A change in cleaning method leads to a $500,000 reduction in cost

by FM Media
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A saving of close to half a million dollars has been achieved by a New South Wales retirement home as a result of re-inventing the way their cleaners work each day, according to Interclean.

Peninsula Village Retirement Centre adopted a new cleaning regime five years ago and reports that savings in labour and materials are as much as half a million dollars. According to Jackie Bennett, environmental services manager at the 283-room centre, the new methodology resulted in less work and reduced labour costs by 30 percent. In just six months the centre achieved its cost saving targets.
The new cleaning regime was developed around a new trolley system, namely Interclean’s Microfibre Trolley. The trolley system involves the use of one trolley that is stocked in the morning with enough equipment, including cloths, mops and brooms – all the tools needed for high dusting, wall washing, surface wiping, floor mopping and waste emptying – to clean 10 washrooms and ward areas. It does away with the traditional method of staff needing to return to the cleaner’s cupboard every two rooms to re-stock their trolley with clean cloths and change dirty water.
“One of our cleaners can clean up to 20 rooms in one shift. That meant they had to go back and forth to the cupboard 10 times and it wasted so much time”, Heather Martin, domestic supervisor and head of housekeeping at the centre, imparts. “With the new system they only go back to the cupboard once at the end of their shift. The staff also benefit as it is physically easier.”
“We had six months to make the transition so we gradually cut back hours over that time and gave more hours to our permanent staff. We were really clever with that so we did it by natural attrition. There were no redundancies which is a nicer way to implement a system so it started on a positive note,” Bennett notes.

The new approach to cleaning has also led to a 70 percent reduction in the cost of cleaning products, Bennett adds. “Cleaners tend to think the more chemicals used the cleaner the surface will be, but that’s a misconception. You only need a few drops of chemicals or none at all to get an effective result. It was a learning curve for many of the staff, who were accustomed to the old ‘mop and bucket’ method of cleaning. We use one set of cloths and mop head per room that are then put straight into the laundry. While before any infected rooms would be cleaned last so cleaners had to double back, and now they don’t have to as it’s one use-one room.”
Bennett notes that although the integration of the trolley system was a costly venture in the beginning, the benefits outweighed the costs. “It has changed the way we work in so many way. It’s physically easier on the staff, it has cut our labour and product costs dramatically and helps us combat infection control to create a very clean and hygienic facility for both the residents and staff to enjoy,” Bennett concludes.
The team at Peninsula Village are now considering using their cost-saving system as the foundation for pioneering a cleaning service to the local community.

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