Proper Sanitation in the Floral Industry and Beyond
There are so many products for sale to help us clean, sanitize and disinfect. Never before in human history have we had so many potions, lotions and gadgets readily available to keep our environment sterile. In most public places – for example, grocery stores, schools and hospitals – “sanitation stations” fully equipped with hand sanitizers and wipes, all in an effort to minimize the spread of germs and, consequently, diseases, are clearly marked and well used. As modern medicine evolves, so has our understanding that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
The floral industry, too, has evolved with time, and we have learned many things the hard way. We now have a much better understanding of how proper sanitation plays one of the most important roles in increasing vase life or how the lack thereof can greatly impact it. Increased vase life has many benefits, none of the least being to save money. Ensuring your customers have amazing experiences is priceless. Happy customers are repeat customers, and that is worth a little extra elbow grease!
Our industry has a range of products available that are appropriate for use from farm to consumer. Following these easy steps will provide clean conditions and long-lasting flowers:
1. Sweep cooler and work-area floors daily to rid them of leaves, petals or stems that may carry disease spores.
2. Clean and sanitize coolers, work areas, floors, walls and shelves monthly.
3. Clean and sanitize sinks, design tables, knives and clippers daily.
4. Clean and sanitize buckets with clean water and professional cleaners that have a residual effect.
5. Use only clean and cool water for flower hydration, holding solutions and vase solutions.
6. Use ONLY professional hydration and flower-food solutions because these include the proper ingredients.
7. Mix fresh solution. Start with clean, freshly made hydration and holding solutions at grower, wholesale and distribution centers, and properly mixed commercial flower foods at retail stores.
8. Be sure you and your team are sanitation fanatics! For best results, there is no substitute for due diligence!
During the sanitary crisis that we are all facing, your cleaning efforts should not be exclusive to flowers. It is important to remind everyone of the importance of cleaning and disinfecting all environments properly and often, whether at home or in the workplace.
Did you know that FloraLife D.C.D. Cleaner and FloraLife MicroBLOC Disinfectant are both effective EPA-registered antimicrobial cleaners? Both products have the same effect: disinfectant, cleaner, sanitizer, bactericide, virucide, fungicide, mildewstat and deodorizer of hard nonporous surfaces such as, but not limited to, walls, floors, ceilings, shelves, packing areas, garbage pails, benches and countertops. Both meet the EPA criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus. (Search “EPA List N” for more information.) The concentration level of each product is different, so it is important to follow proper use directions for both products. In order to lower the risk of spreading infections, hard surfaces that are touched often or by more than one person need to be cleaned and disinfected often.
Examples of hard surfaces include:
• Food-processing surfaces
• Delivery vehicles
• Countertops and tabletops
• Restrooms/Bathroom surfaces
• Waiting areas
• Shelves Warehouse floors and walls
• Packing areas
• Hospitals and doctors’ offices
• Doors and handles
• Chairs, etc.
According to the U.S. EPA, coronaviruses are one of the easiest types of viruses to kill with the appropriate disinfectant products. You can stop the spread of germs effectively with regular disinfection of high-traffic hard surfaces. But not all cleaners are disinfectants. So, when purchasing a disinfectant, do you know what to look for?
The U.S. EPA has listed a number of ingredients for disinfection against SARS-CoV-2, including a set of chemical formulations based on quaternary ammonium compounds (quats) as the active ingredients, which are trusted to formulate effective disinfectants. Even at low concentrations, Quats can kill dangerous microorganisms and germs.
The FloraLife disinfectant products contain a class of compounds called “quaternary ammonium chlorides”. These are well-known surfactants widely used in many cleaning and disinfecting products. The surfactant nature of the chemistry helps the cleaning of surfaces. At the same time, due to the activity on “oily” or ‘fatty” surfaces, these chemistries disintegrate the membranes of microorganisms, thereby, inactivating them. Therefore, these chemistries clean, sanitize and disinfect at the same time.
There is one more thing you need to know: For longer-lasting results, use disinfectant cleaners that have a residual effect. One of the many advantages of using FloraLife D.C.D. Cleaner and FloraLife MicroBLOC Disinfectant instead of bleach is their long-lasting effect, or persistence, on surfaces, which is referred to as “residual activity.” Bleach products, on the other hand, are inactivated quickly after performing the cleaning action and dissipate from the surface. The FloraLife disinfectant products stay attached to surfaces longer. The long-lasting effect depends on the type of surface as well as how clean it is. To get the residual activity once the area is treated with the products, do not rinse it off because it will create an invisible film over the clean surface. In applications where a treated area needs to be rinsed off with water after application (such as food contact surfaces), this residual activity is minimal. To know which surfaces need to be rinsed off, follow the label instructions.
Happy cleaning everyone, and stay healthy and well!