How to ensure year-round cleanliness in shopping centres
Although it is difficult to remember a time before every surface we touch has been sanitised within an inch its life, cleanliness and good hygiene practices have been a necessity for retail destinations as long as they been around. Shopping centres that are perceived as smelly, sticky, or unsanitary can be a massive turn-off for shoppers – which is why an effective cleaning routine is critical for keeping shopping centres suitable for public use.
“Maintaining hygiene in retail destinations is a critical step in the safe operation and management of shopping centres,” says Daniel Took, head of professional marketing at Kärcher Professional Products. “Public perception on cleanliness has increased since the outbreak of the pandemic necessitating immediate, consistent, and repetitive cleaning.”
Took advises intermediate cleaning to ensure that facilities are constantly maintained to a high standard, also enabling less frequent, intense cleans even more efficient when required. To achieve this, he says, centre managers should employ the ‘Preventative, Daily, Interim and Restorative’ (PDIR) cleaning and maintenance process.
Preventative cleaning, he explains, means to focus on stopping the dirt from outside making its way into the shopping centre facility, as it frequently gathers on walkways and around store entrances. He says that focusing from the outside-in can reduce the build-up of dirt inside by two thirds.
“Outside paths leading into the centre can be cleaned using walk-behind vacuum sweepers that target dirt from the source,” he advises, adding that if dirt does enter the facility it is essential that the floors are protected to ensure longevity, particularly those that are frequently walked on.
“Daily maintenance should involve regular floorcare to ensure the surface remains safe for public use,” he continues. This could mean using a scrubber dryer to remove loosened dirt and leave surfaces dry, clean, and safe to prevent trips and falls. It is important, he says, to invest in a floor cleaner that can remove the most stubborn grease and mineral stains.
Whilst maintenance cleaning is key to keep things in order on a daily basis, Took advises centre teams not to overlook interim cleaning as it can save time and costs when it comes to deep cleaning.
“It is vital to select the right method to minimise disruption to shoppers and to prevent down-time,” he says. “For example, using excess water to clean the floors will put them out of access for long periods, preventing shoppers from getting around the centre. Orbital and cylindrical scrubbers are ideal for scrubbing hard floors to remove dirt from the surface without the area being left soaked and inaccessible as a result.”
The final step, restorative cleaning, is necessary because surfaces can become damaged due to high-footfall and it is important to restore them so that damage does not become irreparable. For this Took suggests intensive deep cleaning: “It is an effective solution that can be used in conjunction with scrubber dryers to powerfully remove care films, wax and polymer coatings, dirt, and grease, allowing facilities managers to recoat flooring to return it to a ‘like new’ state.”
This was first published in Retail Destination Fortnightly. Click here to subscribe.