Types of Machines Used in Custodial Work

by Sandra Johnson ; Updated September 26, 2017
A simple mop and bucket is good for daily cleaning but machines are needed to periodically deep clean floors.

In the custodial industry equipment and machinery allow workers to do more in less time. Various machines allow for periodic deep cleaning, maintaining large floor spaces, revitalizing surfaces and other tasks too time-consuming to complete with manual labor. From simple vacuum cleaners to large ride-on floor machines, there is a machine designed for nearly every aspect of custodial work.

Basic Custodial Machines

Daily cleaning tasks require basic machines common to almost any commercial, industrial, educational, or health care environment. Such machines include vacuum cleaners, floor scrubbers and burnishers. Machines of this nature are used to clean bathrooms, common areas, hard surface floors, carpets, tile or concrete walls, and other areas. Typically, a custodial worker is able to operate basic equipment and machines with little training or supervision.

Industrial Cleaning Machines

Industrial environments such as manufacturing facilities require different machines at different times. Basic machines are used in administrative offices and common areas. However, the production floor typically requires larger equipment. A machine known as an autoscrubber, for example, makes mopping several thousands of square feet of flooring easier and faster than a crew of custodians with mops and buckets. Likewise, automatic sweepers and pressure washers provide a power boost for areas where grease, oil, paint, and other hard to clean chemicals are used.

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Floor Care Machines

Hospitals, office buildings, stores and industrial complexes all have large areas of flooring. Most of this flooring is what is known in the janitorial industry as hard flooring, meaning natural stone or ceramic tile, vinyl, wood, or similar materials. A variety of machines are used to clean and maintain such floors. When waxing and polishing is required, walk-behind scrubbers and burnishers are used to strip, wax, polish and buff out a protective covering. These machines range in size from the common 20-inch strippers and burnishers most people are familiar with, all the way up to 30-inch or more propane-driven walk-behind models.

Assorted Machines for Special Uses

Special cleaning needs require special equipment. One example of such specialized equipment are so-called no-touch cleaning systems. These systems resemble a fully enclosed shopping cart. Water is kept in a large holding tank, with cleaning supplies added from separate holding tanks. An on-board compressor enables custodians to use the machine like a portable pressure washer in commercial or industrial bathrooms. Users spray down the entire bathroom, including walls, floors, and fixtures, using a variety of cleaning products and nozzles to wash away heavy dirt, grime, and infectious bacteria. A quick fresh water rinse and a squeegie remove puddles and ready the bathroom for use.

About the Author

Sandra Johnson is a freelance writer, ghostwriting for private clients since 2006, and writing for print and online publications such as Sashay Magazine. She has studied with both Kaplan and Colorado Technical universities for bachelor's degrees in both human resources and accounting. In addition to writing, Johnson also operates a small family farm in rural Georgia.

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