The Rolla Public School District in Rolla, Missouri is no newcomer to green cleaning. In fact, the district has been on the leading edge of healthier cleaning initiatives for its staff and students since 1997. So, it is no surprise the district earned the Silver Medal in the 2013 American School & University Green Cleaning Awards.
In 2005, the district embraced the use of a new approach for surface and floor cleaning using flat, long-looped microfiber mop heads, microfiber mop head charging buckets, adjustable 72-inch microfiber dusters and light-weight microfiber bucketless mops. It was the beginning of a long relationship with Filmop USA. Implementing the microfiber program has provided simplicity, economy, and effectiveness, as well as conservation and environmental benefits.
Water Savings over 81 Percent
The predicted savings in labor, chemicals and water to be achieved by switching to a microfiber system were delivered almost immediately.
“We measured our water consumption when we first started the microfiber program,” explains Chris Headrick, custodial supervisor at Rolla High School, member of the district’s Green Cleaning Team, and GCIC executive with Green Clean Institute (GCI), a third-party education and certification organization.
“Before the Filmop program, we were using 254 gallons of water each night for our floor mopping and surface cleaning at the high school,” he continues. “The first year using Filmop we reduced that consumption to 98 gallons. Today, after implementing some additional changes, we are using just 48 gallons of water.”
One Pass Wet Dusting
Filmop’s one-step wet dusting protocol cuts in half the time dedicated to daily floor maintenance, as custodians can accomplish in “one pass” what is typically accomplished in a two-step process of dry dusting followed by damp mopping.
Filmop’s “one pass” technique uses long-looped microfiber mop heads and a top-down charging bucket procedure. The mop head microfiber is manufactured with a processed blend of 80 percent polyester and 20 percent polymide.
This manufacturing process first blends these materials then takes an extra step to split the fiber to less than one denier (finer than 1/100th of a human hair). This splitting process creates additional “hooks” that allow the mop heads to hold more dirt and “capillaries” that enable the mop head to hold almost twice as much cleaning solution.
The mop heads are particularly effective with a long-loop design. These “long loops” adjust to floor imperfections and maintain constant contact with the surface, grout lines and along baseboards while assuring even loading on the entire pad, not just along the front edge.
The top-down charging bucket is a compact, sealed, five-gallon container that holds up to 30 flat mop heads; enough to cover up to 10,000 square feet at a time. When the bucket is filled with 1.5 gallons of cleaning solution, the mop heads soak up the cleaning solution in 20 to 30 minutes and are ready for quick attachment to mop holders.
This floor cleaning approach eliminates the need for custodians to lug heavy water buckets that can tip, saves them from returning to closets to empty dirty water, and rescues them from straining with heavy string mops.
“We love the mop heads and the top-down system,” notes Headrick, “The system saves us time and enables us to do other jobs. We cover more ground in less time.”
Steps Saved with Oversized 72-inch V-Sweeper
Wide school hallways are heavily trafficked during the school day and gather all types of student-strewn debris. The time to clean these floors is drastically reduced with a V-sweeper floor dusting system that adjusts from a narrow width to pass through doorways to 72 inches for hallways or gym floors.
The scissor-type action allows for gathered debris and dust to be held towards the center of the v-shaped frame. The mop heads are changed with easy-to-use velcro attachments.
Microfiber mop heads are extended into the cafeteria for cleaning tables with a quick Velco-attachment to ergonomic hand trowels.
“There are many different grades of microfiber out there,” says Headrick, “We have found microfiber made with a 100 percent processed blend that is less than one denier is the best. The performance is so superior that we now specify these parameters in our annual bid.”
Versatile Bucketless Mop Fills Gaps
Rounding out the microfiber program is the use of a bucketless mop, or Total Mop™. The Total Mop allows for non-stop wet cleaning along the edges of the hallways, classrooms, and stairs, as well as spot cleaning in the cafeteria with on-board solution tanks holding up to 50 ounces of cleaning solution.
Nine Years Without Discarding a Mop
“I have not thrown out a single mop head since 2005,” says Headrick. “Most of them have been washed three times a week since the first day of use. I have a few with some minor wear, such as stitching that has started to fray or a loop that has pulled loose. But these minor problems do not change their effectiveness.”
No-Touch Bagging of Debris
School custodians are called upon for clean-ups that are not typically encountered in other facilities. From juice box spills to dropped hot lunches to stomach flu residue, it is refreshing to find a no-touch solution for clean-up.
A bagged dustpan on a lightweight aluminum handle with a rubber, squeegee-like edge that adheres flat to the floor to effectively capture liquids. A handled squeegee broom quickly sweeps liquids and floor debris into the bag opening.
The Green Cleaning Team at Rolla Public Schools is not pausing to savor their environmental accolades. The team is constantly looking at ways to improve their healthy cleaning initiatives. Today, the entire Rolla Public Schools’ custodial staff is certified as Environmental Health Services Technicians, now a requirement by the school district. They continue to maintain their certification rating through continuing education credits from the Green Clean Institute.