Force of Infection: What is it, does it matter for disinfection?

Since the pandemic hit, you’ve probably learned a lot of new germ-related terms. But one you may not be that familiar with is force of infection, an important thing to consider as you determine the future of your facility’s disinfection program.

Force of infection, or FOI, is the rate at which individuals in a population acquire an infectious disease over a period of time. In layman’s terms, FOI shows how many people are getting sick and how quickly it’s happening.

So, why does this matter to you? Because as you consider what your long-term disinfection protocol will look like, you need to know that FOI has the potential to be impacted by germ-covered sources, making it important to continue disinfecting surfaces.

Why You Need to Understand Force of Infection

This year, the journal NPJ Vaccines published the article “Force of infection: a determinant of vaccine efficacy?” The journal, which is part of Nature Magazine is a scientific publication dedicated to highlighting the most important advances in vaccine research and development.

The focus of the article was to examine whether a lower FOI impacts the effectiveness of vaccines. In the study, they looked at two groups of people: One that had received a rotavirus (diarrhea) vaccine and another that was given a malaria vaccine. In both instances, a lower FOI led to higher vaccine efficacy (VE).

The question then becomes: Do non-pharmaceutical interventions (this is a fancy term for bucketing things like disinfectants and proper PPE usage into one group) help lower force of infection?

In the NPJ Vaccines article, the author argues that, yes, proper disinfection efforts could reduce FOI and “therefore enhance or sustain VE”. Therefore, in the context of a pandemic, continuing to use non-pharmaceutical interventions to manage disease spread “seems prudent and … quite urgent.”

As the number of new COVID-19 cases ebbs and flows, and as new variants continue to pop up, we felt that it’s important to highlight the ongoing role proper disinfection can play in reducing the presence of germs that could impact force of infection, and subsequently the health of your employees and visitors.

Develop a Disinfection Program That Works

To ensure your facility is on top of its disinfection game, you need to incorporate several elements into your cleaning program.

Day Porter Disinfection

Yes, most deep cleaning happens when your facility is empty. But with people coming and going, it’s important you maintain a high level of cleanliness. This not only improves the health of your facility but it also gives people the peace of mind that you’re taking intentional steps to reduce the amount of germs in your building. Adding an extra day porter – or reassigning your existing day-cleaning staff – will allow you to focus on keeping high-traffic areas clean and disinfected. With more people using more soap, hand sanitizer and towels, they’ll also focus on keeping those products stocked. This day-cleaning checklist is a good place to start.

High-touchpoint Disinfection

You’ve probably heard us talk about this before, but that’s only because of its importance. You need to disinfect frequently touched surfaces multiple times each day using approved chemicals from the Environmental Protection Agency’s List N. Each chemical on this list is proven to kill COVID-19. To learn how to properly disinfect, watch this quick video.

Confirmed case? Time to spray.

While proactive electrostatic spraying still has benefits, we always recommend using it after a confirmed COVID-19 exposure in your facility. Electrostatic sprayers have technology that ensures disinfectant “sticks” to every surface and kills germs. Because it is sprayed as a mist, it’s easy to blanket all hard surfaces.

To learn more about the benefits of electrostatic spraying and how it works, read Do I Need an Electrostatic Sprayer for Disinfection?

Infection Control: Is your cleaning company qualified?

When it comes to infection control in your hospitals, clinics and labs, there isn’t room for error. That we can agree on. But what should you look for to ensure the cleaning company you’ve hired is truly up to handling the stringent requirements you have?

To start, look for two things: Experience and TRUSTED certification.

Experience Handling Infection Control

Let’s face it, nothing beats decades of experience. Understanding the ins and outs of a healthcare facility’s nuanced needs is complex, especially when it comes to infection control.

We like to think of our healthcare teams as our special forces of cleaning. Not only does the team undergo extensive training, but they’re led by in-the-field veterans, including our director and manager who together have over 40 years of experience working in complex and large healthcare systems.

