Cleaning And Hygiene Equipment For Work

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Office Cleaning and hygiene buying guide

Contents

Introduction

Considerations for buying cleaning equipment

Checklist for buying equipment

Top tips for choosing products

How do you want to clean your floor?

Types of floor cleaning equipment

Floorcare machines buying guide

Consideration when purchasing a floorcare machine

Top tips on caring for your floor type

Choosing a commercial vacuum cleaner

Types of vacuum cleaner

Bagless vs Bagged vacuum cleaners

Filtration

Considerations

Accessories

Choosing the right mop

How to mop a floor, the right way

Keeping mops clean

Mop systems

Trolleys and carousels

Trolleys

Carousels

Best practice strategies for buying commercial cleaning equipment

Choosing a supplier

Further information

Introduction to Office Cleaning & Hygiene

Commercial grade cleaning and hygiene requires specialist equipment and chemicals. There are many considerations to make when contemplating a purchase of this nature, not least of which are health and safety and other legislative requirements around storage.

Most importantly, you’re going to want the right tools for the job, and that will depend on a number of factors including the size of your site, the type of flooring you have in place, the amount of daily traffic across the floors and who will be carrying out your cleaning.

For a busy office or factory, you’ll need to make sure that the place is cleaned regularly for the sake of hygiene, and to declutter in order to prevent accidents. However, if your business is open late or even 24/7, there are practical considerations such as noise levels and the nuisance factor of cleaning around working staff both for the staff and the cleaners.

There will likely need to be a balance found between speed and noise levels. Floorcare machines can be faster and get through the job quicker but will be noisier.

You’ll also need to think about the different areas that need cleaned and ensure you have products and chemicals that match the task. For instance, you’ll need different equipment and materials for toilets than you’ll need for kitchens, canteens or rest areas.

Storage is another important consideration; any hazardous materials will be strictly regulated under COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) for which you may need specialist storage. You’ll also need to think about PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) for cleaning operatives.

Regarding equipment, there are many choices depending on the work you need to be carried out, but with any purchase you’ll need to compare prices and specifications. Although your budget is always at the forefront of your mind, it’s often worth investing that little bit extra for quality, as it will save you money in the long run.

Once you have all the equipment and materials you need, you then need to put it to use. Whether you’ll be undertaking cleaning yourself or have a team of cleaning operatives who will carry out the work for you, and whether you are cleaning your own premises or carrying out commercial cleaning for others, it’s important to ensure you know best practices.

Learning how to clean thoroughly and efficiently is key and it’s a balancing act. Deep cleans take longer, so you may want to carry them out less frequently, but that means ensuring you have a proper procedure for maintenance. Maintaining cleanliness and hygiene levels over the short to medium term will mean less need for deep cleaning and will make deep cleans less arduous.

There’s a lot to think about when choosing cleaning equipment and materials, so follow this buying guide for tips and suggestions on how to make sure you are making the right purchases and getting the most for your money.

Considerations for buying cleaning equipment

Before you make any major capital purchases, you should take some time to carefully consider your options. There are three broad areas you’ll be looking at when getting the right items for cleaning and those are the cost, your chemicals, and your choice of tools and equipment.

The best way to begin is to make an assessment of your cleaning requirements, your current practices and your existing stock levels. Think about the following considerations:

Commercial grade equipment

If you’re making capital expenditure on cleaning equipment, you really shouldn’t be cutting costs here. Always buy commercial grade equipment as opposed to domestic; it will last longer due to a better build quality and because it designed to withstand regular, heavy use.

You don’t want to end up with recurring repair and maintenance or replacement costs, so some extra expenditure here will actually save you money in the long term.

Efficiency and effectiveness

Think carefully about how the right equipment purchase could save you time and manpower. For instance, choosing a backpack vacuum can save time when you’re working on a large site as there will be less need to manoeuvre the unit or to keep unplugging to move from room to room.

However, as always, there’s a balancing act; in the example above, a backpack might not work quite so well if there are cramped or tight spaces to move around. Above all else, make sure you choose the equipment to suit the job, not the other way around and don’t be seduced by gimmicks or bells and whistles.

Think practically

You want your equipment and tools to help you be more efficient with your cleaning and sometimes that can be as simple as doubling up. For instance, if you buy multiple mop heads, you can use the mop and put it aside to be cleaned, taking a fresh clean one for the next use. This prevents the time and inefficiency of rinsing the mop head while you clean, which rarely works well unless you use the best commercial grade double bucket systems.

