Cleaning cars with Pressure Washers

Nothing makes car cleaning quicker and easier than using a pressure washer. They can blast away mud and thick grime, leaving just a thin film to be taken off with a sponge. This reduces the risk of scratching paintwork.

Brake dust can be hosed away, leaving only the toughest spots for a washing brush and wheel cleaner.

And most pressure washers can be used to apply specialist detergents to help with removing even the most stubborn of dirt and grime.

Based on such compelling reasons, deciding to buy one is the easy part! However, picking what specification, make and model is more complicated, as there is a huge range of pumps, accessories and prices to consider.

Cleaning cars with a pressure washer

Can the bodywork of a car be cleaned with the pressure washer? Of course it can. But there are various ways of doing it.

Even the most basic model of pressure washer can have almost 40 times the water flow power of a garden hose, which comes in handy when trying to remove tough dirt, bird droppings, dried on insects and winter salt stains on a vehicle.

Tips for pressure washing cars

Rinse the car thoroughly. As far as coarse, loose dirt is concerned, it is often sufficient to simply spray down the car with the high-pressure jet.  Even if you’ve washed the car recently, there will be some dust and dirt that can be removed with a water spray.

Don’t forget the bottom. Just because it can’t be easily seen, it doesn’t mean it can’t get dirty. Use an angled extension wand to clean the vehicles underside and inside the wheel arches.

A traffic film remover detergent (TFR) is recommended if you want a more thorough wash. Apply the detergent using the pressure washer’s chemical injection system. Make sure to use a pressure washer-approved detergent so as not to damage the car or the pressure washer.

Set the pressure washer’s nozzle to low pressure. Immerse the detergent pickup hose in the detergent solution.

Use smooth, overlapping strokes, starting from the bottom and working your way up. Wait five to 10 minutes, giving the solution time to work.

Use a washing brush attachment to help loosen stubborn dirt and grime. Why use elbow grease when you have a powerful scrubbing brush to do the work for you?

Rinse under high pressure. Start at the top and work down to ensure the entire area is soap free.

Pay close attention to both the spray angle and distance while using a pressure washer. Spraying too closely could damage an area of the car rather than clean it, so hold the wand a couple of feet from the surface and gradually move closer if additional cleaning power is needed.

Choosing the most suitable pressure washer

There are many types of pressure washers available including cold water, hot water heated by diesel, cold water powered by combustion engines, wall mounted and stationery units and even trailer mounted systems.

Choosing the right type is dependent upon many factors including the available power source, the intended application and, of course, how much budget is to spend.

There are lots of suppliers and manufacturers of pressure washers but it is important to choose one from a reputable manufacturer who uses quality components (fittings, pumps etc) and has a reputation for build quality.

Buying cheap certainly doesn’t make economic sense with pressure washers as the components used will generally be of lower quality and the design can make some units extremely difficult, if not impossible, to repair.

That is why we recommend quality yet cost-effective pressure washers from Cleanwell and Interpump.

Pressure washers

For more information on the range of pressure washers available from IFM (UK) contact us today at info@industrialfloorcaremachines.com or call 01442 823090.

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Warehouse floors – forklift truck tyre marks and their removal

A clean and tidy industrial floor will improve the aesthetics of any warehouse and also satisfies safety requirements demanded by H&S bodies.

In order to keep industrial floors in the best possible condition it is important that a good cleaning programme is implemented.

Sweep floors clean

It is important that industrial floors should be well maintained and kept clean and free of any loose debris that could otherwise abrade the surface. Use large brooms, scissor sweepers or where size and budget permits walk behind or even ride-on sweepers for large warehouse facilities.

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Remove grime

Depending upon the size of the floor, the use of a mop and bucket for small areas is viable but for deep cleaning and certainly for larger expanses of floor area, a scrubber drier is better suited to remove any grease, spillages or general grime.

Rubber tyre marks

A major problem in maintaining an industrial floor is the tyre marks left behind from forklift trucks.

These marks become more apparent and troublesome when a light reflective floor is involved, and can detract from the aesthetic appearance and reduce the performance characteristics of the floor surface.

Warehouse floors

The removal of ingrained tyre marks can in many cases be extremely difficult, if not impossible. Therefore it is strongly advisable that a cleaning programme is put in place to manage the situation.

Forklift Truck Tyres

The most common forklift truck tyres are made from a universal rubber compound. This type of tyre will leave marks on concrete floors.

There are two types of “non-marking” tyres available and these should be considered for use where tyre marking becomes a problem.

“White” tyres are made from synthetic rubber with white silica gel or resin instead of carbon. The white tyres have a grey-white appearance, can cost up to 25% more than the universal carbon tyres and have about 90% of the life of the universal tyres.

They can also have a heat build-up problem when running fast and/or over long distances. If heat does build up then the load capacity can be reduced. These tyres can leave a white dust-type residue, which does not adhere to the floor surface and can be swept up during the cleaning process.

