Cash-strapped school and college managers are missing an opportunity to cut their cleaning budgets and protect the health of students, according to an exponent of science-based cleaning. A false economy is being made across the education sector as caretakers and cleaning teams rely on outdated equipment and methods, warns James White, managing director of Denis Rawlins Ltd.
“The main culprit is mopping,” said White. “Even microfibre mops spread contamination rather than removing it. This is a hazard in any building, but in a school or university where large numbers of young people are gathered the risks are high.”
According to the company, if not cleaned hygienically, multi-use school halls, toilets, washrooms, and canteens can help spread infection or become cross-contaminated. Yet hygienic cleaning is easy and highly effective, explained White: “The scientific evidence is compelling. Independent tests  in the US showed that a microfibre mop only removed around half the bacteria from a contaminated floor - before going on to re-infect the cleaned areas. This compared with 99% removal for the OmniFlex hygienic cleaning system . This is a low-cost method that controls the amount of fresh cleaning solution spread or sprayed - and then brushed, as necessary, to remove stubborn soil - before the contaminated liquid is vacuumed into a separate recovery tank. The performance of the OmniFlex system matches that of a far more expensive scrubber-dryer machine, and halves the labour costs of a cleaning regime based on hand mopping. We have checked the sums and learnt from the science, which is why we launched our campaign to Chop the Mop. There is a far more efficient, hygienic and cost-effective way to clean that will benefit our schools and students.”
 A solution containing Escherichia coli was applied to vinyl composite tiles. Cleaning effectiveness was measured by ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) readings, the marker for animal, bacterial and mould cells. Mopping's performance dropped to 24% in the cross-contaminated areas.
 OmniFlex is a patented, modular cleaning system developed by Kaivac Inc of Ohio, USA. Denis Rawlins is the UK distributor of Kaivac Cleaning Systems.