Review it, use it, choose it - completing a cleaning product audit to best effect

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Modern cleaning presents an ever-evolving set of challenges, from new health and safety requirements to keeping abreast of new cleaning techniques and products. A great deal of thought, research and expertise is invested into the cleaning process, ensuring that standards and regulations are consistently met. In this article Gill Ireson, head of sales at Robert Scott, discusses the business’ key learnings and recommendations.

Our Clean Team works with companies and organisations throughout the UK, evaluating existing regimes and product inventories, and advising on areas for improvement, as well as any potential issues regarding health and safety, making recommendations on the most effective products for the individual environment. Sustainability is also front-and-centre for many businesses, which extends to the cleaning regimen.

Alchemilla interior

When Nottingham-based restaurant Alchemilla opened its doors, its owner was determined to operate as a sustainable business – cleaning programme included. Our Clean Team worked with Alchemilla to complete a cleaning product audit, advising on a system and set of products that limited the use of chemicals. Ultimately the restaurant installed the Toucan Eco cleaning system, which is now used to clean all front of house areas as well parts of the kitchen, limiting the use of multi-purpose cleaning and disinfecting chemicals. As well as supporting the restaurant’s sustainability objectives and improving health and safety for both staff and customers, a saving of £200 per month has been made, along with a large reduction in the volume of plastic waste.It’s hugely rewarding to see the results of an effective cleaning audit, but it’s an exercise that should be repeated on a regular basis. Over time, requirements change and products improve, but cleaning regimes often remain the same. Where this has been the case, a cleaning product audit is an effective way for a company to ensure that products and materials being used are both fit for purpose and safe, while delivering the best value to customers.

Microspeedy mopping

Saltgreen Residential Care Home invited our team to carry out a review of its current floorcare system to find out where efficiencies could be made in reducing waste water and chemical use, while increasing productivity. Following an in-depth evaluation, our team implemented a new microfibre cleaning system designed to save both money and time. Saltgreen had been using a traditional system of mops and buckets, J Cloths and a lot of chemical cleaning agents, but following an in-depth audit, the Rokleen microfibre system was introduced.Trolley-based, it comprises a core range of products that reduces cross contamination and maximises cleaning standards across site. Spillages and dirt in heavily trafficked areas can be quickly and effectively cleared without closing sections of the building – the need for harsh chemicals has been eliminated, less water is used, and staff have seen a 25 per cent reduction in time needed to complete tasks. Perhaps most importantly, infection control audits have better outcomes, with zero outbreaks during the highest risk winter periods.

Aside from health and hygiene considerations and improvements, cost is often one of the most important factors for businesses evaluating their cleaning processes, however quality should never be neglected. It’s important to consider the finer details, looking beyond headline cost - for example, two comparable products may cost the same, but the lifetime usage may differ; a more durable product would be more cost effective in the long-term.

YHA hostel

It’s also important to enlist the views of those using the products on a day-to-day basis. The Youth Hostels Association (YHA) enlisted our help to update the specifications of its floorcare system to better suit the needs of its staff. Hosting its inaugural Housekeeping Forum at our headquarters, YHA’s cleaning managers were able to discuss their requirements and view various demo units. The original floorcare system was causing confusion, with equipment across sites not piecing together correctly. YHA was also keen to find a UK manufacturer in order to reduce its carbon footprint. Its new mopping system, which uses the adaptable Abbey handle, has reduced the volume of waste water, chemical agents and time spent cleaning, the end-result being a large uplift in guest satisfaction scores since the new system was introduced across its sites.Beyond the efficacy and cost of cleaning products, storage is also a worthwhile factor to consider – working with one solution might allow more storage space, while also proving a more straightforward solution for staff.

For any business interested in undertaking a cleaning product audit, the process is straightforward and begins with a site visit. By visiting the site in person, our Clean Team can get a real feel for the environment, the building itself and any specific challenges relating to fixtures and fittings, products, working around operations, or the cleaning schedule in place. The team will speak with staff to get their views on any particular issues or concerns, along with products and methods that work well.

Product trials are an essential second step – new products should be used on site by the company’s own cleaning staff to assess efficacy and troubleshoot any issues. Sample products are delivered to site, accompanied by a member of the Clean Team for assistance.

Once the trials are complete and feedback has been logged, the Clean Team will review the findings, advising further on how to improve cleaning techniques, saving both time and money and ensuring a more effective result. Provided trials have been successful, help is given to rollout the new products, with training completed across multiple sites.

While completing a thorough cleaning audit may seem time consuming, the potential gain makes it a worthwhile exercise for any business.

If you are a cleaning supplies distributor and would like to a member of the Clean Team to carry out a cleaning audit please click here, email or call 01457 819400.