Putting a little thought into efficiency can save you a lot of time in the future and can help ensure your cleaning practices have as little impact on daily business as possible.

Consider your materials

There is a host of material types to choose from when purchasing cleaning equipment but it’s not always wise to go for the value options. Microfibre might seem like an unnecessary expense unless you realise that using microfibre in mop heads means they can be pre-soaked.

This reduces the need for carrying a bucket around, which can save on time, is more practical and is better for health and safety purposes. Microfibre can also dispense with the need to both dust and mop, as it will do double-duty on these tasks.

Consider renting

Remember that you don’t always have to purchase equipment outright, especially if it’s heavy duty equipment that is used infrequently. Instead, shop around to see if you can rent such equipment until you have a definite need to make a purchase. You could even arrange to borrow equipment from neighbouring businesses.

Heavy duty equipment that isn’t regularly used will fall into disrepair, requiring maintenance and restoration, which only adds to your costs.

Checklist for buying equipment

Follow this checklist before purchasing equipment and you’ll make sure you get the best value overall.

  • Do you have a supplier or brand you regularly rely on? If so, always approach them first before buying equipment from a new retailer or brand.
  • Check durability and reliability. Make sure you’re not buying something that will require too much maintenance and repair, as the equipment will be out of commission while you do so.
  • Get recommendations. Ask colleagues and other business associates what kind of equipment they use and how they would rate them.
  • Think efficiency versus cost. Higher outright costs might seem like a bad idea, but if cheaper equipment means longer to clean, it will impact on overall productivity, not just for the cleaning team, but also other staff who are working while cleaning is underway.
  • Always consider health and safety. Cleaning equipment should be safe and ergonomic to prevent harm to cleaning operatives and other staff.
  • Think about aftercare. Is it possible to perform upkeep on the equipment on site with existing staff, or will it need to go back to the distributor? If the latter is the case, it may be worth investing in an aftercare package that includes a rock-solid warranty and a maintenance plan.

Top tips for choosing products

1 – Make sure the product works

This might seem obvious, but unless you’ve tried the product before, you won’t be sure of its efficacy. It’s a good idea to see if you can have a small sample-sized bottle of the product sent out for a trial.

2 – Check for safety sheets

Manufacturers should supply safety sheets to customers as these are required for cleaning service providers. Even if you don’t supply commercial cleaning and are looking for products for your own premises, a safety sheet will give you all the information you need.

3 – Is the product efficient?

In other words, will it save you time? If the new purchase will add time to the cleaning duties, you might want to reconsider – it could mean more expense on staff costs, for instance.

4 – Health and safety

Consider how well the product will fit into your existing health and safety policies as well as legislation that you are required to meet.

5 – Dilute versus concentrated

Dilute products are made up of more water than chemicals. This could be the right option if you want ready to use products, but they will cost you more. On the other hand, concentrated products could be cheaper, but having staff make up the solution could take more time and will need to be more strictly governed under COSHH regulations.

6 – Is it easy to obtain?

You don’t want to find the perfect product in terms of suitability and cost only to have the supplier close or stop vending the product. Think carefully about where you’re purchasing from.

Large brand-new retailers may be a safe bet, but you’ll pay more for products. Internet options can save you money, but you risk the chance of fly-by-night vendors going into administration. Professional distributors are usually the safest and most cost-effective option.

How do you want to clean your floor?

Choosing the right equipment to clean your floor will depend on a number of factors. The first thing you’ll need to assess is the type of floor you have. You might have one type of flooring running through the premises or a variety of flooring types in different areas and rooms.

Common types of commercial flooring include PVC tiles, wood, tile and grout, marble, granite, vinyl, epoxy resin and concrete.

You’ll need to ensure that whatever equipment you purchase is up to the job of cleaning this material in a thorough, hygienic way and without damage. Many modern machines are suitable for use on a host of flooring materials.

It’s also important to consider the type of cleaning you’ll need to undertake. Depending on your industry, you might have dust, dirt, oil, grease, stains, tire marks and more. Some areas will accumulate more dirt and grime than others, particularly corners, store cupboards or areas with storage units.

Certain industries will have specific requirements, too. For example, blue chip and technology business may require “clean rooms” – which is more specific than it seems. Due to delicate electronics and the need to have servers that are working at top efficiency, such rooms need to remain completely dust-free and will require specialist equipment for floor cleaning.

