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This is the first part of a three-part article about restroom cleaning machines.

Restroom cleaning isn’t done on paper. Real life variables matter when deciding whether to use a traditional mop and bucket or a restroom cleaning machine.

But there is still plenty to be gained by a closer inspection of the numbers, specifically those in “The Official ISSA 612 Cleaning Times & Tasks,” compiled by Ben Walker, a consultant with ManageMen in Salt Lake City. After all, the times listed in the book aren’t arbitrary guesses.

“A lot of [the times] come from various consulting projects we’ve done over the years,” says Walker. “We’ve done a lot of work especially with end user groups to establish cleaning times based on them. And then a good chunk of them do come from ISSA membership or even have come from end users who have conducted their own time studies and submitted them to us to add to the averages that are currently in the book.”

In most cases, the book is pretty clear: restroom cleaning machines can save BSCs considerable time — not to mention improve worker conditions and provide a better clean, if used correctly.