Cleaning An Interconnected World

Who could have imagined just a few years ago how technology-driven innovations would affect the cleaning industry and the daily lives of those working in it? We now live in a world that is increasingly interconnected where the ability to create, access and share information and then take actions has never been easier.

One of the clearest examples of this is the emergence of the Internet of Things – the myriad of gadgets that communicate with each other over “the cloud”. According to leading IT research analysts Gartner around 11 billion such devices – excluding tablets and smartphones – will be in use by the end of this year and this will nearly double within two years.

Despite a slow start, the cleaning industry is beginning to embrace this significant trend which Diversey calls the Internet of Clean. This provides a framework that remotely monitors equipment, machines, and operations through sensor-generated data. Analysing this data enables insight into cleaning operations, dosing, compliance and machine performance. There are already many examples of how this is applied across the cleaning industry:

Floorcare Machine Monitoring: managers can see the location, utilisation and performance of their fleets remotely and in real time. They can identify under- and over-utilisation to ensure equipment is deployed more effectively, economically and reliably. Managers can also identify maintenance requirements before they impact on performance. The result is more machine uptime and fewer unscheduled service calls for lower overall cost of ownership.

Cleaning Audits: devices including smartphones are used by cleaning teams to follow instructions, confirm actions and provide feedback such as text, images and video. Managers can see the status of any operation, where tasks have yet to be completed, and overall performance levels. They can assess success and compliance with service level agreements, provide evidence to customers and streamline their operations to improve productivity and profitability.

Remote Monitoring: operators can monitor laundry and dishwashing machines to see information such as number of cycles completed, volumes cleaned, product levels and the amount of water and energy used. They can respond proactively to maximise machine uptime and efficiency.

Robotics: robotic floorcare cleaning machines work autonomously to liberate cleaning staff for more productive and valuable tasks. These machines generate information that can be used to analyse performance and demonstrate compliance to customers. Machines can also be monitored and reprogrammed remotely to reduce on-site interventions.

Compliance Monitoring: hand wash dispensers in hospitals, food service kitchens and elsewhere monitor the number of uses and the amount of product consumed. This gives operators a clearer understanding of utilisation and hand hygiene compliance. They issue alerts when product or battery levels get too low so that supervisors can intervene to maintain availability.

Augmented Reality: feature-rich interactive content is delivered direct to the user to complement conventional operating, maintenance and training guides. This not only promotes greater efficiency but reduces the need for time-consuming interventions to deal with routine issues.

These and other innovations are accessed over the Internet of Clean using smartphones, tablets and desktops. Users have a digital portal and intuitive dashboards where they can review data and trends. This quantifiable information offers valuable, real-time insight into their operations, delivered in easy-to-interpret KPIs. Operators can improve their qualitative standards while lowering the cost of cleaning and hygiene programmes. In the majority of cases the services can be configured to send a text or email alert when predetermined conditions arise. This means that supervisors and managers can take action before an issue impacts on the customer or end user.

As an industry we are on the start of a journey with the Internet of Clean. The future is as hard to predict as ever but there is no doubt that the Internet of Clean will enable customers to improve productivity, compliance, operational performance, and sustainability.

Sustainable School Cleaning

Creating a clean and hygienic environment for pupils and staff should be a priority for schools. It helps to provide a pleasant and safe place to learn and work. At the same time, schools are increasingly looking to employ more sustainable processes as part of their commitment to the environment and to help improve efficiency and reduce costs. This is particularly important for schools working towards Eco-Schools awards. The challenge is to understand the options available and make decisions that deliver on these objectives.

The traditional image of the school cleaner with a mop and bucket is familiar. But modern equipment and techniques have changed this vital role beyond recognition. There are many ways schools can embrace greater sustainability across their cleaning operations. This can include switching to new products and ways of working that increase efficiency, use fewer natural resources, eliminate waste, reduce water and energy consumption, and involve less packaging.

Below, we outline some of the key ways that schools can improve their sustainability credentials when it comes to cleaning.