You’ll need a machine that offers you versatility in the types of jobs it can handle, or multiple machines to do various jobs. For example, will the machine you’re considering allow you to reach into corners? Most equipment has the option of attachments that will reach into corners and behind storage and desks, but check before you buy.

For heavy-duty commercial use, you’ll probably need to look at specialised equipment and this may mean purchasing a number of separate machines. A high-pressure jet will be useful for removing stains and dirt from exterior walls as well as thorough grease and oil. A buffer will be good for polishing up high-shine flooring, but won’t have much use beyond that.

It’s also worth considering the function of the machine and how it operates. Equipment that needs regularly refilled with water may be impractical as you’ll need to factor in the regular dump and fill cycles as well as drying times.

Also think about how fast the equipment is – efficient machines that clean quickly will require fewer staff hours and reduce disruption to other workers, leaving you more time for other tasks.

Types of floor cleaning equipment

Here are some of the most frequently used floor cleaning machines and equipment, so that you can understand some of the choices you have.

Sweepers

These are a mechanised version of brooms and usually range from small models that are powered by a battery to industrial grade machines that have dust extraction capabilities. Most of these machines work on the same principle, though – circular brushes rotate to sweep the floor, gathering dirt and dust into a hopper in the centre of the unit which can later be emptied.

Ride-on sweepers can be useful if you need to cover a large area in as short a time as possible.

Scrubber Dryer

These are a more sophisticated, mechanised version of a mop and bucket. They use cleaning products and scrub the floor with brushes, collecting up the liquid residue into a collection tank for disposal. As the machine moves along the floor, it also dries the areas it has cleaned, making this a great option for workplaces where you need minimum disruption.

Buffers and Polishers

For hardwood, stone or lino floors, these will remove dirt and dust while also polishing the floor. Often used for business where customers or clients will enter, they result in a shiny finish that is professional.

Vacuum cleaners

The trusty vacuum cleaner hasn’t changed a great deal over the years and, for carpeted floors, commercial varieties come in a range of sizes. “Wet & Dry” vacuum cleaners are also available for use on floors that can be wet.

Mops

Usually used wet, mops are ideal for polished or wooden surfaces. They are used in combination with a bucket full of water, or a dilute cleaning product, and are ideal for getting rid of spillages or stains.

Floorcare machines buying guide

We’ve covered the broad range of floor cleaning equipment available, but it’s time to look in more detail at the specific floor cleaning machines.

For the purposes of this guide, we’re going to assume you’re looking for one of three broad types. These are scrubber/polishers, lightweight floorcare machines and heavy-duty industrial scrubber/dryers. Each has its own pros and cons and which style you purchase may depend on the type of job at hand, as well as the layout and type of premises you’ll be carrying out the work in.

Some of the key features you’ll be looking for are capacity, weight, RPM (rotations per minute), ease of use, cleaning solution tanks (or just water) and any optional extras and accessories.

Scrubber/polishers

These are designed for the specific tasks for which they are named. They are lightweight units similar in style to upright vacuum cleaners and work by means of a rotating disk with padding that buffs the floor as you push the unit. These are ideally suited for the maintenance of areas with high shine flooring and are of particular benefit in public areas such as entranceways and receptions.

Many models will buff and polish as standard but also have the option of fitting a scrubbing brush to the disc for extra dirt and stain removal. They can be fitted with a water tank that allows for scrubbing with a diluted cleaning solution.

They have no system for collecting dirty water as you clean – this is a basic unit for a specific purpose and wouldn’t usually be suitable for very dirty flooring.

Scrubber/polishers come in a variety of speeds – slower RPMs are useful for scrubbing, while faster RPM is most suitable for floor buffing and polishing, so choose carefully to ensure the machine is up to the task. If you’ll be carrying out a variety of duties, you should look for models that allow you to switch to lower RPMs for scrubbing.

Scrubber/polishers are lightweight and easily manoeuvrable, which makes them suitable for use by both men and women. They also have simple to use control systems and, because they are lightweight, are easier to store than larger machines. However, they have smaller head units than other machines so may not be suited to buffing and polishing large areas.

Upright floorcare machines

These look similar to scrubber/polishers in that they are upright cleaning machines. However, although lighter than industrial machines, they are heavier than scrubber/polishers and are usually suited to a wider variety of uses.

