Customizing Custodial Carts BY Nick Bragg Sponsors Zephyr Manufacturing Your one stop source for quality cleaning products Marketing to Build Your Practice in the Digital Age in Cuba, NY, 14727 - ACS Facilities Services Go To http://www.acsfacilities.com/ for free articles. Call for A Free Report. Today’s housekeeping carts have evolved to fit any job and any preference, with accessories that can be added to increase aesthetic appeal, storage capacity, organization, and even security with lockable compartments. Carts can also be customized to fit the type of facilities in which they’re used, with different colors, laminates and materials. Cart manufacturers have also focused on the cleanability of the carts themselves. Moving away from canvas materials, the majority of today’s carts are constructed of hard, durable plastic, or stainless steel where the material is easily cleaned and non-porous, so germs do not collect on it. Choosing between the two options often comes down to personal preference, but most facilities tend to favor sleek, attractively designed carts made out of easy-to-clean materials, says Crowe. Mobile carts can be susceptible to stain causing bacteria, especially when used in multiple rooms in a facility. Storing numerous items on carts further increases the likelihood for uncontrolled microbial growth. As a result, manufacturers are constructing cleaning carts treated with antimicrobial coatings to protect against bacteria, mold and mildew. “The industry has done a good job of using antimicrobial surfaces, but that does not negate the need to regularly clean and disinfect,” says Crowe. “In most cases they are easier to keep clean but they still require vigilance in maintenance.” If antimicrobial protection is applied or sprayed onto the cart, scratches, dents and dings may leave the product vulnerable. It is also important to note that if there are harsh chemicals being used to clean antimicrobial surfaces, it’s possible that, over time, the coating could wear off or lose its efficacy. Schneringer recommends having a good cleaning protocol in place. “I wouldn’t want people to have a false sense of security where they say, ‘Oh, it’s antimicrobial so it cleans itself,’” he says. Subtle Changes As manufacturers continue to introduce ease of clean with carts, they are also phasing out certain staples cleaning workers are accustomed to — Velcro technology being the largest. Velcro is becoming a less common material on cleaning carts. One reason why is that, over time, Velcro wears out and loses its ability to perform its intended use. Velcro can also become a source of cross-contamination, says Crowe, since it is difficult to truly disinfect without causing damage. “In some cases you’re not going to have a cart with Velcro because it’s really easy to get dirt trapped in there and it becomes much more difficult to keep clean,” says Schneringer. “Some cleaning carts are starting to feature things that you can snap on or have hooks to hang items.” At the end of the day, an effective cleaning protocol is ultimately the key to maintaining a clean environment. High-touch objects such as cleaning carts, however, cannot be overlooked as part of the cleaning process. NICK BRAGG is a freelance writer based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.