Routine maintenance presents some of the most promising opportunities for cleaning contractors to control costs while delivering satisfactory service.
Building occupants have expectations for floor cleanliness, and the contractor certainly works to satisfy those requirements, but standards go beyond visual perceptions of cleanliness.
Wet mopping with string mops has been a traditional method of routine maintenance.
This has also been the weakest stage of the cleaning process.
Too often, it amounts to three to four gallons of water and cleaning solution being pushed around and dislodging soil, but leaving substantial amounts of soil and solution on the floor.
The effect is a redistribution of dirt into those typically hard to access corners and edges, resulting in extra challenges at refinishing time.
Wet mopping puts a strain on cleaning staff because the average weight of a wet mop is 10 pounds.
The weight of a bucket of water, at 8.345 pounds per gallon, discourages many “moppers” from changing dirty water as frequently as they should.
This is yet another reason why traditional mopping produces suboptimal results.
A wet mop, with a traditional bucket and wringer is still the preferred method of cleaning up puddles and spills, but a better method for routine maintenance is microfiber cleaning.
Microfiber mopping has bypassed traditional string mopping as the most effective method of routine maintenance.
In keeping with the first rule of cleaning — dry first — microfiber dusting is highly effective at attracting, capturing and holding even the finest particles of soil.
And with recent developments, wet mopping with microfiber has surpassed string mopping in performance, with additional ergonomic and economic advantages.
Microfiber has proven to be effective at removing soil that has been especially difficult for other cleaning equipment.
Recent successes include effective removal of graphite and cutting hydraulic oil from the floor of a machine shop.
The net result of microfiber dusting and wet mopping is superior routine maintenance.
The ergonomic advantages mean workers suffer lower rates of strain and are able to clean more quickly — by as much as 60 percent.
Microfiber users also report significant reductions in water and chemical usage, and dramatically longer product life.
The growing popularity of microfiber cleaning can be attributed to its beneficial impact on customer satisfaction, enhanced profitability, and worker safety.
Microfiber is spun from a blend of polyamide and polyester. The strands are chemically treated, creating microscopic edges, and processed to form soil-retaining hooked shapes.
The fibers are capable of reaching into surface pores and capturing minute soil particles.
Microfiber’s launderability is another important factor.
String mops are expected to survive 50 laundry cycles; microfiber mops are expected to last through 300 launderings, with some customers reporting products in use after 500 cycles.
Joe DeZarn is director of Marketing Communications for Rubbermaid Commercial Products, and Mark Plemons is senior territory manager for the mid-Atlantic region for Rubbermaid Commercial Products.