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.

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3 Ways to Avoid the Spread of Foodborne Illnesses in Your Facility

Preventing the spread of foodborne illnesses, like Salmonella, Listeria, and E. Coli, is important to maintaining the health and safety of your customers. Read this article to learn three practices your food processing facility can use to avoid spreading illness-causing pathogens.

by John Thomas, Director of Health & Wellness at Imperial Dade

Did you know that every year, 1 in 6 Americans get sick from foodborne illnesses? Foodborne illnesses can be spread in several ways, including through food prepared at a food processing facility. No matter the size of your food processing operation, it’s important that you’re taking the cleanliness and safety of your facility seriously to avoid spreading foodborne illnesses.

To maintain a clean food processing facility, you and your staff should have a good understanding of what food sanitation is and how to use the appropriate products and procedures. Food sanitation refers to the practice of maintaining a high level of cleanliness throughout the food processing establishment using certain cleaning and sanitization processes and procedures.

Failing to achieve a high level of sanitation can lead to product contamination that affects your food product quality, taste, and most importantly, consumer health. Foodborne illnesses not only lead to sick guests but also product recalls, which may damage the reputation and brand image of your facility and even lead to lost future sales. In addition to lost sales, you might also face fines due to failure to comply with food sanitation rules.

Organizations like the USDA and the FDA have created regulations to help you stay compliant with food sanitation guidelines and avoid the spread of foodborne illnesses. Compliance is key to avoiding fines and maintaining a clean, sanitary food processing facility.

In this article, we’re going to review how to prevent the spread of foodborne illnesses in your food processing facility to protect your customers and remain compliant with food sanitation guidelines.

What Is a Foodborne Illness?

A foodborne illness is a sickness caused by bacteria, viruses, and parasites that are present in food. Toxins and chemicals that are harmful when ingested can also cause foodborne illnesses. If a consumer has a foodborne illness, they may experience discomfort and other, more serious symptoms like:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach Cramps
  • Diarrhea

Removing illness-causing bacteria from food contact surfaces is key to protecting the food being processed and reducing the chance of a food recall.

What is a Food Recall?

Public food recalls are initiated to remove contaminated foods from the marketplace to protect consumers from buying and eating foods that have been contaminated by illness-causing bacteria. In the year 2021, there were 47 recalls initiated by the Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS). The total volume of food being recalled annually is usually tens of millions of pounds.

What Are the Effects of Food Recalls?

All these recalls and the related health consequences can translate to a damaged brand image and have a negative impact on your bottom line. If your food processing facility is responsible for food that causes foodborne illness for customers, your business could experience a loss in sales and extra costs. Proper sanitation can save your business money on avoidable expenses.

The need to protect your customers, and your brand, requires that your operation implement effective and documented cleaning and sanitizing processes within your facility.

How To Avoid Foodborne Illness In Your Facility

Below, we’ll provide three practices that you can use in your cleaning program to prevent the spread of foodborne illnesses to your customers.

3 Ways to Avoid the Spread of Foodborne Illnesses

Whether your food processing operation is a large meatpacking plant or a small producer of specialty items, it’s important to implement these processes and procedures to manage the operation’s food safety and sanitation programs. 

To avoid the spread of foodborne illness, your food processing establishment can implement practices like:

  • Developing and Implementing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
  • Using the Right Chemicals
  • Cleaning Before Sanitizing

Developing and Implementing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

Guidance from the USDA and the FDA stresses the importance of having a written food safety plan and established standard operating procedures (SOPs) for your sanitation program.

Standard operating procedures, or SOPs, are a set of written instructions that give your staff step-by-step instructions to perform routine cleaning. With SOPs, your cleaning staff will have the correct information to know the right way to clean and be able to achieve consistent results. SOPs outline the tools, products, and procedures that your staff should use to clean areas in your facility. By following thoroughly created SOPs, your janitorial team will know how and when to complete cleaning.

