Cleaning K-12 Schools for Health and Safety

by | Jan 18, 2023

Thoroughly cleaning K12 schools creates a healthier, more productive environment for students, faculty, and staff. Our collective slog through a global pandemic revealed just how important in-person instruction is for America’s 50 million k12 students. We also know, according to many, many sources including the New York Times, that cleaner classrooms mean fewer sick kids, less absenteeism, and more learning.

While especially important during cold and flu season, good maintenance protocols protect students and staff from other nasty bugs like norovirus, conjunctivitis, and herpes gladiatorum year-round. Just as important is the sense of pride and ownership a clean campus instills. Messy interiors distract students and discourage learning. Well maintained spaces elevate the environment and increase student satisfaction.

But keeping k12 schools clean is complicated by design. There are classrooms, offices, hallways, stairways, auditoriums, food service spaces, gyms, locker rooms, and multiple restrooms each demanding different tools and protocols. Extended schedules keep the building busy outside of normal school hours. District policy may demand green cleaning solutions. And a continuing labor shortage means already overextend janitorial staff must constantly do more with less.

Can you empower staff to clean k-12 buildings quickly and completely? Yes, if they are armed with state-of-the-art cleaning systems and protocols. Here’s how Kaivac machines offer innovative cleaning solutions for the challenging K12 environment.

Duke University uses Kaivac systems
The KaiVac 1750 No-Touch Cleaning system in the restroom.

Kaivac in K-12 Restrooms

K12 restrooms must be cleaned every school day for health and safety. Students, faculty, and staff risk encountering a variety of illness every time they enter a school restroom including:

  • Norovirus
  • Salmonella
  • Hepatitis A
  • MRSA
  • E. coli
  • Shigella
  • Streptococcus

Effective daily service removes restroom pathogens creating a safer space. Complete cleaning also eliminates malodors due to urine-stained tile grout. Regular maintenance extends the life of expensive finishes and fixtures. Finally, a well-cleaned restroom builds positive perceptions of the school and school leadership.

But janitors will have a hard time getting desired results with traditional tools like mops and rags. Mopping, scrubbing, and wiping takes a lot of time and physical effort. It forces workers to bend, twist, and touch unpleasant surfaces. Perhaps most discouraging mopping and wiping cannot fully remove dirt and pathogens.

Kaivac offers several solutions specifically engineered to completely clean and dry k12 restrooms. No-Touch Cleaning® systems empowers workers to remove 60 times more unpleasant soils than mopping or wiping without bending, twisting, or touching foul surfaces. The tool works in one-third of the time so staff can move on to other cleaning jobs. 

Kaivac for Floors and Stairwells

Hallways, lobbies, and auditorium floors in k12 schools take a beating from constant foot traffic. Servicing these wide, hard surface floors usually means slinging a mop or running an autoscrubber every day. While the autoscrubber offers more efficiency than a mop, the machine is expensive to buy, complicated to use, and requires lots of maintenance.

An AutoVac™ from Kaivac is the better choice. This equipment is easier to use and works faster than an autoscrubber. It is also light, very maneuverable, non-motorized, and cordless, making it safe to operate during school hours. This means the AutoVac can help on bad weather days, quickly removing dangerous water, snow, and ice melt from floors.

The AutoVac also leaves floors completely dry and ready to walk on. This goes a long way in eliminated slip and fall risks. The machine cleans and dries so well that it’s certified by the National Floor Safety Institute for providing high traction, slip resistant floors.

Stairwells require a different approach. These spaces are too tight for an autorscrubber or and AutoVac. But that doesn’t mean mops are the only solution. Cleaning staff can park a KaiVac® 1750 No-Touch cleaning machine and use the long hose to service stairwell. The No-Touch cleaning machine deep cleans stair treads, handrails, and even ceilings, walls, and corners.

Science of Microfiber
Cleaning touchpoints with a Kaivac SmartTowel.

Kaivac Tackles Touchpoints

K-12 schools are loaded with touchpoints: desks, doorknobs, counters, light switches, handrails, windows, and more. Removing dirt and pathogens from these areas helps stop the transfer of germs and protects students and staff. But cleaning every touchpoint in a school is a daunting task.

Kaivac offers two products for touchpoint cleaning at scale. The KaiFly system lets workers clean flat surfaces like desks, tables, and partition walls quickly and completely. Using a combination of spray, squeegee, and microfiber pad, KaiFly fully removes germs and soils instead of spreading the contaminants around.

The SmartTowel™ lets workers address irregular touchpoints like light switches, drinking fountains, door handles, and more. The tool offers all the cleaning power of microfiber with an added benefit. Its numbered quadrants allow workers to fold and re-fold the towel to reveal a fresh portion eight times. This cuts down on spreading illness through accidental cross-contamination.

Kaivac in the Cafeteria

Kitchens and cafeterias in K-12 schools need special care. Along with a lot of foot traffic, these crowded spaces manage to accumulate spills, crumbs, and hard to remove greasy messes. And like any food service environment, they must be cleaned to code standards.

Attack kitchen and cafeteria floors with tools from KaiVac. The UniVac and Dispense-and Vac can clean both large unobstructed floors and floors crowded with tables or equipment. The machines remove crumbs, pick up sticky liquid spills, and dissolve greasy messes. They even blast dirt and grease out of the grout lines on tiled floors.

The machines work quickly and leave surfaces dry. This allows janitorial staff to clean the floor after breakfast service without moving tables or chairs and have the room dry and ready for lunch.

Kaivac AutoVac on Wood Gym Floor
The AutoVac Stretch cleans a wooden gym floor in a school.

Athletic Programs Need Cleaning Too

Highly polished gym floors, locker rooms, and steamy shower areas need daily cleaning to protect both student health and the life of expensive finishes and materials. While the demands of K-12 gym floors and locker rooms are different, the cleaning equipment solution is the same.

The AutoVac from Kaivac cleans, dries, and shines a variety of hard-surface flooring materials. The walk-behind tool works quickly, cleaning more than 25,000 square feet per hour. With no scrubbing bristles or abrasive chemicals, the AutoVac protects the finish while leaving floors 25% shinier. The machine also dries as it goes removing the need for fans or wet floor signs.

In the locker room/shower area try a No-Touch cleaning system. The same Kaivac technology that works so well in restrooms and stairwells also tackles smelly locker rooms and damp, mold-prone shower areas. The machine removes 99% of contaminates, lessening the risk of picking up microbes like staphylococcus, MRSA, ringworm, candida, or plantar warts.

Cleaners can even clean and dry gym mats to lessen the potential of catching Herpes Gladiatorum, aka Mat Herpes.

Keeping K-12 schools clean has always been vital for the health and safety students, staff, and parents. Choosing the right tools and techniques can make cleaning faster, easier, and more complete. Click here to learn more about how Kaivac can help k12 school cleaners make the grade.

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.
Amy Milshtein
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