Hard Floor Care

The steps for Floor Care in a GREEN cleaning and maintenance program are comparable, in most aspects, with those of a traditional program. However, Floor Care in a GREEN cleaning and maintenance program should concentrate on the assortment of environmentally preferred and reduce risk products, plus the equipment. A few slight adjustments of the procedures themselves may also be recommended.

These recommendations are intended to prolong the “life” of the floor finish and reduce the frequency of stripping and recoating.

Specific focus should be on:

  1. Keep outside entryways clean to prevent soil from being tracked into the facility.
  2. Use entry mats to trap soil and moisture from shoes. It is recommended that the mats be large enough for each shoe to touch the mat twice (approximately ten to fifteen feet).
  3. Vacuum frequently used entryway mats and grating systems using a high quality vacuum.
  4. Dust mop frequently under floor mats to decrease the possibility for moisture.
  5. Top scrubbing and recoating should be part of a regularly scheduled maintenance program to minimize stripping and refinishing.
  6. Those stripping the floors must be properly trained on all equipment, procedures, and Floor Care chemicals used at the facility.

The objective of a GREEN cleaning and maintenance for floors is to decrease the need for stripping and maximize the life of the floor finish.

Product Selection

Some things to consider when selecting products for a GREEN cleaning and maintenance program:

Floor Strippers:

  • Lowest pH that provides desired performance.
  • No or low VOC levels to minimize discomfort or staff/occupants.
  • No solvents, butyls, or ammonia.
  • No or low levels of dyes and fragrances.
  • No chelating agents.

Floor Finishes:

  • No heavy metals.
  • No or low odor.
  • No formaldehyde.
  • No glycol ether.
  • Low ammonia and low VOC’s.

Equipment Selection:

  • Vacuum cleaners that capture a minimum of 99% of 0.3 micron particles.
  • Be certain vacuum bags are changed when half full to maximize filtering efficiency.
  • Floor machines (buffers and burnishers) equipped with vacuum attachments.
  • No feather dusters; use damp cloths or micro-fiber cloths.

ENTRANCE MATS

Tools and Materials Needed

  1. Entrance Mats
    1. Exterior mats
    2. Interior mats
    3. Broom
    4. Vacuum
    5. Products
  2. Dust mop/dust cloth treatment
  3. Spotter

Entrance Mats Are Used in Two areas

  1. Exterior Mats - outside all doors. Common varieties include:
    1. Rubber backed with many rubber fingers.
    2. Open weave with large grid pattern.
  2. Interior Mats - inside all doors. Length recommended to allow at least two steps by each foot before stepping on interior floor.

Purpose of Entrance Mats

  1. Exterior Mats
    1. Remove sand and gravel from shoes prior to entering the building.
    2. Minimize the amount of abrading material that will scratch and damage interior floors and finishes.
  2. Interior Mats
    1. Remove moisture from shoes prior to walking on interior floors.
    2. Remove any remaining stones or particles not cleaned off by exterior mats.

MAINTENANCE OF ENTRANCE MATS

  1. Exterior Mats
    1. Lift from area in front of door.
    2. Shake out or turn over to dislodge rocks and gravel.
    3. Sweep sidewalk in front of doorway.
    4. Reposition exterior mat in front of entrance.
  2. Interior Mats
    1. Vacuum daily.
    2. May be sprayed with non-oil dust mop/dust cloth treatment to increase its attraction power to dirt and dust.
    3. Spot remove spots daily.
    4. Replace with clean mat when vacuuming no longer restores mat to clean appearance.

DUST MOPPING

Tools and Materials Needed

  1. Proper personal protective equipment
  2. Dust mop handle and head
  3. Clean damp rags
  4. Putty knife
  5. Dust pan
  6. Counter brush
  7. High duster
  8. Products
    1. Dust mop/dust cloth treatment

Purpose of Dust Mopping

  1. Put on proper protective equipment.
  2. Remove dust, sand and litter from smooth finished floors.
  3. Improve the floors:
    1. Appearance
    2. Sanitation
    3. Safety
    4. Prolongs the life of the floor surface and finish.

