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Cleaning in the USA

How fast things change in today’s world. In less than 60 days we have come face to face with terrorists snuffing out thousands of innocent lives by blowing up buildings on our shores using our own marvels of technology. Now our mail is infected with anthrax and we are at war with a madman from a land of sand that most people couldn’t find on the map before September 11th. Not good news and not very comforting to anybody who values life, freedom and family, but a reality that peace loving people everywhere must learn to live with on a daily basis.

From a practical standpoint, life goes on. Since I live on the West Coast, I feel as though I am a little removed from the direct impact because it didn’t happen in my own backyard, but it still scares me, just not the same. And although things will never be the same again, much is. Buildings and surfaces get dirty and we clean them. Trade shows and seminars go on, although fewer people attend. Business happens with deals and deliveries being made every day. The world has changed but it has not ended. We go on hoping to forget, while trying to remember, out of respect for all those who lost their lives early one morning as they went about their business.

We cling to that surreal view, shown over and over again of jet planes plowing into skyscrapers. Out of contempt for those who reminded the world, and us that we must not forget, that evil, masked in whatever cause and name, does lurk in the shadows of mankind, waiting to rear it’s ugly head for all to see.

The Business of Cleaning
It’s been a busy month for me. Lots of travel to seminars, shows and meetings in an effort to get back to business and normal as best I can.

Mold Remediation is Hot

On September 27, 28, & 29th I attended a three day Mold Remediation Workshop in Houston TX. Mycotech Biological, Inc., Indoor Environmental Solutions, Inc. and the Indoor Air Quality Association conducted the program.

Although I’ve been to several mold seminars before, this was a good program. It was technical as well as practical and included a hands on demonstration of how to erect a containment chamber, remove mold contaminated wall board, use an air scrubber and take particulate counts. There were three knowledgeable speakers and an excellent manual that contained all of the slides from the power point presentations.

Over 210 people paid $895.00 each to attend plus another $295.00 to take the certification exam at the end of the third day. Although there was some confusion and unhappiness when some attendees were told they could not take exam as planned.

What the most interesting thing was, was who had signed up for the program. I spoke a wide selection of attendees that included both large and small restoration contractors, carpet cleaners, janitorial services, plumbers, building and facility managers, a real estate appraiser, HVAC service companies, insurance agents, public adjusters, a couple of shysters, a used car salesman and the list goes on.

One thing was clear to me; mold is a hot topic. There is a lot of interest in the subject and there is a lot of money being made doing mold remediation work in both residential and commercial buildings. I interviewed a number of attendees and most expect the mold remediation business to be good for at least another 3 to 5 years. At the same time, the insurance industry is doing it’s best to find a way to control claims and losses related to water damage and mold remediation.

There are about a half a dozen companies in the U. S. conducting mold remediation courses. Most are attracting sell-out crowds, with more classes planned in the future. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification, (IICRC) at it’s last board meeting also got into the act by approving a mold remediation course and certification category.

For more information on this seminar program, call 713-266-1129, email:> or on the Internet visit For information on the IICRC visit or call 360-693-5675.

CleanRooms West, San Jose, CA., Oct 8 to 10, 2001

This was my first time to attend the cleanroom conference and exhibits and it turned out to be both interesting and worthwhile. Cleanrooms are specialized areas where environmental factors such as soil, contamination, sterility, temperature, humidity, noise, lighting and other factors are controlled, measured and maintained at specific predetermined levels. Cleanrooms are used in a variety of industries including high tech electronic, optical, medical and pharmaceutical manufacturing; other uses include military, food processing, research labs and critical assembly.

Being a sucker for new technology and information, when I got a chance to attend the conference and show, I couldn’t pass it up. So I caught a plane to San Jose and sat through Cleanroom 101: Contamination Control Review presented by Anne Marie Dixon, President of Cleanroom Management Associates, Inc. in Carson City, NV. Dixon is intimately involved in all aspect of cleanroom industry and with over 25 years experience in the industry she is recognized internationally as an expert in her field.

Dixon gave an excellent overview of the cleanroom industry, which is changing rapidly as cleanroom technology is progressing and moving into new fields. She covered such subjects as cleanroom design, construction, gowning, housekeeping and maintenance, disinfectants, cleaning procedures and frequencies, operational protocols, chemicals, testing, and the new ISO and IEST standards for cleanrooms.

After attending several other educational sessions, I spent the next day and half in the exhibit hall visiting all the vendor booths associated with cleanrooms.

It was a good show, although attendance was probably 60% less than it was a year ago when the show was held in Portland, OR. For information on the cleanroom industry visit or call Cleanroom Magazine, the show sponsor at 603-891-0123.

Bill Clinton Gives the Keynote Address

On the way back from the mold seminar in Houston, TX. I stopped in Los Angeles, CA to attend the On Line Learning Conference on September 30.

