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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Simply position the TreadMaster at the bottom of the escalator
- Lower the cleaning head into position
- 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