They are more durable and longer lasting than scrubber/polishers too and so are more suited to continuous use. These styles offer a wide array of removable discs for a variety of uses. Some models will allow for attachments to carry out ‘scarifying’, which is an aggressive way of removing impacted dirt using sharp edges to remove dirt and soil by means of a chiselling action. You can also replace the disc with polyscrub (a durable, resilient material), nyloscrub (suitable for delicate surfaces such as wood) or union mix (natural fibre and ideal for stone, marble, tile and hardwood floors) brushes.

They also come with a large tank for spray buffing or scrubbing as standard and some models can be retrofitted with additional vacuum units that allow operatives to vacuum while they polish, lifting up debris as they work.

Discs and heads on these machines are large, meaning they can cover larger areas in a shorter time but latest models are also lightweight so you don’t sacrifice manoeuvrability.

RPMs can be easily adjusted for a variety of tasks include polishing and scrubbing. Some newer models incorporate a feature called ATC (Automatic Torque Control) which will continuously monitor the operational load and boost torque as needed to automatically balance performance.

Scrubber/dryers

For industrial and heavy-duty cleaning, there’s also the choice of scrubber/dryers. These heavyweight machines usually have a large, stainless steel chassis with high capacity fluid tanks. They are powerful, with larger motors than the other styles of floorcare machines but are also easy to manoeuvre, although their bulk may make them unsuitable for narrow spaces.

These machines offer full wet cleaning and scrubbing, with semi-parabolic floor nozzles that deliver water or cleaning product directly to the floor where the disc will scrub and polish. Powerful vacuums have incredible wet pick-up capabilities meaning the floor is basically completely dried as you pass over it. This makes them useful for areas where you need as little downtime as possible.

Scrubber/dryers range in size/capacity and as those increase, the disc heads have a greater surface area too. Top-end models have massive 60-litre tanks and wide scrubbing heads, meaning they cover a large area in a very efficient time and can handle very dirty or stained flooring without emptying and refilling the tank.

You also have a choice between mains-operated or battery-powered machines depending on your requirements. Battery-operated models need to be charged overnight and batteries usually roughly have a 2-year lifespan before needing to be replaced, but the ability to dispense with cords may suit the area you’re working in.

Ride on machines

The absolute upper end of floorcare machines is the ride on machine. With a built-in seat and steering wheel, these are used for very large industrial areas where it would be impractical to expect an operating to manually push a machine around.

Due to their massive motors, they can get through large areas quickly and they also put full control of the machine in the hands of the operator – all settings including cleaning speeds, brush speeds, water flow and the chemical mix can be controlled by the driver.

You can also programme presets which allow different settings to be stored in memory and recalled at the push of a button. A host of RPM settings and replaceable brush heads as well as a massive 120l capacity tank and the option to store additional battery packs on board means these machines are suited to very large industrial areas including factories, laboratories, warehouses and more.

Be absolutely sure you need this kind of heavy-duty operation though, as ride-on machines can cost as much as 10 times the average scrubber/dryer and, because they are more complex machines, will require a lot more maintenance. Make sure you ask about servicing and aftercare packages for all machines, but particularly these.

Consideration when purchasing a floorcare machine

Consider the type of flooring you have. Each kind of floor will require different brush heads. Machines or brushes designed to clean concrete will be too abrasive for other materials and will damage your flooring.

Disc-attachment style machines are usually better for vinyl or laminated wood flooring.

Think about the traffic in the area you are cleaning – premises with high traffic will probably need chemical cleaning as opposed to just water, and this will be particularly so in areas with construction or outdoor work, as dirt will be regularly tracked in.

Some machines will only allow you to use water while others will have the option of chemical mixes, so be sure to check this before you buy.

It’s worth noting that will scrubbers are usually easy to handle, machines that buff and polish can be tricky to control. The best model for the job should allow you to manoeuvre the machine with only a firm grip on the handle – if you’re using a lot of strength to control the machine, you’re storing up potential health problems.

Areas with high traffic will also require a machine that doesn’t leave you with long drying times. In that case, your choice will be a machine that doesn’t use water or products (and sacrifice overall cleanliness) or opting for the more expensive scrubber/dryer, which will get through the area quicker and dry the floor as it goes.

The size of the area is a consideration too – cheaper machines will have smaller discs, meaning that it will take longer to get through areas. This may be ideal for some smaller office spaces or cramped working. However, for large areas, particularly retail or warehousing, it will be completely impractical to use these machines.

