Floor-Care Maintenance

Also, because congestion is often an issue in facilities, many managers are selecting battery-powered glazers or burnishers. These cordless machines do not require wall outlets to operate–making them more maneuverable–and can deliver about two hours of run time, cleaning about 15,000 square feet before they need to be recharged. Since they do not have to be continually plugged in and unplugged from wall outlets, these machines can increase worker productivity considerably. Also, some of these systems now use “greener” maintenance-free gel batteries that require little or no maintenance, and are safer for the user and the environment.

Another recent trend in floor care is multitasking equipment that can be used to clean hard-surface floors as well as carpets. Hard-surface floors are cleaned using the cylindrical technology discussed above, and an encapsulation method is used to clean carpets. With this method, a chemical powder is sprinkled on the carpets; as it dries it crystallizes along with the soils, stains, spills and other impurities in the carpet. The carpets are then vacuumed, removing the crystals and the soils. Selecting one machine that can clean two surfaces can result in significant cost savings.

The size of the area to be maintained will determine what size floor-care equipment to select. In general, in areas smaller than 1,500 square feet, a standard floor machine, rotary or cylindrical, should be selected. In areas larger than 1,500 square feet, managers should consider equipment such as automatic scrubbers, walk-behinds, and, if very large, ride-on equipment.

Make It Easy

Traffic conditions, as well as climate, can impact floor appearance and floor-care needs. Therefore, cleaning professionals should target heavy traffic areas and key entry points that are commonly affected by weather conditions. One of the best ways to help minimize the amount of time and labor is through the installation of high-performance matting systems. Experts suggest at least 15 feet of scraper, wiper/scraper and wiper matting, both outside and inside a facility, to help capture and trap as much as 80 percent of the soil and moisture on shoe bottoms.

Finally, it is amazing how many cleaning technicians still use conventional string mops instead of microfiber mops, which can be used for mopping as well as finish applications. String mops become quickly soiled, and in time can actually spread as much soil as they collect. Further, they use a great deal of water, and can require large amounts of chemicals, which can be costly and have a negative impact on the environment.

On the other hand, microfiber mops use considerably less water, which helps floors dry faster and use fewer chemicals. Further, these mops are lighter, often easier to use, and are more absorbent than conventional mops. These key reasons are why microfiber is typically included in a green cleaning program.

A well-planned maintenance program that takes into consideration the type of floor and the conditions it’s subjected to will provide more effective cleaning, improved worker productivity and, in the long run, cost savings for the facility. Having an effective program in place also significantly decreases the amount of time an area needs to be closed to the public, while cleaning and maintenance are performed. This accessibility factor, along with better-cared-for floors, helps improve public perception of the facility.

Robert Kravitz is a writer for the professional cleaning industry. Michael Schaffer is president of Tornado Industries, manufacturers of floorcare equipment.

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