Jim Reffitt was recently watching a Cincinnati TV news show, on which local residents were asked, "What's the worst possible job?" When one woman responded, "cleaning restrooms," he chuckled to himself. As Supervisor of Facilities for the Butler Technology & Career Development Schools (Butler County, Ohio), Jim Reffitt and his eight-member custodial crew maintain the vocational school's 260,000 sq. ft. main building and 35,000 sq. ft. administration building.
"No one on my staff would have given that answer to the TV interviewer," says Reffitt. "That's because my people are educated professionals who turn out spotlessly clean restrooms on a consistent basis. This gives them pride in their work and makes them feel good about their jobs." What's more, Butler Tech's custodians are able to get lavatories thoroughly clean without scrubbing – or even touching – any fixtures or surfaces, which makes their work more pleasant and less strenuous than a typical restroom janitor's job.
The secret to Butler Tech's amazingly satisfied and effective custodial staff? It's a unique "scrub-less" janitorial system called the KaiVac No-Touch Cleaning System. Developed by Kaivac Inc. (Hamilton, OH), the KaiVac system is an all-in-one cleaning method that combines chemical injection, pressure washing, and wet vacuuming into a single platform. Using the system's chemical dispenser, employees spray cleaning solution onto a restroom's fixtures and walls, then blast the soil to the floor with a high-pressure spray. As a final step, they vacuum the floor dry, completely removing all soil and bacteria.
The KaiVac machine gets restrooms much cleaner than a traditional mop and bucket, says Reffitt. "I told my superintendent that if I could buy a KaiVac machine and train one employee to use it, I would guarantee a huge difference in the cleanliness of the restrooms." Jim Reffitt kept his promise. As a result of purchasing the KaiVac, one custodian now keeps all 38 restrooms sparkling clean and fresh, much to the delight of the superintendent, staff and students.
Unlike a mop, which merely moves dirt around, the KaiVac system totally removes it. The system's high-pressure spray blows dirt out of all areas, even the hard to reach places. Then the dirty water is completely suctioned up by the powerful vacuum, rather than just being dispersed as with a conventional mop.
"With a mop, you inevitably leave some dirt behind," he notes. "But with KaiVac, every time you walk away from a restroom, you're assured it's completely clean, consistently on a day-to-day basis. So if you use it from day one of the school year, your restrooms should stay looking and smelling as clean at the end of the year as they were in the beginning. And because the soil is completely removed, even grout lines continue to look like new."
The crew at Butler Tech has discovered that the KaiVac's ease, thoroughness and consistency is just as beneficial in cleaning other areas of the building too. For example, because it also offers dry vacuuming capabilities, they began using the KaiVac for daily cleaning of classrooms, labs, hallways, stairwells and more throughout the building.
Just as in the restrooms, says Reffitt, the switch to the KaiVac for daily classroom cleaning has allowed his staff to maintain a "first-day-of-school" standard of cleanliness consistently throughout the year - while improving indoor air quality. "As a maintenance supervisor, I believe in preventive maintenance. When you pick up all the dirt every day, it makes it easier to keep the building clean over the long haul. Plus, when a building is thoroughly clean, students are more prone to keep it that way, which is another benefit of using KaiVac."
Additionally, the system is also used to clean the kitchen floor, where it has proven more effective than mopping in preventing dirt from building up between tiles -- keeping the grout looking like new.
What's more, the crew also uses the KaiVac to give classrooms and other areas a thorough cleaning every summer. "We take everything out of the room and clean it from top down. You can use KaiVac on the walls, the floor, the desks, to clean out the vents and lights – the list goes on and on. It's one of the most versatile and useful tools we have. We're always finding new things to do with it. In fact, your imagination is the only limit as to what you can do with these machines." For instance, Reffitt adds, when stripping classroom floors for summer waxing, KaiVac is used to pick up the waste, assuring that "all the little particulates and granules are removed," and the floor is thoroughly clean before wax is applied.
All of his custodians have been trained and certified on the KaiVac machine in preparation for this move. Or, as Jim Reffitt likes to put it, they are "not just mop slingers, but educated professionals who are knowledgeable about equipment and chemicals, and take pride in maintaining a building properly." That's why if members of the Butler Tech custodial staff were ever asked to name the "worst possible job," cleaning restrooms is one reply that definitely would not be given.