Choosing the Right Cleaning Equipment

When purchasing cleaning equipment to be used to clean your facility there are several factors to consider.  This applies to all types of equipment ranging from vacuum cleaners, floor machines, burnishers, and carpet extractors to larger pieces such as battery powered automatic sweepers and scrubbers.These factors include the Life cycle of the equipment, the Cost of ownership, the Production rate, and How likely your machine operators are to use it.  I will address these individually in separate articles.  If any of these factors are questionable, you are probably looking at the wrong piece of equipment for your application.

Cleaning equipment comes in many different brands, shapes, and sizes and are designed to be used in many different applications.  Many cleaning equipment manufacturing companies specialize in niche products to be used in specific applications and are unique to specific cleaning challenges.  These have to be taken into consideration when going through the purchasing process.  In any case, in most situations, equipment should be demonstrated in your facility, on the floor surface to be cleaned, by the piece of equipment you are considering for purchase.  Don’t cut corners.  Use the equipment during the demonstration the way you plan on using it once you own it.  This should eliminate any buyer’s remorse that may occur after the purchase. If you carefully plan what type of equipment you need, how it’s going to operate, how much production you will get out of it, how long it will last and ensure that it fits into your budget requirements, your expectations should be met.  Just plan your decision around the following key factors and the cleaning equipment you purchase should provide the results you want and need.


The life cycle is a pretty simple concept.  How many years do you expect to get out of a particular piece of equipment?  There is the old adage “You get what you pay for”, and that is certainly true here.  In theory, the more you pay for a machine, the longer it will last.  But this isn’t always the case.  Look at the components of a particular machine. If the components are the same, the life expectancy should be close to the same.  For example, if a floor machine has a metal triple planetary gear box, 2 capacitors, and safety locks on the handles, you’re probably looking at a decent machine.  The prices may vary by $500.00 or more.

Maybe one manufacturer will use plastic in certain areas, where another will use steel or aluminum. This may be acceptable to you, or maybe the cosmetic metal components are worth the extra price.  If you expect your equipment to withstand a lot of daily abuse, the extra money may be worth the heavier metal components.  You have to decide.  But the real question is, “How long do you want it to last?”.

If you are a private company buying an automatic scrubber who watches its bottom line you will probably say you want it to last as long as possible.  You will perform all the daily, weekly, and monthly maintenance necessary to ensure a long life.  You may be willing to pay more for a machine that lasts longer and your biggest concern is getting the best possible Return On Investment you can on the purchase.

However, if you are a contractor who has to purchase a new scrubber for a cleaning contract, price is a major issue. You may want to invest the least amount you can in a machine that has the potential to last just long enough to complete the contract.  This enables you to increase your profit margin, complete the contract, and not have to worry so much about maintenance expense.

So you see, the type and price of a machine are dependent on your anticipated life cycle.  The average life of an automatic floor scrubber is about 7 years.  But this can vary drastically.  Manufacturers who cater to contractors may build more units with a shorter life span while manufacturers who build for private industry may build equipment with a much longer life cycle.  In any event, make sure you know the type of equipment you need and the duration you will need it.

In the next 3 articles, I will address Cost of Ownership, Production Rate, and Will Operators Use It?

If you have any questions or concerns please contact us at The Rhiel Supply Company,


It’s Time to Dwell on Disinfectants

True or false? My disinfecting wipes leave my surfaces safe and disinfected immediately after use? …False. In fact, unless you used the wipes to keep the surface visibly wet for somewhere around 5 to 10 minutes then you really haven’t disinfected at all! Let’s dive into this subject a little deeper because the health of your facility depends on it.

Choosing the right disinfectant to use and applying it properly is a critical step in the cleaning process. Important information regarding dwell times and kill claims can be found on the product’s label. These label instructions will provide your staff with explicit information on how to properly use the product. But what are kill claims and dwell times? Helping your staff understand these important key terms will go a long way in assisting them to do their jobs well and ensure proper application of a disinfectant.

A dwell time is the contact time the disinfectant is required to remain on the target surface to effectively kill bacteria and germs. Each disinfectant will have a manufacturer’s recommended dwell time; these times may vary and must be followed closely for the product to perform effectively. These dwell times are established through various 3rd party EPA labs and may differ based on the target pathogen and specific product being tested.

