When it comes to green cleaning, an often underemphasized area is the need for matting at all building entries.
Stopping dust, soils and contaminants before they ever enter a facility helps reduce the need for cleaning and enhances indoor environmental quality.
This is why it makes sense to place effective matting systems at the heart of any green cleaning program.
The most effective type of mats are referred to as high-performance mats, which are higher-quality mats that have a performance life of several years.
These mats are often part of what is called in green cleaning a soil “source control” strategy.
Often, facility managers, even cleaning professionals, overlook the immense impact that sidewalks, parking lots, entries and other surrounding areas can have on the health and appearance of the indoor environment.
But, as much as 90 percent of the dust and dirt that enters a facility “walks in” through building entries.
Further, studies indicate that up to 24 pounds of dirt can be tracked in by just 1,000 people coming through an entrance over a 20-day work period.
Facility managers that successfully implement a high-performance matting system as part of a green cleaning program can keep their facilities cleaner and healthier for longer periods of time, which can keep chemical use, green or conventional, to a minimum.
However, to better understand how this source control strategy works and why mats are so much a part of green cleaning, an education on high-performance matting systems is required.
Steps To Success
Building entry mats have been around for decades.
In many ways, however, it has been just in the past 10 years that they have been recognized as an effective source control system.
They are, in effect, a facility’s chief line of defense against outdoor contaminants.
Following this analogy, the line of defense can be broken into three core regiments: Scraper mats, wiper-scraper mats and wiper mats.
Scraper Mats: These are the first line of defense.
Scraper mats should be placed outside a facility and at all major entry points.
Approximately 5 feet of scraper matting is required to effectively trap as much as 50 percent of the soil and moisture found on shoes.
Scraper mats serve as the first 5 feet of matting.
Wiper-Scraper Mats: These mats are the second line of defense to further remove soils and moisture that are not captured by the scraper mats.
They are typically found directly inside the entry doors of a facility.
These can be used alone, without a scraper mat, but they need to be of greater length in order to be effective.
Approximately 5 feet of wiper-scraper matting is required when used with scraper mats.
Wiper Mats: The final line of defense is the wiper mat, which further removes light soils and dust and helps to dry moisture from shoes.
Wiper mats make up the last 5 feet of matting.
Altogether, this is 15 feet of high-performance matting and there is a reason this amount of matting is required for an effective source control program.
Fifteen feet of matting:
It is also important to note that for matting to work effectively and be a key component in a green cleaning program, it must be properly cleaned and maintained.
Once installed, matting must be regularly vacuumed — often several times per day in heavily trafficked areas — to keep them working effectively.
Periodically, they should also be cleaned with a carpet extractor to remove deeply embedded soils.
One of the goals of green cleaning is to protect the environment, not only regarding the use of cleaning chemicals and products, but the disposal of these items as well.
The key issue with mats is a performance life.
High-performance matting systems, such as those described here, can have a performance life of many more years than conventional “rental” mats.
Some manufacturers of high-performance products have extended warranties up to six years.
This compares to conventional and some less-expensive mats that may have only a 90- to 180-day performance life, and when these mats are replaced, they usually end up in landfills.
This means high-performance matting systems not only help facilities stay cleaner and healthier, but also help reduce the amount of building materials sent to landfills each year.
And what could be greener than that?
Dennis Knapp is the director of sales for Crown Mats and Matting, one of the oldest and leading matting manufacturers in the U.S. He has more than 18 years of JanSan industry experience and has been with Crown Mats for 11 years. He may be reached through the company website, www.Crown-Mats.com.