Products designed to keep out germs

Cleanint CEO Tuan Dam came up with the idea for the Cleanpen while picking up food at a restaurant in March 2009. While waiting to pay for his order, the man in front of him walked out of the bathroom and signed for his food, he said.

Concerned that he had to use the same pen, Dam searched for a way to prevent the spread of germs on common items such as pens.

In November 2009, Dam launched the Cleanpen, a penholder that is mountable to surfaces such as whiteboards, tables or computer monitors. Inside the holder, the pen is cleaned by a sponge filled with benzalkonium chloride, which is typically used as a disinfectant in operating rooms.

He later expanded his product line to include disinfecting products for credit card terminal styluses and stethoscopes.

In the 2012–13 school year, Cleanint has partnered with several Georgetown ISD schools to get the Cleanpen on school campuses, in classrooms and front offices. With the help of corporate sponsors, Dam's Cleanpens can be found at Mitchell, Village, McCoy and Ford elementary schools. The Cleanstethescope can be found on all 17 GISD campuses.

"Our thought is to take it to more schools," Dam said. "We are working with Round Rock ISD [to get them there], and then want to take it ... across the nation."

Dam said the goal of having the products in the schools is to reduce absenteeism.

"If we can reduce absenteeism by 1 percent, we can save 20 jobs," Dam said, adding that by increasing attendance, the district receives more state funding.



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