When only a mop will do

26th of October 2016
When only a mop will do
When only a mop will do

An increasing number of today’s professional cleaning operations are carried out using machines. But are there still some instances where only a person with a mop will fit the bill, asks Ann Laffeaty?

Cleaning is a particularly labour-intensive task – one that can lead to aches and pains on the part of the operative. For this reason there has been an increasing reliance on machines to do the heavy work over recent years. Machines offer a number of advantages over manual cleaning methods: for example, they take the physical strain away from the cleaner and can continue operating for much longer periods of time.

So where does this leave the mop-wielding cleaner? Are there still any applications for which manual mopping is still the best – if not the only – viable option?

Only a mop will do when it comes to tasks such as cleaning and disinfecting in operating theatres according to IPC Tools managing director Michele Redi. “This is particularly the case between surgery procedures,” he said. “Here a short pile microfibre mop is the best solution because it will rapidly clean and disinfect surfaces while inhibiting the development of bacterial loads. Only a person with a mop would be able to access every edge and corner in this type of situation without having to remove all the surgical equipment from the operating room.”

He says mops are also the best option for tasks such as cleaning up unexpected spills. “A mop is sufficiently versatile to be used in any environment and in any situation,” he said. “For example, a mop equipped with a telescopic pole plus a frame with a blocking system can safely be used to clean ceilings, vertical walls and stairs.”

Another advantage is the fact that a mop it can be used correctly by anyone, says Redi. “A lightweight mop combined with a professional frame has no limitations,” he said.  “Mops are also highly suitable for use in small offices, banks, shops and restaurants. And being such an easy tool, a mop can be used in all environments and on all surfaces thanks to its flexibility.”

IPC has recently developed a new range of mops for use on surfaces and floors. These include Spot which features black abrasive spots for removing stubborn dirt; Path, a two-in-one microfibre mop that dusts and cleans in one step; and Hygiene and Premium Hygiene, two new blue microfibre mops for washing and disinfecting areas where the risk of bacterial contamination is high.

Redi concedes that the latest generation of scrubber dryers and vacuums are making cleaning operations more effective and professional. “Nevertheless we are sure that the simple mop will always be associated with efficient and lasting cleaning,” he said. “It is true that sometimes the results will be less efficient, but this depends on the choice of equipment. It is essential for customers to seek advice from professionals.”

Cleaning guarantee

He adds that a machine can never replace the reassuring presence of a cleaner. “The image of a person using a mop is still a cleaning warranty,” said Redi.

Export area manager of Filmop Igor Pegorin agrees with this view. “Human cleaners demonstrate a professional approach to the task and ensure an optimal image,” he said. “This is of course only the case if they are properly trained and provided with clothing that will protect both themselves and the environment from contamination. And equipment such as gloves and safety shoes when worn by the cleaner will add to this reassuring presence.”

According to Pegorin, a flat mop is essential for carrying out simple vertical cleaning tasks. “Stairs, steps, doors and walls are all impossible to clean with machinery,” he said. Filmop’s Lock System is a vertical support that can be applied to all its flat frames.

Other areas that are hard to clean using a machine include hospitals, clinics and offices, he says. “This is because of the presence of obstacles such as furniture, healthcare equipment and cabling,” he said. A manual mopping system also works well when a fast reaction is required, says Pegorin. “It is useful for all kinds of maintenance tasks, particularly in a spot-cleaning operation,” he said. “Being cable-free, a manual system is useful for many more situations than a machine.”

According to Pegorin a well-designed manual mopping system needs to be user-orientated. “For example, a roll wringer will make the double-bucket system easier to use,” he said. Filmop offers various flat-mopping systems such as the Speedy System, Top-Down and Duo Face, the company’s latest patented double-sided mopping system.

Speeds up cleaning

Another advantage of a mop is that it speeds up any cleaning operation, said Pegorin. “This – together with the fast drying time of the floor – results in optimal hygiene while also reducing working time,” he says.

He believes there will always be tasks for which only a mop will do. “Just think of high ceilings, showers, steps and urinals, for example,” he said. “It is impossible to use machines in every kind of environment and there are many cases in which a manual cleaning method could never
be replaced.”

Flexibility and accessibility are the main advantages of a mopping system according to international sales manager of Crisp Clean Services Judy Toes. “Mopping systems can be used on areas and in types of facilities where it is simply not possible or economical to clean with a machine,” she said.  “For example, manual mopping can be used to clean small or large areas right to the very edge. It can also be used to clean stairs and walls, and can be
easily transported for an unplanned cleaning task.”

She concedes that machines are more efficient on large open areas and on certain types of surfaces such as stone floors. “However, mopping systems have become more flexible, effective and efficient in recent years,” said Toes.

“A mopping system can be used for virtually all cleaning tasks.  Mopping systems come in many forms including single-bucket, double-bucket and triple-bucket options that can include wringers and dosing systems.  Mops can be used dry, damp or wet and can be produced using a variety of different high quality materials.”

Crisp Clean Services offers a range of mops including the patented Solo system. This has been designed to add the right amount of solution evenly to the mop and ensure that mops are not left for long periods of time in a damp, unused state.

Business development director at Vileda Steve Barber concedes that mechanised cleaning solutions hold an advantage over mopping in certain environments such as wide open spaces, corridors and entrance halls that contain few obstacles or items of furniture. “However, mopping systems come into their own in small to mid-size areas because they are versatile and easy to operate,” he said. “They are also the best option in healthcare wards because they are quiet and can be used when the patient is in the room. Mechanised solutions are generally noisy which makes them unsuitable for use in these areas.”

Only a mop will do when cleaning food courts, he says. “It is difficult to use a machine in an area where you need to clean around and underneath tables and chairs since the size of the machine would represent a challenge,” he said.

Another advantage of mops is the fact that they can be used without the need for training, he said. “Also, they do not need batteries or access to electricity and require a significantly lower investment than machinery,” says Barber. “Furthermore they do not require regular servicing and they tend to be more compact and easier to store than machines.”

He adds that the weight of cleaning machines makes them impractical for use on stairs since they are difficult to lift up and down. “The narrow width of a typical staircase is another challenge since the footprint of most machines is too wide,” he said. “However a typical flat mop has a width of 12-14 cm which is perfect for cleaning each step. And flat mops are also lightweight.” The weight of machines is also an issue when cleaning vertical surfaces, he says.

Good future

Latest products from Vileda include the SprayPro Inox spray mopping system and the MicroOne range of single-use mop pads.

Barber agrees with other manufacturers that a person with a mop is a more reassuring presence than a cleaner with a machine. “Everyone knows exactly what a mop is, how it operates and what it is doing,” he said. “I’m not sure that the same could be said of a person using a walk-behind scrubber dryer. While most people will realise that a cleaning operation is taking place, the machine’s pads or brushes will be hidden beneath the machine so it will not be possible to actually see the cleaning process.”

And he believes the future looks good for the mopping industry. “As machines become smaller and quieter over time they will start to replace mopping systems in specific areas,” he said.  “But I do not see a time when a complete switch to mechanical systems will occur. There will always be a place for a mop within cleaning.”


Related Articles

Our Partners

  • ISSA Interclean
  • EFCI
  • EU-nited