A couple of years ago, CRDN (Certified Restoration Drycleaning Network) decided to expand their services to include electronics cleaning. Previously, this group of specialty dry cleaners, located throughout the US, Canada and the U.K., focused solely on restoration cleaning of textiles. When there is a fire in someone’s home, they are among the first to be called to the scene. Their job is to remove clothing, bedding, curtains, area carpets and other textiles for cleaning. For 16 years, as they provided this service, they noticed that the electronics and electric appliances in homes were growing. Items such as soot covered computers, televisions, game consoles, vacuum cleaners, coffee makers, curling irons, lamps, ceiling fans and more were being left behind, and ultimately, thrown out. The insurance companies were paying out quite a bit of money to replace them. This seemed like a great niche market for them as they were already in the home after the fire, with trained staff to remove and clean items quickly. CRDN set to work to offer this new service. Two years later, the electronics cleaning business is in demand…and growing.
equipment was used to clean a wide variety of items including computers, bundles of electric cords, irons, fans, toaster ovens, scanners and more to demonstrate how quickly, easily and effectively our process is. Groups of franchises were brought in to watch the live demonstrations and ask lots of great questions. Here are some photos (best viewed on a desktop computer) from the event:
Bob Fearon, President of CRDN, told us “When we launched our Electronics Cleaning Service at CRDN, our approach from the start was to clean items from the least aggressive method to a more aggressive one, incrementally, as needed. We always want to apply the method that will give us the best chance for complete restoration of any item.
The Morantz Ultrasonic Cleaning Method and Equipment has given CRDN the ability to safely clean most electronic items in a fraction of the time of our previously used approach. It has increased our productivity and quality, while allowing us to restore items that were considered non-restorable in the past. Our Berkley, MI facility processes multiple jobs daily and the Morantz System for Cleaning Electronics has made the work more efficient.”
Since the event, we have been happy to have several CRDN franchises from around the country visit with us in Philadelphia, for a closer and more in depth look at our equipment. Many will be installing systems of their own in the near future.
We are very excited to have had the opportunity to meet with so many of the CRDN franchises, and show them how to diversify services to offer a better finished product, increase productivity and add profit to their businesses.
Electronics Cleaning is an industry in its infancy, but Morantz has been cleaning electronics with ultrasonics for over 30 years. Our customers are way ahead of the curve when it comes to this niche market, and have been cashing in. If you are still surprised that you can clean electronics and electrical appliances with ultrasonics (yes, in water!), and want to learn more about how to clean Electronics with Morantz Ultrasonics, read on.
The Market: Today, nearly every aspect of cleaning brings us in contact with electronics. Homes, offices and facilities contain some combination of desktop computers, laptops, tablets, game consoles, music players and equipment, electronic musical instruments, printers, telephones, toys and more. These items cannot be ignored, especially when it comes to serious and deep cleaning for smoke, soot, water, mold and disinfection. Many cleaning services will shy away from electronics and give the job (and all the profit) to subcontractors. The reality is that if you have an ultrasonic machine, a proper drying room/drying cabinet, and instruction from Morantz, you can clean electronics.
Our customers using their machines to clean electronics are doing very well. This niche market goes well beyond restoration work and has opened the way to cleaning set top cable boxes, maintaining expensive industrial coffee and food dispensing machines, cleaning headsets for phones, cleaning power tools, cleaning electrical musical instruments, disinfection of medical equipment in hospitals, and so much more.
The Process*: Remove the electronic item’s cover and any batteries, if applicable. For computers, remove the hard drive. Pre-wash if needed. Ultrasonic clean for 1-2 minutes. Rinse with deionized water. Dry immediately and thoroughly with the Morantz Blow Dry Gun. Spray with Morantz Miracle Chemical to displace any extra moisture. Place in the Morantz Drying Cabinet (or equivalent drying room with proper temperature, relative humidity and air flow) for a minimum of four hours.
For Disinfection: If you have Morantz equipment, you already know our equipment has been tested and proven for disinfection if used properly. Ultrasonic clean for a minimum of 3 minutes in your Morantz machine (results not proven for other manufacturers). Check your cleaning work with an ATP meter. This will let you know if there is still anything “live” on the electronic item that could be viral, bacterial or otherwise problematic. Then follow all other steps above.
For On Site Cleaning: Customers with sensitive information may not allow for their computers and other electronic equipment to leave their site. All Morantz ultrasonic machines are built on wheels and can be taken to the job site. However, the most portable and least costly machine is the Z-56. For drying, we recommend building a temporary drying room using a dehumidifier, space heater (if necessary) and an air mover. Be sure the drying room still meets proper parameters for temperature and relative humidity. To see photos from one of our on site computer cleaning jobs on our Facebook page, click here. For this job we used plastic sheeting to build a temporary drying space in one corner and it worked very well.
Equipment: Every Morantz model of machine can be used for electronics cleaning, but our most popular models are the SM-200 and M-115. These machines have electric lifts that make cleaning electronics easier for the operator. There’s no heavy lifting or awkward handling of items involved. For drying, our Drye-Rite drying cabinet with ozone is ideal.
*There are additional steps for specific types of electronics. This article does not take the place of training. Training is free of charge to all Morantz customers. If you want to learn more, be sure to click through all the links and contact your Morantz representative at 215-969-0266.
R&T BLINDS EXPO IN EUROPE Stuttgart, Germany March 2018
The world’s largest window blind manufacturers gathered in Germany for five days to show off the latest and greatest advances in the window blind industry. From the moment you entered any of the eight halls, it was clear that the trend continues for sales of fabric blinds and roller shades.
