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An article I read in the New York Times this week, reminded me just how far the cleaning industry has come over recent decades, in terms of both the science and the methodology. Headed: ‘Send in the Bugs. The Michelangelos need cleaning’, it describes how scientists and restorers have unleashed grime-eating bacteria on the artist's masterpiece marbles, which records show, started to discolour centuries ago. One major eyesore came courtesy of Alessandro de’ Medici, who, having been entombed without being properly eviscerated, had seeped into Michelangelo's marble, creating deep stains and button-shaped deformations.
While recent restorations removed most of the blemishes, some of the grime couldn't be shifted, so restorers and scientists 'unleashed microbes with good taste and an enormous appetite on the marbles, intentionally turning the chapel into a bacterial smorgasbord' (I love that!).
Italy's National Research Council used infrared spectroscopy to reveal calcite, silicate and other more organic remnants on sculptures and tombs and the Italian National Agency for New Technologies chose the most appropriate bacteria from a collection of nearly 1,000 strains, usually used to break down petroleum in oil spills or reduce the toxicity of heavy metals. Making the correct choice was crucial, since, while some of the bugs eat the phosphates and proteins that were causing a lot of the staining, they also eat Carrara marble itself, so would have created further damage. Following spot tests, Pseudomonas stutzeri CONC11, a bacterium isolated from the waste of a tannery near Naples; Rhodococcus sp. ZCONT, another strain which came from soil contaminated with diesel in Caserta; and Serratia ficaria SH7, were used, along with micro-gel packs of xanthan gum, a stabiliser often found in toothpaste and cosmetics, which is derived from the Xanthomonas campestris bacteria. Each was applied where required to deal with the type of soiling that needed to be treated.
The article was written in a way that made all this seem like new technology, but of course we in the cleaning industry are familiar with such processes and many of us have been using them for years. I'm hoping that those who read the article will see that cleaning products and processes really are scientifically-based and that those who don't know what they're doing, can sometimes inflict irreversible damage.
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This Week's News
IICRC opens nominations for Hall of Fame Awards
The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning & Restoration Certification is now accepting nominations for the 2021 Hall of Fame Awards. The deadline for nominations is 30th June.
The Hall of Fame awards are open to all past and present IICRC constituents who have at least 25 consecutive years in the inspection, cleaning and/or restoration industries.
Autonomous cleaning is in high demand
With the pandemic still very much in the forefront of everyone’s minds, there is now an even higher demand for automated and socially distanced cleaning.
Earlier this year, ICE launched the highly anticipated Co-Botics line - a comprehensive range of autonomous floor cleaning machines. ICE believes automation will help shape the way cleaning operations and functions are carried out in the future, but in a collaborative and cohesive way.
Kärcher launches new accessories for cleaning façades and solar power installations
Kärcher has launched a complete system of high-pressure cleaner accessories designed especially for façades and solar power installations. The range includes rotating roller heads and brushes, multi-purpose telescopic lances and adapter sets, and an ergonomic carrier system.
The accessories are multi-functional, so as well as use with high-pressure cleaners, they can also be connected to a hose for clean-water applications or to a vacuum cleaner for removing loose dirt. The new accessories will allow professional users to reach difficult-to-access, horizontal and vertical surfaces.
Samsic Arise: LEAN Six Sigma drives wellness-led workspace management
Crafting service solutions as unique as buildings and how they are used is the core process underpinning a new initiative from specialist FM service provider Samsic UK.
The UK market arm of the 3billion euro turnover Samsic Group has launched Arise Programme, a solutions package driven by LEAN Six Sigma tools to create waste-free service models and attain high and consistent standards of service outcome.
New Battery Compatibility Program
Delta-Q Technologies has announced the launch of its new partner program, 'Charged by Delta', to provide battery and battery management system (BMS) manufacturers with the tools, brand association and access to pursue new opportunities with original equipment manufacturers.
The program allows battery partners to combine marketing efforts with Delta-Q and offers global OEMs access to a curated network of existing and compatible battery and charging solutions.
Kent school adds Prochem misting system to anti-Covid cleaning programme
A leading Kent special educational needs school is keeping Covid-free with regular treatments of Prochem antimicrobial solutions using the company's new M500 Micro-Mist surface disinfecting system.
Bradfields Academy in Chatham is an outstanding all-through special needs school based in Walderslade, Chatham. It provides child-centred education to children aged 3-19 years as well as supporting young adults aged 18-25 years with education, health and care (EHC) plans to further their life chances through supported internships.
Bothongo Hygiene Solutions £5 million in sales in first year
A fast-growing hygiene company has celebrated its first year in business by smashing the £5 million sales barrier and launching more than 100 new products.
Bothongo Hygiene Solutions has shone in the darkest of years to post the impressive figures and emerge as a leading player in the cleaning and facilities management sector.
Mitie seven-year contract with Scottish Government
Mitie has extended its 13-year partnership with the Scottish Government with a new seven-year facilities management contract.
The contract, which was awarded following a competitive tender, will see Mitie deliver key services for 70 sites across the country, ranging from offices and research centres through to Marine Scotland's buildings and the First Minister's residence.
Rentokil Initial renews as Saracens' Official Hygiene Partner
Saracens Rugby Club tells us it is delighted that Rentokil Initial has signed up again to be as the Club's Official Hygiene Partner, for the 20/21 Greene King IPA Championship season.
With fans already returning to stadiums, this strategic partnership, which at its announcement in August 2020 was believed to be a first in UK sport, is helping to ensure the 'Safe Return to Sport' at StoneX Stadium.
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Recent UK News
Mitie welcomes new director of cleaning services
Mitie has appointed Lorraine Davis as director of cleaning services. With the pandemic demonstrating the importance of cleaning in keeping the nation running safely, Lorraine will be responsible for leading the direction of Mitie's cleaning business.
New BCC report gives fascinating insights into one of the country's biggest industries
New research released by the British Cleaning Council today has cemented the cleaning, hygiene and waste sector's position as one of the UK's top 10 industries.
The BCC's research report for 2021 gives a highly-detailed picture of the sector. The latest, revised figures show that the industry contributed £55.5 billion to the UK economy in 2018 - a slight rise on previous figures - with turnover soaring in a sector with tens of thousands of businesses.
Prochem training stays on-screen
The UK's largest commercial provider of training for professional cleaners, Prochem Europe, is to continue providing an online alternative to its classroom-based One-day Carpet and One-day Upholstery training courses when lockdown comes to an end.
Principle appoints sustainability manager
Principle Cleaning Services has appointed a sustainability manager. Arthur Toso joins the company after working as environment and sustainability advisor for a facilities management firm, responsible for environmental and waste management and sustainability performance tracking.
London beckoned once again with the opportunity to demonstrate the effectiveness of oscillation. With variable scrubbing pressure and oscillation speed TomCat's Sport can be set up to clean efficiently using only water.
Events & Exhibitions
AHCP National Forum
7-9th September 2022
4-7th October 2022
12-14th October 2022
Johannesburg, South Africa
25-26th October 2022
Interclean China 2022
23-25th November 2022