Feature: Escalator and Travelator Cleaning
Dated: 08-08-2019

Maintenance of escalators and travelators can be a challenging feat. Here are some guidelines towards their cleaning and maintenance.

The facilities managers are responsible for the upkeep of any establishment while making sure that the services they provide meets the need of the occupants. Whether it’s a busy airport, mall, metro station, or any urban area the job doesn’t get any easier. On entering these busy public spaces the first thing a passerby would notice in order to move about is an escalator or a travelator. While the escalator and travelator installed in the indoors or outdoors have lot of advantages in the modern world – cleaning these moving stairs/walkways can be quite a daunting task for the cleaning professionals.

A lot depends on the footfall traffic and the environment of the facility. An airport or a popular mall will always have a greater footfall but an entertainment venue may face greater exposure to staining and spillage such as a cinema or an arena. The level of traffic and type of dirt they accumulate – dust, mud, food, spilled drink and the grease (from the underlying mechanical parts) need to be considered to determine the cleaning requirements.

What are the challenges of cleaning escalators?

Going for conventional cleaning techniques will not serve the purpose as there are several challenges to be considered:

• Escalators are not flat surfaces like floors hence they require specific cleaning products and procedures.

• The grooves in the tread area of the step may attract dirt or dust which may be difficult to remove.

• The spillages and the accumulation of debris, etc. can significantly increase the risk of slips and falls. These should be cleaned up/removed as soon as possible.

• Large facilities with multiple escalators of varying width and height may lead to unique problems for the cleaning staff.

• The cleaning cycle and downtime for an escalator.

• Facilities which are open 24*7 may find it difficult to clean and maintain it especially during sale or holiday season.

What are the best practices for maintaining escalators?

While most facility managers prefer cleaning the escalators during the closing hours but what if the facility is open 24/7? • It is advised to have a cleaning plan in place immediately after installing the escalators, so that the dust doesn’t accumulate in between the grids of the stairs, • The facility manager and cleaning staff should decide upon a cleaning cycle depending on the high-traffic area. • A suitable cleaning technique and right equipment should be used. • Always consult the manufacturer’s instruction manual when implementing a cleaning schedule.

Pick the right solution

In the past some escalator manufacturers recommended tearing the escalator down, bringing it outdoors and using a high-pressure washer to clean it. This was rather costly and messy, and resulted in inconvenient downtime of the escalator.

Today, there are better solutions available such as specialised machines that use a “dry” cleaning method. In dry cleaning, the escalator-cleaning machine is positioned on the escalator while it is running so that the movement of the escalator in combination with the cleaning machine helps create agitation to remove the ground-in dirt in the tread area.