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


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.


  • 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.


  • 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 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.


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.


Disc brush v. cylinder brush – what works best?

The long standing question of what method of mechanical cleaning system is best for scrubbing floors remains as unanswered today as it has always been.

So what are the key differences between disc brush and cylinder brush methods? And which one is THE BEST?

Cylinder v rotary brush

Rotary floor scrubbers, utilising the rotating disc brush system, are ideal for wet stripping, scrubbing and buffing floors.


Scrubber driers using disc brushes work well on smooth surfaces and large walk behind and ride-on machines will save time in open areas whereas smaller compact machines such as the Comac Vispa 35B are better suited to more congested areas such as restaurants, school classrooms etc, where they effectively wash and dry floors and can even be used to strip wax from the floor.

innova55_aVispa at Akeman

Disc brush machines offer easy to change, variably aggressive, pads or brushes.

These features make disc scrubber driers ideal for retail applications where pads are not only inexpensive, but offer a great deal of surface contact for scuff mark control and floor shine. For industrial applications, disc brushes often make sense because they deliver greater down pressure than cylindrical brooms, and heavily soiled floors benefit from heavy down pressure.

Cylindrical brush machines are great for uneven surfaces and floors with grout lines.

Cylinder brush machines such as the Multiwash and Nilfisk CA340 allow you to wet the floor, scrub and dry in a single pass and are particularly effective on non-slip safety floors and also for cleaning the grouting between tiles.

Mutliwash range -high resNilfisk-CA340-Scrubber-219x300[1]MW brushes

Cylindrical brush scrubber driers, such as the Fimap Genie BS, will (wet) sweep small amounts of solid debris into a removable tray whilst also washing, and drying, the floor.


In this event it is possible to eliminate the manual pre-sweeping of floors for greater productivity with less potential blockages in the squeegee section of the scrubber drier. In addition, there is often no need for a separate sweeper when a cylindrical brush scrubber drier will do the job.

Cylindrical scrub brushes keep less bristle surface in contact with the floor than disc brushes but they usually turn their brushes up to three times the rotation speed of a disc brush. This will often offset the greater surface area advantage that disc brush scrub decks offer.

Which is better? Both versions have a good rating on cleaning performance and both will clean your floor!

Disc scrub brushes have the advantage of lower initial cost and simplicity of maintenance. A disc brush will last longer and a replacement brush usually will cost less than a cylindrical brush. Cylindrical brush decks (as an option) will typically increase scrubber drier cost by £500 to £1000.

Cylindrical scrub decks eliminate the need to pre sweep your floor and may save the expense of true combination scrubber/ sweeper machines or separate dry sweepers.

It is fair to conclude that both systems have advantages over each other and both will deliver good cleaning performance, so ultimately it is the type of floor surface, the level and nature of soiling, and of course the budget that will influence the final decision.

What are the vibration risks associated with operating cleaning machinery?

Activities such as operating a fork lift truck, rotary buffer or ride-on scrubber drier can cause fatigue, insomnia, headaches and shakiness with symptoms similar to those that many people experience after a long car or boat trip.

After daily exposure over a number of years, these same whole-body vibrations can result in a number of health disorders affecting your entire body including permanent harm to internal organs, muscles, joints and bone structure.

The risks linked to long-term exposure to strong or high frequency vibrations depends on the type of stress experienced, whether this is skeletal or muscular, or even to the vascular and nervous systems.

There are two main classifications of vibration:

Hand-arm vibrations (common to rotary buffers, walk-behind scrubber driers and ride-on machines)

Rotary buffer

Whole-body vibrations (specific to ride-on machines)


1. Hand-arm vibrations: ISO 5349-1

It is well known that vibrating hand tools and therefore exposure to high frequency vibrations interfere with blood circulation (vascular effects) and nerves signals (neurological effects – sometimes resulting in partial paralysis of the thumb’s radial nerve), thereby causing a tingling sensation, loss of feeling, numbness and a characteristic blanching or whitening of the affected parts of the hand-arm system known as “white-finger”.


Exposure to the vibrations of heavy tools (the most typical example being the pneumatic drill) may damage the osteo-articular system (resulting in arthrosis or bone decalcification).

It is important therefore to consult the Use and Maintenance booklet for any piece of equipment being utilised to see the level of vibrations transmitted to the hand-arm system.

