Tid Bits

More than you ever wanted to know about cleaning... and some tidbits.

From listening comes wisdom and from speaking repentance.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.

All virtue is summed up in dealing justly. - Aristotle

A holiday for janitors ought to take place in January, for both words are linked. In Latin ianus was the word for "archway, gateway, or covered passage" and also for the god of gates, doorways, and beginnings in general. The month of January, a month of beginnings, is named for the god Janus.

Latin, ianitor, the source of our word janitor and ultimately also from ianus, meant "doorkeeper" or "gatekeeper". Probably because ianitor was common in Latin records and documents, it was adopted into English, first being recorded in the sense "doorkeeper" around 1567 in a Scots text. In an early quotation Saint Peter is called " the Janitor of Heaven ". The term can still mean "doorkeeper" but in Scots usage, janitor also referred to a minor school official. Apparently this position at times involved maintenance duties and door keeping, and the maintenance duties took over the more exalted tasks giving us the position of janitor as we know it today.



A true story about lipstick.

A principal of a small middle school had a problem with a few of the older girls starting to use lipstick. When applying it in the bathroom, they would then press their lips to the mirror and leave lip prints.

Before it got out of hand, he thought of a way to stop it. He gathered all the girls together that wore lipstick and told them he wanted to meet with them in the ladies' room at 2 p.m. They gathered at 2 p.m. and found the principal and the school custodian waiting for them.

The principal explained that it was becoming a problem for the custodian to clean the mirror every night. He said he felt the ladies did not fully understand just how much of a problem it was and he wanted them to witness just how hard it was to clean. The custodian then demonstrated. He took a long brush on a handle out of a box. He then dipped the brush in the nearest toilet, moved to the mirror and proceeded to remove the lipstick.

That was the last day the girls pressed their lips on the mirror.

Beaverton School District
Beaverton, Oregon


Amateurs built the Ark, professionals built the Titanic.

Most of life is maintenance.

Leonardo Da Vinci invented the scissors.

The first toilet ever seen on television was on "Leave It To Beaver."

The Pentagon, in Arlington, Virginia, has twice as many bathrooms as is necessary. When it was built in the 1940s, the state of Virginia still had segregation laws requiring separate toilet facilities for blacks and whites.

Cat's urine glows under a black light.

Murphy's Oil Soap is the chemical most commonly used to clean elephants.

The highest point in Pennsylvania is lower than the lowest point in Colorado.



W-D 40

janitorial WD40

The product began from a search for a rust preventative solvent and degreaser to protect missile parts. WD-40 was created in 1953 by three technicians at the San Diego Rocket Chemical Company. It's name comes from the project that was to find a "water displacement" compound.

They were successful with the fortieth formulation, thus WD-40. The Corvair Company bought it in bulk to protect their Atlas missile parts. The workers were so pleased with the product, they began muggling (also known as "shrinkage" or stealing") it out to use at home. The executives decided there might be a consumer market for it and put it in aerosol cans. The rest, as they say, is history. It is a carefully guarded recipe known only to four people. Only one of them is the "brew master." There are about 2.5 million gallons of the stuff manufactured each year. It gets it's distinctive smell from a fragrance that is added to the brew. Ken East (one of the original founders) says there is nothing in WD-40 that would hurt you.

Here are some of the uses:

  • Protects silver from tarnishing
  • Gets oil spots off concrete driveways
  • Restores and cleans chalkboards
  • Removes lipstick stains
  • Loosens stubborn zippers
  • Untangles jewelry chains
  • Removes stains from stainless steel sinks
  • Removes dirt and grime from the barbecue grill
  • Keeps ceramic/terra cotta garden pots from oxidizing
  • Removes tomato stains from clothing
  • Keeps glass shower doors free of water spots
  • Camouflages scratches in ceramic and marble floors
  • Keeps scissors working smoothly
  • Gives a children's play gym slide a shine for a super fast slide
  • Lubricates gear shift and mower deck lever for ease of handling on riding mowers
  • Rids rocking chairs and swings of squeaky noises
  • Lubricates tracks in sticking home windows and makes them easier to open
  • Spraying an umbrella stem makes it easier to open and close
  • Restores and cleans roof racks on vehicles
  • Lubricates wheel sprockets on tricycles, wagons and bicycles for easy handling
  • Lubricates fan belts on washers and dryers and keeps them running smoothly
  • Keeps bathroom mirror from fogging
  • Keeps pigeons off the balcony (they hate the smell)
  • Removes all traces of duct tape
  • I have even heard of folks spraying it on their arms, hands, knees to relieve arthritis pain. One fellow claims spraying it on fishing lures attracts fish.
  • WD-40 has been designated the "official multi-purpose problem-solver of NASCAR," a ringing endorsement if there ever was one. Can WD-40 can solve the Jeff Gordon problem?

In celebration of their 50th year, the company conducted a contest to learn the favorite uses of it's customers and fan club members, (Yes, there is a WD-40 Fan Club). They compiled the information to identify the favorite use in each of the 50 states. Naturally I was curious about Georgia and Alabama and found the favorite use in both states was that it "penetrates stuck bolts, lug nuts, and hose ends." Florida's favorite use was "cleans and removes lovebugs from grills and bumpers." California's favorite use was penetrating the bolts on the Golden Gate Bridge. Let me close with one final, wonderful use -- the favorite use in the State of New York -- WD-40 protects the Statue of Liberty from the elements.

No wonder they've had 50 successful years.

Tid Bits

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