Hard Floor care tips based on traffic conditions

Dry soils such as sand, grit and dust are invariably found on hard surface floors. For the most part, their presence is not a significant problem. However, this can change significantly when people walk across and mobile equipment (trolleys, pushchairs, wheelchairs etc) roll over the floor.

These dry soils have sharp edges. Once people and equipment are introduced they can start abrading, eroding and otherwise damaging the floor and its finish.

The number of people and equipment travelling on a floor is referred to as “Traffic” and the amount of foot traffic on the floor will help determine the amount and type of cleaning and maintenance the floor will need.

Rotary buffer

To help cleaning professionals better understand the concept of foot traffic, the following guidelines may help:

Low Traffic: A low-traffic environment is typically a small office or retail store. Such a facility will have about 100 to 500 people walking through it each day. Daily sweeping/vacuuming may be required to remove light debris, dust etc but thorough (wet) floor maintenance may only be required on a weekly basis.

Medium Traffic: While some environments may fall into the high traffic category, medium sized buildings are considered medium foot traffic environments. These facilities typically have 500 to 1,500 people walking through them and will require daily cleaning.

High Traffic: Environments that include 1,500 or more people per day walking on their floors include facilities such as large office buildings, large station concourses, airports, hospitals and large schools and colleges. The floors here are continually under attack and will require floor maintenance multiple times throughout the day.

It is also important to realise that certain areas within a facility may have multiple traffic patterns. Invariably, lobbies and entries into retail stores can be high traffic areas while other areas within the facility may have medium or even low traffic.

To ensure proper floor maintenance, cleaning professionals must be clear which areas need the most frequent attention. This ensures the floors are properly maintained, reduces costs, and can help reduce the frequency of expensive floor restoration.

In all cases, variables such as weather conditions, the installation of entrance matting, etc., can play a role in the amount of care and attention a floor needs.

Into the Light

Top Tips for Maintaining Commercial Vacuum Cleaners

It can be easy to overlook the routine upkeep of your commercial vacuum cleaner, especially if you tend to be of the opinion “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

The failure to keep up with the maintenance of your commercial vacuum cleaner can significantly diminish its performance. A neglected vacuum cleaner leaves behind dirt and debris, which results in a “dirty” clean. Ineffective cleaning sacrifices the health and hygiene of employees and building users.

00001598[1]

In contrast, a well-kept vacuum cleaner along with proper cleaning can improve the indoor air quality of the building.

Proper care of your vacuum cleaner will also lengthen its useful life and limit the need for replacement and parts. Give your vacs a little TLC to increase cleaning effectiveness, save money and enhance the image of the carpets and floors.

Properly cleaning commercial vacuum cleaners can deliver savings in ways you may have never considered. Following a routine maintenance schedule is the best way to ensure ROI on your equipment investments.

Check out the following tips to cleaning and maintaining vacuums:

Inspect dust bags regularly

At the beginning of each shift, check the filter bag before use. Change the bag when it is 2/3 full. Do not wait for the bag to become totally full, as this will restrict airflow and can diminish performance.

imagesCA7RC57V

Check micro filter compartment

Remove any dust and dirt. If the microfilter is visibly dirty or there is an odour when using the vacuum, change the filter.

Check motor and HEPA filters

If a HEPA filter is present, replace it when visibly soiled. Motor filters usually need to be replaced every 2 years or when visibly dirty, whichever comes first.

Check brushes/floor tool

Remove the brush, then clean any strands of hair or carpet fibres wound around the brush. Scissors work well at removing these fibres, but avoid cutting brush bristles.

bs36-comfort-img1[1]

Keep tool storage compartments clean

Limit the transfer of dirt and allergens to clean areas and ensure that accessories perform as expected by keeping tools clean and in good working order.

