A reader asks: "Our manager has dictated that we convert to a strong disinfectant for the veterinary clinic we service. Now he is complaining the floors are not shiny as they used to be. Any ideas?"

From the information you provided it appears that you have converted to a disinfectant that is not combined with any detergency. Since I do not have the name of the product I cannot research it so am speaking in a generic sense that may or may not apply in this case. As most custodial people know, most disinfectants do not clean; rather they kill microorganisms that can be either benign or pathogens. Soil load can severely limit the disinfecting properties of many products. I suggest the following:

1. Research the product to determine how it is to be used. In most cases, the directions will indicate that the surface/area to be cleaned must be cleaned (usually a detergent product with pH range from 7.5 -9) before the disinfectant is to be applied.

2. Also double check to make sure it is appropriate to be leaving the disinfectant on the surface after its recommended dwell/contact time (usually 5-10 minutes wet). Once the contact time has been reached it probably should be rinsed off the surface.

3. Damage to the floor finish is probably an outcome of leaving the disinfectant on the surface. An acid based product can damage/soften most finishes — especially if not rinsed promptly. Yes, you will probably have to strip/scrub more often resulting in unnecessary labor costs.

4. Ask the customer what they are trying to achieve since the process described is probably not creating a cleaner, safer environment. If animals are walking (bare paw) on this hot surface, then licking their paws, they could conceivable ingest the disinfectant over time which could result in health issues.

Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean...

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net.