- THE MAGAZINE
In a perfect world, your cleaning tasks would dictate your hard- and soft-floor cleaning equipment needs and purchases. But, truth be told, more often than not budget is the deciding factor in equipment selection. Whether your budget is big or small, you can still make educated equipment choices that will ensure you get the job done right.
Basic Floor CareJust to cover your bases in cleaning any facility, you need to scrub and polish the floors and vacuum the carpet. While there are certainly more productive, more efficient pieces of cleaning equipment available, three pieces of equipment can ensure that, at a minimum, your bases are covered and you can do the basics. They include:
- a single disk floor machine
- a wet/dry vacuum
- an upright vacuum.
A single-disk floor machine can be used for scrubbing, polishing, and stripping most any hard floor surface. Because it is not a very productive machine, it is best applied in smaller spaces. If necessary, a single-disk floor machine can also be used for interim carpet care by simply adding a bonnet.
A wet/dry vacuum complements the single-disk floor machine. It works well for picking up moisture from scrubbing, removing a stripped floor coating prior to re-coating, and for removing spots and spills.
An upright vacuum is one of the most important pieces of equipment for removing the maximum amount of dry soil and preventing it from becoming imbedded in carpet. In fact, it is estimated that daily vacuuming can remove 80 percent of dry soil from carpet and minimize the need to implement interim or restorative cleaning measures.
Automated Floor CareIf you’re looking to do more than the basics and you have the budget to do so, you’ll want to add automation to your cleaning products and processes. Automation will offer you improved productivity, improved efficiency, and reduced labor costs. If you’re ready to automate your cleaning program, in addition to the three pieces of floor care equipment noted above, there are four additional pieces of equipment to consider adding to your arsenal, including:
- an auto-scrubber
- a burnisher
- a dual-purpose sweeper
- a carpet extractor
If you’re really looking to improve productivity, consider incorporating an auto-scrubber into your cleaning program. An auto-scrubber takes the manual processes of a single-disk floor machine and a wet/dry vacuum and integrates and automates them. When looking for an auto-scrubber, ensure it has a good squeegee system that recovers water well-poor water recovery, resulting in streaks of water left behind, is one of the most common complaints or issues with auto-scrubbers. Also, ensure the auto-scrubber is a high-quality, durable machine that will perform well in your application.
If you’re using an auto-scrubber, chances are you’re cleaning resilient floors that require burnishing to bring out the ultimate shine. Therefore, a burnisher is a must-have piece of automated floor care equipment.
Because we’re focusing on productivity, it’s important to consider equipment that will perform multiple tasks or clean multiple floor surfaces. To that end, a battery-operated, cord-free sweeper that cleans both hard and soft floor surfaces will not only enhance productivity, but it will provide for daytime cleaning in congested, high-traffic environments such as retail stores, or nighttime cleaning in sound-sensitive environments such as hospitals. Many sweepers available today have been tested and approved for use on carpet by the Carpet and Rug Institute.
A carpet extractor is necessary for restorative cleaning, which focuses on removing soil that can’t be removed through vacuuming. Restorative cleaning requires a self-contained extractor that combines solution flow, pressure, agitation, and recovery. Depending on the size of your facility, you may want to consider a carpet machine with dual technologies-including both an interim cleaning method as well as a means of accomplishing deep, restorative extraction.
Particularly with auto-scrubbers, burnishers and carpet extractors, the size of your floor will dictate whether you need a walk-behind machine or a riding machine.
Higher-Order Floor CareWhen absolute productivity is required, when you have specialty cleaning needs related to high-image facilities, or when you need higher order benefits such as health or safety, you will want to ensure you have access to a few additional pieces of automated floor care equipment, including:
- a low-moisture carpet cleaner
- an NFSI-certified foam cleaning detergent
- an auto-scrubber with hygienic tanks
Frequent interim carpet maintenance is essential to improving a carpet’s appearance. Today’s low-moisture interim-cleaning methods offer a number of additional benefits, too, including no wick-back, less re-soiling, cleaner carpet, shorter dry times, less out-of-service time, improved productivity, and the ability to perform anytime cleaning. In particular, soil-transfer technology dramatically improves a carpet’s appearance, but it does so with the least amount of water and chemical for the fastest dry times of any low moisture cleaning method.
You can increase your facility’s safety by using a National Floor Safety Institute-certified foam cleaning agent on your hard-floor surfaces, which not only cleans existing soil but removes old detergent residues to increase traction 21 percent, reducing the risk of slips and falls. If you’re cleaning a hospital or medical clinic, you may need to elevate your maintenance program from cleanliness to sanitization. Using an auto-scrubber with completely accessible, fully cleanable hygienic tanks will reduce scrubber mold and bacteria.