Believe it or not, the Middle East is growing – both economically as well as with increased tourism. Whether it is Expo 2020 or Qatar World Cup 2022, the region is abuzz with talks of tourism and such world-renowned events that cleaning becomes the biggest factor. After all, for a country to be able to host millions of people during a certain span in time, it is important to have the highest standards of cleaning and maintenance.
No wonder then, that the region is such an attraction when it comes to supplying the cleaning industry. A new entrant to the region is R E Whittaker Co. from the United States. It recently tied up with Clean Trends Trading LLC. to promote its cleaning systems in the UAE and the Middle East. Tom Whittaker, President, R E Whittaker Co., tells Clean Middle East about his plans for the company in the region.
Tell us a little about the history behind Whittaker Cleaning Systems.
Whittaker was the innovator of low moisture encapsulation cleaning in the United States; a method that has since been proven globally as the most effective and preferred method of interim carpet maintenance. Whittaker Smart Care makes it simple to protect the ‘like-new’ appearance of any commercial carpet, easily extending the life of a carpet investment. Our brand commitment is to make sure that every square meter of carpet adds to the beauty of a facility as its manufactures, architects, designers, and installers intended.
You recently collaborated with Clean Trends in Dubai, UAE. Why did you choose the Middle East – what is the market like here?
We believe the Middle East is an exciting new market for our Smart Care Carpet Cleaning Systems. Dubai is viewed by many as the gateway to the Middle East and has a very strong tourism economy, a vibrant real estate market and has attracted many global IT and media organizations. We sense a strong desire by its facilities to maintain a consistent high appearance, which is perfectly suited for our brand.
Tell us about the Crystal Dry Encapsulation Cleaning technology. How does it work – is it suited to the climatic conditions of the Middle East?
Smart Care Crystal Dry encapsulation cleaning is a process whereby a small amount of cleaning solution is sprayed then agitated into the carpet with counter-rotating brushes to loosen soil particles. The soil becomes encapsulated into a crystalline structure as the water in the cleaning solution evaporates. It is certainly well suited to the hot and dry climate of the Middle East, and is desirable in any environment where water conservation and low cost of operation are important factors. Given the fact that we provide the fastest area turn-around times and our equipment is not disruptive, it is perfectly suited to hospitality’s high traffic 24/7 facilities.
Why just the Low-Moisture Cleaning technique for carpets? How different is this technique from other carpet cleaning techniques?
Low-moisture carpet cleaning is important and growing in popularity for several reasons, including its significantly reduced use of water, its ease of use, and lower labour costs when compared with hot water extraction. Low-moisture carpet cleaning also has considerably shorter dry times, and is conducive to day cleaning, which is becoming more popular with facility managers worldwide. We still recommend hot water extraction on occasion, depending on traffic patterns and soil loads; however, the interim cleaning process has the most impact for maintaining high appearance levels, carpet colour retention and improved indoor air quality.
How do you plan to stay apart from the other carpet cleaning equipment providers in the region? What is your USP?
First, the Whittaker Smart Care cleaning system is the premier low-moisture encapsulation system, and second, the Smart Care Trio is the only three-brush counter rotating carpet cleaning machine in the world. It has several key features that set it apart, including its light touch control, integrated power sprayer, stainless steel debris collection tray, and lifting mechanism to protect the brushes when the machine is not in use. It has been approved by the Carpet & Rug Institute’s Seal of Approval for Interim Cleaning as well as Deep Cleaning. For a user with limited time and staffing, the third brush increases cleaning action and increases productivity by 50 per cent.
What are your plans for the rest of the GCC and the Middle East? Going forward, how do you see your collaboration with Clean Trends and Whittaker’s presence in the region?
We are optimistic about future growth potential in the GCC and Middle East, and already have clients in Kuwait. Clean Trends has very good relationships with the hospitality/tourism industry and a good reputation in the market. We anticipate a mutually beneficial relationship as the business grows here and awareness of the Whittaker Smart Care ® System’s effective results become commonplace.