Preserving the health and appearance of patient and administrative spaces is important for the longevity of your buildings. One of the first impressions patrons in your building make is based off the quality and appearance of your floors, especially in well lit areas where dirt and spills are more noticeable. If a patient sees dirty carpets in a lobby entrance or hallways, they can make inferences about the health of other spaces in your buildings, like patient or surgical rooms. The same is true for office spaces, long-term care facilities, schools, and more. The public has heightened expectations for cleaning standards, and part of your job is to meet and exceed their standards.
There are ways to communicate your team and facility is doing its part to prevent infection and keep the safety of the community at the forefront. Knowing common problem areas for dirt and contaminants in your facility is a start to refocusing your infection control plan. That being said, a cleaning professional is limited by the equipment they use to perform daily operations. By choosing efficient equipment you can focus on improving the appearance of your floors and reduce cross-contamination. Cross-contamination is a big issue for hospitals and long-term care facilities looking to reduce their number of healthcare acquired infections, which has become an even bigger issue with the spread of COVID-19. Dirty floors are a common source of cross-contamination since patrons entering your building tracking dirt around your facility, and patrons or staff leaving your restrooms can also spread contaminants into patient rooms, lobbies, surgical rooms, and more.
The way to get results from your cleaning program is to be proactive in your efforts and choose solutions that will have long term benefits. Using a matting system is one way to maintain cleaner floors and slow the spread of contaminants since they can trap some of dirt from foot traffic entering your building. Mats only trap some of the dirt and bacteria that enters your buildings, and they still need to be cleaned themselves. Vacuuming is a daily maintenance task that everyone knows improves the appearance and health of your floors. This can be a labor-intensive task, especially in buildings with a lot of square footage and obstacles like patient beds and furniture in lobbies. Your challenge is how to increase efficiency with daily cleaning tasks that must be done and making sure your housekeeping or custodial team isn’t overly fatigued so you can guarantee the results you need to be compliant.
ProTeam offers efficient and cost-effective methods for cleaning in the commercial world, including healthcare, offices, schools, or anywhere there’s high foot traffic. Their backpack vacuums have revolutionized the cleaning industry and are approved by the Carpet & Rug Institute which signifies superior carpet cleaning effectiveness and indoor air quality. They are designed to clean carpets and hard surfaces without stirring up dust. They work more efficiently since staff is able to cover more square footage in less amount of time. This is due to backpack vacuums weighing less than traditional upright vacuums. Instead of bending over and performing more strenuous back-and-forth motions, your staff can maintain a neutral posture and vacuum faster with less exertion. This is a win-win for you and your staff, since they’re less likely to get fatigued and more likely to deliver the results you need.
ProTeam has put an emphasis on lowering decibel levels to help reduce noise pollution, which can be a big concern in healthcare. Allowing your housekeeping or custodial team to vacuum contaminants underneath patient beds and maneuver around other hard to reach areas, like stairs or furniture, helps to decrease cross-contamination likelihood and increase air quality. ProTeam is partnered with the American Lung Association to promote public awareness and education about indoor air quality issues.
Maintaining safety for your patients and building occupants requires more than cleaning and air quality. According to the National Floor Safety Institute, more than 60% of nursing homes residents will fall each year. By finding ways to reduce tripping hazards for patients you can help keep safety a priority and avoid accidents or liabilities. ProTeam offers a cordless backpack vacuum that helps to eliminate the risk of tripping on cords. By providing a means for safer, more effective, vacuuming you can allow more time for tasks that residents and their families care about most and deliver on your cleaning results.
How Equipment Impacts Your Health & Efficiency
When choosing a piece of equipment, it’s always important to keep in mind the functions and features it offers to help you clean faster and easier. Upright vacuums have been around for decades and their technology is familiar to most custodial professionals. Upright vacuums are a popular choice when it comes to floor maintenance, but they can sometimes be counter-productive when not maintained properly. They are easier to use for some compared to canister vacuums since you’re constantly bending down to use them, but they prove their own disadvantages. The brush agitation of upright vacuums and other vacuums that operate similarly can stir up dirt and allergens, which can then be released back into the indoor air environment of your facility. Choosing vacuum models with HEPA filtration reduces or eliminates the amount of dust and other particulates released back into the air, making sure you’re not duplicating your efforts. When your vacuum isn’t effective you’ll have to clean your floors again sooner, which takes time out of your already busy schedule.
