sanitation verification. Implementation of an ATP meter and test swabs specific for the escalator handrail surface is used to measure live bio-load on the handrail surfaces. The ATP meter will detect and measure contamination of the escalator handrail from normal ridership. Examples of contaminants include body oils from hands, mucus, dirt, viruses, fecal matter, and bacteria. Since the ATP meter is connected to a Cloud Server, all the data is collected and provided in easy-to-read reports detailing the time, place, and live bio count numbers. The number unit measure is in RLU – Relative Light Units. Hospital grade-level cleanliness for an operating room is less than 30 RLU’s. Using the Maestro system and the Thomsen’s cleaning solutions designed for escalator handrails, we have consistently obtained RLU’s of less than 10! With the use of our disinfectant, we can keep that count from escalating through normal ridership for up to 7 days. I call this comprehensive process The Thomsen Way! ™ Essentially, I have developed the Gold Seal for cleaning escalator handrails to assure riders that the handrail is safe to touch. Safe to touch reduces the potential for a rider accident dramatically. Operators of escalators now have the tools to clean, validate cleaning is being done, and documentation that the best cleaning results have been obtained. When all of that is put together the escalator is stamped with The Thomsen Way Gold Seal and the riders are assured the handrail is safe to touch.

Interesting Chris. The cleaning and restoration industry i familiar with the use of ATP measurements to validate cleaning and restoration processes. Thanks for enlightening us on why you developed this exclusive system. HydraMaster is convinced that when a facility has an escalator that is routinely cleaned with the TreadMaster Escalator Cleaning System and the Thomsen’s Handrail Cleaning System, they are doing everything they can to make riding the escalator safer and cleaner, and reducing exposure to unwanted substances. In our next article , we will focus more on specifically how the Thomsen’s System works. In the mean time, you can leanr more about these systems by visiting our website:

TreadMaster Escalator Cleaner: https://hydramaster.com/product/treadmaster-escalator-cleaner/

Thomsen’s Escalator Handrail Cleaning System: https://hydramaster.com/product/thomsen-escalator-handrail-cleaning-system/



It has never been more important to have a business plan – your future growth is counting on it

First, the carpet cleaning and restoration industry has not seen inflationary pressures like it is undergoing right now since the early 1980’s. Secondly, I am not sure it has ever seen anything that resembles the challenges facing the supply chain right now to get basic raw ingredients and components into the hands of the companies that make them into finished equipment, tools, accessories, and even chemicals for your cleaning and restoration business. Engine manufacturers and other major component manufacturers are saying to expect 6 month or longer lead times on new orders while at the same time announcing retroactive price increases on all existing and future orders. In reviewing plans with some of these strategic vendors, there is a strong belief that there will continue to be a great deal of volatility through most, if not all of 2022.  There is little doubt that your cleaning and restoration company has begun to feel some of the effects of these two major impacts; either in paying more for the equipment you need and/or in waiting longer for your orders to be fulfilled. At least for now , the time is gone when you could call up your local distributor and order virtually any major product and expect immediate delivery. Perhaps the many years our industry has thrived and allowed us to get what we needed right when we wanted it has led us too far away from building future equipment and tools needs into our business plans.

So just how does that affect you? As I am writing this article in late January of 2022, many professional carpet cleaning and restoration companies are anticipating and sometimes even planning for exponential growth in their businesses in the coming months. They may anticipate a need for additional truckmounts, portable extractors, rotary extractors, wands, and drying equipment come April through December to facilitate this growth. Here is the hang-up. In the past, if the needed a new truckmount to start working on jobs May 15th, they could order them typically in the latter part of April from their local distributor. In this new environment we are presently working in, if they wait until the latter part of April to communicate their wishes to their distributor, they will find out the industry often has three-to-nine-month lead times on virtually every machine, especially if they are looking for a reputable national brand like HydraMaster.

If you need new equipment, tools, and accessories in the coming 24 months, I would encourage you to build that into your growth plan now. Communicate with your local distributor about what you anticipate your needs to be. Get the product on order as soon as possible, If you are going to get it financed, get approved now so the equipment order can get into the system. You should likely not have to make any payments on the financing until your machine is installed. But do it now, don’t wait. If you are not very good at or don’t know how to write a business plan, get with a trusted industry consultant who can help you do that and give you a working template to start from. A few consultants you can consider to help you in developing a business plan are John Braun at Hitman Advertising (www.hitmanadvertising.com) ; Steve Toburen at Strategies for Success (https://sfs.jondon.com/); or Chuck Violand at Violand Management Associates (https://violand.com/). We also encourage you to work alongside your local HydraMaster Distributor in helping you to plan for your future equipment needs. They can provide you with the latest information on lead times and pricing, so you can have what you need when you need it to reach your goals in growing your business

Take The Next Step to Escalator Cleaning

Why clean the treads in escalators and moving sidewalks?

Escalators are often a necessary mainstay in modern commercial buildings and structures. They can be found in airports, sports stadiums, movie theaters, hotels, shopping centers, and even retail stores. The high degree of traffic and use leads to these treads getting incredibly dirty. Soil, dirt, food and beverage spills, gum, and anything else that is being tracked on to the escalator by the users. The grooves in the tread area are a magnet for impacted soil and the sticky nature of the built-up soiling often makes it difficult to remove.

So what issues are associated with dirty treads in escalators and moving sidewalks?

  1. The first issue with this build-up of soils and grease make the escalator unhygienic. What is worse is that recent studies of how mucus, bacteria, germs, fecal matter, and blood can be tracked throughout a facility on the shoes of the patrons extends to escalators too. It is not just dirt and soil you are cleaning up after in a commercial building.
  2. The second issue is that this build-up of soil and sticky matter can actually be damaging to the escalator itself, increasing maintenance costs and decreasing the useful life of the mechanisms. A large part of this soil and dirt can not be seen, as it becomes trapped under the mechanisms beneath the top of the escalator, requiring an increase in maintenance and a reduction of useful life.
  3. The third issue is that if the escalator is unsightly and soiled, it gives the building occupants, patrons and users a negative overall impression of the entire facility.
  4. A final issue is the increase in likelihood of a “slip and fall” complaint related to the soiled tread. As the tread becomes filled with soil, the slip resistance factor is reduced and the floor can even become slippery. Proper cleaning of the treads can help stabilize foot contact and prevent slipping or falling.

What are the challenges in cleaning the treads on an escalator?