Inspect suction hoses and electric cables

If you suspect a blockage due to lack of air flow, disconnect hoses and check for obstructions. If an obstruction is found, disconnect hose and re-install in reverse to pull the clog out. Check electric cables for any fraying or damage and replace when necessary.

Clean the tank (wet vacuums) 

Remove and empty dirty water from the tank, then rinse and let dry for optimal cleaning results. Thorough cleaning of the tank is especially important to avoid unpleasant odours.

Check squeegee on floor tool (wet vacuums)

Check for splits and cracks on squeegees before use. Damage to squeegees can cause streaking on floors and results in poor water pickup. The length of useful life depends on the types of surfaces cleaned.

In summary, when it comes to proloning the life of equipment and ensuring it works to its optimal standards, it is always better to be proactive rather than reactive. Stay on top of regular maintenance for a clean that won’t disappoint and satisfies your bottom line.

Vacuums2[1]

Cleaning and maintenance of stone floors

The first step in proper stone care and maintenance is to understand your stone’s geological classification and composition. This information will help you to identify what cleaning products to use and how best to care for your natural stone.

Natural stone is categorised into three basic geological classifications by their respective formation processes

  1. Sedimentary
  2. Metamorphic
  3. Igneous

Additionally, stones in each category can be either Calcareous or Siliceous.

Calcareous stone is composed mainly of calcium carbonate, a chemical compound commonly found in natural stone, shells and pearls. Calcium Carbonate is sensitive to acidic solutions so mild, non-acidic cleaners are recommended.

Siliceous stone, as the term implies, is one composed primarily of silicates, such as quartz, feldspar, mica, etc. As such, a siliceous stone is generally resistant to most acids found although acidic cleaners are still not recommended, as these stones may contain trace levels of minerals that are acid sensitive.

The following chart is a helpful guide:

Stone type table

To get the longest life and to preserve the beauty of natural stone, follow these simple tips:

Dust Mopping: Dust mop interior floors frequently using a clean non-treated dry dust mop. Sand, dirt and grit are abrasive and can damage natural stone.

Mats/rugs: Entrance matting systems or area rugs inside and outside an entrance will help to minimise the sand, dirt and grit that may otherwise scratch the stone floor. Be sure that the underside of the mat or rug is slip resistant.

Marble floor in hotel

Vacuum cleaners: If used, be sure the metal or plastic attachments or the wheels are not worn as they can scratch the surface of some stones.

Spills: Blot the spill with a paper towel immediately. Don’t wipe the area, it will spread the spill. Flush the area with water and mild detergent and rinse several times. Dry the area thoroughly with a soft cloth. Repeat as necessary.

Cleaning:

  • Clean stone surfaces with a neutral cleaner or stone soap and warm water.
  • An excessive concentration of cleaner or soap may leave a film and cause streaks. Follow manufacturer recommendations.
  • Rinse the surface thoroughly after washing with detergent or soap solution and ensure the floor is dried.
  • For large areas such as entrance lobbies, corridors etc use a scrubber drier that will wash, scrub and dry in a single pass.
  • For even larger outside areas, a ride-on scrubber drier can be employed which will also be a more productive means of cleaning large areas.

natural-stone-tiles-exterior-floors-55300-1678037ECO_1298_HR_Lichen_crop

  • In outdoor pool or patio areas, flush with clear water and use mild bleach solution to remove algae or moss.

Cleaning Products:

  • Many suppliers offer products used for stone cleaning.
  • Products containing lemon, vinegar or other acids may dull or etch calcareous stones.
  • Scouring powders or creams often contain abrasives that may scratch certain stones.
  • Many commercially available rust removers (laundry rust stain removers, toilet bowl cleaners) contain trace levels of hydrofluoric acid (HF). This acid attacks silicates in addition to other minerals. All stones, including granite and quartzite, will be attacked if exposed to HF.

Sealing

Sealing is a common step taken on some stones as an extra precaution against staining. In fact, the sealing products used in the stone industry are ‘impregnators” which do not actually seal the stone, but more correctly act as a repellent rather than a sealer.