Polyurethane tyres are shiny black in appearance, very hard and can cost twice as much as universal rubber tyres. It is suggested that polyurethane tyres wear three times more than the universal tyre. The polyurethane tyre will leave a black residue that does not stick to the floor unlike black rubber type tyres. This non-sticking allows the residue to be swept or vacuumed through the maintenance cleaning process.

Spinning is the main contributory factor to black rubber tyre marks. This is a particular concern for light reflective floors. This practice must be discouraged where possible.

Recommended method for cleaning and removing rubber tyre marks

Envii EN701 Rubber Tyre Mark Remover (Ultragreen & Non-Hazardous) removes rubber marks with ease. It is able to tackle the most difficult rubber deposits whether it be from a forklift or the landing area on a runway.

It is ideal for busy warehouse or distribution centres where time is at a premium and areas cannot be closed off for long periods.

Use neat for heavy rubber tyre marks where 100ml will normally treat 1m² or it can be diluted to deal with lighter marks or for ongoing maintenance.

Another product we have found from experience that works well is Ultrapac Renovate from Prochem. It can be used as a pre-spray and can work wonders on rubber tyre mark removal. This product is solvent free and is designed for the removal of ingrained soils, carbon, soot and rubber from hard and semi-porous surfaces.

UltraPac Renovate

After application of a rubber tyre mark remover, the area can be scrubbed with a scrubber drier using hard polypropylene scrubbing brushes or with green scrubbing pads to loosen the residue. The scrubber drier can be filled with water and / or a water and detergent mix to remove excess solution from the floor surface and provide a final clean in the process.

A recommended chemical for this process, and for regular maintenance cleaning of warehouse floors, is Triple Advanced Scrubber Drier Detergent manufactured by Selden. The super strength formulation of this product removes even the toughest grease and grime and is designed for cleaning large warehouses.

Polypropylene scrubbing brushes or green scrubbing pads are recommended for use with scrubber driers to clean warehouse floors. Do not use black pads to clean any marks from a light reflective floor surface as they are extremely aggressive and may scratch the floor surface.

Depending upon the size of the warehouse, the space between pallets and racking, and of course the budget available, scrubber drier options include everything from mid-sized walk behind machines such as the Comac Abila or Simpla, to larger machines such as the Comac Omnia 32, and then upwards to include ride-on machines such as the Comac Flexy and Comac Ultra 120.

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Safe and sensible activities

The loading and unloading of warehouse racking and pallet bays and the movement of goods around warehouses needs to be carried out with care to minimise surface marking and scratching.

Forklift trucks and other vehicles need to be driven with care over these surfaces to avoid marking caused by wheel spin, sharp and abrupt turning or sliding, leaving unsightly marks that need to be removed.

Even a properly planned maintenance schedule cannot prevent the leaving of rubber tyre marks if the forklift trucks are not handled appropriately and with care.

The Benefits of Entrance Matting

There are many benefits to be had investing in entrance or barrier matting for your facility, especially in wet or wintry weather. There is no legal requirement to have one at the entrance to your facility, but considering that it is the main barrier that helps prevent dirt and water from being tracked on to internal floors, it could be a good investment.

Into the Light

Here we consider how entrance matting can benefit your facility, and the methods of cleaning.

Reducing slips and falls

The less rainwater and dirt entering your facility, the less likelihood there is to be a slip and fall accident at the entrance.

Entrance matting absorbs rainwater and helps dry footwear to prevent anything being tracked throughout your facility and creating a slip hazard. Entrance matting can absorb up to 5 litres of water per square meter to ensure that shoes are dried properly to avoid slips and falls on wet floors.

Rubber or vinyl backing that is moisture resistant and slip resistant prevents a mat from shifting to prevent sliding and thus prevent tripping or falls.

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Considering that slips and falls cost employers more than £512 million per year (as per the HSE), it’s important to put prevention solutions in place. Placing an entrance mat correctly at all entrances to your facility will help reduce the risk. Everyone that enters the building should be able to step directly onto the mat and should walk across it for several paces before stepping onto the entrance floor.

Saving you money

80% of indoor dust and dirt is tracked in from outside, and the average cost to remove it from a building is over £400 per year. Furthermore, over a 20 day period, 1000 people will deposit 10 Kgs of dry dirt via footwear.

The main hazard to carpeting is dirt and soils which can have a texture that is similar to a razor and as carpets are walked on, their fibres can be cut. Within the first 2 metres, 42 % of the floor’s finish or carpet nap will be removed after only 1500 people have entered. This shortens the overall life span of the floor seal or carpet.

Entrance mats effectively remove dirt and water and trap it within the mat, reducing the amount entering your facility and the cost associated with removing it. Entrance matting also protects the surface finish of floors to prevent wear and tear, reducing the need for expensive maintenance.

Coupled with the cost of slips and falls this could prove very expensive.

Helping present a clean, safe appearance

First impressions count for a lot. The last thing you want visitors to see when entering your building is messy, dirty floors. It doesn’t give a good impression and doesn’t promote good health and safety.

