Joe Tehan

By: Joe Tehan on October 24th, 2021

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4 Ways To Keep Your Floors Looking Their Best This Winter

Winter can be harsh on your facility’s hard floors so it’s important to take a different approach in the winter to account for increased soils and winter weather. The processes that would typically work during the summer or other seasons may not work now to keep your floors protected. 

As winter approaches, you may be wondering what changes you might need to make to your hard floor maintenance routine to protect and extend the life of your floors.

Colder temperatures and wet weather can lead to your floor maintenance routine needing more time and effort for upkeep. Without a proper maintenance program, your floors can be damaged and cost a lot to replace or repair.

If your current maintenance routine does not account for the increased presence of winter soils that can damage your floor’s appearance or the labor required to remove them, you may notice that your hard floors are becoming scratched and dirty.

Harsh winter soils, like ice melt and snow, can lead to dull and dirty-looking floors if not properly cleaned. 

The presence of these winter soils calls for additional cleaning practices so that your floors maintain a clean look. 

In this article we’ll introduce 4 practices you can implement in your hard floor care routine to extend the life and appearance of your floors.

4 Practices You Need In Your Winter Commercial Hard Floor Routine

  1. Dust Mop/Vacuum To Remove Salt and Ice Melts 
  2. Clean Entryways More Frequently
  3. Rinse Tools and Equipment Regularly
  4. Burnish and Buff Your Floors Routinely

1. Dust Mop/Vacuum To Remove Salt and Ice Melts

Large Dust MopIce melt and salt are necessary during the winter to protect the people in your building from unsafe conditions.

Sometimes, though, these harsh soils can get tracked into your facility and onto your floors. Because solid components of ice melt can have a sharp crystal-like shape, it can scratch your hard floors if it gets dragged around during cleaning.

Dust mopping or vacuuming before cleaning procedures, like mopping or scrubbing, gathers these harsh soils from the floor.

If dust mopping is skipped, any solid residue on the floor can be crushed and moved around the floor, damaging the appearance of the finish. Your staff should take care to remove as much of the salt and other solids from the floor as they can before beginning to mop or clean your floors with an autoscrubber.

Removing these soils can also reduce the wear and tear of your autoscrubber since salt and ice melt are harsh on metals. The less salt that’s left on your floors means that less salt can get into your automatic floor scrubber. 

2. Clean Entryways More Frequently

Entry Mats Open 1Cleaning your entryways is likely already a part of your daily floor care routine. With increased winter soils, more frequent daily cleaning throughout the day can reduce the chances of damage to your floors.

How often you should clean your entryways depends on the amount of traffic the area receives and how fast dirt and soil build up.

Clean Your Entry Mats

Entry matting collects moisture, dirt, and debris from the shoes of the people who enter your building.

In order to remain effective at collecting moisture and debris, entry mats should be emptied and cleaned regularly. 

Mats that aren’t emptied regularly enough can become too full to stop your guests from tracking soils into your facility. This increase in soils can cause your floors to get dirty quicker and increase the cost of keeping your floors clean.

Entry mats should be vacuumed at least once a day to make sure they’re properly emptied. If you’re noticing that your entry mats appear dirty, you can vacuum your mats more than once a day to accommodate high traffic.

While an upright vacuum is usually good for cleaning mats during dry months, a wet/dry vac is better to remove soils and moisture during winter.

Some mats also need to be shaken out to loosen debris that has gotten deep into the bottom of the mat. Make sure you leave adequate space between your entryway and where you’re shaking out your mats to avoid dirt being tracked back into your building.

If you have mats that require deeper cleaning, you can use a carpet extractor to remove any soils that are deeply embedded into the fibers of the mats. Carpet extracting should always be done after vacuuming to ensure that you don’t experience wicking.

To remove salt, ice melt residue, and white streaks that can cover your floors, you can use a floor neutralizer on your facility’s entry matting.

When using a floor neutralizer during the carpet extraction process, the floor neutralizer should be applied to your mats with a pump-up or trigger sprayer. After allowing the product to dwell according to the manufacturer’s instructions, you can use a carpet extractor to clean the mat.

Mop Your Floors To Remove Salt And Water

Sometimes salt, ice melt residue, and water can be tracked onto your facility’s hard floors as guests enter your building. 

Mopping the floors removes these soils and by increasing the frequency of mopping during winter, you can manage the presence of white streaks and wet floors.

