How Certifications Help Guide Your Vacuum Selection

Has it been a while since you’ve had to replace a vacuum? Or, maybe you’re new to purchasing cleaning and sanitation equipment.

Whatever the case, it’s hard to differentiate all the choices available. While certifications in some niches can serve as moneymakers for the certifying organization more than anything else, they do help with your decision making when it comes to choosing the right vacuum.

With vacuums, the leading (and highly credible) organizations are LEED, the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI), and the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America (AAFA).

1. Highest Level of Certification: Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America

To be certified by the AAFA, a vacuum must have CRI’s highest level of certification (gold), and meet HEPA system standards. The AAFA also puts the vacuum through a series of rigorous tests that actually prove it reduces allergens and asthma causing irritants. The vacuum must also provide increased environmental control versus others, and must withstand routine cleaning.

If a vacuum comes AAFA certified, you can bet it’s as good as vacuums get. You can learn more about the AAFA’s certification, called the “Asthma & Allergy Friendly Certification” at their website.

2. CRI Seal of Approval

This certification, just mentioned in the previous point as part of the AAFA’s certification, comes in three levels: gold, silver, and bronze. Here’s what each level requires:

  • Gold: 55% of soil removed from carpets with less than 35 micrograms of dust emitted per cubic meter of air
  • Silver: 50%/must emit less than 100 mcg
  • Bronze: 40-49%/must emit less than 100 mcg

CRI offers a detailed explanation of its certification and exactly what it means at its website.

3. LEED Green Cleaning Certification

Also based on the CRI certification, a vacuum must have a CRI gold rating and emit less than 70 decibels of sound when operating to become LEED certified.

LEED has a much more cryptic website than most, but you get plenty of detail on their certification and what it’s all about here.

So now, you don’t have to worry about the quality of the vacuum you’re about to buy. These certifications help you understand which vacuums rock and will accomplish the purpose you hope for.

Ick! Hand Driers Turn Out to Be Not-So-Sanitary After All

Hand driers seem sanitary on the surface, don’t they?

You wash your hands. You don’t even touch the driers. Their motion sensor picks up your movement and blows air on your hands until dry.

Your hands don’t even come into contact with the machine.

How could bacteria, viruses, and (yeesh!) fecal matter even come into contact with you?

Well, truth be told, University of Connecticut Researchers aren’t totally sure. But, they do know hand driers actually spread more bacteria, viruses, and fecal matter than paper towel dispensers you operate by hand.

The Surprising Results of the Study

In America, we place a pretty high importance on cleanliness and sanitation. So, it’s no shot when a university studies an aspect of it.

University of Connecticut and Quinnipiac University researchers had questions about hand driers.

So, to learn a little more, they placed petri dishes in 36 bathrooms in University of Connecticut health and science buildings.

When off, the dishes revealed one bacterial culture landing about every two minutes. But when researchers turned the hand driers on for just 30 seconds, they found 18 – 60 bacteria cultures on the petri dishes.

On the extreme end, one dish had 254 cultures on it in under a minute!

Now, top this off with the airflow from hand driers pushing all the disease-causing agents right out the bathroom door and into the rest of the building.

Quite nasty when you think about it.

You can read the study details here.

So What Do You Do With This?

This isn’t the only study that has implicated hand driers in the spread of bacteria, viruses, and fecal matter. Others have found similar results.

It’s still early, but it’s hard to see how any research could find something radically different.

So at a minimum, you should at least revisit your sanitation protocols for hand driers. And you should strongly consider replacing them with motion-sensor-activated paper towel dispensers.

Yeah, that results in unexpected costs. But, eventually, this research will become common knowledge and shape the way consumers think.

Just the sight of a hand-drier will remind them of the disgusting spread of bacteria, viruses, and other disease-causing agents. And they’ll think negatively of your company as a result.

Act soon, when this remains below the awareness of most Americans, and you’ll mitigate any harm to your company.

It’s a strange and unexpected thing, but at least you know about it and can take action.

Top 3 Trends Expected to Affect the Cleaning Industry in 2018

What’s moving the cleaning industry forward in 2018?

Don’t waste any time and find out:

1. Technology Will Be Used to Streamline and Optimize Processes

To stay competitive in 2018, you’ll have to adapt to the abundance of apps and software available.

Every cleaning company or team will look slightly different.

However, you may use apps to make online payment possible. Or, you may add your customers to an app that allows them to communicate with your team and get job updates. You might also use software to keep your own cleaning team apprised of the job’s status. Customers would also like estimates available online.

Look for ways you can offer more convenient service for your customers and streamline your own operations.

2. Increased Expectations for Employees

Historically, you may have thought of the cleaning industry as one with high turnover. You may believe not many people join the profession with the idea of creating a career.

You can certainly treat your cleaning team in whatever way you see most fitting. However, because of the increasing complexity of the profession and how much you need to learn to succeed, you can easily turn the job into a career.