Custodians who have a lot of square footage to vacuum can easily become fatigued when carrying around a heavy and bulky piece of equipment, since doing a constant back and forth motion with traditional vacuums isn’t ergonomically efficient. This is especially true when vacuuming is done after other labor-intensive tasks. Many custodians also have back and neck pain from labor intensive tasks. Finding ways to reduce this will help to keep you healthy and safe, and it will improve your efficiency in cleaning tasks. Upright vacuums typically weigh twice as much as other options, like backpack vacuums, and can prove challenging when trying to clean hard to reach areas like corners or stairs. Another common issue for custodians is constantly plugging in an electrical cord, which can add a lot of time to your cleaning tasks. Having a cord limits your mobility and can make certain cleaning tasks, like vacuuming stairs, especially challenging.
Backpack vacuums are newer to the market compared to other traditional vacuums, but they are a viable alternative when taking comfort and efficiency into consideration. Making a change and trying newer technology in your daily routine can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be when you can keep the long-term benefits in mind. Backpack vacuums operate by lifting dirt directly into the container, rather than stirring up dirt and allergens which can occur from brush agitation from older vacuums that are harder to maintain. Ensuring your floors are cleaner means you’re less likely to have to vacuum again sooner, and you can focus your efforts on other cleaning tasks. They eliminate the need for a cord, which makes it easier for you to navigate your facility and save time. They utilize batteries for power, so it’s important to be trained on how to charge them.
Pike Systems recommends using ProTeam for your facility needs. Not only can you clean more efficiently, but your fatigue and back strain after vacuuming will be significantly reduced. A lot of innovative cleaning technology is built with ease of use in mind, and backpack vacuums are no exception. Custodians using backpack vacuums maintain a more neutral posture compared to traditional vacuums that require more bending and force exertion. Your arm and leg extensions are less frequent, less extreme, and you can cover over 2x the area compared to other vacuums using the same amount of energy exertion. With an increased demand for cleaning and disinfecting, finding ways to clean your facility safely and more efficiently pays dividends.
Relying on a ProTeam vacuum that utilizes an advanced filtration system helps to produce positive health impacts, including improved lung health and reduced spread of germs. By switching to a ProTeam, you can spend less time and energy cleaning your floors. This allows you to improve and simplify your cleaning process and gives you more time to keep up with the heightened cleaning demands of COVID-19. In the long run, you’ll notice more ergonomic benefits from from reducing heavy lifting and constant bending.
Your Floors & Their Impact on Building Perception
As a building & grounds specialist it’s your responsibility to maintain and protect your buildings and the patrons who enter it. One of the big concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic is reducing the level of contaminants in the air and on surfaces to promote safer buildings. This means increased cleaning and disinfecting measures from custodial and housekeeping staff, and heightened maintenance measures, like checking air filtration systems more frequently. With increased urgency for cleaning and disinfecting, there is a higher chance for worker fatigue which can lead to less-than-optimal cleaning results and damage to your buildings when tasks aren’t done carefully.
One of the biggest focal points of your buildings is the floors people walk on every day. High-traffic areas are especially concerning during certain weather conditions like rain or snow which can cause floors to be a sore sight. There are many things you can do to maintain floors and improve their appearance, and one of the most frequently performed tasks is daily maintenance vacuuming. This helps to reduce the level of dirt and contaminants on your floors, which in turn promotes better indoor air quality which is a huge issue related to COVID-19.
Benefits of Backpack Vacuums
The heavier your equipment is and the more it relies on you to maneuver it, the more challenging it can be to control it. Traditional vacuums, like an upright vacuum or canister vacuum, can be difficult to maneuver. When vacuuming hard-to-reach areas (like corners, stairs, underneath furniture, etc.) it becomes easy to unintentionally damage your building. Upright vacuums require more force exertion to perform back-and-forth motions, so more force can lead to accidentally damaging walls or other objects. A popular solution for increasing cleaning efficiency and preserving your building’s integrity is using a backpack vacuum. You can reduce the need to find space for your vacuum on the floor, and custodians can focus their energy into using the attachment hose rather than bending down or pushing and pulling the entire vacuum on the floor.
Anytime you’re moving around furniture or using a heavy piece of equipment around furniture you’re risking the chance you may damage it. Backpack vacuums reduce the amount of time needed to move desks, furniture, and other obstacles since they’re designed to maneuver around these objects in your facility more efficiently. Our ProTeam vacuum cleans up to 3x more efficiently than traditional upright vacuums, which allows your custodians to spend more time cleaning other areas of the building that need attention. Since backpack vacuums offer a cordless alternative, you can also reduce the likelihood electrical cords will get damaged if they’re stored improperly. Cordless vacuums operate on batteries, which can be charged and maintained easily with proper training.