Check the level of vibrations transmitted to the hand-arm system (expressed in m/s²) and, if possible, choose the one with the lowest level. The level of vibrations should be measured in compliance with ISO 5349-1.

2. Whole-body vibrations: Jolts ISO 2631-1

The whole-body vibrations of a person are commonly called ‘jolts’. When these are very strong or prolonged, they may lead to spinal problems mainly relating to bone and muscular disorders.

Vibration energy waves, much the same as noise, are transferred from the energy source – a hand tool or vehicle – into the body of the exposed operator. This is then transmitted through the body tissues, organs and skeletal systems of the individual before it is dampened and dissipated.

The symptoms of whole-body vibration are not so readily recognisable and are often mistaken for other unrelated conditions and ailments. The health outcomes are non-specific and can be difficult and extremely expensive to identify, manage and control.

These factors should not detract from the fact that employees, and in particular professional drivers, can suffer debilitating ill health effects from whole-body vibration exposure.

The most common medical conditions experienced through long term exposure to whole-body vibrations are:

  •  Spinal column complaints are perhaps the most common issues associated with the long-term exposure to whole-body vibration, where the back is especially sensitive to the 4-12Hz vibration range
  •  Digestive system issues are often observed in persons exposed to whole-body vibration over a long period of time. This is associated with the resonance movement of the stomach at frequencies between 4 and 5Hz
  •  Cardiovascular system effects resulting from prolonged exposure to whole-body vibration at frequencies below 20Hz. These result in hyperventilation, increased heart rate, oxygen intake, pulmonary ventilation and respiratory rate.

Fortunately the human body can tolerate certain levels of vibration energy but when exposed over a long period of time it begins to deteriorate and fail causing a disruption in the body’s natural processes and systems.

The health effects experienced by employees vary considerably and factors such as situation, age, lifestyle (smokers), posture, ergonomic design and resonance all have an influence on the ill health effects of the vibration exposure.

The problems may be caused through the incorrect position of the operator (resulting from bad machine use habits) or a machine design that fails to take into account the basic principles of ergonomics.

The onus is on the employer to know the vibration exposure that their workforce is exposed to, including the magnitude of vibration, distribution of the motion within the body, and the frequency, direction and duration.

Check the level of whole-body vibrations (expressed in m/s²) in the machine Use and Maintenance booklet and, if possible, choose the one with the lowest level. The level of vibrations should be measured in compliance with ISO 2631-1. Ensure the machine EC declaration states that it has been designed in compliance with directive EN 12100, and that the principles of ergonomics have also been applied.

The level of hand-arm vibrations of Comac scrubber driers, sweepers and single disc rotaries is certified by an accredited laboratory to offer the highest reliability of the declared values.

Electrical safety of Cleaning Equipment

Cable Integrity


Always check by sight and touch (before plugging in and switching on!) for any nicks or imperfections – report any issues and DO NOT USE.

Check for any tears or cuts to the cable and if there is any damage, and certainly if any copper cable is visible, DO NOT USE the appliance and report it for repair & replacement of the cable.


It’s not worth taking the chance – FIT A NEW CABLE!

Damage can occur when:

• Cables are caught on skirting boards, around door frames or other obstacles
• Cables are stood on, wheeled across or slammed in doors
• Cables are caught under a rotary machine, or a cylindrical brush  scrubber drier, causing the cable to break – this can be a significant safety risk, especially when using a scrubber drier with water.
Be careful and vigilant & follow best practice guidelines with regard to cable handling.

We always recommend the use of an RCD (Residual Current Device).


• Did you know that it takes only a fifth of a second for a strong electric current flowing through your heart to kill you?
• Think about if for a moment: if you’re using a rotary buffer  and you accidentally slice through the cable, the electricity has to go somewhere.
• If the machine has a metal case, you’re holding on to it, and you’re standing on the ground, there’s a very high risk that your body will form a “short circuit” – the path of least resistance for the current to flow through.
• It takes just the blink of an eye for a current that’s doing you a favour by powering your machine to change its mind, zap through your body, and kill you.
• One way to reduce the risk is to use an RCD (residual current device), which automatically shuts off stray currents before they can electrocute you, cause fires, or do other kinds of damage.
Typical issues associated with plugs

Over heating / burned


Damaged plastic casing


Plug with no top & no earth in use in a public area with a real danger of electrocution for any user.


