Passing the clinical cleaning test

Gordon McVean, international sales and marketing director of Truvox International, shares some tips for an efficient and effective healthcare cleaning regime.

With large areas of hard flooring to maintain in a high-pressure, high stakes environment, hospitals, clinics and care homes put in-house cleaning teams and contractors to the test. Gordon McVean, international sales and marketing director of Truvox International, shares some tips for an efficient and effective healthcare cleaning regime.

A healthcare cleaning regime can’t be judged just by appearances. Visible cleanliness is important to reassure patients and visitors. But the invisible microbes and toxins that can harm the health of vulnerable patients and care home residents must also be eliminated.

Routine cleaning must deliver consistently reliable standards of hygiene day in, day out. That kind of performance is most likely to be sustained if operatives are well-equipped with the most efficient and effective cleaning technology,

In our experience, that usually involves a mix of scrubber dryers and rotary machines. Yet it’s still surprisingly common to see hand mops in use, not just in toilets and wet rooms, but other areas as well.

Even with microfiber mop-heads, standards of cleanliness are compromised as soiled solutions in buckets are re-circulated and inadequate pressure fails to dislodge embedded dirt – in the grout lines of tiled floors, for example.

This labour-intensive method compounds the false economy of using cheap tools. Even cramped spaces and cubicles are no justification when compact scrubber dryers offer a more efficient and effective alternative.

More generally, from corridors to birthing suites, and waiting rooms to wards, the scrubber dryer tends to be the most productive weapon in the cleaning team’s armoury.

This is mainly down to the versatility of a multi-purpose floor cleaning machine that washes, mops, scrubs and dries floors in a single pass, and deals with different types of flooring – including safety flooring, which is increasingly specified in hospitals and clinics.

Policies that preclude powerful disinfectants that may be allergenic also need to be factored into the equation. Where infection control rules favour the use of natural detergents and taurine-based products, these need to be applied with continuous brush agitation and consistent pressure, especially on safety floors.

A bonus is that the modern scrubber dryer can economise on the use of water and solutions, aiding efficiency further.

Fitting the appropriate brushes for normal, maintenance cleaning and intensive scrubbing – and the type of surface – ensures effective cleaning without causing wear. Scrubber dryers should also have side brushes to clean safety flooring that curves up the wall.

Brushes should be easy to exchange and sterilise – polypropylene does not encourage bacterial growth as natural fibres can – while colour-coded brushes help prevent cross contamination.

The rotating cylindrical brushes of a scrubber dryer are particularly effective also when it comes to cleaning deep into grout lines where bacteria can easily multiply. Ergonomically designed, the machine should be easy and comfortable to operate, even on long shifts.

A well-equipped scrubber dryer offers additional capabilities, even cleaning entrance matting and low-pile carpets. It is this versatility that is so often crucial to cost-effective hygienic cleaning in a busy environment where there is a constant battle against infections, and floors must be cleaned quickly and left safely dry for staff, visitors and patients alike.

Noise is another form of disruption that must be minimised in healthcare settings and care homes, where daytime cleaning is prevalent. Cordless, battery-powered models carry out this work even more quietly and flexibly, with outputs up to 350m2/hour, while avoiding trips risks.

Faced with large areas of hard flooring that require daily cleaning and polishing, healthcare teams may also deploy rotary machines.

Operating at speeds of around 1500rpm, high-speed rotaries will burnish large areas rapidly to a high sheen. But when traffic can lead to heavy soiling and impacted dirt, low-speed rotary machines come into their own.

Hourly outputs up to 475m2 can be achieved at speeds of 200-400rpm, with single-disc machines that combine exceptional handling with low vibration levels, so operators maintain high productivity even on long shifts.

The high pad/brush pressure with optional solution tank for wet scrubbing ensures effective cleaning in all situations – as well as intensive maintenance duties.

This provides another highly competitive option for healthcare cleaning teams that aspire to efficiency as well as impeccable standards.

This first appeared in the May/June issue of INCLEAN magazine. To subscribe, click here. 

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