Dust Mopping Procedures

  1. Remove movable furniture from area to be cleaned.
  2. All high dusting should be done prior to dust mopping the floor.
  3. Spray dust mop with dust mop/dust cloth treatment.
  4. When dusting a room:
    1. Start along the wall, moving in a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction. Try to move from the cleanest area to the dirtiest.
    2. Push dust and litter towards door or main aisle for pick up.
    3. Do not raise mop head from the floor.
    4. Do not shake out dust mop inside building.
    5. Scrape up gum and other material, which adheres to the floor as you come to it, using the putty knife.
  5. Using a push stroke:
    1. Push directly ahead while walking forward.
    2. Pivot the mop head without lifting it off the floor at the end of each pass.
    3. Return the same way you came making a two or three inch overlap.
  6. Use counter brush for hard to dust area such as:
    1. Corners
    2. Under desks
    3. Around doors
    4. Around cords
  7. If dust mop is extremely soiled, a new head may be required. Old dust mops should be laundered.
  8. To prevent floor discoloration, avoid using oil on dust mops.
  9. Pick up dust using your counter brush and dustpan.
  10. When finished dusting, vacuum dust mop and hang up.

DAMP MOPPING

Tools and Materials Needed

Note: Do not use a harsh cleaner (stripper) even in very weak dilutions
  1. Dust mop handle and head
  2. Mop head and handle
  3. "Wet floor" signs
  4. Gloves and proper protective eyewear
  5. Mop bucket and wringer
  6. Products
    1. Neutral pH cleaner
    2. Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for cleaner
    3. Personal protective equipment as called for in MSDS.
    4. Dust Mop/Dust Cloth treatment

Purpose of Damp Mopping

  1. Remove dirt and soil from the floor finish.
  2. No film will be left on the dry floor if a neutral pH cleaner is used.
  3. Neutralize alkaline residues.

Damp Mopping Procedure

  1. Put on personal protection equipment.
  2. Place "Wet floor" signs at every entrance.
  3. Move furniture and other light objects for ease in mopping.
  4. Dust mop the floor prior to damp mopping.
  5. Dilute neutral cleaner with cold water in the bucket according to directions.
  6. Move mop and bucket into the area to be cleaned.
  7. Dip mop into the cleaning solution and wring out just enough so the mop water does no drip from the mop.
  8. When mopping a room:
    1. Start at the farthest corner.
    2. Work backwards towards the entrance.
  9. Keep mop bucket on the unmopped portion of the floor.
  10. Damp mop an area 10' x 15' or 150 square feet.
    1. Dip mop back into cleaning solution and wring out as before.
    2. Continue these steps until the entire area to be mopped has been cleaned.
  11. Change to fresh solution as required.
  12. After floor has dried, replace furniture.
  13. Clean and return all your equipment to the storage area.

TOP SCRUBBING

Tools and Materials Needed

  1. Clean cloths
  2. Doodle bug and pad
  3. 175 rpm single disk machine
  4. Blue or green pads
  5. Two mops
  6. Two buckets with wringers
  7. Wet/dry vacuum
  8. "Wet floor" signs
  9. Gloves and eye protection
  10. Products
    1. Shineline Multi-Surface Cleaner (SLMSC) diluted 2½ ounces/gallon.
    2. Material Safety Data Sheets for SLMSC
    3. Personal protective equipment as called for in MSDS.

Purpose of Top Scrubbing

  1. To remove heavy dirt, stains, scuff marks, and topcoat of damaged finish.
  2. Preliminary step to recoating or high speed buffing the floor to restore original finish appearance.

Procedure for Top Scrubbing

  1. Put on gloves and eye protection.
  2. Fill both buckets with water.
  3. In one bucket, mix the all-purpose cleaner according to manufacturer's directions.
  4. Place "Wet floor" signs at each entrance.
  5. Apply diluted cleaning solution to a 20 foot by 20-foot area of the floor with a mop.
  6. Scrub the wet floor with the single disk and pad. Scrub edges with doodle bug and pad.
  7. Pick up the scrubbed solution with the wet/dry vacuum.
  8. Rinse the floor just scrubbed with clear water and a rinse mop.
  9. Repeat on another section until the entire floor has been top scrubbed.
  10. Wipe baseboard with clean cloths to clean up any splashes from scrubbing.
  11. Rinse entire floor with a fresh bucket of clear water.
  12. Allow floor to dry.
  13. Top scrubbing does not restore the floor's original luster.
    1. Floor is now ready to recoat or high speed buff and recoat.
    2. Refer to those sections for instructions on how to proceed.