Attempted DIY connection with exposed wires hence PAT failed.


In all cases DO NOT USE the machine.

Replace the plug correctly and ensure the correct fuse is used.

Plugs and sockets

For plugs and sockets, keep an eye out for the following:

Hot plugs or sockets, scorch marks, fuses that often blow, or flickering lights – they are all signs of loose wiring or other electrical problems

Badly wired plugs – any coloured wires sticking out could come loose and debris could also get into the plug

Overloaded sockets – plugging too many electrical appliances into one socket can lead to overheating


Cables and leads

The risks with cables and leads include:

Getting frayed and damaged – make sure the outer covering of all power leads is in good condition and replace if necessary


Being badly positioned – they shouldn’t be anywhere that they could be tripped over, or near water, cookers or other sources of heat

Running them under rugs or carpets where they can wear through without anyone noticing – position them elsewhere

Keep your electrical equipment in good working order

Follow the guidelines below to make sure your electrical items are safe to use:


Electrically powered machines, especially ones that run at high speeds and contain motors, such as buffers and scrubber driers, should be serviced once a year by a qualified technician.

Plugs, sockets and cables

Plugs, sockets and cables also need to be used correctly, you should:

• Make sure you can’t see any coloured wires between the plug and the power lead – change the plug properly

• Make sure the wires are held firmly in place inside the plug

• Only use one adaptor per socket – don’t plug one adaptor into another and try to  keep to one plug per socket

When you’re fitting or replacing a fuse, it’s important to use the right fuse for the machine to make sure the fuse doesn’t overheat.

Check the user manual or look for a sticker on the machine to find out its wattage and then use the correct fuse:

> 700 watts, use a 3 amp fuse

Between 700 and 1,000 watts, use a 5 amp fuse

< 1,000 watts, use a 13 amp fuse

Extension leads and adaptors have a limit on how many amps they can take, so be careful not to overload them, to reduce the risk of fire.


Thermal overload protection

Electric cleaning machines are fitted with a thermal protection device.

If the machine stops working, switch off and remove the plug from the wall before investigating where the fault lies.

Inspect the brush (if a rotary or scrubber), floor tool (if a vacuum), vacuum hose and any tubes for debris.

In the case of vacuum cleaners, if the floor tool, tubes and hose are clear, replace the dust bag and clean the filter. Restricted air flow causes vacuum motors to over heat and trip out.

Be careful and observant when using vacuum cleaners that you don’t pick up items that may block the hose or tube, restricting airflow.

Sometimes very resistant floors and coarse, aggressive pads can produce significant friction, resistance and heat and thermal overloads kick-in to protect motors from burning out. Use the right pad / brush / speed of machine and chemical to avoid any mishaps.

Maintenance of Vinyl Floor Coverings

The coating and cleaning chemicals associated with hard floor maintenance is known as the chemical system. The chemical systems available for vinyl floor coverings are no buff, spray buffing, and polishing/buffing systems.

Selection of the chemical system will be influenced by the assessment criteria associated with the facility. The environment, traffic conditions, congestion, time factors and budget will all have an impact on which selection to make.

Initial Maintenance

As with all hard floor coverings, maintenance begins directly after installation. The degree of initial maintenance will be dependent upon the level of cleanliness in which the floor covering was installed. Some installations are much better than others and can make the initial maintenance much easier to accomplish.

Most manufacturers of vinyl products recommend a waiting period of approximately 3 days after the floor covering is installed before wet maintenance can be performed. The reason for this is to allow ample time for the adhesive under the floor covering to completely cure. If wet cleaning or polishing procedures are performed prior to the adhesive curing, it can cause problems for the newly installed product.

Generally sheet goods that are heat welded are not an issue because water or solution has no way to get under the product. Some sheet goods that are not heat welded may have problems because the solution can get under the edges of the seams and cause them curl up. If the damage is significant enough it may require the whole installation to be pulled up and redone.

Floors that have tile products have many more seams for the solution to get under. This can cause serious damage when wet maintenance is performed too soon. In some cases the adhesive may soften and ooze out of all the seams making it very difficult to clean and dry the floor. Many times individual or groups of floor tiles will release from the sub floor. In severe cases the tiles can curl, warp or buckle.

