Winter is here, which means many facilities will use ice melt or salt to melt snow and ice and keep walkways safe. But if this ice melt/salt combination is tracked onto building floors, it can play havoc on the appearance of the floors, the floor finish, and even damage the floors.
Fortunately, there are several things facility managers and cleaning professionals can do to promote safety and protect floors. Among these are the following:
Build-up the Floor’s Finish Early
Many managers and cleaning professionals believe the purpose of a floor finish is to add shine to the floor. While a high-quality, high-gloss finish will produce a shine, the real purpose of the floor finish is to protect the floor. View the finish as a thin piece of glass placed over the floor. By building up this thin piece of glass before winter arrives, we can help prevent damage to the floor.
Where Is the Ice Melt/Salt Coming From
If ice melt/salt are entering the building with foot traffic, managers and cleaning professionals must determine where it is coming from. Typically, it gets tracked into buildings as people walk through parking lots, garages, sidewalks, and walkways. Knowing where it is coming from and which floors are most impacted tells maintenance crews where to spend their floor cleaning time and where, as we will discuss next, high-quality floor mats should be installed.
High-quality floor mats are a necessity in the winter months and should be installed at all building entries. According to the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the length of the mat is key to its effectiveness. For instance, they report:
· Five feet of matting captures 33 percent of debris entering a facility
· Ten feet of matting captures 52 percent
· Twenty feet captures 86 percent
· Twenty-five feet captures 100 percent
A minimum of five feet of matting outside the building and another five feet inside is recommended.
Develop a Winter Floor Maintenance Program
With these steps in place, proper and effective floor maintenance is the most effective way to protect building floors during winter. It starts by using the correct cleaning solutions. Many facilities now use a citrus-based cleaning agent made from lemons, limes, and oranges, such as our LEXX Liquid Cleaner & Sanitizer as well as our LEXX Disinfectant & Cleaner Solution.
1. LEXX® is a multi-surface cleaner and has been independently evaluated and proven to be as effective – if not more effective – than traditional brands used for the same purpose.
2. It is made from naturally derived ingredients, making it very sustainable, safe to use, and environmentally responsible.
3. Citric acid neutralizes ice melt. This protects the floor’s finish and prevents damage to the floor.
Now, with the correct cleaning solution being used, a winter floor maintenance program should include the following:
Entry floors should be “patrolled” daily to clean up spills and debris. This routine should be expanded during the winter months to remove ice melt and salt.
This type of maintenance takes different forms. In a larger floor area, use an auto scrubber. These machines scrub the floor automatically as they are walked over the floor. Soil, cleaning solutions, and moisture are vacuumed up by the machine in the process. For smaller floor areas, mopping is the best option. Just remember to change the mop and the solution frequently. Waiting till the solution turns dark is too late.
The process involves stripping all the finish off a floor, rinsing the floor, and then applying three or more thin coats of finish to the floor. If all the steps we just mentioned have been implemented, we can delay refinishing cycles throughout the winter months.
Always remember to use only high-quality cleaning solutions and floor finishes. Performed correctly and with the right products, your floors will be protected from ice melt and salt and the high gloss shine you and your customers want will be maintained.
And just remember. LEXX is all you need, naturally. ™