Employees are beginning to expect that now. But, you’ll have to offer increased wages and benefits to reflect that.

3. The Pressure to Keep Service Levels High And Costs Low Remains

This trend certainly won’t go away this year. And it might be the reason why so many cleaning teams continue to integrate technology where possible to improve operational efficiency.

It continues to happen even though cleaning is shifting from a nice-to-have to a need-to-have.

If you think about it, it fits nicely with the previous trend of turning cleaning into a career.

You’ll only be able to create high levels of service and keep prices low with skilled and experienced staff.

Is your company or cleaning team positioned to include these trends in your operations?

If so, you can expect to have a successful year!

Compliance for Produce Safety Rule May Extend Well Beyond January 2018

After the FDA’s mid-February meeting led by Commissioner Stephen Ostroff, companies learned they’ll likely not have to comply with the Produce Safety Rule until after January 2018. Currently, there is debate about the water quality requirements, as producers claim the current legislation is “burdensome.” And the industry is debating additional proposed legislation because it’s written in a vague, and unclear way.

The current legislation would affect produce growers who grow fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, and other specialty crops.

What Does the Produce Safety Rule Regulate?

First proposed in 2013 under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the produce rule went under extensive testing through public meetings, webinars, and firsthand visits to farms across the nation. Revisions were made which led to the rule becoming more practical, flexible, and effective. It wasn’t passed in its current form until a couple years later.

The current rule regulates agricultural water quality to eliminate generic E. coli from a farm’s water supply. For example, E. coli must not be present in water used:

  • To wash hands during and after harvest
  • On food contact surfaces
  • To directly contact produce
  • For making ice during or after harvest
  • To help with sprout irrigation

If general E. coli is found in any of this water, famers must immediately discontinue its usage, and take corrective action before use continues once again. There is additional legislation on water, and how agricultural farms use it. Much of the debate about compliance currently centers around this legislation.

The rest of the produce safety law regulates:

  • Raw manure usage
  • Stabilized compost
  • Sprout contamination (frequently associated with foodborne illness outbreaks)
  • How farms use grazing animals
  • Worker health and hygiene
  • Equipment, tools, and buildings

The rule does not apply to produce not in its raw or natural state. For example, that means asparagus, a number of kinds of beans, chickpeas, coffee beans, horseradish, okra, peanuts, pecans, peppermint, and many grains.

The law permits states, tribes, and counties to apply for variances, which are exceptions to various parts of the produce rule.

Do Your Vendors Work With Companies Who Comply With the Produce Rule?

Your customers ultimately judge you by the quality of your food. If they get ill from your food, they hold you responsible (even if it wasn’t technically your fault).

So the question for your vendors is: how can they reassure you they get food from farmers who comply with the Produce Rule?

Only build relationships with ones that make you feel comfortable they work with farmers who are in full compliance with this rule, to the best of their knowledge.

Will Food Regulations Tighten Up in 2017 and Beyond?

Think food safety law is tight? It’s unclear, but it seems as though it may not tighten up anytime soon.

According to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Americans find many aspects of food safety and management important. However, their greatest concerns are “…affordability, nutrition, and food safety.”

Americans place a high degree of trust in the FDA. But they trust the food industry itself and the media least of all, according to the same article.

What’s Driving All This?

America has a strong infatuation with food. Think of all the celebrity chefs and cooking shows you see on TV. Netflix documentaries about food get high viewership rates. As a result, it only naturally follows that Americans have a strong interest in the policy protecting the food they eat.

However, the current presidential administration isn’t necessarily supporting the creation of additional legislation. The Congressional House has already passed the Regulatory Accountability Act, while the Senate is working on its own version.

If the whole act successfully passed, here’s the rough process you could expect for any new food safety rule:

  • The FDA and USDA would be forced to consider many regulatory options
  • Judges, whose job it would be to question the FDA’s and USDA’s experts, would then review these proposed rules in two separate reviews
  • Both the Senate and House would then have to give their final approval of any proposed legislation

The Food Industry As a Whole Supports Additional Legislation

While the current administration wants to reduce federal regulatory power, the food industry itself supports it. The effect of additional regulation is that consumers have more trust and confidence in the food industry. In addition, it puts unethical companies out of business.

The previous administration’s support of the Food Safety Modernization Act, signed into law in 2011, was viewed as a big step forward for food safety because of its shift to a preventative (versus reactive) approach to food safety.

What Can You Do?

Even though public opinion sways in the opposite direction of federal action, that doesn’t mean you need to sit by the wayside. You may not have the ability to influence federal regulation.

However, you could create your own in-house standards above and beyond the current requirements of federal regulation. Then, you can market this fact to consumers. They may not trust your own standards as much as federal ones. But when they see you holding yourself to a higher standard than federal law, they’ll take that seriously to a degree.

