Better Stronger Faster: New Cleaning Technologies Ring in the New Year
The new year is a great time to re-think old processes and that includes cleaning protocols. While many cleaning tools and techniques remain unchanged over time—think brooms, rags and good old elbow grease—there are some high-tech advances that offer better outcomes for everyone: custodial managers, their staff and their customers. But be warned, just because something is shiny and new doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better. In fact in an article on the topic, Cleaning & Maintenance Management reports that any new cleaning technologies that don’t pay for themselves through better efficiencies are just not worthwhile.
Want to know the difference between a flashy add-on and a real upgrade? Here are three new cleaning technologies that are worth the investment.
Microfiber Towels and Mop Heads
Microfiber towels and mop heads offer distinct advantages over cloth rags and string mops. When following proper folding techniques, microfiber towels can trap and remove soils from surfaces instead of spreading them around like a cloth rag. They can accomplish this using plain water too, which removes the need for aggressive cleaning chemicals making them perfect for cleaning a surface susceptible to etching, discoloration or other damage. Microfiber mops are lighter and more nimble than traditional mops, which helps eliminate repetitive motion injuries and strain. The heads are easy to change which can improve worker efficiency and safety. Color-coding the mop heads also prevents cross contamination.
Spray-and-vac systems use an indoor pressure washer to apply cleaning chemicals (if needed) and then rinse them away. Then a vacuum removes all liquids, leaving surfaces clean, dry and ready to use. Systems like these save time and effort and are perfect for the most challenging commercial spaces, especially kitchens, locker rooms and restrooms. Because they are no-touch, the technology protects cleaning staff from potentially dangerous pathogens, cutting down on employee sick days and turnover.
Web and cloud-based tracking systems allow improved communications between cleaners on the front line, their managers and ultimately the client. These systems can report what work is being done, when it was completed, who did the work and flag any issues that need to be addressed in the future. This level of communication offers several advantages. Cleaning managers can provide detailed reports and documentation to their clients. Clients get a glimpse into what it takes to create a clean and safe environment, turning them into partners in the process. Workers also feel empowered by the technology and take ownership of their jobs which reduces costly turnover.
Be aware that even the best new cleaning technologies are worthless without proper training. Make sure that front-line workers know how to use new products before sending them out in the field.
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Amy Milshtein covers design, facility management and business topics for a variety of trade publications and consumer magazines.
Her work has won several awards, most recently a regional silver Azbee Award of Excellence.
She lives in Portland, OR with her family and Clyde, a 15-lb tabby cat. Once an avid hiker, these days she finds herself on the less-challenging -but-still-exciting 'creaky knees' trails.