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Mop cleanliness: When bucket water should be changed

Water in a mop bucket can quickly become dirty. Infrequent bucket changes can reduce the effectiveness of the mop and actually cause contaminants to spread. In healthcare and hospitality settings, mop water should be changed frequently.

How often to change dirty mop water

Mopping trollies with a dual bucket and wringer system can keep mop water cleaner and safer for longer, but they still require frequent changes. When using this type of system, the dirty mop should be returned to the rinse water and then wringed out before placing it back into the cleaning solution. Custodians should ensure that all debris and sedimentation is removed from the mop head before placing it into the cleaning solution.

When the cleaning solution becomes visibly dirty, it’s time to change rinse out the buckets, change the mop head and start with fresh cleaning solution. There’s no standard regulation concerning the frequency with which mop heads or water should be changed. Custodians should use their best judgement to determine when it’s time to change the water.

Putting dirty water back onto the floor not only defeats the purpose of cleaning, but can also put people at risk, especially in healthcare environments.

Hospital custodians should change their mop water after cleaning a patient’s room, especially if that patient may be experiencing an infection. Failure to do so could result in the contamination of common areas or spread infection among patients.

Tips for dry mopping

Dry mopping before wet mopping can reduce the number of times the water bucket needs to be changed. Also known as dust mopping, this technique uses a dry microfiber mop head to gather dust, dirt and other debris prior to cleaning the floor with a solution.

Dry mopping is also ideal for hardwood floors that could become damaged by excess moisture. After removing dirt from the floor, the custodian can apply hardwood cleaner to the microfiber mop head polish the floor.

Microfibre mopping in hospitals

In hospitals and other healthcare settings, mopping with microfibres can reduce the risk of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). In fact, a cleanliness study conducted at Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital found that Rubbermaid Commercial Products’ microfibre line was highly effective at reducing sources of cross-contamination. Microfibre mops can be colour-coded to differentiate which areas each mop head should be used in, which can help custodians to remember where to use each one.

Wet mopping should be the final step of the floor cleaning process. Custodians should start with clean areas and work toward dirty areas to prevent spreading contaminants around the patient’s room. Microfibre pads should be laundered and disinfected after each use.

Spill mops

When cleaning biohazards such as blood, it’s best practice to use a dedicated spill mop with highly absorbent, disposable mop heads. Spill mops should be stored near patient rooms for quick and convenient access. The mop heads should always be disposed in containers labeled with biohazard warnings.

Correcting common mopping problems

Infrequent water changes can be a major problem, contributing to the spread of HAIs and similar ailments. In hospitals, mop buckets should be cleaned daily if not more frequently. The bucket should be rinsed of dirty water, scrubbed with a cleaning solution, rinsed again and left to dry. Before using the mop again, the bucket should be sprayed with a disinfectant before being filled with cleaning solution.

Another common problem occurs with mop heads are left to soak in mop buckets. Custodians may do this to save time. However, a soaking mop head is the ideal breeding ground for bacteria. Mop heads should never be left soaking. Custodians should be careful to wring out the mop head after each use and store it where it can continue to dry.

Clean mops, clean floors, healthy people

Following mopping best practices helps to keep everyone safe and healthy. In healthcare and hospitality settings, dry and wet mopping can prevent the spread of germs and disease. Microfibre mop heads are ideal for reducing the risks associated with wet and dirty mops.

To learn more about the latest innovations in cleaning solutions, check out what Rubbermaid Commercial Products has to offer.

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