What advantages does having hose reels on-board your cleaning van or truck provide to your cleaning and restoration operation?

Hose reels come in all shapes and sizes. You can invest in hose reel for your vacuum hose, your solution (pressure) hose, and your water hook-up (garden) hose; or you can invest in an assembly of all three. These hose reels can be set-up to be a “live hook-up” or independent. The vacuum hose reel can be electric, so with the flip of a switch it will automatically reel in your vacuum hose, or it can be a manual reel where “arm power” brings back your vacuum hose. These reels can be mounted out of the side or the back of your truck or van. They can even be part of a freshwater tank/hose reel combination like with the HydraMaster HydraCradle or the 85 Gallon Freshwater tank. You can find out more about just some of the hose reels that HydraMaster carries at our website. In addition, it is likely that your local HydraMaster distributor carries additional hose reel offerings in their inventory. Hose reels and hose reel combinations can cost you between $600 and $5500 ($USD) depending upon what you get. Even if you are presently operating only portable equipment, it might be wise to check out if a hose reel to hold your hoses will save you time and effort.

But before you start hearing all kinds of different opinions about what the right hose reel is to buy, perhaps you should first start with some general reasons with why they can be a great investment for you:

  • You can conveniently store between 150′ and 300′ feet of house on a specific reel. This increases the additional room in the back of your van or truck to carry all your other gear, plus it is enough hose for most of the jobs you sign up for.
  • They extend the life of your vacuum and solution hose by keeping it off the floor of your van or truck
  • Electric hose reels allow you to quickly and easily retrieve and “roll-up” your hoses saving you time. Think about it for just a minute: many of the smaller jobs you go to you spend more time setting up and “tearing down” than you actually do cleaning the carpet or hard surface floors.
  • A hose reel makes it easier to clean and maintain your hoses making for the best presentation for your customer, and keeping you from transferring the soil and leaves from one job site to the next.
  • You can save even more time and money and increase your productivity by selecting the optional live solution hose reel hook-up. Only “un-reel” the amount of hose you need on smaller jobs with shorter hose pulls

What if a hose reel is not in your budget right now? You can store and handle your hoses through a couple of different methods than just dumping them on the floor of your van or truck. Most cleaners wrap up 50′ sections and hand them with a bungee cord to the side of the van or to their chemical shelf. A few still store their hoses in large plastic garbage cans and take them out and put them back in after every job. Feel free to share your ides for hose handling.

What is the Vacuum Relief Valve on Your Truckmount for, and Should You Adjust it?

Truckmounted carpet cleaning machines rely on air movement (flow) to remove spent cleaning solution, water, and debris from soiled carpets.

This air movement is produced by mechanical means inside the truckmount. A vacuum (latin vacuus, meaning vacant) pump is used to create the movement of air. These pumps are also called ‘blowers’ because they ‘blow’ air out of the exhaust. The movement of air through the pump creates a negative pressure (vacuum) on the inlet, and a positive pressure on the outlet. The negative pressure side of the pump is plumbed to a tank that is used to capture the water solution being removed from the cleaning process.

The ‘vacuum’ tank is constructed of aluminum and has internal baffles and structures to support the negative pressure environment created by the vacuum pump.

Since the vacuum pumps utilized in most truck mounted carpet cleaning machines are what they call ‘positive displacement’ devices, and they can produce much more vacuum pressure than is practical for the carpet cleaning process. In order to safeguard the integrity of the aluminum vacuum tank and the associated components a ‘vacuum relief valve’ is installed in the tank to limit the negative pressure environment to specific levels.

The vacuum pressure limits are set by the manufacturer of the vacuum pump and the manufacturer of the carpet cleaning equipment to protect the components from damage due to excessive pressure on the aluminum tanks, excessive heat in the vacuum pump (they are ‘air cooled’, cooled by the air passing through the pump), and excessive loads on the driving components (engine, or drive shafts).

Extensive research and validation testing goes into choosing the proper vacuum pressure limits of each machine.

Changing the factory vacuum settings may result in damage to many of the machines’ critical internal components and is not covered by most machine warranties.

Vacuum settings should be checked and adjusted to factory settings on a regular basis to ensure the best performance and reliability of our truck mounted carpet cleaning machine.

Author: Eric Jacobson, HydraMaster Engineering Team

The fallacy and unfulfilled promises of “cold-water” cleaning

Cold Steve Austin is Stone Wrong. ICE T has never cleaned the carpet in a pizza restaurant. Drew Brees might want to check out the smelliest part of those football uniforms after they have been cleaned. You might have seen the television commercials by a leading washing machine detergent company highlighting the “alleged” money-saving and climate benefits of switching to cold-water cleaning when doing laundry. The use of all these celebrities: a famous wrestler, an actor, and a football player all lead to the conclusion that you are a better citizen and more planet friendly if you clean with cold water, plus you will save money.

This argument is not a new one, even with the most recent emphasis on climate change and the increased discussion on the use of resources to heat up the water. Tide ran a similar ad series all the way back in 1996. The argument sounds rather convincing – their detergent is good enough to get even the greasiest and dirtiest laundry clean with cold water. This of course brings up a longstanding debate in the cleaning industry. Do you really need hot water to effectively clean carpet and hard surface floors? One well known trainer on green cleaning in the janitorial industry has long pushed for “cold water” cleaning, even when it came to commercial carpets and hard surface floors. So, what does a planet conscious carpet cleaning professional do? Should you turn off your heater when cleaning carpeting and hard surface floors?

As far as the criticism that heating up the water uses limited resources, there are several arguments against this concept. First, using only cold water, particularly on carpets and hard surface floors that have been exposed to a higher level of oil and “sticky” based soiling, will increase the amount of time it takes to clean the floor. It will require the use of a larger volume of cleaning chemical. It will require multiple passes of the cleaning wand across the carpet, increasing the likelihood of over-wetting the carpet and extending drying times. Secondly, admittedly, In the case of portable extractors, the use of electricity to heat the water does use additional resources through the consumption of electricity. This fact led several state attorney generals to propose rules for government buildings specifying “cold-water” cleaning. Dr. Michael Berry, a well-known research scientist who was with the United States Environmental Protection Agency and later a Research Professor at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill wrote against these proposals. In his written response to proposed New York state guidelines for cold water cleaning, he stated “I suggest it is for more important to heat and use water in the pursuit of health protection than it is to reduce energy use and to increase water conservation.”