  • Traditional cleaning called for the escalator treads to be disassembled, taken outside and pressure washed. This came at a HUGE cost – including downtime, labor, and the potential challenges associated with re-assembly.
  • Since the escalator treads are not flat surfaces, they will require mechanisms which can get down into the grooves of the treads.
  • Facilities can have escalators with varying widths
  • Most cleaning machines or methods are highly labor intensive.
  • The use of wet or moisture laden cleaning systems can drain between the steps and enter the working mechanisms of the escalator, potentially causing lubrication to be lost or reduced and causing damage to the system
  • The work usually has to be done at night.
  • Most systems don’t partner with a handrail cleaning system.

So what is the solution to cleaning escalator and moving walkway treads?

The TreadMaster Automatic Escalator Cleaner cleans treads and moving walkways effortlessly. For more than 30 years, the TreadMaster has been the leading escalator and moving walkway cleaner worldwide when it comes to cost, simplicity, and ease of operation. This self-contained, compact unit cleans and polishes unsightly stair treads.

The unique, hands-off system:

  • Cleans and polishes in one continuous motion
  • First the brush cleans inside the tread step
  • Then the pad polishes the tread step
  • Powerful vacuum collects all residue
  • Brings back and restores the original luster
  • Cleans escalators and moving walkways effortlessly without needing staff supervision.
  • Uses 98% less labor than conventional methods
  • Brush sizes are available to fit 23”, 24”, 32” and 40” width escalators (most are 40”)

TreadMaster cleaning is efficient. The ease of set-up and take-down makes cleaning escalator treads and moving walkways a “hands-off” job. The TreadMaster frees up personnel to perform other tasks while the TreadMaster is at work. The built-in vacuum system, easily replaceable heavy duty polishing pad, and nylon-grit brush ensures complete and thorough cleaning

TreadMaster cleaning is safe. The one-stop, automatic cleaning eliminates risky, manual cleaning procedures. TreadMaster removes unsafe substances from stair tread surfaces, reducing the risk of liability hazards for customers and employees. The TreadMaster also comes with a handy clip-on
“ESCALATOR CLEANING IN PROGRESS” sign to deter escalator passengers.

So how does the TreadMaster Escalator Cleaning System Work?

The TreadMaster utilizes a simple three-step operation process

  1. Simply position the TreadMaster at the bottom of the escalator
  2. Lower the cleaning head into position
  3. Activate the escalator.

Without any repositioning during any part of the cleaning process, the TreadMaster cleans the tread width completely and thoroughly. Most escalators respond best to multiple hours of cleaning with the TreadMaster.

The TreadMaster does not clean the platform, step risers (although a manual brush for the risers is included with your TreadMaster), or the hand-rails.

What cleaning solutions do you use with the TreadMaster?

The TreadMaster System is designed to be used “dry” – that is the agitation of the stiff brushes and the movement of the escalator itself create an effective agitation process. However sometimes you encounter sticky or greasy spots and soiling on the escalator that will need chemical treatment. Escalator Tread Spot Cleaner from HydraMaster is a volatile solvent, aerosol-based cleaner. This fast acting spot cleaner is designed specially for use on aluminum escalator steps. It helps to remove oily and sticky spots and spills and gum that the brushes of the TreadMaster could not. You simply spray it on the spots and spills while the TreadMaster is working for best and fastest results. It can also be used in between TreadMaster cleanings for spot and spill treatment. Escalator  Tread Spot Cleaner is non-flammable and non-conductive so it can be used while motor and equipment are operating. Because it is applied as an aerosol and completely evaporates, it can be safely and effectively used on escalators and moving walkway treads without any fears of getting two much moisture down into the working mechanisms of the escalator – effecting lubrication and potentially causing irreversible damage.

What about the handrails?

In the past, truthfully the handrails were generally overlooked and ignored. With the COVID1-9 pandemic focusing more attention on potential touch-point transmission of infectious diseases, there has been a greatly increased awareness of the need to clean and sanitize the handrails. Unfortunately, a false sense of security has been caused by the idea that you can routinely spray (with or without an electromagnetic sprayer) a disinfectant and eliminate any potential threat. We know that to properly clean and sanitize any surface requires first that you clean the surface, and secondly then you apply the appropriate disinfectant or sanitizer.

This concept has been reinforced by many studies of how unwanted materials end up on so many surfaces indoors. But Dr. Charles Gerba, PH.D, from the University of Arizona had this to specifically say about escalator handrails: “In our testing, we have found food, E. coli, mucus, feces, and blood routinely on escalator handrails. And where there is mucus, you may also find cold, flu, and COVID-19 viruses.” In seminars conducted by the Cleaning Industry Research Institute (CIRI – http://www.ciriscience.org) PH.D microbiologists repeatedly warned that most viruses are “encapsulated” in saliva and mucus, and may live for days left untreated.

Because of this, TreadMaster has partnered with the world’s most efficient and complete solution to effectively cleaning and sanitizing escalator handrails – the THOMSEN’s HANDRAIL CLEANING SYSTEM. This comprehensive enterprise escalator handrail cleaning and sanitizing program encompasses:

  • Dual System for Safe and Easy Cleaning
  • Complete Solution Approach
  • Heavy Duty Cleaner
  • Cleaner Conditioner
  • Sanitizer Solution   
  • ATP Testing For Documenting Results Monitoring Software and Reports

So how can you learn more?

If you are interested in taking the next step to learn more about comprehensive cleaning programs for escalators and moving walkways, we invite you to visit our website at hydramaster.com/product/treadmaster. There you will find links to more information about the TreadMaster System, TreadMaster Escalator Spot Tread Cleaner, as well as the Thomsen Handrail Cleaning and Sanitizing System




HydraMaster Introduces the “Find A Cargo Van” Website Portal

All you have to do is a web search for “cargo van shortage” and hundreds of articles detailing the “how’s and the whys” will immediately become evident. Bloomberg News, the Wall Street Journal, and many auto industry websites and publications detail the on-going shortage in new cargo vans. Just check with your normal source for vans and they can share with you some of the challenges they are having. Most fleet dealers and cargo van chassis up-fitters have seen their promised allotment for 2022 severely reduced or even eliminated. The increased demand for cargo vans that are to be used as delivery vehicles is a major part of the challenge. Due to the huge upsurge in online product ordering that was already taking place has been made even more steep by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, cargo vans are being bought up in record numbers by delivery companies. In addition, microchip shortages and COVID-19 outbreaks have led to intermittent or complete shutdowns of manufacturing plants for GM, Chevy, and Ford. This only added to the shortage. Another factor is the fact that Nissan made the decision to discontinue their cargo vans in 2020. Although they only had a 4.7% market share, that means less vans are available when demand is at an all-time high

Yet thousands of cleaning and restoration companies are thriving as we enter the new year and need new cargo vans to expand their fleet. The demand for direct drive truckmounts is higher than ever due to expanding small engine emission restrictions in California. Direct Drive truckmounts are most often installed in new or virtually new cargo vans and are currently limited to installation only in Chevy Express, GMC Savana, or Ford Transit cargo vans. Slide-in users who want to expand often still want to do it with a new van rather than a used high mileage van. But when cleaning and restoration companies are going to their normal fleet source for their next van, whether it be inside or outside of the industry, they are often finding that their regular source has no vans available.