This is great news for ultrasonic blind cleaners! These beautiful, higher end blinds require a bigger investment for consumers. To protect this investment, they are willing to pay for cleaning and maintenance rather than having to purchase new blinds.
Our stand received visitors from over 50 countries! Most are blind manufacturers and/or sell new blinds. During live cleaning demonstrations, it was amazing to see the recognition in their eyes of how easily blinds can be cleaned, and how much profit there is in the service. Most told us they had been asked if they clean blinds. Many discussed that by offering cleaning, it would be easier to get their customers to invest in more expensive blinds.
This was not news to Michele Lazzarotto from Elle Emme and Lavarretutto of Milan, Italy. Michele spent all five days at our stand speaking with interested customers about his personal experiences with ultrasonic cleaning. During the past eight years, Michele has expanded his business tremendously with ultrasonics. His investment in four Morantz machines has allowed him to take on all types of cleaning jobs, although cleaning blinds remains his largest market. Most recently Michele has been on the job at Versace keeping their blinds looking good!
Our live demonstrations included cleaning several blinds that people from all over Europe brought to our stand. We had one company bring us an extremely dirty, twenty year old Venetian Blind, from the exterior of a building.
Within minutes, the slats were clean, the cords and ladders were clean, and it was ready to be rehung and used for years to come.
Overall, the show was a great experience. We look forward to working with our new customers all over the world.
Musical instrument cleaning is an in-demand business. Whether you are an instrument repair technician, an instrument retailer, or a cleaning company, this is a great add-on service.
Many of our ultrasonic machine owners find that although they did not intend to clean musical instruments, they encounter them during the course of their business.
Cleaning a French Horn in the Morantz Z-56 Ultrasonic Machine
If you are offering soot and smoke damage contents cleaning , it is inevitable that you will need to clean musical instruments in homes and commercial facilities. If you deal with antiques and/or electronics, at some time you will be asked to clean these types of instruments. Most recently, our customers who focus on medical disinfection are being called on to clean instruments for schools that are demanding instrument infection control. For all of these reasons, it is worthwhile exploring this market and learning the proper cleaning techniques.
Tuba cleaning in the Morantz Z-56 Ultrasonic Machine
Here are some general tips for ultrasonic cleaning of musical instruments*:
Brass and other metals:
Most instruments that are brass will need to be inspected to determine if lacquer is already starting to peel off. The older the instrument is, the more likely you will see this. If it is peeling, temperature and intensity need to be kept low to avoid further damage. For other metal instruments, the temperature of cleaning should usually remain at room temperature.Before cleaning, instruments should be disassembled as much as possible. Remove all slides and buttons. If you find these parts are stuck, go ahead and clean the whole instrument in the machine for a minute, pull it out, and see if you can then loosen these parts enough to disassemble them. Then place all parts back in the machine for another 2-3 minutes. Note that you do not have to remove the felt or leather pads prior to cleaning, but if these need replacing, it’s best to go ahead and remove them at this time.Clean in stages: Pre-wash, Ultrasonic Wash, Rinse and Dry
For best results, pre-wash your instruments in a high alkaline cleaning solution such as Morantz Synergizer. This will remove oil, dirt and other build up. For the Ultrasonic Wash, you should use an acidic, descaling solution to work on the build up (from saliva) frequently seen on brass instruments. One of our favorite products is Tesch Classic Brass Cleaner. Click through for information and ordering information and view a video here on Tesch products.
Clean scale off instruments with the proper cleaning solution
Rinse the instrument with deionized water. Dry with the Morantz Blow Dry Gun or other appropriate drying tool.
The Morantz Blow Dry Gun used to quickly dry a trombone
To watch a video of ultrasonic cleaning the above pictured trombone, click here.
To watch a video of a cleaned trumpet being dried with the Morantz Blow Dry Gun, click here.
Woodwind and String Instruments: Yes, you can clean these too if you keep the temperature and intensity low and dwell time to seconds. Only an alkaline solution should be used on these instruments (no descaler!). They also need to be dried quickly and completely as soon as they are cleaned. We recommend you use the Morantz Blow Dry Gun.
Clarinet cleaned with Ultrasonics
Electric and Electronic Instruments: Yes, you can clean these instruments too, but be sure to use only alkaline solution (no descaler!). As with all types of electronics cleaning, these instruments must be rinsed with deionized water, dried immediately and thoroughly with the Morantz Blow Dry Gun, sprayed with Morantz Miracle Chemical to displace any extra moisture, and placed in the Morantz Drying Cabinet (or equivalent drying room) for a minimum of four hours.
Electric Guitar cleaned with Ultrasonics
For Disinfection: Schools usually clean all of their instruments over the Summer, so it’s a great time to start discussing your service with them. If you have Morantz equipment, you may already know how our equipment has been tested and proven for disinfection. In the field, you can check your cleaning work with an ATP meter. This will let you know if there still anything “live” on the instrument that could be viral, bacterial or otherwise problematic.
ATP Meter displaying test results
Take before and after photos. When you are given an instrument to clean, take a good, high definition photo prior to cleaning. Take another when the job is complete. Not only will your customer appreciate seeing what a great job you did for them, but you can use these for marketing your service. Post on social media, your website, as well as taking them with you on prospective jobs. Remember that a picture is worth 1000 words.