Several scientific investigations have confirmed the value of heat in the carpet cleaning process to reduce chemical usage. Hotter cleaning solution increases the chemical molecular activity of the cleaning chemical you are using (including water). According to an article published in Chemistry World, “a growing body of research reveals that to hurry reactions along in water and replace reagents all that’s needed is some heat.” Even key concepts from a middle school chemistry training program reinforce this:

  • “Adding energy (heating) increases molecular motion.
  • Increased molecular motion competes with the attraction between solute molecules and tends to make them come apart more easily.
  • Increased molecular motion causes more solvent molecules to contact solute molecules and pull on them with more force, usually resulting in more dissolving.
  • Since different substances are made from different atoms, ions, or molecules, increased temperature will affect their dissolving to different extents. “

Increased chemical activity means you will need to use less chemical to clean. Dr. Michael Berry,  in his book Protecting the Built Environment: Cleaning for Health, found that “heat simply improves cleaning’s effectiveness. “Even without soap, small amounts of grease will dissolve in water, [but] the amount increases in hot water, sometimes ten-fold,” he says.

A third point specifically related to the use of “resources” by your truckmount to clean carpeting and hard surface floors that seems to get completely overlooked by organizations writing policy that affect our industry has to do with the way that most modern truckmounts work. The fuel consumption used to power a truckmounted carpet cleaning machine, whether it be a slide-in or direct drive unit is going to exist to operate that unit. In most cases, it runs on gasoline. The heating of the water in a heat exchanger equipped truckmount works by capturing heat from other sources (engine, blower, radiator, etc…) that are being powered anyway. The hot water created by a truckmount does not require the use of any additional resources beyond those required to run the truckmount. Using the fuel source for dual benefits – what could be greener than that?

As far as the “climate change argument against hot water” goes, lets dive just a bit deeper. The use of cold-water to clean oil-based soiling requires a massive increase in the use of cleaning solutions, often including petroleum-based solvents, to break down and emulsify the oil-based soil. With each cleaning “pass” across the floor trying to get it clean, additional water is used, additional chemicals are used, and the drying time for the floor is extended. I do not proclaim to be an “expert” on the causes and concerns of climate change, but I don’t think more water consumption, a higher use of chemicals, and more chemical introduced into the sanitary sewage system fits very well with the “climate change” narrative.

Perhaps the most perplexing and confusing part of the “clean with cold water” narrative comes in an often-overlooked benefit of the use of hot water in cleaning; i.e., the sanitizing benefits of hot water. We know that water temperatures above 130º F have been demonstrated to have sanitizing effects on surfaces, including carpeting and hard surface floors, reducing the level of germs, bacteria, viruses, and other unwanted matter. It could be mandated that restaurants use cold water in their dishwashers also, but my guess is that health department regulators would tell you the resources used to heat the water are worth the added protection to public health provided by the sanitizing effects of the extremely hot water. Hotter water in virtually all cleaning applications plays an incredibly significant role in the reduction of germs, bacteria, viruses and other unwanted material without the use of harsh chemical disinfectants. Shaw Industries, the world’s largest manufacturer of flooring  recently completed testing that shows the potentially harmful effect on many indoor surfaces and floors of the repeated use and application of common household and commercial chemical sanitizers and disinfectants. Some of these effects have included yellow discoloration and pitting of the surfaces and permanent damage to the texture. All one must do is put “the overuse of chemical disinfectants” into any computer search engine to find a growing body of studies questioning how much chemical disinfecting is being done, and its potentially harmful effects on surfaces and occupant health.

Simply put, hotter cleaning solution contributes to a healthier indoor environment. Let’s look at some independent, peer-reviewed, scientific studies that support this statement. We know that from Dr. Michael Berry and his associates, who on behalf of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, did two groundbreaking studies measuring the impact of deep restorative carpet cleaning (utilizing hotter cleaning solution) in 1991 and 1994. The “Denver” Study in 1991 and the “Frank Porter Graham” Study in 1994 advanced our understanding of the interaction between cleaning and the indoor environment. The “Denver” Study looked at whether they could even measure particulates, gas phase organics, and biological contamination in carpeting before, during, and after carpet cleaning. The “Frank Porter Graham” Study was a collaborative effort that involved participants from the cleaning industry utilizing “best industry practices” and deep cleaning methods for on-going cleaning and maintenance in a Child Development Center on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Airborne dust contaminants were reduced by 52%. Total Volatile Organic Compounds decreased by 49%. Total bacterial was reduced by 40%, and total fungi declined by 61%

We know from studies conducted by the Airmid Health Group in 2014 on the allergen and bacterial effects of truckmount hot water extraction cleaning of massive reductions in allergens from carpeting following cleaning. Their conclusion: “Incorporation of a hot water extraction cleaning procedure in a home allergen avoidance strategy significantly reduces the levels of bio-contaminants to which occupants are exposed.”

Having just evolved into the third year of the “COVID -19” pandemic, the focus on using hot water and detergents as a critical first step in creating a safer and healthier indoor environment has never been more important. We will conclude our discussion of the fallacy of cold-water cleaning by simply reviewing the definition of cleaning originally stated and expanded on by Dr. Berry:

“Effective cleaning is the process of extraction and removing unwanted matter to the optimum extent to reduce exposure to unwanted matter. Most people clean carpets when they look dirty. Rarely does anyone recognize that their carpet needs to be cleaned for health protection. Yet every time pollutants are extracted from the carpeting; the quality of the indoor environment is enhanced by reducing exposures. A high-performance carpet cleaning process that focuses on nine steps using a wet, high temperature, high flow, high extraction system”

The proponents of “cold water cleaning” need to look deeper into the scientifically defined meanings for clean. It is not just about improving appearance. It is about the extraction and removal of unwanted substances. Hot water does that better, and in the end reduces the contribution of chemicals and activities that can directly affect “climate change.”