Sealing does not make the stone stain proof, rather it makes the stone more stain resistant. When consulting with your stone supplier, you may find that many stones do not require sealing. However, applying an impregnating sealer is a common practice.

When considering sealing, remember that sealing the stone does not make the stone stain proof, it makes it more resistant to staining.

If a sealer is applied in a food preparation area, be sure that it is non-toxic and safe for use.

Consult with your supplier or sealing manufacturer specific to the type of sealer and frequency of use recommended.

Stain Identification Tips

Identifying the type of stain on the stone surface is the key to removing it. Stains can be oil based, organic, metallic, biological, ink based, paint based, acid based. If you don’t know what caused the stain, consider likely staining agents that may have been present. Here are some questions you should consider:

Where is the Stain Located?

  • Is it near a plant, a food service area, an area where cosmetics are used?
  • What colour is it?
  • What is the shape or pattern?
  • What occurs in the area around the stain?

Stain Removal Steps

Surface stains can often be removed by cleaning with an appropriate cleaning product.

What Type of Stain is it?

The following sections describe the types of stains you may have to deal with and the appropriate household chemicals to use and how to prepare and apply a poultice to remove the stain.

Oil-based (grease, tar, cooking oil, cosmetics) An oil-based stain will darken the stone and normally must be chemically dissolved so the source of the stain can be flushed or rinsed away. Clean gently with a soft, liquid cleanser.

Organic (coffee, tea, wine, fruit, tobacco, paper, food, urine, leaves, bark, bird droppings) May cause a pinkish-brown stain and may disappear after the source of the stain has been removed. Outdoors, with the sources removed, sun and rain action will generally bleach out the stains. Indoors, clean with a mild hydrogen peroxide solution.

Metallic (iron, rust, copper, bronze) Iron or rust stains are orange to brown in color and follow the shape of the staining object such as nails, bolts, screws, cans, flower pots, metal furniture.

Copper and bronze stains appear as green or muddy-brown and result from the action of moisture on nearby or embedded bronze, copper or brass items. Metal stains must be removed with a poultice.

Deep-seated, rusty stains are extremely difficult to remove and the stone may be permanently stained.

Biological (algae, mildew, lichens, moss, fungi) Clean with a recommended cleaning solution, generally containing ammonia, bleach, or hydrogen peroxide.

Paint Small amounts can be removed with lacquer thinner or scraped off carefully with a razor blade. Heavy paint coverage should be removed only with a commercial “heavy liquid” paint stripper available from DIY stores and paint centres.

These strippers normally contain caustic soda. Do not use acids or flame tools to strip paint from stone. Paint strippers can etch the surface of the stone; re-polishing may be necessary.

Follow the manufacturer’s directions for use of these products, and flush the area thoroughly with clean water. Protect yourself with rubber gloves and eye protection, and work in a well-ventilated area. Use only wood or plastic scrapers for removing the sludge and curdled paint. Normally, latex and acrylic paints will not cause staining. Oil-based paints, linseed oil, putty, caulks and sealants may cause oily stains.

Water Spots and Rings (surface accumulation of hard water) Buff with dry 0000 steel wool.

Fire and Smoke Damage Older stones and smoke or fire-stained fireplaces may require a thorough cleaning. When the smoke is removed, there may also be some etching (due to carbonic & other acids in smoke). Commercially available “smoke removers” may save time and effort.

Etch Marks (caused by acids left on the surface of the stone) Some materials will etch the finish but not leave a stain. Others will both etch and stain. Contact your stone dealer or call a professional stone restorer for refinishing or re-polishing etched areas.

Efflorescence (a white powder that may appear on the surface of the stone) It is caused by the deposition of mineral salts carried by water from below the surface of the stone. When the water evaporates, it leaves the powdery substance.

If the installation is new, dust mop or vacuum the powder. You may have to do this several times as the stone dries out.

