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By Matthew Baratta
From the February 2024 Issue

 

Lowering your facility’s overhead and operating costs can often feel like a dead end. Whether you are a large factory, commercial kitchen, or industrial warehouse, it can feel daunting to try and come up with areas where costs can be reduced. You may think your last resort should be to cut facility cleaning costs, as this sounds like a health and safety nightmare. However, with strategic investments in the right equipment for your specific facility’s maintenance needs, you can reduce cleaning expenses in the long run.

Assessing Equipment Needs For Your Facility

When determining the equipment needs for your facility, consider the types of surface areas that need to cleaned regularly to maintain regulatory compliance. Your list should include all high-touch surfaces such as floors, counters, appliances, belt conveyors, bathrooms, doorknobs, and even outdoor maintenance areas such as loading docks and garages.

Cleaning this type of territory requires accounting for square footage and determining the best solution for efficiently covering the area in the quickest amount of time. You must also must consider the layout of your spaces. Narrow entryways and awkward structures can influence the effectiveness of larger cleaning equipment, as machines must be able to move seamlessly throughout the facility and reach into corners to achieve an effective clean.

cleaning equipment
(Photo: Adobe Stock/ vitanovski)

 

For large facility maintenance, you want to research multi-functional equipment that can be used on hard surfaces to help reduce the need for smaller equipment that requires more manpower, such as mops, brooms, and cloths.

Think about environmental considerations as well. Facility maintenance managers commonly prioritize harsh chemicals to ensure compliance with health and safety standards. While chemicals are often necessary for effective disinfecting, they are increasingly more sustainable solutions that will prove cost-efficient in the long run as environmental standards around chemical disposal become more stringent. Exploring environmentally cautious cleaning solutions now will put you ahead of the curve.

While chemicals are often necessary for effective disinfecting, they are increasingly more sustainable solutions that will prove cost-efficient in the long run as environmental standards around chemical disposal become more stringent. Exploring environmentally cautious cleaning solutions now will put you ahead of the curve.

Safety considerations are another priority for assessing equipment needs, as commercial and industrial equipment require trained operators and have explicit guidelines for power sourcing.

When choosing what equipment to invest your maintenance budget into, cost savings will be on top of your mind. Developing a budget that works for your needs may be the most challenging part of assessing your needs. By understanding how industrial and commercial grade equipment work, the surfaces they can be used on, and best practices, you will be able to better prioritize multi-functional equipment that suits your facility’s needs and your budget.

Choosing The Right Equipment

The first category of equipment will be some of the largest and most expensive, yet also most necessary: floor cleaners. A walk-behind hard surface machine will be most effective for a variety of floors, including cement, tile, linoleum, vinyl, and non-porous stone. This equipment uses a motorized spinner head and low-pressure steam to quickly navigate large areas. Additionally, a machine combined with an extractor function will help remove excess water and improve dry time. Investing in compatible wand attachments can help you reach tight spaces and diversify the application of the equipment.

A smaller vapor steam cleaner will be exceptional for sanitizing elevated hard surfaces and appliances such as those found in commercial kitchens, bathrooms, and factories. Through high-temperature steam, the equipment can sanitize surfaces quickly and effortlessly without the need for chemical agents. The pressure and temperature of the equipment are two key metrics that will make the equipment effective. A commercial-grade model will have boiler temperatures of over 300°F and pressure levels of around 75-145 psi, which ensure the vapor steam can penetrate stuck on grime.

Extractors and vacuum machines can also be handy for removing debris from carpet and upholstery before using any kind of water or steam to deep clean. A multifunctional steam cleaner and extractor may prove superior for cleaning large amounts of carpeting in facilities such as restaurant dining rooms. However, spot cleaning with handheld vacuums may be more effective if there is limited carpet or soft surfaces in the facility.

Similarly, brooms and mops are always cost-effective tools to keep on hand to ensure satisfactory upkeep during operational hours. For more high-traffic facilities, it is not feasible for large and slower-moving hard surface cleaners to move through the workspace during peak hours. Therefore, keeping brooms and mops on hand for small spill clean-ups will be necessary and will not be too costly.