For years, the restoration industry has been celebrating the success of ultrasonics for cleaning hard goods. However, what many people don’t realize is that with the proper ultrasonic equipment, you can also clean soft contents such as stuffed animals, fabric window blinds and curtains, dolls, sports equipment, bags, area carpets and many other items. Gadue’s Dry Cleaning in Vermont recognized this opportunity and they have graciously shared their Success Story with us (photos below are courtesy of Gadue’s and examples of their work).
In 2015, Melissa Gonyon, Gadue’s Restoration Sales and Marketing Manager, attended Crawford’s Contractor Connection expo in Orlando, Florida where she saw Morantz Ultrasonics equipment in action. She and Aline Gadue, President and third-generation operator, were convinced that ultrasonic cleaning was the answer to growing the restoration division of their business. They ordered their equipment, set up their facility and got to work.
After a year of utilizing ultrasonic cleaning, Melissa tells us, “We originally purchased our Morantz Ultrasonics equipment to aid in cleaning associated with our Fire, Smoke and Water Restoration Division. It has worked very well in this department. Our company is able to offer a service that was not previously available in our state. It has blown away insurance adjusters with the savings of cleaning items rather than having to replace them.”
Melissa continues, “We have also found that using ultrasonics to clean items we typically use conventional dry cleaning methods for provided more successful results. An example is wedding gown cleaning. Vermont brides end up in some not-so-clean spots seeking that perfect Vermont setting for their wedding photos. The result is a train and dress bottom that has literally been dragged through the mud. We use our ultrasonic equipment to concentrate on the bottoms, prior to the finish cleaning process, to ensure we remove all the dirt.”
Melissa also tells us, “With ultrasonics, we now have the ability to expand our scope, and accordingly, our current customer base. By offering cleaning of items such as baby gear, sports equipment, window treatments, blinds, golf clubs and bags, and more we have reached beyond traditional dry cleaning customers.”
“We recently signed a deal to clean all of the sports equipment and uniforms for Vermont’s first professional indoor football league, The Vermont Bucks. We are very excited for this opportunity and are looking forward to the doors that this may open for us with other organizations such as universities and athletic programs across the state.”
Aline and Melissa recognized that marketing their new technology was going to be critical to their success. From the beginning, they created information packages, banners and more; all boasting about their ultrasonic technology.
Gadue’s is thrilled to be able to restore more types of items than ever before, including personal, cherished possessions, items that were previously considered to be a loss and even items that they would not have even considered cleaning. That’s because Gadue’s knows that cleaning with ultrasonics is faster, easier and restores better than any other process. As a result, Gadue’s is creating new profit centers and increasing revenue. Congratulations to Gadue’s Dry Cleaning on their success with ultrasonic cleaning!
All photos above are copyrighted and property of Gadue’s Dry Cleaning. These cannot be used without their permission. If you would like to view more before and after photos like these, please visit: Before and After Ultrasonic Cleaning photo album.
Ultrasonic Cleaning: Is It Right For You? by Lisa Morantz
If you are considering ways to improve your current contents restoration business or the possibility of entering into the realm of contents cleaning for the first time, there are many questions to be explored. One option to think about: ultrasonic cleaning technology.
Ask around, there’s a lot of good news about ultrasonics. You’ll find it’s a thoroughly tried and tested technology around for about 40 years. Industry experts discuss its meticulous and efficient cleaning capabilities. Business owners tout ultrasonic cleaners as highly valued tools for increasing profitability. Insurance companies recognize the cost savings of ultrasonics, and some even insist restoration companies use ultrasonics in order to receive new contents jobs.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions and some guidance on how to consider and answer: Is ultrasonic cleaning right for you?
1) Is my company big enough?
This question usually refers to the number of content jobs a company is currently handling. In other words, are there enough jobs each month to justify the investment? Consider this another way: Are you satisfied with the number of jobs you are bringing in or would you like more work? And, are you profitable enough with the work you are doing?
If you’re looking to expand your contents business, this should be planned growth. Set goals, and determine what you need to achieve those goals, including equipment. The reality is insurance companies give contents jobs to companies they know can handle them. If you can show adjusters you can perform these jobs with efficiency, handle multiple jobs at once, take on contents that were previously considered a loss, reduce secondary damages and residual issues, and also save them money… you will get more work!
This is one of those, “if you build it they will come” scenarios. Successful businesses make targeted investments in the proper ultrasonic cleaning systems, and then market it well. It’s a proven formula for success in contents restoration.
If you’re only looking for improved speed and quality, there is ultrasonic equipment for this too. No one will argue hand cleaning contents is difficult. For items with crevices and other hard-to-reach areas, it is even more problematic. As a result, there are frequently odor and corrosion issues where items need to be re-cleaned. Hand wiping is also tedious and time consuming work. Because it is so labor intensive, with labor being the biggest cost for any company, it is expensive work. This means many companies are currently doing a lot of work for little profit. It’s frustrating.
Fortunately, there are ultrasonic tools for these companies, too. These machines are typically smaller, but just as powerful as well as portable and can serve as a launching point for growth once owners begin to realize more profit.
2) Do I have enough employees?
In many cases, individual ultrasonic machines can be operated by a single employee, but that doesn’t mean you’re working efficiently. Employees are also needed to unpack boxes of contents, inventory them, prep, wash, dry, and repack. With a single employee, you can get the job done, but that employee becomes a bottleneck. However, you don’t necessarily need a single employee for each step. Many profitable ultrasonic cleaning businesses can work effectively with two to four employees. This keeps overhead low, but doesn’t depend on one person to do everything.
3) Do I have enough space?
