Cleaning Initiatives

There are a couple of special cleaning initiatives that the CRCSD has focused on these past few years, which are cleaning the school restrooms, and polishing terrazzo floors. Please read below for more information on our two main cleaning initiatives!



The Cedar Rapids Community School District has been using the Kaivac to clean restrooms for 5 years. The Kaivac is a way to minimize restroom cleaning to a single machine without using numerous disinfectants and tools to do it. Each Kaivac contains a power spray nozzle, large receptacle for the disinfectant mix, wet vacuum, receptacle for the used disinfectant from the floor, and a stiff brush for tile floors.

Cleaning restrooms with Kaivacs allow us to clean deep into corners where dirt and germs can accumulate. The Kaivacs are used to clean both the inside and outside of toilets, urinals, and sinks without the custodian needing to have contact with those surfaces. Mops tend to help kill germs and bacteria, but they don’t remove them from surfaces – Kaivac does.

Because there are fewer harmful chemicals used in the bathrooms, the Kaivac is also a big step for the District towards green cleaning practices. Many disinfectants and restroom cleaners evaporate harmful fumes into the air that damage the air, and also can sometimes be harmful to those using the restrooms. Kaivac eliminates that concern by using a universal disinfectant that can clean all restroom surfaces. After these surfaces have been cleaned, the disinfectant pools on the floor and is vacuumed up. Since Kaivacs help the District clean restrooms almost twice as fast, our custodians have more time to complete other projects to continue keeping schools spotless.



Polishing terrazzo floors is much greener and more cost effective than laying finish. The video above was shown at the Greenwood Cleaning Systems 2016 Product Show where C&G Manager Matt Dunbar and former C&G Supervisor Mark Schanou gave a presentation on the benefits of polishing terrazzo floors.

A large amount of flooring in the Cedar Rapids Community School District consists of terrazzo. These terrazzo floors were stripped of their finish every year, cleaned, and then refinished before the start of the next school year.

However, in 2015, the District was faced with hefty budget cuts. Matt Dunbar, Manager of the Custodial and Grounds Department, chose to update the way our terrazzo was cared for instead of cutting custodial positions. The trade-off was that our custodians had to learn a brand new way to care for terrazzo flooring after applying finish for 55 years. Some custodians were concerned with the switch to polishing the terrazzo rather than finishing it; would it really create the same shine that the finish did? What if the floors end up worse off from polishing than they were with the wax coat?


Applying finish to the terrazzo flooring wasted a lot of resources. If someone drug their backpack or a chair across a finished floor, there would be very visible marks in the floor where the wax coating had been scraped off. Not only did the scuffing make the floor look poor, but all of the wax would be thrown away at the end of the year. That wax ends up in the community water supply, and also in the lungs of our custodians when they strip it each summer. Polishing the terrazzo is sustainable as well, because harmful chemicals are no longer needed to shine the floors. When the terrazzo is polished, buffers are used to level out the flooring where dents are found. The floor is buffed to a shine, and then a thin layer of oil protectant is spread over the terrazzo. The oil is not made of anything harmful, and won’t show scratches like the wax did. The oil is applied once a day to make the terrazzo shine like new.

Black tennis shoe scuff marks used to be the bane of a custodian’s existence. They would grab the broom with the tennis ball on the end and rub out each individual scuff; with the oil, those scuff marks will never show up again. The reason those black scuffs could be seen on the terrazzo was because the wax would cling to the rubber particles, and friction would cause them to remain on the floor, causing a mark. The oil soaks into the stone to strengthen and protect it, and doesn’t attract to the rubber particles in tennis shoes. Black scuff marks will never be seen on Cedar Rapids School terrazzo again!

The polishing process took two weeks to complete when the process was first introduced in 2015; now, polishing an entire school takes only days. Eliminating the use of a waxy finish saves the District and Cedar Rapids tax payers a total of almost $500,000 over the course of the next five years. Polishing the floors cuts the waste of resources and the number of man-hours spent on the flooring. Custodians can use the time they would have spent waxing the floors working on other projects.