It is said that a picture is worth 1,000 words.
Well, the condition of your hard surface floors is worth at least that many.
Often the first thing building occupants notice upon entering a facility, the cleanliness and level of shine of your floors is a make or break initial impression.
Not only are dirty floors an eyesore and a potential slip, trip and fall hazard, but it has been noted that dirt on shoe bottoms acts like 400-grit sandpaper, literally grinding off floor finish and leaving surfaces dull and dingy in appearance.
There are numerous techniques in terms of workloading, procedures and equipment selection but, regardless of the logistics of your hard floor care program, the most importance aspect is frequency.
Consistently cleaning to ensure quick and complete soil removal will help your floors last longer and portray a positive image of your facility on the part of building occupants, while reflecting on the enthusiasm and attentiveness of your staff.
A First Defense
Your weapon of choice to counter the onslaught of soiled floors should be matting.
Anywhere from 70 percent to as much as 90 percent of the soil entering a facility is walked in by building occupants and, according to ISSA, it can cost anywhere from $500 to more than $800 — including labor and equipment — to remove just one pound of soil.
A proper matting system consisting of three parts — a scraper mat outside of the building entrance, a scraper/wiper mat inside the building''s vestibule and a wiper mat directly inside the building — should be used and allow for eight to 10 steps per foot before a patron walks on any other surface.
This is usually achieved with a total of 18 to 20 feet of matting and will greatly reduce cleaning loads, extend the lifespan of your floors and equipment and keep soils outside — where they belong.
Although matting is great at keeping dirt, sand, stones and other soils that can etch floor finish over time and lead to less than stellar aesthetics from entering a building, some percentage does make its way inside.
But, by removing these substances daily — either through manual sweeping, using a rider-sweeper or with the help of a backpack vacuum — you greatly reduce the risk of premature degradation and can extend strip and refinish cycles.
In areas such as kitchens or places like industrial or automotive facilities, cleaning with a microfiber mop or an autoscrubber will remove any greasy soils that take away from the appearance of floors and present possible slip, trip and fall situations.
Some operations make use of spray-and-vacuum or spray-and-squeegee technology that dislodges greasy soils with high-pressure water — with or without the aid of chemicals — and allows the solution to be either vacuumed up or pushed down a drain.
As alluded to, cleaning chemicals are sometimes necessary; other times, they are not.
In understanding the differing needs of various cleaning operations, some manufacturers of autoscrubbers are now incorporating customizable proportioning, allowing for several concentrations of cleaning chemical to be dispensed — or none at all — depending on the amount and type of soil present in a given area.
This flexibility can save time and money and allows cleaning professionals to better cater their efforts to specific situations.
Reflecting On A Job Well-done
Hard floor care is an intricate process with many aspects and several necessary steps.
Working to keep soils from entering a building in the first place is a solid start.
After that, efficiently removing the soils that are present is a must.
While some still prefer the old mops, brooms, buckets and dustpans that are quickly becoming old school relics, there are countless tools and technological advances that are more effective at achieving clean, shiny floors.
These timesaving and productivity enhancing apparatuses continue to evolve, making hard floor care both easier and more satisfying.
And, with the emergence of things like chemical-free finish removal machines, efficiency gains can be had across the hard floor care board.
By taking advantage of every opportunity presented — whether it is backpack vacuums, spray-and-vacuum systems, high-density finishes, autoscrubbers, environmentally preferable finish removers or anything of the like — you can help present a positive image of your building, yourself, your staffs and your entire floor care operation.