Ultrasonic cleaning and contents restoration does not require a tremendous amount of space. While some companies with expansion plans may want to relocate to a larger facility, most only need to use their current space more efficiently. Sometimes all it takes is a little reorganization, better lighting, a fresh coat of paint and some creativity.
There are more ultrasonic equipment options available today than ever. One size does not fit all. Guidance should be provided by your contents equipment manufacturer or supplier to help you choose the right equipment for your space, electrical capacity, drainage, etc. Many will even help you design your space and provide you with floor planning.
If you are a company with a goal to diversify services and grow ultrasonic cleaning as a major division or department, keep in mind more equipment may be necessary as well as space.
If you are a newer or smaller company, it may be necessary to minimize the space you use. A smaller ultrasonic machine may be the answer to help in being nimble, flexible, helping with cash flow and allowing you to maximize your profits. Your strategy should include some planning for future growth and deciding if you want to reinvest your new-found profits towards additional space or future equipment.
In most cases, you should plan on a minimum of 500 square feet. This space will not only be for equipment, but for storage of both dirty and cleaned items, racks for drying, tables for packing/unpacking, etc. With a little extra attention to detail, you can easily turn your cleaning area into a “show room” to bring adjusters and other customers through for demonstrations and classes. This is terrific marketing that will grab their attention and brings the “wow” factor.
Don’t let the perception that you can’t start offering the ultrasonic cleaning service until your space is perfectly planned out stop you from moving forward. Start simple and see what works best.
4) Should I just sub out contents work?
Some companies are currently sub-contracting their contents work because they don’t want to deal with these questions or invest in equipment. Companies taking on this contents work are profiting tremendously! The question is: would you like to re-capture this profit? Take a look at how many dollars are going out the door and think about what that would mean for your company. Better yet, maybe you would like to become THE contents company to which everyone else subs their work.
5) What about training and support?
Ultrasonic equipment utilizes sophisticated technology. Accordingly, it is critical the machinery you work with is designed for ease of use and is supported by the manufacturer or supplier. While training is available from most manufacturers and some industry experts, “hands-on” training is critical and truly the best way to learn.
Additionally, many restoration companies prefer to have an instructor come to them so employees receive individualized training and attention on their own equipment. When these employees become comfortable using the equipment, they’ll look forward to using it and use it more effectively.
Finally, no single training program or class can account for all the different items and scenarios that occur in contents cleaning. Be sure your manufacturer/supplier offers on-going, expedient, and ideally, free-of-cost answers to all of your questions.
6) Can I afford it?
We’ve already discussed the labor savings, the efficiencies, the marketing capabilities, etc., but there is one more factor to consider: additional markets.
One of the great things about ultrasonics is its ability to clean so many different types of items. When not busy with fire restoration and you have some down time, why not diversify? Clean sports equipment, electronics, industrial parts, window blinds, medical equipment and more. If you haven’t explored and marketed these other options, you are leaving the proverbial money on the table.
An investment in ultrasonic equipment can run anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000 (your manufacturer/supplier should work with you to determine your budget and needs). Most companies are reporting return on investment within the first quarter of ownership.
With profit margins averaging over 50 percent, ultrasonics is a serious tool for business and worthy of serious consideration.
Want to learn more about how Morantz Ultrasonics works for Soft Contents Cleaning? Click here (even if it shows as crossed out you can click through) to read another great R&R magazine article.
A growing consideration when evaluating the quality of indoor environments is the role that building finishes, furnishings, and cleaning practices have on the transmission of infectious agents. This is especially true in medical facilities where health care acquired infections (HCAI) are having a growing impact on patient survival rates and health care costs. Anywhere from 48,000 to 100,000 fatalities annually can be tracked back to the development of infections in patients that did not have an infection upon admission.(1) Beyond the loss of life, these infections are expensive. Various researchers estimate that the extra days spent in the hospital lead to $8.1 billion in added costs.(2)
The move to address such problems has intensified since Medicare and Medicaid implemented a policy of refusing to reimburse health care facilities for certain preventable infections. Private insurance is now following their lead. This push toward recognizing infectious contaminants as part of the indoor environment has also grown as the European concept of “baubiology” has caught hold in North America.(3)
The move to new types of cleaning chemicals, including botanicals and “natural” cleaners from plant oils is one response to this deadly and expensive problem. But this change toward stronger and stronger chemicals for cleaning purposes generally only provides short-term relief as the side effects of harsh chemicals and the natural ability of bacteria and other infectious agents to develop a resistance to antimicrobial agents limits their effectiveness, especially in health care facilities.
Ultrasonic Cleaning to Control Infections?
Fortunately, there is an option that has been proven to dramatically enhance normal cleaning procedures in health care facilities: Ultrasonics. Ultrasonic cleaning kills bacteria and other pathogens through physical means rather than by a chemical reaction, eliminating the need for harsh compounds and the possibility of instigating resistant organisms.
After more than two years of testing in both the United States and Great Britain, the results showed conclusively that Morantz ultrasonic cleaning equipment was capable of removing bacterial contamination from items typically used in both institutional and residential settings. Over the course of three carefully controlled studies it was discovered that the Morantz ultrasonic machines were effective in:
Removing both gross contamination and microscopic bacterial pathogens that are found on items after they have been involved in a black water loss (sewage).
Destroying bacterial that pose the greatest concern to health professionals, with a strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) chosen to serve as a surrogate for such serious strains of microbial contamination.
Supplementing normal cleaning procedures in hospitals to significantly improve infection control without being burdensome or overly expensive.