I like this show because it keeps me up to date with the latest trends in computer based and Internet training. In 2000 the same show attracted 8000 attendees, this year maybe 4000 people showed up. It’s mostly training directors from Fortune 500 companies, and state and federal agencies.

I attended a number of good seminars, one of my favorites was on the concept and growing trend of using games as a learning medium.

Bill Clinton drew quite a crowd. People were lined up outside the event a couple of hours in advance to get a good seat. It turned out to be a packed house, I ended up in the third row with an unobstructed view of the President.

Clinton praised the conference and attendees for going forward with their event in the face of the terrorist attacks. Here are the high points of what he had to say.

– “I planned to talk about what my administration did regarding technology and education, but instead feel compelled to speak of recent events.”

– “This is a unique time in history. In a time of crisis and need we need to stand together to support the good people who are working hard to make the right decisions.”

– “There is a stunning interdependence of people around the world. It can be both negative and positive. The great question on balance is: will it be positive or negative for the people of each country?”

– “In the next 50 years the world’s population will increase by 50%. Most of this growth won’t be in America, but America will be impacted and will suffer because it.”

– “What happened on September 11th isn’t a Muslim or Arabic thing. It isn’t what most people of those faiths want or believe. What we saw was a radical extremist forcing his views on others.”

– “Today’s terrorists promote primitive hatreds with modern means of killing people.”

– “Terrorists want the U.S. to be afraid of each other and to hunker down, not travel, not invest or go forward. We can’t let that happen or they will have won the war by taking away our freedom.”

– “They can’t kill enough of us to win by force. They have to do it by changing the way we act and feel. They hope to win through fear.”

– “Don’t give them permission to change us in a negative way.”

– “We must work to close the digital divide in our country and around the world. Our future depends on it.”

– “50% of the people on American Indian reservations don’t have a telephone. Over 1 billion people in the world earn less than $1.00 per day.

Over 1 billion people in the world earn less than $2.00 per day. One and half billion people in the world have never tasted fresh water. 100 million children in the world don’t go to school. These poor people are being told that the reason they have nothing is because we in America have everything.”

– “The Internet allows people to make economic leaps faster than ever before. We need to share this technology and opportunity with others around the world so they can benefit as we have. We need to expand trade in and too these countries and people so they can share in the benefits of progress and freedom.”

– “In a poor country every year of education increases a persons education potential by 20%.”

– “We need to tap energy conservation and alternative energy resources to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”

– “We need to be concerned and act to slow down global warming, or in the future we and other nations will face global conflicts as the oceans rise and droughts expand while populations continue to increase around the globe.”

– “Bin Laden has a specific agenda and is a formidable opponent. He wants his twisted view of the truth to prevail. We believe everybody counts and that difference’s are what make life interesting. We believe in tolerant disagreement. They believe they know and have the only truth. We believe we are on a journey looking for the truth and that nobody has a monopoly on the truth.”

– “These fanatics who think they have the whole truth have destroyed their country and caused millions to flee as refugees to nearby nations.”

– And to the terrorists. “We will not let you devour us and we will not cower.”

His talk was well received, after which he came forward to greet the crowd, shake hands and pose for photographs.

Bill Clinton Poses for a photo and that’s not Hiliary

IICRC holds its Fall Meetings

The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification, (IICRC) held it’s fall meeting in Portland OR, on October 14, 15, & 16 with approximately 85 people in attendance.

John Roberts, P.E. gave a presentation on “Soil and The Role of Vacuuming in Carpet Maintenance. Roberts explained that his research, which has been published in Scientific American Magazine, indicates that urban soil in residential carpeting contains hazardous pollutants such as lead, pesticides, mold, arsenic and mercury. Further, these contaminant present a serious health hazard to small children who then crawl around on the carpet inhaling and ingesting these pollutants. According to Roberts, thorough vacuuming and regular cleaning reduces the hazards. He demonstrated a Hoover vacuum cleaner with a light sensor that tells the user when the carpet has been properly vacuumed. Jeff Bishop stated that the first time he used the vacuum in his house it took eight hour to obtain the desired results.

Lloyd Cooper, Lab Supervisor for Professional Testing Labs in Dalton, GA gave a presentation on the results of the IICRC Carpet Cleaning Methods Testing Protocol Study which has been under way for the last 4 or 5 years. The study is now done and the results are in. The question becomes, where do we go from here? Cooper explained how the tests were conducted, why they took so long and what options the IICRC and other have to continue the testing program. He also stated that the CRI, Shaw Industries and other groups have already contracted with his lab to conduct further testing related to cleaning equipment, chemicals and processes. Bottom line, some methods and chemicals work better than others do. Scientific testing can determine which methods are most effective, which processes or equipment tends to damage or distort face yarns, and which chemicals leave a residue behind on carpet fibers that will attract soil and or result in color loss.

