Monday, October 28, 2013

How to Select the Ideal Floor Cleaning Machine: Cleaning Challenges

Ensuring education and healthcare facilities maintain a certain level of cleanliness is important to preserve the health and well-being of building occupants. In order to ascertain their cleaning equipment needs, facility managers must be able to identify their exact cleaning requirements and implement solutions designed to satisfy these needs.

Education facilities are currently suffering from severe budget cutbacks that adversely impact their capacity to clean and maintain their buildings. To promote flooring integrity and appearance, hard floors should be refinished regularly. With traditional floor cleaning equipment, this process typically requires hours of labor and multiple machines to maintain the desired level of appearance and cleanliness in hightraffic areas. Unfortunately, with as much as 90 percent of cleaning expenses attributable to labor, many schools and universities have been forced to reduce staff and, therefore, do not have the resources available to meet the rigorous cleaning demands of these large facilities.

To assure the health, comfort and contentment of patients and staff, hospitals and other healthcare facilities are challenged to provide superior cleaning results while minimizing occupant exposure to excess noise, unpleasant odors and potential health risks associated with chemicals.

Check back next week to learn about other cleaning challenges found in education and healthcare facilities.

Monday, October 21, 2013

How to Select the Ideal Floor Cleaning Machine - Introduction

This is the first of a series of posts that will identify how to select the ideal floor cleaning machines in education and healthcare facilities. 

As more cleaning standards are put in place, and maintenance budgets decrease, facility managers struggle to find effective methods to clean floors without increasing costs. Facilities such as hospitals and schools are subject to daily, continuous foot traffic, which can result in floors becoming heavily soiled very quickly. Soiled floors not only detract from the overall appearance of the facility, but slick dirt and grime can cause slip and fall hazards while dust and other particles can impact indoor air quality.

To overcome these challenges and meet current sustainable cleaning requirements, healthcare and education facilities should utilize cleaning equipment that maximizes soil removal without increasing labor or effecting the environment— satisfying industry standards while keeping the cost of cleaning within budgets.

Today, cleaning professionals can select from a variety of cleaning equipment that is designed to provide flexibility and meet cleaning needs. By understanding and identifying their cleaning challenges, facility managers can select the ideal cleaning solution(s) that promote facility sustainability—minimizing labor, chemical and water requirements without sacrificing results.

Check back next week for the next part of this series on cleaning challenges found in education and healthcare facilities 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Green Cleaning: Summertime Debriefing

This article was originally published in American School & University

It's time to start a new school year, and with that comes freshly clean carpets and hard surfaces. So how exactly do educational facilities complete this cleaning over the summer? The informative article below published in American School & University provide the details.

The key is that education institutions repeat these activities every summer; a specific exercise should be established to ensure that the summer-time efforts continually improve. This is the time of the year to do a debriefing to determine how effectively the time was spent and identify opportunities for improvements that can be applied next year.

Conducting an annual summertime debriefing can make next year’s efforts more successful:
  • Products: Did the products meet the needs and expectations? Did the products perform adequately? Were adequate quantities purchased? If new technologies were used, how did they perform? Did products meet LEED, STARS, state mandates or sustainability objectives for using green cleaning products? Should new technologies, green or traditional products be considered for purchase throughout the school year or for next year’s program? What feedback do staff members have about the performance of the products, as well as any other feedback based on their experience using the products? Should the purchasing department incorporate any new requirements for next year
  • Suppliers: Did the suppliers meet needs and expectations? Were supplies delivered on time and complete, or were there numerous delays and backorders? If there were emergency requests for products, did the supplier respond in a timely manner? Was the supplier knowledgeable about the products? Did it offer informed recommendations about alternatives or other ways to be helpful? Is there any experience, either positive or negative, that should be shared with the purchasing department that should be considered next year?
  • Processes: Were the cleaning processes effective? What worked well and what could be improved? Were the people and teams well-organized? Did the processes reduce energy and water use? Did they reduce waste? What feedback from supervisors and staff could improve the processes, as well as those for next year’s intensive summer program?
  • Training: Was the training adequate? If not, where did it fall short? Should the amount of time be longer or shorter next year? Was enough time spent on improving skills vs. compliance? Was the amount of classroom and hands-on training appropriate? Was it appropriate for the skill level of the people being trained? Do supervisors and staff have feedback about the trainers? How can the program be improved next year? Should the trainers be invited back or new ones identified?
  • Personnel: How did the supervisors and staff perform? Did they do just the minimum that was expected or did any of them excel? Did any stand out as candidates for increased responsibility? What feedback do supervisors and staff have on their colleagues (good and bad)? Were any people given responsibilities that did not align with their skill set? What was learned about the team and how could things be done better next year? Should any information be discussed with the human resources department? 
  • Facilities: Were any areas identified that need to be addressed differently next year? Were there any areas under renovation, construction and repurposing, or changes such as increasing or decreasing enrollment or funding that may affect next year’s activities? If so, how will this affect product purchasing, suppliers, cleaning and maintenance processes, training, personnel and other issues affecting next year’s summertime activities?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Clarke Maxxi II Wet/Dry Vacuums Deliver Flexible and Powerful Cleaning Performance

