Glossary of Cleaning Products and Janitorial Supplies

An explanation of the cleaning janitorial supplies available to you

This section provides a summary of the different types of cleaning equipment mentioned and supplied by Wray Bros to help you in the cleaning process, giving you an understanding of the appropriate equipment required for any given work situation.

A to Z Glossary of Cleaning Supplies and Terms

For more specific information on the features, benefits, how and where to use particular piece of cleaning equipment ask about the Introduction to Equipment Training Course.


All Purpose Cleaning Cloths
For general cleaning tasks, all-purpose cloths are a good alternative to the more traditional cloths used. They are sponge like in appearance and texture and have an open cellular structure that is ideal for collecting food and dirt particles as well as removing stubborn stains. They should be used as semi-disposable wipe when used in areas where hygiene is a concern.

Anti-Bacterial Biowipe Plus Cleaning Cloths
Bigger and stronger than lightweight cleaning cloths, they have the added advantage of being fully machine-washable. Again, they are made from non-woven fabric and are manufactured in arrange of colours. They are suited to cleaning food preparation areas, where a deeper, more thorough clean is required. They can also be used as a semi-disposable cloth for heavier, dirtier tasks.

Antiseptic wipes
These are used to clean surfaces or hands when dealing with hazardous waste. They are provided in a variety of formats from tubs, soft packs to sterile, single-use sachets, each containing a single disposable wipe.


Back-Pack Vacuum Cleaners
These are cylinder vacuum cleaners that are ergonomically designed to be mounted comfortably on the back of a cleaning operative and allow the operative to safely remove debris from otherwise inaccessible areas. They are particularly effective for cleaning stairs and removing high level dust and debris on ledges, furniture and fittings.

Bonnet Mops
Bonnet mops can be used for cleaning hard floors in conjunction with standard speed rotary cleaning machines but are more commonly used for cleaning carpets. There are different bonnets and different techniques used for carpet and hard surface cleaning. However, their use is declining due to the modern-day effectiveness of water extraction and steam cleaning techniques.

Made from plastic, buckets, pails and other water containers are used for general cleaning duties that do not require the use of a mop. They are made from plastic and manufactured in colours that support colour-coded cleaning regimes.

Builders Buckets
Builders buckets are made from robust black plastic, usually with a wire handle for carriage. They can be used to remove heavy items of waste and for general cleaning duties where colour-coding is not an issue.


Chamois Leather
Chamois leather is obtained from certain breeds of sheep and is oil tanned to make it soft and luxurious to the touch. It can absorb up to six times its own weight in water and is extremely effective in absorbing large quantities of water, leaving a clean, smear-free finish to all hard surfaces, particularly glass and highly polished surfaces. It is also extremely durable and hardwearing.

Cobweb Brush
Cobweb Brush is used in conjunction with extension poles to remove cobwebs and other loose debris in high and hard to reach places. They are commonly made from hard synthetic fibres, woven into a wire frame to give them their distinctive shape. Care should be taken when using high level tools as the debris will inevitably fall, hence eye protectors should be considered.


Dish Cloths
Dish cloths could be described as the general purpose cloth of the cleaning industry, due to their suitability for a wide-range of tasks. They are made from cotton and are “flat-knitted” and hemmed, to help them maintain their shape. Although they can be provided in bleached white, they are available in a range of colours to support colour-coded cleaning regimes.

Dishwashing Sponges
Dishwashing sponges are simple and far more effective than normal dishcloth for removing hard food deposits due to the abrasive polyester pad attached to one side. The reason for their effectiveness is that the sponge holds the cleaning solution and delivers it through the abrasive pad. They should be disposed of on a weekly basis as they will hold and distribute bacteria easily.

Dual Mop Buckets

Dual buckets are used when cleaning solutions and clean water are required when wet mopping is being done. They can incorporate wringers allowing cleaning operatives to carry out two tasks without using two buckets.

Although they are almost exclusively yellow, the colour is of no significance. Dusters are made from cotton and are hemmed to prevent fraying. They should only be used for general dusting and polishing and should be cleaned regularly. They should be disposed of when they start to lose their soft, luxurious texture as they become less effective.