HydraMaster wants to help in these challenging times. So, we developed a FREE portal on our website to help you find the right van for your cleaning and restoration business. It includes direct links to the nationwide (US) inventory searches for cargo vans from Chevy, GM, Ford, RAM, and Mercedes. Even better it provides you with some specific guidance on how to use and navigate these web sites, including a supporting “how-to” video and a list of things to consider as you look through these web sites.

  1. ALWAYS confirm availability of the van by calling the specific dealership listed directly.
  2. Many vans listed are not “on the lot” at the dealership. Sometimes they are “in transit” and may be marked that way.
  3. Oftentimes dealerships will list vans on these sites that are on the lot or in route that are ALREADY sold. The only way to ensure that the van is still for sale is to call the dealership directly.
  4. Vans are at a premium now. Many dealers are selling vans for prices higher than the MSRP
  5. Set a wider parameter in miles from your zip code for a better selection of vans. Many cleaning and restoration companies are buying vans right now located far away from their location.
  6. Many of the fleet dealerships that are the normal source for commercial vans were not provided with their allocations for 2022. You may find smaller, non-fleet dealers are more likely to have a van in stock or that they can sell you.
  7. ALWAYS consult with your local HydraMaster Distributor for van compatibility to the specific truckmount you want before making your van purchase.
  8. ALWAYS consult with your local HydraMaster Distributor about any special sub-frames which might be required for the installation of a sub-mount or stand-alone freshwater tank in a Ford Sprinter, Dodge ProMaster, or Mercedes Sprinter to avoid “no-drill” zones

At HydraMaster, we do “have your back” and want to support you in every way we can to grow your business. Follow this link to get your van shopping started: https://hydramaster.com/help-finding-a-new-van/

How Do You Build the Value of Your IICRC Certification into Your Marketing Message?

It will matter when your marketing efforts make it matter

“My customers have never asked me about IICRC Certification.” This statement is usually written somewhere in social media or spoken in the halls of a supplier showroom or trade show just prior to an explanation about why that person is not attending a specific IICRC school or renewing their IICRC certification. One of the advantages of being in the supply side of the industry since 1983 is having on my side the benefit of time testing all theories. And I have concluded whether it was a newbie carpet cleaner in 1984, or a cleaner who is a well-known social media influencer in 2021 making this statement, what it demonstrates is a gross misunderstanding of marketing. It should not surprise anyone that a person who has not been provided with any kind of formal marketing training for business at all looks at marketing only through the lens of advertising. They are hit with ad after ad trying to manipulate, er, I mean influence them to purchase a specific product. They watch the super bowl with eager anticipation to see which commercial is their favorite, all while understanding each 30 second time slot cost the advertiser millions of dollars. “The IICRC has not done anything to educate or market to my customer what the benefits of using an IICRC Certified technician are. My customers have never even heard of the IICRC.” This is where the misunderstanding becomes so obvious. The IICRC is not a for profit corporation with a product that they sell literally billions of dollars-worth of to millions of consumers. There is no way they could spend enough on advertising to make the organization a “household name.”  Have you heard of the National Association or Landscape Professionals? How about the ISA – the organization that oversees certification programs for arborists? How about the Chimney Safety Institute of America – an organization that certifies Chimney Sweeps? Me neither. But the next time I need my chimney swept I might pay more attention. All of those are certification organizations within industries that neither you, nor I likely have much knowledge about. So, it is for your carpet cleaning or water damage restoration customer and the IICRC. They would not know anything about them unless they need the services of a company who are certified by them.

That’s the key point. Your IICRC Certification will matter to your customer when your marketing makes it matter. It is when you demonstrate to your customer or potential customer “what is in it for them?” to hire an IICRC Certified technician or firm.  So how do you build the value of your IICRC Certification into your marketing message? It is simple really. By simply taking the time to answer their question – “What is in it for them?”

What about all of the “bad apples” who are IICRC Certified?

Take a moment to step back and think about it. What is the value of hiring someone who has formal education and measured learning? You can take any program of measured accomplishment and find lots of people who are still not great at that job or service; lets call them a favorite word of critics – “hypocrites.” But there-in lay one of the keys. All programs, all faiths, all sciences for that matter have in their midst – hypocrites and cheats. The mere presence of immoral or hypocritical people inside a program only proves one thing – that program contains humans. There are bad or immoral apples in every group. So, let’s start by throwing out the “hypocrite” or “cheat” excuse first thing.

Now that we have thrown out the hypocrite or cheat excuse, we can focus on the main reason for this article – finding ways to tell the customer what is in it for them when they hire you – a trained and certified professional cleaner or restorer.

What things come to mind when you think about what being IICRC Certified means? But What is in It for your Customer?

Credibility? Knowledge and Technical Expertise? Product understanding? Knowledge of warranties? Working with manufacturers or insurance companies? Cleaning or Restoration Science? Understanding regulations? Following industry standards of care and/or standards? All of those are important. But those are buzzwords for our industry – not Joe and Jane Consumer or Businessperson. Your job in marketing the benefits of your IICRC Certification to your clients or potential clients is to explain how those buzzwords will benefit them as the recipient of your service. Let’s do that now.

So how do you deliver this marketing message? Well, the best way is over time. Build it into your social media posts. Include one section at a time in your newsletter. Make it the last page of your sales brochure. Make a video about it. But the key is to start communicating to your clients and potential clients – what is in it for them!

