Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

The value of exterior maintenance

September 19, 2010
Picture driving up to a retail facility that has a littered parking lot, sidewalks covered with soda spills or French fries, unkempt gardens and landscaping, or overflowing ashtrays and garbage receptacles. What kind of impression does that leave on you? If you’re like me, not a very good one.

For retailers, health care facilities, schools, or any business that wants to make a good first impression, it’s important to realize the true value of exterior maintenance.

A well-cared for exterior conveys an image of cleanliness and safety that makes people feel good about approaching and entering your facility.

Much like interior maintenance, exterior maintenance is multi-faceted; there is a wide spectrum of surfaces and areas to be cleaned and maintained.

As it relates to exterior maintenance, these can include parking lots, ramps and decks to loading docks to sidewalks to recreation spaces with landscaping and more. With just a few pieces of exterior maintenance equipment you can boost the image of your facility.

Today’s rider sweepers are designed to single-handedly maintain the condition of your parking area, loading dock and sidewalk surfaces as well as smaller recreational spaces and landscaping.

In terms of what to look for in a sweeper, first and foremost, ensure your sweeper offers high maneuverability for getting between cars, around poles, curbing and landscaping. In addition, opt for a sweeper that offers a wide cleaning-path, a brush that can pick up both bulky debris — like fast-food containers and diapers — and finer debris — like cigarette butts, grass clippings and ash, and a high-capacity hopper.

Also, ensure your sweeper provides the best level of dust control and filtration by opting for a rider sweeper that filters particulates down to three microns or an outdoor sweeper that offers PM10 dry dust containment as approved by

California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District’s Rule 1186.

Finally, consider a sweeper that is equipped with a vacuum wand to easily remove debris from landscaping, and a blower to easily reposition debris so it can be swept.

While a sweeper can remove most of the dirt and debris that you’ll find around your facility’s exterior, only a scrubber can help improve the appearance of hard surfaces that are covered with oil stains, grime, or even spilled coffee and ice cream.

When selecting a rider scrubber or scrubber-sweeper, first consider the surfaces to be cleaned.

In some cases, you may want to minimize the amount of water and detergent used for safety from slip and fall accidents, so a scrubber that uses a foam-based scrubbing solution might be best.

If cleaning for hours uninterrupted is a top priority, a rider scrubber that offers extended scrubbing by recycling its own water is best.

If sanitization is of interest to you, consider a scrubber with easy-access hygienic tanks that reduce scrubber mold and bacteria.

And always look for a scrubber that offers a superior squeegee system for maximum water removal.

Rick Hammond is a senior product manager specializing in industrial and outdoor rider scrubbers with Tennant Company.