Microfiber Case Study

Opened in March 2008, Heathrow Terminal 5 (T5) is the UK’s largest freestanding structure, comprising 3.8 million square foot across four floors. The building is in use 24 hours a day, so when building services contractor Amey was awarded the cleaning and maintenance contract, it needed to create a robust cleaning process that could ensure the highest cleaning standards in a large building.


Amey was awarded the contract at the start of 2010, so soft services manager Pedro Gomez and his team needed durable cleaning products that maximized productivity. “We have 400 cleaning personnel here at T5, and from the outset we required a lot of efficient and reliable cleaning equipment. Being an airport, we have some very particular challenges. We have to adapt on a daily–and often hourly–basis to the number of passengers coming through the airport, while security is always a paramount concern.”


Amey chose Rubbermaid’s HYGEN™ Microfiber cleaning system as a key part of their cleaning services plan. HYGEN™ is a total solution featuring a complete set of textiles and hardware products, such as handles, frames, buckets and carts, designed to maximize the benefits of Microfiber cleaning.

In particular, three major items influenced Amey’s choice:

• Rubbermaid secure cleaning carts,

• Rubbermaid Pulse kit

• and high-level dusting tools.

The secure cleaning carts are equipped with light, hard-wearing equipment that enable the cleaning staff to move at speed and with minimal disruption to passengers and staff.

Finally, with its wide-open spaces, hard floors, and hard-to-reach signage, the majority of T5’s cleaning tasks involve dusting floors and higher surfaces. Crucially, the Rubbermaid dusting equipment is supplied with extension poles, and the dust pads can be easily re-shaped to reach awkward positions. All Rubbermaid products were supplied through Amey’s existing janitorial and disposable products distributor, Bunzl Cleaning and Hygiene Supplies (BCHS).

THE BENEFITS — Rubbermaid’s system brought a series of benefits to Terminal 5:

Gomez and his team perform deep cleans during the night when the terminal is less crowded. “Once we have established a good standard of cleanliness on the night shifts, we then look to maintain that during the day, with less intensive and less intrusive preventative cleaning duties.”

Rubbermaid’s products have helped Gomez increase the efficiency of these daytime cleaning ‘top-ups’ by supplying wide microfiber dust mops and easily maneuverable cleaning carts.

The mop makes fast work of general hard floor dusting, and the Microfiber pads are easily removed and replaced by cleaning staff. The pads are guaranteed machine washable for over 500 launders without degradation.

Rubbermaid’s Pulse Mop allows the user to apply three streams of water directly onto the surface, thereby eliminating the time taken to return to a mop bucket for water refills. All the above cleaning products can be transported on a single cart, giving the user everything they need to tackle any cleaning job.

“We are using less water” says Gomez. “Microfiber is very effective at removing dirt with minimal quantities of water. In fact, we rarely use any chemicals in day-to-day cleaning.”

“Microfiber is proven to reduce water usage by 80%, and chemical consumption by anything up to 95%” adds Rubbermaid’s Rob Sutherland. Gomez notes how these advantages fit perfectly with T5’s sustainability aims: “Terminal 5 has two water systems: one fresh water mains supply and a second ‘grey water’ recovery that uses water collected from the roof. Any method of cutting water use is a major advantage.”

“We are cleaning a wide range of items,” says Gomez, “including train platforms, escalators, and electronic equipment. Any excess water could potentially be hazardous around these areas.”

A surface cleaned with a damp Microfiber mop pad dries in about 90 seconds, whereas a standard cotton string-style mop could take upwards of 10 minutes. The faster drying speed helps to reduce slip-hazard areas and the amount of time each section of floor needs to be out of use for cleaning.

Also, the secure cleaning carts contribute to increasing security.

“Overall, we believe we have increased productivity by 15 to 20%,” concludes Gomez.