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The Ultimate Commercial Floor Cleaning & Maintenance Guide For Professionals!

Aside from the obvious appearance issue, there are real reasons to keep floors clean and dry in a business since 20% of all job-related injuries are related to slips, trips, and falls. Stop wondering about the steps for maintaining commercial floors and read on to find some commercial floor cleaning tips and tricks.

Protect yourself from potential liability by keeping a dry and clean business floor to help prevent slips and spills. Have a clean, shiny workplace also instills a sense of pride in employees — no one wants to work in a dirty or wet environment. It also creates a sense of credibility in customers, making them more likely to use your services again.

It is also be illegal to have a dirty or wet floor for companies in certain industries, such as the food industry. Cleanliness is paramount for some industries. Making sure floors are clean and dry can help to avoid even bigger problems down the lines.

Types of Commercial Flooring

Many questions arise when it comes to keeping commercial tile clean, including what and how. Let’s begin by talking about the different types of commercial flooring you may have to keep dry:

  • Commercial Tile Floors: Also known as VCT (vinyl composition tile), commercial tile floors. These are some of the most popular choices of commercial and institutional builders due to it’s ease of use and functionality. It’s made from coloured polyvinyl chloride (PVC) chips and formed into a solid sheet.
  • Commercial Vinyl Floors: Vinyl flooring remains one of the most popular flooring materials, especially for high-traffic use. It is great because it is low-maintenance, water resistant, and can be printed in a variety of colours, textures, and styles.
  • Commercial Concrete Floors: Commercial concrete floors can withstand heavy foot traffic and stains as they are highly durability and are easy to maintain. Although not as versatile as commercial vinyl floors, they can also be coloured or enhanced to fit in with your commercial atmosphere or theme.
  • Commercial Carpet Floors: Commercial carpeting is made from a few different fibers, such as nylon or olefin (polypropylene). Commercial carpet requires a bit more maintenance than vinyl, concrete, or VCT. Olefin/polypropylene carpet is usually the most budget-friendly for moderate-traffic area floors and it also has high stain resistance. It is important to note that carpets made from nylon are more often durable and tend to look better for longer.
  • Commercial Hardwood floors: Hardwood flooring can stand against high traffic, spills, and dents due to its durability. It’s aesthetics tend to create a beautiful floor. Hardwood floors usually require maintenance than other types of commercial flooring so keep that in mind.

Cleaning Commercial Flooring

All businesses should have clean and dry flooring, but how do you clean commercial floors?Let’s take a look at some of the different flooring types and what they require.

1. How to Clean Commercial Tile Floors/VCT

Due to its easy maintenance schedule, durability, low cost, and variety of appearances, VCT flooring is a top choice for high-traffic areas in commercial and institutional projects. If you institute a regular maintenance schedule, you will help keep floors cleaner and sleeker while helping to ensure they last even longer.

You’ll need the following supplies to clean VCT floors best, so use this list to compile the items you will need.

  • Bucket
  • A neutral cleaner with a pH of seven (try to find one that best suits the business — for example, restaurants need something designed to remove grease more than a school would)
  • Water
  • Mop with automatic scrubber / Commercial floor cleaning scrubber
  • Air mover (An air mover is considered a water damage restoration piece of equipment. Designed to blow lower to the ground at high speeds it forces water to quickly evaporate from floors and carpets. Being lower to the ground, it can be directed under cabinets or other heavier pieces of furniture.)

Begin by vacuuming or sweeping the entire area for large pieces of debris and dirt. Ensure you get all of the large pieces of trash, dust, and dirt off the floor so you can focus on really getting the tile floor clean.

Next, you will need to mix your solution in a bucket. Begin by mixing one ounce of neutral cleaner to every gallon of water you use. It is extremely important to remember that to keep a VCT floor looking shiny and new, you must use a neutral cleaner. Using harsh chemicals or the wrong cleaner can make the floor look grimy and strip the finish, giving it a dull appearance as well.

Then you’ll have to scrub the entire floor with your detergent, making sure to pay extra attention to the corners and most-traveled areas. For better results, I always suggest you use Oreck floor Scrubber which is best for tile & concrete floors.  When you finish cleaning the entire area, set up your air mover and dry the floor. The total drying time varies by floor shape and size but be sure to wait at least 30 minutes to avoid potential slips and falls.