The type of sub floor that the product is installed over can also be affected by performing maintenance services too soon. Generally resilient floor coverings are installed over a concrete sub floor, although it has been known for vinyl floors to be installed over plywood and other wood-based sub-floors.

If water or solution gets under the floor covering it may cause serious breakdown of the wood product underneath. Caution should be taken when working with these types of sub floors.

Initial maintenance for vinyl type floor coverings is not only to remove the soil accumulated during the installation, but also to remove the factory coating from the product. Factory coating is applied to the product to protect it during handling, packaging and installation.

Daily/Routine Maintenance

The most important aspect of any hard floor maintenance programme is eliminating or reducing soil throughout the facility. The daily/routine maintenance procedures address the regular maintenance needed to accomplish this task. Generally, housekeeping staff or cleaning contractors provide these daily services.

Sweeping, dust mopping or vacuuming procedures are the primary method of controlling dry particulate soil throughout most facilities. The service can be performed on a routine basis, daily or several times per day.

It is possible for wet mopping maintenance to be incorporated in the daily/routine maintenance schedule. Spot mopping may be carried out during open hours to eliminate spills that occur. Wet mopping may be performed after hours to remove more aggressive soils. The degree or level of the service will be predicated by the facility.

Light scrubbing with an automatic scrubbing machine or scrubber drier can be substituted for mopping procedures in areas large enough to warrant it.

In schools, colleges, hospitals, large offices and retail environments this is an expected means of maintenance.

Periodic Maintenance

The term periodic generally refers to service procedures that are beyond the dry service and wet mopping procedures. They can incorporate buffing, spray buffing, condition/restoring and burnishing or scrubbing/cleaning procedures. In heavily soiled environments the stripping procedure is performed on a periodic schedule too.

Coating Maintenance Procedures

The periodic coating maintenance procedures are methods of maintenance that address the gloss of the floor finish. There are several methods for accomplishing this objective. The method for any facility will be determined when selecting the chemical system for the floor covering.

Dry buffing, polishing and burnishing are procedures that are independent of cleaning and stripping / re-sealing procedures. Buffing can be performed on some floor finishes, however limited results can be expected.

Spray buffing is a method of maintenance that has been used for many years in the maintenance of vinyl type floor coverings. It is important to point out that the spray buffing procedure is a maintenance method for restoring gloss to the floor finish. It is not a cleaning procedure although many individuals try to use it as one.

When the spray buffing service procedure is used as a cleaning procedure, it effectively encapsulates soil in the floor finish. Although it may appear to be cleaning the floor it is really spreading the soil evenly across the floor causing it to slowly brown out.

Scrubbing and Re-coating

Scrubbing and re-coating is a general term that encompasses all of the scrubbing service procedures. There are different classifications of scrubbing that require slightly different procedures. The primary difference centres on the amount of soil or finish to be removed.

The aggressiveness of the scrubbing procedure will be dictated by the environment and traffic conditions. Soil that gets ground into the floor surface will become embedded. Also, during the life cycle of the hard floor maintenance programmes that utilise chemical coating systems, soil will ultimately become encapsulated in floor finish. Encapsulated soil lowers the appearance factor and causes the floor to look dirty all the time. The primary reasons to scrub and re-coat vinyl floor coverings is to remove that embedded soil or to remove surface coats of floor finish that may have soil encapsulated in it and replenish the protective film.

There is a misconception in the floor care industry that floors must be stripped annually. This is not always the case. A properly maintained floor can go many months, often years between a full strip and refinish. This is usually due to establishing good daily floor care and periodic floor care services.

Stripping and Refinishing (re-sealing)

The definition of stripping is to remove all pre-existing coats of seal and/or finish. Refinishing is the application of new layers of sealer and floor finish.
Some manufacturers of vinyl floor coverings will recommend products and procedures as maintenance requirements. If these are available, follow the instructions for the stripping and refinishing procedures. If they are not available, find out the type of floor and the manufacturer if possible and get in touch with them for any special instruction.

Investigation into the floor surface may take some time, but it can save you money in replacement costs should you damage a floor covering.

