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.

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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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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