There is a huge choice of cleaning products on the market. The chemical formulation of these products is an important sustainability consideration. For example, many products are promoted as “being made from natural ingredients” but this can be misleading. At a basic level, simply containing a natural ingredient is no assurance that a product is effective, safe or indeed sustainable. For example, some cleaning products contain “lemon juice” as their active ingredient. Perfectly natural, one might think, but the reality is that these products often use citric acid (the main chemical in lemon juice) that is a by-product of some other industrial process. Besides, other constituents of the product’s formulation could be basic industrial chemicals with no sustainability benefit. Using real lemons may be no better because this could require large areas of agricultural land owned by big companies being used to grow trees that provide little or no benefit to the local population. The drive for raw materials can also mean chopping down forests that have provided an eco-system for local flora and fauna for millennia.

Fortunately, there are products on the market that are manufactured completely using plant-based by-products of food production processes that would otherwise be wasted. Products falling in to this category will most likely comply with recognised sustainability standards such as the EU Ecolabel, the Nordic Ecolabel or the AISE Chartermark.

Ultra Concentrates
Whatever product is chosen, the next consideration is how it is packaged. All cleaning products are essentially a combination of chemicals. In many cases, these are produced as “ready to use” products where the basic formulation is diluted at the factory before being put into spray bottles or other packs. While this is convenient for the end user it makes little sense from a sustainability perspective when water is usually readily available at the point of use.

The far better option is to supply the product as an ultra-concentrate containing just the active formulation. Water is added at the point-of-use with special dosing or dilution control equipment. There are considerable sustainability benefits in this approach. One pack replaces the hundreds of ready-to-use or bulk chemical bottles required to do the same amount of cleaning. This means lower transport, handling and storage burdens and costs across the supply chain. Packaging consumption, and waste, is also significantly reduced. Even better if that packaging is itself recyclable. Dosing and dilution systems promote sustainability because they ensure accurate and consistent preparation of solutions that produce better results with no wastage. They also reduce the risk of users coming into contract with undiluted products.

Formulation Innovation
Innovative formulations also help promote sustainable cleaning. There is a trend to using multipurpose products because these simplify processes and reduce training and other implementation costs as well as supply chain burdens.

Schools who look after a lot of fabrics might have an in-house laundry. This can use a lot of water and energy so it makes sense to look for alternative processes. Washing fabrics at lower temperatures generally saves energy, reduces water consumption and can prolong the life of linen and garments. Products are now available with stain removers and disinfectants effective at temperatures as low as 40oC, leading to significant savings over conventional high-temperature detergents.

Another innovative approach is to use cleaner-disinfectants with Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide as the active ingredient rather than traditional “quat” or chlorine-based formulations. The hydrogen peroxide breaks down to water and oxygen shortly after use and these products give off none of the unpleasant fumes associated with traditional products which makes them safer to use when people are present. They can also be used on a wider range of hard surfaces, and even fabrics, than conventional alternatives.

Cleaning Machines
Hard floors are often cleaned in larger schools using a machine called a scrubber drier. This applies a cleaning solution to the floor, agitates it with a rotating or reciprocating scrubbing action and then removes it to leave the floor clean and dry. The choice of machine can be bewildering but the best produce better results, are highly efficient and more sustainable that using a mop or bucket.

The most advanced machines always use the right amount of water and product whatever their moving speed. Some are also accredited by independent organisations such as the Water Technology List, showing they have been assessed for sustainable performance. These machines use pads made from a variety of materials for specific floor types, some being manufactured from recycled and/or recyclable materials.

Eco Schools
It is clear that there is a lot more to modern cleaning than the old mop and bucket and that this seemingly mundane daily process can contribute to a school’s sustainability objectives. In addition to making a positive statement about the school’s approach to sustainability many of the issues that inform the decision making process can also be introduced into the classroom to engage pupils with real-world issues in a meaningful way.

Eco-Schools believes a healthy, happy school can be achieved through sustainability. Whilst it does not enforce a procurement policy on schools, it does encourage them to look at their internal processes and products to ensure that the ethos of an environmentally friendly school goes beyond what is taught in the classroom.

When looking at alternative cleaning solutions, there is a great opportunity to engage pupils in the discussion. Eco-Schools is based around nine environmental topics, giving children and young people a wide range of learning. To gain an internationally recognised Green Flag, schools should focus on these topics and allow children to develop projects and activities around them.

