Three “Off the Beaten Path” Applications Where Shoe Covers are Used

The elevator conversation goes something like this: “We sell automatic shoe cover dispensers and shoe covers.” “Shoe covers?” “Yes, shoe covers or booties, like doctors wear.” “Oh yeah, hospital booties.” Other than hospitals, the usual suspects where shoe covers are used include pharmaceutical manufacturing, food processing, research and development, medical device manufacturing, etc. Less obvious applications include construction, real estate, and aerospace as well. Because most of us are not behind the scenes, we don’t realize there are dozens and dozens of industries where shoe booties are important. Here are three “off the beaten path” applications where disposable shoe covers are used:

  • “Dirty business”

Most often shoe booties are used in clean environments (for example, cleanrooms, laboratories, food processing facilities) where the intent is to keep outside contaminants iStock_000020583218XLargefrom entering for reasons such as hygiene, food safety, product purity, testing results integrity, etc. Why would “dirty” industries (like your stereotypical manufacturing that is oily/greasy/otherwise messy) use them? The reason is that when employees or anyone else who has been in the dirty area comes into the clean office space for lunch, a quick meeting, or to exit the facility, they put on shoe covers in order to keep the area clean and to prolong the life of expensive flooring. A thick fabric bootie may do the trick, but a heavy duty shoe cover that will stand up to aggressive boot treads and keep dirty contaminants inside the shoe cover may be advisable.

  • Filming and photography

Location sets for filming and photography may involve exclusive homes and fragile surfaces that deserve protection from scuffs, scratches, and contamination. Also, companies may want to protect their green screens when people are walking or posing on them. Depending on the surface, a plastic shoe cover may be appropriate because it is waterproof and inexpensive. Another option that is also waterproof but has superior traction is the Super non-slip shoe cover, which is the go-to when slippery surfaces are involved.

  • Textile services

Clean laundry doesn’t deserve to get dirty before it is put into use. No need to waste water and detergent for re-washing, right? Keeping large-scale laundry facilities clean is important in case the corner of a clean sheet or towel touches the ground, or a laundered uniform accidentally falls on the floor. A variety of types of shoe covers would work, perhaps a low cost fabric bootie.

Disposable shoe covers are ubiquitous and quite helpful in a wide variety of environments beyond the usual suspect applications. From military bases to national laboratories, child care facilities to parades of homes, energy production operations to battery manufacturers, shoe covers are a vital tool to keep environments clean and safe.

Seven Reasons to Utilize Revolutionary Automatic Shoe Cover Dispensers and Removers

There are multiple methods for businesses and organizations to keep their facilities clean and minimize or prevent contamination from the wide variety of contaminants that exist on shoes.  The four most prevalent options are shoe covers/booties (disposable or reusable), dedicated/facility shoes, sticky/tacky mats, and chemical baths.  The relative pros and cons of these will be discussed in a future blog post.  This blog post focuses on shoe covers and a revolutionary technology for putting them on and taking them off.

Shoe covers are essential in many applications for keeping environments clean and free from contamination.  In some cases, you want to prevent whatever is on the floor from getting on your shoes.  Other times you want or need to prevent contaminants on your shoes from getting on the floors in your environment for maintenance and sanitation, health and safety, infection control and other reasons.  In the past people had to apply and remove their shoe covers manually, but this is time-consuming, can be dangerous, and is definitely not clean.  Alternatively, many entities are now utilizing automatic shoe cover dispensers and removers to address these issues.  Here are seven reasons why:

  • Speed: it’s faster

No bones about it, putting shoe covers on the old-fashioned way is time-consuming – the entire process, which includes grabbing a pair of shoe covers and finding a place to put them on, easily takes somewhere between 30 and 45 seconds each and every time.  Removing them can take even longer, especially in an environment that requires more extensive hygiene practices.  With Shoe Inn’s revolutionary automatic shoe cover dispensers and removers, the time is reduced to about five (5) seconds!

  • Efficiency = productivity = $$$

Applying shoe covers faster and more efficiently means employees can get to work faster. The Shoe Inn system makes the process of applying and removing shoe covers AT LEAST four times (4x) faster.  This significantly shorter gowning time equals increased efficiency that translates to increased productivity, meaning you are not wasting money paying your employees to put on shoe covers but instead are paying them in their work environment where they are being productive. Cumulatively, these small time saving increments add up to big savings for your business!

