What Should Be In Your Caddy?
Suggested tools for cleaning workers to always have on hand.
By Phillip Lawless
MAY 23, 2014
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In the May 2014 issue of Cleaning & Maintenance Management, the cover feature, Project Cleaning For Schools And Universities, provided a handful of expert tips for school project cleaning.
Provided by Rex Morrison, president of Process Cleaning for Healthy Schools (PC4HS), these tips provided a number of operational ideas for schools entering the summer cleaning season.
In this cover feature, Morrison's first tip was: Clean Your Closets And Tools.
Quoting a colleague, Morrison said, "You can't clean with dirty tools."
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Thus, his lead recommendation was cleaning all tools and clearing out a school's custodial closets.
In The Caddy
Further, the Institute for Inspection Cleaning and Restoration (IICRC) identified eight tools that cleaners should keep handy earlier this year.
In the release, the IICRC said that cleaners should keep the following tools and equipment nearby to avoid wasted time going back and forth to retrieve items.
The eight tools that the IICRC recommended for every cleaner's caddy are:
1. Microfiber cloths and distilled water.
Good quality microfiber is one of the best cleaning tools you can use.
Microfiber has magnetic qualities and when used in concert with distilled water, one of the most powerful solvents on the planet, you can readily remove many soils from a surface.
This combination is also great for cleaning natural stone surfaces as it limits opportunity for damage, etching or discoloration.
2. A damp and dry cloth.
It’s a good rule of thumb to always dry any surface that you wet.
This helps guarantee that you remove dirt instead of just moving it around.
If you’re using a lightly dampened microfiber, its qualities allow you to clean without streaking and often allow you to skip the drying step..
3. A scrub sponge or a scrubbing microfiber cloth.
For surfaces with hard or embedded dirt, use a white or non-scratch blue sponge.
Avoid green sponges, as these will scratch most surfaces.
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Because sponges may harbor germs, it’s a good idea to use a different sponge in the kitchen and the bathroom.
If you are using microfiber, you can color code for each space; microfibers are also easier to launder.
4. A plastic spatula or cleaning knife.
To clean tough-to-reach areas, wrap cleaning cloth around a plastic or metal spatula to remove dirt without scratching the surface.
This can be particularly effective for cleaning grime and buildup on louvers and around the edges of a sink or stovetop.
5. A toothbrush.
Rather than repurpose an old, used toothbrush to agitate the surface and loosen dirt in tight spaces, such as between faucet handles or around other knobs, invest in a toothbrush designed specifically for cleaning.
This tool will have stronger bristles to remove dirt more effectively.
6. A razor.
A razor can be a useful tool for removing materials on appropriate hard surfaces.
Always test first and make sure the surface is wet and the razor is clean and blemish-free.
Hold it at an acute angle to move across the surface.
Never use it at a vertical angle.
A razor will eliminate the need to intensively scrape the surface, saving time and elbow grease.
7. Cleaning chemicals.
A general purpose and tile cleaner are two primary cleaning chemicals you can use for any deep cleaning project.
Particularly effective in restroom areas, these two products will help lift heavy residue and mold better than distilled water.
8. A plastic bag.
Equip your cleaning caddy with a plastic bag for collecting debris and small pieces of trash.
This can save you steps and help keep your caddy clean.
“While the popular conception is that anyone can clean, there’s definitely a science to it,” Bruce Vance, certified instructor and chairman of the IICRC’s House Cleaning Technician Program, said in the release. “By using the suggested tools and defining your approach, you can make sure you’re removing that dirt and debris ... not just pushing it around.”