Blog: Scrubber dryers – to ride or not to ride


When it comes to the cleaning of hard floor surfaces within buildings, there can be no doubt that scrubber dryers have become the tool of choice for most cleaning service providers.

With the ongoing advancement in manufacturing technology, gone are the days of the scrubber dryer only being effective in large, open plan spaces such as shopping centres and airport terminals.

In fact, machines such as the Wetrok Tango, with its compact and low profile design, allow for scrubber dryer cleaning in environments such as classrooms, offices, washrooms and so on, which were historically off limits to cleaning with anything other than a mopping system due to size and manoeuvrability.  As a result, we are now able to appreciate the same advantages in smaller more congested spaces that scrubber dryer cleaning has long since delivered in much larger spaces.

Whilst advancements in the manufacture of smaller machines are a very positive thing indeed, this is not to decry or undermine the larger end of the scrubber dryer range. They certainly continue to have their place and to deliver greater levels of productivity and standards of cleanliness than any other hard floor cleaning system across large spaces.

The question then, where large floor spaces are concerned, is not so much to scrub or not to scrub (scrubber dryer cleaning is a given) but more to ride or not to ride? In other words, where and when does the application of a large pedestrian scrubber dryer take preference over that of a ride-on machine and vice versa?

In all honesty, our humble yet professional opinion is that it is difficult, if not impossible, to specify a machine for a floor area without physically seeing it first, hence the reason we insist on completing a comprehensive site survey before even getting to the demonstration phase of our offer.

In our experience there is no generic “size chart” whereby X number of m2 = Y size of machine. As a matter of fact, we have just completed a fairly major undertaking with a customer, during the initial phase of which we drew up a hypothetical list of machines required for 17 new sites based on square metreage alone in the full knowledge that we were subsequently going to visit all of the sites to complete the type of survey mentioned above. It comes as no great surprise to us that the final list (post survey) is quite different in places from the original one.

During the survey phase of any project there are key areas on which we focus our attention;


Clearly the machine specified needs to be compatible with the location’s floor types and have a battery life / recharge rate that will facilitate the floors in question being cleaned as frequently and for as long as the customer desires. Size of area versus congestion (furniture, fixtures and fittings) is also clearly a critical factor.


In very basic terms it is prerequisite that the equipment supplied delivers a level of productivity sufficient to clean the floor areas in question within the allotted times.


The issue of flexibility and adaptability is important to us. On a fairly regular basis we will find ourselves of the opinion that two pedestrian machines (at a lower cost) are a better option for our customers than one large ride-on, given that work rate / productivity will remain undiminished by nature of there being two machines but the option to utilise them in a greater number of areas is increased by virtue of their size and manoeuvrability.

Hours and practical requirements

It is very much our desire to avoid providing a sledgehammer for the purposes of cracking a nut and with this in mind there is no advantage to be had in specifying a machine that will perform for longer than there are cleaning hours available or indeed that delivers a productivity rating over and above that required.


It almost goes without saying that for the most part, we are all required to work within the confines of a budget in the modern day and age. Therefore, it is absolutely essential that we are sensitive and supportive of the customer’s boundaries as far as this matter is concerned.

In summary it is our objective to supply and provide ongoing support for machinery that is right for our customer (service provider), right for the cleaner and right for the client (building owner / user).

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Blog: Training your cleaning staff benefits everyone

An effective ongoing training regime is vital for any business wishing to ensure its staff are successful and retain them.

Not least is this true in the world of commercial cleaning, although you’d be surprised at the number of people outside of the cleaning industry who fail to grasp this. “You train people to do what?” is an all too common refrain I’m afraid.

People assume because they clean at home that those skills are transferable – but that isn’t the case. I’ve been known to mow the lawn every once in a while, but it doesn’t make me a landscape gardener. The same parallels can be drawn here.

There are many reasons why training is important: increased productivity, improved morale and better staff retention. Additionally, investing in the best cleaning systems and machinery is undeniably worthless unless your cleaning staff are fully capable of making the most of that investment.

Having said this, training is only one part of the approach to ensuring that our customers make the investment work best for them.