Berry, Dr. Michael A, “Characteristics of High Performance Carpet Cleaning”, The Journal of Cleaning, Restoration, and Inspection, Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification, Winter 2017, pages 20-26





Berry, Dr. Michael A, Protecting the Built Environment, Cleaning for Health, Tri-Comm Press, Chapel Hill, NC, 1993

Indoor Air Quality Monitoring in Carpeted Environments, Environmental Criteria and Assessment Office, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, NC, 1992

Indoor Environment Characterization of a Non-Problem Building; Assessment of Cleaning Effectiveness, Environmental Criteria and Assessment Office, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, NC, 1994

What equipment and tool system works best for restorative deep cleaning of luxury vinyl plank and tile floors?

You Should Have Already Noticed the Unprecedented Rise of Luxury Vinyl Plank Floors

Luxury Vinyl Plank continues to be the fastest growing floor covering material. At first glance to the professional carpet cleaning, the meteoric rise in the market share growth of LVP floors may not present an immediate obvious opportunity. After all, with the numerous benefits of LVP (water resistant, stain resistant, easy to install, less expensive, etc..) the first impression of most homeowners is that they can easily clean these floors themselves. Whether they are using a Swiffer®, a mop and bucket, or a hard surface floor steamer or cleaner, they can pretty much convince themselves that the floor looks clean. A deeper dive into reality though starts to unlock some often-overlooked challenges and pitfalls.

Just how dirty are your customers “clean-looking” LVP floors

We have discussed in previous articles that there are fur pressing issues with these floors

  1. Even after cleaning with traditional home methods, the floors measure for higher amounts of germs, bacteria, fecal matter, and soil.
  2. The grooves in LVP floors hold onto embedded soils and other unwanted matter. The use of professional chemical solutions and higher levels of safer but aggressive agitation are required to remove these embedded materials.
  3. Drywall dust and other fine particle construction materials also embed into the flooring during construction or remodeling and need a professional deep cleaning to remove them
  4. Conventional hard surface floor cleaning solutions typically don’t contain the necessary ingredients to effectively deep clean an LVP floor and contain special soil inhibitors that help the floor stay cleaner longer

Restoring the appearance of LVP floors to “like-new” condition is more than just cleaning. It takes a comprehensive approach that can penetrate deep into the grooves and textured surfaces of your floor for a higher level of soil removal that eliminates dirt, scuffs, grease, and other potentially harmful contaminates. HydraFresh LVC does all of this while it also helps the floor stay cleaner longer because it contains special soil inhibitors and is a low residue formula that does not contain any sticky or tacky cleaning agents. It can be used as part of a prespray and rinse system or as part of a no rinse system. The neutral PH makes it safe for luxury vinyl plank and tile floors, resilient tile floors and wood (polyurethane finish only) and laminate floors. The concentrated formula allows you to adjust the dilution ration to meet the soiling conditions of the floor. HydraFresh LVC allows you to extend the life of the flooring investment and keep it looking great all the time.

So now that the cleaning solution question is settled, what is the best equipment and tool system to get the job done?

How do you do it? There are several ways to approach this cleaning. In all of them, let the properly formulated chemical do the trick. Don’t use any old neutral floor cleaner for tile, or your favorite high power, high PH hard surface cleaner. HydraFresh LVC has been formulated specifically for these floors.

Industry instructor and consultant Shawn Bisaillon discussed this in the HydraMaster SmartShare Virtual expo recently. You can access the video here and see some of the different systems: Click here to watch this video

System 1 – Apply Solution, Agitate with CRB Machine, Mop-up, or extract with wet-dry vacuum

One proven system for this is to apply the HydraFresh LVC to the floor, then agitate it in with a counter rotating brush machine or system with the brushes appropriate for these types of floors. You can then mop or extract it up with a wet-dry vacuum.

System 2 – Apply solution, Use portable or truckmount with stationary hard surface wand, rotary hard surface wand, or extraction wand with hard surface brush glide attached

Click here to see where you can get this hard surface brush glide

Apply the Hydra-Fresh LVC to the floor with your favorite sprayer. Then  use your portable or truckmounted extractor to rinse off and extract the solution from the floor. Use it at a lower pressure (200 to 300 psi max) with a stationary hard surface tool. Hard surface brush glides are being developed that you can attach to your EVOLUTION wand which apply the proper amount of agitation and leave the floor almost dry There are also high-quality stand-alone hard surface wands made

So what about using your rotary hard surface tool? Many companies are successfully doing this. However, here are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • You don’t want to blast the floor with copious amounts of water under pressure, To get most rotary tools to spin properly, you need at least 400-800 psi of water pressure. There is also some concern by LVP flooring manufacturers that higher pressures could penetrate between the planks and allow moisture to build up underneath, potentially breaking down the adhesive, or worse, allowing for mold and mildew growth.
  • Some have questioned whether the physical rotary action of the spinner tool itself could dislodge the installation of the planks of flooring, but to a trained conscientious technician, they would immediately stop and use a different tool.

System 3 – Apply solution, Use a low pressure floor washing machine with counter rotating brushes that also has extraction capabilities

Apply the Hydra-Fresh LVC to the floor using your favorite sprayer. Some of the floor washing machines apply the solution for you, allowing you to skip the spraying step. These machines use counter rotating brushes to agitate the floor while also having vacuum recovery capabilities to pick up the cleaning solution and released soils as you go along.

System 4 – The best system for the deepest cleaning. Apply solution, Use CRB machine to agitate the cleaning solution. Use portable or truckmount with stationary (non-rotary) hard surface wand, or extraction wand with hard surface brush glide attached

Apply the Hydra-Fresh LVC to the floor using your favorite sprayer. Agitate it in with a counter rotating brush machine or system with the brushes appropriate for these types of floors. Then  use your portable or truckmounted extractor to rinse off and extract the solution from the floor. Use it at a lower pressure (200 to 300 psi max) with a stationary (not rotary) hard surface tool. Hard surface brush glides are being developed that you can attach to your EVOLUTION wand which apply the proper amount of agitation and leave the floor almost dry There are also high-quality stand-alone hard surface wands made

So how do you market all of this to Your Customer? – Make the Unobvious, Obvious!

