Part two of this three part article focuses on improving indoor air quality and productivity by using vacuums.

Vacuuming hard floors and vertical surfaces with the proper machine is a more effective cleaning method than dust mopping, particularly when using cloth or synthetic closed-loop heads. These methods send dust right back into the environment, making the space less clean and less healthy.

“Routine sweeping procedures, including brooms or dust mops, virtually guarantee that particulate will become airborne,” says Jim Harris Sr. of the Cleaning Industry Research Institute (CIRI) and founder and CEO of Concepts4 Cleaning Consultants in Albany, New York. “At a minimum, they increase the frequency at which tasks such as dusting are required and possibly increase the health risks to occupants.”

The health risks come from negatively impacting indoor air quality by pushing dust or dirt around rather than capturing and removing it. Lowered IAQ can exacerbate occupants’ asthma and allergy issues, and contribute to the spread of colds and flus through cross-contamination.

Vacuuming should replace dust mopping in most scenarios. Using a closed-system machine with a high-quality filter will suck up particulates and remove them to make a room cleaner and healthier.

“It’s simple physics and material science,” says Allen Rathey, president of InstructionLink/JanTrain, Inc. in Boise, Idaho. “Vacuuming using the right equipment removes more soil, including grit and micro-grit from floors, micro-pores and crevices. Better cleaning reduces other maintenance, such as wet mopping, stripping and floor replacement from wear, reducing the net cost of cleaning and maintenance.”

Vacuums will need proper maintenance to ensure their use improves, not hurts, IAQ.

“Distributors should talk about the frequency of changing filters and methods for proper disposal,” says Mandelstam. “They should be emptied every two hours and changed out once a week on a 40-hour-a-week shift.”

In addition to addressing indoor air quality, the right vacuum paired with smart accessories can offer unparallelled versatility, which can save labor dollars. A combo head allows one machine to transition seamlessly between carpet and hard floors. An extension wand helps a user to clean piping or ledges that are 20 feet or higher off the ground. Brush attachments clean vents quickly.

“The heads are very easy to swap in and out,” says Mandelstam. “If you think about a cubicle or a conference room, you can start high with ceilings and corners and move your way down to the floor using one tool and one technician versus using multiple tools and making multiple passes. You save quite a bit.”

Switching from upright vacuums to battery-powered backpacks has improved productivity by 80 percent at Pennsylvania’s Upper Merion Area School District in Montgomery County, says custodial coordinator William Dillon. His crew cleans 1 million square feet every evening, and the backpack units have made quicker work of hard floors and vertical surfaces. Dillion is slowly switching most of his vacuum fleet to battery-powered backpacks because of their versatility and efficiency.

The ability to clean hard floors and vertical surfaces, and potentially carpet, with one machine can be a strong selling point for backpacks and similar vacuums, says Mandelstam. Distributors can help building service contractors and in-house custodial directors find the right tools to do more with less.

“With a simple and inexpensive tool swap, [janitors] can now go from cleaning floors to cleaning overhead lights and exposed pipes,” she says.

A simple change of machine can elevate the service cleaning professionals provide. The ability to clean carpet and new surfaces — with the same machine — can either be considered a value-added service or an additional service to be purchased.

previous page of this article:
Vacuuming Hard Floors, Vertical Surfaces Works
next page of this article:
Educate End Users On Backpack Vacuums, Best Vacuum Attachments For Hard Floors