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Entrance mats are attractive and make your entrance way look clean, increasing the overall appeal of your facility, especially if they are branded and bespoke to your business.

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Additionally, entrance mats show that steps are being taken to reduce the risks posed to workers and that safety is a priority in your facility.

Choosing the right entrance matting

It is important to choose entrance matting with these functions in mind to maximize the benefits.

For large entrances, a combination can be made of single function entrance mats, brush mats for scraping, combination of brush and absorbent mats for cleaning and absorbent mats for drying.

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However, smaller entrances of shops and office buildings often do not have the space to allow a full matting system. Not to worry, there are a number of multi-function entrance mats that combine coarse scraping yarns, with softer absorbent yarns to still function effectively in smaller entrances.

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Maintenance & Cleaning

Entrance mats function optimally when regularly cleaned.

  • Regular cleaning will prolong the life of carpet mats because of the reduced abrasion effect on fibres.
  • Regular cleaning will maintain effectiveness of mats for the longest time and avoid dirt and moisture from being accumulated on mats being walked in to facilities.
  • Regular cleaning will improve the overall appearance of entrances. This is where visitors get their first impression when entering a building.

By removing soils through a combination of regular vacuuming, grooming and extraction cleaning, the mats life span can be extended. A maintenance schedule should include daily vacuuming of the top surface, especially in heavy traffic areas, to prevent dirt from building up and being ground into the mat.

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Weekly grooming of the carpet will maximize vacuuming by loosening the fibres and creating easier access to the soil underneath. Grooming also helps to aerate fibres to allow quicker drying.

Also sweep or vacuum under the mat to clean the floor or carpet underneath.

Monthly injection and extraction shampooing will clean fibres and remove any leftover dirt, and help remove any nasty spills and stains.

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Electrical safety of Cleaning Equipment

Cable Integrity

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Always check by sight and touch (before plugging in and switching on!) for any nicks or imperfections – report any issues and DO NOT USE.

Check for any tears or cuts to the cable and if there is any damage, and certainly if any copper cable is visible, DO NOT USE the appliance and report it for repair & replacement of the cable.

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It’s not worth taking the chance – FIT A NEW CABLE!

Damage can occur when:

• Cables are caught on skirting boards, around door frames or other obstacles
• Cables are stood on, wheeled across or slammed in doors
• Cables are caught under a rotary machine, or a cylindrical brush  scrubber drier, causing the cable to break – this can be a significant safety risk, especially when using a scrubber drier with water.
Be careful and vigilant & follow best practice guidelines with regard to cable handling.

We always recommend the use of an RCD (Residual Current Device).

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• Did you know that it takes only a fifth of a second for a strong electric current flowing through your heart to kill you?
• Think about if for a moment: if you’re using a rotary buffer  and you accidentally slice through the cable, the electricity has to go somewhere.
• If the machine has a metal case, you’re holding on to it, and you’re standing on the ground, there’s a very high risk that your body will form a “short circuit” – the path of least resistance for the current to flow through.
• It takes just the blink of an eye for a current that’s doing you a favour by powering your machine to change its mind, zap through your body, and kill you.
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• One way to reduce the risk is to use an RCD (residual current device), which automatically shuts off stray currents before they can electrocute you, cause fires, or do other kinds of damage.
Typical issues associated with plugs

Over heating / burned

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Damaged plastic casing

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Plug with no top & no earth in use in a public area with a real danger of electrocution for any user.

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Attempted DIY connection with exposed wires hence PAT failed.

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In all cases DO NOT USE the machine.

Replace the plug correctly and ensure the correct fuse is used.

Plugs and sockets

For plugs and sockets, keep an eye out for the following:

Hot plugs or sockets, scorch marks, fuses that often blow, or flickering lights – they are all signs of loose wiring or other electrical problems

Badly wired plugs – any coloured wires sticking out could come loose and debris could also get into the plug

Overloaded sockets – plugging too many electrical appliances into one socket can lead to overheating

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Cables and leads

The risks with cables and leads include:

Getting frayed and damaged – make sure the outer covering of all power leads is in good condition and replace if necessary

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Being badly positioned – they shouldn’t be anywhere that they could be tripped over, or near water, cookers or other sources of heat

Running them under rugs or carpets where they can wear through without anyone noticing – position them elsewhere

Keep your electrical equipment in good working order

Follow the guidelines below to make sure your electrical items are safe to use:

Maintenance

Electrically powered machines, especially ones that run at high speeds and contain motors, such as buffers and scrubber driers, should be serviced once a year by a qualified technician.

Plugs, sockets and cables

Plugs, sockets and cables also need to be used correctly, you should:

• Make sure you can’t see any coloured wires between the plug and the power lead – change the plug properly

• Make sure the wires are held firmly in place inside the plug

• Only use one adaptor per socket – don’t plug one adaptor into another and try to  keep to one plug per socket
Fuses

When you’re fitting or replacing a fuse, it’s important to use the right fuse for the machine to make sure the fuse doesn’t overheat.

