Adapting your winter cleaning regime from the outside-in
Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Kelly Brierley, key account manager at Robert Scott, offers her insight into how facilities can step up their cleaning maintenance during the winter months.
We’re often asked how facilities can prepare for the harsher elements that autumn and winter throw at us. One of the key considerations is increasing frequency of your cleaning regime to ensure regular sweeps of external and internal areas where the build-up of excess water and debris can cause wider problems if left untended.
Managing external areas will also reduce the impact inside in areas of high footfall, if pathways and entrances are regularly maintained.
It’s important to consider your facility as a whole when planning your cleaning regime. Starting with external maintenance, here’s some of our recommendations that will help make significant improvements for your team.
There are several ways to winter-proof your external cleaning regime, which in turn will help improve the cleanliness of internal areas too.
We would always recommend carrying out a cleaning audit of any facility during different times of year to highlight potentially problematic areas, and to ensure janitorial and maintenance teams are prepared to tackle issues with the right products.
The autumn season creates a lot of excess external debris – falling leaves can be trampled into slippery mulch, and in windy conditions leaves and rubbish can be blown indoors. Introducing litter picking tools and regular staff patrols of external areas will help to manage the problem and avoid build-up of leaves that can create slip and trip hazards, particularly if there’s frost on the ground.
Investing in an outdoor cleaning trolley, such as the Vilcart all-terrain trolley, is a worthwhile consideration for large facilities as they are designed to tackle all types of terrain such as grass, gravel and paving stones, with rugged back wheels and a waterproof cover to protect contents from getting wet.
These trolleys also have a generous capacity that allow the user to carry all of the necessary cleaning equipment at once within wide inner compartments – there are also handy side straps and a mesh base for tools that need to be stored externally.
Washable brooms are a cost-effective and durable solution for exterior cleaning. Polypropylene brooms are available with soft or stiff bristles and easily grip wet debris such as fallen leaves and twigs easily, making regular sweeping less intensive and more effective for janitorial and maintenance staff.
Prepare for the elements
Once indoors, there’s a few simple changes facilities managers should implement to their janitorial team’s daily routine to adapt to the heavier soiling that comes from outside.
Any facility management team needs to ensure they are prepared for the changeable weather at this time of year. Increased rain, sleet and even snow means that the wet ground outside will have an impact on areas of high footfall indoors – producing muddy and damp footprints, surplus water from clothing and umbrellas and debris that can be blown through entrances and exits.
As with external areas, completing regular spot checks of internal spaces – doorways, busy corridors, reception areas and so on – or introducing quick response cleaning patrols of these heavily trafficked areas will allow you tackle any problems swiftly and effectively.
We’d encourage customers to introduce a heavy-duty textured mat to any external doorways as this will help to capture soiling from footwear. These mats are especially good for use in busy areas and sites where build-up of dirt and debris is more likely.
It’s also advisable to keep your safety floor signs located near these areas of high footfall so they can be easily accessed as required. For large facilities that experience extremely high footfall, such as multi-storey buildings, it would be worth considering more permanently placed signage in busy entrance ways during winter months.
At this time of year, we would suggest moving to a heavier duty cleaning system that can tackle soiled areas quickly and effectively. Using a flat mop system with a microfibre pile will remove dirt and excess water with ease. Microfibre material also requires less water to begin with for a faster-drying clean, and it can be used without chemicals as a more environmentally-friendly product that delivers the same excellent results.
A longer pile mop is also beneficial – especially if it’s made from microfibre material. The longer pile works extremely well in heavily trafficked areas and can absorb high volumes of liquid. It’s a good option for spot cleaning or at times when there’s a lot of liquid to remove, keeping busy areas as dry and as safe as possible.
Choosing a mop with a superior looped microfibre yarn will give you an incredibly absorbent product that has a capacity to clean larger floor areas much faster than traditional cotton mops. Mops with stay-flat bands will also hold the mop in a circular shape to increase surface area contact with the floor. Microfibre is also machine washable so these mops can be reused time and again to reduce waste.
Quick response trolleys are extremely useful for heavily soiled areas that need to be cleaned rapidly during busy times of day. Choose a sturdy trolley designed for use with your facility’s mopping system. We’d recommend something with a large bucket and wringer capacity, as well as a clip to hold a mop securely whilst moving, ensuring safe travel for the user. Compartmentalised storage containers are useful for other cleaning items, as are hooks to hold equipment such as warning signs and dustpans, and a rear holder for refuse sacks.
Invest in your team
Above all, the biggest difference you’ll find in your winter maintenance regime is when you invest in the team responsible for carrying out the work. Spending time with individuals to understand their daily tasks and products they use, as well as evaluating how effective those products are for specific jobs will inevitably create efficiencies.
It will also help you to understand the products that are required to equip your facility for the winter season so you can make the most of any investment into new equipment and staff training.
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