Sometimes Old School Works Better Than New

Have you ever invested in new technology to perform a job and after using it a few times it didn’t do the work better, cheaper or faster than what you were doing before? It happened to me with one of the simplest tools out there. We have a porcelain tile floor. I committed to keeping it clean. I decided to find the latest cleaning method available so off to the store I went determined to find the “best”. I invested in a small little unit that plugs into the wall and develops steam that pushes that steam through a microfiber machine-washable set of pads. Just to be sure that I had enough horsepower and could change pads throughout the cleaning process, I bought extras.

I took it home and even thoroughly read the instructions to use it. You fill a water reservoir to the full line and plug it in. There were 3 settings and of course I had to go to the heavy-duty setting as I wanted the floors to be super clean. After the steam started I cleaned the kitchen, flipping the device over to take advantage of using both sides of the cleaning pad. After I was done with the kitchen, I decided to change the pad as it looked like it was full of dirt. The room took the second pad and I’m now feeling I made the best choice in buying extra pads. I didn’t like the task of moving the plug each time I moved from room to room but figured out I could extend the range with an extension cord. Problem solved and I finished cleaning the house, proud of myself for having such a clean floor. I was sure that the old method was left in the dust in favor of the new unit.

The next day, we dropped a food scrap on the floor and I grabbed a paper towel to clean it up. I wet the towel and cleaned up the area. Looking at the paper towel I was shocked to see that the towel was dirty. Not just from the spilled food but also dirt from the floor. Okay, I assumed that it was because the old cleaning method had been doing such a bad job it may take another cleaning to get the rest of the dirt up from the previous cleanings of left-behind dirt.

After washing and drying the pads, I was ready to clean up the floor by redoing it. I noticed that the stains left on the pads made the pads look like they were still dirty but in trying to hand scrub the dirt off none came off. Okay, so it’s just stain – I can live with that. As I went over the floor the second time I noticed I got as much dirt off the floor as the first time. Wow! That old system must have been bad and failed to lift off the dirt, but I was confident the second time would fully clean it. The floor looked pretty good when I was done and I congratulated myself for figuring out the problem caused by the old method in not getting the floor clean.

The week went fast and it was time for another cleaning. I remembered to launder the pads and was ready to go. I steamed the floor and it looked pretty good when I was done – proud of myself for the great new method I had chosen to do the floors. This went on for a few months.

Then one day we dropped food again and had to clean it up. WHAT? Dirt came up with the clean-up and not just the spilled food. This was ground in-dirt like I experienced earlier. Doubt entered my mind and I began to question how good this steam process was? The last time I used it, after I was done, I picked up a spot pad cleaner and tested parts of the floor. It was dirty, so I decided that the disposable pad system would replace the steam unit. I went through lots of pads but felt I was getting the floor clean, but upon testing, several jugs of cleaning solution, and boxes of pads, the doubt tuned to reality. It wasn’t cleaning the floor.

Several thoughts went through my mind. Should I hire someone who knew more about floor cleaning than me, or someone that could buff out the dirt from the floor and seal it with something that wouldn’t let the dirt permeate the surface? Should I buy an old fashioned mop, some Pine-Sol, and a bucket and give that a try?  The mop and Pine-Sol is pretty inexpensive. I bought it, took it home, and washed the floor. It hadn’t look that good since the day we moved in. I tested the surface by scrubbing the floor with a paper towel after I mopped and no dirt came up. H’mm. Old school did a better job than the fancy new equipment.

The same may apply to some of the new technology we’re being served up today. At the last WWETT show, I crossed paths with a contractor who told me he just bought a UV cure system and was touting how he could now complete 2 liners per day with his 3 man crew. As I questioned him he was happy with this kind of production. I told him of a 4 man crew that was completing 8 liners per day. 4 shots in the morning all set with an ambient cure, 4 afternoon shots with our hot water heat cure unit with 2 of the 4 crew while the other 2 prepared lines ahead of the lining crew and closed after the last prep. Granted, all of these lines were down the same street but old school was getting more production than new school. Before dropping old school methods, be sure that the new school methods are going to improve production.

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