It’s an idea for creating trust and confidence in consumers when the powers that be don’t support what the public wants.

Carroll Company promotes Doug Bishop to Director, Plant Operations

October 10, 2016: NEWS RELEASE

Chemical manufacturing industry leader Carroll Company  promotes Doug Bishop to Director, Plant Operations

 Garland, Texas — Carroll Company, the nation’s leading manufacturer of private branded institutional cleaning and maintenance chemicals, has named Doug Bishop, Director of Operations.  Effective immediately, Bishop has been selected to drive the productivity, efficiency and quality of manufacturing operations for all of Carroll Company.

Most recently, Bishop has been Carroll’s Director of Business Development, managing the company’s largest portfolio of customers.  Prior to Carroll Company, Doug had almost a decade of military service, including positions of increasing responsibility including Plans & Operations Assistant within the Joint Directorate of Military Support (JDOMS) and Section Sergeant within the United States Army.

In almost five years, Bishop has successfully built internal and external relationships to assist the company in driving customer growth, increasing revenue and improving the customer experience. “Doug has extensive expertise in creating and executing on successful game-changing strategies within strategic accounts.  His understanding of the industry and Carroll’s products and manufacturing processes, uniquely positions him to assist Carroll in growing the business through direct and indirect distribution channels.” said Chris Norgren – EVP, Chief Revenue Officer.

Bishop holds a Bachelor of Science, with a specialty in Psychology from Florida State University.

About Carroll Company

Founded over 95 years ago, Carroll Company has become the nation’s leading manufacturer of private branded institutional cleaning and maintenance chemicals.  Carroll is a registered EPA (FIFRA) manufacturing organization, operates FDA approved facilities, follows documented Good Manufacturing Processes (GMP), is OHSA and UN/DOT compliant and is approved by the Orthodox Union as a Kosher manufacturer.

Carroll Company’s headquarters and main manufacturing facility is located in Garland, Texas.  The main plant is situated on 18 acres with 300,000 sq. ft. of manufacturing and warehouse space, with 28 dock high doors and a rail spur.

For Carroll Company Updates on Social Media:

Stay in the know about Carroll Company news by following @CarrollClean on Twitter or at , LinkedIn at



How to Incent Your Employees to Implement Your Food Safety Procedures


Have you ever implemented a workplace procedure, only to find in just a few weeks that basically no employees were actually doing it? Sometimes, the cause is poor employee behavior.

Other times, employees are simply human. You can probably think back to a time in your life where you vowed to put an end to a habit. Or, you decided to add a new one. Then, all of a sudden, a couple months later you suddenly realize you’re doing the same old thing again.

Your employees, or any human being for that matter, are more likely to make a new habit a part of their daily routine when they have an incentive to do so. And since a public announcement of a food safety violation can cost you millions of dollars, it’s worth it to spend a little time and money stopping it from ever happening in the first place.

So here’s some ideas on how you can make it easy for your employees to put your food safety procedures into practice:

  1. Listen and Communicate

Psychological research has proven that any human, when they feel they are listened to, is more willing to participate in a decision that’s made. So, start out by having a calm conversation with your employees about the new food safety procedures you’d like to implement, and what they need from your end to do that. By the way, if you have children or a spouse, this same approach works to get buy-in from them.

  1. Talk about the Significance of What Your Employees are Doing

Every employee wants to feel like what they do makes an impact, either on your business or your customers. They also want to feel like they themselves are gaining professional significance. So, show them how food safety does that.

  1. Don’t Forget the Financial Incentives

Not every employee wants money as a reward. And, it’s not the primary reward for many employees. However, it still is important. Make sure you’re generous with your rewards. If you underwhelm your employees, they’re going to get angry and frustrated because they feel like you don’t care about them.

Your c-store can achieve high levels of food safety with the right incentives for your employees. So, put these tips to use and find out what your employees want from you to start improving your food safety today.

Are Your Restrooms ADA Compliant?


The Americans with Disabilities Act became law in 1990. While all provisions didn’t go into effect immediately, they’re all law now.

Any law is complex, and it’s easy to violate it without being aware that you did. For example, has your cleaning staff hung your hand soap dispenses too high?

You don’t want to find yourself paying expensive fines for simple ADA violations. So here’s some things to look for:

  1. How to Keep Hand Dispensers and Dryers Compliant

This one actually isn’t hard. Mistakes, however, often happen when dispensers and dryers are placed above the trim so the wall doesn’t have to be refinished. ADA law says hand dryers and dispensers can’t protrude more than 4 inches from the wall when mounted 27-80 inches off the floor. Also, the control lever for the dispenser may not be more than 48 inches off the floor.

Also, you must ensure that your dispensers and dryers can be operated with a closed fist or open hand. To understand this better, know that they cannot be operated with a tight grasp or wrist twist.

