Article by: Sihle Thusi
Cleaning is one of the simplest processes but can be quite chaotic if the required steps are not properly followed. It is imperative that one understands the type of cleaning required prior to the cleaning execution itself. One of the most critical steps that greatly assist if consulted correctly but does not get the attention it deserves is the "Technical Back-up" in the whole process. The Technical Information side of Cleaning, whether the Cleaning Chemical itself or the Process as a whole is one of the key features that ensures a complete smooth clean process.
Once one has equipped themselves with the relevant Technical Information, it makes the process simpler and dramatically extends the rate at which tasks are completed. There are various factors that one should consider in ensuring that the best decision for optimum results is taken during the Cleaning process.
Some of the benefits are:
· Cost Saving
· Reduce unnecessary waiting periods; tasks done quicker
· Reduce rate of reported Chemical Damage Incidences
· Reduce the need for Mechanical Action
The above points are all outcomes of making the correct decisions. It is now where we can focus on what these critical points are? The steps are discussed below:
Area of Application
Knowing the Area of Application assists in identifying the BEST product and avoids damage to the area being cleaned by using a potentially unsuitable chemical.
It makes logical sense to understand the requirements prior starting the Cleaning process. Always ask yourself the following questions:
· If in a High-Care or Food Processing area, what Certifications are needed? NRCS, SANS1853, SAHPRA etc.
· Should the process consist of Cleaning only or is Disinfection a requirement?
· How big is the area?
· What will the Dilution Ratios be?
· Will the Cleaning be manual or automated? The two have different requirements.
Type of Cleaning Process
Another vital part of cleaning is the form in which the cleaning will be conducted. Understanding whether the Cleaning process will be automated or manual will assist in making the right decision. The two cleaning processes have unique requirements which could lead to dire effects should they not be undertaken correctly. In most instances, automated processes require Low Foaming products due to the machinery being sensitive to Foam and the opposite applies for a Manual process.
There is a general belief that a product with less foam does not clean better than a product with more foam. This is a not the case and does not determine the end result.
Understanding the Cleaning Process
Cleaning is the process of removing soils from a surface and not necessarily removing bacteria or viruses. Disinfecting is required to achieve that. Having clarified the various requirements above it is now easy for one to tackle a cleaning project with the best tools. There are a number of soils and we will discuss some of them in this article. The type of soil will influence the type of product needed to conduct the cleaning process.
The soils may range from grease, surface dirt, corrosion and scale build-up. The pH of the product becomes an important factor to consider before recommending any product. Below is the Breakdown of what type of product is needed for different types of Soils:
Grease – This is one type of soil that is very Hydrophobic which means that it does not dissolve well in water.
The type of soil requires an alkaline type of a product. This is a product with high pH. For more stubborn soils, there is another group of cleaners which are known as solvents and can be used for more stubborn soils which are never removed by the alkaline cleaner.
Types of Areas mostly affected:
Workshops, Fuel Station Floors, Toolbox Kits, engines etc.
Scale - Usually made up of Calcium build-up arising from the water hardness.
This type of Soil requires an Acidic type of a product. This is a product with a Low pH.
Types of Areas mostly affected:
Tile Grout, Toilet Bowls, Boilers and Kettles etc…
Corrosion – This is the result of a process known as Oxidation.
This type of soiling also requires an acidic type of product that removes rust but prevents further corrosion.
Types of Areas affected:
Metal Surfaces or any area susceptible to oxidation.
Once one is equipped with the above Technical Information, it makes it easier for any Cleaning Project to be successfully tackled.
Now that the Cleaning Process has been covered; there comes another important feature known as Disinfection. As stated above, cleaning does not really guarantee that an area / surface will be germ free upon completion. So it therefore becomes important that a stage be an addition to the cleaning process with an aid of Disinfectants.
Also known as the process of destroying Micro-Organisms, Disinfection is a vital requirement in Food Processing Areas and High-Care Areas.
There are various types of Active Disinfectants to choose from:
· Sodium Hypochlorite
· Hypochlorous Acid
· Quaternary Ammonium Compounds
The list goes on…
You can further sterilize a surface; which will be to destroy any form of life, whether microorganisms or spores.
There are products that have a dual effect; they Clean and Disinfects at the same time. It is important to alternate your Disinfectants to prevent Resistance.
It now goes without any say that Cleaning Is made simple with just gathering the right information and exploring the options on offer.