The cleaning industry must keep pace with the increasing level of technology that most of the world has benefited from, which means “new” methods, ideas, and equipment.
A serious issue commanding new technology — and attention — is high particle counts in the air, which need to be eliminated or reduced, as a matter of health preservation.
A new system effective at doing this is the Daniels Germ/Soil Barrier by consulting firm Daniels Associates, Inc., Phoenix, the first provider of software to the cleaning industry.
By working backwards, starting with a hard, measurable fact (the particle counts), Daniels Associates, which introduced the concept of Day Cleaning© to the industry, is one entity working to eliminate or reduce the amount of airborne particulates. The logic being that, all airborne dirt must land somewhere, and then it needs to be cleaned; if we could reduce the amount of dirt in the air, the domino effect would be less to clean and therefore, a reduced specification enabling fiscal savings.
The work/study environment becomes healthier for the occupant, thus increasing the output.Providing more for less
The Daniels Germ/Soil Barrier is a new approach to an old problem: How does it provide more for less?
Not only are we attempting to stop the contaminants from entering school buildings, but we are working to contain, collect, and safely remove them.
The system can increase the overall cleanliness of the entire facility and improve the quality of life for our children and all who enter — students, teachers, administration and visitors alike.
Best yet, all of these steps will truly lead to cost savings over current cleaning processes.
This same program, designed for the hospital housekeeping process, dramatically reduces the rate of cross-contamination, which greatly contributes to the higher cost of health care.
With the Daniels Germ/Soil Barrier, there aren’t any structural modifications necessary. What is needed is change to the ways that cleaning tasks have previously been performed.Components of an effective system
These four main items will be required in any Daniels Germ/Soil Barrier cleaning system:
1. Vacuuming all floors (carpet and hard surface): Vacuuming is more efficient — up to 200 percent more efficient than traditional dust mops, which act like a snowplow, pushing some dirt, while the rest is diverted either to the side or over the top to land behind the cleaner.
Vacuuming allows the microscopic dust particles and spores to be drawn into a micron-filter bag, and then removed from the facility.
By using a 27-inch or wider walk-behind, battery-powered vacuum, the custodian can move efficiently through both the hard surface and carpeted halls. Once a vacuuming pattern is established, the custodian is able to far more thoroughly vacuum the traffic areas of the building and therefore the potentially higher soiled areas are cleaned more thoroughly.
2. Microfiber wipes: Microfiber cleaning materials are a blend of microscopic polyester and polyamide fibers which are split in such a way that they create microscopic “hooks” that act as claws that scrape up and hold dust, dirt and grime. They are one-sixteenth the thickness of a human hair and can hold six times their weight in water.
All dusting and spot cleaning (high, low and horizontal surfaces) must be performed using only microfiber wipes, which hold dust and dirt and release it only when washed.
Recent studies have found that the use of this material can reduce the germ count in the area.
3. Microfiber flat mops and wipes: All hard surface floors are to be damp mopped or spot mopped using microfiber flat mops. No traditional, closed loop, mops and buckets are to be used in any area for any reason.
The reason for this is three fold:
- Microfiber mops drop all dirt when washed in a washing machine, and therefore do not look dirty or carry dirt in the mop fibers.
- Microfiber mops have a mild abrasive action on the floor surface and therefore remove bacterium that traditionally attaches itself to the floor. The mopping of disinfectant on the floor will kill bacteria if given enough dwell time, but often the floor dries before the disinfectant is able to kill the bacteria.
- The closed-loop mop will “float” across the microscopic ridges and valleys that are present in all hard flooring; because the microfiber is in essence a tiny brush (the fibers are 90 degrees to the floor), it can get into the crevices.
Flat mops also have another very important benefit: Because of the method used to damp mop, the potential splashing of baseboards, doors, walls and furniture is eliminated. Therefore, clean-up time is greatly reduced and the mopping process is much more efficient.
4. Barrier matting: One of the most important aspects of the Daniels Germ/Soil Barrier system is the matting. Why clean and remove dirt, soil and germs when we can simply prevent their entry?
It is extremely important to keep as much soil from entering any facility through the normal entrances. To clean the shoe soles of all who enter, a walk-off mat is essential.
In order to clean the shoes, the mat needs to be at least 15 feet long. It takes five steps on a mat to clean shoes; the problem is that if the mat is not long enough, the first 15 feet of carpet the person walks on will soil. A long walk-off mat is needed to do the job properly.
Have this mat system at every entrance to the building — the student and employee entrance, visitor entrance, main lobby, and entrances from patios, gymnasiums, etc. — and vacuum these mats four times per shift, every day the entrance is used.
Ian Greig is chief executive officer, Daniels Associates, Inc., Phoenix.