Check the user manual or look for a sticker on the machine to find out its wattage and then use the correct fuse:

> 700 watts, use a 3 amp fuse

Between 700 and 1,000 watts, use a 5 amp fuse

< 1,000 watts, use a 13 amp fuse

Extension leads and adaptors have a limit on how many amps they can take, so be careful not to overload them, to reduce the risk of fire.

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Thermal overload protection

Electric cleaning machines are fitted with a thermal protection device.

If the machine stops working, switch off and remove the plug from the wall before investigating where the fault lies.

Inspect the brush (if a rotary or scrubber), floor tool (if a vacuum), vacuum hose and any tubes for debris.

In the case of vacuum cleaners, if the floor tool, tubes and hose are clear, replace the dust bag and clean the filter. Restricted air flow causes vacuum motors to over heat and trip out.

Be careful and observant when using vacuum cleaners that you don’t pick up items that may block the hose or tube, restricting airflow.

Sometimes very resistant floors and coarse, aggressive pads can produce significant friction, resistance and heat and thermal overloads kick-in to protect motors from burning out. Use the right pad / brush / speed of machine and chemical to avoid any mishaps.

Cimex-Encap – The revolution in commercial carpet cleaning

 Cimex-Encap is a revolutionary, high productivity, cost effective, low moisture carpet cleaning system. The system features state of the art polymer chemistry that encapsulates dirt for clean carpets that stay cleaner for longer.

Cimex-Encap builds on this experience to provide one of the simplest and most effective commercial carpet cleaning processes available.

Cimex-Encap combines the counter rotating Cimex Cyclone three brush system with polymer chemistry that encapsulates dirt for clean carpets that stay cleaner for longer

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Key features and benefits of Cimex-Encap

  • Clean up to 300 square metres (3000 square feet) per hour
  • Deep cleaning – restores brightness to even heavily soiled carpets
  • Low moisture cleaning so carpets dry quickly
  • No soil attracting residues, which means that carpets stay cleaner for longer
  • Eliminates wicking problems – stains do not appear on the surface as the carpet dries
  • Cimex-Encap restores cleanliness and brightness to even the most heavily soiled commercial carpet.
  • Cimex-Encap has the added benefit of ensuring that once a carpet has been cleaned that it will stay clean.

 4 Simple Steps to a cleaner carpet……

 1.       Thorough vacuuming before using Cimex-Encap ensures all dry soil is removed. Removing the dry soil enables the Cimex-Encap process to more effectively attack the sticky/oily soil left in the carpet.

2.       Cimex-Encap is a polymeric carpet cleaning solution that is applied to the carpet via a Cimex Cyclone three brush machine. The solution releases sticky soil from the carpet fibres and then traps or “encapsulates” the soil as it dries.

3.       Cimex-Encap is a low moisture system so carpets dry rapidly. For the encapsulation chemistry to work fully, leave the carpet to dry overnight before vacuuming.

4.       The Cimex-Encap process is completed by vacuum cleaning. Encapsulated soil is simply removed from the carpet with normal routine vacuum cleaning.

Cimex-Encap Low Moisture Carpet Cleaner attacks all soils commonly found in carpets. Its unique formulation emulsifies the soil and then, using the latest chemistry, encapsulates the soil for easy removal. Low moisture technique means fast drying times – carpets are normally dry to the touch in 45 minutes to 2 hours.

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Cimex-Encap Spotter is the only spotting solution designed to work with the Cimex-Encap system. It can also be used to pre-spray stubborn stains and high traffic areas for even more effective results. Cimex-Encap Spotter works on both water and oil-based spots and spills.

Cimex-Encap Pads provide the most effective application of the Cimex-Encap solution when cleaning low pile commercial carpets. The pads provide greater contact area than the brushes which helps achieve enhanced agitation of the carpet fibres.

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Maintenance of Vinyl Floor Coverings

The coating and cleaning chemicals associated with hard floor maintenance is known as the chemical system. The chemical systems available for vinyl floor coverings are no buff, spray buffing, and polishing/buffing systems.

Selection of the chemical system will be influenced by the assessment criteria associated with the facility. The environment, traffic conditions, congestion, time factors and budget will all have an impact on which selection to make.

Initial Maintenance

As with all hard floor coverings, maintenance begins directly after installation. The degree of initial maintenance will be dependent upon the level of cleanliness in which the floor covering was installed. Some installations are much better than others and can make the initial maintenance much easier to accomplish.

Most manufacturers of vinyl products recommend a waiting period of approximately 3 days after the floor covering is installed before wet maintenance can be performed. The reason for this is to allow ample time for the adhesive under the floor covering to completely cure. If wet cleaning or polishing procedures are performed prior to the adhesive curing, it can cause problems for the newly installed product.