Alright so here is the dilemma – homeowners mostly think they are getting their LVP, and laminate flooring cleaned with their favorite home remedy or method. It often even “looks clean” to the naked eye. How do you as a professional cleaner deal with that? It is quite simple and a proven successful method for selling. Make the unobvious, obvious. How do you do that? Demo, Demo, Demo! After all you are in the home anyway cleaning carpet or upholstery When you apply HydraFresh LVC from HydraMaster to their Luxury Vinyl Plank or Laminate floor and clean it with any number of methods or applications, they will see a marked difference between their so called “clean floor” and the clean floor you just provided them with.

But let’s take a quick look at marketing. In a nutshell, marketing any service or product is a 3-step process. First you need a marketing message. One that we have found to be effective without being overtly threatening is “bacteria does not leave footprints. “We have developed two special marketing print/electronic ads which convey this message you can use or customize to your business.

Now that you have the message defined, choose your delivery system – the second step in marketing. You can use your social media pages, your email programs, your company newsletter, or even printed flyers you can “five around” with. The catch headline and quick summary of what you are going to accomplish well beyond making their floor look better may need to be delivered to them more than three times before they will start to react. So don’t get too dependent upon one single delivery system.

The third part of marketing is what your desired outcome is. Now that may seem obvious. You want a sale. But sometimes we forget that timing is often the most important key to getting a sale. If now is not the time, then your desired outcome can often be permission to do more marketing, or the opportunity to do a demonstration on their LVP floors the next time you clean the carpets.

How much do you charge? Generally about the same as you would to deep clean their ceramic tile.

Your customer invested in the LVP floor they did for specific aesthetic and “livability” advantages. Plus, they want and desire a healthier atmosphere for their home. Of course, they want it to look great to.

A Comprehensive Cleaning and Sanitizing System for Escalator Handrails

HydraMaster is partnering with Thomsen’s Escalator Handrail Cleaning System to be used in conjunction with its TreadMaster Escalator Cleaning Machine. Let’s look at exactly how the Handrail Cleaning and Sanitizing System Works

What about the handrails?

In the past, truthfully the handrails were generally overlooked and ignored. With the COVID-19 pandemic focusing more attention on potential touch-point transmission of infectious diseases, there has been a greatly increased awareness of the need to clean and sanitize the handrails. Unfortunately, a false sense of security has been caused by the idea that you can routinely spray (with or without an electromagnetic sprayer) a disinfectant and eliminate any potential threat. We know that to properly clean and sanitize any surface requires first that you clean the surface, and secondly then you apply the appropriate disinfectant or sanitizer.

This concept has been reinforced by many studies of how unwanted materials end up on so many surfaces indoors. But Dr. Charles Gerba, PH.D, from the University of Arizona had this to specifically say about escalator handrails: “In our testing, we have found food, E. coli, mucus, feces, and blood routinely on escalator handrails. And where there is mucus, you may also find cold, flu, and COVID-19 viruses.” In seminars conducted by the Cleaning Industry Research Institute (CIRI – http://www.ciriscience.org) PH.D microbiologists repeatedly warned that most viruses are “encapsulated” in saliva and mucus, and may live for days left untreated.

Because of this, TreadMaster has partnered with the world’s most efficient and complete solution to effectively cleaning and sanitizing escalator handrails – the THOMSEN’s HANDRAIL CLEANING SYSTEM. This comprehensive enterprise escalator handrail cleaning and sanitizing program encompasses:

  • Dual System for Safe and Easy Cleaning
  • Complete Solution Approach
    • Heavy Duty Cleaner
    • Cleaner Conditioner
    • Sanitizer Solution   
  • ATP Testing For Documenting Results Monitoring Software and Reports

Escalator Handrails are Generally Poorly Cleaned, If They are Even Cleaned at All! 

Escalator Handrails are considered essential safety equipment. On average 30 people die and 17,000 are injured due to escalator accidents in the US each year with nearly 10,000 trips to the emergency room, many of them children. If people were not holding onto handrails before Covid-19. What do you think will be happening now?

So why have they been so overlooked? Escalator handrails are universally considered filthy, but cleaning handrails has historically taken a lot of time and is incredibly labor intensive. Therefore, cleaning handrails has been expensive and could easily be called into question how effective it even is. Add to that fact that cleaning often took the escalator out of service for customers. Often times, owners and operators landed on, “no one cares, why bother?”

So How Does the Thomsen’s Escalator Handrail Cleaning and Sanitizing System Work?

It is a non-motorized, safe, and simple system that when used properly removes dirt, grime, viruses and bacteria, and other unwanted substances from moving handrails. The specially designed microfiber cleaning pads attached to molded pad holders clean the moving handrails from “bead to bead.”The Maestro System attaches to non-obstructed moving handrails and cleans without interrupting the escalator operations. The handrail Cart System’s patented swivel arm easily placed for access to any handrail.  The system is nested for compact, convenient transport and storage.

The Thomsen’s System also comes with a handheld stationary handrail cleaning tool for surfaces that are around many escalators. The Flexible handle connection allows for easy maneuvering to ensure the best cleaning results. Small, compact, and fits easily on any janitorial cart. It Utilizes the same supplies and technology as the Maestro system for easy, efficient cleaning of stationary handrails. This system will clean handrails, guardrails, guide rails, banisters. i.e., ADA handrails, stairways, walkways, and more. It is safe and effective on Metal, Rubber, Fiberglas, Wood, Linoleum, and Plastic. The tool is used with All Thomsen’s Cleaning, Conditioning, and Sanitizer solutions or with rail-specific manufacturer recommended solution i.e., brass cleaner for brass rails, hospital rail required cleaners and more.

What Kind of Results Does it Get?

By properly cleaning and applying a sanitizing solution to the handrail, it prevents the spread and transfer of viruses, germs, bacteria and other unwanted substances.. It extends the life of moving handrails by 3 to 5 years, reducing untimely handrail replacements costs.. It actually lowers labor costs and increases productivity by allowing staff to perform other essential duties, maximizing labor efficiency.  A prescribed cleaning frequency and time chart detailing labor time required to complete each cleaning or sanitizer application. No downtime equals happy customers! Cleans while moving rails are in use.

