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Hard Floor Care

Seeing Is Believing

September 19, 2010
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To some, doing the exact same thing over and over again, but expecting a different, or better, result is the definition of insanity.

So, why would facility managers — from restaurant and grocery store owners to medical professionals and school district superintendents — continue to utilize tried, but hardly true, cleaning methods that have been proven repeatedly to not deliver the required or recommended level of cleanliness demanded by the public and mandated by health care organizations, particularly in the restrooms?

We''ve all seen the janitorial professional pushing a cleaning cart loaded down with an array of spray bottles, rags and paper towels, broom, mop bucket filled with some type of cleaning solution and a string or flat mop.

While this looks like an efficient cleaning system, on closer inspection, a number of inefficiencies become apparent, such as:

  • Cleaning chemicals dispensed by spray bottle do not always reach the dirtiest areas, nor do they possess the application pressure necessary to remove ground-in dirt

  • Wiping with rags or towels often just redistributes the dirt and grime and does not actually remove it

  • The same can be said for mop-and-bucket floor cleaning techniques: Hard-to-reach surfaces where bacteria and germs can breed are often ignored, and if the solution in the mop bucket is not changed frequently, soiled water is often introduced to the very areas that need to be cleaned

  • Regarding the person actually doing the cleaning, a large amount of physical stress can be imparted due to the stooping, bending and scrubbing involved in the process, leading to cleaning inefficiencies

  • Many restrooms are so soiled that the "hands-on" cleaning required is actually a job de-motivator, leading to ineffective cleaning practices, lowered employee morale, increased employee turnover and associated training costs

  • For conscientious employees, completing a thorough floor-to-ceiling cleaning regimen is a time-consuming process.

So, what''s the solution to this cleaning quandary?

For more and more facility operators, it is the introduction of a touchless cleaning solution, one that takes a lot of the responsibility for achieving the desired results out of the hands of the janitorial staff and places it in the operation of a mobile cleaning unit that uses low-pressure/low-flow dispensing of cleaning chemicals with clean up as easy as depositing any excess liquid down a floor drain.

The Solution

This solution is known as spray-and-squeegee touchless cleaning, a system that promises time savings and reduced physical stress when compared to traditional mop-and-bucket cleaning, in addition to cleaner, more sanitary facilities.

The efficacy of the technique''s cleaning capabilities is available in a recent report titled, "Cleaning Effectiveness of the Spray-and-Squeegee Touchless Cleaning Systems Versus Conventional Mopping."

The report was generated by Advanced Testing Laboratory, an independent laboratory based in Cincinnati, which tested the effectiveness of spray-and-squeegee touchless cleaning technology against the cleaning capabilities of string and flat mops.

The Results

The results of the study found that spray-and-squeegee touchless cleaning technology showed dramatically cleaner tile and grout surfaces in restrooms when compared to cleaning those surfaces with string or flat mops.

Specific key results show that using spray-and-squeegee touchless cleaning technology:

  • Reduced the amount of microbial residue on tile by 99.9 percent — compared to 81 percent when using a string mop and 82.2 percent when using a flat mop

  • Reduced the amount of microbial residue on grout by 98.1 percent — compared to 43.1 percent when using a string mop and 56.8 percent when using a flat mop

  • Reduced the amount of simulated-urine residue on tile by 97.4 percent — compared to 53.1 percent when using a string mop and 57.4 percent when using a flat mop

  • Reduced the amount of simulated-urine residue on grout by 98.3 percent — compared to 38.5 percent when using a string mop and 21.6 percent when using a flat mop.

In other words, the string mop left 36 times more microbial bacteria on the grout surface, while the flat mop left 40 times more simulated-urine residue on the grout surface when both were compared to spray-and-squeegee touchless cleaning technology (Figure 1).

The testing took place in a restroom on a typical tile floor where specific sections were marked off for use by the spray-and-squeegee touchless cleaning unit, a cotton-string mop and a polyester microfiber flat mop.

Equal amounts of microbial bacteria and a chemical solution representing human urine were applied to each area before each cleaning tool and process were applied to the designated area.

Freshly opened, never-used mop heads were used for each trial, along with a commercially available spray-and-squeegee touchless cleaning unit.

The study''s conclusion states, "The data in this cleaning study clearly shows that the spray-and-squeegee touchless cleaning equipment does a superior job in removing both microbiological and chemical soils, as compared to conventional mopping. Overall, the spray-and-squeegee touchless cleaning technology removed 36 times more bacteria and 40 times more chemical residue than the string and flat mops on the hardest-to-clean grout surfaces. Therefore, the use of spray-and-squeegee touchless cleaning technology instead of conventional mops should result in cleaner, more sanitary and fresher-smelling bathrooms."

To the general public, these results are probably eye-opening.

To the experts in the cleaning industry, however, the resounding results are validation that spray-and-squeegee technology delivers the best of all worlds when compared to traditional cleaning regimens.

Expert Advice

"The benefits of time savings and the reduction in physical stress experienced by cleaning staff when using spray-and-squeegee technology are plain to see and document," says Bradley Drury, a product manager for Hydro Systems Co. "Now, with the results of this study, there can be no question that cleaning your restroom facilities with a spray-and-squeegee unit will result in a much, much cleaner and more sanitary facility when compared with traditional mop-and-bucket cleaning methods."

While insanity might be defined as repetition with the hope of a different result, it''s equally insane to keep funding a cleaning regimen that has been proven to be more time-intensive, more costly, more stressful, less motivating, less efficient and less able to deliver the desired results.

Thanks to the recent test results, using spray-and-squeegee cleaning technology has been proven to eliminate all of the deficiencies associated with mop-and-bucket cleaning and is an obvious choice when considering how to take facility cleanliness to the next level.


Chris Traczek is a freelance writer based in Bolingbrook, IL. For more information on Hydro Systems or ICS touchless cleaning technology, please call (513) 271-8800 or visit www.hydro-ics.com.

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