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EXPERT ADVICE From the Floor Up

Stephen Pinhorne, from Truvox International Limited, offers tips on how Care Homes tackle their cleaning regime with efficiency and ease of use.

Care homes are a challenging environment for a cleaning team – and not just because high standards of cleanliness and hygiene are all- important for infection control.

To be effective, the cleaning operation must be equipped to achieve this performance across a mix of hard and soft floorings that are used in a variety of ways. Daily cleaning in dining areas and lounges, kitchens and bedrooms must be dovetailed with the daily life of the vulnerable and often frail, residents, as well as the comings and goings of their visitors and carers.

Emphasise the Homely While care home managers may aspire to asepsis levels on a par with a hospital, they operate in an environment that is meant to be more homely than clinical. Also, the welfare of residents could be jeopardised by the use of chemicals and cleaning agents that are potentially harmful or allergenic, exacerbating – for example – asthma or dermatitis. So all cleaning materials and equipment need to be considered carefully from the perspective of health, as well as effectiveness.

Choosing The Right

Equipment With equipment selection, this means that vacuums, for instance, must have the high standards of filtration essential to protect indoor air quality. And all cleaning machines and equipment must enable staff to achieve consistently effective and efficient performance that slots seamlessly into the daily routine of the home.

Hard floors typically make up a large proportion of a care home’s footprint, whether it’s cushioned vinyl in dining areas or tiles in bathrooms and showrooms. While easier to keep

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clean and stain-free, the risk of slips on wet patches left by cleaning must be minimised.

These surfaces can be cleaned efficiently and safely by multiwashing machnes that washe, mop, scrub and dry hard (and some soft) floor coverings in a single pass. Importantly, these machines leave floors ready to walk on in minutes.

Tiled floors in particular tend to harbour ingrained dirt, which can accommodate pathogens, in grout lines. The counter-rotating cylindrical brushes of multiwash tools exert greater pressure than rotary machines and dig more deeply into recesses.

This technology requires less water and solution thanks to a high brush pressure and speed, making it both cost-effective and kinder to the environment.

Quiet operation can also be a benefit in a care home setting. Noise from cleaning can be a nuisance in any setting, but in a care home it is more likely to impact on the health and wellbeing of residents. The absence of a trailing electrical cable removes another risk, for employees and visitors as well.

Emergency Response In addition to the daily routine, cleaning teams need to be able to respond to spills and emergencies, perform spot cleaning and carry out regular interim cleaning between deep cleans.

For carpeting and upholstery, spray extraction is the most efficient way to incorporate interim cleaning into the maintenance regime. It is a fast and effective way to remove embedded dirt and stains, leaving carpets and upholstery fresh and clean.

Single machines avaliable from the Truvox Hydromist range, need the operator to spray a low-foaming

shampoo diluted in water at pressure via a wand. This breaks down and loosens oily and greasy soils sticking to the pile or fabric before they are suctioned away by a powerful vacuum. A second pass of dry vacuuming completes the process and reduces the drying time. As this is a low-moisture process a carpet can be walked on after cleaning.

For localised stains, a specialised pre- spotting solution is recommended. Extremely dirty carpets will benefit from a second pass or allowing the detergent 5-15 minutes to emulsify the dirt before vacuuming.

If well equipped, the cleaning team can deliver a level of cleanliness on floors and upholstery fundamental to a care home’s mission to provide a hygienic and healthy environment.

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