Don’t worry, we want to provide some help. We took these key principles and built them into both a residential and a commercial message. See the print/electronic ads we developed for you below:

These pages are part of the HydraMaster RapidGrowth Marketing Plan for Carpet Cleaners. This comprehensive plan contains a complete collection of marketing messages prepared for you to deliver. It is free to those folks who invest in HydraMaster truckmount and request it. But if that is not in your immediate horizon, simply email sales@hydramaster.com and write” IICRC Benefits” in the subject line and we will email them to you.

Help your customers get their groove back by restoratively cleaning their luxury vinyl plank floors

You Should Have Already Noticed the Unprecedented Rise of Luxury Vinyl Plank Floors

While the global pandemic halted the sales growth of most flooring materials, Luxury Vinyl plank (LVP) continued its historic rise, growing 21.3% over 2019 in 2020 (According to Floor Covering News, May 10/17, 2021). It continues to be the fastest growing floor covering material. At first glance to the professional carpet cleaning, the meteoric rise in the market share growth of LVP floors may not present an immediate obvious opportunity. After all, with the numerous benefits of LVP (water resistant, stain resistant, easy to install, less expensive, etc..) the first impression of most homeowners is that they can easily clean these floors themselves. Whether they are using a Swiffer®, a mop and bucket, or a hard surface floor steamer or cleaner, they can pretty much convince themselves that the floor looks clean. A deeper dive into reality though starts to unlock some often-overlooked challenges and pitfalls.

Can Your Customers Hard Surface Floor Look Clean but Still Be “Dirty?”

LVP and laminate floors may look cleaner, but now we are beginning to understand better that they also need to also be free of unwanted matter – soil, germs, bacteria, and viruses. When you really start to look at the cleaning tools or procedures employed by most homeowners, most hard surface floor cleaning is just as much about soil-rearrangement as it is about soil removal. In fact, studies show that wiping or mopping a hard surface floor can spread as many contaminants as they remove. In a series of studies and research paper conducted or sponsored by KaiVac® Cleaning Systems, a strong conclusion was reached: “Science has now proven what many cleaning professionals have suspected for years: wiping surfaces such as desks with rags, sponges, and conventional cleaning cloths as well as mopping floors with string mops and buckets can spread as many contaminants as they remove. In fact, scientific studies have concluded that the last surface cleaned with a conventional cleaning cloth, which is usually a terry cloth towel, may have two to as much as eight times more soil on it than the first surface cleaned with the towel.”

A” Reservoir” of Microbes?

In fact, clean looking floors have been found in studies to often be a reservoir of microbes. In one study published by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, they summarized their findings: “our exploratory study found that the floor surfaces tend to be heavily colonized by bacteria, especially soilborne bacteria. There was not much apparent difference in bacterial composition between the buildings or floor types, but traffic level plays a significant role in influencing on bacterial abundance and community. Fecal contamination was prevalent on the floor surfaces, especially dog-specific fecal bacteria.” Another study done by Charles Gerba, a University of Arizona microbiologist found that “Over 90% of fecal matter that shoes pick up in public restrooms and from animal fecal matter outdoors has been shown to transfer to hard surface floors throughout a facility.” Dr. Gerba continued: “I’m starting to make myself paranoid,” Gerba told the Baltimore Sun when his study debuted in 2008. “It seems like we step in a lot more poop than I thought.” For the study, 10 people wore brand-new shoes for two weeks before their kicks were sampled for bacteria. The outside of the shoes averaged 421,000 units of bacteria, compared with 2,887 on the inside. And fecal bacteria appeared on 96% of the shoes. Those fecal bacteria “indicates frequent contact with fecal material, which most likely originates from floors in public restrooms or contact with animal fecal material outdoors,” Gerba said for the study. And here’s the, ahem, kicker: The transfer rate bacteria from shoes to clean tiles was 90% to 99%. “Bacteria found on the footwear included E. coli, a source of urinary tract infections and diarrhea, as well as other bacteria causing pneumonia (Klebsiella pneumonia) and respiratory tract infections (Serratia ficaria).”

Do a little research yourself and you will see many studies both in the commercial and residential environment that hard surface floors can be a reservoir and harbor for bacterial contaminants, tracked fecal matter, and other unwanted matter that a mop, Swiffer®, or auto scrubber cannot effectively remove. Now take everything you just learned about all of these “unwanted substances found on hard surface floors and look even closer at luxury vinyl plank and laminate flooring.  Luxury vinyl plank floors almost will always throw in the complicating factor of grooves and textures in the flooring to the cleaning process. LVP manufacturers such as Shaw floors have documented issues in new construction of dry wall dust and other contaminates that get “caught” in these grooves during the installation process.

So How Do You Communicate all of this to Your Customer? – Make the Unobvious, Obvious!

Alright so here is the dilemma – homeowners mostly think they are getting their LVP, and laminate flooring cleaned with their favorite home remedy or method. It often even “looks clean” to the naked eye. How do you as a professional cleaner deal with that? It is quite simple and a proven successful method for selling. Make the unobvious, obvious. How do you do that? Demo, Demo, Demo! After all you are in the home anyway cleaning carpet or upholstery When you apply HydraFresh LVC from HydraMaster to their Luxury Vinyl Plank or Laminate floor and clean it with any number of methods or applications, they will see a marked difference between their so called “clean floor” and the clean floor you just provided them with.

How Do You Restoratively Clean a Luxury Vinyl Plank Floor?

How do you do it? There are several ways to approach this cleaning. In all of them, let the properly formulated chemical do the trick. Don’t use any old neutral floor cleaner for tile, or your favorite high power, high PH hard surface cleaner. HydraFresh LVC has been formulated specifically for these floors. Restoring the appearance of their flooring investment to “like-new” condition is more than just cleaning. It takes a comprehensive approach that can penetrate deep into the grooves and textured surfaces of your floor for a higher level of soil removal that eliminates dirt, scuffs, grease, and other potentially harmful contaminates and “unwanted substances.”  HydraFresh LVC does all of this while it also helps the floor stay cleaner longer because it contains special soil inhibitors and is a low residue formula that does not contain any sticky or tacky cleaning agents. It can be used as part of a prespray and rinse system or as part of a no rinse system. The neutral PH makes it safe for luxury vinyl plank and tile floors, resilient tile floors and wood (polyurethane finish only) and laminate floors. The concentrated formula allows you to adjust the dilution ration to meet the soiling conditions of the floor. For light soiling, you can mix the solution 2 ounces per gallon of water. For heavy, caked on soiling in a restorative cleaning situation, mix 16 ounces of solution per gallon of water. HydraFresh LVC allows you to extend the life of the flooring investment, makes the flooring surface safer and healthier, and keep it looking great all the time.