The fact that the testing progressed from cleaning in controlled environments to utilization of the Morantz Ultrasonics equipment in two different hospitals in England verified that the results represent a real-world application rather than just theoretical data. It should also be noted that the field testing in the hospitals was sponsored by the National Health Service in the United Kingdom as a demonstration project that was part of the Technology Innovation Program, which focuses specifically on reducing health care facility acquired infections.
A History of Effective Cleaning
Ultrasonic cleaners use sound waves produced at frequencies higher than our ears can perceive. The process involves the use of a generator, called a transducer, in a water tank, which creates high-frequency sound waves. As the sound waves move through the liquid they create compression waves that “tear” the liquid apart, leaving behind many millions of microscopic voids or partial vacuum bubbles. (The technical name for this effect is cavitation.) These small bubbles expand and eventually implode when they strike an object, and this energy dislodges contaminants even from intricately shaped surfaces.
Ultrasonic cleaning came into vogue for various types of industrial cleaning processes in the early 1950s. Small, table-top units quickly became common in jewelry and watch repair facilities, as well as in dental laboratories for cleaning surgical equipment. Many hospitals utilize ultrasonic cleaners for de-contaminating surgical instruments. The attraction of the ultrasonic cleaning process is that it minimizes the need for chemicals while allowing cleaning to occur in the smallest and hardest to reach places.
Large portable ultrasonic cleaning equipment was utilized in the 1970s for the cleaning of Venetian blinds, developed by Stan Morantz, one of the founders of Morantz Ultrasonics. From there, Morantz introduced the process to the developing restoration industry where it was found to be very effective at gently removing soot and fire residue from even the most fragile of items. Ultrasonic cleaning and Morantz took another leap forward at the end of the 20th century when it was shown to be effective at cleaning intricate electronic components, such as computer keyboards, without damage.
The usefulness of ultrasonic cleaning in regards to biological pathogens like bacteria and virus has been known for some time. However, until recently most of these efforts have been limited to small equipment such as clamps and dental molds. The testing done on the Morantz units for efficacy on large items such as wheelchairs, commodes, I.V. stands, bedside tables and other common hospital items is truly groundbreaking in the ultrasonic industry.
Not All Ultrasonic Equipment Is the Same
While all ultrasonic cleaners work on the same principle of cavitation, there are critical differences in the design and function of the various machines. Manufacturers generate sonic waves inside the tank of an ultrasonic cleaner in a variety of ways and in varying powers and frequencies. The testing showing the effectiveness of ultrasonic cleaning for controlling the spread of bacteria was done with equipment with specifications that included immersible transducer packs and a 40kHz frequency. Other manufactured machines have not been tested or proven to produce the same results.
Highlights of the Three Tests
In all three tests a common sense approach was followed. The ability of the Morantz ultrasonic equipment to kill microbial contaminants was measured by collecting samples from items prior to and after being cleaned. Immediate feedback was provided in all three studies by collecting samples on swabs that were analyzed by field equipment using adenosine triphosphate (ATP) technology. ATP instruments have a long history of use in food service and health care settings to determine the cleanliness of surfaces related to biological contaminants. Such instruments provide numerical results known as relative light units (RLU). In two of the studies, side-by-side surface samples were also analyzed by an independent laboratory to determine concentrations of specific types of bacteria.
The first independent test was conducted in order to determine if the cavitation process was as effective at removing bacteria as it was at dislodging dirt, grease, and other non-hazardous materials. A variety of residential and commercial items were tested, including toys, a wheelchair, and electronic components. The sampling data generated during the initial study revealed that:
The Morantz ultrasonic cleaning system was extremely effective in removing bacteria from items with heavy contamination. Bacterial reduction of nearly 100% (99.86% and 99.98%, respectively) was achieved for items that started with more than 1 million and 259,900 colonies of bacteria, respectively.
There was no evidence of cross-contamination even after the water in the ultrasonic tank had been used to clean items with extreme bacterial counts. In fact, one of the items cleaned immediately following contamination of the tank water by items with highly elevated bacterial concentrations had test results below the laboratory’s detection limit.
A follow-up study was authorized in an attempt to determine whether difficult-to-clean items from a hazardous environment could also be effectively decontaminated using a Morantz ultrasonic cleaner.
Since the testing of the Morantz ultrasonic equipment involved cleaning items that would be inoculated with dangerous bacteria (raw sewage and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)), appropriate precautions had to be taken. A small (~10′×10′×8′) enclosure was constructed with stud walls and double layers of six-mil plastic. A one-stage decontamination unit was attached to this enclosure to minimize the possibility of hazardous contaminants escaping from the test area. A HEPA-filtered negative air machine was utilized to keep the test area under negative pressure throughout the process.
On each item that was to be tested and cleaned, five squares were marked and numbered with indelible marker. All five areas on each item were contaminated in a uniform manner with either MRSA bacteria or raw sewage. Field samples were collected from each of the five test squares: three for analysis using a portable ATP tester (square 1, pre-cleaning; square 3, post-cleaning; square 5, post-cleaning and drying) and two for comparative laboratory analysis (square 2, pre-cleaning; square 4, post-cleaning and drying).
All items to be cleaned in the ultrasonic tank were intentionally contaminated prior to cleaning in order to ensure that the contents represented a worst-case scenario. Contamination of test items was conducted with commercially cultured methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria or sewage obtained (post-screening) from the local wastewater treatment plant. As a further challenge, both porous and non-porous items were intentionally contaminated and then cleaned in the ultrasonic tank. Standard cleaning times (two to four minutes, depending on the object’s size, type, and material) were used so that results useful in real-world applications could be obtained.