For example, a meat packaging establishment may create and implement SOPs that outline how their equipment should be cleaned and sanitized. The steps for completing that task may include:

  1. Disassemble the equipment
  2. Remove all product debris from equipment
  3. Rinse equipment with water to remove remaining debris
  4. Use a food-grade cleaner on the equipment
  5. Reassemble the equipment
  6. Sanitize the equipment with a food-grade sanitizer. Rinse with water, if necessary

Implementing written SOPs will also help support your efforts to stay compliant with the FDA’S Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA), Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), and the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI).

Each of these food safety programs and laws provides guidelines on how to minimize contamination and keep your food processing facility safe through proper sanitation practices.

The Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law in order to ensure that food is safe by preventing contamination. This act requires facilities to create a plan and retain documentation on their food safety and sanitation practices.

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HAACP) is a management system that addresses food safety through the control of hazards in food processing facilities.

The Global Food Safety Initiative (GSFI) helps reduce cleaning inefficiencies through certification and provides auditing benchmarks.

Imperial Dade has had success with providing Spartan training programs to food processing customers. Spartan offers food processing sanitation training that will teach your cleaning team how to eliminate food pathogens.

Practices that will help your facility remain compliant with the FDA regulations include:

  • Establishing Written SOPs
  • Identifying Procedures
  • Specifying Cleaning and Sanitation Frequencies
  • Provide and Document Necessary Education and Training

Spartan is prepared to deliver the employee training and program documentation you need with products like their 9 step sanitation training program, their CleanCheck® Training Program, and CompuClean® Sanitation Management Software.

These programs will train your cleaning staff and equip them with the knowledge of how to remain compliant in the workplace. During training, they will learn exactly what to do, how often to do it, and the best products to use.

Using the Right Chemicals

Food-safe sanitizers should be used to reduce the presence of bacteria on the surfaces in your food processing facility. It’s important to note that sanitizers and disinfectants are not the same. Disinfectants are not typically used for food contact surfaces because they can leave behind harmful residues. Sanitizers that are food-grade effectively kill germs and are safe for contact with food without contaminating it.

Each sanitizer can remove up to 99.99% of the germs listed on the product label. The best sanitizing chemicals for your facility will be able to kill illness-causing germs and remove bacteria from surfaces.

Imperial Dade offers food production sanitation solutions including a line from Spartan Chemical.

Their Sani-T-Plus food equipment surface sanitizer is specially formulated to be effective against illness-causing bacteria like Salmonella, Listeria, and E.Coli. Imperial Dade also carries Spartan’s PAA Sanitizer, which is a peroxyacetic acid-based sanitizer that can be used on hard, non-porous food-contact surfaces in your food processing facility. This product is so safe, it can even be used as a fruit and vegetable water treatment.

For surfaces that don’t come into contact with food, Spartan’s Metaquat is an option for removing germs from the surfaces in your facility. This product can effectively kill bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses and can spread to food contact surfaces.

Cleaning Before Sanitizing

Any surfaces in your food processing facility that come into contact with food products should be cleaned and sanitized. Pathogens can easily spread on surfaces that aren’t being sanitized properly. Before using a food-safe sanitizer, you should always clean your surfaces. A dirty surface cannot be sanitized effectively. Surfaces like counters and prep tables should be clean and sanitized often to prevent the spread of foodborne illness-causing bacteria.

These surfaces should be cleaned:

  • Before each use
  • Between uses when preparing RTE (ready-to-eat) foods and raw food
  • Any time there’s a risk of contamination

Cleaning surfaces removes any soils and prepares the surfaces for sanitizing. Sanitizing surfaces reduces the number of harmful bacteria present to levels that are acceptable by the EPA.

PRO-TIP: You must sanitize after cleaning. Cleaning removes soils, but it does not kill germs. The best way to ensure you are removing all germs is to use a food-grade sanitizer. Food grade sanitizers remove 99.99% of all germs.

John Thomas

Whether you’re cleaning surfaces that are covered in grease or stubborn soils, Imperial Dade carries products that will help you achieve clean surfaces and equipment. The High-Performance Alkaline FP is a highly concentrated alkaline cleaning solution used to effectively remove sugars, proteins, and other soils found in food processing facilities. Spartan Chlorinated Degreaser will quickly cleans soils from equipment in your facility.

