ARTICLE

A touchy subject

24 September 2021

Daniel Took talks touchpoint areas and the importance of keeping washrooms clean to a high standard to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria as we continue to navigate COVID-19

IN THE era of COVID-19, maintaining washroom facilities whilst paying special attention to germ prone areas is an absolute must for facilities managers. When it comes to washrooms, regular cleaning is pivotal to protect the health and safety of those using the facilities. 

Focal points

Toilet lids and seats must be treated with an all-purpose or alcohol-based cleaner, as acids can dissolve dye pigments and leave stains. Doors and separating walls should also be cleaned with all-purpose or alcohol-based cleaner using scratch-free pad sponges. Furniture which frequently comes into contact with skin such as benches and coat racks should be scrubbed using a light alkaline cleaning agent or everyday cleaner, then rinsed and dried with a yellow cleaning cloth.

However, it is not just these commonly touched areas that need attention.  Ensuring that fittings, flooring and tiles and grouting are cleaned contributes to the overall cleanliness of a washroom and it is these areas that can often be forgotten. With changing and washrooms being frequented by many people, they can be breeding grounds for germs if left unmaintained, especially with moisture and heat helping microorganisms to thrive and multiply.

Tiles

Wall tiles need to be cleaned with an acidic deep cleaner and rinsed with clean water. During the indicated contact time, the surface should be scrubbed with a green manual pad, to assist with the removal of dirt and oils. For a professional finish, the tiles should be wiped with a rubber squeegee after rinsing.

The removal of black mould in crevices can only be achieved with the use of hydrogen peroxide. After treatment, it is essential to rinse with plenty of clear water and, in stubborn cases, the joint material will need replacing.

For large surfaces, a high-pressure cleaner on cold operation with foam device is an economical solution, while stubborn lime deposits should be treated with products containing phosphoric acid.

Fittings

Limescale-dissolving cleaning agents, usually including citric acid and/or amidosulphuric acid, are effective whilst avoiding damage to fittings, such as taps, shower heads, and mixing valves. To avoid long-term damage, acidic deep cleaner should be applied to a cleaning cloth or pad sponge rather than sprayed directly onto fittings, and only used with non-abrasive pad sponges (white pad) to avoid scratches. This also applies to mirror surfaces. The acidic cleaning agent should also be rinsed thoroughly after application to prevent permanent damage. Calcified aerators on water outlet valves should be unscrewed and placed in an appropriate acidic solution overnight.

Floors

Highly textured or rough fine stone tiles with high slip resistance (R 12) are generally the flooring of choice in showers and toilets. A roller scrubber is the best way to clean these uneven surfaces such as Kärcher’s BR 30/4 C BP, which is a light and compact battery-powered scrubber drier which has a contact pressure which is ten times greater than the use of a conventional mop. This can be used with the addition of the acidic Deep Cleaner RM 751 (pH value 0.7, dosage 5-25%) in the two-step method and then rinsed with clear water for best results.

Once the floor has been thoroughly cleaned, the second step is to disinfect using a misting machine to achieve even coverage as they use a spray gun under pressure. Spray misting machines, such as the Kärcher PS 4/7 Bp, are ideal for large surface areas like this, reaching inaccessible nooks where wiping would struggle to achieve the desired result. For maintenance cleaning, a cleaning agent with both a fungicidal and an antibacterial effect is recommended to keep the number of microorganisms at bay long term.

The cleaning measures detailed here are effective for ensuring that changing rooms, showers, and fitness facilities are hygienic to support the wellbeing of visitors which is a non-negotiable in the current climate.

Important note: sanitary cleaners must be used as directed and in accordance with accident prevention guidelines. This means wearing protective gloves and eye protection if necessary. Never mix cleaning agents, pay attention to the prescribed dosage, do not use warm or very hot water and rinse well with clear water.

Daniel Took is head of professional product marketing at Kärcher UK

 
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