We consult with the customer to be certain we understand their wants and needs; we survey their site in order to ensure we offer up the system that is best suited to meeting said wants and needs; we demonstrate the system and its capabilities and then work towards a final agreement. Once all of this has been completed training takes place to ensure all staff who will be using the system have a detailed understanding of how to make the most of the equipment.

It is vitally important, that those people who will be using the system on a daily basis are not just included in this process for training once all of the decisions have been made but are included from the very beginning and throughout.

More often than not they will have extremely valid input into what will work best for them given their intimate knowledge of doing the job in question. Additionally, securing their buy-in is crucial to guaranteeing that we achieve what we set out to achieve – making certain that our customer’s investment is absolutely right for them and delivering everything we agreed.

People can be resistant to change and in my humble opinion, never is this truer than in cleaning but it’s our experience that an inclusive approach is much more likely to succeed than an exclusive one.

They say ‘a bad workman blames his tools’ but actually failures in the equipment procurement process can result in staff being lumbered with the wrong tools for the job they’re trying to do so why wouldn’t they blame them?

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Blog: The importance of not cutting corners when using scrubber dryers


I can recall quite a number of occasions in the past where, thinking I know better than conventional wisdom, I have attempted to cut corners for the sake of speed and perceived simplicity in my domestic life. However, whilst standing amongst the ruins of some DIY or culinary disaster, speed and simplicity are quite the opposite of what is ultimately achieved and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that doing it the “right way” from the beginning will always prove to be more time and results efficient.

Never is this truer than in the world of professional cleaning and where the application of scrubber dryers is concerned.

In fact, there are five golden rules when it comes to not cutting corners and doing things the right way, which we constantly refer when training on scrubber dryer machines.

  1. Thoroughly check machine before use

Any item of cleaning equipment should be thoroughly checked before use so that the operative responsible for using it is certain it is clean, safe and fit for purpose. Where scrubber dryers are specifically concerned the clean solution and recovery tanks should be checked for cleanliness, any filters should be unclogged and squeegee blades should be checked for cleanliness and correct operation. Any machine tasked with removing moisture from hard surfaces is only going to perform whilst its blades are in good condition. Once they begin to wear they will leave streaking and moisture on the floor. Operatives should be trained to identify this wear and subsequently how to change or turn the blades.

  1. Pre-sweep

Regardless of the cleaning task at hand, we always advise removing dry dust and particulate soil before wet cleaning. After all what is the point in adding moisture to dirt and creating a more difficult to remove sludge? Where scrubber dryer cleaning is concerned, pre-sweeping has the added advantage of preventing the machine’s squeegee blades from clogging and causing streaking across the floor. Additionally, in industrial areas, string and shrink wrap from palletised packaging are anathema to scrubber dryers and can cause damage and long periods out of service. We recommend the use of the Masslinn sweeping system prior to wet cleaning.

  1. Dilute cleaning chemical accurately

There are a considerable number of reasons why it is very important to dilute cleaning chemical concentrates accurately, including waste and surface damage. However, amongst the most frequently cited is the impact that the residue from under-diluted cleaning chemicals can have. On occasion this residue can be slippery which is not good where floor care is concerned. More often than not though, it will dry to be sticky. This means that the floor will re-soil quickly, making daily cleaning more difficult in the long term. Additionally, under-diluted chemical residue can clog up the internal componentry on scrubber dryers causing further unnecessary downtime.

  1. Consider pace

Whether we are using pedestrian scrubber dryers which are manually propelled or larger pedestrian or ride-on machines which are traction driven, the pace at which the machine moves across the floor will have a significant impact on how effectively the machine cleans. Clearly the slower the machine moves (within reason) the more effectively it will clean. This needs to be balanced against the period of time available to complete the job in hand but it is all too common an occurrence that speed will win out over cleaning results for busy cleaning staff with lots to do.

  1. Clean equipment after use

It is a physical and practical impossibility to clean using dirty equipment and therefore removing a scrubber dryer’s brush(es) and squeegee assembly for cleaning, emptying the recovery tank for rinsing through and drying are critical post-clean tasks. If undertaken from the installation of a new machine, these tasks are anything but onerous. However, it is when they have been overlooked for a few weeks that the dirt begins to harden and the clean down of the machine becomes hard work.