The sampling data generated during the second study showed that:
Pernicious bacteria types, such as those resistant to antibiotics, can be effectively cleaned from surfaces using Morantz ultrasonic equipment, since MRSA bacteria were completely eliminated from contaminated surfaces by the ultrasonic cleaning.
The laboratory results for Enterococcus and Escherichia coli bacteria contamination showed a 100% reduction for every non-porous item tested. The system also showed impressive results cleaning a microfiber cloth, with 100% reduction of E. coli bacteria and 97.7% reduction of colony forming units of Enterococcus.
Laboratory testing revealed that live bacteria counts in the water when the ultrasonic machine was operating stayed close to zero even after intentional contamination with gallons of raw sewage.
MRSA bacteria was applied to the plastic tray of a walker using a swab.
Initial test results showed that the tray of the walker had been successfully contaminated as indicated by a reading of 925 relative light units (RLU).
As a comparison, the manufacturer of the ATP tester indicates that a clean surface would have less than 10 RLU’s.
Following a two-minute cleaning in the Morantz ultrasonic unit a sample was collected from square 3 and subjected to the same field analysis as the initial sample. Relative light units had been reduced from 925 to 10, indicating that the cleaning process was successful.
The two earlier studies garnered interest from the National Health Service in England as they aggressively attack the problem of HCAI. In this case a three-month trial was extended to six months because of the impressive results that were obtained. However, it is important to note that in the hospital study the “ultrasonics technology cleaning system was not intended to, and did not, replace standard cleaning. All equipment continued to be cleaned in the usual way”.(4) In other words, the infection control experts understand that ultrasonic cleaning is a supplement to existing infection control efforts, not a process that supplants it.
The British study was prompted by their understanding of the ultrasonic cleaning process:
Ultrasonic technology is good at accessing inaccessible areas that normal cleaning cannot reach, for example screw threads and hinges. It is good at cleaning hard substrates. It has been found by researchers to be even more effective than thorough hand scrubbing, often observed in busy work areas. It involves less exposure to cleaning agents and, therefore, contributes to a reduction in skin damage.(5)
1,025 measurements were collected from items before and after cleaning during the course of the study at the two hospitals. A careful analysis of the data showed “an average of a 98% change in the RLU reading when the average Pre-Clean reading is compared with the average Post-Clean 2 reading”.(6)
The results were so consistent and impressive that the researchers were able to draw a stronger correlation than expected. The stated goal was to measure the cleanliness of particular items with the expectation that better cleaning would, indeed, have a positive effect on the number of health care acquired infections. At the conclusion of the trial period the study authors noted, “The evaluation was not designed to assess the effectiveness of ultrasonics in reducing infection, but was it more effective than normal routine cleaning”.
As part of the study in England, hospital personnel were asked to evaluate the ultrasonic cleaning process. When those individuals who had knowledge of the trial were asked, “Would you recommend the system to other colleagues?” 100% of the responses were positive.(7)
At the conclusion of the study hospital personnel had some specific recommendations and conclusions.(8) They noted that the ultrasonic cleaning was especially useful for:
Overall, the study authors were enthusiastic about the Morantz ultrasonic cleaning equipment as a new weapon in the war on HCAI as they stated:
The…ultrasonic system can be used without disruption to staff or patients so long as there is a plan in place to ensure equipment that may be required frequently through the day is cleaned at an appropriate time to allow it to be returned before being required again. The clean appearance of the medical equipment returned had a lot of support from staff and the RLU values post pre clean proves equipment was less contaminated.(9)
An Ultrasonic Answer to Controlling Infections
Both controlled testing and field demonstrations have confirmed that Morantz ultrasonic cleaning equipment is an important tool that should be utilized to improve cleaning performance in health care settings and other critical use facilities. This improved cleaning is one of the keys to reducing health care acquired infections and limiting the personal suffering and financial loss that comes from these preventable diseases.
Monina Klevens, DDS, MPH et. al., “Estimating Health Care-Associated Infections and Deaths in U.S. Hospitals 2002,” Public Health Reports, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, March–April 2007, Volume 122.
Douglas Scott II, “The Direct Medical Costs of Healthcare-Associated Infections in U.S. Hospitals and the Benefits of Prevention,” Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion National Center for Preparedness, Detection, and Control of Infectious Diseases; Coordinating Center for Infectious Diseases; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, March 2009.
Baubiology is the study of how buildings impact the people who occupy them. It is not limited only to the practice of reducing toxicity of building materials, but represents a total approach to a healthy living environment. The approach of baubiology examines lessons from the past, but is future focused. It emphasizes that a particular combination of building materials, furnishings, and cleaning can create positive or negative synergies.
“Showcase Hospitals Local Technology Review Report number 5: Bio-Cav40 Ultrasonic Cleaning,” Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, p. 10.
Ibid., p. 8.
Ibid., p. 12.
Ibid., p. 16.
Ibid., p. 7.
Ibid., p. 18.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael A. Pinto, CSP, CMP, is chief executive officer of Wonder Makers Environmental, Inc. He focuses on common sense practices that work when health professionals are faced with threats from swine or avian flu, MRSA outbreaks, norovirus exposures, and nosocomial infection problems in healthcare facilities.
Mr. Pinto is the author of over 150 published articles and several books including, Fungal Contamination: A Comprehensive Guide for Remediation. He completed doctoral course work in environmental engineering and holds numerous certifications in the environmental and safety areas including Certified Safety Professional and Certified Mold Professional. He conducted most of the testing described in this article but has no ownership connection to Morantz or other manufacturers of mentioned products.