Final Thoughts

Avoiding foodborne illnesses in your food processing facility is an important way to keep your customers safe. Properly cleaning and sanitizing the surfaces in your building will kill illness-causing bacteria before they can infect food that touches the surface.

Imperial Dade has a wide range of food-grade sanitizing products and programs. Spartan Chemical is one of the premier chemical lines we provide which helps your janitorial team create a clean, safe environment in your facility. Spartan provides economical cleaning and sanitizing products that meet all regulatory requirements.

Whether you need sanitizing products or programs to help you create SOPs and thorough cleaning practices, Imperial Dade can help match you to the perfect products for your business.

Check out the food sanitation products that Imperial Dade carries from Spartan to help reduce the spread of foodborne illnesses in your facility:

  • Chlorinated Degreaser
  • High Performance Alkaline FP
  • Sani-T-Plus
  • Metaquat
  • PAA Sanitizer
  • Consume LIQ
  • And more…

Contact an Imperial Dade Specialist for help deciding which sanitation products are right for your facility. We will conduct a review of your sanitation program and suggest the best products, training, and processes for you and your cleaning staff. Visit our website for a location near you and call today.

Help Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 by Cleaning, Sanitizing, & Disinfecting Touchpoints & Other Surfaces

COVID-19, commonly referred to as coronavirus, is a highly contagious respiratory disease that has been devastating countries worldwide. Its most common symptoms include dry cough, high fever, and shortness of breath. As of this posting, all 50 states have confirmed cases of COVID-19 and many states, especially Washington, New York, and California, have been hard hit by a high number of deaths due to the virus and its side effects, primarily pneumonia.

While many organizations are having people work from home, it is imperative to continue to maintain facilities and keep all frequent touchpoints clean and disinfected as much as possible. The cleaning supplies, chemicals, and equipment available at Imperial Dade are necessary now more than ever to slow down the spread of COVID-19 and help keep everyone safe and healthy.

Cleaning or Disinfecting? Know the Differences to Stay Healthy

When it comes to cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing surfaces, many people incorrectly believe that those terms and actions are interchangeable. While all three types of cleansing are effective and necessary, they have their specific uses and should not be treated as equally efficacious.

Cleaning

Cleaning is the first step to safe surfaces. It is, by definition, the removal of dirt, impurities, and some germs via soap and water or other surface cleaners. While cleaning surfaces with soap and water does reduce the number of germs on the surface and, thus, the risk of infection, remaining germs will continue to multiply.

Sanitizing

Another step for safer surfaces involves sanitizing. Sanitizing surfaces effectively reduces the number of harmful bacteria to safe levels according to most health standards and requirements. While sanitizing does kill approximately 99.99 percent of most types of bacteria, it does not kill or remove all viruses and fungi. In the current health climate, it is best to bypass surface sanitizers and head to the disinfectants after cleaning most surfaces.

Disinfecting

For the safest surfaces, use a disinfectant. Disinfecting surfaces involves using solutions that destroy or deactivate viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms after leaving the properly diluted solution on the surface for the stated dwell time, typically 10 minutes. Imperial Dade has many disinfecting solutions for commercial use, including Victoria Bay disinfectant sprays with EPA certifications and kill claims for emerging pathogens.

Common “Touchpoints” Requiring Cleaning & Disinfecting

As mentioned above, COVID-19 is a highly contagious and infectious disease, so surfaces used frequently by many people are considered high-risk touchpoints. The majority of individuals in the U.S. carrying COVID-19 are asymptomatic, meaning that they will not show symptoms but could still transmit the virus onto surfaces they have touched or on which their respiratory droplets (through coughing or sneezing) have landed.

Here are a few of the most common touch that should be disinfected in commercial and residential buildings:

 

For more information regarding how to best prevent the spread of COVID-19, review Imperial Dade’s recent posts or contact your local branch today and ask to speak to a chemical specialist. Visit our website to find 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.

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