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Improving cleaning processes post-lockdown


As lockdown restrictions continue to ease, and the world gears up to return to work, James White of Denis Rawlins explains why facilities managers need to clean up their processes and stop relying on disinfectant when it comes to workplace hygiene.


The events of early 2020 have left our society unrecognisable. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every single person and its impact has been devastating. From the tragic loss of life to the effects on our businesses and economy, the virus has changed our way of living as we know it.


As the virus crept across the borders from Wuhan and spread across the globe, sales of disinfectant soared, as people stockpiled the chemical agent in an attempt to banish bacteria.


As I watched on, I couldn’t help but worry that this over- reliance on disinfectant – a solution that cleaners have relied upon for many years – would be counterproductive. What many people don’t know is that, like the losing battle of antibiotics against superbugs, disinfectants become increasingly ineffective over time.


Yes, the solution may kill most bacteria, but it doesn’t remove them. A traditional mop or cloth then disperses the dead microbes across the surface, serving as a food source for the next wave, along with any surviving bacteria. Given that some bacteria produce biofilms that can effectively defend them from cleaning agents, there is a real danger that disinfectant only increases the bacterial resistance.


As deep cleans and infection control become more important than ever, we need to move away from this ‘disinfect and disperse’ method, which quite simply compromises hygiene, and adopt a science-based approach to cleaning and surface protection.


We need to ensure that staff, clients and visitors can have confidence in the cleanliness and safety of a building or environment. This can only be achieved by investing in a robust process-based cleaning regime that removes unwanted substances, such as dirt, infectious agents and other impurities, and delivers consistent proven results with the added protection of an anti-microbial shield. In a post- coronavirus society, there needs to be a shift to a ‘remove, improve and protect’ approach.


Remove rather than spread


There is no excuse for using mop buckets and rags or wipes in an attempt to clean any hard surface. The dirt needs to be removed, not pushed around using contaminated water, spreading microbes across the surface.


On hard surfaces, dirt should be removed by adding water, and the correct chemistry in the form of a pure cleaning solution that is uncontaminated by previous use. With some dwell time and agitation where necessary, high-flow fluid


54 | FLOORCARE & MAINTENANCE


saves on labour time, cleaning 16,000 sq ft an hour – two to three times faster than mopping.


This method of cleaning should be carried out at regular intervals, ideally daily, to ensure that the removal of the day’s dirt is all that is required – a simple task when using the correct techniques.


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extraction can then be used to take away the used solution, storing it separately for disposal.


A scrubber-dryer has the necessary fluid extraction capability, and in scientific tests, this method has been shown to remove more than 99% of bacterial soils, compared with just 51% for a microfibre mop.


In the same tests, the OmniFlex cleaning system matched the performance of the scrubber-dryer and its latest iteration, the lightweight AutoVac, also offers a fast and highly cost-effective floor-cleaning solution. Using a drop- down squeegee with microfibre spreader pad, and a wet and dry vacuum, the machine removes soiled solution and stores it in a separate recovery tank. Not only does the device remove dirt, rather than spreading it around, it also


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