  • Easy breezy

Putting shoe covers on is easy for some people, a walk in the park.  However, for others it can be a real challenge for a variety of legitimate reasons. Many, many times we’ve been told by people at tradeshows (with colorful, choice words) how much they despise, detest, even flat out refuse to put shoe covers on.  Employ automatic shoe cover dispensers, which make it so much easier to put booties on, and those challenges and objections will vanish, thereby increasing compliance.  Same goes for the remover, just at the back end of the process.

  • Safety rules

Automatic shoe cover dispensers and removers keep employees and visitors safer by iStock_000020353612Largereducing the risk of injuring themselves while putting shoe covers on and taking them off.  Instead of bouncing around while attempting to balance on one foot and lifting the other leg, which we have dubbed the “bootie hop” (see The Bootie Hop video), people can safely apply and remove their shoe covers in an ergonomically friendly manner.  The handlebars found on the Shoe Inn Stay dispenser and both ASCR removers make it even safer and easier.  Say goodbye to those workers’ comp claims!

  • It’s cleaner

Open hand raised, Stop Bacteria sign painted, multi purpose concPutting shoe covers on and taking them off by hand is dirty business.  Your shoes, particularly the bottoms, are gross – just think about everything you’ve stepped in and on while walking around streets, parking lots, subways, parks, trails, public bathrooms, etc.  It is almost inevitable that you’re going to touch your shoes while putting shoe covers on manually and thus contaminate your hands.  Depending on the environment, used shoe covers can be soiled as well so automatic shoe cover removers do the dirty work for you.

  • Save precious space

Oftentimes wherever shoe covers need to be put on and/or taken off, space is at a Cleanroom employee putting on shoe covers and using a sticky matpremium.  Gowning benches and chairs take up space and can be obstructions.  Shoe cover dispensers and removers take up much less space, especially proportionately when factoring in how much more efficient they are in facilitating people getting through the process.  Fewer benches and chairs mean more space for other necessities.

  • Dressed to impress

Starward-virtual-proof-2Manually putting shoe covers on and taking them off is so old school.  While there will always be a place for doing certain things the old-fashioned way, why not look professional and impress your customers, visitors, regulators, inspectors and auditors?  In fact, you can customize your Shoe Inn dispensers and removers with your corporate logo, motto/slogan, contact information, etc. to further cement your brand.

As you can see, there are many benefits to implementing an automatic shoe cover dispensing and removal system.  Want to know more?  Check out our line of shoe cover dispensers, shoe covers and removers or contact us.  At Shoe Inn, we make putting shoe covers on and taking them off faster, easier, safer and cleaner!

Sticky Mat Protocol for Use in Cleanrooms

Shoes on sticky mats
Sticky mats help trap dirt!

While many companies use shoe covers to prevent contamination, many Shoe Inn customers also use sticky mats to maximize contamination prevention.  The utilization of multi-layer adhesive mats for cleanrooms is almost universal. However, how the mats are used is unique to each cleanroom. Mats can vary in size, color, number, and placement based on the logistics and characteristics of each individual cleanroom.

Placement

Mats should be placed in an area where they will be on clean, hard flooring. They should be placed just before or just after the ingress/egress point for each cleanliness or control change. It is suggested that the placement sites are worked backward from the final clean area or cleanroom.
Cleanroom employee putting on shoe covers and using a sticky mat

  • cleanroom – gowning area
  • cleanroom – staging area
  • gowning area – control area
  • control area – common hallway
  • common hallway – warehouse or receiving
  • common hallway – public area

Matting should be placed so that all those passing through that point must step on the mats. Matting should be placed with the longer dimension of the mat in the same direction as the traffic flow for maximum footfalls on each mat. The minimum number of footfalls should be two with each foot for each location.

Size

The proper size mat for each area of placement depends on the width of the opening and the variance and direction of the traffic. Normally the width of the mat should be 2/3rds to 3/4ths of the width of the doorway. It does not normally need to cover the full width because ordinary traffic passes through the middle of the doorway and not along the edge. However, if the traffic enters at a sharp angle or from the side of the entryway, then the width of the mat needs to be wider than the doorway to allow for enough footfalls.