Hard to remove stains can be the bane of our exsistence but fear not as there are a few more things you can try. These tips can be applied to cleaning touch stains, scuffs and more:

  • Up the cleaner concentration: While it runs the risk of making a floor’s finish look duller, it may be more important to remove the stain. Two to four ounces of cleaner per gallon of water have also proven effective in removing stains. Don’t add more cleaning solution in the hope it will remove tough stains as all you will do is damage the surface. Make sure to mop in different patterns. For stains concentrated in one place, try mopping in a figure-eight pattern as it will give your arms a break and lift out the stain in a new way.
  • Strip the wax: Sunlight can help strip and yellow the wax coating on commercial and and VCT flooring. If your wax is stained and won’t come clean, strip the wax with a concentrated cleaner and automatic scrubber just might do the trick.

Remember, it is important to have professional janitorial floor fans to truly get scuffs, stains and more off of floors. Business owners should have a regular floor cleaning and maintenance schedule, but that doesn’t mean regular professional cleaning may be needed to keep floors truly clean.

2. How to Clean Commercial Vinyl Floors

Cleaning commercial vinyl flooring differs from cleaning vinyl flooring in the home, starting with the supplies need to be used. To ensure the floor keeps its polished finish, make sure you use these materials:

  • Neutral floor cleaning detergent
  • Soft bristle broom or non-oil treated mop
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Mop and pail
  • Power buffing machine
  • Air Mover/floor-drying fan
  • Floor finish (optional)

Sweeping and mopping are great ways to maintain a clean surface over time and lessen the chance you will need to commercial steam clean. To begin, dampen the mop with the neutral detergent of your choice and clean the floor using a figure-eight motion. Once the floor is coated with cleaner, clean off your mop and dampen it with clean and clear water. This is very imporant. The water must be clean. Run the mop over the entire area to clean off the detergent.

Use your air move to dry any leftover dampness thoroughly. After the surface has dried, you can dry-buff it. You can apply 3-5 coats of acrylic floor finish if you want a finishing coat.

Sometimes it can feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle while cleaning weathered or worn floors. Weekly maintenance and caring for vinyl floors will cut down the amount of time and the resources you need to use to clean it however, not every business owner knows them. Here are some preventative measures to share with the businesses you serve to make your job easier and their floor cleaner:

  • For dulling vinyl: Advise the businesses you work for that regular sweeping, mopping or vacuuming can keep small particles of dirt and debris off their floor. These particles act like the grit on sandpaper and wear away at the floor’s finish over time, making it look dull and dirty. You can try a commercial floor sealer for extra protection, but be sure to pick the right one for the floor as some can react poorly thereby creating a permanently dull or murky look.
  • For discolored vinyl: Regular cleaning a floor’s surface will help combat most oil and grease that builds up from regular traffic on the floor. You can consider installing mats to catch mud and dirt or curtains to shield the floor from sunlight as the sun can naturally yellow vinyl flooring over time. You can also strip the floor every six months or so to restore the vinyl to its original state.
  • For dented vinyl: Put plans of plywood or thick sheets down if you are moving heavy furniture so you don’t damage the floor and prep for cleaning. Unpadded chair legs in high-traffic areas such as cafeterias can quickly wear down a finish, too. Consider padding the legs of chairs so they cannot damage the floor as they are moved about. Remember what sort of traffic the floor will see and plan accordingly.

3. How to Clean Commercial Concrete Floors

Good news if you’re serving a business that has a concrete floor as this is one of the easiest surfaces to clean. It is important to remember that concrete is a porous material, so you need to fully dry and water or liquid to avoid absorption into the floor, even it if it sealed. Concrete floors are also some of the easiest floors to slip on, so it’s really important to invest in an air mover/floor-dryer. To clean concrete floors you will need:

  • Mop/broom with a microfiber pad or a vacuum cleaner
  • Neutral-pH floor cleaner
  • Bucket
  • Water
  • Air mover

To keep a concrete floor looking new and clean, it is recommended to dust mop the surface daily to keep it looking clean and new. This keeps abrasive dirt and dust particles off the floor and preserves the shine.

