According to distributors, facility cleaning managers are also requesting wheels that reduce noise.

“The quiet caster is a great idea, especially for daytime workers servicing office buildings,” says Dillon. “Regular wheels can be loud, so some manufacturers have introduced caster wheels that reduce noise, making them less intrusive to the environment.”

For daytime cleaning or when working around building occupants, many facilities want carts to be inconspicuous and quiet. As a result, distributors are seeing a move away from bright colors.

“Black is now a trending color in the industry,” notes Dillon. “When you glance down a hallway and see a big yellow or blue cart, it sticks out. The manufacturers are trying to tone it down because the clientele wants to be as incognito as possible.”

Despite the need to downplay the carts’ presence, managers still want carts that are as attractive as they are functional. Today’s carts have smooth, rounded edges that impart a modern look and make them easier to clean.

“Most of the new carts have curved sides and corners so you can wipe it easily with a cloth,” says Attman. “They can also be easily disassembled, allowing them to be cleaned down to the core.”

Although the trend is toward lightweight plastic carts, distributors still see cleaning departments that favor stainless-steel carts, particularly in healthcare. According to Hammond, stainless-steel carts are easier to clean and disinfect. They are also more durable than their plastic counterparts.

“I recently replaced about 20 stainless-steel carts in a hospital,” says Hammond. “The original carts that I sold to them 15 years ago are just starting to wear out now.”

Cart Blanche

When it comes to purchasing cleaning carts, one size no longer fits all. Whether facility cleaning departments prioritize aesthetics, durability, ergonomics or storage space, they can rest assured that there is a cart to meet their needs — or they can build one from the ground up.

“Carts have become beneficial to any industry that wants to use them,” says Attman. “Manufacturers are putting a lot of money and effort into helping customers personalize these systems so that departments can maximize their use for specific needs. And ultimately, personalization is what it’s all about.” 

KASSANDRA KANIA is a freelance writer based in Charlotte, North Carolina.