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Scrubbing down for efficient floor cleaning 16 May, 2016

Cleaning teams in a healthcare environment should aspire for the highest standards of efficiency as well as hygiene. Gordon McVean, International sales and marketing director of Truvox International considers the factors and equipment that help them deliver on the ground.

No one questions the critical importance of effective floor cleaning in a healthcare setting, but what about efficiency?

Cleaning budgets are not immune from financial pressures in any environment. In hospitals and aged care homes, there are time and practical constraints too. So the cleaning team must dovetail their operations with the needs of clinicians and medical staff, visitors and, of course, patients or residents.

Both efficiency and effectiveness require a well-trained and equipped cleaning team.

Most healthcare facilities are designed to make their task easier, with most flooring areas covered with hard, impervious surfaces that repel spills and speed cleaning. Some, however, are likely to be non-slip, which may be more challenging to clean. Tiled floors are common not just in kitchens, but also washrooms and toilets. Carpeting tends to be confined to some waiting areas, lounges and family rooms, and more prevalent in residential care homes.

This mix – in terms of the surface’s share of total floor area as well as the layout of the building – should dictate the choice of cleaning equipment used. For example, whether dedicated floor polishing machines will be more or less cost-effective than multi-purpose units that can tackle hard and soft floors.

Before focusing on the issue of equipment selection, it’s worth considering some other factors that affect the cost-effectiveness of a cleaning regime.

Investing in effective threshold matting at all external entrances is essential to capture excess dirt before it’s tracked through the facility. Matting also needs to be cleaned properly as well as checked regularly for wear.

While the cleaning agents used to clean surfaces – including floors – need to be powerful enough to disinfect and sanitise, potentially harmful or allergenic solutions have to be avoided for fear of triggering asthma or dermatitis, for instance.

Neutral detergents and taurnine-based products may be specified as an alternative to stringent chemicals for cleaning safety flooring in particular. But these need to be applied by a machine that exerts pressure and agitates the surface to be truly effective.

The volume of whatever cleaning agent used is also a cost and environmental issue. It’s important than dosing is carefully managed and resource efficiency is taken into account when specifying cleaning machinery.

For all these considerations, mopping by hand is out of place in a modern, efficient cleaning regime, especially in a healthcare setting. Even when microfibre mop heads are used, soils and pathogens in the bucket will be recirculated on the floor. Whatever cleaning solution is used, operatives wielding conventional mops can’t put enough pressure on the floor to remove embedded dirt or clean in crevices.

The action and pressure of a rotary or scrubber dryer will ensure the floor is cleaned to a higher standard, and more efficiently. Even where mechanised cleaning is used for most floors, mopping may persist in toilets or bathrooms or other areas because of tradition or the misplaced belief that confined spaces can only be cleaned by hand. This is to overlook the risks posed by pathogens and cross-contamination. Bacteria thrive and multiply in grout lines where tiled floors are mopped, for example.

Mopping also poses the additional risk of slips on damp floors.

Taking account of these factors, an advanced scrubber-dryer is often one of the most effectively elements of the daily cleaning regime in hospitals, clinics and aged care facilities.

The capability to mop, wash, scrub and dry hard floors in a single pass drives the appeal of a scrubber-dryer like the Multiwash. Its cylindrical brushes counter-rotate at high speed, making it easy to remove stubborn scuff marks and scrub down into grout lines. This technology also minimises use of water and chemicals.

A quick change of brushes equips the scrubber-dryer for a variety of hard floors, including rubber-studded and other safety flooring, whether for daily, maintenance cleaning or intensive scrubbing. These are colour-coded to help manage the risk of cross-contamination, and also simple to clean and disinfect.

The machine is easy to operate, even in confined spaces, and in its cordless version, brings other benefits that are especially valuable in a healthcare setting. Quiet in its operation, the battery-powered scrubber dryer helps the cleaning team avoid disturbing noise-sensitive patients and residents and obviates the risk of trips due to trailing cables.

One battery charge powers this productive machine for up to 50 minutes effective floor cleaning. Swopping batteries is quick and easy where this range needs to be extended.

As well as hard floors – from vinyl and marble to terracotta and concrete –low-pile carpets can be washed and dried. This versatile machine also takes entrance matting and even travelators and escalators in its stride.

The cleaning regime in any healthcare setting will not typically rely on one type of machine for all its floor cleaning demands. But a versatile scrubber dryer that can tackle a variety of tasks and accomplish them cost-effectively is a critical asset to any cleaning team

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