Secrets of the Professionals Revealed That You Can Use at Home – 2


Last issue we learned how the professionals keep their facilities free of vermin and how you can implement the same practices in your own home.  Do you wonder how the large food companies keep their facilities so clean and spotless to ensure you get the highest quality product?  I don’t know about you but I don’t always remember how long ago I cleaned behind the fridge, or how often I clean the range hood grills.  Was it last month? Last year?  The professionals use a fabulous tool to track cleaning that you can as well to make sure all is done on a regular basis and it’s called a “sanitation schedule”

Sanitation Schedule

Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like.  It’s a cleaning schedule that is posted in a convenient location where everyone can see it.  It lists every component, every apparatus, every location that food touches and every other nook and cranny from receiving to production to packaging to the warehouse and finally shipping.  Also on the schedule along with each item listed is when it should be cleaned, who’s responsible to make it happen and when it did happen.  This ensures a uniform and continuous cleaning program that you can also schedule high traffic and critical areas for more intense cleaning. 

You can do the same thing for your home.  Great areas, to begin with, would be the kitchen and bathrooms.  So what do we need to clean?  Use a critical eye and look around the kitchen and break it down.  Don’t forget any surfaces.  As an example, I have behind the refrigerator scheduled as an annual chore and then for the stove vent hood, it’s done along with the grease traps and vents every other week May-Sept and then up to once a week Oct – Jan when we do more cooking and entertaining.  How about inside the refrigerator?  The door shelves, the produce storage bins, the ice bin.  All items you may miss but with your sanitation schedule, you are confident they’re clean and fully operational.  Don’t forget the pantry and other cabinets as well that you use to store food items.  When you’re cleaning them also keep an eye out for signs of infestation like mouse droppings and that food is properly sealed so it won’t entice unwanted visitors.   

Get the kids involved too by allowing them to make a  cleaning schedule for their own rooms as well as other cleaning chores you may assign them.  This is also the perfect time of year to get this started and a great habit to develop.  So get your sanitation schedule together, (please feel free to change and tailor the name to suit your needs) and then you can run your household just like a professional.

Want to learn more?  It’s easy.  You can begin by subscribing to this blog or you can also research it or google it.  Try the term HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) to get you started.  Remember, there is no such thing as a stupid question.










Secrets of the Professionals Revealed That You Can Use at Home.


Companies spend thousands of dollars each year on sanitation and pest control along with thousands of hours on the training of personnel to properly handle those tasks or spend hours screening and evaluating outside contractors.  Either way, they want to provide the highest level of quality to ensure the best product produced.  The fabulous news is I’m going to share with you their secrets that you can do in your home. 

The professionals know that when the weather changes for the worse or nearby vacant fields are disturbed by construction or an idle facility comes to life, the displaced vermin will find a new place to call home and raise a family but by following these professional tips they won’t find your home a hospitable place and it all begins with the walk around.

The walk around is critical to maintaining any facility.  It’s your way of being proactive, finding what needs to be repaired and getting it done in a timely manner while getting a little exercise.  Walkarounds should be conducted consistently and once a month is an excellent schedule.  Walk the entire perimeter of your home, looking for and making note of the points of entry from the vermin’s point of view.  You are looking for small openings, any small cracks or holes should be noted to be repaired as they don’t need much room to squeeze through.  A mouse can fit through a hole as small as 2 cm/.787 of an inch. while a rat only needs a hole the size of a quarter to gain access to your home.   Also make note of any vegetation, weeds, shrubs or grass that’s abutted up to the house.   That should be cut back or removed since it’s providing cover for the critters.  Are there large gaps underneath the doors to the outside like the side door of the garage?  Is the area where your trash cans/trash bins are stored free and clear of trash, scraps, and clutter and are they sealed properly keeping trash secure from critters?  Take care of repairs right away as procrastination will set you back and create more problems.

Now you’ll do your walk around inside the home.  Again look for openings around valves and pipes under sinks, the furnace/ac, and laundry room.  If they get into the garage and the walls this is how they’ll enter your living areas.  After identifying your problem areas get the needed materials and do the repairs and hole filling immediately.



To resolve the problem of a large gap under your side doors you can purchase and install a Door Sweep.