I remember the importance of these tasks being brought into sharp perspective for me fairly early in my career while working for another machine supplier. At the time we loaned a demonstration machine to a contractor to cover their regular machine being out of service for repair.

The contract in question was with a chain of supermarkets and when we received the demonstration machine back after only a week, it was clear it had been used to “clean” within the produce section of the supermarket. Not only was the recovery tank full of dirty water there was also evidence of rotting vegetables floating around, the whole thing was infested with Black Fly and the smell was dreadful. While on the one hand, one can spend time wondering why anyone would return a machine full of dirty cleaning solution, the bigger question for me is why they would use the machine such a condition in a retail setting while the store was open?

When dirty solution is vacuumed from the floor during the use of a scrubber dryer, the machine picks up a certain amount of air along with the dirty solution. In order to prevent the machine from blowing up, this air needs to be vented during the machine’s operating process and so the air would have passed through the recovery tank, picked up the general odour of dirt and rotting vegetation only to be blown out into the store while customers were shopping.

In summary, short cuts are often attractive but misleading. We think we’re going to save time but only end up making things much more difficult in the long term.

Matt Baines
Learning and development manager
Jigsaw Cleaning Systems

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Blog: Best practice in cleaning – what does it mean?

Planning, specifying and training are all key aspects to adopting sustainable technology

Best practice in cleaning is one of those terms which is so frequently and often, improperly used that over recent times it has lost definition and meaning to the point that the question “What is best practice?” often elicits little more than a blank expression in return.

When delivering training modules on this subject we tend to define best practice as a technique or method that, through experience and research, has proven to consistently deliver superior results to those achieved by other means. Or in other words the best way to do it.

It is our opinion that when applying this to the field of commercial cleaning, best practice revolves around two key areas of a service provider’s operation:

  1. Cleaning methodology – i.e. the way in which cleaning operatives carry out cleaning processes
  2. Equipment management – i.e. what provisions are in place to ensure all cleaning equipment functions properly and is maintained to a hygienic standard

Where cleaning methodology is concerned there are too many separate factors for consideration to be mentioned here however, a few elements of core significance are as follows:

Cleaning Methodology

  1. Cleaning to maintain safe levels of bacteria
    Bacteria are almost omnipresent and therefore removing them completely from an environment is not only extremely difficult but in many cases unnecessary. Bacteria receive a bad press and many people think of them as universally ‘bad’ however they are in fact essential to the preservation of life and assist us in all manner of ways from digesting food to producing vitamins to assisting with the biodegrading process.
    Where best practice in cleaning is concerned it is the pathogenic or ‘harmful’ bacteria that we are interested in removing and/or reducing in number as it is this type of bacteria that, if allowed to colonise unchecked, have the potential to impact on human health. This is particularly apt in environments such as toilets and washrooms which are more prone to being contaminated by pathogenic strains of bacteria.
    We would encourage our end user customers to consider the use of the right type of microfibre cleaning systems which when used correctly, are arguably the most effective way of removing a wide variety of different surface soil types or dirt. It is these soil types that provide a food source for the bacteria and in removing them we are removing a vital element they require in order to survive.
    Similarly, if we consider drying surfaces after cleaning, thereby removing moisture (another key survival element) and using a quality proprietary bactericide we are yet further impacting on bacteria and improving standards of cleanliness within a given environment.
  2. Working to prevent cross contamination
    Cross contamination is the transfer of dirt, dust and bacteria from dirty surfaces onto cleaner ones through poor cleaning procedures. For obvious reasons it is important that this type of activity is stopped from occurring. The two most commonly used practices for preventing cross contamination are colour coding and cleaning from clean to dirty (where appropriate). Colour coding is about assigning specific colours to the equipment used to clean in different areas of a premises in order for example, a cloth used to clean a toilet is never used to clean a desk or worst still, food surface. Cleaning from clean to dirty ensures that the cleaning operative is not transferring soil and bacteria from dirty surfaces onto cleaner ones but rather that they are effectively closing in on those areas which are likely to be most contaminated. Within the average toilet cubicle for example, this would involve working towards the toilet seat / upper part of the toilet bowl.
  3. Changing cleaning solutions when soiled
    A particular pet hate when out and about is to see cleaning operatives attempting to ‘clean’ with buckets of murky, dirty cleaning solution. All detergent based cleaning solutions have a saturation point, a point beyond which they become incapable of breaking down, lifting and suspending any more soil.
    If the cleaning solution is not disposed of and replaced once this saturation point is reached, any cleaning ceases and is replaced by an activity best described as spreading dirt around. Similarly, soil will begin to fall out of suspension in the solution and the bucket will become coated with an odorous sludge.
  4. Using equipment effectively
    Using cleaning equipment in such a way as makes the most of its capabilities and the investment made in its purchase is clearly important. In order to achieve this, we would always advise such practices as folding cleaning cloths into a minimum of four and refolding when one side becomes soiled rather than randomly scrunching them up. This provides eight cleaning sides to each cloth and ensures that the maximum use is being made of its entire surface area.
    When mopping is being undertaken, regardless of what type of mopping system is being employed, it is considered best practice to ‘cut in’ first – that is to say to clean around the edges of the floor, immediately adjacent to the skirting first with a clean mop before then cleaning the main body of the floor. This ensures that dirt from the main area of the floor is not accidentally transferred onto skirting boards etc.


