How clean is clean? Part 2

There is no substitute for 'elbow grease' when it comes to ensuring good hygiene

Young Smiling Woman in Gloves Cleaning House. Closeup of Happy Beautiful Girl wearing Protective Gloves Cleaning Desk by spraying Cleaning Products and wiping with Sponge. Woman Cleaning Apartment

In our previous blog we looked at some of the bugbears the Elliott Hygiene team have about disinfectants, and the importance of ensuring you’re using cleaning products that meet European standards and are genuinely fit for purpose.

We know it can feel overwhelming, especially at this time of heightened interest in cleanliness due to the need to try to prevent transmission of the COVID-19 virus.

In the first of this two-part blog, we touched on the manual or mechanical cleaning process too – as, if you don’t get that right, your hygiene levels could slump to a lower-than-acceptable level – and now we’ll expand on that a bit more.

Check out our handy hints below to keep your processes tip top, and don’t forget to have a browse through our latest ‘cleaning heroes’ brochure, featuring chemicals and equipment that will help you keep your business squeaky clean.

  1. Use the right type of brushes

Believe it or not, the right kind of brush can really make the job so much easier and provide a better result too.

There is a lot more to brushes than you might realise. There are various types of brush for different purposes, such as push brooms, floor and wall brushes, toilet brushes, and dusters, and there are different bristles to suit particular jobs. For example, cleaning a fiddly piece of equipment with a hard bristle brush would not be as thorough as it would be with a softer bristled brush, due to the manipulation of the bristles and the lack of flexibility when getting right into the nooks and crannies.

Bristles also vary in their recovery strength and softness. Recovery strength means a bristle’s ability to retain its original shape and rigidity, and bristles with good recovery strength will have a longer life and not break or splay out. Softness is a measure of how coarse bristles are – soft bristles are suitable for delicate surfaces you wouldn’t want to scratch, while hard bristles are better for cutting through grime and dirt.

And bristles can be made of a variety of fibres – synthetic, animal, wire and vegetable. Synthetic bristles are medium softness, resistant to bacteria and heat, are easy to clean and good for floors, toilets, and multi-purpose scrubbers. Animal hair is very soft, heat resistant  and good for dusters and gentle cleaning. Wire bristles are very hard, heat resistant, easy to clean and good for more heavy duty brushing and scrubbing. Vegetable fibre bristles are hard, heat resistant, easy to clean and work well as multi-purpose and floor scrubbers.

Brushes themselves will require periodic cleaning, to keep them sanitary and extend their durability. The easiest way to do this is to wash them with water and detergent and allow to air dry. Much of our colour coded hygiene range from Vikan or Hillbrush are autoclavable to very high temperatures, meaning the item can be cleaned via commercial dishwasher, sterilised and regenerated. This keeps your equipment hygienically clean, and prolongs it’s lifespan. Always ensure this process is followed at the end of shift, and make sure to run the dishwasher on an empty cycle to sterilise afterwards, then clean the machine.

  1. Using the right size equipment

Cleaning with something too large or too small will inevitably lead to missed cleaning spots, or you might even inadvertently damage the equipment or area being cleaned.

Having something that fits ‘just right’ will eliminate any doubt that the area is safely cleaned and sanitised.

Mops are a popular choice for cleaning floors, and as with brushes, the size is key to its effectiveness. Mop size is defined by three main measurements:

  • Length of yarn: This has an impact on the amount of floor that can be covered before rinsing. The longer the yarn, the more water and dirt can be absorbed within a larger surface area
  • Width of mop head: The width of the mop head has an impact similar to that of the length of the yarn. A wider head is able to clean larger surfaces areas with each pass, but may be less effective for small tasks
  • Absorbency in ounces: This measurement is usually presented in fluid ounces, and the wider the head and longer the yarn, the more liquid can be absorbed. Absorbency will also differ with the material of the yarn.

Each type of yarn used to make a mop head has its own benefits:

  • Cotton: This is suited to cleaning areas that rarely come into contact with heavy dirt or grime. Cotton has less durability than other material blends, but offers excellent absorption of smaller particles
  • Polycotton: A mixture of polyester and cotton provides excellent durability throughout many uses, while allowing you to pick up fine dust and dirt
  • Polyester: This yarn tends to offer better durability than polycotton, but at a cost to its ability to collect smaller dirt particles. This makes it ideal for cleaning large areas that come into regular contact with large amounts of dirt of grime
  • Polyester and viscose: This is a common blend used with mop heads. Cheaper than most other materials, it provides a high absorption rate and can be used throughout most of your premises.
  1. Cleaning before disinfecting

Disinfection alone is not good enough to warrant something being ‘clean’. The manual action of scrubbing and aggravating a surface loosens the germs residing on it, and significantly heightens the effectiveness of the disinfection process.

For more information on the ATP hygiene test, read our previous blog, or watch this informative short  video from our core supplier Vikan.

  1. Leaving out the ‘extra touch’

As we said in our last blog, don’t underestimate the little things, like polishing a surface after cleaning. If it is left streaky it might wrongly give your customers the impression of being unclean.

If people go out to enjoy a drink or meal or visit a venue, their experience can be spoiled by the likes of messy floors, dirty toilets, and grimy windows, particularly in these days of increased hygiene awareness. If the premises appear to be unclean, it’s easy to question the quality of the service, the food, and the management. Making the effort to clean properly should help prevent such problems and good hygiene begins with fit-for-purpose cleaning equipment.

If you would like some advice on your cleaning products and processes, just contact us for a no-obligation initial consultation. Call now on 01482 327580 or drop us a line at

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