Do not use water to remove the powder; it will only temporarily disappear. If the problem persists, contact your installer to help identify and remove the cause of the moisture.

Efflorescence

Scratches and Nicks Slight surface scratches may be buffed with dry 0000 steel wool. Deeper scratches and nicks in the surface of the stone should be repaired and re-polished by a professional.

 

How a Vacuum Cleaner Works

When you sip a drink through a straw, you are utilising the simplest of all suction mechanisms. Sucking the drink causes a pressure drop between the bottom of the straw and the top of the straw. With greater fluid pressure at the bottom than the top, the drink is pushed up to your mouth. ­

The same basic mechanism is at work in a vacuum cleaner, although the execution is a bit more complicated.

Let’s look inside a vacuum cleaner to find out how it puts suction to work when cleaning up dust and debris.

Vacuum cleaner

As can be seen, the standard vacuum cleaner design is very simple, but it relies on a host of physical principles to clean effectively.

It may look like a complicated machine, but the conventional vacuum cleaner is actually made up of only six essential components:

  • An intake port, which may include a variety of cleaning accessories
  • An exhaust port
  • An electric motor
  • A fan
  • A porous bag
  • A housing that contains all the other components

When you plug the vacuum cleaner in and turn it on, this is what happens:

  1. The electric current operates the motor. The motor is attached to the fan, which has angled blades (like a planes propeller).
  2. As the fan blades turn, they force air forward/upwards, towards the exhaust port and via the dust bag where dust and debris will be retained.
  3. When air particles are driven forward, the density of particles (and therefore the air pressure) increases in front of the fan and decreases behind the fan.

This pressure drop behind the fan is just like the pressure drop in the straw when you sip from your drink. The pressure level in the area behind the fan drops below the pressure level outside the vacuum cleaner leaving an area of low air pressure below the fan, and near the floor (this is the ambient air pressure).

This creates suction, essentially a partial vacuum, inside the vacuum cleaner. The ambient air pushes itself into the vacuum cleaner through the intake port because the air pressure inside the vacuum cleaner is lower than the pressure outside, as air always moves from areas of high pressure to comparatively low pressure. This is the process that will remove dirt from the floor.

Because the fan has created an area of low pressure near the floor, air from the floor is going to move in to fill that space, due to how air pressure works. Sometimes, very small particles of dirt and dust will be lifted by the low pressure area as well. In addition to this, air takes larger, loose particles of dust and dirt with it using friction.

As long as the fan is running and the passageway through the vacuum cleaner remains open, e.g. no kinks in the hose, no blockages etc, there is a constant stream of air moving through the intake port and out the exhaust port.

Many vacuum cleaners, in addition to using a fan, also use a rotating brush that sweeps the floor. Sometimes, this rotating brush is powered by the same motor that runs the vacuum cleaners fan, although many commercial specification vacuum cleaners such as the Sebo BS36 Comfort, will have twin motors, one to power the fan and the other to power the brush.

bs36-comfort-img1[1]   Vacuums2[1]

Occasionally, this brush will be powered by being pushed back and forth across the floor instead. Either way, this brush serves the purpose of loosening trapped dirt and dust particles stuck in the carpet that would not have been picked up by the air pressure, and moving them to the surface, or even into the air, where they will be picked up easily.

Once the vacuum cleaner has sucked in air and dirt particles, the high pressure area directly above the fan — remember, air travels from comparatively high to low pressure areas — causes them to continue to move upwards. At this point, the air and dirt particles enter the vacuum cleaners porous bag. This bag is porous enough to allow air to pass through easily, but dense enough to trap dirt, dust and any other larger particles that were on the floor. After exiting the bag, the air leaves the back of the vacuum cleaner, passing through an exhaust filter, leaving any dirt that came with it trapped in the bag.

