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The ISSA staff did a great job with the recent ISSA/INTERCLEAN Show in Las Vegas. It seems that every year they do better job. I’m already looking forward to attending next year’s Show at Chicago’s McCormick Place.

If you missed the recent ISSA/INTERCLEAN Show, you missed out on a golden opportunity to grow. 2011 was the best ISSA/INTERCLEAN Show I’ve ever attended. There was so much to do that you couldn’t do it all, even if you tried. The exhibits were excellent, aisle after aisle of the latest chemicals, equipment and products to make your work easier and your cleaning more effective. So much new stuff that I wish I could have spent another two days finding new things and learning from the people willing to share experience and information. The seminars and presentations were all top notch. Tom Peter’s wooed the crowd as he paced from one side of the stage to the other. What energy that guy has, and only he can get away yelling at the top of voice and calling it a presentation. The Poker Lady, she was great, with lots of management concepts, although I’m not about to step up to a poker table anytime soon. Time flew by fast and before I knew it, I was headed to the airport with bags in hand for the flight back to Seattle.

The ISSA/INTERCLEAN Show has grown in to a BIG event, that is truly encompassing the entire cleaning industry and I expect this trend to continue as other associations and groups continue to jump on the ISSA bandwagon. This year the International Executive Housekeeper Association, The Building Service Contractors Association, the Association of Residential Cleaning Service International held their annual conventions around the ISSA/INTERCLEAN Show. A growing number of private companies and non-profit organizations participate in the show and hold meetings before, during and after it. As the ISSA kept telling us each day, this year’s show was the start of something BIG and I have to agree, this was a BIG show, with a BIG agenda and BIG plans for the future.

Only So Much Time and Energy
I always try to attend as many events as I can at the show, and this year was no exception. But I must be getting older. Although there were many evening parties to attend, I only went to one and that was the Spartan Chemical Company party. Spartan always has a great party and are so gracious in welcoming anyone who shows up at the door that it has become the “go to – don’t miss” party for anybody who can spell SPARTAN. As ever, the food, drink, music and friends to chat with were all great. Thank you Spartan for continuing the tradition in grand style.

Oh, The Exhibits
What can I say? Put on your most comfortable shoes and grab a bag to collect all the literature, pens and candy you can carry. I always get a kick out of first timers to the show. You can watch them come in the door, stop, look around and wonder silently, where did all this come from, as they try to figure out which way to go first?
This year there were so many booths and so much to do that I just couldn’t get enough time on the show floor to visit every booth, so I know I missed a lot of new things on the market. Here’s a review of a few things that did catch my eye as innovative and useful.

Mint-X Trash Bags – These bags contain a natural mint scent that is repulsive to rats and mice. I’m not a rat, so to me they smell good.

WearMax Ceramic Floor Coating – Fifty times stronger than normal polymer floor finish, harder than industrial diamonds, chemical and stain resistant and increases slip resistance, even when wet.

Permanon Surface Protection – easy to apply nano-particles provide a brilliant shine to all solid surfaces without buffing or polishing. Electrostatically bonds and fills pores and pits making cleaning easier and faster. Resists acids, alkalis and solvents, provides UV protection.

Hurricone Wet Sign and Floor Dryer – A wet sign and fan combined. Feature loaded, cordless and rechargeable, up to 8 hr. run time, decreases drying time by 90%, flashing red light, motion detector, scent cartridge, dries floor around unit for up to 15 ft.

Sporicidin Mold Resistant Coating – Water based, zero VOC’s, non-toxic, fast drying, and EPA registered antimicrobial coating that prevents mold growth on porous and non-porous surfaces. Designed for high moisture areas and is anti-scratch, anti-abrasion and stain blocking.

High Tech Water – Several companies were exhibiting water enhancing processes that claim to eliminate the need for chemicals when cleaning, degreasing and sanitizing surfaces. Check these out:,,

That’s all I have time and space for, but I can assure you that there was much more to find and see on the show floor. Next year I’ll try to do better at getting to every single booth.

Don Aslett’s Museum of Cleaning
Even though I got in free, a visit to this booth alone was worth the price of admission. It was interesting to see how far we have come from wooden buckets, hand pump vacuums and polishing poles to today’s robotic scrubbers, nano-technology coatings and chemical free cleaning with micro-fiber cloths. Seeing this exhibit made me realize that today’s wonders will, in time be tomorrow’s history. Visit the museum on line at:

It’s About Cleaning and a Whole Lot More
It used to be that if you were a janitor or custodian your job was to sweep the floor, vacuum the carpet, dump the trash, clean the restrooms and go home. Today we still do those things, but cleaning is now so much more. We have to use the right products and procedures, we must be aware of security concerns, and recycling, along with energy and resource conservation, we have to know about indoor environmental quality, green cleaning, quality control, and computers. And that’s just a partial list. It seems as though our responsibilities and the need to know more about things that last year we didn’t even know existed, keeps growing on a daily basis.

Our jobs today are cleaning and a whole lot more. For someone to be truly successful as a professional cleaner, custodian or janitor, they have to get an education and then keep on learning about all the new stuff that impacts what we really do on the job each day. You just can’t afford to say or think that you know what you’re doing anymore unless you spend at least some of your time and energy researching and learning new things. You may know what you used to do, but if you aren’t reading, monitoring the chats, attending seminars and trade shows for several different industry segments on a regular basis, you are out of touch, behind the times and at risk of being replaced by someone who does stay on top of what is changing in the workplace and the world.

There will probably always be a work for someone who does a good job of cleaning, but the really good jobs in the new prestige buildings where they pay the best wages and benefits and have the latest equipment and work environment, where you feel like part of team that is doing something good, will go to those with the most current education and skills. That’s the way it works in any field.

It’s not that education and information isn’t available, because it is, far more so than ever before. There is so much information available today about cleaning that I can’t even keep up with it and that’s all I do from sunrise to sunset.

I talked to a guy yesterday who is a salesperson for a local distributor, I asked him if he attended the recent ISSA/INTERCLEAN Show in Las Vegas, his response was, No. Our company didn’t send anybody this year. This same company in its heyday, 10-15 years ago used to send 30 or 40 people. Sure the company has been bought and sold a couple of times, and is now part of a large corporation, but to me that’s no excuse for the company not sending its staff or for the salesperson for not attending on his own. To me it appears to be the beginning of the end for both parties. I could tell he was a little frustrated and it made me sad.

Did you attend the recent ISSA/INTERCLEAN Show in Las Vegas or were you like my salesman friend and stayed home because no one would pay your way?

Opportunities for success are right in front of us every day. Yet we look the other way and find excuses for our failures to take advantage of them. You can’t make more money, give better service or get a better job by looking the other way. Next year there will be an Ausclean Show, as well as the ISSA/INTERCLEAN Show in Amsterdam and Chicago. Where will you at any of these shows learning and preparing for a better and more prosperous future or once again, staying home making excuses and missing out? Do yourself, your family and the cleaning industry a favor. Plan now to attend at least one cleaning industry trade show in 2012. I’ll be there looking for you.