Stripping is the most important function of the vinyl floor maintenance programme. It is the beginning and the end. Everything else in-between rests on the foundation that is provided by this service. The function of stripping (removing all existing coatings) is necessary at the end of the floor maintenance life cycle. The function of re-applying coatings is the beginning of the new cycle. It is impossible to have one without the other when performing the service procedure.

Stripping is the least performed of the hard floor maintenance services. It requires the most investment of time, labour and money. Careful consideration should be used when planning for this service because of these factors. The primary objective of any hard floor maintenance should be to put as much time as possible between performing the stripping and refinishing service procedures. This is accomplished by laying a good foundation during the process of performing the service.

About Industrial Floorcare Machines (UK) Ltd

Based in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire but serving the whole of the UK, IFM (UK) supply rotary scrubbers, polishers and burnishers from manufacturers such as Truvox, Victor, Numatic and Comac.


We are also a distributor of Selden floor maintenance products including such well respected products as Selstrip and Selspeed floor polisher strippers; Selseal, Selbrite and Diamond Brite floor polishes, and Fast Lane floor maintainer.

Points to consider when selecting your rotary buffer / polisher

Making the right choice need not be a problem when selecting which buffing / polishing machine you need.

The main things to consider when choosing your new rotary buffer are the brush speed (rpm), the brush head size and the machine weight along the accessories most suitable for the cleaning task intended, including the correct choice of floor pad.

Slow speed (150rpm – 300 rpm)

Slower speed rotary buffers are best suited for wet scrubbing, floor stripping and for carpet shampooing.

The best guideline is that is the dirtier the floor, the need to perform a heavier / deeper clean means that you should use a slower speed machine. Lower speeds up to 300 rpm should be used for stripping floor polish, sanding wooden floors using a mesh screen and for heavy duty floor scrubbing.

High speed (300rpm – 450 rpm)

Higher speed machines are better for spray cleaning, buffing and polishing.

Around 300 rpm there is a transition between performing a scrubbing action on the floor and a floor polishing action. So a machine of between 300 and 450 rpm is ideal for spray cleaning, where you want a cleaning action on the floor but require a polished appearance upon completion.

It is recommended to use a neutral cleaner when spray cleaning a polished floor to avoid removing too much floor polish.

Ultra-High Speed UHS (1000rpm -1500+ rpm)

UHS machines are designed for high quality polishing of floors to leave a mirror-like reflective finish on the floor.

To produce a higher shine and more polished appearance on the floor, the higher the speed of the machine the better.

There is another transition at about 1000 – 1500 rpm where the high polishing action called burnishing takes over from a cleaning action. At these speeds the intention is to burnish the floor where you are aiming to leave a highly polished, near mirror like finish.images[8]

Brush Size

Smaller sized buffers are best suited for restricted or congested areas such as changing areas, toilets etc, whilst larger machines are better, and more productive, in more open spaces such as corridors, halls and large rooms.

Machines can vary in size dependent upon manufacturer and model type, with brush heads ranging from 10/11” (28cm) to 20” (50cm), and in some cases such as with certain propane powered and ride-on machines the brush head size can be even larger.

Machine Weight

A heavier machine at a slower speed will apply a more assertive clean in a more concentrated area, making slow speed machines and darker coloured, more aggressive pads better for stripping old polish and for heavy duty scrubbing.

A higher speed machine will generate more heat, creating a better polymeric reaction to harden the floor polish and therefore leave a higher quality finish.

Ultra-High speed machines take this process to an even greater level leaving floors with superior mirror-like finishes.

Manufacturers such as Truvox, Victor and Numatic produce wide ranges of rotary buffer machines, some with the ability to add additional weight for heavy duty tasks and others that have a lower down force but much faster speed for producing a deep shine.

It is worth noting however that whilst some rotary buffer machines may feel heavy and in some cases do actually weigh a great deal, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the machine has a large amount of down force and is going to remove marks and dirt effectively.

Manufacturers engineer their products so that where a machine is designed to remove heavy marks and dirt, the weight of the machine is converted into down force over the pad to deliver maximum cleaning impact onto the floor. This philosophy has the added benefit of making heavy duty machines not only effective but also very light on the operator in use.


Rotary buffers can be used as machines only in conjunction with pad holders (drive boards) and suitable pads, or brushes depending upon floor type and cleaning method.

Additional accessories are usually available to enhance the machine performance.

One of the most important accessories when using a high speed machine for polishing is a vacuum attachment.

