Home>INDUSTRIAL CLEANING>Blast Cleaning>Boost your cleaning productivity with steam
Home>FLOORCARE>General Floorcare>Boost your cleaning productivity with steam
Home>GENERAL EQUIPMENT & SERVICES>Technology & Innovation?Services>Boost your cleaning productivity with steam

Boost your cleaning productivity with steam

20 October 2022

Daniel Took discusses the importance of steam cleaning and how, when used effectively, it can help save time and boost cleaning efficiency.

CLEANING IS an important job within any facility. Not only does it protect the reputation of the building by ensuring it looks aesthetically pleasing, but more importantly it helps to ensure that facilities users are able to operate in a safe, clean, and positive environment. Maintaining building cleanliness can be a difficult task with so many different surfaces, workspaces and demands from facilities users. Keeping up with demand requires the implementation of an efficient and productive cleaning regime.

There are many positives associated with using detergents to bolster cleaning efficiency and remove dirt, however many cleaning budgets are being restricted making it harder for facilities managers to commit to a wide range of cleaning detergents. To help overcome this, moving to steam based cleaning can be an effective method of dirt removal and the elimination of unwanted pathogens, germs, and bacteria.

How do steam cleaners work?

Steam cleaning machines are able to reach high temperatures, as high-pressured steam leaves the nozzle of the machine and makes direct contact with the cleaning surface. The water in the machine is heated to boiling point where it is then expunged from the machine via the attached cleaning nozzle at temperatures of around 100oC. The steam particles contact the surface at up to 170km/h enabling the steam to dig deep into the cleaning surface, penetrating any nooks and crannies that can be hard to reach by hand.

The combination of heat and pressure helps to eradicate dirt surfaces by breaking down oils and grease for the effective removal of unwanted dirt. However, it is important to note that the steam cools the further the steam cleaner is held from the surface. Therefore, for effectiveness steam cleaners must be guided directly over the surface to prevent the water vapour cooling from when it leaves the cleaning nozzle and meets the surface.

In addition to the removal of stubborn dirt, the high pressure and heat eliminates bacteria and pathogens as they are unable to survive in the conditions created by the production of the steam. As a result, steam cleaners are able to remove up to 99.999% of enveloped viruses (such as coronavirus or influenza), and 99.99% of common bacteria from hard surfaces. This ensures that surfaces are left clean and tidy for users, protecting the overall health of staff within the facility.

Due to the effective nature of the steam in accessing hard to reach areas, the need for detergents is greatly reduced. The combination of water and high temperature gets underneath the dirt helping to loosen it from the surface. As the user goes over the dirt with the steam cleaner and its attached cloth, the dirt can be mopped up and removed from the surface. The high heat and the minute size of the vapour droplets ensures that surfaces dry quickly helping to reduce downtime needed for effective steam cleaning. Detergents are often used to tackle stubborn dirt, but the effectiveness of steam and its vapour particles makes it unnecessary for effective cleaning, resulting in a more environmentally friendly and chemical free cleaning process.

Boosting cleaning efficiency

Making sure that cleaning is done in an efficient manner is a great way to boost productivity within the work environment. Efficient cleaning relies on making use of effective cleaning machines that offer a genuine solution to the cleaning task at hand with minimal downtime required. The high pressure and temperature output from steam cleaning machines makes them an ideal tool for achieving cleaning efficiency due to their ability to clean a wide range of surfaces.

From cleaning tiles, wood, glass and ceramics, steam cleaning machines can be used across a range of surfaces and textiles that might be found in facilities. With the need to keep vast areas of the office clean, opting to utilise tools that can be used throughout the building will help to reduce downtime brought on by the need to use multiple different machines to achieve the same result.

Steam cleaners such as the new SG 4/2 from Kärcher aid this by utilising onboard water tanks to help workers clean for longer. Onboard water tanks ensure that staff can move easily between different tasks without having to repeatedly fill up the water tank. To further boost efficiency, if the tank is filled with warm water (not hot) it will reduce the time it takes for the water to reach boiling point, enabling cleaners to tackle dirt quicker. The new SG 4/2 is a compact machine that features an all-in-one box design and takes only 3 minutes to heat up and produces 4 bar pressure, ideal for deep cleaning and sanitation without the use of chemicals.

By moving to all-in-one solutions, staff are able to better handle any cables that may be attached to the machine to reduce the health and safety risk for facilities users. Loose cables strewn across the floor supplying a water and electricity sources pose a great danger to fast paced working environments, where multiple users might pass through corridors at any one time. Utilising compact machines will help to reduce the number of cables that are present at the site of cleaning ensuring users stay safe whilst surfaces are cleaned.

Accessorise the clean

New steam cleaning models come with a wide range of accessories to help users clean a variety of different surfaces. Popular accessories including a steam hose, hand nozzle, point jet nozzle, power nozzle, round brush, flat brush, and steam scraper. These accessories enable users to get a closer clean by ensuring that the steam gets as close to the surface as possible. In doing so, the steam contacts the dirt before it has a chance to cool, helping to lift dirt from the surface at a faster rate.

When using accessories, it is important to ensure that the correct sized microfibre cover is used. Microfibre covers are essential when steam cleaning to ensure that the dirt is mopped up after it has been lifted from the surface. The microfibre cover should be placed over the end of the nozzle, so that the steam passes through the cover and then contacts the surface. This boosts cleaning efficiency by ensuring that the user does not need to go back over the surface that they have cleaned to remove any loose dirt or dirty surface water.

When cleaning both textile and hard flooring, a floor nozzle is ideal. The wider surface area of the nozzle helps to ensure that the steam reaches a vast area to help boost the speed of clean. Whilst steam cleaning flooring is a time-consuming task, due to the surface area, it can be particularly necessary in industries such as food and catering where the removal of germs and bacteria is a must to protect staff and the end user.

Making the move to steam cleaning

When moving to steam cleaning it is important to understand where you will get the best use out of it and the accessories that would be needed to ensure your facility is kept clean and safe for your end user. The positives from using steam cleaners are numerous. From enabling users to work more efficiently, to saving on detergent costs and eliminating unwanted bacteria, germs, and pathogens, moving to steam cleaning is a great way to bolster cleaning efficiency.

Making the move to steam cleaning will help cleaners and facilities managers maintain a clean and safe working environment for all that use the premises. With the ability to be used across numerous surfaces and a multitude of accessories available, adding a steam cleaner to the cleaning arsenal will be an effective move that pays long term dividends.

Daniel Took is head of professional product marketing at Kärcher UK

For more information visit www.kaercher.com/uk/