If it’s a particularly snowy day outside, it can be beneficial to mop your floors more often to avoid excess salt and moisture on your floors. Your floors can be mopped as frequently as once every two hours.

Each time you mop your floor, be sure that you are using clean solution to avoid spreading dirt and debris around the floor.

In case you notice that you aren’t getting the best clean from frequent mopping, you can also use an autoscrubber to clean your floors more frequently.

Be sure to use a floor neutralizer when mopping or scrubbing your floors because regular floor cleaners can cause prominent white streaks and swirls on the floor.

3. Rinse Tools and Equipment Regularly

Mop BucketIce melt residue can damage your tools and equipment if not completely rinsed away. You can use an autoscrubber or a mop and bucket to clean harsh substances from your hard floors.

If you’re using an autoscrubber to clean your floors during the winter, salt and other soils can enter your machine when slurry is removed from the floor. Because of ice melt’s properties, it can cause the metals in your floor scrubber to corrode if it’s not cleaned properly.

To make sure that all salt is removed, you should make sure that the recovery tank is fully rinsed to remove any leftover salt residue. The squeegee should also be rinsed thoroughly to clean off any salt and ice melt left on it during floor cleaning procedures.

If you’re using a mop to clean your floors during the winter, you’ll need to make sure that you rinse the mop between applying neutralizer and rinsing the floors. This step ensures that no salt or ice melt residue is returned to the floor.

After cleaning, the mop and bucket should be rinsed thoroughly to make sure that no harsh soils are spread around the floor during future cleaning.

4. Burnish and Buff Your Floors Routinely

Advance Advolution 20XP Floor Burnisher In useFloors should be burnished and buffed regularly to get rid of scuffs and scratches until floors can be scrubbed and recoated or stripped and waxed.

To know how often you should burnish or buff your floors, you should look at the state of your facility’s floors and the amount of traffic an area receives.

Burnish Your Floors Regularly

If you’re noticing that your floors are dull, but not necessarily dirty, you could benefit from using a floor burnisher to restore some shine.

Burnishing polishes your floors and brings out the original shine of the floors. 

This is beneficial when you notice that your floors are lacking the glossy look that they originally had when you recoated them at the beginning of the season.

Buff Your Floors Regularly

If you’ve noticed that your floor is covered with scuff marks and has a dirty look to it, it may be time to buff your floors. 

Buffing removes dirt and scuff marks from the floor while enhancing the shine of your floor. A floor buffer will remove some of the floor finish to reveal a shiny, clean floor.

Buffing your floors will help to preserve and extend the lifespan of your floor. 

When you include burnishing and buffing as a part of your regular floor maintenance routine, these processes can help you maintain the shine of your floors during the harsh winter season.


Final Thoughts

Adding practices that protect your floors from the effects of winter soils can help your floors to look their best during the winter months.

Dust mopping and vacuuming before cleaning your floors can reduce the chances of dragging harsh soils across the floor. Your floors can be scratched by salt residue and debris which can give them a dull and dirty appearance.

You may also need to clean your entryways more regularly throughout the day to keep your floors from taking too much damage from the presence of harsh soils.

Maintaining your cleaning tools and equipment can extend their lifespan. Removing salt and ice melt can keep your tools and equipment from experiencing corrosion or spreading soils across the surface of the floor, which is harmful to the floor finish.

To keep your floors looking shiny and clean, you can burnish and buff your floors regularly to remove scuffs and restore their shine.

If you’re ready to review your winter hard floor care program, EBP can help you understand how you can improve the way you care for our floors in the winter.

Contact an EBP Specialist today for a review of your current hard floor care program, EBP can help you find ways to prepare your team to handle the effects of winter on your floors.

If you’re located in the United States, Puerto Rico, or the Caribbean, EBP and other Imperial Dade locations can help you with your janitorial needs. 

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About Joe Tehan

Joe Tehan is the Vice President of Services and Training for EBP Supply Solutions, with over 20 years of experience in the Chemical and Janitorial Industries. During the first part of his career, he primarily focused on helping customers solve their toughest warewash and laundry challenges. He specialized in developing effective warewashing and laundry programs that utilize one-pass washing, sustainable products & processes, and staff training to help customers achieve increased safety, improved cleanliness, cost-savings, & maximum operational efficiency. Today, Joe, who is an ISSA-CMI certified instructor, helps customers optimize their cleaning operation with innovative solutions, customized cleaning programs, and staff training.