Extension Poles
Extension poles allow for inter-changeable items such as cobweb dusters, squeegees and window cleaning tools to be connected to them. They are most commonly used to clean high ledges, pipework and glazing. Applying enough physical pressure to the work surface from a significant distance, e.g. 10-15 metres away from you can render the use of extension poles as ineffective.


Floor Cloths
Floor Cloths, made from cotton are extremely hard wearing; making them ideal for jobs that cannot be done effectively with a dish cloth. They are particularly effective for heavily soiled areas and cleaning floors where cleaning equipment cannot access i.e. between stair spindles, railings etc. Their durability ensures that they can be cleaned effectively in a washing machine.

Floor Pads
Floor Pads are designed to be suitable for particular tasks and their effectiveness depends greatly on the speed at which they rotate along with the weight applied by the machine. They are manufactured in a range of colours, each having its own characteristics and suitability for certain tasks. They are fitted to machines via the drive disc, which is usually supplied with the machine.

Floor Scrapers
Floor scrapers are available for use on stone floors and resilient floors. They are, essentially, large, thin blades of stainless steel that are connected to a long stave. The extra length of the stave allows for a degree of flexibility when dealing with hard deposits on floor surfaces, which is needed to effectively remove them. They are most commonly used to remove chewing gum from hard floors.

Floor Squeegees
When water needs to be removed from a surface quickly, floor squeegees can be used. However, they are more effective on smooth surfaces and can only remove water effectively if drains are available. They can be used effectively in conjunction with wet pick-up machines by moving large quantities of water towards the machine.

Floor Sweeper
Floor Sweepers or Dust Beaters consist of a hardwearing nylon or polyester sleeve that holds cotton or synthetic fibres in the form of a “flat-mop”. The sleeve is attached to frame using press-studs. The Dust Beater heads vary in size from between 30 and 150 cm. They are effective in controlling the amount of dust kicked up from the floor during floor maintenance procedures in small areas.


Hand Held Dusters
Like lambswool dusters, these dusting tools are excellent for cleaning high and hard to reach places. However, they have the added advantage of being able to be used in conjunction with extension poles. They can be used dry, but can also be impregnated with mineral oil to attract dust. They can also be treated with a fine water mist to create the same, less permanent effect.


Industrial Cleaning Cloth
For heavier cleaning, industrial strength, non-woven, semi disposable cleaning cloths are ideal. They are extremely absorbent and are particularly suited to workshop environments, such as garages, print rooms etc. These cloths can be dispensed from a towel dispenser or cut from a roll for bigger jobs.


Kentucky Mops
Kentucky mops have a much long yarn and are stitched in the middle using a polyester band to secure the yarn fibres and maintain its shape. The polyester band can also have an abrasive texture to enable the removal of stubborn stains and dirt from the surface being cleaned. They are particularly effective for cleaning large areas of flooring and can also be used for laying floor polish.

Kentucky Mop Bucket with Mop Wringer
Unlike general wringer buckets, these are designed for use with Kentucky mops. They are larger than normal buckets and must be used in conjunction with a suitable wringer. This wringer fits to the rim of the bucket and incorporates a draining container with two moveable rollers. The rollers are controlled by means of a handle and when applied the mop is lifted through the rollers for wringing.


Lambswool Flick Duster
Made from pure lambswool, they are used for dusting high and hard to reach places. As they are made from wool, they are able to hold a static charge, thus attracting dust particles. Also, they are fully washable in a neutral, lukewarm cleaning solution and should be left to dry naturally. If this is done, they will retain their properties for long periods, making them extremely cost-effective.

Lightweight Wipes
These are semi-disposable, non-woven cleaning cloths that are produced in a range of colours. They can be incorporated within your specific colour-coded cleaning regime and are extremely effective in reducing the spread of bacteria. They are ideal for use in cleaning food preparation surfaces as a semi-disposable cloth and are economically priced when compared with traditional cleaning cloths.

Litter Pickers
Mechanical gripper Litter pickers are long handled tools with a pincer type mechanism operated by a trigger on the handle. They allow the operative to pick-up litter and other items without bending down. Litter spikes can be used as an alternative on soft ground. Litter Pickers are also useful for picking up items that are contaminated with foul or hazardous waste, such as hypodermic syringes.

