5 Benefits of Preventive Maintenance for Janitorial Equipment

An essential part of being able to clean and maintain your facility is keeping your janitorial equipment in working condition.

Not only will your cleaning staff need to perform basic maintenance procedures before and after each use, but your machine will need more thorough periodic maintenance to keep it up and running. 

This additional maintenance is referred to as “preventive maintenance.”

Preventive maintenance is an important component of making sure that your equipment doesn’t experience long downtimes and that your cleaning staff has access to the machines they need to complete tasks in your facility.

In this article, we’ll tell you why janitorial preventive maintenance is an important part of keeping your equipment up and running to save your facility time and money.

5 Benefits Of Preventive Maintenance

When performed routinely, janitorial preventive maintenance will avert unexpected downtime caused by broken and out-of-service equipment along with other issues like increased cleaning times, lower productivity, and higher costs.

Most frustratingly, equipment always seems to break at the wrong times. Like when you are trying to get ready for the first day of school, open up the office, or get ready for the lunch rush.

You may not think you need preventive maintenance because your equipment is in working order, but these maintenance procedures are meant to prevent breakdowns and extend the life of your machines.

It’s also common to avoid preventive maintenance because it’s an additional cost for your business, but when performed properly, it can save your business money on labor, repairs, and time in the long run.

Preventive Maintenance can provide your business with 5 main benefits:

  1. Cost Savings
  2. Time Savings
  3. Increased Occupant Health and Safety
  4. Longer Asset Life 
  5. Less Equipment Downtime 

1. Cost Savings

The greatest benefit of preventative maintenance is a lower cost of labor and money saved on expensive machine repairs. 

Machines that aren’t properly maintained can break down more often because the parts are not serviced regularly and become worn during regular use. 

Preventive maintenance can help your business reduce how much it spends on repairs by catching and fixing issues before an extensive repair is needed.

For example, if you are not checking the batteries on your floor machine, you may cause your batteries to have a shortened life and require replacement. 

If your staff or chosen service center is able to maintain your machine before a part breaks or needs to be replaced, you can reduce the cost of getting your machine back up and running and eliminate the risk of the machine breaking down mid-cleaning procedure.

You can also save on labor costs with commercial preventive maintenance. When equipment breaks it will take your staff more time to complete cleaning tasks in your facility.

With labor being the most expensive resource, it’s imperative to ensure equipment is in working order especially when some equipment can boost productivity by up to 230%.

2. Time Savings

Equipment often breaks at the most inconvenient times. When your janitorial cleaning machines break, your staff will have to spend more time cleaning, leading to reduced productivity and higher labor costs for your business.

This is due to the need for using older, less efficient cleaning tools or methods while waiting for your broken equipment to be repaired.

Janitorial preventive maintenance will keep your equipment in working condition without disruption. It also greatly reduces the chance of needing reworks due to poor cleaning results from malfunctioning or poorly taken care of equipment.

For example, floor machines that are not maintained after use can lead to wobbly machines, causing floor scratches or scuffs and uneven cleaning. 

Incorrectly maintained floor machines can also lead to damage to other parts of your equipment, like the pad driver. 

Regular maintenance can help catch any worn parts so that they can be replaced before they cause an issue for your janitorial team.

When your staff can work uninterrupted, they can get more done.

3. Increased Occupant Health and Safety

If a part of your machine is broken, worn, or dirty, you may not be able to get the best clean possible.

Equipment operating in poor condition will leave behind dirt, debris, and bacteria that would normally be removed.

For example, a commercial floor scrubber with a malfunctioning recovery system may not be picking up enough slurry from your floors. If the people in your building walk on your floors thinking they’re dry, there’s an increased risk that they will slip on the wet floor.

Not only is this unsafe and a hazard for guests, but this will also affect the appearance of your floors.

Another important consideration is the health and safety of your staff.

On some floor maintenance equipment, floor pads are used to complete cleaning tasks and should be checked periodically to make sure they aren’t damaged or worn. If your staff attempts to complete cleaning with a damaged or extremely worn floor pad, it may fly off of the machine and put the people in your building at risk of injury. 