Opt instead for a model with a wide disc and a more powerful motor – operatives will cover larger areas faster.

Top tips on caring for your floor type

Different floor types require different approaches to cleaning. You need to be careful not to use too abrasive a brush on certain flooring or you will damage, while it’s also important that you don’t use strong chemicals on certain materials.

Following these top tips on caring for you floor type:

Concrete

  • Use a dust mop to remove debris before cleaning
  • Use a scrubber with a low suds solution

VCT (Vinyl Composition Tile)

  • Dust mop to remove loose dirt and dust
  • Clean the floor with an emulsifier solution diluted to a 4:1 ratio
  • Polish with a floorcare machine

Terrazzo

  • Dust mop or sweep with a broom daily
  • Wet mop once a week with an all-purpose cleaner
  • Reseal once a quarter with water-based sealant
  • Once every one or two years, perform gloss restoration

Ceramic Tile and Grout

  • Avoid acidic cleaners as these will eat away at grouting
  • Use a wet mop or scrubber machine with disc rotary brushes

Matting

  • Vacuum daily – dirt and debris can become trapped in matting, so use a suitable attachment
  • Seasonally (in winter or early spring) – perform a full clean to remove ice melt residue (you can usually see a whiteish haze when this is present)
  • Use dilute all-purpose cleaner and work it into the surface

Carpet

  • Daily/weekly (depending on traffic) – vacuum with a fresh filter bag

Choosing a commercial vacuum cleaner

Commercial vacuum cleaners are more powerful and durable than domestic versions and are designed for continuous, regular use. They are usually heavy-duty and will last longer without wearing out or breaking down.

Choosing the right commercial vacuum cleaner for your business can seem like a mammoth task. There’s a wealth of styles, models and other choices, so even narrowing it down can seem difficult. Thankfully, there are ways to narrow the field and help you to focus in on the right machine for the job,

Broadly speaking, vacuum cleaners can be split into three types. Once you know the pros and cons of each, you can find which type is the most suitable. From there, it’s relatively simple to narrow your choices based on the type of work you need to carry out, the weight, capacity, style of bag and any attachments you might need.

Follow this guide to get an overview of the types of vacuums available and some important considerations to think about when you’re making your purchase.

Types of vacuum cleaner

The most common types of vacuum cleaner you’ll come across are:

Upright

The most recognised type of vacuum cleaner, commercial versions of these don’t look so different from their domestic counterparts. Uprights are a self-contained designed where the head is at the base of an upright handle with no need for an extra hose. They usually have long power cords that mean less unplugging as you move through an area, but as these are on two back wheels, they are easy to manoeuvre from room to room and are often used in the service, hotel and office industries.

Canister

These styles are comprised of a dirt bag and motor unit, with a long flexible hose and rigid wand attached to a cleaning head. Because the head is separate from the main unit, these are lighter and more manoeuvrable than uprights, which make them great for getting under furniture and for carpeted stairs. However, the greater bulk can make them more difficult to store, and you need to carry the hose and drag the unit together which makes getting in and out of a large number of rooms awkward and strenuous.

Wide area

These are a variation on the upright but the wide head makes it easier to cover a large space in a short time. Very long cords make cleaning large open rooms easier too. However, make sure you have plenty of storage space.

Backpack

These types of vacuums are lightweight and portable. As these are carried on the back, they allow for staff to clean for longer continuous periods of time without the strain of pulling or pushing a canister or upright. It also frees up a hand to make it easier to move furniture as you clean. Some types are battery powered for the even greater flexibility that comes with being freed from a cord plugged into a power socket. Certain models can also be configured to blow, so they can be used for leaf clearing as well.

Handheld

These lightweight, battery operated or plugged in portable options are ideal if you have a lot of stairs to clean. They are also used for spot cleaning and above-the-floor vacuuming, for example of curtains and upholstery, but they are not suitable for large areas as the short hose would mean bending for long periods which can cause harm over time.

Wet & Dry

These are specialised machines designed for specific purposes. They can vacuum both wet and dry areas and are designed for a heavy-duty task like vacuuming debris. This makes them highly suited to construction sites or laboratories, for example. However, the extra power they provide comes at a cost – they tend to be very noisy and wouldn’t be suitable for use while others are working. You will also need to provide operatives with ear protectors to ensure their health and safety.

