Mechanical cleaning with microfibre
29 April 2019
In order to achieve successful floorcare cleaning regimes, Stuart Yates argues that it's time to go back to basics and make the most of microfibre
Cleaning floors and doing it effectively is the spring board to ensuring high standards of hygiene are met. Efficacious ‘mechanical’ cleaning should be the start point to develop high level hygiene protocols across the board.
In the hospital and healthcare sector for example, if floors are actually mechanically cleaned at the start of the whole cleaning process this will eliminate issues before they arise. This needs to be implemented with the correct cleaning materials and regimes to ensure cleaning teams are able to carry out the job effectively and efficiently.
When developing a specific floor cleaning system it’s key to remember that there are dangers lurking where the eye can’t see. Just because it’s been mopped doesn’t mean to say it’s clean. All floor surfaces have hairline cracks, nooks and crannies. Although they may appear smooth, when they are looked at under a microscope they have an uneven appearance. Within these peaks and valleys can be dirt which micro-organisms can live on. These crevices may be several microns deep below the surface line of a microscope. In them there is biofilm, moisture and salts all building up if they are not addressed by effective cleaning materials and methods. Disinfection without mechanical cleaning will just reach the top layer, not deep into the surface terrain. How do you address these issues and ensure that the cleaning is carried out to the highest level the first-time round?
Merits of microfibre
The incorporation of a quality microfibre cleaning system will ensure that the floor surfaces are cleaned properly and to the highest of standards. It is easy to use and helps cleaning teams deliver the highest possible results. They are able to do this because microfibres are very thin fibres. They are so thin that they are sharp at the end and this in turn scrapes, lifts then traps the dirt with bacteria from the surface. There are many thin hollow spaces between the small fibres and these spaces absorb moisture with dirt.
The more technical term for this is ‘Capillary Action’ where the fibres ‘suck’ liquid and soil into the fibre, thus removing different dirt types including water and grease in one pass. This is particularly good for larger surface areas where microfibres come into contact with the floor and thus the greater soil lift. Microfibre ensures one pass cleaning and a reduction in chemical usage. It is also faster drying than on woven/cotton fibres.
The extremely large number of fibres in microfibre and their dense network can reach everywhere even in very small crevices and get into intimate contact with microorganisms as they are of similar size. The man-made fibre material is not softened by water (unlike nonwoven/cotton) so fibres intensively scrape over surfaces and do not just slide over bacteria/spore-containing stubborn dirt (such as contaminated fingerprints etc). Ultimately this leads to an efficient mechanical clean just with water.
The μm-spaces (micron) between each microfibre create a capillary suction power that soaks up liquids so that surfaces are left relatively dry (this allows efficient cleaning even without an additional post-drying step) and no dispersed microorganisms are left behind.
These combined effects result in a widely acknowledged microorganism removal performance outperforming conventional mops. This has been reported in several scientific studies (UK Dept. Of Health 2008, Wren et al. JHI 2008) even showing superior C.Diff spore removal characteristics (Microfibre reduces the transfer of Clostridium difficile spores to environmental surfaces compared with nonwoven/cotton, Alfa et al., AJIC 2015-43, 686).
Usage of high-quality microfibre materials with only water leads to a further improvement. (99.99 %) up to LOG 4 can be proven. In a recent independent study by Vileda Professional, it has been shown that this is not only limited to lab conditions, but also to very stubborn bacteria-contaminated dirt types (simulated fingerprints at frequent-touch surfaces).
It is fair to say that good floor cleaning protocols including cleaning effectively, frequent mop changes, investment in on-going training for cleaning teams, good laundering practices and an overall discipline in floor cleaning execution are very basic prerequisites for optimum hygiene status across the whole of the cleaning sector, healthcare and general building cleaning alike.
Stuart Yates is marketing manager at Vileda Professional