Sustainable cleaning directly links to several Eco-Schools topics, notably Water, Healthy Living and Waste – with other links to Energy and School Grounds. If a school decides to switch to more sustainable cleaning methods, it could, for example, invite the caretaker to attend Eco-Committee meetings to update the students on the improvements under the core topics and allow the committee members to feedback. This would allow the children to feel even more a part of the school’s management and learn about how changes to processes and products can have a positive impact.

Eco-Schools awards also require schools to build sustainability in to the curriculum and again, how a school is kept healthy and germ-free can be easily incorporated into lessons from biology through to design and technology.

Chocks Away – Diversey Flies In Supplies For Waitrose

It was above and beyond on the first Saturday in June when Daniel Abadi, Retail Controller at Diversey procured a private plane to make flying visits to five Waitrose sites on the Channel Islands and Isle of Wight and deliver replacement samples of Suma Bac D10 detergent sanitiser. Daniel was quoted £6000 to deliver the packs on Diversey’s behalf at short notice but Daniel knew that by taking them himself he could provide better service with greater added value.

Suma Bac D10 is used by the supermarkets for all-important surface cleaning and sanitising as part of their daily food safety and hygiene routine. By the end of May there was a distinct and urgent requirement for the product in Smart-Dose format. Daniel and the account management and marketing teams agreed that the cost quoted for delivering multiple exceptional orders by air and courier was too high.

“We decided on direct action and to do it ourselves,” says Daniel. “Driving to each site taking ferries and staying in hotels would take too long. “ I knew it was a long shot but if I could find some adventurous private pilots and hire a plane we could deliver to every site on the same day.”

Private pilots are not allowed to profit from their flights. But they love flying and there is nothing to stop someone else paying their costs. After making a few calls to some pilot friends, Daniel found Anthony Ryan and Dr. Stefan Winkvist were up for the challenge. He also secured the only plane available at short notice, a single-engine Piper Archer. Daniel worked out that the cost of hiring and fuelling it for the day would be around £950 which meant he could save over £5000 compared with the original quote.

The end of May and early June was terrible weather-wise, with high winds and thunderstorms. That put the plan in jeopardy because it makes flying small planes difficult and safety had to be the priority. Amazingly, it looked like conditions would improve to near perfect flying conditions by Saturday 2 June. Working with Anthony and Stefan on the Friday evening, Daniel worked out a schedule to visit all five sites the following day. He had already called each store to assess their need and to let them know they were on their way.

Leaving Coventry Airport at 10am the team arrived in Guernsey at 11.40 and had soon delivered the vital supplies by local taxi to the two Waitrose stores on the island.

“It was raining when we left Coventry but we were soon flying at 8000 feet over the English Channel on our way to Guernsey,” says Daniel. “The views were amazing and the weather was perfect.”

A quick hop over to Jersey meant another two sites had been visited by mid-afternoon. So far, so good and after a quick late lunch and submitting a new flight plan to air traffic control it was back in the air for the final delivery at the East Cowes Waitrose on the Isle of Wight. The store had just closed when the team arrived but Daniel managed to find the manager and make the delivery.

“Diversey went above and beyond to service Waitrose and it was very impressive,” says Ian Burdekin, Waitrose Director in Guernsey. “We are not used to that sort of service over here. After Daniel left I was telling the team how they had taken the trouble to get here. Hats off to them.”

By now the sun was beginning to set and the team had been on the go for several hours but there was still the flight back to base in Warwickshire. The planned destination had already closed for the night which meant the only option was to divert to Birmingham International. That required landing on the runway just before midnight, slotting in between the massive passenger and cargo jets that use the airport.

To add a bit of rock-n-roll to the adventure the team found themselves parked next to the jet the Rolling Stones are using on the UK leg of their current tour.

“Everyone we met at the various sites was very appreciative of the effort we made to get their SmartDose D10 to them,” says Daniel. “It was a lot of hard work and we had to keep going to make sure we made it round to all the sites. All in all, it was a great adventure and well worth the effort to give great service to the customer.”

