17 Floor Care Tips for Contract Cleaners
For contract cleaners, floor care is the bread and butter of their business. And that business is competitive. With over 50,000 independent building service contractors cleaning and maintaining facilities nationwide, it’s important to stand out from the competition to win and retain customers. Since floors make the first impression on a customer when they walk into a building, we asked Leon Fields, Business Development Manager for Kaivac, to give us some of his favorite floor care tips and techniques. With 20 years in the jan/san industry, he’s an expert. Here are his best floor care tips to help contract cleaners thrive.
1. Know Your Flooring
One of the biggest challenges facing contract cleaners is recognizing what type of flooring it is. Many Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT) are designed to look like hardwood, ceramic or natural flooring. According to Leon, “If you don’t know what kind of flooring it is, you can do serious damage by using the wrong chemicals.”
2. Shiny is Safe
When it comes to floor safety, Leon says, “The cleaner the floor, the more slip resistant it is. Most people think a shiny floor is a slippery floor, but it’s actually the opposite. The shinier the floor, the more dirt free, and less slippery it is.”
3. Do a Test
Ceramic flooring can take a high pH solution, but LVT cannot. If you’re not sure what kind of flooring you’re dealing with, do a test in an inconspicuous area. Start with a low or neutral pH and work up until you find the right balance.
4. Extraction is Key
Mops do a very poor job of removing soil and other unwanted matter, including potentially harmful contaminants. They push the soils and germs around the floor surface and into grout lines. Worse, they can cross contaminate from room to room. They also leave excess moisture and chemical residue behind, which can cause re-soiling of the floors from foot traffic. The key to properly cleaned floors is to extract the dirt with a vacuum-aided system and remove it from the facility.
5. Importance of Matting
Proper matting can pick up a significant amount of dirt and debris as people enter the building. Leon recommends matting for 12-15 feet from the door. However, it’s also important to clean entry mats as they get saturated and increase the frequency of cleaning during winter months.
6. Talk Science, Not Square Footage
“Every cleaning contractor is walking in with a mop and bucket. But if you come in with a No-Touch Cleaning Machine and are extracting dirt out of the building, you’re doing something different. Your customers, their staff, their customers will see the difference. Once you talk science instead of square footage, you can get more dollars.”
7. No-Touch Restrooms
Investing in the right technology can make a huge impact in restrooms. “A No-Touch Cleaning System is far and above the best thing to clean restrooms.” The fresh water, fresh chemicals, power washing, and vacuum extraction mean cleaning staff can get in, clean, and get out quickly, leaving restrooms open and safe for customers.
8. Clean High-Traffic Areas Daily
High traffic areas need to be cleaned on a daily basis. While you may be able to get away with spot cleaning less frequented areas, high traffic areas are also high visibility. Daily cleaning of these areas will also help extend the life of the flooring.
9. Keep it Natural
Another common mistake is putting finish on tile floors with grout. Since grouted flooring is not a uniformly flat surface, a finish will not adhere well. If left in its natural state, cleaners can get aggressive when cleaning grout to good results.
10. Stripping VCT
Stripping and restoring Vinyl Composition Tile (VCT) is extremely labor intensive, which is probably because 75% of cleaners don’t let their stripper sit long enough. Like any chemical, floor stripper needs time to work. Leon suggests letting your stripper sit 10-15 minutes to make the process easier.
11. 5-Min Spill Cleanup
Traditional spill clean up requires a lot of labor and can take 30-45 minutes before floors are dry. A staff member must be notified, fetch a mop, bucket, broom, and dustpan. Then they sweep up broken glass, mop the floor, and put out a wet floor sign, hoping it will dry in 10, 15, or even 30 minutes. For safe and efficient spill clean up, Leon recommends a battery-operated auto-vac. Spills can be quickly swept up, agitated, and vacuumed, leaving floors safe and dry in 5 minutes.
12. Less is More
When it comes to carpet care, using less chemical is better. Cleaning chemicals are designed to grab dirt, and if excess chemical gets left in the carpet it will grab dirt from shoes, making the carpet re-soil quickly. In fact, many carpets can be cleaned with just hot water and extraction.
13. Do Your Research
Many building managers don’t know what kind of flooring is in their facility. Set yourself apart from the competition by going into a flooring store and talking to them about different types of flooring. This will make you and your staff prepared for any flooring type thrown at you.
14. The Truth about Grout
Most people think grout is black. In reality, it’s often grey, tan, or even white, but you wouldn’t know it due to poor cleaning. This is especially true in commercial kitchens. The grease buildup makes floors unsafe and grout lines unsightly. Mops often make it worse by spreading the grease around and depositing it into the grout. In restrooms, grout traps urine and fecal matter, causing unpleasant odors.
15. Large Venues Need Large Equipment
For cleaners contracted to clean large venues such as stadiums, Leon recommends an investment in a larger piece of equipment like the 2150 No-Touch Cleaning System. A NTC system is much faster than cleaning large, high-traffic restrooms by hand.
16. Wet Weather Means More Frequent Cleaning
During winter weather, Leon stresses the importance of increasing cleaning frequency both for safety and floor preservation. Clean floors as often as possible, as water, mud, and salt will be constantly coming into the facility. If possible, add more walk-off matting, increasing to 15-20 feet during bad weather.
17. Cleaning as a Philosophy
Above all else, contract cleaners should approach their work as a philosophy. Cleaners who make an effort to stay current, try something different, and use science-based cleaning methods will stand out from the crowd. And that’s good business.