From a maintenance standpoint, backpack vacuums have fewer moving parts which means reduced downtime. Upright vacuums which have up to 50 moving parts that can easily get worn out and break down, while our ProTeam backpack vacuum has only 2 moving parts: the switch and the motor. Backpack vacuums still require long-term maintenance, but the good news is you’ll be paying almost 2/3 less to maintain them. Having a reliable, efficient, and lighter vacuum helps ensure your floors stay cleaned and your building stays more protected.
ICE ICE BABY! ❄️ Ice melt is a necessity, especially when the dead of winter hits. With ice melt comes ice melt residue on your floors which can be a negative reflection on the image of your facility and make it harder to keep your building clean. Some products do a better job than others at removing ice melt residue. Most floor cleaners will remove small amounts of residues, but neutralizer can be required when stains and residue become excessive.
Cleaning your floors with ice melt residue
When cleaning an area remove all obstacles and dust mop the area if the floor is dry. Placing a wet floor sign is always necessary when cleaning your floors, remember to remove it when you’re done. Neutralizers help eliminate alkaline residue while conditioning and neutralizing your floors by returning the pH of the floor back to neutral. If a neutralizer isn’t added to the routine, you’re risking dissolving your floor finish and pushing it around the floor with other products creating more debris.
For scrubbers, use a double scrub method and leave the squeegee and vacuum motor off for the first pass. Turn on the vacuum motor and lower the squeegee while continuing to apply solution during the second pass. Follow standard extraction processes and repeat if there is still a large amount of salt residue present.
Whether it’s disinfectant or ice melt, remember – more doesn’t always equal better! It’s important to follow directions on ice melt so that you don’t over apply. Placing matting at entryways is another key part of preventing excess salt from entering your building. Having extra mats or a carpet extractor on hand is a good idea in case one gets wet. An overly wet and saturated mat won’t be able to do its job and should be extracted or replaced! Reach out to your sales professional for more winter and Covid-19 tips and product questions.
As the students gear up for a new year of learning, it is important that custodians too prepare for a school year and make sure all the auto scrubbers are in working order. Pull out your equipment and test it to be sure that it is running properly prior to the return of the kids, be proactive with issues before you need to use the machine.
Having issues, we can help! Read below for some troubleshooting hints!
Poor Water Pick-up:
- If your squeegee is worn or torn, try reversing or replacing it. Also, if it is out of adjustment, move so that the blade touches the floor evenly across it’s entire width. Remove any debris that may be stuck in the squeegee.
- If the drain hose is leaking, secure the drain hose cap or replace it.
- Remove any debris that may be clogging the vacuum hose or grid. Check the float to make sure it is not stuck closed.
- If the tank cover is not closed correctly, or the gasket is damaged or leaking, you may need to replace gasket and seal cover properly.
Poor Scrubbing Performance:
- The brush or pad may be worn out, replace them and start out the school year on a fresh one!
- If you are using the wrong chemical or dilution rate, call Pike Systems for advice on which chemical is best for your application and how it should be diluted.
- If the machine is not using enough solution, increase solution flow on the control panel.
Inadequate Solution Flow / No Solution Flow:
- Is the solution tank empty? It may be as simple of a fix as refilling the tank.
- The solution lines, valves, filer or trough may be clogged. Flush the lines, trough and clean solution filter.
Machine Does not Run:
- If the scrubber is not running, the issue could be in the batteries. Are the batteries connected? Make sure to charge the batteries fully.
- Check for error fault codes in the service manual as the issue could be in the main system control.
Click here for a Printable PDF!
Preserving the appearance and the cleanliness of a floor begins with selecting the right floor pad. This ensures that the job is done right, while also saving time and money. Use of a incorrect pad can cause permanent floor damage and costly repairs, which is why it is so important to be educated on proper pads for certain jobs.
The various applications of pads is distinguished by the color of the pads. The rule of thumb with pad colors is that the darker the pad is, the more aggressive it is. There is usually not much variation between manufacturers with common floor pad colors. Here is a quick summary of colored pads and the jobs they are used for:
There is typically not variation between manufacturers in the most common colors. Floor pads are available in both synthetic and natural materials (Green options available!). Note that the pad not only needs to match the task at hand, but also the machine being used and they type of floor finish being treated. Using the right combination of equipment, chemicals, and floor pads keeps your floors looking their best, in the most cost-effective manner.
Call Pike Systems today for assistance with your floor pad selection: 630-896-6373!