With that experience comes dialed-in processes, meaning you don’t have to wait for your cleaning crew to get up to speed. They know what they need to do when they walk through the door.

For instance, consider terminal cleaning procedures required in operating rooms. Along with what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other organizations require, our Kleeners have a 25-point cleaning process that guides them through EACH terminal cleaning. But we don’t only rely on process when it comes to operating rooms, we verify our work with ATP testing.

Whenever considering a new cleaning partner, or when auditing your existing partner, dig deep into their processes and in-the-field experience. Always require they “show” their work.

Achieving GBAC Standards

A lot of organizations claim they’re trained to handle infection control needs. We saw it all too frequently during the pandemic, and I doubt the claims will cease overnight.

For that reason, look for credible third-party validation. The most trusted certification comes from the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC), which is a division of ISSA. GBAC accreditation and training ensures your cleaners meet stringent, evidence-based standards for cleaning, infection control and disinfection. Subsequently, it elevates the reputation of your facility.

It’s important, too, that more than the organization’s leadership team is trained. At KleenMark, which has specialized in healthcare cleaning for years, we have more than 100 operators trained as GBAC technicians, ranging from supervisors to frontline cleaners.

As GBAC-trained technicians, they study cleaning theory, infectious disease prevention and control techniques, and medical grade disinfection. That means they’ll always have the most up-to-date information available to keep facilities clean and safe. 

I share all this because it’s important to know what to look for no matter who you partner with. If you want to learn more about our experience and certifications, don’t hesitate to send us a note any time.

Air Disinfection: A Safe Method, Proven to Work

If you’ve searched online to learn more about air disinfection in your building, it’s likely you’ve been subjected to a lot of good ol’ fashioned witchcraft, with seemingly everyone out to make a buck and little regulation in place.

Well, that’s not how we go about things. Everything we do, from the disinfectants we use on hard surfaces to our sanitizing methods, are anchored in science and data. It’s why we have a health & safety officer on staff. It’s why we use EPA-approved chemicals. And it’s why if we’re going to make a recommendation on air disinfection, we insisted on finding an option backed by fact.

With all that said (sorry for the soapbox moment), we regularly speak with clients and customers about a technology and approach that uses dry hydrogen peroxide (DHP) to kill germs in the air. Wait, what? Yes, it kills microbes floating in the air and does so without hurting humans.

Below, we’ve laid out some of the essentials.

How Dry Hydrogen Peroxide Works

DHP is a form of gas. The molecule, hydrogen peroxide, is a natural component in human lungs and is harmless at levels emitted by the technology we recommend.

It works by “attaching” to microbes in the air, and effectively neutralizing them. A specific piece of technology generates the DHP and manages the level of the gas in the air, which falls well below Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommendations.

The reason microbes attach to DHP is that all of them need water from the environment to live. Therefore, they seek out the DHP, which is packed with moisture created from naturally occurring humidity in the air. Then, the DHP breaks down the microbe’s cell membrane (think of this as the cell’s shield that protects it) and then destroys the germ.

Is DHP safe?

DHP is incredibly safe at the minimal levels produced to kill airborne microbes. It’s harmless to humans and can hurt nothing bigger than an insect.

DHP was designed to allow people to safely remain in the room where the technology is working. This means no disruption to your staff and visitors. The gas is emitted into the air at less than 20 parts per billion. That means the technology would have to run nonstop for 2.5 years to even produce the concentration found in a single droplet of hydrogen peroxide you’d find in your medicine cabinet.

Currently, we’re seeing this technology used safely and effectively across multiple industries, including healthcare, food service and education.

What it Isn’t

As important as what it does, is what DHP isn’t. It’s important to note this technology does not use bipolar ionization or needle point. Those two approaches to air disinfection were proved to be ineffective.

Recently, one California school district pulled bipolar ionization units from its schools and is now suing the manufacturer. They did so after alleging these units made air quality worse.