Reducing The Burden Of Cleaning

Cleaning can be a demanding business. There is constant pressure to get the work done quickly but the over-riding need is always to ensure the safety of the cleaning team and help them prepare safe, hygienic and pleasant facilities. Diversey meets this challenge with revolutionary cleaning and hygiene technologies that not only deliver exceptional results but are simpler, safer and less of a burden on the people doing the work.

Ergononic Floorcare: traditional mopping systems are inefficient, heavy and cumbersome. This can lead to stress and strain on the body as well as reduced productivity, especially at the end of a busy day. Modern alternatives are designed around ergonomic concepts and manufactured from innovative and lightweight materials to make floorcare much less of a burden to promote efficiency and productivity. Diversey tools include UltraPlus handles and frames, the Versa mopping range and the ProSpeed finish applicator. ProSpeed, for example, outperforms traditional flat-mop and mop-and-bucket application methods and reduces labour costs by up to 25 per cent.

Gliding Microfibre: the unique properties of microfibre allow it to glide over hard surfaces much more easily than a traditional mop or cloth. This puts less strain on the user while enabling them to clean more surface area, more quickly – in short, they are more productive. Tools such as UltraPlus and Versa are designed for use with microfibre pads while Diversey also offers a complete range of reusable and disposable cloths and tools made from the material. Depending on the specification, microfibre can be used with water, chemicals or dry to remove soiling from hard surfaces. The very best cloths have been proven to remove 99.99 per cent of micro-organisms when used with water alone. Particles on the surface are removed through a combination of static attraction and capillary action.

Get Organised: floorcare and microfibre systems are often used in conjunction with the TASKI Trolley System. This modular workstation combines innovation and ergonomic design to improve overall performance, efficiency and sustainability. The trolley incorporates the latest ergonomic concepts to ensure all items remain within easy reach so that users do not have to bend or stretch awkwardly. The result is faster and more efficient cleaning processes with less time spent stopping and starting between tasks. This promotes user acceptance and reduces the risk of the musculoskeletal disorders. A complete set of tools and equipment is available so that the trolley can be configured for microfibre, spray-and-wipe, wet-mop and general cleaning applications.

Closed Systems: ultra-concentrates, as we have seen before, help introduce better consistency and sustainability into cleaning operations. They are ideally used with closed systems, the dosing and dilution control equipment that simplifies processes while minimising the risk of undiluted chemical being spilled or coming into contact with cleaning team members. Many ultra-concentrates – such as Divermite, QuattroSelect or IntelliDose – are supplied in self-contained pouches that will only release product when fitted into the right equipment, such as a dispenser or scrubber drier. Others – such as SmartDose – are supplied in secure containers that only deliver controlled doses when used correctly.

Chemical-Free Floorcare: in one of our previous posts we explained how Twister by Diversey pads enable scrubber driers and rotary disc machines to clean floors with water alone. The combined action of the machine, pads impregnated with microscopic diamonds and water mean that floors can be cleaned and maintained without using any kind of chemical. This not only makes floorcare simpler, it is safer for the cleaning team and building occupants.

These are just a few of the ways in which Diversey innovations help cleaning teams complete their routines safely and simply to achieve the best possible results. You can find out more on our main website at

Recycled Pads for Sustainable Floorcare

 Cleaning teams using floorcare machines will want to make their operations as sustainable as possible. A good first step is to use a cleaning pad made from recycled materials. We have an excellent selection of pads made from 100 per cent recycled PET plastics. In fact, each pad contains the recycled PET fibres from just over two and a half recycled plastic water bottles.

Twister by Diversey is an innovative set of floor care pads made from recycled PET impregnated with billions of microscopic diamonds. This combination is less abrasive than standard red pads which helps to protect the floor while giving a smoother and improved appearance.

The pads can be used with water alone, last three times longer than traditional products, and significantly reduce the need for periodic maintenance, all of which improves sustainability and reduces the overall cost. In fact, these pads reduce chemical usage by 100%, floor pad costs by 66%, and weight of consumables by 98% (which also saves transport and handling) compared with traditional products. Working without chemicals also simplifies cleaning processes, creates a healthier environment for cleaners and bystanders, and reduces routine machine maintenance burdens.