4. Longer Asset Life

Every piece of equipment has an average life span or amount of time it’s expected to last before needing replacement.

Preventive maintenance can help extend the life of your equipment and keep it up and running for longer. 

It’s normal for your equipment to have wear and tear from daily use around your facility, but a regular maintenance schedule will keep your equipment in good shape, extending the overall life of your equipment.

For example, a full flush of the solution and recovery system on an auto scrubber is needed to help you identify any leaks or loosened connections in the machine. 

A full system flush is also important to help remove and loosen any built-up residue in the machine. Chemical residue left in a solution tank can clog the solution lines and cause the failure of internal valves and pumps.

If not performed at least once a month, hoses can be affected and dramatically lower the overall lifespan of your machine in turn costing you more money.

5. Less Equipment Downtime

A majority of equipment breakdowns are caused by preventable issues when caught early on.

Commercial preventive maintenance addresses potential issues before they cause your machine to break or go out of working order. Extensive issues can be avoided so you don’t have to wait for parts and repairs for your machines.

For example, a floor buffer will need lubricant to be applied to all of the pivot points and assembly parts that may become dry and hard to rotate. Without proper lubrication, the machine may start to squeak and grind. If ignored, this can cause damage to the axle or frame of the machine.

Failing to lubricate the joints of the machine can lead to out-of-service equipment. In today’s market, the parts needed to repair the machine could take weeks to months to arrive so you can get your machine back in running condition.

Scheduling maintenance when it’s most convenient as opposed to waiting for unexpected breakdowns will help reduce the amount of time your equipment spends out of service.


Final Thoughts

Preventive maintenance is a key step to making sure that your cleaning staff can clean and maintain your facility to the best of their ability.

Some tasks are easy and can be performed by your janitorial team, like charging a dead battery, but others may require maintenance to be done by a service professional, like replacing a power cord.

Imperial Dade has service centers across the country that can send out a licensed technician to your facility to perform the preventive maintenance services your machines need to keep them running.

If you’re located in the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, or the Caribbean reach out to an Imperial Dade specialist today to schedule janitorial preventive maintenance for your janitorial equipment.

Related Articles:

Best Odor Control Practices for Carpets, Restrooms, Dumpsters, and More

Controlling odors in and around a facility is a common problem for most cleaning professionals. Odors can lurk in many places: carpets, restrooms, dumpsters, and more. The best way to eliminate odors is to understand the cause of the smell. Once you identify the problem, consult this list of solutions to control the offending odors.

CARPETS

  • Carpet odor stemming from a food source, vomit, or urine should be approached with a carpet sanitizer.
  • Using an extractor to kill the odor source is recommended. If you can still smell the odor after thoroughly rinsing the carpet, follow up with an enzyme product.
  • After extracting the carpet, use a carpet fan, not a box fan. It dries carpet faster. Be sure your carpet is dry in 24 hours, or there is a risk of mold bloom.
  • Pet odors can linger in carpets. Enzymatic digesters will get to the source, killing the odor and not just covering it up.

RESTROOMS

  • In restrooms, urine is often the source of odor. Disinfectants will not impact urine that has dried. If urine odor is present, use an enzyme. If you are using an enzyme, do not use a disinfectant in the same area. Disinfectants destroy the enzymes before they are able to digest the bacteria. 
  • Check the floor drains, a common source of the odor. If the trap in a floor drain dries out, it will emit sewer gas. Use a drain cleaner, enzyme, or water to keep drains odor-free.
  • Don’t forget to clean often missed spots. The base of toilets, under urinals, urinal throats, partitions, and walls are often overlooked. Ceilings should be cleaned once or twice a year.
  • While it doesn’t replace a good cleaning program, adding an air care unit to help with transient odors will add to a pleasant restroom experience.

OTHER BUILDING LOCATIONS

  • Janitor closets can omit odors. Keep a tidy closet! After use, rinse mops with clean water and hang to dry. Empty and rinse mop buckets.  Clean, empty, and air out recovery tanks on equipment.
  • Inadequate ventilation can be cause challenges. If possible, open windows or clean air vents to improve air quality
  • Is the odor coming from the dumpster area or wastebaskets? There are several products made specifically for this application.