On top of that, ASHRAE, the HVAC industry’s leading professional organization, said ionizers have shown “results ranging from no benefit to some benefit for acute health symptoms.”

The technology we recommend is backed by data, science and in-market testing that proves it works and is safe.

To learn more about this specific technology and how it may fit into your facility’s air purification efforts, contact us anytime.

Restroom Rescue: What a Deep Clean Looks Like

Few things can give people confidence that your building is fresh than premium restroom cleaning. But what’s that look like? And how do you get – and keep – them looking and smelling good?

Well, we’ve got the answers. Our teams clean more than 25 million square feet each day and to say that includes a lot of restrooms would be an understatement. We’ll have you on track to make your restrooms rock stars in no time.

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Revive Your Floors

Restroom floors take a beating. Along with high traffic, people are prone to make messes, and eventually you need to give them more attention than a mop can offer as part of your restroom cleaning.

If you have a tile floor we recommend you follow this 4-step process. It involved degreasing, scrubbing with a swing machine and then sealing it up to extend its life and to make daily cleaning more effective.

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Outwit Odors

Look, we can’t get away from EVERY odor in a restroom, but we can eliminate those nagging, lingering smells that seem to never go away.

While grout cleaning will help, floor drains are almost always responsible for long-lasting odors. Of course, that’s assuming you regularly clean and disinfect properly. Additionally, keep an odor counteractant with you to neutralize toilet bowl smells.

Check out this edition of Cleaner’s Corner for more detail.

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Go Touchless

The fewer things people have to touch, the better. It’s that simple.

Opt for touchless soap and towel dispensers. And, place trash cans with open tops near the door, so people can easily toss their garbage and used paper towels (because nothing signals dirty more than wet towels on the floor).

We’ve tested a lot of touch-free options. These are four of our favorites.

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Police Restrooms Regularly

Once you’ve done the heavy scrubbing and eliminated those mystery smells, you have to maintain things or it goes south fast.

We recommend having a day cleaner who can spot mop and check for unexpected accidents in your restroom throughout the day. They’ll also keep an eye on supplies, pick up trash and handle any other eyesores that pop up.

Give “What’s a Day Porter and Do I Need One?” to learn more.

Send us a note or give us a call any time if your restrooms need deep-cleaning services you’re unable to provide. We can help get you on track.

Air Cleaning: How to Purify Without Reworking Your HVAC

You’re in charge of your facility’s overall cleaning program – from how to keep frequently touched surfaces to disinfected to floor care. But now you have a new surface to worry about: The air.

Since the pandemic hit air quality has taken center stage, with recommendations on how to ventilate your building coming from government agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as private industry organizations such as ASHRAE.

But, what if overhauling your HVAC isn’t reasonable? How can you clean your air and reassure employees and visitors? Responsible for helping our clients manage the health and safety of their buildings, we’ve turned to portable air purification.

Why We Like Portable Air Purification

Virus removal.

You want to make sure any portable unit you use is proven to capture aerosols that contain viruses, bacteria, molds and other contaminants. Make sure you ask for the data. We only recommend purifiers proven to capture 99.97% of particulate matter down to .3 microns. Anything that doesn’t go down to .3 microns isn’t worth your consideration.

Targeted purification.

They work wonderfully in offices, classrooms, common areas and conference rooms. You can easily move them around to occupied areas, while avoiding wasted energy and resources in parts of the building currently unused.

Employee/visitor perception.

Seeing is believing. When purifiers are in the room it gives people peace of mind that the air is actively being cleaned (and it is). We particularly like purification systems that allow you to scan a QR code to see the active purification status.


Reworking your HVAC system can cost thousands of dollars, if not more. With portable systems, you can control your budget and still get quality results where you need them.

Easy to maintain.

Most portable units only require you to change the filter on a regular basis. At KleenMark, we provide not only the air purifiers but our team can also take care of changing filters for you.

