Dan Carr

By: Dan Carr on December 24th, 2020

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Floor Scrubber Maintenance Guide: Tips to Extend the Life of Your Machine

An automatic floor scrubber can be a large investment, so getting the most life out of your machine is important. 

Routine maintenance procedures are integral to prolonging machine life and helping you achieve a good return on your investment. Regular maintenance also reduces the likelihood of unplanned equipment downtime due to service or repair needs. Most importantly, you’ll be able to lower service and repair costs that could have otherwise been avoided. 

How to Maintain a Floor Scrubber 

In this article, we’ll outline the basic maintenance procedures that should be performed before and after every cleaning procedure with your automatic floor scrubber. 

Maintenance Tips for Auto Floor Scrubbers: Before Using Your Machine 

Always perform the key tasks below before using your autoscrubber to ensure peak performance. 

Check the Batteries, if applicable

With the exception of some upright floor scrubbers, floor scrubbers run on batteries. 

Battery Power

There are four common types of batteries: wet flooded, gel, AGM, or lithium. 

Each type of battery has its own specific maintenance requirements, which we review in more detail in this article: Floor Machine Batteries: Everything You Need to Know (Types, Maintenance, Cost)

Regardless of the type of battery, always: 

  • check to make sure the battery is charged
  • inspect the battery terminals to make sure they are free from corrosion
  • confirm that there are no loose connections  
  • maintain the water level for wet flooded batteries (typically weekly)

Inspect Drain/Hose for Clogs or Leaks 

There should be no debris or cracks in the drain hose or main vacuum hose. 

Leftover debris should be removed from the drain and vacuum hose. To backflush the vacuum hose, find the port inside the tank and flush with clean water. This should dislodge any debris. 

If there are noticeable cracks or leaks, the hose will need to be replaced. 

Check Debris Tray 

Clarke SA40 Debris Catch CageMost automatic floor scrubbers have a debris capture tray built in. The debris tray is meant to hold smaller items, like wrappers, wood chips, or food particles, that were missed during floor sweeping/dust mopping procedures. 

Although the debris tray should be emptied at the end of every cleaning procedure, it is best practice to check to make sure the tray is empty before using the machine each day. 

Leftover items can cause the tray to get clogged or overflow. Additionally, left over debris such as food particles can cause mold and foul smells. 

Maintenance Tips for Auto Floor Scrubbers: After Using Your Machine

Following each floor cleaning procedure, the maintenance steps below should be performed to lower maintenance costs, reduce potential damage, and help you get the most life out of your machine.

Drain Solution and Recovery Tanks 

There are two separate tanks on your auto floor scrubber; one for cleaning solution and one to collect the dirty solution that is removed from the floor. 

It is imperative that both of these tanks are emptied at the end of every cleaning procedure. 

Chemicals left in the solution tank for too long will become ineffective. Additionally, sometimes when chemicals are left they can gel up and block solution/water flow. 

As mentioned earlier, the recovery tank holds the dirty water and chemicals that are removed from the floor. 

Forgetting to empty this tank at the end of a procedure can lead to a sludge like mixture in the tank. The sediment and dirt that are removed from the floor will settle and fall to the bottom of the recovery tank. If the remaining water dries, this mixture will harden at the bottom of the tank, making it difficult for your staff to remove. 

Additionally, this leftover mixture can cause odors that will linger in the tank even after the tanks are cleaned. 

Rinse Solution and Recovery Tanks 

After these tanks have been drained they should also be thoroughly rinsed. Rinsing and wipin

SC1500 large solution and recovery tank

g down the dirty water tank will ensure there is no leftover dirt or grime to cause odors. 

Store Tanks with the Lid Open 

To reduce the chance of mold, mildew, and unpleasant odors in your autoscrubber tanks, store the tanks with the lids open. 

This allows air to circulate into the tanks, allowing them to fully dry. 

Clean Squeegee Assembly 

Squeegees help the autoscrubber remove water and cleaning solution from floors during a cleaning procedure. 

The assembly typically has corrosive parts that should be rinsed and wiped after every procedure to reduce rusting and corrosion. Autoscrubber Squeegee

The squeegee itself should also be removed, washed, and wiped dry for two reasons. The first being that dirt and grime can sometimes get stuck on the squeegee, creating lines or spots as it is dragged across the floor. Secondly, there are different types of squeegee blades and not all are resistant to chemicals and oils. For example, gum blades should not be used with oily substances. 

For more on squeegee blade types, check out this article: What is an Automatic Floor Scrubber (Types, Sizes, & Features)

If you notice that the blade is visibly worn, remove the squeegee blade and flip the blade over. There are typically four sides to a blade that can be used. Once all four sides of the blade have been used, it should be replaced.  

If all sides seem worn, replace the blade before use. 

Should the blade be worn or have tears, it will not effectively remove water and cleaning solution from the floor which can create a slippery, hazardous situation for building occupants. 

Always store the squeegee in the raised position. It should not be resting on the floor as this can cause the blade to become uneven or damaged. 

Remove and Clean Floor Pad or Brush 

The pad driver with the pad and brush should be removed from the machine so that you can easily access the floor pad or brush. 

Pads and brushes are used to scrub the floor of dirt and grime, however after use, dirt can be ingrained in the pad or stuck in the brush bristles. 

Thoroughly wash the pad or brush after each use. 

Removing excess dirt and debris from the pad or brush will allow the machine to provide the best clean. It will also reduce the chance of cross-contamination between procedures, especially if the machine is being used in different areas or facilities.

If the pad is torn or has excessive wear, replace the pad. 

The floor pad or brush should not be stored on the ground. In most cases, this requires you to remove the pad driver and pad or brush from the machine for storage.

Charge the Batteries, if applicable

Many auto floor scrubbers can be equipped with on-board battery chargers. This allows the machine to be charged at any 120-volt outlet. Keep in mind, the machine can not be plugged into an on-board battery charger when running.  

Be careful not to overcharge the batteries or opportunity charge. 

Pro Tip: Opportunity charging is charging your batteries before they reach their minimum charge. Learn more about opportunity charging.

Only charge batteries after completion of the whole cleaning procedure or when the batteries have less than the recommended charge capacity which is typically 20%. 

For example, if a battery has a three hour run time, and you are done using the machine after 30-40 minutes it can be safely charged without damaging the battery.


Final Thoughts 

With these key maintenance tips, you'll be able to prolong the life of your machine and achieve a better return on your investment.

Regular maintenance requires attention both before and after use. 

Before a cleaning procedure, inspect the machine for damage or any left over debris.

After a cleaning procedure, thoroughly clean the wear and tear parts of your machine. Do not forget to clean parts that are likely to corrode from contact with cleaning solutions or salts. 

EBP has been the leading provider of commercial cleaning products and janitorial cleaning equipment for over 100 years. 

We have three authorized service and repair centers and a fleet of service vans, staffed by gold-certified technicians who are ready to provide preventative maintenance, warranty work, repair, and emergency service on or off-site.

If you are interested in having your machine serviced, or have a special maintenance need, visit our equipment service page to fill out a request. 

We service any type of janitorial cleaning equipment even if it wasn’t purchased through us.

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About Dan Carr

Dan Carr is the Equipment Program Manager for EBP Supply Solutions and a Trainer for the EBP Training Academy, which offers CMI-certified and other training courses for supervisory and front-line cleaning professionals throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. He holds the ISSA CMI Basic certification and has over 35 years of experience in the janitorial and sanitation industry.