How much research did you do before purchasing the cleaning carts used in your cleaning operation? Did you think about ergonomics or wheel systems or storage capacity? Or did you just buy the low-cost option?

On the surface, the cleaning cart appears to be a low-tech product designed to carry cleaning supplies and tools. But if you dig down a bit, you’ll find that the design of these handy items can make or break efficiency.

When it comes to cleaning carts there is definitely more than meets the eye — and a lot to think about.

Cart Customization

No one custodial department is the same, so it makes sense that the look and function of cleaning carts greatly varies. In fact, manufacturers offer a lot of flexibility with cart customization. This allows managers the ability to modify carts to fit different functions.

Product Manager Meghan Reed of Continental Commercial Products in Bridgeton, Missouri, says that customizing carts builds efficiency.

“Being organized and efficient in all segments of the business helps your bottom line,” she says. “When end-users waste time looking for the tool they need to get a job done because the cart isn’t well organized, you are looking at money going out the door.”

But in order to obtain a properly customized cart, Mark Klawitter, application expert at Sealed Air Diversey Care, Sturtevant, Wisconsin, says the following must be considered:

What type of mopping system is being used — a mop bucket and ringer configuration or a microfiber system?

Will the cleaning cloths be cotton, microfiber or disposables?

How much trash will the cart need to carry?

What tools will be transported on the cart?

How much storage space is available in the custodial closet? A narrow space might require a narrower cart, for example.

Once these factors are known, customization can come in as many forms as the carts themselves. Some units offer modularity that allows custodial operations to move components around within the cart’s frame. This is a nice feature because staff can place the most commonly used items at a good working height.

For example, some managers opt for a prominent glove box holder on the top of the unit.

“Putting this in a very visible place means the gloves are top of mind,” says Klawitter. “Workers should put on gloves the minute they pull up to a classroom, restroom, office cubicle or patient room. Sometimes out of sight is out of mind.”

Other units include a number of configurations to choose from, allowing managers to pick the one that best suits their operation. Still other carts include a zippered vinyl bag for easy cleaning and easy access to the contents inside. While other manufacturers give customers complete freedom to design their ideal workstations, and will customize carts to their exacting specifications.

For example, carts can aid in color-coding cleaning, which has become very popular to reduce cross-contamination. These carts come with color-coded lids to help workers quickly find the right chemicals, tools and cloths for the job.

If the tools used change from day-to-day, a nice-to-have feature is a docking system that allows staff to change out the tools the cart carries. Todd Carlson, general manager at Delamo, Montebello, California, explains that this feature enables workers to change tools as needed.

“When you’re just delivering supplies and you don’t need a mop and mop bucket, you can detach it and have a shorter cart that’s easier to move around,” he says.

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Considering Ergonomics And Maneuverability Before Purchasing Cleaning Carts