Winter is a rough season for floors. The slush and snow create slippery conditions, and the salt and sand tracked in from outside has the potential to damage your floors to the point they need refinishing, or even replacing. Business owners and facilities managers need to consider these risks when putting custodians on the job. If you and your team commit to better winter floor cleaning, it will limit the chances of costly repairs come spring.
Winter's Damaging Effects
In areas where snowfall is a regular occurrence, property owners and municipal managers salt the roads and sidewalks in order to maintain safe conditions. Likewise, sand is often used to help move car tires stuck in ice and snow. If the facility you maintain is open to large groups of people, chances are your floor has these materials tracked all over it whenever folks enter during snowy weather — and those slick floors create unsafe conditions can lead to slips and falls.
Doormats and vacuums can limit the amount of moisture that hangs around on floors, but you also have to worry about the chemical components of salt and sand damaging your floors. These materials can strip the finish on hardwood and tile floors if they're not properly cleaned up. Without this protective coating, the acidic content of winter grime will eat away at your flooring's foundation, which will cause permanent damage.
Another area of concern is the mold that builds up when moisture is left on floors. Rotting floors and molding could need replacing in a worst-case scenario, and the cost of new floors will wreak havoc on any building manager's budget.
Goals in Winter Floor Cleaning
While the potential for damage is clear, you might not be aware of the best options for keeping your floors dry and protected with the proper finish. Checking the condition of your floors at the beginning of the winter season is a must. If you see the protective coating wearing off already, refinishing the floor is highly recommended before the wave of snow and ice hits the area.
As for daily maintenance, cleaning systems that neutralize the impact of salt and sand are your best bet. Traditional cleaning tools like mops and standard chemicals are not a good fit for this type of task. Furthermore, the limitations of mops are clear when you are trying to keep the floors dry, not make them wet a second time. An autovac is a better tool for cleaning and keeping moisture under control.
As you improve your winter floor cleaning tools and techniques, your investment in your building facilities will return the appropriate value over time. Hoping to get by with antiquated cleaning tools can have disastrous effects on the property and your company's budget for the long term.
Click here to learn more about advanced floor cleaning in winter.