Despite the size, purpose, age, or usage of a facility, washrooms talk to everyone who enters. They tell a story about the facility’s cleanliness, priorities, and attention to detail. They tell you whether the people who clean them do so with care and professionalism or with frustration and rushed disgust.
Washrooms impact facility image and occupant wellbeing. In the COVID-19 era, customers and employees alike pay closer attention to washroom cleanliness. Employees often think employers who regularly deep clean their workplace washrooms care more about their health and wellness than those who don’t. Maintaining washrooms has always been a challenge, but in the current climate, the stakes are higher than ever.
Standard toolset for washroom cleaning
Most companies and institutions – even your own household – make use of the standard toolset which includes a mop and bucket, spray bottle, cloth and a toilet brush. Are these tools equipped for success? To answer that we need to ask ourselves “what is cleaning?” The Collins Dictionary offers the following definition: “The act of removing dirt or something undesirable”. Wikipedia expands a little bit and defines cleaning as “the process of removing unwanted substances, such as dirt, infectious agents, and other impurities, from an object or environment.” These substances can be visible or invisible and can be cleaned through mechanical and manual processes.
The keyword in both the definitions is the action word – removing. Let’s take those definitions to our standard toolset, starting with a mop and bucket. Is a mop an effective tool for removal? Is it removing the visible soils or just spreading them around? What about invisible bacteria and pathogens? Now, picture a wet vacuum.
Effective washroom cleaning must put removal at the forefront, and the most effective way to do that is with wet vacuum recovery.
Leaving the washroom cleaner than mopping
Kaivac No-Touch Cleaning® systems don’t just paint the floor like a mop or rely on the limited absorbent capacity of a microfiber pad. They take the capacity for removal into the litres. Instead of wiping by hand, a spray nozzle allows the worker to keep their distance from contaminated surfaces. First, a cleaning worker sprays down fixtures with clean solution. Then they rinse with water at a higher pressure, dislodging soils and odour-causing bacteria and sending these to the floor. Lastly, they use the vacuum wand to remove the soiled solution from the floor.
The KaiVac® 1750 No Touch-Cleaning system captures soiled solution in a 64-litre tank, separate from the cleaning solution. This process results in soil removal well beyond traditional cleaning methods, and scientific testing validates that.
One laboratory test examined the difference between cleaning with a string mop, a flat mop, and a Kaivac No-Touch Cleaning system. The No-Touch Cleaning system removed 98 percent of urine residue from tile floors – both from the smooth tile surface and from the grout line. Mops left 12-13 times the amount of urine residue on the tile surface and 30 times more residue in the grout line. Flat mops only performed minimally better than string mops. Not only were both mops less effective at removing unwanted matter, but they deposited soils into the porous grout lines, leaving the floors significantly contaminated after cleaning.
Workers’ point of view
Of course, the standard toolset doesn’t clean a washroom by itself. They are wielded by a cleaning worker. What is the worker’s experience using those tools? They kneel in front of the toilet to wipe it down, their faces coming very close to contaminated surfaces. They twist their bodies, arms, and wrists to drag the mop across the floor. Do they feel safe on the job? Do they feel good in their bodies while using these tools? Beyond the worker’s personal sense of wellbeing, do they feel good about the work they’ve accomplished?
Do they believe that they are making a difference? It may seem unavoidable that washroom cleaning is unpleasant. It always has been. At least, that’s the way it’s always been done. But the old way has also led to washrooms being a magnet for costs and complaints.
What if the job was easier and more comfortable for the worker? What if the results consistently met a higher standard? An alternative scenario might look something like this: the worker stands upright, away from contaminated surfaces, blasting soil and bacteria down to the floor with a spray nozzle.
The system automatically measures and dilutes the chemical, preventing error or injury during mixing. The worker manoeuvres the lightweight wand around partitions and fixtures, capturing the soiled solution. The system is even equipped with an on-board training system.
This means the worker can refresh their memory at any point on how to use it for the best results. How will this worker feel at the end of the day compared to the worker using the standard tools? Do not allow cleaning work to chip away at people. When workers are being asked to provide top quality cleaning without receiving the tools and support they need, they can quickly lose the passion for what they’re doing. Employee empowerment starts with a renewed commitment to doing the right thing. When we start by thinking about the worker and what the ask is, and then we support, train, and advise them, the sky is the limit.
When it comes to cleaning washrooms, a little imagination goes a long way. First, imagine that maintaining washrooms can be better. The worker can be happier. The space can be cleaner and healthier. The maintenance can be more cost-effective, and the customer can be more satisfied. By discarding the standard toolset and embracing a process centred on removal of soil and respect for the worker, facility managers can reimagine and reinvent their washroom cleaning programme.
The Kaivac No-Touch Cleaning system is distributed by Goscor Cleaning Equipment, a cleaning equipment provider that prides itself in providing the ultimate cleaning solution from a wide range of quality, world-class brands to suit almost every cleaning application. For more information visit: www.goscorcleaning.co.za