One proven system for this is to apply the HydraFresh LVC to the floor, then agitate it in with a counter rotating brush machine or system with the brushes appropriate for these types of floors. You can then mop or extract it up. However, in many circumstances you can use your portable or truckmounted extractor to rinse off and extract the solution from the floor. Use it at a lower pressure (200 to 300 psi max) with a stationary (not rotary) hard surface tool. Hard surface brush glides are being developed you can attach to your EVOLUTION wand which apply the proper amount of agitation and leave the floor almost dry There are also high-quality stand-alone hard surface wands made.

So Just How do you Market This Service to Your Customers?

We already talked about the main way – do a quick demonstration every time you are in the home cleaning another surface. But let’s take a quick look at marketing. In a nutshell, marketing any service or product is a 3-step process. First you need a marketing message. One that we have found to be effective without being overtly threatening is “bacteria does not leave footprints. “We have developed two special marketing print/electronic ads which convey this message you can use or customize to your business.

Now that you have the message defined, choose your delivery system – the second step in marketing. You can use your social media pages, your email programs, your company newsletter, or even printed flyers you can “five around” with. The catch headline and quick summary of what you are going to accomplish well beyond making their floor look better may need to be delivered to them more than three times before they will start to react. So don’t get too dependent upon one single delivery system.

The third part of marketing is what your desired outcome is. Now that may seem obvious. You want a sale. But sometimes we forget that timing is often the most important key to getting a sale. If now is not the time, then your desired outcome can often be permission to do more marketing, or the opportunity to do a demonstration on their LVP floors the next time you clean the carpets.

How much do you charge? Generally about the same as you would to deep clean their ceramic tile.

Your customer invested in the LVP floor they did for specific aesthetic and “livability” advantages. Plus, they want and desire a healthier atmosphere for their home. Of course, they want it to look great to. You can help them get their groove back and restore the floor to “like-new” condition.

The Pandemic Has Made Your Ability to Treat Pet Urine Stains and Odors More Important Than Ever… and HydraMaster has Introduced Revolutionary New Technology to Help Do Just That

Why is the demand for the professional treatment of pet urine increasing?

According to a survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association in 2019, Sixty-seven percent of U.S. households, or about 85 million families, own a pet. According to the publication/website Today’s Veterinary Business, an estimated 11.38 million U.S. households have gotten a new pet during the COVID-19 pandemic. A large percentage of these people are first time pet owners.

Now if there is one thing that we know as professional cleaners and restorers, dogs and cats do their thing, meaning peeing and pooping, on both hard surface floors and carpeting. They seem to have an uncanny ability to choose the most valuable or vulnerable area rug in the home too. While most pet owners will tell you that their dog or cat is “trained” to go outside, you and I know from our experience that occasionally, even the best trained dog or cat will relieve themselves in the house. After all, if they are male, they are just “marking their territory.” Add to that fact that so many of these new pet owners are first time pet owners, and don’t have any experience training their pets to “go outside” and we know that the need and demand for professional treatment of pet urine and feces odors and stains is higher than ever. It’s a service you need to be promoting.

What are the results of pet urine and feces on carpet, floor coverings, and the home?

We can summarize the issues that a build-up of pet urine on carpets and floors into four categories:

  • Obnoxious smell
  • Unsightly stains
  • Breeding ground for potentially harmful contaminates
  • Structural damage to floors, walls, and furnishings

While many people believe that when their pet goes on a hard surface floor (tile, stone, concrete, luxury vinyl plank) they can simply wipe or mop it up and be done with it, studies show otherwise. One study showed that “over 90% of fecal matter that shoes pick up in public restrooms and from animal fecal matter outdoors has been shown to transfer to hard surface floors throughout a facility.”  Even Charles Gerba, a University of Arizona microbiologist who conducted a seminal study on the subject, was surprised. “I’m starting to make myself paranoid,” Gerba told the Baltimore Sun when his study debuted  “It seems like we step in a lot more poop than I thought.” For the study, 10 people wore brand-new shoes for two weeks before their kicks were sampled for bacteria. The outside of the shoes averaged 421,000 units of bacteria, compared with 2,887 on the inside. And fecal bacteria appeared on 96% of the shoes.  That “indicates frequent contact with fecal material, which most likely originates from floors in public restrooms or contact with animal fecal material outdoors,” Gerba said for the study. And here’s the, ahem, kicker: The transfer rate bacteria from shoes to clean tiles was 90% to 99%. Picked up the dog poop in your back yard lately? You likely tracked some of the urine and fecal matter into your house. So do your customers. The harsh nature of pet urine (highly acid when it is excreted, but eventually becoming an alkaline salt) attacks the structural components of laminate, wood, and plank floors, and can etch and damage concrete floors. As a cleaner, you already know what a build-up of urine does to carpeting.

So then, what services/treatments can you offer as a professional cleaner to help?

From one job to the next, you may need to:

  • Eliminates odors
  • Eliminates stains – even stubborn older stains
  • Treats and removes potentially harmful contaminates
  • Restore the full use and enjoyment of carpet and other floors
  • Stops or contains structural damage

Virtually every professional cleaner has been faced with having to choose a “favorite” pet urine treatment. Let’s review the technology that is out there:

  1. Urine-pretreatments – these acid-based treatments are designed to break up the lipids and salts that bind the urine to the carpet or flooring. They make any deodorizing or stain removal solution for urine work better. They are not effective alone at eliminating odors or removing stains.
  2. Enzyme deodorizers/bacterial cultures – these products use enzymes to digest and break down the urine contamination. These products can work very well against odors but must have a long dwell time to work effectively (at least an hour it says on the leading products label, and up to 24 hours). Plus, they are not great at removing the resulting stains. They don’t have a high level of effectiveness at removing potentially harmful contaminates. They also have been shown to be a skin sensitizer when prolonged contact occurs
  3. “Cide” type deodorizers (bonding/encapsulating deodorizers) – Once again these products can work very effectively against odors, but do virtually nothing to eliminate resulting pet urine stains or remove/treat potentially harmful contaminates
  4. Hydrogen Peroxide based stain removers – These products can be effective at removing urine related stains but do very little alone for eliminating the odor and they can be severe skin sensitizers to both you as the applying technician, as well as the homeowner or their pets.