Always use a clean mop when you wet mop the floor, along with a neutral floor cleaner. It is recommended to let the cleaner sit for a bit before removing it. The chemicals need some time to start breaking down the grease and dirt particles. You will find it is ideal to clean smaller areas one-at-a-tie to ensure the cleaner breaks up as much dirt as possible. If you cover too much floor, the cleaner will dry before you can get to it.

To finish. rinse the cleaner off of your mop and dampen the mop in clean water. Again it is important it is clean water. Wash the cleaner off the floor with your damp mop and then set up your air mover to thoroughly dry the space and help avoid slips or falls.

A bi-monthly or bi-yearly wax stripping will keep stains and spills from ever reaching the concrete. If the business makes the unwise decision not to use sealant, understand that stains and spills will be much harder to remove in the future.

Here are a few more tips for commercial concrete floor care:

  • Backpack vacuuming is an alternative to dust-mopping the floor. Dust-mopping pushes dust and debris around and it can get trapped in other areas instead of cleaning it up. This can affect cleaning employees and business workers by making particles airborne, which is unhealthy. Having a backpack vacuum eliminates that smaller debris from the floor entirely.
  • Automatic floor scrubbers increase productivity significantly. If you have the budget, you may wish to invest in one of these instead of having one or two workers painstakingly taking each step.  An automatic scrubber will apply the cleaning solution, scrub it in, wet-vacuum it and dry it all surfaces.
  • A sealant or finish can help you maintain the look and cleanliness of floors more easily. Just remember to ask what sort of specific care the sealant will need so you can properly maintain it. Sealer should be replaced once or twice a year.

4. How to Clean Commercial Carpet Floors

Commercial carpeting is one way that an office can feel like home. Carpet has the bonus features of also acting as a noise reducer and an air filter. Carpet cleaning requires a different level of maintenance than other flooring and has a variety of different cleaning options. There are a few supplies that are always useful to have on hand:

  • Vacuum
  • Carpet cleaning solution
  • Air mover/carpet-drying fan

Regular vaccuming of commercial carpet will help prolong its life. Make sure to take your time and vacuum very well before you start cleaning the carpet. Depending on how soiled the carpet is, different types of cleaning can yield better results.

To rid your carpet of greasy, oily soils, you can use three different methods:

Encapsulation method: This method will allow you to keep your carpet looking great without lowering workplace productivity.

  • First, vacuum the entire area to rid space of loose debris and dirt.
  • Spray the area with encapsulated cleaner and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
  • Using a bonnet machine, work the solution into the carpet. This is great for spot cleaning and less so for regular maintenance.
  • After the carpet dries, make sure you vacuum well to pick up the encapsulated debris. To speed up the drying process you can try using an air dryer as mentioned above.

Bonnet pad method: This low-moisture cleaning process only rids the face fibers of dirt.

  • Vacuum the carpet.
  • Spray a diluted solution of bonnet cleaner and water on the carpet.
  • Run a bonnet machine over the carpet and replace as it gets soiled.
  • Vacuum away the crystals (soiled bonnet chemicals).

Dry foam method: This method also works well for upholstery and extracts soiled stains well.

  • Vacuum the carpet.
  • Mix a solution of water and foam carpet detergent.
  • Walk forward with your carpet cleaning machine, applying the detergent at the same time.
  • Groom the affected area with a carpet brush.
  • Set up air movers to speed up the drying process.
  • Re-vacuum the carpet to pick up the crystallized soil and detergent.

If regular carpet cleaning is not on your agenda then yearly cleaning to remove deeply embedded soiling will require a more intense cleaning process:

Hot water extraction method: Also known as steam cleaning, this process is effective for carpets needing a deep, restorative clean.