Twister by Diversey is ideal for daily maintenance to clean and polish unprotected stone floors. There are four different pads in the range for use on almost every type of floor. Used in sequence – red, white, yellow, green – on old, dull and worn floors they can rejuvenate and transform floors into a clean, uniform, shiny and polished surface. The diamond impregnated side of the pad is coloured and works as a wear indicator.

As an alternative to Twister by Diversey, the TASKI Americo range comprises a complete set of pads for every floor cleaning and maintenance application from aggressive stripping to gentle polishing. These pads also promote sustainability because they are designed to be used without harsh chemicals. But we go further by looking at the way the pads are manufactured and delivered. The advanced machinery used to make the pads is more than 30 per cent more energy efficient than older equipment. In-house water treatment and recycling has reduced water consumption by 83 per cent. The packaging for the pads contains at least 45 per cent recycled materials.

For the very best results and sustainability both pad ranges are ideally used with TASKI’s range of scrubber driers and rotary-disc machines which themselves are designed to use less energy, water and product than traditional machines. For example, many TASKI machines are certified under the UK government’s Water Technology List which shows they successfully meet stringent sustainability criteria and use less water. This means they qualify for an Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) so that customers can claim 100 per cent of the cost against their tax during the same year.

All in all, TASKI makes it easy to make floorcare more sustainable.

More About Plastics & Packaging

We mentioned in a recent post how one pack of SmartDose ultra-concentrate can replace 280 bottles of ready-to-use product to reduce packaging and plastics. But how does this headline number really stack up?

Let’s look at a business that uses 100 cases each containing six 750 millilitre spray bottles of ready-to-use product. Switching to the SmartDose system with its innovative ultra-concentrates and reusable spray bottles where water is added at the point of use leads to the following savings:

  • 441 litres less chemical to be manufactured, transported and stored – a 98.0 per cent reduction
  • 41.2 kilogrammes less plastic packaging to be manufactured, transported and stored – a 97.8 per cent reduction
  • 26.3 kilogrammes less cardboard packaging to be manufactured, transported and stored – a 97.8 per cent reduction
  • 124.2 kilogrammes less CO2 greenhouse gas emissions due to packaging alone – a 98.5 per cent reduction

These are great savings that really help to promote the sustainability of any cleaning operation. But if you add in the time and cost savings associated with all that transport, handling and storage you can see that ultra-concentrates offer even more. Plus, of course, these are professional formulations that are designed to deliver the performance and consistency that ensures excellent results every time.

Reducing Plastics

There’s been a lot of publicity recently about the use of plastics. Nobody seriously believes that throwing plastic packaging away is a good thing, especially when we see pictures of polluted rivers or suffering wildlife. The challenge facing all of us is how to reduce reliance on plastics and make it easier to recycle what we do use. In the absence of alternative materials, at least for the time being, we all need to think about being smarter with our packaging.

At Diversey, our approach for a long time has been to reduce the amount of packaging for our cleaning products. We do this by producing as many as possible in ultra-concentrate formulations. More product for more cleaning is contained in any given pack size and water is added at the point of use rather than the point of manufacture. This not only reduces the total amount of packaging required to support a particular cleaning operation but also minimises transport, storage and handling costs.

In fact, just one 1.4 litre container of our SmartDose hard surface cleaner can prepare 280 standard 500ml trigger-spray bottles. Because these bottles are used time and time again there is no need to throw them away which means no wasted plastic. Choosing the same number of ready-to-use spray bottles would mean a lot more packaging, transport and handling to worry about.

All of our ultra-concentrate systems reduce the amount of plastic packaging for the cleaning teams we support. Our research and development teams are always working on ways of making our systems even more efficient so that the same amount of product goes even further in the future. We’re also looking at the materials we use in the packaging in the first place. At the moment around 30 per cent of our packaging in the US is made from recycled plastics.

The SmartDose container – like much of our packaging – is completely recyclable which means there is no excuse for it to end up in landfill. We know the majority of our customers are responsible and make sure they send their empty packaging for processing.