The new Maxxi II Wet/Dry Vacuums are designed to provide a flexible, reliable cleaning solution for both wet and dry filtration. Available in three models—9-, 14- and 19-gallon tank options—the Maxxi II series satisfies diverse cleaning challenges, ranging from small office environments to large education and healthcare facilities.

The Maxxi II-75 features a 19-gallon tank and is equipped with a front-mount squeegee with forward and backward operation, making it ideal for picking up wet matter when stripping with floor stripper and a floor machine. For emergency spills and floods, the Maxxi II-55 with 14-gallon tank delivers superior power and functionality, and is available with a hose, wand, squeegee floor tool, brush floor tool and optional front-mount squeegee. When dirt or dust is the primary issue, the Maxxi II-35 with 9-gallon tank offers quality filtration and dust capture, in addition to crevice and dusting tools. This model can also be used for wet applications.

The Maxxi II series provides versatile cleaning performance through the following benefits:
  • Quality filtration ensures superior performance while keeping the motor dry and protected from dust or water
  • Easy operation with the balanced, wide stance on the Maxxi II-75 and Maxxi II-55 deliver enhanced maneuverability, while the lightweight design of the Maxxi II-35 ensures easy transportation
  • Multiple accessories, including hoses, wands, squeegees and dusting tools, help tackle diverse cleaning applications
The Maxxi II series is ideal for schools and universities, healthcare facilities, grocery, retail outlets, arenas and stadiums and automobile dealerships.

Read the full press release for more information.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

10 Factors To Consider When Selecting A Vacuum

This article was originally published in Clean Link. 

According to a recent article published on Clean Link, the key factors in evaluating vacuums are:

1. Motor Size: This is usually measured in amps. The larger the number, the more powerful the motor.

2. Number of Motors: Upright vacuum can have one motor that drives both the vacuum and the brush, or two motors - one for the vacuum and a separate motor for the brush. Generally, you will want a two motor step-up.

3. Bag or tank capacity: The more quickly the bag fills, the more frequently it will have to be changed. Keep in mind that, as the bag fills, the efficiency of your vacuuming goes down. Change bags often for top efficiency.

4. Fill location: Uprights can either fill the bag from the top or the bottom. A bottom fill forces the vacuum to push all the debris in the bag up to allow more to enter. A top fill lets it drop down. A top fill is preferred. The bottom fill puts more strain on the motor.

5. Lift: This is measured in inches of mercury or inches of water lift. This is particularly important for wet-dry vacuums. Lift will vary depending on where the measurement is taken. The closer to the motor, the higher the measurement. You are interested in lift at the wand.

6. Air Flow: This will be measured in cubic feet (or centimeters) per minute. The more air flow, the better. Air flow is what carries the soil up into the bag or container.

7. Construction Material: The housing for the vacuum might be anything from an inexpensive brittle plastic to a polished chrome. You are interested more in total weight, durability and ease of maintenance than in the appearance.

8. Air Filtration: The cheapest systems have a cloth bag that has to be dumped, cleaned regularly and replaced since it becomes saturated with dust. Better units will have two to four stage filtration systems with throw away paper filter bags down to .3 micros or less to reduce dust.

9. Ergonomics: The weight of the machine, handle construction, wheels or rollers if an upright unit, length of cord and maneuverability are all factors that impact the decision for utilizing a unit. A full vacuum cleaner can weigh 20-40 pounds or more causing the user to stress the wrists and arms. Note that a back pack wand weighs ounces and if used correctly exercises the hips rather than the wrists.

10. Total Cost of Ownership: The real cost of a vacuum cleaner is how fast can the operator perform their tasks effectively? Slower units may cost less initially to purchase but will cost many times more in lost productivity (labor plus benefits) over a 3-5 year period of operation. Durability and reparability are also important factors to consider.

There are many factors to consider in choosing the best vacuum cleaner for the job at hand. Invest the time to learn the strengths and weaknesses of each unit before committing.