The system consists of microfiber cleaning pads, along with a three step chemical application system. First a deep cleaner is applied to break down, dissolve, and emulsify body oils soil, sticky substances, snot and saliva, and virtually anything else previous users of the escalator had on their hands. Secondly, a conditioner is applied to help maintain the form and substance of the handrail rubber material, along with restoring a clean-looking sheen and shine. Finally, an EPA registered disinfectant/antimicrobial is applied to treat and kill a wide range of germs, viruses, bacteria, and other unwanted substances. All of this can be confirmed with the use of ATP Testing For documenting results

What impact can investing in this system make?

The Thomsen system is easy to Implement and safe to use. It reduces labor costs and allows cleaning staff to be focused on other areas while they system is working. It extends the life of the handrail and reduces overall escalator downtime. It provides a cleaner, safer, and healthier rider experience, while reducing rider accidents because they are more confident to hold on to the handrails. The process effectiveness can be documented and reported by ATP monitoring.

For more information on the HydraMaster TreadMaster Escalator Cleaning System, visit https://hydramaster.com/product/treadmaster-escalator-cleaner/

For more information on the Thomsen’s Escalator Handrail Cleaning and Sanitizing System, visit https://hydramaster.com/product/thomsen-escalator-handrail-cleaning-system/

Finally, A Cleaning and Sanitizing System for Escalator Handrails

HydaMaster has been manufacturing the TreadMaster Escalator Cleaning System for over 30 years. Throughout that time, many of the facilities and customers who invested in the TreadMaster System have asked us if there was a better and more efficient way than hand wiping to clean the most common touchpoint on an escalator – the handrails. Chris Thomsen, the founder of the Maestro Escalator Handrail Cleaning System was recently introduced to HydraMaster and together the two companies immediately recognized they needed to work together to build awareness, especially in light of the recent focus on sanitizing common touchpoints in buildings related to the COVID-19 pandemic. So Doyle Bloss, Vice President of HydraMaster recently had a chance to interview Mr. Thomsen about his handrail cleaning system and where he came up withe the idea.

Question 1 – Chris, what is the Maestro Escalator Handrail Cleaning System?

Chris Thomsen

Answer – I created and patented the most comprehensive escalator handrail cleaning system because nothing else existed. Having spent 50 years in the escalator and elevator industry designing, operating, and maintaining these people movers for several companies (Kone, Schindler, Montgomery, Otis, Westinghouse) something needed to be done. The Maestro escalator handrail cleaning system cleans the moving escalator handrails with self-guiding handrail cleaning pads cleaning the entire face of the handrail from bead to bead-not just the top surface! The foam pad holders and cleaning pads are specially designed to fit the newel curve of the escalator handrail while the rubber pores are stretched open the most to maximize deep cleaning and the conditioning process. The cleaning, conditioning, and disinfecting solutions are formulated specifically for rubber and plastic handrails. Of great importance, all Thomsen’s solutions are certified by the manufactures of escalator handrails, as well as the European EU Reach SDS regulatory program.

Question 2 – What was wrong with the way facilities were dealing with cleaning escalator handrails?

Answer – Two hands, rags, and non-certified chemicals simply was not working well enough or fast enough. The task is to always maintain low levels of bacteria on Plastic and Rubber escalator handrail surfaces. Unknown to most people (even industry experts), escalator handrail system return rollers can accumulate a heavy coating of debris, contamination, viruses and more. Soil and contaminants from the escalator handrail face swaps back and forth with the return rollers and then back to the handrail face. High levels of handrail surface contamination will be evident from the contact between the handrails and the rollers, thus an endless cycle of clean to contamination begins. The answer is simple, but widely neglected. While an escalator is being serviced for mechanical or routine maintenance, the rollers must be cleaned prior to reassembling for continuation of standard operation needs. Clean return roller systems and clean handrails can be maintained with Thomsen’s handrail cleaning systems. Thomsen’s goal is to provide safe and clean escalator handrails for the end user and break the cycle of swapping contamination from the rollers to the handrail face

Question 3 – Why is better cleaning and sanitizing of escalator handrails so important?

Answer – 17,000 US citizens per year who injured while riding an escalator because the escalator handrail is not safe to touch and the Owner /Operator of the Escalator is the one that face the risks and potential liability because of it. An annual average 17,000 US citizens report an injury from riding on an unsafe, unclean, or poorly maintained escalator. 10,000 of those are emergency room required visits and 30 of those injuries fatal. Can an escalator handrail be safe to touch? The answer is yes, clean the escalator handrail regularly using Thomsen’s Maestro escalator handrail cleaning system (weekly is suggested by the manufacturers) and many of those 17,000 accidents can be eliminated. Proper riding instructions include standing in the middle of the escalator step, holding onto the escalator handrail, and facing forward. Studies show that less than 50% of escalator riders will use the handrail and the primary reason is lack of confidence in cleanliness.

Question 4 – Is there a scientific way to validate the effectiveness of the cleaning and sanitizing system for escalator handrails using the Maestro system?

Answer – Thomsen’s partners with Hygiena, a global leader in surface sanitation verification. Implementation of an ATP meter and test swabs specific for the escalator handrail surface is used to measure live bio-load on the handrail surfaces. The ATP meter will detect and measure contamination of the escalator handrail from normal ridership. Examples of contaminants include body oils from hands, mucus, dirt, viruses, fecal matter, and bacteria. Since the ATP meter is connected to a Cloud Server, all the data is collected and provided in easy-to-read reports detailing the time, place, and live bio count numbers. The number unit measure is in RLU – Relative Light Units. Hospital grade-level cleanliness for an operating room is less than 30 RLU’s. Using the Maestro system and the Thomsen’s cleaning solutions designed for escalator handrails, we have consistently obtained RLU’s of less than 10! With the use of our disinfectant, we can keep that count from escalating through normal ridership for up to 7 days. I call this comprehensive process The Thomsen Way! ™ Essentially, I have developed the Gold Seal for cleaning escalator handrails to assure riders that the handrail is safe to touch. Safe to touch reduces the potential for a rider accident dramatically. Operators of escalators now have the tools to clean, validate cleaning is being done, and documentation that the best cleaning results have been obtained. When all of that is put together the escalator is stamped with The Thomsen Way Gold Seal and the riders are assured the handrail is safe to touch.