If you need more information on a specific odor or area, please contact your Imperial Dade Sales Consultant. A good daily cleaning routine will keep odor problems to a minimum! Visit our website to find a location near you.

High Labor Costs Impacting Bottom Line? Invest in Innovative Equipment to Lower Costs!

By Vickie Holland

Whether you are a building service contractor or an in-house service provider, your budget may be your biggest challenge. And while you could spend plenty of time “shopping” for lower supply costs, you may be missing a much larger opportunity to impact your bottom line: decreasing your Labor Costs. In the past few years, new innovative equipment has been introduced to the cleaning industry to increase productivity and reduce labor time for your employees.

New equipment is designed to increase employee productivity by working faster, smarter, and safer.

A mop and bucket are OK for small areas, but for larger areas an auto scrubber is best. Some equipment manufacturers have designed smaller scrubbers that are perfect for areas too small for an auto scrubber, but too large to cover with a mop & bucket. Scrubbers, such as the Clarke Vantage Auto Scrubber and the Windsor Recover Wet/Dry Vacuum, are excellent additions to any fleet.

Having the right equipment for the job will maximize efficiencies, allow employees time for other projects and ultimately save on your labor costs.

You may be thinking about the last time you bought new equipment that was innovative but did not provide a return on your investment. Perhaps the large auto scrubber sat idle for months and the batteries weren’t maintained. Bad decisions can lead to underutilized or improperly maintained equipment.

Features and Benefits on Innovative Equipment Mentioned

Clarke Vantage Auto Scrubber

  • Easy to operate. Foldable/adjustable handles with control panel
  • Quickly and easily remove solution tank for refills
  • Leaves floors safe, dry, clean, and ready-to-use
  • Battery Charger saves time and increases productivity
  • Easily transport up and down steps or ramps
  • Integrated squeegees allow forward or backward cleaning

Windsor Recover Wet/Dry Vacuum

  • Ideal for wet or dry-cleaning tasks
  • Designed for ease of operation and heavy use
  • Equipped with on-board tool storage compartment
  • Features built-in handle and transport wheels

We can schedule time to tour your facility and learn your cleaning procedures. Our expert Sales Consultants can recommend the best equipment based on your needs.

Visit us at www.ImperialDade.com for more information and a location near you.

Increasing Floor Care Productivity

By Laura Craven

The New Year often brings new budgets and goals for reducing costs while improving productivity. For this issue of The Expert Interview I spoke with Jim Lety, Imperial Dade’s Director of Janitorial Sales and a champion of productivity initiatives. With over 30 years of experience in the janitorial industry, Jim has held positions with distribution companies, national marketing organizations, chemical manufacturers and a floor equipment manufacturer. For the last 17 years, he has been part of the Imperial Dade team. 

LC: What are the major changes that you have seen in recent years that impact facility managers?

JL: One of the most significant changes is the availability of labor to perform the task of cleaning the facility. Turnover is one of the toughest challenges that face many of the facility managers today. Properly training an ever changing workforce on proper product usage is a major challenge.

An answer to such a challenge is the new P.L.U.S. labeling system. The PLUS label system provides a universally understood icon based system to train your team. The label is easy to understand, reduces product waste, encourages proper product usage and requires less time to train.

LC: Saving time is a big factor.

JL: Yes, facility managers are now required to do more with less. They have additional square footage to maintain yet their budgets have been cut and they have fewer employees. Increasing the productivity of their labor is a major challenge.

LC: What can they do to address that issue?

JL: Understanding proper cleaning procedures, including the use of powered equipment, to increase productivity is paramount. I often compare floor care to lawn care. Lawn care companies have equipment purchased based on the increased productivity of their labor. This increased productivity allows the crew to complete each job efficiently and move on to the next project. Floor care productivity can be increased by using equipment designed for the square footage of your facility.

LC: That makes sense, but what about the cost?