Bagless vs Bagged vacuum cleaners

New models of vacuum cleaners are available with a bagless option. However, before you jump for the latest technology, you should consider the pros and cons of each type.

Bagless models cut down somewhat on the need for consumables in the form of replacement bags, but they still need filters which must be regularly cleaned and replaced. There is less waste and so they can be more environmentally friendly, however, be aware that when emptying the vacuum, they can spill a lot of dust into the air – this could have a detrimental effect on people with allergies.

Bagged models require regular bags to be fitted and are less ecologically friendly, however, they don’t need as much filter cleaning or replacement and the bags tend to contain the majority of dust.

Filtration

All vacuum cleaners will contain some kind of filter. However, modern filter standards have improved and you should probably look for a vacuum that has the HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air or High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance) logo on it. Most often used in the automotive and heating, ventilation and air conditioning industries, these filters are nevertheless becoming more commonplace.

This is because they produce less dust and pollen as well as other allergy triggers which mean a healthier environment all round. For operatives with asthma or other dust or pollen-related allergies, as well as those who will carry out a lot of vacuuming, HEPA filters will make a big difference to the quality of their lives.

Considerations

Now that you’ve narrowed down the broad types of vacuum cleaners available, you need to start thinking about how and where they will be used. This will help you to decide on a type, as well as to narrow down model choices within each type. Run through this checklist and you’ll find choosing a vacuum much easier:

  • Are you vacuuming on carpets or hard floors? If it’s the latter, make sure the vacuum you choose is designed to work on these surfaces without causing damage while maintaining efficiency.
  • Do you need to vacuum right to the edges? Depending on your premises, you might want to choose a model that has extra brushes at the sides, allowing it to clean right up to the walls and skirting.
  • Will you be vacuuming on a variety of surfaces? Height adjustable models mean you can raise or lower the head to adjust from thick to short pile carpets. Some models will even do this automatically.
  • Consider your roller brush options. Some models power these independently with a motor while others use suction to keep them rolling. It might also be worthwhile opting for a model that allows you to turn off the roller brush motor while vacuuming hard surfaces, or they can scatter dirt and debris.
  • Think about the diameter of hose you might need. Commercial vacuums usually list these in the technical specs. A narrower hose makes for easier storage but will struggle to lift some debris. A wide hose is essential for renovation or construction.
  • The length of the cord is an important consideration. Check the regularity of power outlets on the walls versus the size of the rooms. Large open spaces with few sockets need long cords. However, longer cords pose increased hazards in the likes of office spaces or busy factories. You can also opt for a rechargeable battery powered system and dispense with the cord entirely.
  • Another crucial factor is the capacity of the vacuum. Small capacity bagged systems will require more frequent replacement which could mean downtime, while narrow bagless systems will need regularly emptied in certain premises. Find the right balance between these.
  • It’s important for the health of your cleaning operatives that you carefully choose the weight of vacuum. While heavy duty models may make cleaning a faster job, it could be at the expense of your employees’ overall health and wellbeing – dragging a heavy vacuum cleaner around for long periods of time will do damage to the back and other muscles.
  • Think about the noise level too. If you will be cleaning while others work, it’s important to keep noise levels to a minimum and it’s important that you protect the hearing of your cleaning operatives too. Check the decibel (dB) levels if you can and ask for advice if you’re not sure.

Accessories

Vacuum cleaners often come with a number of optional tools and attachments included, or available as add-on purchases. These allow you to use the vacuum for a variety of separate jobs and can make one single purchase more flexible.

The most common attachments are:

  • Dust brushes
  • Crevice tools
  • Upholstery attachments
  • Additional wands in longer and shorter sizes
  • Specialised flooring tools

Always ensure these fit the machine you’ve purchased – check to see if the retailer provides these attachments as standard or at least stocks additional accessories to match you model.

Choosing the right mop

You might think that you can’t go wrong with the common-or-garden mop and bucket. However, there are a number of varieties to choose from and your choice will depend on the tasks at hand.

There are three broad mop types:

Kentucky

The mop head we all recognise. This consists of long fibres that cover a wide area. The fibres are porous so they soak up liquids easily. There are sub-types here too: The Prairie Kentucky is the most common, generic version, while the Syntex Kentucky has fibres made of syntax that also absorb grease and oil – it is also more hygienic and less prone to smelling bad over time, and comes with a built in scourer.