Interesting Chris. The cleaning and restoration industry i familiar with the use of ATP measurements to validate cleaning and restoration processes. Thanks for enlightening us on why you developed this exclusive system. HydraMaster is convinced that when a facility has an escalator that is routinely cleaned with the TreadMaster Escalator Cleaning System and the Thomsen’s Handrail Cleaning System, they are doing everything they can to make riding the escalator safer and cleaner, and reducing exposure to unwanted substances. In our next article , we will focus more on specifically how the Thomsen’s System works. In the mean time, you can leanr more about these systems by visiting our website:

TreadMaster Escalator Cleaner: https://hydramaster.com/product/treadmaster-escalator-cleaner/

Thomsen’s Escalator Handrail Cleaning System: https://hydramaster.com/product/thomsen-escalator-handrail-cleaning-system/

It has never been more important to have a business plan – your future growth is counting on it

First, the carpet cleaning and restoration industry has not seen inflationary pressures like it is undergoing right now since the early 1980’s. Secondly, I am not sure it has ever seen anything that resembles the challenges facing the supply chain right now to get basic raw ingredients and components into the hands of the companies that make them into finished equipment, tools, accessories, and even chemicals for your cleaning and restoration business. Engine manufacturers and other major component manufacturers are saying to expect 6 month or longer lead times on new orders while at the same time announcing retroactive price increases on all existing and future orders. In reviewing plans with some of these strategic vendors, there is a strong belief that there will continue to be a great deal of volatility through most, if not all of 2022.  There is little doubt that your cleaning and restoration company has begun to feel some of the effects of these two major impacts; either in paying more for the equipment you need and/or in waiting longer for your orders to be fulfilled. At least for now , the time is gone when you could call up your local distributor and order virtually any major product and expect immediate delivery. Perhaps the many years our industry has thrived and allowed us to get what we needed right when we wanted it has led us too far away from building future equipment and tools needs into our business plans.

So just how does that affect you? As I am writing this article in late January of 2022, many professional carpet cleaning and restoration companies are anticipating and sometimes even planning for exponential growth in their businesses in the coming months. They may anticipate a need for additional truckmounts, portable extractors, rotary extractors, wands, and drying equipment come April through December to facilitate this growth. Here is the hang-up. In the past, if the needed a new truckmount to start working on jobs May 15th, they could order them typically in the latter part of April from their local distributor. In this new environment we are presently working in, if they wait until the latter part of April to communicate their wishes to their distributor, they will find out the industry often has three-to-nine-month lead times on virtually every machine, especially if they are looking for a reputable national brand like HydraMaster.

If you need new equipment, tools, and accessories in the coming 24 months, I would encourage you to build that into your growth plan now. Communicate with your local distributor about what you anticipate your needs to be. Get the product on order as soon as possible, If you are going to get it financed, get approved now so the equipment order can get into the system. You should likely not have to make any payments on the financing until your machine is installed. But do it now, don’t wait. If you are not very good at or don’t know how to write a business plan, get with a trusted industry consultant who can help you do that and give you a working template to start from. A few consultants you can consider to help you in developing a business plan are John Braun at Hitman Advertising (www.hitmanadvertising.com) ; Steve Toburen at Strategies for Success (https://sfs.jondon.com/); or Chuck Violand at Violand Management Associates (https://violand.com/). We also encourage you to work alongside your local HydraMaster Distributor in helping you to plan for your future equipment needs. They can provide you with the latest information on lead times and pricing, so you can have what you need when you need it to reach your goals in growing your business

Take The Next Step to Escalator Cleaning

Why clean the treads in escalators and moving sidewalks?

Escalators are often a necessary mainstay in modern commercial buildings and structures. They can be found in airports, sports stadiums, movie theaters, hotels, shopping centers, and even retail stores. The high degree of traffic and use leads to these treads getting incredibly dirty. Soil, dirt, food and beverage spills, gum, and anything else that is being tracked on to the escalator by the users. The grooves in the tread area are a magnet for impacted soil and the sticky nature of the built-up soiling often makes it difficult to remove.

So what issues are associated with dirty treads in escalators and moving sidewalks?

  1. The first issue with this build-up of soils and grease make the escalator unhygienic. What is worse is that recent studies of how mucus, bacteria, germs, fecal matter, and blood can be tracked throughout a facility on the shoes of the patrons extends to escalators too. It is not just dirt and soil you are cleaning up after in a commercial building.
  2. The second issue is that this build-up of soil and sticky matter can actually be damaging to the escalator itself, increasing maintenance costs and decreasing the useful life of the mechanisms. A large part of this soil and dirt can not be seen, as it becomes trapped under the mechanisms beneath the top of the escalator, requiring an increase in maintenance and a reduction of useful life.
  3. The third issue is that if the escalator is unsightly and soiled, it gives the building occupants, patrons and users a negative overall impression of the entire facility.
  4. A final issue is the increase in likelihood of a “slip and fall” complaint related to the soiled tread. As the tread becomes filled with soil, the slip resistance factor is reduced and the floor can even become slippery. Proper cleaning of the treads can help stabilize foot contact and prevent slipping or falling.

What are the challenges in cleaning the treads on an escalator?

  • Traditional cleaning called for the escalator treads to be disassembled, taken outside and pressure washed. This came at a HUGE cost – including downtime, labor, and the potential challenges associated with re-assembly.
  • Since the escalator treads are not flat surfaces, they will require mechanisms which can get down into the grooves of the treads.
  • Facilities can have escalators with varying widths
  • Most cleaning machines or methods are highly labor intensive.
  • The use of wet or moisture laden cleaning systems can drain between the steps and enter the working mechanisms of the escalator, potentially causing lubrication to be lost or reduced and causing damage to the system
  • The work usually has to be done at night.
  • Most systems don’t partner with a handrail cleaning system.

So what is the solution to cleaning escalator and moving walkway treads?

The TreadMaster Automatic Escalator Cleaner cleans treads and moving walkways effortlessly. For more than 30 years, the TreadMaster has been the leading escalator and moving walkway cleaner worldwide when it comes to cost, simplicity, and ease of operation. This self-contained, compact unit cleans and polishes unsightly stair treads.