Here is a summary chart of this discussion:

That brings us to the newest technology in pet urine odor and stain eliminators – ODORSLAYER from HydraMaster.

 So what does HydraMaster have that is truly different and better?

ODORSLAYER can do it all when it comes to treatment:

  • Eliminates odors
  • Eliminates stains – even stubborn older stains
  • Treats and removes potentially harmful contaminates
  • Restores full use and enjoyment of carpet and other floors
  • Stops or contains structural damage

So just how does ODORSLAYER work?

ODORSLAYER combines the power of oxygen – in the form of stabilized chlorine dioxide – with an odor binding deodorizer, and industry favorite fresh lemon fragrance of to create a fast acting, environmentally-friendly, effective broad-spectrum odor, and stain eliminator. ODORSLAYER can be used with a sub-surface extraction or spotting tool to speed up your effectiveness at treating severe urine contamination. ODORSLAYER is cost effective too. It can be mixed from 1 part chemical to 5 parts water for use across wide areas. For severe contamination, it can be used straight. It can be sprayed onto the contaminated area, allowed to dwell, and then extracted. For stubborn odors and stains, you can apply ODORSLAYER and leave it and let it dry.

There are a few simple precautions to take when applying ODORSLAYER. As with all solutions, always pretest the surface/carpet the product is being applied to for colorfastness before use. Do not use ODORSLAYER in conjunction with acid spotters, pre-treatments, rinses, or extraction detergents as color loss can occur on some carpets. If the carpet has been or needs to be treated with an acid before you apply ODORSLAYER, simply rinse/extract the area with water prior to the application of ODORSLAYER.

ODORSLAYER is safer to use too – requiring no personal protective equipment (PPE) when applying. ODORSLAYER’s non-corrosive and non-irritating formula is gentle on the skin. ODORSLAYER can be safely and effectively used on virtually all synthetic carpets – nylon, olefin, polyester, and Triexta. It can be safely applied to virtually any hard surface floor (pre-test on any added finish first). Recent tests have demonstrated it Is even safe and effective to apply to wool carpets and wood rugs, although we always recommend pre-testing for colorfastness first. ODORSLAYER should not be used on cotton, silk, and viscose fibers.

What else can ODORSLAYER do for you?

ODORSLAYER contains an industry favorite pleasant lemon fragrance to leave the treated environment with a refreshed, deodorized smell. It can be used to effectively treat odors on any water safe surface (always pretest for colorfastness on carpet, rugs, or any textile) including carpet, draperies, upholstery, hard surfaces and floors, pet beds, mattresses, and more. It does a fabulous job of treating general odors in carpeting to help freshen up a total room. ODORSLAYER also works effectively on urine and feces from humans and exotic pets (ferrets, rodents, reptiles, and more)

You can also use it to safely clean and deodorize pet hair smells, yoga and gym mats, and mold and mildew odors. It works fabulously at eliminating the stains and odor caused by pet or human vomit, as well as discoloration caused by many other organic stains.

What are other professional cleaners saying about ODORSLAYER?

  • “This product was amazing for nasty pet damaged stains and smells. Send me more!” Jason G
  • “ODORSLAYER is leading to awesome success at eliminating pet stains and odors and creating thrilled customers” Shawn B.
  • “ODORSLAYER is awesome stuff” -John B
  • “I’m super impressed with ODORSLAYER. I used it on a dog rescue business. The odor was so bad the owners could not stand to be on the house. [This] stuff is incredible and will be my go-to for urine work moving forward.” – Damon R

How are we going to help you sell the service to your customer?

With all these new pet owners, they are just becoming aware of the fact that pet urine (and yes even feces) can literally take over a home when left untreated. Anyone who has ever raised a puppy or kitten or cared for an aging dog or cat can testify to this fact. All they can immediately respond to is the fact that the obnoxious smells are taking over their lives. In time they will start to see the unsightly stains and actual physical damage to their floors become apparent. But we also need to educate them on the fact that living with pet urine is unhealthy if left untreated.

HydraMaster has put together a series of print/electronic ads that educate and sell the homeowner on what their professional cleaner who is applying ODORSLAYER can do to restore order to their home and make it smell better and fresher. It also highlights that there home will be a safer and healthier place when you are done treating it. We also developed a catch video for you to use in your social media that communicates the same information. All of this is available for you to use. All you have to do is request it.

ODORSLAYER FULL PAGE AD

HydraMaster is proud to be offering truly new and innovative technology in the treatment of pet urine odors and stains. You can order ODORSLAYER today from your local distributor. If they are not yet stocking it, then ask them to. If you are having trouble finding it locally, visit our website at  https://hydramaster.com/buy-online-odorslayer/

What about the use of gas phase ozone as a treatment for the inactivation of the COVID-19 virus?

Recent articles, webinars, and even quoted scientific studies have referred to the application of gas phase ozone from readily available ozone generators that can be used to inactivate the COVID-19 virus. Typically, in the past, these gas phase ozone generators have been widely used to combat smoke odors and other odors by restoration contractors after a fire, or in the use of treating the water as a biocide in hot tubs and whirlpools.

In an article entitled, “Ozone vs. Coronavirus: Ozone’s Efficacy as a Virucidal Disinfectant, “ published in the April 2020 issue of Restoration and Remediation Magazine, David Hart, inventor and manufacturer of several innovative systems in the cleaning and restoration industry for duct cleaning, and a manufacturer of an ozone generator made specific references to studies that certainly support the idea of gas phase ozone being used to inactivate viruses. In his article Mr. Hart recognizes, Dr. Gérard Sunnen, a medical doctor in New York City. Dr. Sunnen specializes in the uses of ozone in the medical field, ranging from cutting-edge ozone therapy to the use of ozone as a disinfectant.  According to Dr. Sunnen. “Ozone has unique disinfectant properties. As a gas, it has a penetration capacity that liquids do not possess. In view of the fact that , SARS-CoV-2, MERS, and previous SARS strains persist on fomites (surfaces) for up to several days, it is suggested that ozone technology be applied to the decontamination of medical and other environments”.