Digital monitoring.

With some purifiers you can monitor the effectiveness 24/7 from your smartphone or computer. Additionally, you’ll get notifications for when the filter needs changed, scheduled on/off times, etc.

If you want to learn more, send us a note or give us a call. Our team includes a health and safety officer, and we only recommend solutions proven to work.

Back to the Office: Reassure Employees Your Facility is Clean

Perception is a powerful tool. And it’s critical you reassure employees your facility is clean, if you want to keep their confidence.

Even if your contract cleaning service and in-house janitorial teams adhere to medical-grade cleaning and disinfecting standards, people are skeptical. In essence, they need to believe it to see it (pardon the cliché).

You can take an array of steps to improve perception. Below, are three of our team’s go-to strategies to help clients show, rather than tell employees, that the building is clean and disinfected.  

Clean During the Day

Heavy cleaning will continue to be done at night, or when few employees are present. Assure staff you’re taking extra steps to keep them safe by increasing the presence of day cleaners (often referred to as day porters).

To learn more about what day porters do, check out “Facility Day Cleaning: The Essential Checklist.” Remember, it’s important they’re wearing uniforms and have a clear objective (i.e., disinfecting frequently touched surfaces) so employees take notice.

Ramp Up Restroom Cleaning

A common adage in the janitorial world is that “how the restroom goes, so goes the rest of the building.” Essentially, if your restrooms are spotless and well-stocked, it provides employees with the confidence that the rest of the building is also clean. (assuming you aren’t missing anything egregious).

This doesn’t mean you need to overhaul your approach. Instead, increase daytime restroom policing. Ensure towels and soaps remain stocked, and that any soiled urinals or toilets are quickly cleaned. Check for dropped toilet paper and spot mop to improve perception. Visit to find products and supplies.

Check out “How to Fix Nagging Restroom Odors” if smells are the issue.

Highlight Your Team/Partners

For years, janitorial crews have kept buildings functioning and clean. But only recently have they received the respect and support they deserve.

Tell stories, recognizing internal team members or crews from your contract cleaning company, rather than sending emails about your process (sometimes necessary but likely glanced over in many instances).

Don’t over complicate the praise. It is as simple as showcasing a team member in an employee newsletter or as in-depth as a short video, showcasing the day in the life of a cleaner. When people can see – and feel – what your team is doing, they’ll be more confident the workplace is clean and safe.

Reach out to your internal communications department for help, if this is outside your wheelhouse. They’re often eager to lend a hand.

About the Back to the Office series: Our experts have helped dozens of Wisconsin businesses stay open safely with cohesive cleaning and disinfecting programs. We’re sharing practical information you can implement as you start to bring workers back to the office.

Back to the Office: Empower Employees to Help Fight Germs

The executive memo just hit your inbox: Your organization will bring workers back in 30 days. As head of facilities you need to prepare. Your team and contract cleaning partner are ready – but how can you empower employees to help fight germs?

That’s a worthwhile question you should answer sooner than later. The reason: Cleaners can’t be everywhere at all times. Yes, they’re prepared, trained and efficient. But with more people in the facility, germs will spread faster and farther.

One easy place to start is with the three S’s – Signage. Supplies. Sanitizer.

Signage Beyond Social Distancing

We’ve all stood on a million floor stickers reminding us to stay six feet away from others. But with more employees in the building, you need to habituate and constantly remind them to take additional steps.

Place signage throughout breakrooms, restrooms and other common spaces reminding people to wash their hands (try a sticker on a restroom mirror), disinfect the microwave handle after use (a small window cling will do the trick), and to wipe down conference room tables after use.

It may sound simple but it works. Numerous behavioral science studies show the impact of signs and messages to “train” people to take the action you want them to. This approach likely will have a much quicker, deeper impact than dozens of emails that land in crowded inboxes.

