The 1 enemy in keeping your floors clean and in good condition is sand & dirt, followed by heavy equipment being dragged across it. Yes, foot traffic and general usage is a factor – but not in the way you might think. When people enter a building, they also bring in debris on the bottom of their footwear. In fact, 80% of dirt is tracked in via the front door of a building. As more people walk over the dirty floors the friction between the tracked in sand, dirt & debris and people’s shoes acts like sandpaper on the floor, causing the surface to get scuffed up and potentially damaged. That’s why it’s so important to have a daily or routine maintenance program in place.
The frequency of floor cleaning depends on a number of factors:
Entrance Matting Systems
The best way to protect your flooring is through preventative maintenance. The #1 way to accomplish this is with an entryway matting system designed with your specific building needs in mind. Good quality floor mats stop 70% of the dirt at the get-go, before someone even walks onto the carpeting or regular flooring surface. Not all floor mats are created equal, and you’ll save money in the long run by investing in quality matting and keeping them maintained as well.
Frequency of Cleaning Maintenance Procedures
The next best way after entrance matting to maintain flooring surfaces is with daily & routine maintenance, such as vacuuming, dust mopping, damp mopping, etc. These cleaning procedures are important because as they are removing as much of the sand & dirt that got tracked in past the floor mats. Remember, the less debris that is on the floors, the less potential there is for damage to occur, and the less often more intensive cleaning procedures will have to be performed. It’s amazing how much dirt gets tracked in daily, so if nothing else is done to your floors make sure that you vacuum and dust mop daily. Larger facilities such as airports have more foot traffic and should be done more often.
Formulation of Floor Sealers, Finishes & Coatings
The next line of defense in floor maintenance is the sealer, finish and/or coating on your hard floor surface. The purpose of having one, or all of these chemical products is to protect your surfaces from the dirt & debris that could be ground into your flooring material. Some flooring materials, such as marble and many natural stone floors, need to ‘breathe’ and floor finish should NOT be used. So it’s very important to use the proper cleaning chemicals for your flooring material.
There are many types of floor sealers, finishes and coatings available, and the one(s) you should use are dependent on other factors such as: flooring material, the amount of space being cleaned, type of equipment being used to clean it, as well as the labor involved with cleaning it. Some finish & coating formulas require more maintenance and oftentimes there are several options available, but bear in mind that some finishes and coatings are more effective when used with certain equipment and accessories than others. If you’re not sure what you should be using, schedule an appointment to have a flooring program developed for you.
Equipment Being Used to Clean & Maintain Flooring
Once again, the equipment being used will depend on the factors listed above in the types of floor sealers/finishes/coatings section. A ride-on autoscrubber is not going to be optimal for a narrow hallway. In some instances only one person is in charge of cleaning the entire facility every day, so the time dedicated for floor cleaning & maintenance is rather limited.
Staff Available to Maintain Floors
One of the many factors in cleaning frequency is the people that are available to maintain the floors on a daily basis. If there are several people that can take care of the cleaning tasks it may be easier to maintain a daily floor cleaning schedule. Limited labor capabilities may mean more of a bi-weekly or weekly routine cleaning. Again, the more often one can vacuum & dust and/or damp mop floors to remove dirt from flooring the better.
Type of Flooring Material
Flooring materials can make a difference in cleaning regimens, as some can be more time & labor intensive to clean & maintain than others. Carpeting has different types of piles, some of which may retain dirt more so than others. Keeping up with general carpet spotting will extend the life of your carpets. In addition, a good carpet encapsulating product is great for interim cleaning as it will pull more dirt from the carpet that may cling to the fibers.
For hard flooring surfaces that do use sealers, finishes or coatings, the actual formulation of the product makes a difference, as some require spray buffing, burnishing, deep scrubbing, and recoating more often than others. The best floor care programs focus on removing the sand, dirt and debris from the flooring surface, occasionally spray buffing or burnishing to restore the gloss or shine of the floor, and on scrubbing and recoating once dirt starts to become embedded into the floor finish and/or coating.
Foot Traffic or Usage
Basically the more foot traffic that enters a building, the more dirt and debris that gets tracked in that needs to be cleaned up. This means that in order to keep the floors in good condition, care & maintenance needs to be addressed more often in a facility that gets a lot of foot traffic.
The more surface area, the more frequently you’ll need to vacuum and dust/damp mop the floors. On the flip side, if the floors are cleaned often then the need for interim & deep cleaning is less frequent.