Flowers – Pretty, but Dirty

Flowers – Pretty, but Dirty

Gorgeous, colorful, intriguing, brimming with sentiment and yes, dirty!  Why do flowers wilt? There are several reasons, but the most common is a plugged plumbing system. Stems bleed enzymes, carbohydrates, and organic juices when cut. Dead cells, juices, and germs initiate bacterial feeding frenzies in bucket solutions. Plumbing systems become clogged and stop the flow. Flowers start dying from the moment they are cut; therefore, working clean is pivotal in flower quality, reducing shrink, and maximizing vase performance.

Mistakes cost time and money. Clear communication keeps everyone informed. Post a cleaning chart. It may sound elementary, but it eliminates discussions about “whose job is it.” A solution chart is a good idea too. Include specifics about using the right solution for the right flower type and the correct dosage. Under-dosing and overdosing both waste money, but under-dosing is worse by far. Guess-ti-mating generally results in under-dosed solutions. Follow manufacturers’ instructions. The Ingredients are formulated to work in sync, but when mixed haphazardly, there is no “in sync”. The inconvenient truth is that under-dosed solutions give crummy results. Anyone who has ordered a Marguerita only to find it heavy on limeade, light on Tequila, appreciates the importance of correct dosing.

Start clean and reduce waste – clean buckets, tools, tables, even rinsing out dusty vases before adding flowers, makes a positive difference in bloom performance. No chef would ever use the same knife to filet a steak and then trim salmon without sanitizing between! Sanitize tools, tables and choppers at least several times a day—it’s impossible to over-clean. Keep a spray bottle of ready-to-use cleaner at each work station. Liberally spray surfaces—no need to dry. Unlike bleach, Chrysal Cleaner provides a residual effect. Chrysal Cleaner is easy on the skin, will not corrode the blades of knives or cutters nor discolor clothing, is biodegradable and spent solutions can be disposed of down the drain.

Another easy-to-implement tactic is the use of paper towels instead of rags to prevent cross-contamination. Empty and cover trash cans throughout the day to prevent germs from floating around the design room. Before tossing used bucket cleaning solutions, pour the cleaner into trash cans and let soak for 10-15 minutes. Dip brooms in the same solution to clean bristles and prevent sweeping germs around the room. Record cooler temperatures by sticking a thermometer in the condenser overflow bucket prior to emptying it every morning. Sweep out back stock and display coolers daily. Clean green bits off cooler shelves, design tables, and delivery vans because rotting green bits off-gas ethylene as part of breaking down. Ethylene kills flowers fast! Sanitize floor mats and floors weekly. Don’t forget to launder aprons regularly, and always check window displays for unwanted dead flies (buzzkill).

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