If you operate a business in the northern part of the United States, you know how much of a challenge keeping your facility clean during the winter months can be. Even during the summer months, dirt and debris build up quickly, and those effects are only amplified during a cold winter as visitors and employees track in salt, slush, and grit. But some things go beyond minor maintenance. That’s why prioritizing regular commercial floor cleaning is more critical than during other parts of the year. Doing so not only protects your floor systems from permanent damage—it also ensures a safer environment for patrons and employees.
While commercial cleaning services are the obvious answer for keeping your facility clean throughout the winter, you may be wondering what else you can be doing to streamline the cleaning process and safeguard floors from wintertime damage. In this post, we’ll explore a handful of tips to help you accomplish that goal while protecting your infrastructure.
Believe it or not, you can start simplifying winter cleaning by taking a few proactive steps right now. As the leaves continue falling during the autumn season, make sure they don’t build up around doors. Clearing away leaves near doorways and other entrances minimizes how many end up inside. By preventing these leaves and other autumn debris from entering your building in the first place, you can simplify floor cleaning and create a safer environment, all while protecting hard floors and carpet fibers.
Apply an Initial Protective Layer to Floors
Once the first snow hits, salt, ice, and dirt can quickly start taking a toll on hard floors, particularly hardwood floors and linoleum. Before the first snow falls, it’s well worth taking the time to perform a light scrubbing and recoat floors with a high-quality floor finish to provide a protective layer throughout the winter. This protective coat will help you get through the early part of the winter, while preventing deeper stains from penetrating your floors. This preventive wintertime coat provides a strong foundation with which to protect your floors throughout the winter.
Lay Out Additional Mats
It’s also a good idea to lay out additional mats near doorways, entrances, and exits at your facility. These heavy-duty mats are designed to absorb the brunt of wintertime salt, debris, and moisture to provide an extra buffer of protection for your floors. Providing ample mats in high-traffic areas helps trap excess buildup and salt so it isn’t carried to other parts of your building. At the same time, they can help absorb moisture and create a safer surface for pedestrians.
As you lay out additional matting during the wintertime, you need to make sure you’re taking extra steps to clean and maintain these mats. It’s a good idea to wet-vacuum mats on intense winter days. Doing so prevents pedestrians from tracking in additional salt and moisture, while maximizing the longevity of your floor matting. Properly maintained mats also help minimize the risk of slips and falls and eliminate foul odors that occur when excessive moisture builds up beneath the rubber bottom.
During the wintertime, it helps to keep one or more floor squeegees readily available near your building’s entryways. On harsh winter days, assigning someone to regularly squeegee floors and mats can go a long way to preventing moisture buildup, helping mats dry faster, and maximizing their effectiveness at trapping salt and mud.
Before a big storm hits, go over interior and exterior matting with an ice melt neutralizer solution in a carpet extractor or an automatic scrubber. This solution gets rid of the white buildup that appears on mats in the winter and minimizes the amount of ice melt residue that makes its way into your building. You can also use many ice melt neutralizers on carpets, hard floors, and concrete surfaces throughout your facility to protect against the residue’s harmful effects.
Make sure you mop properly after dusting and sweeping. If you’re using wet mops to clean and maintain floors between deep cleans, make sure you’re rinsing and wringing out mops to extend their longevity and maximize cleaning power. Also, keep floor cleaner solution fresh and regularly change it out on harsh winter days. Depending on the intensity of the weather, it’s worthwhile to adapt your mopping schedule instead of sticking with a fixed schedule throughout the winter. Don’t forget about the importance of maintaining clean mop buckets by cleaning and rinsing them regularly during the winter months.
If you use an automatic scrubber to maintain your hard floors or for cleaning carpets in the winter, take the time to frequently clean out any ice melt residue that may collect on the inside or outside of the machine. When left to settle, ice melt residue can slowly damage the equipment and eventually lead to the buildup of bacteria and mildew. By regularly cleaning the scrubber equipment, you’re protecting your investment while maximizing cleaning effectiveness.
Keeping your facility spotless in the winter has never been a simple task, but when you partner with Carlson, we make it simpler than ever before. That’s because we take the time to design a custom floor care regimen for your facility and climate. We take into account factors like foot traffic, the time of year, the forecast, and your day-to-day operations to design a tailored floor maintenance program that will continually exceed your expectations. We invite you to contact our experts today and experience the Carlson Difference firsthand.