What appears clean is not always clean. Cleaning companies used to get away with that in the past, but that is no longer possible today. Thanks to the Corona pandemic, cleaning has been put under the magnifying glass and thorough cleaning has now become the standard.
This means: away with the biofilm and away with periodic cleaning. But this only works if you do it properly, for example with Residue Free Cleaning.
A good approach starts with a good cleaning process, combined with high-quality products. "Better cleaning with a lower carbon footprint," says Rekola’s senior consultant Stephan Arts via a video connection from Finland. “In fact, the process, Residue Free Cleaning, is nothing more than combining resources in a thoughtful way and using them differently. A lot can be cleaned with only microfibre and water. Where you cannot do without chemistry at all, use new types, such as microbiological cleaners and ozone water. This prevents the build-up of residue (biofilm). This allows you to clean more easily and better and as a result you avoid periodic cleaning. If you look at it that way, it is not even a matter of obtaining just one plus with this process, but of three or four pluses.”
Residue Free Cleaning (RFC) is therefor not a product, but a success formula for good cleaning where quality comes first. “But it can also save time. Through process optimization, reducing traffic times to and from the cleaning trolley or from one cleaning job to the next and less or even no periodic cleaning. However, this time saving aspect is not interesting for some cleaning companies because they sell time. The more time, the higher the bill to the customer. You can't always blame them for that. After all, hours are turnover, but hours have nothing to do with quality ”, says Arts, who states that Rekola puts quality first and thus saves hours. “But in this way you also ensure that cleaners can perform their work better and that you can guarantee a really clean environment. That’s what we call advanced cleaning. ”
Arts continues: “Clean is a subjective concept. It is something someone experiences personally, based on senses. But to determine whether something is really clean, you have to use instruments: an ATP meter, a dust meter and a gloss meter. It is important to agree standards on this with the customer and measure at checkpoints to see whether the previously agreed level is being achieved. In this way you prove the value of cleanliness and you create trust based on objective quality standards. Once you meet the standards, you can further optimize to deliver even more added value. Moreover, you can demonstrate that you can achieve a better result with ultra-microfibre and water than with regular microfibre and chemicals because you don't build up biofilm. ”
According to the senior consultant, chemicals are used far too often. “In my opinion the use of chemicals is often superfluous. If it's not necessary, don't use it. Only if you want to create added value. For example with microbiological cleaners. These deliberately leave a temporary residue with good bacteria that feed on dirt and bad bacteria. As soon as the breeding ground has disappeared, the bacteria die. This is added value. But using chemistry while you can do without it will cause problems. ”
Arts explains: “surfactants like dirt. So I spray surfactants on a cloth and clean the surface. Surfactants pick up the dirt, the cloth retains it, but a certain amount of surfactants remain on the surface and will continue to attract dirt. In other words; in this way I do clean, but at the same time I apply an attractant of dirt to the surface that I’ve just cleaned. That is not what the customer is asking for, is it? Because in the end he has to pay again for periodic cleaning to remove the built-up biofilm. ”
Arts states that this traditional method of working is shortsighted and that cleaning companies that use this vision are constantly lagging behind. “You should make it easier for the cleaner to deliver better results,” he says. “And you can do that with Residue Free Cleaning. That means that you have to involve everyone in the process. That goes much further than the trolleys and materials from Rekola. Also look at the machines, for example. At an airport in Norway, the scrubber driers are equipped with a GPS chip. The data that was generated showed that the machines were idle for most of the time, up to 80 percent. It is however possible to reduce the downtime to 20 percent, but in order to do that you are forced to look at the whole process. This can easily be done by taking smaller scrubbing machines on the trolleys instead of using large machines. In this way they can be used immediately and the downtime can be reduced to only 20 percent. Only if you are process-conscious, you will make progress. ”
And if you look at the whole process, RFC turns out to be even more cost efficient. “You can save money with the right process. For example on chemicals, but on many other things too. This is mainly reflected in the Reflex mop system. Because you use ultra-microfibre mopcloths instead of flat mops, you realize a saving on washing costs of 60 to 80 percent. The nice thing about this is that laundry costs are management costs that are invisible to the customer. This directly benefits the profit-loss account of the cleaning company. Moreover, you ensure lower absenteeism, which can be reduced from 6 to 8 percent to 3 to 5 percent. Purely and solely by improving the working conditions by not using chemicals and making the work more ergonomical. ”
Residue Free Cleaning is a cleaning process without method errors. This is due to the correct combination of high-quality ultra-microfibre materials and the correct use of minimal amounts of clean tap water. The RFC method saves on chemicals and plastic packaging and results in more sustainable cleaning. Because the cleaning result is better, there are structurally fewer method errors and there is less rejection and reinspection of work.
In addition, the RFC method ensures:
Finally, according to Arts, it is necessary to place cleaning in a broader perspective. “As a cleaning industry, we are responsible for a clean and hygienic environment. Too often the air is not included in it while this is the fourth dimension of clean. In my opinion, air control in a building should be part of the cleaning. A study in Germany, which we carried out, showed that cleaning was always carried out according to protocol in the evenings, but that in the morning during the inspection a lot of dust was found by the inspector. The reason? The air conditioning was turned off every night and was turned on in the morning, blowing the dust out of the air conditioning channel. It goes without saying that you want to prevent this at all costs. ”
On a management level, RFC means approaching cleaning from a helicopter view, in which all facets are included. In combination with high-quality products and proper training of the cleaner, this results in fewer ergonomic complaints and therefore lower absenteeism. Moreover, an excellent cleaning result is guaranteed, which in turn makes the customer happy. Residue Free Cleaning provides pluses on many fronts and perhaps that's why the Dutch distributor Biofriends is doing well in the sometimes somewhat conservative cleaning world.
This article first appeared in Clean Totaal on 20 April 2021