The unique, hands-off system:

  • Cleans and polishes in one continuous motion
  • First the brush cleans inside the tread step
  • Then the pad polishes the tread step
  • Powerful vacuum collects all residue
  • Brings back and restores the original luster
  • Cleans escalators and moving walkways effortlessly without needing staff supervision.
  • Uses 98% less labor than conventional methods
  • Brush sizes are available to fit 23”, 24”, 32” and 40” width escalators (most are 40”)

TreadMaster cleaning is efficient. The ease of set-up and take-down makes cleaning escalator treads and moving walkways a “hands-off” job. The TreadMaster frees up personnel to perform other tasks while the TreadMaster is at work. The built-in vacuum system, easily replaceable heavy duty polishing pad, and nylon-grit brush ensures complete and thorough cleaning

TreadMaster cleaning is safe. The one-stop, automatic cleaning eliminates risky, manual cleaning procedures. TreadMaster removes unsafe substances from stair tread surfaces, reducing the risk of liability hazards for customers and employees. The TreadMaster also comes with a handy clip-on
“ESCALATOR CLEANING IN PROGRESS” sign to deter escalator passengers.

So how does the TreadMaster Escalator Cleaning System Work?

The TreadMaster utilizes a simple three-step operation process

  1. Simply position the TreadMaster at the bottom of the escalator
  2. Lower the cleaning head into position
  3. Activate the escalator.

Without any repositioning during any part of the cleaning process, the TreadMaster cleans the tread width completely and thoroughly. Most escalators respond best to multiple hours of cleaning with the TreadMaster.

The TreadMaster does not clean the platform, step risers (although a manual brush for the risers is included with your TreadMaster), or the hand-rails.

What cleaning solutions do you use with the TreadMaster?

The TreadMaster System is designed to be used “dry” – that is the agitation of the stiff brushes and the movement of the escalator itself create an effective agitation process. However sometimes you encounter sticky or greasy spots and soiling on the escalator that will need chemical treatment. Escalator Tread Spot Cleaner from HydraMaster is a volatile solvent, aerosol-based cleaner. This fast acting spot cleaner is designed specially for use on aluminum escalator steps. It helps to remove oily and sticky spots and spills and gum that the brushes of the TreadMaster could not. You simply spray it on the spots and spills while the TreadMaster is working for best and fastest results. It can also be used in between TreadMaster cleanings for spot and spill treatment. Escalator  Tread Spot Cleaner is non-flammable and non-conductive so it can be used while motor and equipment are operating. Because it is applied as an aerosol and completely evaporates, it can be safely and effectively used on escalators and moving walkway treads without any fears of getting two much moisture down into the working mechanisms of the escalator – effecting lubrication and potentially causing irreversible damage.

What about the handrails?

In the past, truthfully the handrails were generally overlooked and ignored. With the COVID1-9 pandemic focusing more attention on potential touch-point transmission of infectious diseases, there has been a greatly increased awareness of the need to clean and sanitize the handrails. Unfortunately, a false sense of security has been caused by the idea that you can routinely spray (with or without an electromagnetic sprayer) a disinfectant and eliminate any potential threat. We know that to properly clean and sanitize any surface requires first that you clean the surface, and secondly then you apply the appropriate disinfectant or sanitizer.

This concept has been reinforced by many studies of how unwanted materials end up on so many surfaces indoors. But Dr. Charles Gerba, PH.D, from the University of Arizona had this to specifically say about escalator handrails: “In our testing, we have found food, E. coli, mucus, feces, and blood routinely on escalator handrails. And where there is mucus, you may also find cold, flu, and COVID-19 viruses.” In seminars conducted by the Cleaning Industry Research Institute (CIRI – http://www.ciriscience.org) PH.D microbiologists repeatedly warned that most viruses are “encapsulated” in saliva and mucus, and may live for days left untreated.

Because of this, TreadMaster has partnered with the world’s most efficient and complete solution to effectively cleaning and sanitizing escalator handrails – the THOMSEN’s HANDRAIL CLEANING SYSTEM. This comprehensive enterprise escalator handrail cleaning and sanitizing program encompasses:

  • Dual System for Safe and Easy Cleaning
  • Complete Solution Approach
  • Heavy Duty Cleaner
  • Cleaner Conditioner
  • Sanitizer Solution   
  • ATP Testing For Documenting Results Monitoring Software and Reports

So how can you learn more?

If you are interested in taking the next step to learn more about comprehensive cleaning programs for escalators and moving walkways, we invite you to visit our website at hydramaster.com/product/treadmaster. There you will find links to more information about the TreadMaster System, TreadMaster Escalator Spot Tread Cleaner, as well as the Thomsen Handrail Cleaning and Sanitizing System

HydraMaster Introduces the “Find A Cargo Van” Website Portal

All you have to do is a web search for “cargo van shortage” and hundreds of articles detailing the “how’s and the whys” will immediately become evident. Bloomberg News, the Wall Street Journal, and many auto industry websites and publications detail the on-going shortage in new cargo vans. Just check with your normal source for vans and they can share with you some of the challenges they are having. Most fleet dealers and cargo van chassis up-fitters have seen their promised allotment for 2022 severely reduced or even eliminated. The increased demand for cargo vans that are to be used as delivery vehicles is a major part of the challenge. Due to the huge upsurge in online product ordering that was already taking place has been made even more steep by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, cargo vans are being bought up in record numbers by delivery companies. In addition, microchip shortages and COVID-19 outbreaks have led to intermittent or complete shutdowns of manufacturing plants for GM, Chevy, and Ford. This only added to the shortage. Another factor is the fact that Nissan made the decision to discontinue their cargo vans in 2020. Although they only had a 4.7% market share, that means less vans are available when demand is at an all-time high

Yet thousands of cleaning and restoration companies are thriving as we enter the new year and need new cargo vans to expand their fleet. The demand for direct drive truckmounts is higher than ever due to expanding small engine emission restrictions in California. Direct Drive truckmounts are most often installed in new or virtually new cargo vans and are currently limited to installation only in Chevy Express, GMC Savana, or Ford Transit cargo vans. Slide-in users who want to expand often still want to do it with a new van rather than a used high mileage van. But when cleaning and restoration companies are going to their normal fleet source for their next van, whether it be inside or outside of the industry, they are often finding that their regular source has no vans available.