The Twine Kentucky has thinner fibres made of cotton yarn, which is more durable than the Prairie and need less wringing out. The Stay-Flat Kentucky has a band around the end of the fibres, keeping them together and allowing the mop to cover a greater surface area. There is also less ‘linting’ – fibres that become detached from the mop and are left behind.

All Kentucky types soak up a large amount of water so there is less bucket plunging needed.

Loop mops

These are similar to Kentucky mop heads, allow the fibres are looped. They are convenient and hold less water. In some situations, this can be preferable, as floors will dry quicker. As the ends are looped, there is less fraying and, therefore, linting, which can make these mop heads preferable for reception areas and entranceways.

Microfibre mops

These mop heads offer the best qualities of all the other types and are the preferred option for many commercial cleaning needs nowadays. Using the best of technology, microfibre holds a good capacity of water and provides excellent cleaning, thanks to the flat nylon cleaning bar design. This means that floors can be cleaned faster and because less fluid is needed, they’ll dry quicker too.

Microfibre mops come in a variety of styles and would be our recommendation if you’re looking for the best quality mop heads.

V-Sweepers

The scissor action on these mop heads makes them ideal for catching dirt and dust across large areas of flooring. They use fibres similar to the Kentucky style of mop head and are often used dry instead of wet, for dusting as opposed to scrubbing dirt and grime.

Depending on your premises, you may find it useful to use a V-Sweeper daily with a wet mop once a week.

Spray mops

Some of the latest models of microfibre mops come with a built-in spray action. They have an integrated liquids container that can be operated by hand or foot while mopping and can contain water or cleaning fluid. As they keep the mop head dampened, there is no need to wet the mop continuously from a bucket, and their ability to clean floors quickly is greatly enhanced.

Spray mops usually have 360° articulation meaning they can get into hard to access areas more easily. However, they are not suitable for large areas and are best used to supplement other mops, used only for spot cleaning or localised stains or spills as needed.

Colour-coding mops

Mops can be purchased in various colours or you can colour code them yourself. This is a good way of maintaining hygiene if you have a number of different areas to mop. The following colour coding system might be useful:

  • RED – For washrooms
  • BLUE – For general, low-risk use
  • GREEN – For areas with food, such as kitchens or canteens
  • YELLOW – Clinical use, where there is risk of infection

How to mop a floor, the right way

As with most cleaning tasks, there’s a right way and a variety of wrong ways. Here are our top 5 tips to use to ensure you are correctly mopping your floors.

1 – Gather your supplies

Choose the correct mop head for the floor you want to clean. Ensure you have a bucket filled with warm water or a dilute cleaning product.

2 – Prepare the floor

Make sure you vacuum the floor before mopping to get rid of dirt and dust – once wet, the mop will just carry these around and you’ll leave a trail of debris behind you. This is also an opportunity to prewash any sticky spots.

3 – Dip the mop and wring out

You don’t want to be splashing excess water around while you mop. Not only will it take longer to dry, it can also damage certain types of flooring. Dip the mop head into the bucket and wring it out before applying to the floor.

4 – Mop the floor

Start mopping from top to bottom, meaning that you are always working backwards onto the unmopped floor. This will ensure you don’t track further dirt into areas you’ve already washed. For tougher, stickier stains, press down on the mop and rub and you’ll scrub it away on the spot.

5 – Rinse and wring

You should regularly rinse the mop while in use. As soon as the water cools or becomes dirty, replace it. This way you won’t mop the floor with dirty water.

Keeping mops clean

As they’re often used for wet cleaning, it’s of prime importance that you keep mop heads clean. This will prevent them from smelling and also reduce the risk of bacteria such as mould and mildew growing.

Mops should be cleaned after every use. The easiest way to do this is to rinse out the mop until the water runs clear, then place it in a clean mop bucket containing around 10 litres of water and half a litre of bleach. Leave the mop sitting for around 10 minutes then thoroughly rinse it again and, if possible, wring it out completely before hanging it up to dry.

Make sure that you regularly replace mop heads – they aren’t expensive and it’s important that you do this regularly or you won’t be cleaning your floors any longer, you’ll be spreader further dirt and bacteria across them.

Mop systems

For larger jobs or industrial and commercial cleaning, you should consider investing in a mop system. These integrated bucket units come with a lot of features that make mopping large areas easier.

High-quality mopping units are comprised of two buckets – one for clean and one for dirty water – and will have integrated wringers. They are rugged and durable and come with non-marking castors which won’t damage your flooring but will allow operators to easily move them around.

