In an age of increasingly mechanised cleaning, where do cleaning tools figure? How can they complement cleaning machines? What tools should be used by which facility and for what purpose? What is the new trend of motorising tools? Two leaders of the cleaning tool segment, Paolo Scapinello, Export Area Manager, Filmop and Praveen Gautam, Head, Category – Products, IPC India share their insights:
The universal need for cleaning tools
Depending upon whom he speaks to, a facility management professional will be advised about the superiority of machines over tools for cleaning, or vice versa. Adherents of mechanical cleaning will swear by its consistency and uniformity, while those who believe in the power of tools will talk about their practicality, particularly in the Indian context. But a seasoned FM professional knows that every set of cleaning equipment ideally includes both machines and tools.
According to Scapinello, “Manual equipment can overcome the limitations of mechanized cleaning machines. Tools are much more versatile and suited for cases where surface cleaning is required. Machines are mainly intended for washing and treating floors, mostly of large surface area; however, they cannot clean other surfaces except to a limited extent.”
Gautam concurred: “While machines are essential for cleaning of large expansive spaces, tools and manual cleaning methods complement the process. Vacuum cleaners, steam cleaners and other machines may be used for cleaning in an operation theatre, but it is the microfiber mops with swivel heads, squeegees, microfiber dusters, disposable micro-wipes and glass cleaning tools that cover the difficult-to-reach areas in these places.”
Thus, tools continue to remain essential for cleaning and disinfecting horizontal and vertical surfaces in all environments, especially in hospitals, schools, and hotels,
where their use is almost inevitable. They can reach small, inaccessible areas like office spaces covered with furniture, patient rooms in hospitals, washroom areas
and air conditioning areas. While machines can cover wide swathes of floor area, the cleaning of the facility cannot be completed without cleaning the nooks and crannies that a machine cannot access.
The bulkiness of many cleaning machines favours tools for cleaning. Scapinello said, “In healthcare environments, manual equipment ensures complete freedom of movement, even in the most sensitive areas such as those reserved for MRIs, where metallic objects are prohibited.
On the contrary, machines cannot be used in operating rooms and patient rooms; their use is therefore limited to corridors.”
“In healthcare environments, manual equipment ensures complete freedom of movement, even in the most sensitive areas such as those reserved for MRIs, where metallic objects are prohibited. On the contrary, machines cannot be used in operating rooms and patient rooms; their use is therefore limited to corridors.”
Schools and colleges are other examples of facilities where tools are critical to dust and wipe under and beyond tables, chairs and desks. In hotels, cleaning tools enhance all the operations necessary to promptly restore the rooms for a new check-in, from linen change to cleaning and sanitising different surfaces.
Every facility has its own sanitation and disinfection requirements and presents its own unique operational limitations; tools developed specifically for each task make cleaning operations both thorough and user-friendly.
Gautam’s list of prescribed tools for the typical facility
- Cotton, acrylic, microfiber mops, brooms, janitorial trolleys, buckets, caddies, microfiber dusters, scourers and glass cleaning tools are required for these tasks.
- Brooms and dry mops take care of dry dirt.
- Wet mops are employed for wet mopping. In order to prevent cross-contamination, the microfiber pre-soak system can do a good job in patient rooms.
- Janitorial trolleys complement the mops.
- Microfiber dusters for cleaning a variety of surfaces such as wood, steel, plastic and glass.
- Scourers for removal of stubborn stains and dirt.
- Glass cleaning tools are used for windows and glass surfaces.
- Caddies for carrying cleaning agents, dusters etc.
Scapinello’s list of suggested tools for various facilities
Corporate offices: They are subjected to a continuous passage of workers, suppliers, and customers. In these areas, dirt builds up fast, requiring targeted action. Equipment must include solutions for dusting, washing and waste collection. He advises a compact trolley to rapidly and efficiently clean even the smallest spaces, equipped with a bag holder that allows customizing the waste collection section, and two buckets and a roller wringer to be used in combination with a flat microfiber mop system. Corporate office cleaning must also include microfiber cloths and hand dusters.
Hotels: Professional cleaning must be able to offer discreet and functional solutions. Hotel room cleaning requires a housekeeping trolley equipped with shelves for sheets and towels, drawers to carry the courtesy products for guests, single or double bag holders for collecting dirty laundry and emptying baskets, and a storage basket to carry cleaning tools into the room. Everything must be closed for greater safety and better hygiene. Trolleys can be also equipped with a small bucket with a hermetic cover to pre-impregnate a microfiber mop, changing mops in every room to guarantee maximum hygiene.
“While machines are essential for cleaning of large expansive spaces, tools and manual cleaning methods complement the process. Vacuum cleaners, steam cleaners and other machines may be used for cleaning in an operation theatre, but it is the microfiber mops with swivel heads, squeegees, microfiber dusters, disposable micro-wipes and glass cleaning tools that cover the difficult-to-reach areas in these places.”
Hospitals: Cleaning here must guarantee a high level of hygiene, tackling cross-contamination, and ensuring patient health and well-being during their hospital stay. For this reason, Scapinello recommends using a completely closed trolley, possibly made with antibacterial material, equipped with an on-demand dosing system for floor disinfection and a hermetic bucket to carry clean mops that must be changed in every room and four color-coded buckets for cleaning different internal surfaces accompanied by microfiber cloths. He also advises a double bag holder for waste management and dirty mops and clothes collection and the presence of a storage
area for the transport of what is necessary for cleaning, including both tools and chemicals.
Motorisation of tools
Traditionally, the efficiency and efficacy of cleaning tools has relied entirely upon the operator’s effort and skill. This absolute reliance on the operator has reduced somewhat with the introduction of motors in tool design. Filmop has developed a range of motorized trolleys, specifically designed to facilitate and speed up cleaning
operations while safeguarding the operator’s health. It is possible to exploit the maximum trolley capacity and handle heavy loads without any effort on behalf of the operator, thus preventing the occurrence of muscle-skeletal issues and injuries.
The motor-driven trolleys ensure a loading capacity of up to 150 kg and allow the operator to easily face any kind of floor gradient up to 8%. They do not require any additional pushing and offer the same maneuverability as traditional trolleys. They are particularly suited for use in environments like hospitals and hotels, since they work in total silence.
Besides motorising window and façade cleaning tools, IPC India has also introduced this element in household cleaning brushes, dusters and small scrubbers.
The bottom line is, the cleaning tool market is flourishing. IPC India currently supplies over 200 different types of tools for different applications including floor, wall, window (indoor & outdoor) and high-rise cleaning, while Filmop offers over 4.000 tools, among which are anti-bacterial systems, surface and floor cleaning systems, mop soaking systems, wringer trolleys, multipurpose trolleys, housekeeping trolleys and waste bag holder trolleys.