Generally sheet goods that are heat welded are not an issue because water or solution has no way to get under the product. Some sheet goods that are not heat welded may have problems because the solution can get under the edges of the seams and cause them curl up. If the damage is significant enough it may require the whole installation to be pulled up and redone.

Floors that have tile products have many more seams for the solution to get under. This can cause serious damage when wet maintenance is performed too soon. In some cases the adhesive may soften and ooze out of all the seams making it very difficult to clean and dry the floor. Many times individual or groups of floor tiles will release from the sub floor. In severe cases the tiles can curl, warp or buckle.

The type of sub floor that the product is installed over can also be affected by performing maintenance services too soon. Generally resilient floor coverings are installed over a concrete sub floor, although it has been known for vinyl floors to be installed over plywood and other wood-based sub-floors.

If water or solution gets under the floor covering it may cause serious breakdown of the wood product underneath. Caution should be taken when working with these types of sub floors.

Initial maintenance for vinyl type floor coverings is not only to remove the soil accumulated during the installation, but also to remove the factory coating from the product. Factory coating is applied to the product to protect it during handling, packaging and installation.

Daily/Routine Maintenance

The most important aspect of any hard floor maintenance programme is eliminating or reducing soil throughout the facility. The daily/routine maintenance procedures address the regular maintenance needed to accomplish this task. Generally, housekeeping staff or cleaning contractors provide these daily services.

Sweeping, dust mopping or vacuuming procedures are the primary method of controlling dry particulate soil throughout most facilities. The service can be performed on a routine basis, daily or several times per day.

It is possible for wet mopping maintenance to be incorporated in the daily/routine maintenance schedule. Spot mopping may be carried out during open hours to eliminate spills that occur. Wet mopping may be performed after hours to remove more aggressive soils. The degree or level of the service will be predicated by the facility.

Light scrubbing with an automatic scrubbing machine or scrubber drier can be substituted for mopping procedures in areas large enough to warrant it.

In schools, colleges, hospitals, large offices and retail environments this is an expected means of maintenance.

Periodic Maintenance

The term periodic generally refers to service procedures that are beyond the dry service and wet mopping procedures. They can incorporate buffing, spray buffing, condition/restoring and burnishing or scrubbing/cleaning procedures. In heavily soiled environments the stripping procedure is performed on a periodic schedule too.

Coating Maintenance Procedures

The periodic coating maintenance procedures are methods of maintenance that address the gloss of the floor finish. There are several methods for accomplishing this objective. The method for any facility will be determined when selecting the chemical system for the floor covering.

Dry buffing, polishing and burnishing are procedures that are independent of cleaning and stripping / re-sealing procedures. Buffing can be performed on some floor finishes, however limited results can be expected.

Spray buffing is a method of maintenance that has been used for many years in the maintenance of vinyl type floor coverings. It is important to point out that the spray buffing procedure is a maintenance method for restoring gloss to the floor finish. It is not a cleaning procedure although many individuals try to use it as one.

When the spray buffing service procedure is used as a cleaning procedure, it effectively encapsulates soil in the floor finish. Although it may appear to be cleaning the floor it is really spreading the soil evenly across the floor causing it to slowly brown out.

Scrubbing and Re-coating

Scrubbing and re-coating is a general term that encompasses all of the scrubbing service procedures. There are different classifications of scrubbing that require slightly different procedures. The primary difference centres on the amount of soil or finish to be removed.

The aggressiveness of the scrubbing procedure will be dictated by the environment and traffic conditions. Soil that gets ground into the floor surface will become embedded. Also, during the life cycle of the hard floor maintenance programmes that utilise chemical coating systems, soil will ultimately become encapsulated in floor finish. Encapsulated soil lowers the appearance factor and causes the floor to look dirty all the time. The primary reasons to scrub and re-coat vinyl floor coverings is to remove that embedded soil or to remove surface coats of floor finish that may have soil encapsulated in it and replenish the protective film.

There is a misconception in the floor care industry that floors must be stripped annually. This is not always the case. A properly maintained floor can go many months, often years between a full strip and refinish. This is usually due to establishing good daily floor care and periodic floor care services.

Stripping and Refinishing (re-sealing)

The definition of stripping is to remove all pre-existing coats of seal and/or finish. Refinishing is the application of new layers of sealer and floor finish.
Some manufacturers of vinyl floor coverings will recommend products and procedures as maintenance requirements. If these are available, follow the instructions for the stripping and refinishing procedures. If they are not available, find out the type of floor and the manufacturer if possible and get in touch with them for any special instruction.

Investigation into the floor surface may take some time, but it can save you money in replacement costs should you damage a floor covering.

Stripping is the most important function of the vinyl floor maintenance programme. It is the beginning and the end. Everything else in-between rests on the foundation that is provided by this service. The function of stripping (removing all existing coatings) is necessary at the end of the floor maintenance life cycle. The function of re-applying coatings is the beginning of the new cycle. It is impossible to have one without the other when performing the service procedure.

