Winter weather brings with it additional struggles for custodial staff as more steps are being added to normal cleaning routines, thus increasing time taken to clean. The salt and ice melts used to keep our sidewalks and streets safe are now being tracked into our buildings and adding new challenges to our cleaning procedures. Ice melt, grit and debris attack with a vengeance and ruin hard floors and carpeting. Removing ice melt residue from our floors is difficult because the soils on the floors have changed, but the chemicals have not. A neutralizer needs to be introduced to the cleaning routine to bring the pH of the floors back to neutral. If a neutralizer isn’t added to the routine, you run the risk of dissolving the floor finish and pushing it around the floor with other products creating a sticky mess that attracts even more debris.
When dealing with the added ice melt struggles of winter, it is important to take both proactive and reactive measures with cleaning, this includes preventative maintenance and responding to the weather conditions as they occur.
Below is Pike Systems’ recommended procedure for cleaning:
- Remove all obstacles and furniture including entrance matting
- Dust mop the area if the floor is dry
- Place “wet floor” signs at the entrances and exits
- Fill your mop bucket, scrubber, or extractor with NutraRinse (HIL0021906), a high quality neutralizer and conditioner formulated to help eliminate alkaline residue on floors. Mix NutraRinse at 4 oz per gallon in your mop buck/autoscrubber/extractor
- Autoscrubber: After you fill the autoscrubber, begin scrubbing the floor using a double-scrub method. Leave the squeegee and vacuum motor off for the first pass, then turn the vacuum motor on and lower the squeegee while continuing to apply solution during the second pass.
- Extractor: Follow standard floor extraction process, if there si still a large amount of salt residue present, repeat treatment
- Once the floor is dry, return any furniture or mats and remove the “wet floor” signs.
In addition to added chemical routines, when ice and snow hit, the first step is to keep as much of it out of the building as possible. Entrance mats are vital for keeping ice melt and debris out of the building. However, an overly wet and saturated mate will not be able to do its job and needs to be replaced or extracted. Read more about the importance of entrance matting here.