  • Thoroughly vacuum the floor to ensure no dirt remains.
  • Spray the area with a cleaning chemical as suggested by the commercial carpet provider. Nylon carpets should use a neutral cleaner with a pH of 7. Ask the carpet provider for suggestions of products to use if the carpet is polypropylene.
  • Scrub the cleaning chemical in until it permeates the stain. Let the solution soak for 10-20 minutes but don’t let it dry on the carpet.
  • Use hot water and an alkaline detergent to completely separate and rinse the soil from the carpet.
  • Set up air movers to speed up the drying process, which will allow for foot traffic much quicker. Do not walk on the wet carpet.

Shampoo method: Shampooing is an effective method to clean carpets in need of a deep, restorative clean because of the brush’s forceful cleaning.

  • Thoroughly vacuum the floor and ensure no dirt remains.
  • Mix a solution of carpet cleaning shampoo with water, per shampoo directions.
  • Block out a 4×4 area to start with and go over the area in a circular motion with an automated floor brush. Do this at least twice and note the foaming should diminish as you clean.
  • Follow this with the hot water extraction method to rid the carpet of the most deep-seeded soils and stains.
  • Set up air movers to speed up the drying process, which will allow for foot traffic to pass through sooner as you do not want to walk on a freshly washed and still wet carpet.

Commercial cleaning of carpets can be a heavy process but there are preventative measures that can help your carpet stay clean. Here are some tips:

  • Clean up spills immediately: Gently blotting the surface liquid as soon as it spills as a cloth (instead of the carpet) can absorb most of the liquid. Use the cloth to apply spot remover and work in from the outer edges of the spill. Remember to rinse the spot after you apply cleaner.
  • Invest in extra coverage: Protective mats by entrances/exits will absorb or catch dirt, oils and other liquids. Plus, they are cheaper to replace are reduce the actual mess on your carpets.

5. How to Clean Commercial Hardwood Floors

Hardwood is a porous surface that dirt and grime can easily deeply embed into. Hardwood floors are super susceptible to damage in a high-traffic ares such as offices. It’s great to not only clean floors well but it is important to take preventative measures like sealing the surface to prolong the floors life. For cleaning hardwood floors, you will need a few supplies:

  • Mop
  • Liquid cleaner (see recommendations from the floor manufacturer)
  • Bucket
  • Vacuum
  • Auto Scrubber
  • Air mover/floor-drying fan

Dust mop the floor first to pick up any loose dirt, dust or grime with clear, clean water. This will remove anything that might scratch or damage the surface of the floor.

Next, saturate a mop with the cleaner and wring it out. The mop should be damp enough to leave a trail but not so wet that it is dripping liquid on the floor. Mop the space in small sections to thoroughly hit every crevice. Take your time and ensure you cover the entire floor surface.

After you mop a section with the cleaner, rinse your mop with clean water and use the now clean mop to wipe away the floor cleaner.

While you can use a clean old towel to dry the section, an air mover will quickly and efficiently dry the space while avoiding streaky marks and protect against any sort of potential scraping.

Additional tips to clean commercial hardwood floors include:

  • Finishes and sealants: You need to know what type of sealant or finish is on hardwood floors. They can prolong the life of the floor and keep it looking shiny and new but hardwood floors can be stripped if you use the wrong cleaning method.
  • Too much liquid: When cleaning hardwood floors, be careful to not put too much liquid cleaner on the floor as it can make them sticky and slick and looking like a film is on top of the hardwood. Try using a thin layer of cleaner, remembering to only clean a portion at a time. You can also use a commercial floor dry air mover to speed up the drying process.

And here are two tips to share with the businesses you work with:

  • Frequent cleaning: The more frequently you clean your floors, the better they will look. Routine sweeping, vacuuming or dusting not only prolongs the life of the floor, but it also keeps the entire area cleaner of allergens and dirt particles. It is important to schedule professional cleaning twice a year for commercial floors and carpet to keep them clean and remove particles that can be bad for people’s health.
  • Preventative Measures: Would you believe that even the most worn-out floors can be restored? As hardwood flooring is a substantial business investment it should be taken care of. Preventative steps to keep the floor clean (like mats to catch dirt or daily dust moping to collect debris) will pay off in the long run. Weekly maintenance is worth the effort and will save extra effort in the long run.

These are just some simple steps for maintaining commercial stone floors and other commercial floors.  As with all cleaning, general weekly maintenance will make your job easier and shorter in the long run.