Finally, if you have a non-ADA compliant unit, you must have one ADA-compliant one also. However, you do not have to match each unit one for one. For example, you can have two non-ADA compliant hand soap dispensers, but you only need one ADA-compliant one to be within the law.

  1. Other ADA Requirements and Recommendations

Those were just some of the highlights for dispensers of various types. Here’s some other odds and ends important to know too:

  • Mirrors must be mounted no higher than 40” above the finished floor. ADA recommends a single full-length mirror in every restroom, but law does not require that.
  • Toilet paper holders that do not have controlled delivery are recommended, but not required. The forward edge of the holder cannot be more than 36” from the back wall of the restroom. The horizontal centerline of the holder must be at least 19” above the floor.
  • Shower seats. If you have an ADA-accessible shower stall, L-shaped folding shower seats are required. The top surface of the seat can be 17-19” above the floor. The seat itself should have 1 1/2” of clearance from the wall at most. The widest section of the seat should not be further than 23” from the wall. It should also be able to withstand more than 250 pounds of force.

ADA regulation goes on much more than that. However, that’s enough regulation for now and gives you a basic idea of some of the ADA standards for restrooms.

5 Tips for Keeping the Flu at Bay


Sometimes it seems like the flu reaches almost epidemic proportions at your workplace. Fortunately, we have effective methods for treating it today.

But wouldn’t it be nice if you could do more to prevent the flu from spreading in the first place?

Check out some easy tips for doing that:

  1. Pay Extra Attention to Frequent Touchpoints

This could be a long list, depending on the office tools and setup of your workplace. Make sure you give an extra thorough cleaning to those frequently touched areas.

Those could be things like coffee machines, water coolers, bathroom door handles, faucet handles, elevator buttons, keyboards, mice, chair arm rests, and much more.

  1. Wash Your Own Hands

If you expect the flu to stop from spreading, you should follow through with the right actions on your own part. Of all the tips on this page, this one’s likely the most powerful.

Wash your hands frequently with an alcohol-based solution. Keep a hand disinfectant in your pocket at all times. And if you have to share it with someone else, squirt the disinfectant into their hands. Don’t let them touch it.

  1. Be Careful When You Interact with Others

Many businesses do a great job of minimizing the spread of the flu via frequent touch points. One powerful way the flu spreads is by people spraying germs all over when sneezing or talking. Keep a good distance when talking with others. Don’t shake hands with anyone else, unless it’s absolutely necessary to maintain a good relationship.

  1. Increase the Frequency of Restroom Deep Cleanings

Cleaning your restrooms thoroughly does much more than just help prevent the spread of the flu. It shows your employees and customers you care about them. That translates into higher productivity and happier customers who buy more.

Whatever your frequency of deep cleaning, increase it during flu season. You might also get some unexpected benefits.

  1. Clean Entryway Mats

In addition to the flu, who knows what other viruses, bacteria, and germs try to enter your building from the bottoms of people’s shoes? Remember, at least some of that ends up in the air of your building. Stay on top of the cleanliness of your mats!

Hopefully, those tips are enough to minimize the spread of the flu in your building. Which will you put to use this flu season?

Have You Heard about the Switch to GHS Labels?


 OSHA is dramatically revamping labeling requirements for chemical products of all kinds. The Globally Harmonized System (GHS) has been used and encouraged by the United Nations since 2002. The US decided to adopt GHS standards in 2012.

Why is the US Adopting the GHS System?

OSHA has been using the HazCom system of communicating chemical product safety information since the early 1980s. It believes more than 500 chemical-related accidents and 40 deaths could be prevented annually by changing to the new labeling system.

With the rise in global commerce over the past several years, the import and export of products between different countries has increased, resulting in confusion from non-standard labels on cleaning and other institutional chemicals amongst the workers who handle them. For example, a Chinese product imported to the US may have instructions in Chinese, so US workers may not know how to properly handle it and avoid any associated dangers. The potential for harm and injury in the workplace was deemed high enough to warrant the adoption of a global labeling standard. Chemical distribution companies must have their labels GHS-compliant by June 1, 2015. Full adoption of the GHS system isn’t required to be complete until June 1, 2016.

How Does GHS Affect Consumers?

GHS will impact many different audiences, including consumers. When you purchase chemicals for household or other uses in the future, you can expect the following benefits:

  1. Consistency. GHS labels provide consistency of information across all chemicals, which streamlines the regulatory process for chemical supplies.
  1. Increased Safety. Safety information must appear in structured ways on all labels for chemical products. Standard wording and symbols make it easier for consumers to understand how to safely use them.
  1. Stronger emergency response to chemical hazard situations. Because all labels are similar and require first aid statements, it’s easier to respond to accidents when they do happen.

So, when you purchase any new chemical supplies be on the look-out for the new labels.