Monday, February 24, 2014

The Evolution Of Autoscrubbers

This article was originally published in Cleaning & Maintenance Management.

Before the invention of autoscrubbers, floors in airports, train stations and other large facilities were dust mopped and then cleaned using mops and buckets. It was slow, tedious work, and the results were often less than satisfactory.

Automatic scrubbers were first introduced during the mid-1950s. They looked like push lawn mowers containing a well for water and detergent, which the machine sprayed on the floor using jets. A set of rotary pads or brushes worked the combination into the floor, effectively removing soils.

While the equipment certainly did not clean and dry the floors all in one pass, as autoscrubbers do today, these early machines were a very big advance in floorcare technology. They used less water and less detergent and were overall more effective at cleaning floors than the old manual method. Floors also dried faster after cleaning. And, best of all, these machines improved worker productivity and morale tremendously.

Today’s Machines

By the 1970s, cleaning professionals had widely accepted these machines as a far more efficient and effective way to clean floors, and manufacturers had made significant advances in automatic scrubber technology.

In time, virtually all autoscrubbers shared the following three basic features:
  • A solution tank and water delivery system
  • A scrubbing system, which could be either rotary pads or, in recent years, cylindrical brushes
  • A moisture recovery system to vacuum up water/solution and soils into a recovery tank.
Most of today’s machines now offer a fourth feature: A drive system that propels the autoscrubber forward, backward, left and right. When it comes to floor machines, greater mobility and maneuverability are typically high on the “want list” of floorcare technicians.

However, greater mobility is not the only advance in automatic scrubber technology. Check back next week to learn what other key features automatic scrubbers offer.

Monday, February 17, 2014

What's the Difference Between a Carpet Spot and a Stain?

This article was originally published in Sanitary Maintenance.

According to industry professionals recently asked, "What's the difference between a carpet spot and a stain?" in Sanitary Maintenance, the difference between a spot and a stain is 24 hours. If spills are addressed promptly, water may be all that is needed to remove a spot. However, for more stubborn stains end users will need a spot removal kit that contains a variety of chemicals to address different soil types.

For general purpose spotting, hydrogen peroxide is popular because if it's overused, there is minimal residue left in the carpet that may lead to resoiling.

While hydrogen peroxide is effective for tannin stains, such as coffee and tea, it won’t work on grease or oil-based stains; therefore, a good spotting kit should also contain a grease, oil and paint remover. For example, an enzyme-based cleaner can remove organic stains, such as food, urine and blood, as well as a red dye remover for wine and red-based juice stains. Spot removal kits should also contain a stiff nylon brush to tamp the solution into the carpet and white terrycloth towels for blotting.

Finally, distributors suggest purchasing a one- or two-gallon handheld spot remover unit to rinse the area with water following treatment.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Advance VL500 Wet Dry Vacuum

Reliable, cost-efficient cleaning! The new line of Advance VL500 wet/dry vacuums is designed to accommodate virtually any cleaning requirement. Available in three models—9, 14 and 19 gallon tank configurations—the VL500 wet/dry vacuums satisfy applications ranging from small office environments to large education and healthcare facilities. Designed with a superior filtration system, easy-to-use features and multiple accessories, operators are guaranteed to find a wet/dry vacuum to fit their cleaning program.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Avoiding Contact With Hazardous Cleaning Chemicals

This article was originally published in Clean Link. 

We have all heard about the hazards of cleaning chemicals and the potential harm they can have on those in contact with them. This recent article on Clean Link discusses how hazardous cleaning chemicals can affect people, and what can be done to avoid them.

In a previous article, we started looking at how our nose, skin/eyes and mouth can be affected by hazardous chemicals. A good illustration is to imagine walking by a candle shop and smelling the various scented candles on display. A small percentage of the population would immediately begin to experience breathing difficulties, asthma or other systems of toxicity. Others in the same area would experience a sense of wellbeing as the aroma drifted their way. Others would have no reaction at all.

Since we are all different it is important that we practice universal precautions to reduce the chance of that small percentage being harmed by what others might consider innocent vapors. The human eyeball is a very delicate organ that can be damaged immediately by certain corrosives that would not matter to other parts of the body. Burning, red eyes, tearing and other symptoms indicate the eye is trying to protect itself. As soon as possible, a worker should flush their eyes with clean water (or saline solution) to remove any contaminants. In most cases, contact lenses should not be worn.

Children tend to be the primary victims to ingesting liquids through the mouth. This can happen in the workplace if chemicals are left unguarded and a child gains access to them. Even minor amounts of a chemical can cause damage if ingested on a sandwich, drink or other item placed in the mouth. Food and beverages (especially open containers) should never be stored in the work area unless a specific area has been designated as the break room since no other place is available.

Contact with hazardous chemicals in the workplace can be minimized with a little thought to exposure risks. Please note the preceding is suggestive only since regulations will vary by government entity. It is highly recommended that reader consult with local SME (subject matter experts) on any safety related topic and use the preceding as a starting point. Go to for more information or use a search engine for local and state regulations.