Stripping is the least performed of the hard floor maintenance services. It requires the most investment of time, labour and money. Careful consideration should be used when planning for this service because of these factors. The primary objective of any hard floor maintenance should be to put as much time as possible between performing the stripping and refinishing service procedures. This is accomplished by laying a good foundation during the process of performing the service.

About Industrial Floorcare Machines (UK) Ltd

Based in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire but serving the whole of the UK, IFM (UK) supply rotary scrubbers, polishers and burnishers from manufacturers such as Truvox, Victor, Numatic and Comac.

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We are also a distributor of Selden floor maintenance products including such well respected products as Selstrip and Selspeed floor polisher strippers; Selseal, Selbrite and Diamond Brite floor polishes, and Fast Lane floor maintainer.

Points to consider when selecting your rotary buffer / polisher

Making the right choice need not be a problem when selecting which buffing / polishing machine you need.

The main things to consider when choosing your new rotary buffer are the brush speed (rpm), the brush head size and the machine weight along the accessories most suitable for the cleaning task intended, including the correct choice of floor pad.

Slow speed (150rpm – 300 rpm)

Slower speed rotary buffers are best suited for wet scrubbing, floor stripping and for carpet shampooing.

The best guideline is that is the dirtier the floor, the need to perform a heavier / deeper clean means that you should use a slower speed machine. Lower speeds up to 300 rpm should be used for stripping floor polish, sanding wooden floors using a mesh screen and for heavy duty floor scrubbing.

High speed (300rpm – 450 rpm)

Higher speed machines are better for spray cleaning, buffing and polishing.

Around 300 rpm there is a transition between performing a scrubbing action on the floor and a floor polishing action. So a machine of between 300 and 450 rpm is ideal for spray cleaning, where you want a cleaning action on the floor but require a polished appearance upon completion.

It is recommended to use a neutral cleaner when spray cleaning a polished floor to avoid removing too much floor polish.

Ultra-High Speed UHS (1000rpm -1500+ rpm)

UHS machines are designed for high quality polishing of floors to leave a mirror-like reflective finish on the floor.

To produce a higher shine and more polished appearance on the floor, the higher the speed of the machine the better.

There is another transition at about 1000 – 1500 rpm where the high polishing action called burnishing takes over from a cleaning action. At these speeds the intention is to burnish the floor where you are aiming to leave a highly polished, near mirror like finish.images[8]

Brush Size

Smaller sized buffers are best suited for restricted or congested areas such as changing areas, toilets etc, whilst larger machines are better, and more productive, in more open spaces such as corridors, halls and large rooms.

Machines can vary in size dependent upon manufacturer and model type, with brush heads ranging from 10/11” (28cm) to 20” (50cm), and in some cases such as with certain propane powered and ride-on machines the brush head size can be even larger.

Machine Weight

A heavier machine at a slower speed will apply a more assertive clean in a more concentrated area, making slow speed machines and darker coloured, more aggressive pads better for stripping old polish and for heavy duty scrubbing.

A higher speed machine will generate more heat, creating a better polymeric reaction to harden the floor polish and therefore leave a higher quality finish.

Ultra-High speed machines take this process to an even greater level leaving floors with superior mirror-like finishes.

Manufacturers such as Truvox, Victor and Numatic produce wide ranges of rotary buffer machines, some with the ability to add additional weight for heavy duty tasks and others that have a lower down force but much faster speed for producing a deep shine.

It is worth noting however that whilst some rotary buffer machines may feel heavy and in some cases do actually weigh a great deal, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the machine has a large amount of down force and is going to remove marks and dirt effectively.

Manufacturers engineer their products so that where a machine is designed to remove heavy marks and dirt, the weight of the machine is converted into down force over the pad to deliver maximum cleaning impact onto the floor. This philosophy has the added benefit of making heavy duty machines not only effective but also very light on the operator in use.

Accessories

Rotary buffers can be used as machines only in conjunction with pad holders (drive boards) and suitable pads, or brushes depending upon floor type and cleaning method.

Additional accessories are usually available to enhance the machine performance.

One of the most important accessories when using a high speed machine for polishing is a vacuum attachment.

The dust generated by polishing a floor at high speed can be a hazard and it can be a serious problem in hospitals where even small amounts of germ laden dust can affect the well-being of patients. In computer rooms and other room environments where sensitive machinery is located, an otherwise dusty environment can lead to numerous and serious complications.

Collecting dust has the obvious benefits of lowering the risk of cross contamination and eliminating unsightly skirting edge discolouration as the dust is never allowed to build up.

When active vacuumation is used it eliminates the dust control mopping sequence before and after spray cleaning or buffing and it also reduces the regularity of shelf, counter, pipe-work and high level cleaning and extends the life of floor pads as the dust is taken directly into the vacuum bag and not absorbed by the pad.

