Can you guess when the vacuum cleaner was invented? The 1920s, maybe? 1900s?

Quite unbelievably, the vacuum cleaner predates domestic electricity supplies – with manual, crank and bellows-powered vacuum cleaners doing the job from the 1860s. The first vacuum cleaners with electric motors began to appear with the advent of domestic electricity production and supply, towards the end of the 19th century. But they weren’t exactly portable, cheap – or even all that good at sucking up dirt.

There were lots of inventions in the early 20th century that promised to make cleaning easier – but none of them really took off. And then, in 1907, a department store cleaner called James Spangler invented a bagged electric vacuum cleaner that would become the blueprint for the next hundred years. Lacking the funds to build and sell the invention himself, he sold his design to Hoover.

The product was so successful, that “hoover” became the British word for vacuum cleaner.

Now, we live in a world where almost every home has at least one vacuum cleaner – and every office, too. And things have never been cleaner. But when it comes to commercial cleaning and vacuuming, there are loads of questions put to us by potential clients and by our team looking to do the best work they can do.

So, let’s explore the world of vacuum cleaners for commercial cleaning and what makes a good commercial vacuum cleaner.

Is there a “best” commercial vacuum cleaner?

Well, there’s no best tool for any job, really. Even a domestic vacuum cleaner will work in a pinch. But commercial vacuum cleaners tend to have features that make them more suited to long days of cleaning, as opposed to shorter bursts associated with home cleaning. Some are wet and dry cleaners, meaning they can suck up spills without getting gunked up. Despite the choice available out there, it’s quite hard to make a bad choice these days.

Still, you might be aware of one particular vacuum cleaner that seems to be in every single office and shop you’ve ever been to…

Numatic NRV 240-11 (a.k.a. Henry)

We all know Henry, the happy little red vacuum cleaner, seen in almost every shop and office you’ve ever spotted a vacuum cleaner in. But why is this little machine, which has barely changed since it was introduced 1981, so popular for commercial cleaning?

The answer is simple. It’s cheap, incredibly basic in design, powerful – and carries up to 9 litres of dust before it needs emptying. You can carry it one-handed, and throw it in a cupboard after you’re finished. And it’ll just carry on working. When it doesn’t work, fixing it is easy and cheap. It’s bagless, clean, quiet – it just ticks so many boxes.

It doesn’t do wet and dry vacuuming, although there are versions available that can – but in most office cleaning jobs, this is rarely an issue.

Of course, Henry isn’t the only commercial vacuum in the world. There are hundreds of options. But Henry has so many features that commercial cleaners are looking for, at a good price. And so, the word “Henry” has become synonymous with “commercial vacuum cleaner” – just like the Hoover brand did in household cleaning.

Henry vacuum cleaners are corded, with a 10m spooled power cable. Is that a bad thing?

Cordless or corded?

Commercial vacuum cleaners are more likely to be corded – even though a cord makes them harder to move around, and can present a trip hazard. There are plenty of reasons for this; corded vacuum cleaners are more reliable, allow for more powerful designs, and have cost, weight and time advantages over battery-powered designs.

For example, if you’re on the move with lots of commercial cleaning jobs in a day, you can’t recharge a cordless vacuum cleaner in between jobs. Even if you could, you probably wouldn’t have enough power to do a whole floor in an average office. All the extra weight from the batteries would undo any manoeuvrability advantage, and you’d have to compromise on battery life, power, and dust capacity.

Sure, there’s going to be a cord in the way – but being able to just plug the vacuum cleaner in and go is a huge advantage. If you work safely, those trip hazards can be reduced.

Who provides the vacuum cleaner – the cleaner or the client?

Every professional commercial cleaner will be more than happy to provide their own vacuum cleaner, especially for highly regular and specialist jobs. But the reality is that most offices and shops have a vacuum cleaner on-site anyway, to deal with spillages in between scheduled cleans.

So, the answer is: if the customer doesn’t have one, then you bring the vacuum cleaner.* If they do, use theirs. Just check they’re happy with that beforehand, and agree on whose equipment will be used before the commercial cleaning contract begins.

Of course, there’ll be times when a simple vacuum cleaner won’t be up to the task – when carpets are so filthy, that a next-level clean is required.

This is when a professional carpet cleaning system will be called for. And of course, the customer isn’t expected to provide that equipment!

At The Abbey Cleaning Service, we’ve invested in the latest commercial carpet deep cleaning technology, which uses the hot water extraction method. This gives carpets a deep, fresh clean – removing not just the visible dirt, but also hidden germs and bacteria.

* Also, if we supply the vacuum cleaner, we will also provide the customer with an annual PAT test on the vacuum cleaner, which is needed for health and safety purposes.

Commercial Cleaning in Cardiff

The Abbey Cleaning Service is a team of professional commercial cleaning specialists in Cardiff. We bring all the equipment for the job, and can also do commercial carpet cleaning (with our heavy duty carpet cleaning tech).

Call 029 2067 9323 today, and book an appointment with one of our commercial cleaning experts.