Pasco County, Florida, is considered a great place to raise a family, retire, and just enjoy life. However, if you’re in charge of the county’s 61 public schools—with six more on the way—Pasco County can be a real challenge.
“We have our own set of cleaning problems because it is so humid here,” says Ed Flicker, Custodial Services Coordinator for the District School Board of Pasco County. “Mold, mildew, poor indoor air quality (IAQ), and a host of other problems are probably worse in this part of the country because of the high humidity.”
To meet the challenge, Flicker has incorporated a number of advanced, or what he calls, “state-of-the-art” cleaning systems, products, and technologies. For instance, the school district uses backpack vacuum cleaners because they appear to be more effective at removing dust and debris, helping to protect IAQ.
Microfibers cleaning cloths and flat mops have replaced terry cloth towels and string mops throughout the school district because they are more absorbent and require less water and cleaning chemical. However, even using these more advanced products to clean restrooms the conventional way—with towels, sprayers, buckets, mops, and elbow grease—was just not working.
“The problem was that the restrooms, even though they had been cleaned thoroughly, continued to have serious malodor problems,” says Flicker. “And, because we wanted to start incorporating Green cleaning into our schools, we didn’t want to start using ever more powerful cleaning chemicals, Green or not, to get rid of the odor.”
Looking for Options
However, Flicker knew of few other options…until he heard about the Kaivac No-Touch Cleaning™ system. He saw the machine demonstrated at a tradeshow in 2002 and decided to purchase a KaiVac, the largest machine in the no-touch cleaning system arsenal, to see how well it performed.
Once they put the machine to work, the feedback was both good and bad. All the custodial workers acknowledged that the no-touch system was more effective than the conventional cleaning methods they had used for years. And everyone was excited about the fact that the restroom malodors were gone—virtually from the first cleaning.
“It’s true, we simply couldn’t believe that the odor problems disappeared so quickly,” he says. “We think it is because the KaiVac machine is able to deep-clean and blast away odor-causing bacteria, germs, and soils that the cleaning cloths, even the microfiber cleaning cloths, simply could not remove.”
But the negative feedback regarded moving the equipment around the school. But Flicker says that was really a training issue, not an equipment issue, which is no longer a problem. “Our crews learned that by simply moving the machine with less water in the tank makes it relatively easy to maneuver.”
As mentioned earlier, at about the same time the district purchased its first Kaivac machine—they now have about 70—they were also beginning to take a serious look at Green cleaning. Happily, Flicker discovered that by transferring to no-touch cleaning, the district had already incorporated one of the major goals of Green cleaning—to use as little cleaning chemical as necessary and still do the cleaning task satisfactorily.
He said one way this was accomplished was with the built-in metering tips that precisely dilute the chemical with water when cleaning. “The metering tips can be adjusted to the cleaning task at hand,” he says. “And there is no waste, which means we weren’t pouring lots of excess cleaning chemical down the drain—which costs the district money—and potentially harming our local waterways and the environment.”
And Flicker is now able to take Green cleaning a step further by using Kaivac’s recently Green Seal certified cleaning products, KaiO, KaiBlooey, and KaiPow, which are all specially designed for cleaning with the no-touch system. Certification means that the product is safer to use than conventional cleaning products used for the same purpose, minimizes cleaning’s impact on the environment, and is just as effective—if not more.
“I’m proud of how we have handled our cleaning challenges here in Pasco County,” says Flicker. “The high humidity forced us to find ways to clean more effectively by using advanced cleaning equipment and technologies, and now we can do it in an environmentally healthy and responsible manner.”