Repeated applications of a rotating brush tend to loosen all dirt after a while, as well as trapping larger particles completely in the bristles and lifting them where they can be more easily sucked up into the vacuum cleaners porous bag.

With the simple principles described above, floors are kept cleaner.

Cleaning Sports Hall Floors

Cleaning sports hall flooring is an essential part of regular maintenance. Not only will it make the floor look more visually appealing, but it will also extend the timeframe between scheduled floor sanding and refurbishment.

sportshallandcourts

We recommend our 5-step process for cleaning sports hall flooring:

1. Always pre-sweep floors

The most important way to protect the floor is to dust mop / sweep on a daily basis to remove grit, dirt and other dry debris. This dirt can otherwise act like sand paper on the floor seal causing erosion over time.

Begin with a pre-sweep of the floor to remove all dry grit, dust, fibres and hair. Doing so will make the actual cleaning of the hall far easier.

Avoid using dust mopping systems that use oil based or even water based treatments to hold and retain dust. These can leave a residue behind, trapping dirt which can then scratch the finish and which could be slippery and potentially dangerous.

Use a scissor mop or V-sweeper that will trap and hold dirt without any chemicals, and cover a larger area than a flat mop.

scissorsweepsportsfloor

2. Make sure you DO wet clean the floor

Athletes perspire. Perspiration, or sweat, and body oils are high in protein and salt which will build up over time. Solvent based cleaners and too little water will not break down the residue and can lead to a dull, slippery floor. Wet cleaning of some type, either mopping or automatic scrubbing combined with the proper wood floor cleaner, will remove these films.

sportshallfloor2

3. Always use a scrubber drier when possible

Mopping is fast becoming a thing of the past, especially in large areas like sports halls, due to limitations on productivity and how damp the floor remains.

Using a scrubber drier leaves the floor drier and much cleaner. Depending on the size of machine you use, a sports hall floor can be clean and dry within 45 minutes with very little effort.

As long as the floor is in good condition and there is a quality finish, there is no concern about moisture or weight issues when cleaning hard wood sports floors.

Using a scrubber drier is a great way to clean a wooden sports hall as wood doesn’t like having too much water left on the surface as it will begin to expand if the water is soaked up by the wood.

A scrubber drier will leave the floor almost dry after passing over the floor. Remember, always use as little water as possible for cleaning hardwood sports flooring.

benessere2[1]

4.  Use the right products on the floor

Do not throw any and all types of cleaners at the floor in an attempt to solve an issue. This will only result in damage to the finish and/or the wood itself. Use a cleaner recommended by the flooring manufacturers / contractors for any wet cleaning you perform.

A good cleaner would generally be an alkaline based cleaner along the lines of Granwax Sportsclean or Junckers SYLVA Cleaner.

sportsclean[1]

These will help remove all traces of grease and the dirty marks that are left on the floor and on the sports lines. Sometimes it might be necessary to apply the floor cleaner in higher concentration as a pre-spray leaving it for a few minutes in order to remove all black rubber sole marks.

5. Preventative maintenance – Protect the floor!

Hardwood sports flooring is designed to withstand many types of activities. However, furniture such as chairs, certain types of equipment and hard plastic or metal casters can damage the floor.

Make sure everyone that uses the floor takes appropriate steps to keep the floor protected during events.

There are many types of floor covers and mats that can make protecting and cleaning hard wood sports floors much easier.

Schools-500-Games-June-2012-2

Use large barrier matting to protect the floor from grit and water. Clean and replace the matting regularly.

Finally, check ventilation and heating systems to prevent condensation and use cleaning products without wax content.

The Benefits of Entrance Matting

There are many benefits to be had investing in entrance or barrier matting for your facility, especially in wet or wintry weather. There is no legal requirement to have one at the entrance to your facility, but considering that it is the main barrier that helps prevent dirt and water from being tracked on to internal floors, it could be a good investment.

Into the Light

Here we consider how entrance matting can benefit your facility, and the methods of cleaning.

