Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online
February 2014 Feature 2

A Better Way To Clean

How microfiber cleaning products help get the job done faster and safer.

February 2, 2014

Leaders in the cleaning industry are continuously thinking of new ways to increase productivity while improving cleaning performance and keeping costs to a minimum.

Today, microfiber cleaning is an innovation gaining popularity across various businesses and facilities, where cleaner is not only better but also vitally important.

Microfiber cleaning systems first gained widespread acceptance within the healthcare industry because microfiber solutions can clean more effectively when combined with a proper cleaning process and training.

Because these benefits resonate in various markets, microfiber cleaning solutions are now being implemented in other industries as well. 

A Smart, Simplified System

Complete microfiber cleaning solutions that include high-performance dust and wet mop pads, surface cleaning tools, hardware and mopping systems clean more effectively and efficiently as compared to traditional cleaning products.

Many floor cleaners contain harsh chemicals which can be harmful to the environment and also result in damaged floors.

Microfiber solutions require less water and fewer chemicals to achieve cleaning results, reducing the environmental impact and helping maintain cleaner facilities.

Floor surfaces can also be refinished less frequently and remain better preserved, saving costs and labor.

The use of color-coded materials is also valuable to promote proper cleaning practices.

For example, color-coded microfiber cloths are available to ensure the appropriate cloth is used to clean specific areas:

  • Yellow for bathrooms
  • Green or red for general-purpose cleaning
  • Blue for glass and other reflective surfaces.

Microfiber hardware and chemical dispensing systems also contribute to increased cleaning efficiency and overall worker wellbeing.

Many cleaning professionals incorporate disposable microfiber cleaning cloths and mops pads into the cleaning process in instances when increased infection prevention is required or laundry facilities are unavailable.

Safety And Saving Costs

“Direct labor is responsible for more than 60 percent of the overall costs of contract cleaners, so products that increase worker productivity have a tremendous impact on the bottom line,” says Alison Kapp, marketing manager, hard surface commercial cleaning for Rubbermaid Commercial Products.

“A cleaning staff appreciates microfiber cleaning solutions because they are easier to use. Overall, the worker is lifting less and maneuvering lighter loads,” Kapp continues.

Microfiber mopping streamlines tasks and saves time, and staff is able to reduce the number of visits to the janitor’s closet to refill chemicals because microfiber mopping and surface cleaning tools promote productivity and require less water and fewer chemicals, according to Kapp.

In addition, the even liquid absorption and release of microfiber also allows for faster mopping, reduced drying times and less opportunity for a slip-and-fall hazard.

"Cost savings can be accomplished by ensuring the safety of cleaning professionals by using a solution that can be maneuvered easily," Kapp notes. "This is especially true in an industry where time is money, and back injuries are the number one reportable workplace incidents — averaging $24,000 per workers’ compensation claim."

Finally, ergonomically designed arched handles should be incorporated into a cleaning system to keep the user’s wrist and forearm bones aligned for optimum leverage and maneuverability, Kapp states.

This design contributes to safer operations with less risk of injury, again helping reduce workers’ compensation claims and lost time.

Support System

When choosing a microfiber cleaning method, it is important to evaluate the level of service and support that comes with the solution.

Examine the overall services and support program and find a product manufacturer that offers a site audit and training program.

 

Jenn Schneider is a writer and member of the hard surface commercial cleaning team for Rubbermaid Commercial Products. For more about RCP, visit www.RubbermaidCommercial.com.



Tips For Cleaning And Infection Control

Below are a few helpful tips specific to cleaning and infection control challenges that are faced on a daily basis.

Infection control and prevention is not exclusive to healthcare but can be found in every facility whose concern is effective cleaning practices.

Before you begin:

  1. Always consider your personal safety before beginning any cleaning task. Wear personal protective gear mandated by your management team. Gloves and eye protection are the basics. You should also be sure to leave all jewelry and personal items in a locker or other secure area. Do not bring these items with you while cleaning.
  2. Inspect and clean your tools. Yes, that’s right: Clean your cleaning tools. Inspecting your tools for stains, dust, dirt and damage of any kind is a step that is often overlooked but is crucial. Well-maintained tools last longer and enhance the look of your facility, and dirty tools may cause cross-transmission in any rooms or areas that you have already cleaned.
  3. Make sure you have the right tools for the job. It sounds basic, but many people do not take the time to evaluate if their tools will help them achieve ultimate cleanliness for their unique challenges. Cleaning curved surfaces, corners and equipment or surfaces at a higher-than-average height is challenging, and it is easy to miss bacteria in these places if you aren’t using tools designed to meet these challenges.
  4. Prep everything you might need before starting your cleaning process. Consider all the areas you’ll be cleaning and make sure you have all the tools and materials needed before starting. This step helps with efficiency and can decrease the likelihood of cross-transmission, as you won’t be moving from dirty areas back to clean areas to gather tools and supplies.
  5. Stay organized by using a cleaning checklist. Checklists help you and your team efficiently moves through tasks. A cleaning checklist also helps you remember to clean hard-to-reach and high-touch surfaces like furniture legs, tables, elevator buttons, doorknobs and light switches. These areas are often overlooked, but are key to preventing the spread of bacteria.

While cleaning:

  1. Treat waste like it contains sharp objects or medical waste. You should never compress bags of waste, just in case the contents may be contaminants or something sharp.
  2. Pay close attention to any warnings, markings and color-coding on cleaning equipment and waste-disposal materials. If you are responsible for these procedures in your facility, make sure you are using clear symbols and communicating meanings of color-coding and warnings to staff. This step can help cut down significantly on the risk of cross-transmission.
  3. No double-dipping. Never use the same cleaning cloth or mop for cleaning different areas, and do not put a soiled cloth or other cleaning tool into a bucket or container of cleaning chemicals. Use the eight-sided fold method with the cleaning cloth to effectively clean high-touch surfaces, and make sure to change out your textiles between areas so as not to transfer bacteria. Placing a used cloth or mop back into a container of cleaning chemicals increases the chances of cross-transmission. 
  4. Wash your hands every time you see them. Each time you remove, change or put on a pair of gloves, wash your hands. Handwashing is one of the basics for infection prevention and can help keep you, your team and building occupants and visitors safe.
  5. To truly prevent infection, remove don’t just kill microbes. Killing bacteria is only one step in the infection-prevention process. After microbes are killed, any left behind can become food sources for live pathogens. Seek out microfiber products that remove microbes from the surface, and you’re on your way to winning a fight against infection.