The dust generated by polishing a floor at high speed can be a hazard and it can be a serious problem in hospitals where even small amounts of germ laden dust can affect the well-being of patients. In computer rooms and other room environments where sensitive machinery is located, an otherwise dusty environment can lead to numerous and serious complications.

Collecting dust has the obvious benefits of lowering the risk of cross contamination and eliminating unsightly skirting edge discolouration as the dust is never allowed to build up.

When active vacuumation is used it eliminates the dust control mopping sequence before and after spray cleaning or buffing and it also reduces the regularity of shelf, counter, pipe-work and high level cleaning and extends the life of floor pads as the dust is taken directly into the vacuum bag and not absorbed by the pad.

For slower speed scrubbing machines, fitting a rotary buffer with a solution tank can reduce the cleaning time as it is not necessary to mop a floor before using a machine as the cleaning solution can be put straight on to the floor whilst the machine is in operation.orbis with watertank

The same principle applies to fitting a spray kit attachment to a high speed machine  for use when spray cleaning, as a suitable floor maintainer can be used, sprayed on to the floor and then buffed over by the machine in a single pass.

A full range of pad holders (drive boards) and brushes can be fitted to rotary machines to meet any floor cleaning task.

Bassine and Gumati brushes are suitable for polishing floors, whilst polypropylene brushes are suitable for scrubbing floors clean. Tynex brushes are coated polypropylene and are used for heavy duty scrubbing in tough environments.

Sanding screens are available for wooden floors whilst scarifying brushes and attachments are used for cleaning concrete.

Bonnet Mops can be used to effectively and quickly clean carpets or hard floors with very short drying times as they don’t leave much moisture on the floor.

Choice of Pads and Polish

When buffing or burnishing a floor the polish surface is abraded and heat is generated. The relative amount of each is determined by the pad and the equipment used.

Coarse pads (e.g. green, black) are very open and primarily abrade the polish, while softer pads (e.g. white, red) will have more surface area and will generate more heat. This heat will cause some movement of the thermoplastic components of the finish. The polish formulation will determine which type of pad and buffing equipment produce the best results.

Buffing with an overly aggressive pad can result in “micro scratches”, usually in a semicircular pattern. The end-user should evaluate a softer pad, and/or a lighter pressure setting on the machine.

Occasionally a polish will develop a buffing problem over time. This can be due to excessive use of a floor maintainer, or an aggressive detergent cleaner which alters the surface of the finish. Proper maintenance procedures which include following the manufacturer’s instructions will avoid this type of problem.

Black pads are aggressive, durable and consistent, for wet stripping applications.

Green pads are for heavy-duty wet scrubbing and remove the toughest scuff marks in heavily soiled traffic areas.

Blue pads for general duty scrubbing or heavy spray cleaning jobs.

Red Buffer pads are generally used where a high gloss finish is desired when dry or spray buffing. They can also be used for light cleaning applications.

White non-abrasive polishing/buffing pads, used dry or with a fine mist, to yield a mirror gloss shine.

Floor pads

The benefits of leasing cleaning equipment

Leasing your cleaning equipment makes sense in lots of ways. Here are some of the key benefits:

Improve Cashflow

Your new equipment can be installed and operational without the need for capital expenditure. The cash can then be used where it will produce the best return, such as in investment, operating activities or short term funding needs.

Retain Credit Lines

Keep existing banking arrangements, and credit lines free for more appropriate uses. Lease finance facilities cannot be withdrawn like overdraft facilities.

Simplify Budgeting

With finance payments fixed for the whole term helps avoid the effects of inflation and making cash flow forecasting and budgeting simpler. Bank facilities are generally related to interest rates, which is fine when they are low but can cripple cashflow when they increase.

Keep Up To Date

Combat obsolescence problems or requirement changes as the equipment can be supplemented or upgraded at any time in the future.

Let the Equipment Pay for Itself

Enable the finance payments to coincide with the benefits of having the new equipment as they start to appear. After all, you wouldn’t pay all your staff costs up front! Finance payments may be financed as you go along by extra income obtained by having the new equipment. Have equipment at today’s prices paid for from tomorrow’s income.

Tax Savings

In the case of lease rental, all rentals paid are 100% allowable as an expense for tax relief often providing tax savings.