JL: Rider equipment pays for itself. There is a minimum 20% increase in productivity compared to a walk-behind scrubber and 500% productivity increase over a mop. New models are available in smaller sizes as well. Micro-riders have the same foot print as a 20 inch walk behind. We have productivity calculators that can determine the ROI based on square footage, frequency of cleaning, and the hourly wage of the crew. It is an investment that really pays off.

LC: Sustainability is a hot topic right now. How does floor care fit into a green cleaning program such as Imperial Dade’s Greensafe Program?

JL: Manufacturers of floor care equipment have been tasked with creating equipment that fits into a green cleaning program. The use of orbital technology prevents cleaning solutions from “slinging” out, or spraying into the area being cleaned. This type of equipment also uses 50-70% less water and chemicals compared to conventional scrubbers. Chemical-free stripping is another process that is ideal in education and healthcare facilities where indoor air quality is critical.

LC: What is something a facilities manager can do today to improve their operations?

JL: Consult with a knowledgeable supplier about their challenges. There are many new cleaning technologies on the market today that can save time and money and produce better results. Also, never trade service for price. Expect both and partner with a supplier that provides the overall best value.

Jim Lety and his team are available to consult with customers about floor care and facilities maintenance programs. Jim can be reached at jlety@imperialdade.com.

5 Ergonomic Janitorial Tools

By Vickie Holland

Many work-related injuries are internal and occur after months or years of exposure to lifting, bending, reaching, twisting, turning and generally repeating the same tasks over and over. These conditions can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, rotator cuff injuries, muscle strains, lower back pains and more.

According to the US Department of Labor, these types of injuries, known as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are among the most frequently reported causes of lost of restricted work time.

MOST COMMON AREAS CAUSING WORKER INJURY AND ILLNESS

  • Excessive lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling, reaching, or stretching
  • Repetitive motion
  • Working in awkward positions
  • Sitting or standing for prolonged period
  • Vibrations from equipment (vacuums/buffers)

 The good news is many work-related injuries can be prevented by reducing workers’ risks. Daily communication between supervisors and their teams will pinpoint any problem areas. For example, simply adding an employee rotation to a repetitive task can help reduce injuries. Companies can also invest in ergonomic products to improve efficiencies while avoiding muscle strains and other injuries.

 5 ERGONOMIC ITEMS FOR YOUR JANITORS’ CLOSET

  1. Microfiber Flat Mops – If you are still using string wet mops, we urge you to give flat mopping a try. String mops get heavy. Ask any custodian who’s had to rinse one out after a long shift. Microfiber mops are thinner and lighter than string mops. Their lightweight design is much easier on the lower back when moving over several hours.
  2. Ergonomic Handles – Do you use a handle for tasks that require pushing, pulling, reaching, and stretching? If you answered yes, you need an ergonomic handle. These handles are designed with bends to minimize the force and leverage required for smooth mopping. Some have unique handle grips that swivel avoiding wrist strain. Many handles can be adjusted in length based on the task, reducing the user’s effort. Don’t forget; the longer the handle, the heavier it will feel!
  3. Material Handling – Employing dollies, flatbeds, utility, and janitor carts for easier transporting will help with awkward loads and improve efficiencies. Dollies are not just for brutes. Dollies are also available for Slim Jim containers with an ergonomic foot pedal release. New Utility Carts have ergonomic adjustable handles for maximum comfort. Janitor cares are lightweight and have proper space for tools and equipment to glide along floors and carpets.
  4. Vented Brutes & Slim Jims –Rubbermaid Commercial Products improved their refuse line by adding venting channels to their Brute and Slim Jim Containers. These venting channels make removing liners from the container up to 80% easier, improving productivity and reducing the risk of worker injury.
  5. Ergonomic Cleaning Equipment – Backpack vacuum users have more neutral position compared to an upright vacuum user. The custodian’s legs and large back muscles are doing most of the work. The arms of an upright vacuum custodian are more likely to be easily fatigued. Walk-Behind Floor Scrubbers are easy to operate. Many units, like the Focus II Boost, have an ergonomic design using orbital scrubbing actions to produce high speed agitation. This allows for less water and chemicals to be used.

For more ergonomic equipment ideas please reach out to your Sales Consultant or visit www.imperialdade.com.

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