Reducing slips and falls

The less rainwater and dirt entering your facility, the less likelihood there is to be a slip and fall accident at the entrance.

Entrance matting absorbs rainwater and helps dry footwear to prevent anything being tracked throughout your facility and creating a slip hazard. Entrance matting can absorb up to 5 litres of water per square meter to ensure that shoes are dried properly to avoid slips and falls on wet floors.

Rubber or vinyl backing that is moisture resistant and slip resistant prevents a mat from shifting to prevent sliding and thus prevent tripping or falls.

entrance-matting-solution[1]

Considering that slips and falls cost employers more than £512 million per year (as per the HSE), it’s important to put prevention solutions in place. Placing an entrance mat correctly at all entrances to your facility will help reduce the risk. Everyone that enters the building should be able to step directly onto the mat and should walk across it for several paces before stepping onto the entrance floor.

Saving you money

80% of indoor dust and dirt is tracked in from outside, and the average cost to remove it from a building is over £400 per year. Furthermore, over a 20 day period, 1000 people will deposit 10 Kgs of dry dirt via footwear.

The main hazard to carpeting is dirt and soils which can have a texture that is similar to a razor and as carpets are walked on, their fibres can be cut. Within the first 2 metres, 42 % of the floor’s finish or carpet nap will be removed after only 1500 people have entered. This shortens the overall life span of the floor seal or carpet.

Entrance mats effectively remove dirt and water and trap it within the mat, reducing the amount entering your facility and the cost associated with removing it. Entrance matting also protects the surface finish of floors to prevent wear and tear, reducing the need for expensive maintenance.

Coupled with the cost of slips and falls this could prove very expensive.

Helping present a clean, safe appearance

First impressions count for a lot. The last thing you want visitors to see when entering your building is messy, dirty floors. It doesn’t give a good impression and doesn’t promote good health and safety.

matting2[1]

Entrance mats are attractive and make your entrance way look clean, increasing the overall appeal of your facility, especially if they are branded and bespoke to your business.

Bristol-college-logo-mat[1]

Additionally, entrance mats show that steps are being taken to reduce the risks posed to workers and that safety is a priority in your facility.

Choosing the right entrance matting

It is important to choose entrance matting with these functions in mind to maximize the benefits.

For large entrances, a combination can be made of single function entrance mats, brush mats for scraping, combination of brush and absorbent mats for cleaning and absorbent mats for drying.

GA6807[1]

However, smaller entrances of shops and office buildings often do not have the space to allow a full matting system. Not to worry, there are a number of multi-function entrance mats that combine coarse scraping yarns, with softer absorbent yarns to still function effectively in smaller entrances.

1355762925_465679277_2-MatIndustrial-MatCommercial-MatEntrance-Mat-Anti-Fatigue-Mat-Edmonton[1]

Maintenance & Cleaning

Entrance mats function optimally when regularly cleaned.

  • Regular cleaning will prolong the life of carpet mats because of the reduced abrasion effect on fibres.
  • Regular cleaning will maintain effectiveness of mats for the longest time and avoid dirt and moisture from being accumulated on mats being walked in to facilities.
  • Regular cleaning will improve the overall appearance of entrances. This is where visitors get their first impression when entering a building.

By removing soils through a combination of regular vacuuming, grooming and extraction cleaning, the mats life span can be extended. A maintenance schedule should include daily vacuuming of the top surface, especially in heavy traffic areas, to prevent dirt from building up and being ground into the mat.

00001598[1]

Weekly grooming of the carpet will maximize vacuuming by loosening the fibres and creating easier access to the soil underneath. Grooming also helps to aerate fibres to allow quicker drying.

Also sweep or vacuum under the mat to clean the floor or carpet underneath.

Monthly injection and extraction shampooing will clean fibres and remove any leftover dirt, and help remove any nasty spills and stains.

vcw-04_image