Professionals are less likely to follow the instructed dwell time, especially if they are pressed for time. So, although the stress of janitorial work can be overwhelming, following the requirements of the disinfectant is a crucial part of cleaning for health. If the disinfectant isn’t left on the surface for the suggested contact time, the pathogens on the target surface are less likely to be killed, leaving customers, employees, staff, students, etc.  susceptible to infections and illnesses.

Additionally, disinfectants should only be used when needed. The CDC explains that some microorganisms have an innate resistance to certain disinfectants.  To ensure the safety of your cleaning team, your staff, the environment, and the efficacy of the product, be sure that your team is using these products only when needed and as recommended. Dwell time affects kill claims, kill claims are the key to a successful disinfecting program.

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Kill claims are a list of the microscopic organisms (bacteria, viruses, and fungi) that each disinfectant is effective at eliminating. These lists are provided on the label of every disinfectant on the market.  Additionally, most disinfectants have an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registration number.  This number, in combination with the EPA establishment number, indicates that a disinfectant has been proven effective, with a minimal risk to the user.

Every disinfectant is different and the labels are there to indicate which microscopic organism they can kill. For example, disinfectants can kill TB (tuberculosis) bacterium, H1N1 Influenza A virus, MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), and other pathogens. However, the disinfectant that kills MRSA may not work against the TB bacterium. Although this may not always be the case, it demonstrates the importance of selecting the proper disinfectant that is effective against the particular pathogen you want to kill.

Improperly used disinfectants are ineffective, so it’s important to ensure your staff  understands the label instructions before applying the product to any affected surface.  This will ensure that the job is completed in a safe and effective manner.

For more detailed information about our recommended disinfectants, contact us at Rhiel Innovative Solutions.

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What Should I Be Using to Disinfect?

Last week I answered the question “How often should I disinfect?” This brought up questions such as, “what should I use to disinfect?” I will briefly give you a quick overview of what you should look for to choose the best disinfectant for your facility.

When I am visiting a customer’s facility and we take a look at what is being used to disinfect we find that the disinfectant either doesn’t have the necessary kill claims to achieve the desired results or that the dwell times are so long that the product cannot achieve the claims it already has. This then leads us into a conversation about what they could be using to disinfect in a safer and more effective manner. Here are a few of the main points that are part of our discussion.

Kill Claims

Selection of the appropriate disinfectant or inhibiting agent should best align with a specific touch point environment at any given time. First consider the categories or types of anticipated pathogens. Certain illnesses and infections are transferred through surfaces every day. In these cases, a preventative agent is usually broad spectrum in design and appropriate. Other pathogens are seasonal in behavior and disinfectants may need to be more specific during these times. In some cases, more than one disinfectant application is required to maintain healthy touch points. Areas can also experience outbreak conditions where special disinfectants are needed above preventative disinfection efforts. With the correct systems and disinfectants in use, both preventative and outbreak conditions are managed more effectively. Many cleaning products are used with the expectation of disinfection properties, but remember you must first clean and then you disinfect. Water can be a viable cleaner when the right disinfectant is applied afterwards. Eliminate the step of wiping to disinfect. Additionally, most disinfectants need dwell time on the surface to perform so if that dwell time isn’t achieved then wiping can render the best disinfectants useless.

How effective is your disinfection protocol? Take our free “5 Steps to a Healthier Facility” ecourse

Dwell Times

To achieve the best result, source a disinfectant with a fast kill claim ( 30 seconds) without the need to wipe it off. This type of product can be sustainable in nature which makes it friendly to people and the environment which in turn helps maintain a healthy chemical free environment. An onsite generated disinfectant is a great source for this type of product which can achieve a 30 second kill claim and promote the healthy and safety of your staff and the environment.

This is not an exhaustive explanation of how you should choose your next disinfectant, but if you focus on the two main factors mentioned above then you will be well on your way to a healthier facility. If you would like more content like this then scroll to the bottom of the page and subscribe to our blog. Also, be sure to check out our 5 Steps to a Healthier Facility ecourse (it’s free so you have nothing to lose!).

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