The ISSA 2010 Kaivac Challenge
Live Science-based Demonstrations Highlight Extreme Soil Removal - 31 Times More Efficient at Removing Soils From Hard Surfaces
What's the most critical component of a cleaning system? The chemicals, or the cleaning process itself? Is sight and smell the best indicator of cleanliness? Does microfiber really remove 99.9% of soils as some claim? In order to shed some light on questions such as these, Kaivac conducted live side-by-side comparisons of cleaning effectiveness between its 500 psi No-Touch Cleaning® systems and various new, unused microfiber pads in its booth at ISSA in Orlando. Before and after measurements were taken using an ATP* meter and swabs (link to ATP page) to determine which method removed the greatest percentage of organic 'soil.' To keep things interesting, the Kaivac system was restricted to water only, while the mopping systems employed properly diluted cleaning chemicals as well as brand new microfiber pads.
The results of these scientific comparisons clearly demonstrated the superiority of the No-Touch Cleaning process as compared to mopping, even with the Kaivac cleaning with water while the mops utilized chemical. On average, mopping removed 56.67% of organic soil, while the Kaivac process removed an average of 98.60%. That means that the microfiber mopping process left 31 times more soil behind than the Kaivac method! For a spreadsheet of the actual results of the 12 tests, click here.
*ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) is the universal energy molecule found in all animal, plant, bacteria, yeast and mold cells. Click here for more information.
Why Chemical Free?
Kaivac believes that when it comes to the removal of undesirable soils, the cleaning process has a greater impact than the cleaning chemical. In other words, for effective cleaning, chemistry may be important, but the process is critical. This notion has been demonstrated repeatedly in multiple field and laboratory tests that show that the cleaning process has a greater impact on the reduction of soil loads and bacteria than the chemical being used, which is contrary to the perception of most people. Also, by removing chemistry from the No-Touch Cleaning process, we'll be able to focus on the native capabilities of the Kaivac equipment.
What Are We Trying to Discover?
There are some strongly held beliefs in the industry that Kaivac suspects are really myths. If this is the case, then these myths must be exposed by science in order to reach the truth. Only then will our industry be able to communicate its true value and achieve its due recognition.
Myth: Chemicals are the primary component of a cleaning system.
Kaivac acknowledges that real-world soil conditions or health concerns often call for the use of appropriate cleaning chemicals. However, to much of the world, cleaning is primarily about the application and removal of chemicals, with little thought to the tools or processes involved. With the emergence of advanced cleaning technologies, do chemicals still play the principal role they once did? Do they compensate for inferior process or tools?
Myth: Microfiber is the answer.
Microfiber has certainly been an important and welcome cleaning innovation over the last decade. In fact, Kaivac markets microfiber cloths and pads as well as microfiber mopping systems. Microfiber is extremely absorbent and also has the ability to polish as it removes soils. Unlike traditional mop heads that are rarely changed, microfiber mop pads can be removed and replaced easily, which improves the effective cleaning range while reducing the risk of cross-contamination. The pads can then be laundered and returned to a sanitary state for the next use, unlike traditional string mops. But it has its limitations. With all of its positive qualities, many vendors have made exaggerated claims that are not supported by science. The reality is that microfiber can only remove so much soil before it becomes saturated, and when that occurs, it can disseminate soils and germs like any other cloth or mop.
Myth: If it looks clean and smells clean, it must be clean.
If the main objective of the cleaning industry is to remove undesirable soils and other unwanted matter from buildings, we should measure our effectiveness against that goal. Considering, however, that much of the 'unwanted matter' that we are charged with removing is invisible and odor-free, including potentially dangerous microorganisms, mere visual inspections aren't nearly sufficient. Easy to use handheld ATP meters enable non-scientific people to immediately and easily 'see' the amount of invisible organic soils on a surface, even when it appears to be clean. After all, it is these invisible contaminants that pose the greatest health risk to human health.
See for yourself in your own facility.
The good news is that you don't have to take our word for it. Contact Kaivac for a free demonstration in your own facility.
Each test area was artificially 'contaminated' with ATP. The source of the ATP was white grapes, which were processed through a juicing machine to filter out the pulp and skins. Five (5) ml of the resulting juice were mixed with 32 ounces of fresh water to create a very rich source of 'safe' ATP. Approximately two ounces of the solution were then applied evenly to each test area and allowed to air dry very briefly.
Initial ATP readings were taken at four points on each test area to determine the beginning, or pre-cleaning, soil loads and then recorded. The initial ATP levels on the test surfaces simulated a highly contaminated surface, even though they appeared rather clean.
It's important to note that in the real world, Kaivac would not recommend chemical-free cleaning with such elevated ATP levels. Also, the grape solution simulated water soluble soils, such as wet or dry urine, that is typically present in a restroom environment.
The areas were then cleaned in tandem for no longer than 75 seconds. One section was cleaned using a Kaivac No-Touch Cleaning® machine with plain tap water only. The other section was cleaned with one of several unused microfiber mops that was pre-saturated with a standard dilution of commercially available cleaning chemical. Multiple cleaning chemicals and microfiber mops were available.
Final ATP readings were taken and recorded. To ensure consistency, the persons who took the initial ATP readings also took the final readings.
The resulting ATP levels were recorded, and the average amount of soil removed by each method was calculated and displayed along with a running cumulative average of the tests.
The floors were then both cleaned with a Kaivac twice, once with and once without chemical, before soiling them for the next comparison test.