They have fold-away handles for easier storage and can be purchased in a variety of colours, in line with the colour coding scheme discussed earlier. This ensures hygiene and prevents cross-contamination.

You can also purchase accessories such as colour coded handles and caddies that fit mopping units for storing items like cloths and cleaning products.

Trolleys and carousels

For extra ease of cleaning, you should consider using trolleys or carousels. These both perform the same function of allowing operatives to wheel cleaning products and equipment around with them while they clean, which improves efficiency.

The style you choose will depend on the size of areas and numbers of rooms that need to be cleaned, the daily traffic (and therefore the amount of cleaning that’s required) and whether or not there will be litter and waste removal.

Both trolleys and carousels come with colour-coded compartments relating to the colour-coding system outlined earlier. This means that relevant cleaning products for certain areas can be easily and visibly stored for maximum efficiency and hygiene.

Trolleys

Trolleys are large wheeled units that have trays, shelves and other compartments for storing cleaning products and tools. They are usually fully customisable for a variety of jobs/premises. Their main distinction is that they have space for two large waste bins while allows for the collection and removal of rubbish and waste.

They come in a variety of waste capacities and have features such as non-marking rotating corner buffers to protects walls and paintwork from damage. They also hold a lot of cleaning products in colour-coded caddies with or without dividers and these can be removed as necessary.

Some models have optional attachments like mop frames and nets, allowing you to store mops while you make the rounds. The size, cost and capacities of these units make them more suitable for industrial and commercial cleaning in larger premises.

Carousels

Carousels are customisable cylinders on wheels, into which you can fit a variety of add-ons. Detachable caddies hold cleaning products and can be colour-coded as per the standard colour scheme, and have handles for ease of use.

You can also fit mop pails and mops as well as waste bins. Their overall smaller footprint makes them ideal for getting around smaller or more cramped areas and are ideal for busy offices and such. However, the smaller size means less capacity – this isn’t a problem for carrying cleaning products, but it means smaller waste bins.

For areas with heavy traffic and a lot of waste, consider trolleys instead, otherwise, carousels are perfect for quick, mobile cleaning.

Best practice strategies for buying commercial cleaning equipment

Choosing the right commercial cleaning equipment is the same process as any major capital purchase. From mop heads and consumables all the way up to ride-on floorcare machines, it’s important to consider the job at hand, your budget and the supplier you purchase from.

Choosing a supplier

For most cleaning equipment purchases, it’s likely you’ll be shopping online. If that’s the case, make sure you be careful not to simply go for the cheapest option. It’s important to shop around and get the best value, but there are a number of things to consider when choosing a supplier online:

  • Watch for browser security warnings when you visit a site
  • Check that retailers are trustworthy – do they offer ratings or reviews?
  • Make sure retailers have legitimate contact details including an address (not a PO Box)
  • Can you contact a sales team for advice on choosing products?
  • Look for professional websites – broken images or links, bad design and poor spelling can be red flags
  • Do the prices look too good to be true? They often are, so check the small print and watch for additional costs

Avoid companies that appear to be very new. While you might get a good deal on your purchase, warranties and aftercare may be invalidated if the company suddenly goes into administration.

Shop around and compare prices to find the best deal and see if you can check reviews from previous customers – trustworthy, legitimate retailers will often post reviews, good and bad.

It’s always worth checking to see if you can talk to the retailer, for example, a sales advice team. Sometimes the information provided online isn’t enough to make a decision, and you might need more advice. Here at Equip4Work, we have a friendly sales team who will be happy to talk you through your requirements and help you to choose the right equipment for the job.

Also look out for hidden costs. Some key things to watch for are:

VAT: In the UK, VAT stands at 20%. Some companies will include this in the quoted price, while others won’t, so be sure to check.

Import or export tax: Overseas retailers can offer what seems like a great deal on prices. However, goods can be landed with a massive import/export tax that you might not be aware of until delivery.

Delivery: Delivery charges can often be very high for the more expensive items. However, Equip4Work offers free delivery on the majority of products delivered to UK addresses.

Further information

Here at Equip4Work, we have a massive range of tools and equipment for every kind of commercial cleaning requirement. We provide full specifications and upfront pricing on our products. However, if you’d like some more advice on making the right purchases, our sales team will be happy to help. Just call us on 08444 999 222 or drop us an email at sales@equip4work.com and we’ll get back to you with all the help and advice you need.