Facility Dude

Make sure you revamp your cleaning strategy with these important tips

By Emma Finch
Mar 06, 2015

Facilities Management

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Make sure you revamp your cleaning strategy with these important tips They say that cleanliness is next to godliness, and this is especially true for facility managers. In addition to building maintenance, it's equally important that facilities and equipment are kept clean and sanitized, and the cold and flu season only serves to put increased emphasis on this.

Every facility manager has a cleaning strategy for his or her building, but despite best intentions, there are things that can still be overlooked. Keeping a space not just clean, but germ- and disease-free, is a process involving a several-step method. Here are a few things to keep in mind to make sure your building stays squeaky clean.

Objective-focused cleaning

Just like any other aspect of facility management and maintenance, your efforts to keep your building clean should similarly be driven by specific goals. In particular, the aim of facility cleanliness is preventing the spread of germs that can lead to possible disease outbreak.

Practically speaking, this means that the first step in devising your cleaning strategy is to identify which areas of your building carry the highest risk of collecting and spreading germs. According to Recreation Management, the principal offender in this regard is right beneath your feet - literally. Not only does your facility's floor have a natural tendency to collect dirt and germs from the bottoms of people's shoes and any number of other vectors, but this capacity is only increased in winter. Mixing normal dirt and mud with salt, chemical deicers and, not to mention, a whole lot of moisture, can turn a harmless floor into a veritable breeding ground for bacteria.

How traditional methods may fall short

For the majority of administrators and facility managers, cleaning a floor is typically synonymous with the good old-fashioned mop and bucket. However, while this method has been popular for decades, there's been data uncovered that indicates that rather than helping you keep your floors clean, your trusty mop and bucket may actually be spreading more dirt and germs. While the first section of your floor you mop may be getting cleaned, Recreation Management noted that the more you use the mop, the dirtier your floors are getting. All you're doing, in effect, is spreading the dirt and grime you've collected - that is now sitting in your mop bucket - across other areas of your floor.

That's not to say that you should toss out your mop and bucket. The source did indicate that it's still a viable solution for quick clean-up jobs, such as spills. However, you shouldn't rely on it as part of your comprehensive cleaning practice. Instead, the source recommended a method known as "spray-and-vac." This involves spraying the floor with a cleaning agent, then using an industrial wet-vac to vacuum it up. It provides the same floor coverage as mopping without the risk of spreading germs.

The green consideration

Of course, the growing concern with sustainability and environmentally friendly alternatives carries over to facility cleaning efforts as well. Fortunately, there are a variety of products and services that allow for green cleaning without compromising effectiveness or hygiene. The Second Wave of Southwest Michigan highlighted such efforts being taken by the nearby University of Western Michigan. Two major initiatives that the publication lauded were the school's decision to use water-based cleaning agents, and its move away from harsh floor-stripping substances. The primary goal was to reduce the amount of potentially harsh chemicals faculty and students were exposed to on a daily basis. This is particularly important for schools, recreation facilities, or other buildings that see high traffic from smaller children, who may be more susceptible to chemical agents.

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