HydraMaster wants to help in these challenging times. So, we developed a FREE portal on our website to help you find the right van for your cleaning and restoration business. It includes direct links to the nationwide (US) inventory searches for cargo vans from Chevy, GM, Ford, RAM, and Mercedes. Even better it provides you with some specific guidance on how to use and navigate these web sites, including a supporting “how-to” video and a list of things to consider as you look through these web sites.

  1. ALWAYS confirm availability of the van by calling the specific dealership listed directly.
  2. Many vans listed are not “on the lot” at the dealership. Sometimes they are “in transit” and may be marked that way.
  3. Oftentimes dealerships will list vans on these sites that are on the lot or in route that are ALREADY sold. The only way to ensure that the van is still for sale is to call the dealership directly.
  4. Vans are at a premium now. Many dealers are selling vans for prices higher than the MSRP
  5. Set a wider parameter in miles from your zip code for a better selection of vans. Many cleaning and restoration companies are buying vans right now located far away from their location.
  6. Many of the fleet dealerships that are the normal source for commercial vans were not provided with their allocations for 2022. You may find smaller, non-fleet dealers are more likely to have a van in stock or that they can sell you.
  7. ALWAYS consult with your local HydraMaster Distributor for van compatibility to the specific truckmount you want before making your van purchase.
  8. ALWAYS consult with your local HydraMaster Distributor about any special sub-frames which might be required for the installation of a sub-mount or stand-alone freshwater tank in a Ford Sprinter, Dodge ProMaster, or Mercedes Sprinter to avoid “no-drill” zones

At HydraMaster, we do “have your back” and want to support you in every way we can to grow your business. Follow this link to get your van shopping started: https://hydramaster.com/help-finding-a-new-van/

How Do You Build the Value of Your IICRC Certification into Your Marketing Message?

It will matter when your marketing efforts make it matter

“My customers have never asked me about IICRC Certification.” This statement is usually written somewhere in social media or spoken in the halls of a supplier showroom or trade show just prior to an explanation about why that person is not attending a specific IICRC school or renewing their IICRC certification. One of the advantages of being in the supply side of the industry since 1983 is having on my side the benefit of time testing all theories. And I have concluded whether it was a newbie carpet cleaner in 1984, or a cleaner who is a well-known social media influencer in 2021 making this statement, what it demonstrates is a gross misunderstanding of marketing. It should not surprise anyone that a person who has not been provided with any kind of formal marketing training for business at all looks at marketing only through the lens of advertising. They are hit with ad after ad trying to manipulate, er, I mean influence them to purchase a specific product. They watch the super bowl with eager anticipation to see which commercial is their favorite, all while understanding each 30 second time slot cost the advertiser millions of dollars. “The IICRC has not done anything to educate or market to my customer what the benefits of using an IICRC Certified technician are. My customers have never even heard of the IICRC.” This is where the misunderstanding becomes so obvious. The IICRC is not a for profit corporation with a product that they sell literally billions of dollars-worth of to millions of consumers. There is no way they could spend enough on advertising to make the organization a “household name.”  Have you heard of the National Association or Landscape Professionals? How about the ISA – the organization that oversees certification programs for arborists? How about the Chimney Safety Institute of America – an organization that certifies Chimney Sweeps? Me neither. But the next time I need my chimney swept I might pay more attention. All of those are certification organizations within industries that neither you, nor I likely have much knowledge about. So, it is for your carpet cleaning or water damage restoration customer and the IICRC. They would not know anything about them unless they need the services of a company who are certified by them.

That’s the key point. Your IICRC Certification will matter to your customer when your marketing makes it matter. It is when you demonstrate to your customer or potential customer “what is in it for them?” to hire an IICRC Certified technician or firm.  So how do you build the value of your IICRC Certification into your marketing message? It is simple really. By simply taking the time to answer their question – “What is in it for them?”

What about all of the “bad apples” who are IICRC Certified?

Take a moment to step back and think about it. What is the value of hiring someone who has formal education and measured learning? You can take any program of measured accomplishment and find lots of people who are still not great at that job or service; lets call them a favorite word of critics – “hypocrites.” But there-in lay one of the keys. All programs, all faiths, all sciences for that matter have in their midst – hypocrites and cheats. The mere presence of immoral or hypocritical people inside a program only proves one thing – that program contains humans. There are bad or immoral apples in every group. So, let’s start by throwing out the “hypocrite” or “cheat” excuse first thing.

Now that we have thrown out the hypocrite or cheat excuse, we can focus on the main reason for this article – finding ways to tell the customer what is in it for them when they hire you – a trained and certified professional cleaner or restorer.

What things come to mind when you think about what being IICRC Certified means? But What is in It for your Customer?

Credibility? Knowledge and Technical Expertise? Product understanding? Knowledge of warranties? Working with manufacturers or insurance companies? Cleaning or Restoration Science? Understanding regulations? Following industry standards of care and/or standards? All of those are important. But those are buzzwords for our industry – not Joe and Jane Consumer or Businessperson. Your job in marketing the benefits of your IICRC Certification to your clients or potential clients is to explain how those buzzwords will benefit them as the recipient of your service. Let’s do that now.

So how do you deliver this marketing message? Well, the best way is over time. Build it into your social media posts. Include one section at a time in your newsletter. Make it the last page of your sales brochure. Make a video about it. But the key is to start communicating to your clients and potential clients – what is in it for them!

Don’t worry, we want to provide some help. We took these key principles and built them into both a residential and a commercial message. See the print/electronic ads we developed for you below:

These pages are part of the HydraMaster RapidGrowth Marketing Plan for Carpet Cleaners. This comprehensive plan contains a complete collection of marketing messages prepared for you to deliver. It is free to those folks who invest in HydraMaster truckmount and request it. But if that is not in your immediate horizon, simply email sales@hydramaster.com and write” IICRC Benefits” in the subject line and we will email them to you.