Success in facility management has always depended on achieving and maintaining high standards for clean surfaces. But today’s standards have been updated, and managers must often maintain them with fewer staff. It’s critical to improve efficiency through productivity, and manage cleaning product costs more effectively.
On top of that, especially following the SARS-CoV-2 lockdowns, your employees and patrons want to be confident that your surfaces are clean.
These can be daunting challenges. What can you do? Here are four ways to maximize production and keep costs down.
Effective cleaning still most often involves the use of cleaning chemicals. Some are concentrates, requiring dilution before cleaning. Diluting them more consistently can streamline chemical and water use, reduce product waste and even help maintain inventories more accurately. Just as importantly, consistently applying the right chemical dilutions can help maintain the best version of “clean” in the facility.
Facility managers have relied upon staff to dilute chemicals to the proper solutions required for maximum cleaning efficacy. Maintaining consistent and sufficient staff can be difficult – making manual dilution an obstacle to consistency. Every moment spent training must also be maximized, including clear instructions on proper dilutions.
Yet even the best-trained staff are often under pressure, and can lack the necessary tools to perform accurate dilutions on the job. Too much water in the dilution can result in insufficiently cleaned surfaces – or extra labor to clean them. Too much chemical in the dilution can create the potential for harmful exposure and possibly degrade surfaces more quickly, resulting in additional maintenance and replacement costs.
Compact, convenient dispensers can simplify the dilution of cleaning chemicals, making it more accurate and less labor intensive. Dispensers essentially control chemical and water flows simultaneously, allowing for precise dilutions. Some dispensers can handle multiple chemicals at once.
Manufacturers have developed cleaning supplies to help trap dirt and debris instead of just spreading it around. Cleaning sheets are now formulated to collect far more dirt, dust and sand than flat fringed cotton pads. Some incorporate a light adhesive that quickly picks up hair and other hard-to-collect particles and does not transfer onto other surfaces.
Mop pads are not new. But today’s mop pads for use with chemical cleaning solutions are carefully designed with deliberately chosen materials. For example, some combine polypropylene with absorbent microfibers – the polypropylene maximizes scrubbing power the microfibers trap debris. Some newer mop pads are designed for low friction, so staff can apply cleaning solutions with less effort and less cleaning fatigue.
With the heightened awareness of dirt and tiny contaminants in public spaces, some facilities can consider switching from washable sponges and pads (which can retain dirt and microfibers even after washing) with disposable pads, which are quickly interchanged with new ones. Sometimes, disposable mop pads are even available in different colors to help prevent cross-contamination.
Most resilient floors are top coated with materials such as acrylic. While these coatings provide an excellent shine, they are relatively difficult to maintain. Typically, an acrylic floor will be finished in several coats. Dirt and other contaminants can get between the layers, resulting in a soiled or dingy appearance that cannot be removed through standard floor cleaning processes like scrubbing or burnishing. Instead, the solution is a full strip-and-recoat – a messy process that takes time and potentially exposes staff to additional chemicals.
A solution is a simple combination of floor protectants and floor enhancers that can better protect resilient floors. Liquid floor protectants can be applied on top of clean floors. They form a protective layer that keeps contaminants from coated and uncoated floors. They are useful for keeping floors stain-free, and resist damage from areas where dirt or chemicals repeatedly contact the floor such as in doorways or beneath hand sanitizer dispensers. They also resist scratches, keeping dirt from settling in hard-to-reach crevices.
Floor protectors alone are just part of the solution. Floor enhancers help retain shine and a clean appearance, and help extend the time between more thorough recoating procedures. Incorporated into daily floor maintenance protocols using light abrasive pads, floor enhancers combined with floor protectants reduce the need for burnishing, top scrubbing and stripping. The result is longer clean and shine, reduced maintenance, fewer recoats and less disruption of normal traffic within the facility.
Non-resilient floors do not require acrylic coatings, and do not have to involve costly materials like marble or terrazzo. Surfaces like stone and concrete are chosen for their durability, versatility and their relatively long replacement cycles. There are solutions that can help maximize cleaningefficiency for these as well.
Coatings specifically for porous stone floors are easily applied in fewer coats vs. acrylics or similar coatings for tile or linoleum. They provide a clean shine to stone floors, and also protect the surface by resisting scuffs, black marks, stains and scratches. Stone floor protectants can also help densify, increase hardness and reduce signs of wear. This reduces chemical use as well as the need for scrubbing and stripping.
For concrete, there’s a solution that doesn’t rely on coatings at all. Concrete floor protection is incorporated into daily floor maintenance to clean and polish uncoated concrete floors. The best ones can also reduce the need for major restoration.
Stone and concrete floor protection solutions are generally maintained through abrasive pads applied by low-speed rotary and automatic scrubbers.
3M is a longstanding supplier of time- and cost saving commercial cleaning equipment systems and supplies for facilities of all types. Contact 3M for questions or to schedule a facility audit.
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