Dusters, wipes, mops and brushes are the broad categories of cleaning tools used in housekeeping for optimum cleaning efficiency and effective day-to-day maintenance. Appropriate tools used in appropriate jobs yield desired results. “Mops, buckets and squeegees are being used extensively in majority of the facilities, including institutional and industrial, for maintenance cleaning,” said V Balathandayutham, Manager, Product Support, Roots Multiclean Ltd. No doubt, technological advancements have made users adopt mechanisation but in the daily routine cleaning, apart from using a floor cleaning machine, hand tools are both necessary and capable of completing any task successfully. Simple hand tools can reach critical places where machines cannot. That is why hand tools are important to do an effective cleaning job,he added.
A brush/wipe/duster used for cleaning ducts or AC filters is different from the one used in cleaning bottles or chimneys or windows. In addition, they come in varying sizes accordingly to the surface size.
“Dust control in an operation theatre, for example,” said Richard Dias, Masterpolishers, “cannot be done with an ordinary cloth duster. We need microfibre duster. Similarly, for floor cleaning or glass cleaning in the OT, one has to use micro mops or micro wipes respectively, as they retard bacterial growth.” Different dusters of different colours are used to dust different areas. A red colour duster used for dusting a patient area cannot be used in any other area. Mops are broadly divided into wet mops and dust/dry mops.
In floor cleaning, floor dust mop helps remove the smallest dust particles. It involves a simple operation of applying solution to the floor and wiping with the Floor Dust Mop. The absorbent surface of the mop is made of cotton, wool or micro fibre material that traps dust particles easily. Micro fibre mop is also an effective tool for removing even the smallest dust particle from the floor but does not require any cleaning solution. Water alone would suffice.
Steam mops too do not require cleaning solutions as they employ steam. In cleaning grout from between individual tiles, use of sponge mop would be incorrect. It does not have fabric strips like traditional mops and cannot reach the grout. Cotton mops are ideal for grout cleaning.
The technological advancement in the mopping system has created mop handles to reduce the need to bend or crouch when wringing the wet mop head. A wet mop head can hold as much as four times its weight of water. A wringer bucket with pedal eliminates the need to bend to a large extent.
Tools too need to be maintained. Most janitors are either unaware or are negligent in mop care which leads to early replacements of mops. The wet mop should be rinsed thoroughly and left to hang keeping the mop head off the floor or kept upside down. Mop heads otherwise can become disfigured or get damaged. Mop care also reduces the chances of bacteria and mildew accumulation.
A good mopping system cuts the need to frequently run the machine for vacuuming. Mopping system reduces by one-third the amount of lift needed to empty a mop bucket into a janitorial sink, floor drain or toilet.
Several varieties and sizes of brushes are deployed in surface cleaning. They again could become a source of contamination if not cleaned or coded properly. A good toilet bowl brush or toilet bowl mop to scrub around in the toilet and remove those ugly stains, is a must.
Toilet bowl mops should be discarded after repeated use as they are considered to be a disposable toilet cleaning product. Toilet bowl mops have a ball of polypropylene strands massed at one end to form a light duty scouring surface. Over time, the strands tend to break off and the mop should be discarded. But, many a time, even a dilapidated brush is stretched over its lifetime.
In fact, said Gigi Haug, Export Manager of Haug Bürsten, “The market has a wide assortment of brushes to choose from. But, even in markets like the US, though people talk big about hygiene, when it comes to spending on brushes, they opt for the smaller or simple ones.” Similarly, squeegees with special handles and synthetic cleaning blades target specific cleaning needs. For example, a squeegee with a swivel head is ideal for window cleaning. Advancements such as these make it easier for a cleaner to manoeuvre the squeegee in tight places. While it is necessary to know the cleaning tools, it is equally essential and important to have the proper knowledge of its application and maintenance.
Jörg Dunkel, Technical Services Manager, Vileda Professional speaks to CIJ
Why do you think tools are equally important in the cleaning process?
Equipment play an important role in the initial cleaning and during maintenance cleaning. They are ideal for cleaning of large areas as well as for specific tasks such as polishing or removal of floor coating. But maintenance of smaller areas or areas covered with a lot of furniture requires manual mopping systems and other tools. Equipment and the manual mopping or floor cleaning systems do not compete, but complement each other. A good housekeeper, (in house or outsourced) analyses the premise to be cleaned and then prepares a list of cleaning items required. Fundamental things are taken into consideration, like open space, kind of flooring and its tolerance for dirt/germs, cleaning time, personnel involved, storage and the costs involved. Accordingly, the appropriate machines, tools, chemicals and other accessories are arranged for the cleaning job.
What are the specific applications where tools are important?
A specific application, for instance, is in hospital cleaning. Manual mopping shows ease of adaptation according to the individual hygienic requirements. A major issue in hospitals is cross-contamination and manual cleaning tools are best suited to deal with it. Each area can be dealt with using separate tools which are colour coded to avoid cross contamination.
Ergonomic floor cleaning tools which secure best cleaning results are most essential. Tools like dusters, damp & wet mopping systems, telescopic handle, mop frame and latest technology microfibre mops must also be made available by the housekeeping company. For surface cleaning, it is essential to have colour coded microfibre cloths, scourers for stubborn dirt removal (with different abrasion levels according to the sensitiveness of the cleaned surface) and gloves for hand protection. Optionally, you can have a carrier with buckets and press.