Larry Cooper reported on the progress of the Carpet Cleaning Standards Revision Committee that he chairs. Cooper explained that the committee was recommending adding “mist and scrub” as a sixth carpet cleaning method to the standard. This proposal created quite a bit of discussion with the committee being directed to take another look at their recommendation. After much internal committee debate, instead of adding a sixth method, the decision was made to add “mist and scrub” as a sub category of shampooing, thus staying with the 5 basic carpet cleaning methods.

Darrel Paulson, Chair of the Microbial Remediation and Restoration Task Force reported that his committee has completed a course outline and exam for Mold Remediation Technician certification. He asked for and received certification board approval for the IICRC to proceed with plans to offer a certification category for a Mold RemediationTechnician in cooperation with several other related associations.

IICRC Instructor Symposium

Every two or three years the IICRC sponsors an mandatory educational program for it’s instructors to keep them abreast of internal paperwork requirements as well as new and emerging instructional trends.

On October 12 & 13, 2001 the Instructors Symposium was held in Portland OR. About 100 IICRC approved instructors attended the two-day event. The first day dealt with paper work, office procedures and scantron requirements for instructors.

The second day consisted of a “Train the Trainer” presentation during the morning by Dr. James Melton, which was informational and well received by those in attendance. During the afternoon Dr. Melton facilitated a hands on session that had eight instructors develop and make a seven-minute presentation on a subject of their choice. This proved to be quite an educational experience as well as a lot of fun for everyone.

It was interesting to note that there are many different instructional styles and one need not be stiff or overly formal to be effective in getting his or her information across to students. In fact, it became obvious to me that the instructors enthusiasm for the subject and sincere interest in knowing the needs of the audience was actually more important than his or her individual style or the information being presented.

From the positive response, I suspect we will see more of this approach for instructor training in the future. If we as instructors can find a way to apply the concept of hand on practice to our own courses, we may find that our students can not only answer the required questions, but may actually use what they learn to improve what they do.

ISSA/INTERCLEAN Hosts a Great Show in Orlando, FL

The International Sanitary Supply Association held it’s annual convention in Orlando, FL, on October 16 to 19th. I attended a number of the seminars and spent a lot of time on the show floor and I heard nothing but positive comments about the quality of the attendees and the lay out of the show floor. I had one exhibitor tell me he had gotten over 250 leads on the first day. An end user I spoke with told me that he went to one of the cocktail receptions and hadn’t had as much fun in 20 years.

Although international attendance may have been down a little, I found no shortage of new products and opportunities to network with industry and corporate leaders.

Some of the highlight of the show that I notice included:

– ( 11) Soy-Gel, A soy base paint, varnish and mastic remover, by Franmar Chemical Co. Ph-309-452-7526 or

– (12) KaiMotion, a new way to apply floor finish and damp mop floors, by KaiVac Inc. Ph-513-887-4600 or

– (40) Renz e-z, a spray on glass, vehicle and siding cleaner that require no brushing. By Remwood Products Co. Ph 918-251-8399 or email:

– ( 13) A powdered absorbent asphalt, concrete and side walk cleaner, by Joamaca Chemical Co., Ph 601-856-8439 or

– (20) ECO-LYZER, a neutral disinfectant cleaner with residual biological odor control, by Spartan Chemical Co. Ph-419-531-5551 or

– (6) Steamin Demon 11, a high water flow portable carpet/upholstery extractor that is lightweight, fast, simple and easy to use. By Steamin Demon Products Inc. ph-800-413-6748 or www.steamindemon. com

– (14) HydoTech Hard Surface Cleaning System for tile, vct, matting, concrete, pool decks and other irregular surfaces. By HydroTechnologies Inc. Ph-949-916-2220 or email:

– (5) Flex-Sweep, virtually indestructible broom and dust mop handle attachment. By Flex-Sweep Industries Inc. Ph-503-531-7010, or email:

– (6) MotorScrubber, a battery powered, lightweight, scrubbing tool with a submersible head on an 8.5 ft. telescoping pole. By Clean Image, Inc. Ph-610-376-8700

– (17) Adsil MicroGuard Surface Protection Coating for ceramic tile, metals, vinyl, laminates, and painted surfaces. No recoating needed for up to two years. By Adsil Advanced Silane Technology, Ph-386-445-8239 or

For a broader international perspective on the sanitary supply industry attend the ISSA/INTERCLEAN Show in Amsterdam, Netherlands, May 14 to 17, 2002 and plan now to attend next years ISSA/INTERCLEAN Show in Las Vegas, NV, October 15 to 18th, 2002. For more information on these and other ISSA/INTERCLEAN Shows call 847-982-0800 or