Trap set by garage side door.

Now, with that accomplished, we’re going to add an extra level of protection by setting traps in different areas not just to trap those unwanted guests but also to alert you if the problem is remaining stable or getting out of hand and needs more attention.  I tried different traps and found some more effective than others.  There is one covered trap, to spare you from seeing the dead, that is the worst with a 40-50% kill rate.  The best trap I found that never missed a beat with a 100% kill rate was Ankace Power Rodent Killer.  I have 6 traps set up, one on each side of the garage roll-up door, one by the garage side door, one on the side of steps leading into the house from the garage, one under the kitchen sink and the last one in the heating/ac closet.   IMG_1818

If the idea of traps bothers you then you can buy bait traps and place those in the same locations as you would the traps and also around the outside of the house.  I have a combination of both around my house.  I also keep non-latex gloves and zip lock bags on hand for those times I have to clear a trap, which by the way hasn’t happened in quite a long time.  If you are doing everything else right you won’t be emptying traps every day and as I said before, the traps are also an alert that something has changed.  Once you have this all in place then set yourself a reminder and check the traps on a regular basis for activity, at least once a week.

Ever wonder how the professionals remember when to clean and how often?  They use a master sanitation schedule that is posted for all to see so they know when what and how.  Next time, we’ll show you how you can use that at home too.













Really Burns My Butt – DIY Safety

Before they became popular, the only place you could find cooking or home improvement Do It Yourself shows was on Public Broadcasting channels.  They were produced with small budgets, single camera, no computer generated graphics, straight to the point, lots of explaining and very much like a lecture. Now there are not only hundreds of shows available but networks dedicated to DIY and it has become a booming business.  The shows are great for generating new ideas by featuring the latest styles, equipment, materials, techniques, colors and decor while demonstrating tiling a backsplash to a complete home remodel.
What really burns my butt is that some of these home improvement DIY shows take a juvenile approach to safety, if that much effort at all.  In fact safety is not even a consideration in some shows as they are too busy showcasing new products while the host goofs around with the homeowners and horse play ensues, reinforcing bad and dangerous safety habits to the audience.  I understand it’s tough to explain about what you are doing during a remodel job while wearing a dust mask, and it’s just not cool looking either.   The audience needs to be told that there are dangerous toxins in that dust when your tearing up a room and that’s why you need to wear a dust mask.  Be honest and tell them, you know wearing a dust mask makes me look like a dork, so I’ve instead opted not to wear one and instead inhale the silica particles but you shouldn’t do that at home.
 Todd Davis

Todd Davis

As more an more home improvement shows are developed, produced and aired, safety continues to take a back seat.  That’s because Safety is not perceived as glamorous, or can be cute and funny and is hard to sell.  Which is not true as the networks are missing a marketing opportunity with the big home stores with PSAs on safety.  A few Saturday mornings ago, I watched a new show on the HGTV network called “Building small live anywhere” where a husband and wife team help people find and build their dream home.  The contractor half of the team, Todd Davis may be a great contractor but doesn’t demonstrate it when it comes to safety, in fact he’s clueless.  During the demolition of a kitchen and later a bathroom, he thought it was professional to demolish the counters by jumping up and down on them like a 2 year old throwing a tantrum. I can only hope there is an outtake somewhere of him falling on his ass as this is just plain immature and dangerous behavior.  He also didn’t bother to wear a dust mask during demo which you at home should do unless you want to develop COPD 20 years from now.
DIY shows are good, they really do help people but the networks need to take a proactive approach and be more responsible to reflect the safety aspects of any project and do more to demonstrate those safe techniques.  At the very least since they love to display messages at the bottom of the T.V. screen about the next or new show why not have disclaimers instead like,Todd Davis is hell bent on killing himself so please do not attempt this at home.
As it is, there is going to be many husbands and wives this weekend, working or arguing through their home improvement projects.  It would be very nice if DIY and HGTV networks could help reduce the number of weekend trips to the E.R and future lung diseases years from now by explaining and demonstrating proper safety precautions and Personal Protective Equipment needed, like safety goggles, dust mask, gloves and hearing protection when doing a home improvement project.
What do you think?  Is it their responsibility to talk and walk safety when demonstrating home improvement projects?