Supplies to Fight COVID-19

It’s not only your team or contract cleaning service that needs access to cleaning and disinfecting supplies.

Make sure you place canisters of disinfectant wipes in common areas. Make it easy for employees to quickly wipe down a surface. If wipes aren’t your style, provide sprays and microfiber cloths for quick surface disinfection. If you use a spray, make sure employees understand how to safely apply them. Check out “3 Steps to Disinfection Perfection”, for a simple way to teach proper technique.

Stock up on other items such as hand soaps and paper towels. Everyone is washing more frequently and you’re going to see supplies go much faster than in previous years. Our day cleaners constantly police restrooms and have already seen a dramatic increase in usage, even in offices where fewer people are working daily.

For a full range of products, check out Our distribution arm provides a full range of products and equipment from the best manufacturers. And, we only sell what our professional cleaners trust on the job – meaning you get products proven to work.

Sanitizer Remains Essential

We know, this one may be even more obvious. But employees will expect easy access to hand sanitizer no matter where they are in the building.

Make sure you increase the presence of hands-free dispensers and have adequate inventory on hand to keep them stocked. People are going to use these dispensers – a lot. And that’s OK. It reduces germs and improves your facility’s perception of cleanliness. If your budget allows, consider providing small bottles for individual work stations.

You can browse some of our team’s favorite dispensers and sanitizers, here.

About the Back to the Office series: Our experts have helped dozens of Wisconsin businesses stay open safely with cohesive cleaning and disinfecting programs. We’re sharing practical information you can implement as you start to bring workers back to the office.

Cleaner’s Corner: Back-to-office Services to Consider

Question: What are some services clients are adding as they begin to bring employees back to the office? 

Jeremy Angle, KleenMark’s Milwaukee-area branch manager: 

While this is customized to your facility, we’re seeing many organizations amplifying or adding several services that improve perception – and the health – of your cleaning program.    

Below are three areas – some new, some established – where you can focus efforts to make employees and clients more comfortable with your approach. 

Ducts + Vents – Prior to COVID-19, it was rare for an organization to want their vents cleaned. But, with clean air a priority, we’re increasingly getting requests for us to remove dust and debris from exposed ducts and vents. This largely is due to employees asking why vents are so dirty, as they realize ventilation is important to air quality. From cold-air returns to fans in restrooms, it’s important to keep them looking good.  

Restrooms – A facility’s perception follows the cleanliness of your restrooms. If employees and visitors see spotless, well-maintained, and well-stocked restrooms, they’re more likely to view the rest of your facility in a positive light. Increase spot cleaning and restroom policing to keep your restroom’s looking sharp. 

Day cleaning – Adding or increasing day cleaners to your program is one of the most critical steps you can take to elevate your game. Day cleaners, often referred to as day porters, handle everything from high-touchpoint disinfection to restroom policing. Many organizations are adding multiple day porters to handle the increased disinfecting demands brought on by COVID-19. Check out Facility Day Cleaning: The Essential Checklist, to get a handle on day porters’ capabilities. 

About this series: In the Cleaner’s Corner, our experts address questions we receive in the field. Our goal is to provide straightforward, practical tips you can use in your facility. 

Facility Day Cleaning: The Essential Checklist

Having a visible and active facility day-cleaning program goes a long way. Not only does it help reduce dangerous germs, the presence of a day cleaner reassures employees and visitors that you’ve upped your game – doing everything you can to keep them healthy.

Day cleaners, often referred to as day porters, serve a variety of roles but at the core their job is to maintain your facility when its open and at its busiest. From spills to disinfecting tables, they’re on the job until the night crew comes in to do the deep cleaning.

In the age of COVID-19, day porters have spent a lot of time disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, and rightfully so. These areas are like major metropolitan centers for bacteria and viruses.

With that said, day porters do so much more. Our day porter teams are prepared to handle an array of needs and receive training customized to your facility.