Mr. Hart further asked Dr. Sunnen to explain how gas phase ozone would work to inactivate viruses:  “Typically, viruses are small, independent particles, built of crystals and macromolecules. Unlike bacteria, they multiply only within the host cell. Ozone destroys viruses by diffusing through the protein coat into the nucleic acid core, resulting in damage of the viral RNA. At higher concentrations, ozone destroys the capsid or exterior protein shell by oxidation” explains Dr. Sunnen.  Further, “most research efforts on ozone’s virucidal effects have centered upon ozone’s propensity to break apart lipid molecules at sites of multiple bond configuration. Indeed, once the lipid envelope of the virus is fragmented, its DNA or RNA core cannot survive”.

Mr.  Hart finishes the article with his own conclusions: Ozone, having been proven in the lab and in the field to be an extremely effective virucide and full-spectrum antimicrobial, killing pathogenic bacteria and fungi, offers many benefits over alternative ways of disinfecting.” Mr. Hart believes that Ozone has a very important advantage over liquid disinfectants and antimicrobials because it has better penetration capabilities

Source: https://www.randrmagonline.com/articles/88901-ozones-efficacy-in-deactivating-coronavirus-like-pathogens

Dr. Sunnen and Mr.  Hart are by no means alone in their belief and understanding that gas phase ozone can be effectively used to inactivate the COVID-19 virus. There are several studies listed in the bibliography sections of other studies which reinforce this principle. The chief criticism of most of these studies is that they were sponsored, often paid for, and published by manufacturers of ozone generators themselves. The studies were not often independently scientifically peer reviewed.

But as you read the comments below from other scientists, be careful not to jump on the negative band wagon too easily and quickly when it comes to the application of ozone for this use. As you will see many of these experts quoted recognize the need for and call for more confirming or non-confirming research. Another criticism of the pro-ozone group that I have heard is that there has been no testing of the effectiveness of ozone at inactivating the specific COVID-19 virus. That criticism is true. But it is also true of all the disinfecting agents on the EPA Registered “N” list that is so often referred to. As of April 2020, none of these products were tested specifically against the COVID-19 virus. I f that is true, why does the EPA recognize these disinfectants as being effective and promote their usage? Well simply stated, previous studies submitted for these disinfectants have demonstrated successful inactivation of other coronaviruses. Because these disinfectants proved effectiveness against other strains of the coronavirus, the EPA is confident that they are effective against COVID-19. We may be well into the year 2021 before the specific testing against COVID-19 is completed for many of the registered disinfectants on the EPA N List.

Now let us look at the flip side of the argument as it relates to the potential use of gas phase ozone to inactivate the COVID-19 virus.

Steven M. Spivak, PhD is a Professor Emeritus, University of Maryland, Technical Advisor to RIA and an icon in the cleaning and disaster restoration industry. Recently in an email communication coordinated by John Downey at the Cleaning Industry Research Institute (CIRI), Dr. Spivak was asked about his opinion on the use of gas phase ozone as a potential bio-cide and specifically in the use against the COVID-19 virus.” ‘In years past I’ve seen and heard claims from aerial ozone generator machine supplier(s) that aerial ozone – If and when concentrated into close quarters, at “high concentration within unoccupied spaces,” might act as a germicide or disinfectant of sorts? But I’d never seen any scientific data or independent research to validate this – and whether or not the suspect use of aerial ozone efficacy and any -cidal benefits apply to bacteria; or mold & fungi; or viruses – or whichever?  It remains to be known and reliably tested, in my opinion and base of understanding.  I believe we are presently valid questioning about unknowns – unless proven otherwise – for efficacy of concentrated aerial ozone in unoccupied spaces? That is, how to use aerial ozone to affect a diminution or elimination of infectious COVID-19 or SARS-2 COVID, et al and especially in senior loving or elder care facilities? It remains to be tested and proven, albeit a viable research effort to discover”

In the same email communication, Dr. Stefan Wagener, SM (NRCM). CBSP, RBP. A scientific advisor for the Global Bio-Risk Advisory Council (GBAC) and Executive Director at Biorisk International stated: “In my opinion, the technology is not yet ready to be used in mainstream surface and room disinfection for COVID-19. Concentrations required are above health limits and cannot be used in occupied spaces. Monitoring of ozone levels might be needed as well as post-treatment processes (e.g., removal of ozone). It definitely requires further work and investigation.”

Also in the same CIRI email communication asking about the use of gas phase ozone for inactivating the virus, Dr. Eugene Cole took an even stronger stand: “It is hard to believe that anyone is even considering the use of gas-phase ozone as an indoor biocide these days.” Dr. Cole is Director of Research for LRC Indoor Testing & Research, Cary, NC; and formerly Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at Brigham Young University, Provo, UT. Dr. Cole referenced a research paper he released in 2003. From the the abstract of the study, “this review of the peer-reviewed, published, scientific literature has found no appreciable antimicrobial effect of gas-phase ozone on either airborne or surface microorganisms. Its potential role in the control of biological pollution in the indoor environment is not substantiated by scientific investigations”

In the summary of the study, Dr. Cole reinforces that the review did back what was stated in the abstract. The conclusion states: “In general, considering the extent of the variability of types and concentrations of biological pollutants, their spectrum of intrinsic inactivation resistances, their range of recognized reservoirs. And the extreme variability in environmental conditions relative to temperature, RH, air flow, and organic matter interference among others, there remains no recognized antimicrobial effectiveness nor recommended protocol for the use of gas-phase ozone for the indoor environment”

Source: “Gas-phase ozone: Assessment of Biocidal Properties for the Indoor Environment – A Critical Review,” Applied Bio-Safety, Volume 8(3), pages 112-117, Copyright ABSA 2003

So, what does the United States Environmental Protection Agency have to say on the subject? After all, if they are the organization that regulates claims of disinfection by liquid chemicals, what about gas-phase treatments? Well the first thing that the EPA says is that they do not test nor regulate, nor even have authority over the claims of disinfection by electronic devices and gas-phase treatments. This information is taken directly from their website:

Why aren’t ozone generators, UV lights or air purifiers on List N? Can I use them to kill the COVID-19? –   

These are examples of pesticidal devices. A pesticidal device is an instrument or other machine that is used to destroy, repel, trap, or mitigate any pests, including bacteria and viruses.

Unlike chemical pesticides, EPA does not routinely review the safety or efficacy of pesticidal devices, and therefore cannot confirm whether, or under what circumstances, such products might be effective against the spread of COVID-19. Accordingly, List N only includes surface disinfectants registered by EPA and does not include devices.

