Chemical dispensers have transformed the cleaning process in commercial facilities. Gone are the days of the “hit and trial” method that led to chemical overuse, spills and improper concentrations that yield poor cleaning results. Today, chemical dispensing is a lot more accurate, consistent and efficient.
However, like any other cleaning operation or equipment, chemical dispensers have their do’s and don’ts, challenges and techniques.
Do’s and don’ts of chemical dispensers
DO select easy to use and maintain systems. Look for systems with straightforward design and controls. The most user friendly systems are those explicitly display through icons which type of container the chemical and water mixture is to be dispensed into. An easy to use system will encourage the employees to do a better job at cleaning.
Additionally, opt for dispensers with lower maintenance costs.
DON’T neglect training sessions. No matter how easy to use or efficient a system is, if your employee does not know how to use it, it will not work. So while you should choose systems that are simple to use, it’s still important to conduct training with employees who will be using this equipment to complete their cleaning tasks.
Educate your employees about which solutions are housed in dispensers, which surfaces these solutions can be used upon, how to troubleshoot minor maintenance issues that may occur and how to read the indicators on chemical containers. This will largely reduce errors and lapses in cleanliness that can negatively impact customer satisfaction.
DO check out handheld dispensers. Handheld dispensers and foamers/ sprayers allow for quick and easy cleaning and disinfecting in key areas such as restrooms. These perform well especially in hightraffic spaces, and are essential for reducing the spread of germs and exceeding guest expectations.
DON’T ignore maintenance. As much as you focus on choosing the best dispensers, focus on keeping them in good condition so they are always ready to use when cleaning needs to be completed. During the pandemic, many facilities have had to endure shortterm or even long-term closures. Upon reopening, dispensers may need extra attention after this downtime.
DO keep a stock of multiple chemicals. It’s likely that maintaining your facility will require the use of several different chemicals. Look for a dispenser that can house numerous chemicals in one compact unit and manage their different dilution rates with ease.
The UAE FM Industry Perspective
This month, we also spoke to Zinah Al Saffar, Director of Soft Services, ServeU LLC about the importance of chemical dispensing. Zinah believes that there has been an increasing demand for chemical dispensers that enable end-users to dose or dilute chemicals accurately at the point of use in recent years, especially in the cleaning and hygiene industry. The two main advantages chemical dispensing offers - eco-friendliness and cost-effectiveness - are the main factors behind its rising popularity.
The pure form of chemicals is hazardous and can cause adverse effects on public health. In such cases, chemical dispensers that avoid direct contact with chemicals in their pure form can be used to ensure the safety of end-users.
Another aspect that needs utmost attention is the dosage of chemicals. For instance, effective cleaning is vital for the functioning of the hygiene and cleaning sector, and it is ensured through cleaning routines that begin with the preparation of chemical combinations in perfect ratio at the time of use.
As users fail to follow the prescribed ratio of chemicals in the combination in the selfpouring method, it often causes wastage and leads to ineffective cleaning. For instance, chemical combinations prepared through self-pouring can cause sticky surfaces, as the chemicals are not diluted.
“Effective cleaning is extremely critical in the healthcare sector, as the lack of cleanliness can increase the risk of infections among patients. One of the most essential components to clean effectively is the use of the right amount of chemicals in the accurate ratio, and chemical dispensers ensure this. In addition, chemical dispensers that ensure an accurate dose of chemical in every use can also prevent wastage,” she says.
Zinah says that with the right chemical dispensers, like the ones that measure the right amount of chemical and water, suitable for the modern-day requirements, users experience many benefits such as reduced operational costs.
Challenges of dispensing
She further highlights some challenges in dispensing and shines light on how to tackle them. “There will be situations when dispensers fail to draw the correct amount of water due to an unreliable supply of water in the facility. In such cases, the companies can invest in a dispenser that utilizes pressureregulation technology to ensure uninterrupted supply of water,”she says.
There are several dilution control systems and those specifically designed for the floor, glass and bathrooms, disinfectants, degreaser, and deodorizer that use different chemical combinations. Though suitable for many purposes, it comes with the disadvantage of having to mix chemicals in their accurate ratio following chemical formulas depending on the purpose. This could give a negative experience to the user.
One of the substitutes that can help avoid such a situation is a two-button system to mix chemicals in different ratios. A major advantage of this system is that it can be used with all types of cleaning applications. As per the two-button system, chemicals and water will be filled in different colour-coded spray bottles in their specific ratio so that the facility management team can use them hassle-free.
The Qatar FM Industry Perspective We also spoke to Mr. Mohamed Saadeh, General Manager, Darwish Interserve FM, Qatar about his perspective on chemical dispensing, it’s challenges, best practices and more.
Mohamed says that a chemical dispenser is an innovation that has genuinely transformed the cleaning process and efficiency in different types of facilities managed by Darwish Interserve FM. “In our company, we practice chemical dispensing for our services because we believe it brings greater consistency, especially in cleaning. Although we have come a long way from the old age of chemical bottling that causes chemical overuse, spills and improper concentrations and dilution, there are still many challenges we face with a more modern chemical dispenser. Training new employees to use new and unfamiliar equipment can be difficult and time-consuming, and safety and accuracy are still factors we take seriously. Backflow is another challenge faced during the chemical dispensing and costly repair,” he says.
Darwish Interserve FM incorporates dispensing equipment as part of BICS (British Institute of cleaning science) training for the new cleaning operatives on their induction; retraining is also required every six months. Choosing straightforward systems makes a working environment more productive. “That is why we purchase simple operated dispensing equipment like a closed-loop design that seals the concentrated chemicals and is properly fitted with approved backflow prevention. We also developed our technical evaluation to ensure dispensing equipment purchased with a backflow prevention device. Part of our purchase order is the Supplier's training to instruct our supervisors for the standard use of their equipment. Lastly, we prioritize simple standard operating procedures in our toolbox talks and pre-task briefings. These talks have helped minimize workers' exposure to potent chemicals and the backflow prevention from contamination with cleaning chemicals,” says Mohamed.
Best practices for chemical dispensing
Chemical dispensers provide peace of mind, knowing that chemicals will always be dispensed accurately and safely. For this to be effective, Darwish Interserve FM standardized its services with the following practices:
- Training is always provided for the Chemical dispensing,
- Nominated trained operatives are assigned to do the dispensing task,
- Periodic review of SOP and risk assessment for chemical dispensing is practiced
- Information is regularly gathered from the equipment’s manufacturer/supplier.
- Signs on how to use the dispensing equipment at the storage area are always in sight.
- Chemical spill kit is readily available for spill clean-up.
- Maintenance schedule are developed to cover the dispensing equipment
- Eye-wash equipment is readily available.
- PPE are recommended for every dispensing tasks
No matter the size of the facility, dispensers often act as the central station for all cleaning needs. With today’s advancements, facilities can utilize affordable and reliable dispensing systems that meet industry requirements and provide unique insight into the cleaning process. “Having the right system, our facility promotes cleanliness and hygiene while also taking steps toward a more sustainable and cost-effective future which has been our commitment in our policies. By simplifying and enhancing the safety of the cleaning process, dispensers save our teams time while also reducing costs associated with the overuse of chemicals, injuries and lapses in cleanliness that can lead to infectious outbreaks and reputational damage. By identifying the challenges of current and new chemical dispensers, we always rise above these challenges. That is the reason why our organization continuously maintains quality and safe services for both our staff and clients,”concludes Mohamed.