When preparing your facility for ultrasonic cleaning there are a lot of decisions you need to make in order to create a space that is efficient and allows you to more quickly realize profit. Here are a few things to consider.
Where to Start
Space planning starts with figuring out the goals for your ultrasonic equipment and your business. If you’ve already established your goals, then you’re in a great position, but even if you haven’t, there are some basic questions you should ask yourself.
The answers to these questions will help determine your approach to space planning and will help you determine what equipment you need and how you should use it. Some questions should include the following:
What do you plan on cleaning? Is your goal to become a specialist or a cleaning “hub” for a specific type of item in your area? Or, are you just trying to clean items more quickly and easily?
Are you expanding your services? Do you currently have a customer base for a certain type of item ultrasonic cleaning can lend itself too? If so, are you also interested in the possibility of expanding into other markets (i.e. window blinds and curtains, contents restoration, industrial parts cleaning, medical cleaning, sports equipment cleaning, etc? )
Does your business do something other than cleaning? For example, are you a manufacturer who needs a better way to clean parts and components? Are you looking for an alternative method for maintaining equipment?
Do you plan to work primarily from your facility or will this be a mobile business? Having a plan for operation is critical. If most of your work is done at a customer’s site, how you approach planning your facility will be different than if most items will be brought to your facility for processing.
What stage is your business in? Are you a new start up? Do you have existing cash flow? Are you an established company making a planned investment?
Defining Your Space Needs
How you use your space depends on your goals and the type of company you are.
If you are an established company with a goal to diversify services and grow Ultrasonic Cleaning as a major division or department, more equipment may be necessary as well as space. Most likely you will need a defined workspace that may require at least 500 square feet. This not only includes space for equipment, but for storage of both dirty and cleaned items, racks for drying, tables for packing/unpacking and more.
If you are a newer or smaller company, it may be necessary to minimize the space you use. Being nimble and flexible will help with cash flow and allow you to maximize your profits. Your strategy should include some planning for future growth. That means you need to decide if you want to reinvest income in additional space and/or more equipment.
Determining Your Infrastructure
The following are additional factors that you need to consider. These factors will also help you determine the equipment that may work best for you in your current circumstances.
Know the service your facility currently has installed and determine whether that service can be modified (if needed). For example, most Morantz Ultrasonic Systems are available in 110v and 220v models and typically require a 20amp service.
You’ll need to answer the following questions:
What electrical current do you have available?
Do you have 110v, 208v, 220v or a combination?
How many separate circuits do you currently have?
How many amps?
What electricity are you willing or able to install?
Will you need a landlord’s or other approval to make modifications?
Water is the cleaning medium for Ultrasonics. Specifically, Ultrasonics requires soft water to achieve it’s most effective cleaning.
Customers should investigate their water source and determine the following:
Is your water source city or well water?
Is the water hard or soft?
Will you be working primarily on-site (using your customer’s water)?
Hard Vs. Soft Water
It’s not uncommon for facilities to have hard water. Fortunately, it’s easy to soften hard city supplied water with Morantz products. For a variety of reasons, well water is not a good medium for ultrasonic cleaning. This may require installing a water softening system or utilizing outside water. This is something you want to plan for, not be surprised by later.
You want to be able to fill your equipment and drain easily. This can be as simple as using a hose to fill the machine(s) and opening the ball valve drain on each machine for drainage.
DO plan to use separate hoses to drain your tank(s) than you use for drainage. The inner surfaces of drainage hoses can be contaminated, and you want to fill your tanks with clean water.
DON’T become paralyzed to move forward due to a perception that you can’t start offering the cleaning service if you don’t have the filling and draining of the tanks perfectly planned out. Start simple. If you would like to install more permanent fixtures throughout your facility for filling and draining, great. Sometimes it’s best to wait until you have your equipment in the place you want it before making these installations. Give yourself some flexibility and see what works best.
If possible, use hot water to fill your machine(s), but consider the following:
Do you have access to hot water?
Do you have enough hot water to fill your equipment?
If you don’t have hot water, the machine will need to heat the water. Do you have enough time to heat the water before beginning work?
Do you have all the right equipment to help you perform the work quickly and easily? Time is money and you need to be prepared for each job. While Morantz offers multiple accessory Kits designed specifically to help you get the job done quickly and easily, there are additional accessories that you may need to consider.
Air Compressors Older Morantz machines include Morantz’s pneumatic lifts (as of 2017, most are electric). You will need to supply compressed air for the pneumatic lifts to operate, and for newer models, pre-wash machines still use air compressors for the bubbling action. When planning your space and electricity, don’t forget to consider what you may need to run your compressor(s). Also, many compressors are noisy. You may want these behind a wall, in a closet or case to muffle sounds.
Unpacking/Packing Tables For most applications (including window blind cleaning, parts, restoration and contents cleaning), you will need a workspace to process items both before and after cleaning. This is where you will unpack and repack the items, prepare them for cleaning and inspect them for damage or unexpected contamination. Make sure you have space for the tables you are considering using.
Packing Materials Most items will need to be packaged in some way after cleaning. You may want your packaging materials such as paper, plastic, bubble wrap and boxes over or near the tables.
Sink: If you are not using the Morantz Pre-Wash or Rinse tanks, having a sink nearby can be extremely useful for many cleaning applications. Consider having a sink large enough to fit the size baskets you are using with your machines.
