Cleaning regime vital What types of floors pose the toughest challenges for cleaners? And what makes them particularly difficult to clean? Ann Laffeaty finds out.
Floor cleaning is a task unlike any other. Floors can be made of anything from concrete to wood and marble to linoleum. And the material used to make the floor will have a major impact on the cleaning regime. Floors are also in constant use – and will often bear the brunt of ongoing abuse from heavy wheeled traffic, footwear or soil on the shoes. But what types of floors cause the biggest cleaning and maintenance challenges, and why? The location of a floor has a significant effect on the cleaning and maintenance task according to Nilfisk’s group product floorcare manager Anders Sandstrom. “The closer it is to the entrance, the more debris and dirt will be walked on to the floor,” he said. “The wear and tear will therefore increase and the level of cleaning will need to be stepped up. And a sufficient number of dirt and water traps will be required in order to limit the amount of dirt, debris and water that is brought in.” The cleaning challenge is also influenced by the choice of flooring material and the way in which the floor is cleaned and protected, he said. “Other factors to consider are the amount of daily traffic and the floor’s location and size along with the type of dirt it attracts, the frequency of cleaning and the presence of furniture and other obstacles.” “The desired look of the floor is also im-
portant since it can be a real challenge in high-traffic areas to produce a floor with a high shine,” added Sandstrom. He says different environments require different floor cleaning solutions. “For example, in a supermarket there will be limited access to the floor area and most cleaning will need to be carried out outside of opening hours, perhaps in a limited amount of time,” he said. “Foot traffic in hospitals and airports tends to continue 24/7 so the cleaning here will need to be done while the floors are still in use, and this may require safety precautions. And in an office there may be several different types of floor in one building which means that different tools may be required for cleaning and maintenance. So every environment has its challenges.” Among the company’s latest products is the Nilfisk SC250 walk-behind scrubber dryer designed for use in shops, schools, restaurants, cafes, bakeries and fast food chains. This is said to combine a compact size with low noise levels which makes it suitable for daytime cleaning. For larger areas such as production sites, warehouses, supermarkets, airports and car parks the company offers the Nilfisk SC6000 ride-on scrubber dryer. Hako’s application technology trainer and consultant Klaus Serfezi agrees the location of a floor tends to dictate the cleaning and maintenance challenge. And he adds there are huge variations between the floor cleaning requirements in each environment.
Different properties “Whether it is in a hospital, a production hall, a warehouse or a logistics centre the floor will have different properties and experience varying levels of soiling,” he said. “There will also be specific hygiene standards that will need to be considered, particularly when cleaning the floors in a hospital or food factory. “For example, in a hospital or nursing home there will generally be linoleum or PVC flooring which will attract a relatively
low level of soiling. Here it will be particularly important to provide non-slippery floors for maximum safety. In a warehouse or production hall, on the other hand, the type and level of soiling will be different and there will be other issues to contend with such as rubber abrasion marks left by forklifts, for example.”
Choose equipment carefully He says airport terminal buildings, supermarkets and offices also have their own challenges along with different types of dirt. “This means that in each case, the cleaning equipment needs to be carefully chosen to meet the requirements at hand,” he said. According to Serfezi, one type of floor is not necessarily harder to clean than any other. “However, problems arise when floors with microporous surfaces are not treated properly,” he adds. “There is no one-size-fits-all solution - different types of dirt require different types of cleaning. “In addition, time is generally still an important factor in the cleaning industry even when machines are used to do the job. Unfortunately it is often the case that the time required to provide professional cleaning is not sufficiently considered or inadequate cleaning equipment is used in order to cut costs.” IPC’s business development manager Adriano Mariano agrees microporous tile floors can be among the most problematical to clean. “This is because water can penetrate into the pores of the stone and either cause discolouration or loosen the tiles and damage the subfloor,” he said. “Restoration can be quite expensive here depending on the extent of the damage.” He claims a good cleaning and maintenance regime can help to avoid any such issues. “Field tests have shown scrubber dryers equipped with advanced cleaning programmes plus special pads and the right chemicals can obtain effective results,” he said. IPC’s CT81 machine is equipped with Advanced Productivity Control technology, Continued page 8
Floorcare Focus - November 2017 | ECJ | 7