Methodology is key in healthcare cleaning

Equipment Management

  1. Ensure all equipment is clean
    It is impossible to clean using dirty equipment and therefore it is vital that best practice is exercised around cleaning equipment immediately after it has been used. All cloths and mops should be used once and disposed of or laundered, buckets should be emptied, rinsed and dried and machines such as scrubber dryers should be emptied, rinsed and propped open to air dry. Bacteria double in number every 20 minutes. Therefore, if a cloth, mop, bucket or machine is left dirty and wet and left overnight in a warm cleaning cupboard it will be crawling with bacteria the next time it is used to ‘clean’.
  2. Conduct thorough regular safety checks
    Cleaning operatives should take responsibility for checking over the machinery they use on a daily basis to ensure that it is safe and in a fit condition to do the job for which it is required. Additionally, we would always encourage those purchasing machinery over a certain size and value, to look seriously into signing up for a service contract. This will safeguard the investment made in the machinery, ensure it functions correctly throughout its expected lifetime and also typically validate any warranty on the machine.
  3. Store equipment safely and securely
    Best practice where storage of equipment is concerned is multi-layered but includes such key factors as the following:
  • Storing colour coded items of equipment separately in order to further prevent cross contamination.
  • Avoid storing chemicals above head height to prevent exposure to the eyes or face in the event of a spillage / container split.
  • Ensure all chemicals are accurately labelled so anyone entering the storage area can identify them quickly and easily.
  • Store machinery away from water sources so they don’t accidentally become wet and damaged.

In summary best practice is entirely achievable but the single thing that underpins it all is training. A cleaning operative cannot possibly hope to know all of the aforementioned points and many more besides, without a significant degree of training input. It is our experience that those service providers who really believe in best practice and are prepared to invest in it are also those keen to have a structured training programme for all of their cleaning operatives.

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Blog: Pre-sweeping is essential to achieving the best results

As anyone who has received basic training in commercial cleaning will know, pre-sweeping hard floors before wet cleaning takes place is a very good idea.

Not only does it ensure the cleaning process is more effective because we are not adding moisture to dry soil, but it also means our equipment will perform better for longer.

Mops stay cleaner, floor pads and brushes will not clog, floors will be saved from scratching and the risk of machinery being damaged or its performance inhibited will be drastically reduced.

One of the most important parts of any scrubber dryer is its squeegee blades and if these become damaged by dust build up then the machine will not perform effectively. This will mean time is lost in rectifying simple issues which could have been avoided in the first instance if a suitable pre-clean system had been adopted.

The chosen sweeping system should be appropriate for the area being cleaned and the result desired. These can be either mechanical or manual but should always suit a site’s specific needs.