As stated above, the length of the mat should be long enough to provide at least two footfalls with each foot at each location. Usually this is a minimum of 45 inches.

Color

The color of the mats, which has no effect on the function of the mat, can vary from standard blue, white, and grey to custom colors and printed messages. In general, white shows the most dirt and particulates, and is normally preferred to make sure the layers are changed at frequent enough intervals. However, grey and blue work just as well when a maintenance schedule is set.

Layer MaintenanceSticky mat with shoes and cart

How often the layers should be removed depends on a number of factors:

  • How dirty the area the personnel are coming from is.
  • The number of people or pairs of feet per shift or per hour.
  • The difference in cleanliness between the areas.
  • The size of the mats and how many mats or locations are in the series.

In general, areas farther away from the cleanroom will be dirtier. Changing the layers at this point of use every half hour would be a benchmark with which to start. The final entry area into the cleanroom is probably from a clean area to a very clean area and each layer may last 4 to 8 hours.

However, this is just a rough guideline and each point of use will vary greatly. A few days of use and observation will help to determine the optimal mat layer change interval.

Installation

  1. Before placing a new mat down or replacing an existing mat, thoroughly clean the surface to remove contamination that may act as a barrier and keep the mat from properly adhering to the floor. Make sure to remove any adhesive residue if you are replacing an existing mat. It is recommended to use a pre-saturated wiper that contains a percentage of isopropyl alcohol. Make sure the surface is completely dry before application.
  2. To apply the mat, remove half of the release liner in the long direction of the mat, which will help with the alignment of the mat.
  3. Once you have the mat properly aligned in the location you want, start smoothing out the half of the mat with the adhesive exposed. Start at one end and work toward the middle making sure you do not trap air under the mat as you go, then remove the rest of the release liner and smooth the rest of the mat out in the same direction in which you removed the release liner.

Storage

Matting should be stored flat and for several hours in similar climate conditions as the point of use. For ideal results, the mats should be used in a controlled environment setting but may be placed in any area that has a temperature of 54-95 oF (12-35 oC).

Long-term storage of mats should always be on a flat and hard surface. Storage on the original shipping pallet is recommended. Normal warehouse conditions are usually acceptable but extreme temperatures (less than 32 or greater than 105 oF / 0 or 40 oC) should be avoided.

Storage of mats longer than one year from the date of purchase is not recommended. However, under normal storage conditions, matting should not have any variation in performance for a period of up to three years.

Summary

The utilization of multi-layer sticky mats for cleanrooms is almost universal.  In fact, many customers who use the Shoe Inn automatic shoe cover dispensing system also use these adhesive mats to further help prevent contamination within controlled environments.  Depending on various factors such as how dirty the area the personnel are coming from is and the level of cleanliness desired or mandated, this combined approach may be advisable or even required.

Who Needs an Automatic Shoe Cover Dispenser?

An automatic shoe cover dispenser, who needs that?  When it comes to putting on shoesitting-bench-shoe-covers-158 covers, you don’t think much about it — you just do what you’ve always done, sitting on a bench or balancing on one leg while trying to put a shoe cover on the other foot (what we call the “bootie hop”).  Sounds simple, but for many people it is not.  If you find it difficult to bend over and tie your shoes or to balance on one leg, then you know how challenging it can be to put shoe covers on.  Quite frankly, most people who have to wear shoe covers despise putting them on.  Also consider workplace injuries happening during the process of putting them on — they do happen.  In fact, the “bootie hop” is a worker’s comp claim waiting to happen.  Last but not least, what about the bottleneck that is created when you have a lot of people who need to put them on at the same time?  Shoe Inn can help alleviate all of these issues.  Shoe Inn automatic shoe cover dispensers are ideal for use in a variety of environments such as manufacturing and food processing plants, laboratories and clean rooms, medical and healthcare facilities, and anywhere else people need to put shoe covers on faster, easier, safer and cleaner.  There is no doubt that you will benefit from the ease of use, time savings, and added safety from using Shoe Inn automatic shoe cover dispensers.