The checklist below lays out what you should expect from a day porter, regardless if that person is on staff or part of your contracted service.

Facility Day Cleaning. The Checklist.

Consumables Police

Running out of toilet paper is bad. Running out of hand sanitizer is frightening. What they police:

  • Paper towels
  • Soap
  • Toilet paper
  • Sanitizing stations

Break Rooms and Common Spaces

No one wants overflowing trash and messy counters.

  • Spot cleaning for messy counters, sinks, etc.
  • Trash removal after breakfast + lunch
  • Spot sweeping (crumbs are gross)
  • Touchpoint disinfection

Restroom Rescue

Things happen. Go with a pro.

  • Spot mopping
  • Trash checks
  • Counter cleanup – no one likes those puddles by the sink.
  • Quick cleans. Water stains on the mirror? Dirty toilet? No problem.

Special Services

If it involves cleaning, generally your day porter can help.

  • Meeting room setup – from getting rid of fingerprints to a quick vacuum, a day porter is on call for when the executives arrive unexpectedly.
  • Cardboard removal. Manufacturers produce a lot of recyclable material. Day porters know how to handle compacters and other machinery.

Daily Disinfection + Cleaning

It wouldn’t be a day if we didn’t kill some germs.

  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as handles, sinks and tables.
  • Monitor entryways for dirty mats and slick floors.
  • On call to handle any unexpected spills or messes.

If you’re curious to learn more about day porters, check out another recent blog post: Office Cleaning Basics: What’s a Day Porter and Do I Need One?

About the Author 

Jeremy Angle leads our team in Southeast Wisconsin. As general manager of our Milwaukee branch, he works with some of our largest clients to ensure they have the right cleaning program in place. 

Six Ways to Incorporate Green-cleaning Practices During a Pandemic

It’s not always easy being green, especially when we’re in the midst of a pandemic. But when it comes to your facility’s cleaning program, you can still take small, strategic steps to incorporate green-cleaning practices.  

Since 2011, we’ve held ISSA’s “Cleaning Industry Management Standard – Green Building” certification (excuse the humble brag). We only mention it because we have the training and the chops to help you achieve your environmental goals. 

Choosing to adopt green cleaning practices will not only help the environment by reducing the release of harmful chemicals into our waterways; it benefits your staff, cleaning team and potentially your bottom line.  

We know that’s tricky right now, because you need to use powerful disinfectants to kill COVID-19. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Below are six easy ways to layer in some green cleaning. 

6 Green-cleaning Hacks 

Amp up your recycling program. Make sure recycling bins are placed throughout the office, if not at every workstation. Establish a plan for collecting and recycling used toner cartridges and batteries.  

Opt for green cleaners. More than likely, there’s a “green” variety of each cleaner you’re currently using. Try to choose eco-friendly window cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, stainless steel polishes, degreaser for floors, etc. It’s perfectly safe to continue to use these in the age of COVID-19, as long as you also use a disinfectant from the EPA’s List-N group. Using these green cleaners will help reduce employee and cleaning staff exposure to cleaning chemical irritants such as chlorine and ammonia, which can be harmful to the skin and lungs 

Use cold water. Hot water isn’t always necessary when cleaning. Using cold water can be just as effective and help reduce energy usage and costs. 

Use high-efficient batteries. They’ll hold a charge longer. Opt for cordless options when you can. For instance, Proteam’s GoFree vacuums are a great example. 

Watch your VOCs. Keep an eye out for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Lower VOC means less emission of harmful toxins into the air. That’s good for everyone. 

Source green. If you outsource your cleaning, make sure the company you choose is green certified and follows best practices that can improve your own facility’s environmental impact.  

You can learn more about our green-cleaning practices, here

About the Author 

Jeremy Angle leads our team in Southeast Wisconsin. As general manager of our Milwaukee branch, he works with some of our largest clients to ensure they have the right cleaning program in place. 

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