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Who Maintains The Machines?

Basic maintenance is essential to prevent costly failures of machines and ensure cleanliness. Our resident floorcare expert Natalie Dowse, Marketing and Product Manager for Truvox International Limited, provides some handy reminders and tips to keep your equipment and your cleaning tip-top.

Modern technology has made massive leaps, not least in usability, so when we acquire a new piece of kit, we expect it to work ‘straight out of the box’ with minimal setting up. Greater attention to design also means that new equipment is simpler to operate, more ergonomic, and easier to maintain too.

But there lies the problem. After the initial satisfaction of seeing better cleaning results, and then the routine of putting the now familiar machine through its paces, many users neglect – what may be minor, but nevertheless essential – regular maintenance.

Cleaning machines may be more advanced, but the self-cleaning machine has not yet been invented. We all know that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, but sometimes we need reminding.

Usually, in a cleaning context, the failure to carry out routine checks on filters, pads and brushes soon manifests itself. A streaked floor or dirt trails alert the operator, and the problem is easily resolved. But it’s not quite that simple. A poorly maintained cleaning machine may be compromising hygiene by failing to remove bacteria, or worse, causing cross-contamination.

Where a clogged hose or filter causes a vacuum to lose suction or a motor to cut out due to overheating, the competent operator should soon fix the problem. But there’s still


a cost in lost productivity. That’s not the only cost. Failure to carry out recommended maintenance checks leads to mechanical failures, potentially costly service repairs and more downtime.

So a sound preventive maintenance programme will not only help assure the quality of cleaning, it will also catch these minor matters before they turn into major problems that burn a hole in your budget.

The checks required will have been explained when your machine was demonstrated and should be set out in the manufacturer’s user and operations manual. Ideally, you should incorporate them into your operational procedures too. Cleaning staff may need refresher training to remind them. Experienced managers or operatives sometimes assume that every floor burnisher, scrubber dryer or sweeper is essentially the same, but they’re not – manufacturers’ instructions will differ.

Here is a checklist and some tips for a proactive approach

to preventive maintenance Vacuums: You might be surprised how many times we’re told that vacuums are not working, only for the cause to be traced to full bags or clogged filters, hoses or wands. These should be checked on a regular basis; not just when there’s a malfunction.

We’re also asked, ‘How often should I change the HEPA filter on my vacuum?’ The answer is it depends.

Several factors affect filter life, such as frequency of use (daily, weekly, monthly), and what is being vacuumed up (hair, grit, larger items, etc.)

But as a general rule of thumb, you should change the HEPA filter on your vacuum every six months. If you don’t have a formalised annual maintenance plan, you can use daylight saving time as a reminder, so when the clocks go back or forward, change the cartridge.

A clogged HEPA filter will adversely affect a vacuum’s performance, as well as indoor air quality. Even if a planned replacement is not due, a visibly clogged or dirty filter should be changed. Paper collection filter bags also need to be changed regularly, depending upon usage.

Scrubber, burnisher and other floor machines: Each machine’s manual will specify daily or weekly

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