Myriad options abound when it comes to hard floor care product choices. While in the most basic sense their functions have remained unaltered, there are more offerings from more companies today than ever before.
By serving select markets with tools to ease the trade, manufacturers are able to satisfy ever-increasing consumer demands for more efficient and cost-effective products and solutions to timeless tasks.
Start At The Entrance
According to industry studies, upwards of 90 percent of the soil inside a facility is tracked in from outside. Studies have also concluded that 30 to 36 feet of matting is required to remove 99 percent of soil from occupants'' shoes.
An effective matting program is an essential tool in combating soil and other contaminants that add to your hard floor care regimen. Matting also adds to the overall health and safety of a building.
"Now, in the age of the green building, quality door mats serve many functions," states Erika Wilde, owner of Wilde Mats and Matting. "First and foremost, matting serves its age-old function: It stops dirt and keeps it out of the building. But, matting also plays a role in reducing indoor pollution like pollen, spores and other indoor irritants. Additionally, matting keeps customers from slipping on a wet entryway. The common door mat has become a multi-tasking wonder."
Implementing a matting system can help your facility earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) points, and, according to Ron Gustafson of Superior Manufacturing, today''s availability of color and customization options gives matting an advertising and aesthetic function as well.
Tradition Marries Technology
No matter how hard we try, the inevitable will always happen: Dirt will enter a building and it will have to be cleaned.
There is little variation in the techniques implemented to clean dirt. There are, however, different tools that can be used.
For smaller, confined areas, an age-old mop — utilizing new-age technologies, of course — will properly perform the task.
"Microfiber is a much greener cleaning method than traditional terry cloth rags or cotton string mops," notes Chris Olenski, senior product manager of hard surface cleaning for Rubbermaid Commercial Products. "It not only lasts over six times longer than cotton cloths or mops, but also reduces chemical usage by as much as 95 percent."
By incorporating green technologies like microfiber mops into your hard floor care program, you can not only increase worker productivity, but also help improve building occupant health.
Performance Is Paramount
For larger areas, traditional mopping is too time-consuming. Floor machines, all with their own unique attributes, are great for cleaning large expanses of hard floors.
According to Janine Reeder, senior marketing communications manager for Windsor Industries, two main factors have influenced the evolution of hard floor machines: Competition and end user awareness.
With more companies offering an increasing number of products, manufacturers are forced to produce innovative and unrivaled products that strategically outmaneuver their competitors.
"Increased efficiency in today''s floor care machines is leading to higher production rates, less chemical and water being used and less time spent dumping and re-filling the machines," states Reeder.
Before the current economic slump began affecting the once-perceived "recession-proof" cleaning industry, manufacturers were trying to outperform one another by offering more intricacies and features.
But, according to Jolynn Kennedy, director of marketing for Tornado Industries, with today''s very limited budgets, luxuries are out and practicalities are in.
"Machines with the bells and whistles, such as those on the higher-priced machines, are sitting on the showroom floor," notes Kennedy. "They have been replaced with more practical machines that emphasize performance, quality and durability."
A non-traditional tool used in hard floor maintenance that is quickly gaining popularity is the vacuum. Once thought of as carpet-specific machines, vacuums have been refined and redesigned to tackle tough cleaning tasks on multiple surfaces.
"Quality vacuum manufacturers have evolved the usage on some vacuum models used in hard floor installations, states Jacalyn High, director of marketing for ProTeam Inc. "These types of vacuums combine functions like suction and blowing to make hard floor installation easier. Some even attach and detach to floor sanders to trap fine dust before it enters the environment."
The versatility of multi-surface vacuums makes them a viable solution to budget constraints by increasing productivity and eliminating the need to purchase task-specific machines.
Vacuums equipped with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters effectively rid indoor air of 99.97 percent of contaminants on surfaces down to 0.3 micron in size, vastly improving indoor air quality.
Even the best equipment is useless without proper training. Extensive training on product usage and best practice procedures should be part of any hard floor care program.
This ensures worker proficiency and guarantees that products and equipment are being used as intended and are providing your desired results.