For slower speed scrubbing machines, fitting a rotary buffer with a solution tank can reduce the cleaning time as it is not necessary to mop a floor before using a machine as the cleaning solution can be put straight on to the floor whilst the machine is in operation.orbis with watertank

The same principle applies to fitting a spray kit attachment to a high speed machine  for use when spray cleaning, as a suitable floor maintainer can be used, sprayed on to the floor and then buffed over by the machine in a single pass.

A full range of pad holders (drive boards) and brushes can be fitted to rotary machines to meet any floor cleaning task.

Bassine and Gumati brushes are suitable for polishing floors, whilst polypropylene brushes are suitable for scrubbing floors clean. Tynex brushes are coated polypropylene and are used for heavy duty scrubbing in tough environments.

Sanding screens are available for wooden floors whilst scarifying brushes and attachments are used for cleaning concrete.

Bonnet Mops can be used to effectively and quickly clean carpets or hard floors with very short drying times as they don’t leave much moisture on the floor.

Choice of Pads and Polish

When buffing or burnishing a floor the polish surface is abraded and heat is generated. The relative amount of each is determined by the pad and the equipment used.

Coarse pads (e.g. green, black) are very open and primarily abrade the polish, while softer pads (e.g. white, red) will have more surface area and will generate more heat. This heat will cause some movement of the thermoplastic components of the finish. The polish formulation will determine which type of pad and buffing equipment produce the best results.

Buffing with an overly aggressive pad can result in “micro scratches”, usually in a semicircular pattern. The end-user should evaluate a softer pad, and/or a lighter pressure setting on the machine.

Occasionally a polish will develop a buffing problem over time. This can be due to excessive use of a floor maintainer, or an aggressive detergent cleaner which alters the surface of the finish. Proper maintenance procedures which include following the manufacturer’s instructions will avoid this type of problem.

Black pads are aggressive, durable and consistent, for wet stripping applications.

Green pads are for heavy-duty wet scrubbing and remove the toughest scuff marks in heavily soiled traffic areas.

Blue pads for general duty scrubbing or heavy spray cleaning jobs.

Red Buffer pads are generally used where a high gloss finish is desired when dry or spray buffing. They can also be used for light cleaning applications.

White non-abrasive polishing/buffing pads, used dry or with a fine mist, to yield a mirror gloss shine.

Floor pads

How to Dispose of Carpet Cleaning Waste Water

An issue all carpet cleaners must grapple with is how to dispose of waste water.

Waste water can contain several different types of bacteria, body fluids, human and animal waste, chemical compounds, oil, grease, smoke, airborne pollutants, detergents, solvents and more – all potentially hazardous to human health and the environment.

Because of this, properly disposing of waste water is critical and there are a variety of rules and regulations on how it must be handled.

In most carpet cleaning situations, waste water can be discharged by pouring it into a sink, toilet or most other drainage systems as long as it is connected to the main sewer infrastructure.

Waste water images

Discharge water should be filtered to remove carpet fibres and other solids in order to prevent clogging pipes.

Filtered debris typically can be put in domestic / commercial refuse bins unless it contains hazardous materials.

If the waste water contains hazardous materials, it should be taken to public or private facilities that are equipped to handle such waste water.

Never discharge waste water by pouring it on the ground or into storm drains.

For public safety and liability reasons, maintain a log each time carpet cleaning is performed listing the discharge water disposal method, amount and any special handling requirements.

Waste water disposal has become a more serious problem in recent years.  A failure to properly dispose of waste water can result in significant fines for the carpet cleaning technician and sometimes for the homeowner or building owner as well.

The benefits of using Steam Cleaners in Healthcare environments

Combating Infection

Infection control and the fight against MRSA and other so called “Superbugs” are two of the biggest concerns within today’s medical and healthcare environments.

Dry steam equipment supplied by IFM (UK) is at the heart of achieving and maintaining the highest hygiene standards for Infection Prevention and Control helping to combat Healthcare Acquired Infections (HCAI).

With the growing understanding of environmental hygiene and its influence over patient safety and HCAI, maintaining the highest hygiene standards is of paramount importance and use of steam cleaning equipment is currently being used by the NHS and many private healthcare providers as an essential part of their hygiene and sanitation practices.

What is ‘Dry’ Steam Vapour?

Water is put into a special tank or boiler that under pressure super heats the water to temperatures up to 180ºC, converting it into hot dry steam. Steam is called ‘dry’ if it only contains around 5% to 6% water and is much less dense than the air we breathe. As it is applied to the surface “dry” steam leaves very little residue and is almost touch dry, especially when compared to other cleaning methods.

How does it work?

Dry steam dissolves grease, kills germs in an instant and sanitises every surface it touches, penetrating cracks, crevices and other hard-to-reach areas where manual and traditional cleaning methods which mainly rely on potentially hazardous chemicals fail to achieve the required standards.

In addition to its remarkable cleaning and sanitising properties, dry steam is a powerful degreasing tool which can be harnessed and put to good use in many applications, easily emulsifying grease, oil and other surface contaminates and providing significant savings when compared to alternative methods.