Lobby Pans and Brushes
Again, these allow the operative to sweep up and remove waste quickly, without the need for bending down. The pan is fitted with a lid that automatically opens when pushed down level with the floor and closes when lifted. This ensures that litter is not re-deposited onto the floor.


Mop Bucket with Wringer
Standard Mop buckets come in a range of colours and designs. Most common buckets are provided in colours that compliment colour-coded cleaning regimes and have detachable wringers and handles. Removing the wringer allows the bucket to be used as an ordinary pail for other general cleaning tasks. The wringer is designed to accommodate socket mops.


Pelican Pump Dispensers
Pump dispensers are provided to ensure that cleaning products requiring dilution and preparation can be decanted into buckets and trigger sprays accurately, in line with the mixing instructions indicated on the product label. They are designed to screw securely on the spouts of containers and can be supplied to fit 5lt, 10lt and 25lt containers.


Rags or Label Wipers are more commonly referred to as Industrial Rags. They are fabric cloths that are made from 100% recycled garments. They are used for wiping up liquid spillages, wiping down surfaces, machinery and hands and are particularly suited for use with grease, paint, oil and chemicals. They are used in most industries as an effective, heavy-duty disposable item.


Scrim is flame retardant, 100% cotton fabric that has multiple uses but within the cleaning industry it is used exclusively for cleaning windows. Its suitability for window cleaning is due to the fact that its close-knit construction allows the gaps between the weave to trap dirt and grime, whilst at the same time keeping in close contact with the glazed surface. The result is a clean, smear-free surface.

Sham Cham (Synthetic Chamois)
Synthetic wash leathers are a more cost-effective version of chamois leather. They are made from highly absorbent synthetic fibres that form a soft, perforated surface and can be used in exactly the same way as natural chamois leather. They are extremely durable and hard wearing and can be used on all highly polished hard surfaces.

Stockinette Roll
When a small dish cloth is not big enough for the task in hand, stockinette roll is ideal, as it can be cut to size to meet the needs of any individual job. They are manufactured and used in much the same way as dish cloths. However, it is not normally provided in any colour other than white, limiting its use in buildings using colour-coded cleaning regimes.;


Trigger Sprays and Bottles
Trigger sprays allow the operative to apply cleaning solutions or polishes to all surfaces in a stream or fine mist. They can be provided in a range of colours that will support colour-coded cleaning regimes, reducing the risks of accidental application of inappropriate cleaning solutions. The trigger spray itself is detachable, making cleaning the bottles much easier.


V Sweepers
V Sweepers consist of a scissor-frame, incorporating handles for greater control and two matching dust sleeves attached to the framehead. They perform a similar task to that of single dust control mops, but are used for larger areas, e.g. sports halls. Therefore, their use can significantly reduce the amount of time spent removing dust and debris from a floor prior to cleaning.


Window Cleaners Buckets
These are buckets specifically designed for use with window cleaning tools and squeegees. They are rectangular in shape and are much wider than normal buckets.

Window Cleaning Cloths
These are purpose made cloths designed to make cleaning windows easier without the use of chemicals. They can be used with water for cleaning or dry for polishing, giving an excellent smear-free finish.

Window Cleaners’ Hip Buckets
Window cleaners’ hip buckets are water carriers that strap around the waste by means of a Velcro belt, allowing cleaning to be done safely from ladders. They are available in a number of sizes, all of which incorporate a holster for cleaning solutions that will accommodate window cleaning tools and squeegees. They can also include clips for window scrims and squeegees on the main strap.

Window Scrapers
Window scrapers are small hand-held tools that incorporate a replaceable blade. They are effective in removing stickers and adhesive tape from glazed surfaces as well as hard soil deposits. Care should be taken by operatives when changing the blades.

Window Squeegees
Window squeegees, available in a wide range of widths, are made from a brass or stainless steel stock that holds a rubber blade. They work by moving the rubber blade across the surface and removing cleaning solution from it. They grip the glass surface so snugly that all of the liquid is removed in one stroke. The rubber strips are replaceable.