If manual sweeping is preferred, then dust control mops are suitable for areas classified as medium to low risk. These are areas where traces of fine residual dust are unlikely to cause too much of a problem, an office reception area for example.

If however, this residual dust is more likely to be an issue, for example on a hospital ward, then we would recommend the use of Masslinn cloths which are far more efficient in the removal of the fine dust that traditional sweeping systems leave behind and offer the added benefit of much higher productivity too. The results need to be seen to be believed.

Where mechanical sweeping is the preferred option, perhaps due to the size of area or the nature of the debris or soil type, sweepers such as Wetrok’s Turbo Sweep 770 Plus deliver high productivity with the simplest operation and maintenance and increased cleaning performance compared to manual sweeping.

Alternatively, the compact Speedmatic Twister can be adapted for use with a carpet brush. This means it is capable of sweeping textile floor coverings and covers large areas without breaking sweat.

Using the right sweeping system prior to any wet clean ensures that that wet clean is performing to its ultimate ability.

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Blog: The key to achieving sustainability

Sustainability has been somewhat of a leading subject matter in all of our lives for a good period of time now and quite rightly so. More and more individuals are coming to realise how important it is to make adjustments to the way we operate both personally and professionally in order to manage the environmental impact we have.

Never is this truer than in the arena of modern commercial cleaning, where one of the clearest routes to proven sustainability is achieved through reducing waste. Waste could be the overuse or under-dilution of chemicals, using more water than is required, using too much electricity or spending more time and effort than is necessary.

It is very often the case that implementing a sustainable cleaning system which reduces waste has other attractive benefits for the service provider, be this a reduction in the costs of utilities and consumables or the peace of mind that comes from knowing your cleaning system is being used effectively and offers the best for your building and its fixtures and fittings.

To achieve sustainable results we believe consultation, planning, specifying and training are all key. We advise the first action should be a full site survey which should involve a review of the premises internally and externally, the current cleaning processes and equipment used, the number of people passing through, quieter periods and any other challenges.

From our experience, weighing up the site and the challenges that come with it means a strategic and tailored plan can be created. This is the best way of making sure that objectives and targets are achieved on a case-by-case basis every time.

Training is an essential part of guaranteeing that new products are adopted and used effectively and comes in to play once a final agreement has been achieved. Ensuring members of the cleaning team are fully appreciative of how to make the most out of a new cleaning system is vital to ensuring the success of that system.

However, we believe the cleaning staff should be involved throughout the decision-making process. New equipment can have all the added features and innovation but if the cleaner is confused or feels uncomfortable with a piece of equipment then it is likely to be under used and the investment will have been wasted.

Of course in this day and age a supplier’s ability to demonstrate innovation is crucial, which is why products which make the most out of materials designed to be both effective and efficient are increasingly popular. Sustainable materials are now more sought after than ever before and are something we continue to bring to the marketplace.

Finally, when it comes to new technology it is important to us that it should always offer improved efficiencies which justify any customer’s investment in new equipment.

Sustainability in cleaning is, in our opinion, readily achievable through an inclusive approach to specifying cleaning systems which bring together an understanding of the service provider’s needs, the cleaning team’s concerns, the technology available and the standards desired.

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Jigsaw boosts training team with new appointment

Matt Baines Jigsaw Cleaning SystemsJigsaw Cleaning Systems has strengthened its senior team to lead a major initiative in training for the benefit of customers.

Matt Baines has joined the Preston-based business as learning and development manager, bringing a wealth of experience in training and education.

With more than 16 years’ in the industry, Matt’s expertise in training, technical advice and best practice, adds a new package of support for customers. He joins the company from Premiere Products.

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Blog: Changing market demands inspire innovation

When it comes to cleaning across the diverse facilities management sector, saving time, money and resources are daily demands faced by decision-makers at all levels.

By striving to meet these challenging cost-saving targets, it is important not to lose sight of the quality and advantages that new technology and models of working can bring.

Introducing new technology should always offer improved efficiencies which justify the initial expenditure on the equipment.

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