An everyday cleaning case study

5th of December 2022 Article by Katja Scholz
An everyday cleaning case study

Katja Scholz in Germany brings us a cleaning case study from her recent visit to an alpaca farm.

During an extended trip this summer, I came across an alpaca farm. It had rained very hard that day, so I sat with a coffee in the comfortable farm shop and looked out at the almost 60-strong herd of alpacas which had found their home here. The farm shop with café attached is located in a converted barn.

In the roughly 200 square metre space of farm shop Robert, the farm’s owner, sells everything alpaca-related - from socks and t-shirts to soft toys. For a pleasant break in between he also offers visitors freshly made waffles and coffee.

I was so impressed by the animals and the whole organisation of the farm that I took the opportunity to tell Robert about my work for ECJ and why - even when travelling around on holiday - I often looked at things “with my cleaning hat on”. 

And this is how I learned how important appropriate appliances and products are to him and how much easier they make his wide-ranging daily cleaning tasks. The separation of the stable area for the animals from the shop and café for the customers represents for him a particularly important responsibility in terms of cleaning.

There are 10 customer parking spaces in front of the entrance to the shop. If more than 10 cars arrive at the same time, they can park on the adjoining field. For this car park and the approach to the shop, the farm owner uses a brush or a small sweeper.

“That depends entirely on how much dust, fine or coarse dirt there is lying around. Obviously, a sweeper is more comfortable to use but sometimes it is not worth getting it out of the shed specially for such a relatively small area”, explains Robert. He realises of course that sweepers clean more thoroughly and with less dust but sometimes efficiency outweighs the effort of getting the sweeper out of the shed – the fine distinction between theory and practice.

The dirt trap grating located in front of the entrance area is in his view particularly important.   This keeps large particles such as small stones, sand or mud away from the floor of the shop.  “I decided on a grating rather than a mat as a dirt trap as coarser dirt also accumulates here on the farm. The grating is more effective in winter or when there is a lot of rain and it is also much easier to clean.”

Robert has installed mainly wooden shelving and display surfaces in the alpaca shop – natural materials in line with his general principles. For the accumulating dust and coarse dirt particles he likes to use the all-round superstar in the suction range: the wet/dry vacuum cleaner. The floor is also made of wood so he can use the same appliance - with any appropriate attachments - to complete most of the cleaning necessary.

In the farm shop, next to where the alpaca-related products are sold, Robert also offers freshly made waffles and coffee.   Hygiene is of course exceptionally important here. For daily, thorough intermediate cleaning he likes to use a steam cleaner to ensure the whole counter area is hygienically clean. “I try as far as possible to avoid using chemical cleaning agents. The steam cleaner is therefore an enormous help to me - and also, because the steam penetrates all the crevices and the folds in the rubber where it is difficult to clean with a brush or a cloth”.

This is just a brief glimpse into the daily work of a farm shop and café.

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