In most cases you do not need detergents with dry steam technology as the highest results are maintained with almost every common cleaning activity. However, in some cases the cleaning process can be accelerated through the use of a detergent combined with steam.

Where can it be used?

Dry steam cleaning can be used on practically any surface and in a variety of applications. There are some surfaces however that are extremely heat sensitive like silks, some very thin plastics and types of velour upholstery, which must be treated with great care.

Dry steam is ideal for maintaining the most stringent hygiene standards for Infection Prevention and Control and combating Healthcare Acquired Infections (HCAI), when used in ward areas and equipment, operating theatres and specialist equipment, orthopaedic and mobility equipment as well as ambulance cleaning.

Is it environmentally friendly?

As only a small amount of clean tap water is required to generate large quantities of dry steam, it is a very environmentally friendly process not only reducing water usage by as much as 90% to 95% but also preventing or significantly reducing the use of detergents and aggressive chemicals by up to 80% to 90%. Save water, save detergents, save costs and save the environment!

Main Benefits of Dry Steam Cleaning

• Improving bactericidal efficacy, results in higher hygiene standards
• Using very little water, achieves significant cost savings
• Reducing chemical usage and safety risks, increases savings
• Leaving surfaces instantly clean and dry, reduces cleaning time
• Ergonomic designs ensure higher productivity
• Achieves up to 40% reduction in labour costs
• Less aggressive cleaning enhances equipment durability reducing replacement costs
• Environmentally friendly, making sustainable cleaning a reality

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Floor cleaning in residential care homes

As part of the Health and Social Care Act 2008, Care Quality Commission (CQC) registration requires care home providers to comply with essential standards of quality and safety. This includes the need to protect those who may be at risk of exposure to infections and in so doing requires an effective cleaning regime.

National cleanliness specifications provide a framework for providers of care homes to demonstrate to the CQC how they ensure their premises are clean and safe and meet the required standards.

Good infection prevention and control are essential to ensure that people who use health and social care services receive safe and effective care. Effective prevention and control of infection must be part of everyday practice and be applied consistently by everyone.

Since 2001 for hospitals, and 2009 for ambulance trusts, a national specification for cleanliness has been available. These non-mandatory documents are designed to assist providers in ensuring their cleaning services address infection risks and provide a cleaning service which meets the required standards. They have been widely adopted – either in full or in principle – and now these national specifications for cleanliness guidance and best measuring performance outcomes is applicable to care homes.

Let’s look at the issues relating to floors and the maintenance of the equipment used in care homes to keep floors clean.

Floor coverings

The majority of workplace injuries are as a result of slips, trips and falls so particular attention should be paid to ways of preventing them.

It is important that floor coverings are appropriate to the environment but, where possible, slip-resistant surfaces are advisable. In addition, flat floor surfaces that are free from obstructions will help to reduce the likelihood of such accidents.

A system to minimise the amount of wet floor area and warning signs should be used when washing hard floor surfaces.

Holes and defects in floor coverings should be repaired promptly, particularly those on staircases. Where immediate repair cannot be made, it may be necessary to prevent people passing through the area by cordoning it off.

Slips are the main cause of accidents in kitchens. A slip-resistant floor surface should be provided in kitchens and serveries. The floor should be in a good condition and kept clean. Spillages should be cleaned up immediately and warning signs displayed.

Key cleanliness targets and frequency of floor cleaning

Hard floors

The complete floor including all edges, corners and main floor spaces should be visibly clean with no blood and body substances, dust, dirt, debris, spillages or scuff marks.

Dust removal (vacuum clean or dry flat mop) one full clean daily and one check clean daily.

Wet mop one full clean daily and one check clean daily.

Machine clean hard floors weekly or more frequently if required for a thorough clean and sanitisation.

Soft floors

(i.e. carpets, rugs and matting)

The complete floor including all edges and corners should be visibly clean with no blood and body substances, dust, dirt, debris or spillages.

Floors should have a uniform appearance and an even colour with no stains or watermarks.

Dust removal (e.g. vacuum cleaning) one full clean daily and one check clean daily.

Complete shampoo six-monthly, and ad-hoc when required to remove spills, stains and accidental soiling.

Cleaning equipment

Cleaning equipment should be visibly clean with no blood and body substances, dust, dirt, debris or moisture.

The cleaning equipment that is regularly used should be fit for purpose, easy-to-use and well-maintained. It is imperative that each healthcare provider regularly reviews its cleaning equipment to ensure that it is fit for purpose and, importantly, can demonstrate that it has clear infection control benefits.

Vacuum cleaners with HEPA filtration, carpet extraction cleaners used with appropriate carpet cleaning chemicals*, steam cleaners and floor scrubbers / scrubber driers for effective hard floor cleaning are recommended for use in all care homes.

*e.g. Prochem Neutra-Soft which is developed exclusively for the healthcare market and is an all-in-one extraction cleaner, urine neutraliser, deodoriser and rinse agent.