“Everything old is new again” is a saying that certainly holds true for today’s cleaning products. The latest items take established formulations and tweak them—technologically. The result: better sanitation, cost savings and reduced labor. Considering that the National Restaurant Association estimates that an operator will spend $75,000 responding to an outbreak of foodborne illness, preventative practices can be a “make-or-break” situation.
Finding cleaning products that are more eco-friendly has become an important goal for many operators. One such example, ionization technology—passing a low electrical charge through ordinary water to produce cleaning solutions—made a big splash in the cleaning category a few years ago. Yet the leader in the field, Activeion, went out of business last April, citing an inability to reach commercial viability.
Nevertheless, there are still some manufacturers offering ionization products as a “greener” solution. The Trio system from Gen-Eon Technologies converts water and salt in a spray bottle into nontoxic solutions of sodium hydroxide and hypochlorous acid. The resulting solutions clean and sanitize surfaces, and the manufacturer claims a “kill rate” of more than 99 percent of such common germs as staph and novovirus. For larger operations, the ELT-100 ionizing unit from EcoLogic Solutions can produce up to 330 gallons of cleaning solutions daily, using just salt, tap water and electricity.
Sometimes, simplicity makes a cleaning product valuable. In a 2010 Ipsos survey conducted for Procter & Gamble Professional, “ease of use” came in third (after “performance” and “price”) as being an important factor in cleaning product purchases. The simpler a product is to use, the more likely it will be used correctly, which is critical for adherence to HACCP practices. Ease of use also saves time in training new staff—an advantage with today’s heavy turnover rates.
Sani Professional’s new cleaning system begins with no-rinse disposable wipes—a tried-and-true idea. But they’re packed in a totable holder that not only dispenses the wipes, but also stores the used wipes and opens from the bottom for hands-free disposal.
The OmniFlex Dispense-and-Vac floor-cleaning system from Kaivac, one of the Kitchen Innovations award winners at this year’s NRA Show, mounts a wet-dry vacuum atop a 10-gallon solution tank. Cleaning solution is dispensed onto the floor through a spigot in the bottom of the tank, and can then be picked up by the vacuum.
Beat the clock
Do the math: If your operation is open six days a week and serves two meals daily, a product that saves five minutes of cleaning time per daypart will save you over a week’s worth of labor time over the course of a year.
In carpet cleaning, for example, the longer the drying time, the longer the just-washed area is unusable. Diversey’s Dry Foam Carpet Care System delivers cleaning quality near to that of extraction-style machines, with a “dry time” of just 30 minutes. Cleaning greasy kitchen surfaces, especially those with buildup, can often require an initial degreasing, followed by a finishing cleansing rinse. The new Cleaner and Degreaser Concentrates from Clorox Commercial Solutions combine both, requiring no rinsing or extended soak times.
So price should not be your only consideration when purchasing cleaning products. Despite a higher initial cost, a product that saves time by performing its task more quickly can turn out to be a money-saver in the long run.