Outdoor Maintenance

Don’t make the mistake of neglecting outdoor facility maintenance when shopping for cleaning equipment. Local regulatory bodies have guidelines for the upkeep of outdoor property for businesses, especially if there is some element of public property. Additionally, you must keep these spaces in adequate condition to ensure the safety of employees, vendors, and visitors to your facility. In the colder months, adverse weather conditions are more likely to affect the outdoor conditions of your facility. Having equipment such as a heater, pressure washer, and snow blower can help remove dangerous icicles and ice patches and keep loading docks and garages clear of dirt and debris.

A heated pressure washer with psi levels of around 3000 will be ideal for outdoor restorations. Models that have temperature ranges from cold to hot and different pressure settings will offer the most versatility. Building restorations, such as graffiti removal, degreasing of hard equipment, and gutter cleaning, will all be suitable jobs for a pressure washer. Some pressure washers have the option to add chemical solvents to the machine for added cleaning power, although you should be considerate of environmental regulations in your area, specifically where water run-off is prone to going.

Supplementary Supplies To Have On Hand

While your commercial-grade equipment will take care of a lot of the heavy lifting, keeping other tools on hand for sanitizing and disinfecting smaller areas in the facility is a good idea.

Chemicals and disinfectants are often necessary for quickly sanitizing high-touch areas such as doorknobs and countertops in between use. Having antibacterial and antimicrobial soap on hand and multiple hand washing stations can ensure the entire staff is helping maintain a clean environment

Now, you want to avoid using large amounts of harsh chemicals to disinfect floors and appliances regularly, as this can add up in costs and negative environmental impacts. Instead, look to more efficient and cost-saving cleaning equipment that uses high temperatures, as outlined above.

Containers such as buckets, trash cans, and dumpsters will be necessary for preventing still water and waste from accumulating in your facility, so ensure you have many on hand and designated spaces to store them that are away from operations.

Other supplies such as cloths and squeegees can be helpful for quickly wiping doors, walls, and glass windows and cleaning spills more effectively than paper products. Be sure to have enough supplementary products on hand so that they are available in each area of your facility.

Do’s And Don’ts To Maximize Cost Savings

When investing in cleaning equipment, you want to prioritize its upkeep to ensure it remains effective. Take time to train all necessary staff on how to operate the equipment and follow the safety protocols necessary to be within regulatory guidelines and operations as laid out by the facility and equipment manufacturer. Keep a cleaning log for your Health and Safety records, and to help avoid unnecessary deep cleans that will eat up cost savings. On the rare occasion your multifunctional equipment can’t complete the cleaning task at hand, buy supplementary tools and supplies in bulk to help ensure you are getting the best deal.

Avoid lacking a plan when it comes to investing in commercial cleaning equipment, as knowing what functions you need for your facility will help guide effective purchase decisions.

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With lots of cleaning supplies on hand, don’t neglect inventory management, where you can help cut costs.  Now, don’t cut costs through sparse deep cleanings, as preventative maintenance can help facilities stay in pristine condition. While it can be tempting, think twice before outsourcing your facility cleaning needs—there is easy-to-use commercial equipment that can save you third-party fees in the long run and can even be financed and warranty-backed with the right cleaning equipment provider.

Purchasing the right equipment to maximize your facility’s cost savings requires an informed approach. Finding multifunctional equipment that can reduce cleaning time and resources will be paramount for cost savings. Take stock of what you need, and refer to a reputable commercial and industrial equipment retailer for informed advice on the best equipment for your facility.  

cleaning equipmentBaratta is Vice President of Operations at Daimer Industries, a leader in innovative, technologically advanced commercial and industrial cleaning equipment for major commercial and industrial cleaning and restoration applications. Baratta has extensive cleaning industry knowledge and earned a master’s degree in Public Health.

Do you have a comment? Share your thoughts in the Comments section of the online version of this article at FacilityExecutive.com. Or send an e-mail to the Editor at jen@groupc.com.

Check out all the facility management topics covered in Facility Executive magazine’s Services & Maintenance articles.

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