Drying Tools and Drying Space You will need to dry whatever you wash. While some items can drip or air dry, other items may need to be dried much faster. For quick drying, the Morantz Blow-Dry Gun is a great tool, but you may need to do a more thorough drying. In that case, the Morantz Drye Rite and Ozone cabinet can be a great solution.In some circumstances, you may want to build your own drying room. This will allow you to dry many large items at once. Regardless of your drying method, you will need to consider space, item placement, electrical and ventilation requirements.
Storage Will you be storing items after cleaning? If so, will you need to store items for the short or long term? If you don’t have storage space available, you might want to consider off-site storage. Whatever your storage decision, be sure that the items are stored in a safe and climate controlled facility (if necessary).
Ask Morantz for Professional Help
The abovementioned questions are critical to allow you to efficiently plan your space. The more prepared your space is, the faster you can process jobs and realize a profit. We can also assist you with Best Practices and provide guidance to your organization.
Please be sure to discuss your goals with your Morantz representative before ordering your equipment. We want to help your company make informed decisions and plan for your growth and success.
And don’t forget; this is a free service to our customers.
How to Get Started
We want your space planning to be quick and easy, but in order for us to help you, there are some things that you can send us to help speed up the process. These items will also help us figure out and make suggestions about what equipment will work best at your facility, maximizing workflow and account for additional items you may need to install.
If you don’t have all of these items, let us know and we can discuss making arrangements to acquire them. These items include:
Facility Measurements Please be thorough and note locations of existing doors, electrical outlets, conduits, plumbing, drainage and water sources, fixed structural elements and equipment or other potential obstacles that will have to taken into consideration.
Photographs Yes, a picture is worth a thousand words. They also help us see exactly what we’re talking about and allow us to better understand your facility’s available space and existing layout. When taking pictures, wide-angle pictures of the entire space are preferred as well as close-ups of necessary elements that need to be worked around (i.e. existing fixtures, closets, etc.).
If you want Morantz to help you plan your facility, or if you have any questions about planning, please don’t hesitate to contact us so we can discuss your needs and help you plan for success. We want you to profit from your equipment and receive your “Thumbs Up”.
Here at Morantz, we believe that we’re only successful when our customers are successful. That’s why when we heard that ICS Cleaning Specialist Magazine profiled our customer, Nu-Look Cleaning Services of Philadelphia, PA, we couldn’t wait to share the news.
Spring Cleaning has begun and at Morantz Ultrasonics we’ve seen an increase in our Window Blind and Curtain Cleaning Services as well as our Parts Cleaning Service (yes, we still run our Ultrasonic Cleaning Service in addition to manufacturing the equipment). So now is the perfect time to kick your promotions into high gear and market Ultrasonic Cleaning.
We’ve done a lot of marketing over the years and we know from experience that there are way to promote our services that have proven themselves time and time again. Others methods are newer and are working quite well. Here’s my current top 10 list of best ways to promote Spring Cleaning (in no particular order):
1) Partner with Local Dry Cleaners: Most dry cleaners offer curtain cleaning, but not blind cleaning. Reach out to your local dry cleaners and suggest a partnership with you that will allow them to offer blind cleaning services. Not only will they increase revenue, but they may add on some new dry cleaning customers in the process (this happens quite often). They love this, and you have tapped into a new customer base.
2) Offer a Groupon: Groupon marketing and other online based coupons are great ways to get your services known. Offer your services for blind cleaning, tools cleaning, golf club cleaning, parts cleaning, medical cleaning and more. You’re likely to tap into a new set of customers this way.
3) Go Door to Door: A hanger tag with a coupon, placed on the door handles in the right neighborhood can bring you a lot of extra work. Make sure your tags look professional and your contact information is clear and concise. List all of your Spring Cleaning Services including air conditioning vents, barbeque grills, window screens and more. If you’ve been to a neighbor’s home and they are happy with your service, get a reference and include it on the hanger tag.
4) Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and Other Social Media Sites: While Facebook has been cutting back on how many people actually see posts, don’t overlook social media marketing. It is very effective and most of it is still absolutely free. Many people search for services through these sites, so you should have a strong presence. Update all social media sites at least once a week and you’ll have plenty of content to share. Be sure to promote Spring Cleaning!
5) Partner with Local Hardware Stores: Spring is when the tools come out and many of them could use a good clean up. Why not partner with hardware stores for tool cleaning? Bring your equipment on site and make it an event.
6) Partner with Window Washers: Spring is when windows get washed and window washers have to move blinds every time they do their job. Why not let them know they can offer the blind cleaning service and make some money without doing any more work?
7) Exhibit at Your Local Home Show and Flea Markets: Most communities have some sort of home show or flea market in the Spring where companies showcase their products and services and people offer their wares for sale. Why not set up a booth, bring your machine and do demos? You can raffle off free blind cleaning and collect names for your mailing list.
8) Send Out Post Cards to Commercial Accounts: Post cards with good Before and After photos are very effective in grabbing attention. Why not send out post cards to facility managers, property management companies and others who you would like to work with? Work towards setting up an appointment for an in-person meeting and free estimate for their facility.
9) Update Your Website: Now is a good time to do a your own Spring Cleaning. Update your website and be sure to include information about your Spring Cleaning Services and your Spring Cleaning coupons and discounts. Make sure your message is clear, that you have great before and after photos, and that you have an easy way for customers to contact you.
10)Visit your local schools: Now is the time to work on Summer cleaning. Since school is still in session through the Spring, try to line up work for Summer during this time.
If you have questions about marketing your Ultrasonic Service, call our office at 215.969.0266 to discuss your needs. We are here to support our customers in every aspect of their business, including promotion.