Pesticidal devices, while not required to be registered with EPA, are subject to certain regulatory requirements under FIFRA, including labeling and reporting requirements. Importantly, FIFRA prohibits the sale or distribution of misbranded pesticidal devices, i.e., pesticidal devices with false or misleading claims on their labeling. Selling pesticide devices with false or misleading claims about its safety or efficacy may subject the seller to penalties under FIFRA.

EPA only recommends use of the surface disinfectants identified on List N against SARS-CoV-2.”

https://www.epa.gov/coronavirus/why-arent-ozone-generators-uv-lights-or-air-purifiers-list-n-can-i-use-them-kill-covid

The last sentence is the one I would ask professional cleaners, restorers, and facility managers to carefully consider. If you are going to use gas-phase ozone as a potential treatment step in dealing with the COVID-19 virus, you need to fully understand that the EPA does NOT consider it be a measure they would recommend. The EPA goes further in discussing Ozone on their website:

“Will an Ozone Generator protect me and my family from COVID-19?

No, do not use ozone generators in occupied spaces. When used at concentrations that do not exceed public health standards, ozone applied to indoor air does not effectively remove viruses, bacteria, mold, or other biological pollutants. Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website for best practices to protect yourself and your family.

https://www.epa.gov/coronavirus/will-ozone-generator-protect-me-and-my-family-covid-19

Now keep in mind, this statement by the EPA is referring to running an ozone machine in an occupied environment. Mr. Hart and others who advocate for the use of ozone always recommend ONLY using in an unoccupied environment and take into consideration several other safety factors – removing all people, pets, and plants from the premises is just a start. This allows them to use gas phase ozone at much higher levels of concentration.

The deeper that I have gotten into my studies of the science of virus inactivation, and in learning more about how the research scientists, medical and research doctors, and other bio-risk assessment experts address the subject of COVID-19, one thing stands out to me: We don’t know much of anything for sure. We are still learning. As you hear politicians, the media, and others repeat the saying over and over again – “we are following the science” – they repeatedly act like the science is absolute, and that what the science says is a foregone conclusion. As I spend more time with the true scientists and research doctors, I find them taking on a much humbler attitude. It is almost “this is what we think we know based on our review of the facts we have in hand at the moment.” They are far more open to the fact they could be wrong, or something could change their mind than it seems many of the rest of us are. My interpretation is that they often take the best information that they have, and in what I would call a “leap of faith” (not sure they would appreciate that term) they reach recommendations for specific procedures based upon the best information, albeit science, they have at the time.

As the EPA stated in one of their answers to questions: Because air disinfection or purification devices do not need to be registered with the EPA, companies that make them aren’t required to disclose their efficacy data or verify their efficacy claims in their marketing materials. EPA does not routinely review the safety or efficacy of pesticidal devices, and therefore cannot confirm whether, or under what circumstances, such products might be effective against the spread of COVID-19If you are interested in gaining a fuller understanding of what this really means, and how it may apply to any and all other types of devices designed to treat or clean the air in a building, I highly recommend you take a look at the information on the website provided by Scientific Air Management, a manufacturer of an electronic air disinfection and purification device. If you visit https://scientificairmanagement.com/evidence/ you will find this company openly and readily ‘confesses” that the EPA has not reviewed their device. They then proceed to demonstrate how they did laboratory testing that did follow the recommended protocol the EPA uses to test efficacy of liquid disinfectants. From their website, “Even though air cleaning devices do not have to be registered, the EPA does have guidelines for the appropriate type and size of bioaerosol chamber in which to test. Scientific Air Management products are tested under these strict EPA guidelines and have laboratory-verifiable pathogen-killing efficacy. Two independent, nationally recognized lab facilities (Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory and MicroChem Laboratory), using EPA guideline conditions, performed efficacy testing in airborne pathogen killing rates. The following are the tests results and compiled reports. Per EPA guidelines, Scientific Air Management adhered to the following test protocols: 1); Test methods employed; 2) Contact time (minutes vs. hours); 3) Type of pathogen; and 4) Killing percentage (minimum 99.9995%).” The transparency of this company to the facts at hand is refreshing and leads me to believe that the claims they make about their device have a better scientific footing. Of course, these devices cost thousands more that a high-quality ozone generator and are really designed for on-going use in hospitals and other medical facilities. Still, the technology would apply to the treatment of the inactivation of COVID-19.

So where does using gas-phase ozone fit in to all of this? Perhaps the most important contribution, even considering the CIRI scientists, and the EPA’s concerns about effectiveness lies in the visual reinforcement. Generating a higher concentration of ozone into an unoccupied environment as an ADDITIONAL step beyond deep cleaning, and even beyond applying disinfectants to all common “touch points” may provide a higher level of “peace of mind” and confidence of the people who are going to live/work/shop in the home or building being treated. The problem lies when contractors take a little information and apply it indiscriminately. One strong example stands out where an “advisor” was advocating for the continuous running of an ozone generator in a COVID-19 stricken nursing home for the purpose of “killing the virus.” Not only would ozone have had no effectiveness at this level, it would have presented to occupants of the nursing home with another severe potential contributor to respiratory stress.

In conclusion, what can we do as contractors and facility managers with ozone? First, if we are going to use it we only do it in unoccupied environments. Well what exactly does that mean. Does everyone in an apartment house have to leave their apartment if we are using ozone in one apartment? If we are using ozone in one room of a 200,000 square foot commercial building, does the entire building have to be empty? Well, a well trained and certified cleaning or restoration contractor will take the right courses and learn how to use ozone in an environment safety and effectively. This includes the removal of all people, pets, and plants from the premises, as well as the removal or protection of vulnerable furnishings and electronics which may be comprised of a high level of natural rubber. High concentrations of ozone gas can break down natural rubber components.

With some level of assurance, properly used and applied, the application of ozone to treat an unoccupied environment hey could not likely not hurt and even might be helpful, so long as:

  • You must deep clean the entire indoor environment first (understand how the virus is transferred)
  • You apply an EPA registered disinfectant to all common touch points
  • You use the ozone machine strictly according to manufacturer directions in ONLY in accordance with generally accepted industry standards of care
  • Take precautions to protect people, pets, plants, and vulnerable furnishings
  • You do not oversell your capabilities and over promise what you can accomplish

In the interest of full disclosure, you should be aware that the company that the author of this article (R. Doyle Bloss) works for (HydraMaster) until recently manufactured an ozone generating device for use in fire and smoke damage restoration and odor control