Science has now proven what many cleaning professionals have suspected for years: wiping surfaces such as desks with rags, sponges, and conventional cleaning cloths as well as mopping floors with string mops and buckets can spread as many contaminants as they remove. In fact, scientific studies have concluded that the last surface cleaned with a conventional cleaning cloth, which is usually a terry cloth towel, may have two to as much as eight times more soil on it than the first surface cleaned with the towel.
'Essentially what is happening is the towel then becomes the conduit, spreading disease and contamination,' says Matt Morrison, Communications Manager for Kaivac, Inc., developers of the No-Touch Cleaning' system.
Many facility managers are finding that a relatively simple way to reduce the spread of contaminants when cleaning is to use microfiber towels that are divided into labeled quadrants - 1 to 4 on one side and 5 to 8 on the other - and can be folded as needed by numbered quadrant. These are referred to as 'smart towels' and they are ideal when looking to lower cross contamination risks on desks. Microfiber is 99 percent more effective at soil and matter retention than conventional cleaning cloths, according to Morrison. He adds, 'If it can be folded into quadrants, as [one quadrant] becomes soiled, it can be folded so that a fresh quadrant is used. This helps prevent cross contamination especially on desk and floor surfaces.'
Taking this a step further, many facilities are now using color-coded smart towels. Color coding cleaning tools has long been standard procedure in hospitals around the world and now shows promise in settings where desk cleaning is prominent. It assures that a red towel, for instance, is always used to clean areas such as toilets and urinals, whereas a green towel is used in foodservice areas, and a yellow towel to clean office desktops.
'Not only is this the next step in helping to stop the spread of infection,' Morrison notes, 'but color coding is not language dependent. Once the cleaning worker knows which towel is to be used for what surface, the cleaning product is no longer the instrument spreading disease.'
Smart towels, along with no-touch cleaning technology, further ensure that surfaces, such as restroom and locker room fixtures, counters, and floors, are both visually and hygienically clean, according to Morrison. No-touch cleaning entails using specially designed equipment to apply chemicals on areas to be cleaned. The same areas are then rinsed, providing the necessary agitation component so vital to proper cleaning to loosen and remove soils and contaminants, which are then vacuumed using the machine\'s built-in wet/dry system.
No-touch cleaning systems are now used in many parts of a facility, especially in restrooms, foodservice areas, dining rooms, and locker room/gym areas. Along with more thorough, hygienic cleaning, a benefit facility managers appreciate is the fact that using this system tends to speed up the cleaning process so that areas are ready to be used quickly.