Englewood Hospital and Medical Center brings laundering in-house and effectively protects microfiber investment

When it comes to cleaning at hospitals, microfiber mops are essential to the cleaning arsenal. At least, that is the opinion of Bill Irwin, director of environmental services at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center in New Jersey.

With approximately 1 million square feet of cleanable space — 90 percent of which is hard floors — an efficient mopping program is key. But for years, the department used traditional cotton string mops and sent laundry off-site for cleaning.

“We had to send the mops out to a small laundry service,” says Irwin. “They did their job, but it was a process. We were basically at their mercy as to when our mops would be returned.”

He adds that working with an outside company was just another element to worry about. Which is why, when the department transitioned to 18-inch microfiber mopping products two and a half years ago, Irwin researched new laundering options.

“You never get the same mops back [when using an outside service],” says Irwin. “Also, they are not always washed or laundered to the correct temperatures, which limits the life of microfiber.”

To make sure their microfiber was protected, Irwin brought the laundering process on-site. Right after purchasing new mops, the department invested in a Miele Professional washer and dryer.

“Now we have much better control,” says Irwin.

Streamlining Processes

Like most environmental services (EVS) departments, Irwin has a strict policy of using one microfiber mop in each patient room. Doing so eliminates the potential of cross-contamination or germ transmission.

The EVS team at Englewood Hospital follows a very streamlined mopping process. When arranging carts, workers identify how many rooms will be cleaned and the microfiber is counted out and added to a bucket of solution, so the mops are ready for use when needed.

“We use far less water and the dry time on flooring is much quicker,” says Irwin.

Once floors have been cleaned, workers are trained to remove soiled mop heads and place them in a separate bag on the cleaning cart. The soiled microfiber is then delivered to the supply room for laundering.

According to Irwin, the multi-programmable Miele machines were set up during instillation to specifically clean the products being used at Englewood Hospital. For example, using information about the microfiber used on site, the machines were programmed to clean at a certain temperature.

“The Miele machines are infinitely programmable,” says Irwin. “I was watching the gentleman who set them up, and it was pretty amazing. They take the information right off the mops, and program the temperature of the machine.”

In addition to temperature, the machines self-feed premeasured chemicals into the laundering process. Irwin simply places the microfiber into the machine, sets the dial and lets the machine do the rest of the work.

“We fill the washer up three-fourths of the way, which holds about 100 to 120 mops,” he says. “The machine is so easy to use.”

In fact, the simplicity associated with the machines is a big benefit for Irwin. It makes training staff quick and easy. He is also reassured that the staff won’t be handling any chemicals and the correct amount will be used every time.

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