Chester Collins, Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds for the Middletown (OH) City School District, was feeling more like a track coach than a custodial engineer until recently. Like many school systems, Middletown had made cutbacks in its custodial department, leaving Collins with a janitorial staff of less than 50 to clean the district's 17 schools, plus its administration building and a large football complex.
Hoping to stretch his lean custodial crew, Collins gave workers specific time goals for cleaning each type of room. "I would allot seven minutes per classroom, 30 minutes per large restroom, and so on," he recalled. "I was trying to keep things rolling, because we were so short-handed."
Trouble was, Collins' overtaxed staff often fell short of these productivity goals, particularly when it came to cleaning restrooms. "Our goal was 30 minutes for a restroom, but when you were talking about one of the really big lavatories, it could take more than twice as long to really give it a thorough cleaning," he says.
Collins, who has held his current supervisory position for a decade, after first joining Middletown schools as a night custodian 29 years ago, was searching for a way to improve his department's productivity. So when his distributor, Valley Janitor Supply (Hamilton, OH), showed him a new "scrub-less" KaiVac No-Touch Cleaning® system method for restrooms, he paid close attention. "I was all ears, and the more I heard, the more sense the KaiVac System seemed to make," he said.
Developed by Kaivac Inc. (Hamilton, OH), the KaiVac No-Touch Cleaning system is a unique cleaning method that combines pressure washing, chemical injection and wet vacuuming in a single platform. Using the system's chemical dispenser, employees simply spray cleaning solution on a restroom's walls and fixtures. Next, they blast the soil to the floor with a high-pressure spray. They then vacuum the floor dry, which completely removes all soil and bacteria, leaving the restroom thoroughly clean and odor-free -- without employees scrubbing, or even touching, any of the room's contaminated surfaces.
Much to Collins' delight, his department's employees were able to clean the largest restroom at Middletown High School in 22 minutes using the no-touch KaiVac system. Giving this restroom a comparable thorough cleaning by hand would take well over an hour, according to Collins. Thus, the KaiVac system resulted in a time savings of more than two-thirds!
"This is a big lavatory with adjacent boys' and girls' restrooms in the main lobby of our 2000-student high school, so it gets a lot of use. On the boys' side alone, there are six urinals, three commodes and three sinks," Collins detailed. "Using our previous hand-cleaning method, it would take over an hour to clean this restroom thoroughly from ceiling to floor. But with KaiVac, we are now able to completely clean, deodorize and disinfect both the boys' and girls' sides in 22 minutes." Comparable time savings were realized in other restrooms where the KaiVac No-Touch system was employed.
Not only can restrooms be cleaned much faster with KaiVac, they are also sanitized much more thoroughly, says Collins. With the previously-used conventional mop-and-bucket system, dirty contaminated water simply got spread around, leaving a breeding ground for odor-causing bacteria. But the KaiVac system's vacuum removes all soil and bacteria, and its pressurized spray penetrates even the smallest nooks and crannies.
"You're getting total ceiling-to-floor cleaning -- not just the fixtures," Collins pointed out. "People have actually commented on how much cleaner the restrooms look and smell."
Employee morale has also risen as a result of the no-touch system. Not having to hand-scrub dirty fixtures makes workers' lives easier and reduces health risks. Plus, employees take pride in the fact that they can work faster and exceed productivity goals, while doing a better job, Collins reports.
After seeing all of these benefits, Collins was sold on the KaiVac concept. He purchased 14 additional KaiVac systems for use in other Middletown school buildings.
All of the KaiVac's components -- including the spray wand, vacuum hose, clean water tank and recovery tank -- fit neatly into one compact unit. "Everything's right there at your fingertips," noted Collins. "The unit itself is on wheels, so it's easily transportable. The hoses are long enough so that we can leave the unit in the hallway when we go in to clean a rest room, which is very convenient."
Collins says that he is also impressed with the system's versatility. In addition to cleaning rest rooms, he is now using it to remove wax build-up without scrubbing. "I found that I can put stripper down on the baseboards, and on the glaze brick between the floor and wall, then use the KaiVac's high-pressure spray to blow off built-up wax," he explained. "We used to get rid of the wax by hand-scrubbing, but here again, KaiVac has totally eliminated this time-consuming process."
It's just another way the KaiVac system has helped the Middletown building supervisor and his limited staff meet their productivity goals . . . without feeling like they're running track.