The Portable Cleaning Cart: Your Custodian’s Go Anywhere Mobile Office
No building employee has more significant influence on the safety and health of a facility than a custodian, making their equipment critical to a job well done. For a custodian, a portable cleaning cart is their office on wheels, traveling with them throughout the day and enabling them to perform the tasks at hand. Yet, not all cleaning carts are created equal and an underperforming cart in your equipment arsenal can jeopardize far more than just the quality of clean.
The Value a Great Portable Cleaning Cart
Carefully choosing a commercial custodial cart allows facility managers, building service contractors and employers to capitalize on all the benefits of these departmental staples.
Reducing Worker Injury
Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) are a common hazard faced by janitors and cleaners caused by overexertion and repetitive motions during the cleaning process. According to a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, janitors and cleaners are among one of the top occupations with the highest number of nonfatal injuries (see chart) with overexertion and bodily reaction as the main contributors, ahead of falls, slips and trips.
Therefore, any equipment that reduces the amount workers need to bend and stretch can help minimize MSDs and pain in the back, wrists, and hands. Proposed equipment includes long-handled and angled tools to increase accessibility of hard to reach areas, and lighter weight, ergonomically designed cleaning carts to lessen the physical stress of pushing or pulling heavy cleaning carts.
Whether your goal is increasing janitorial staff efficiency, executing more frequent cleanings or increasing profit margins, one of the most reliable solutions is to increase overall productivity. Being more efficient means faster cleanings, and when needed, more frequent cleanings, without sacrificing the level of clean. Improved training and optimized cleaning processes can help boost productivity, along with better cleaning systems, such as portable cleaning carts.
Streamlined cleaning carts significantly improve productivity as they help staff avoid backtracking. If a custodial cart is fully supplied, cleaners have immediate access to their commercial cleaning supplies and do not have to make unnecessary, time-consuming trips to supply closets to retrieve something that they forgot, or something needed to address an unexpected cleaning situation. Being prepared eliminates the back and forth, making cleaning jobs faster.
Promoting a Positive Brand Image
Although we’re taught not to judge a book by its cover, a mismanaged, unorganized or dirty cleaning cart can speak volumes as to how important cleaning and disinfecting is to your facility. When a building occupant sees an unkept cart, it’s likely that they will question the quality of clean in the facility, just like if they saw an unkept, disorganized reception area, office, waiting room, etc.
And in light of new standards of cleaning and disinfecting spurred by the pandemic, having a building occupant or patron feel comfortable and reassured in their environment has risen to a heightened level of importance. This thinking holds especially true for organizations operating in the food services, restaurant, healthcare and hospitality industries. Looking at restaurants for example, when choosing a restaurant, 93% of consumers say restaurant cleanliness is important or very important. That’s even higher than kitchen cleanliness! Given this critical time in the economy across industries, losing patrons due to their lack of confidence in the health and cleanliness of your environment comes with a financial risk.
And on the other side of the cart, having an organized, professional looking cart empowers janitorial staff to take more pride in their work and can increase their confidence in their cleaning ability.
Portable Cleaning Cart Components to Evaluate
There are a variety of cleaning carts to help staff stay productive, organized and safe while executing facility cleaning protocols. Although there’s a range of cleaning cart solutions from housekeeping carts to restroom cleaning carts, there are some common considerations for choosing the best one for your needs.
In the best-case scenario, your custodians have every possible tool at their disposal to eliminate the back-and-forth trips to gather additional supplies. The effort it takes to return to a supply closet to restock supplies wastes time and reduces productivity. Think of employee’s desk with no pens, no paper and no office staples – how much time can be spent away from the desk to find what is needed?
Even eliminating one trip every shift increases productivity. With an expanded storage module, you’ll substantially limit trips to the supply closet. And with the addition of a secure storage clip system, all tools will have an identified position on the cart and are securely in place when moving between areas.
Janitorial carts that integrate ergonomics fit the cleaning tools and equipment to the needs of the user. For janitors, ergonomic fit is key to productivity as well as prevention of strain and injuries. Just like you wouldn’t want an employee’s office chair to cause discomfort, janitors need that same level of care put into selecting a cart. Carts like Unger’s RestroomRx feature an ergonomically designed rail to eliminate poor posture and optimize comfort when on the move. No matter which side of the cart you’re on, the ergonomic design allows you to push and pull with less effort, resulting in better maneuverability.
Custodial carts that feature a secure storage clip system place the tools at the user’s fingertips. This ergonomic feature minimizes the need to bend and stretch repeatedly to access cleaning tools, ultimately reducing the chance to develop repetitive stress injuries (RSIs).
Size and Mobility
Modern janitorial carts are light-weight and compact and include quality wheels and castors that help them easily glide along a variety of floor surfaces. With a variety of size options available, you’ll want to consider where your cart needs to travel – tight hallways, elevators, narrow doorways, etc.– so that you can determine the appropriate size cart. When not in use, you’ll also need to take into account the cart’s length and width to ensure it will fit in the allotted storage space.
Custodial carts that feature a narrow tool tower allows all cleaning tools to remain within the boundaries of the cart. Since no tools hang over the outside edge of the cleaning cart, getting through even tight doorways is easy.
Some other features you can look for in a portable cleaning cart, specifically for restroom floor cleaning or general floor & surface cleaning, are dual bucket systems, telescopic dustpans, and drip pans that are all developed to deliver optimal productivity and cleaning results when integrated into the cleaning cart design.
Sourcing a Commercial Portable Cleaning Cart
If we can help you in choosing the best janitorial cart for your custodial ‘offices’, please contact us for more information or download a copy of Unger’s commercial cleaning product catalog.