RECOATING

Tools and Materials Needed

  1. Bucket with wringer
  2. Liner
  3. Finish mop
  4. "Wet floor" signs
  5. Products
    1. Same finish as on floor now. (one gallon/ea 2500 sq ft to be recoated)
    2. Material Safety Data Sheets for chemical used.
    3. Personal protective equipment as called for by MSDS.

Purpose of Recoating the Floor

  1. Restore manageability of coating
  2. Restore finish layer worn away through:
    1. Foot traffic
    2. Top scrubbing
    3. Buffing, burnishing

NOTE: If floor was buffed or burnished, dust mop with clean, non-oil dust mop.

Procedure for Recoating a Floor

  1. Start with a top scrubbed floor. Allow floor to dry.
  2. Put or keep "Wet floor" signs at all entrances.
  3. Put on protective equipment.
  4. Pour finish into liner in mop bucket.
  5. Dip finish mop into floor finish. Wring out just to point that it is not dripping.
  6. Start at farthest corner from door.
    1. Frame a small area and fill in using a figure eight pattern.
    2. Turn mop frequently.
    3. Apply finish all the way to the baseboard.
    4. Work backwards toward the door.
    5. Continue working side-by-side areas, keeping overlapping edges wet.
    6. Allow finish to dry thoroughly.
    7. Clean up.
  7. Wash out finish mop, hang to dry.
  8. Throw away leftover finish and liner. Twist, tie and toss.
  9. Clean all equipment and store for future use.

HIGH SPEED BUFFING

NOTE: All buffing procedures are appearance procedures only.

Tools and Materials Needed

  1. High speed machine
  2. Appropriate pads
  3. Dust mop and handle
  4. Products
  5. Mop bucket and wringer
  6. Mop and handle
    1. Dust mop/dust cloth treatment
    2. Material Safety Data Sheet for chemicals used
    3. Personal protective equipment as called for in MSDS.
    4. Damp Mop

Purpose of High Speed Buffing

  1. Improve the attractiveness of floors by increasing the gloss.

Procedure for High Speed Buffing

  1. Dust mop, then damp mop the floor, following procedures.
  2. Allow floor to dry.
  3. Place appropriate pad on machine.
  4. Do not use an extension cord when working with high-speed machines.
    1. Machine will operate more efficiently.
    2. Machine will have a longer life.
  5. Start high speed buffing next to the baseboard. Work away from the electric outlet to keep from tangling the cord.
  6. When you come to the end of your pass:
    1. Raise the machine pad off the floor before turning.
    2. When you have turned around, lower the machine pad gently – this will prevent damage to the floor.
  7. After high speed buffing the entire area, dust mop the floor using a treated dust mop.
  8. Remove the pad from the machine. Wash out and hang to dry.
  9. Wrap up cord and store machine for future use.
  10. Do not allow machine to rest on pad drive holder.

HIGH SPEED RESTORING

Tools and Materials Needed

  1. Finish mop
  2. Mop bucket with wringer
  3. Liner
  4. High speed machine
  5. Pads
  6. "Wet floor" signs
  7. Products
    1. Floor finish restorer
    2. MSDS for chemicals used
    3. Personal protective equipment called for in MSDS

Purpose of High Speed Restoration

  1. Restore luster to floor dulled by heavy foot traffic.
  2. Give the floor the "wet look".
  3. Used between recoating and stripping to fill in scratches.
  4. Restore manageability to the coating.

Procedure for High Speed Restoration

  1. Allow floor to dry thoroughly after damp mopping.
  2. Line an empty mop bucket with a liner.
  3. Mix floor finish restorer with water according to manufacturer's directions.
  4. Place or keep "Wet floor" signs at each entrance.
  5. Dip a clean finish mop into the floor finish restorer and wring out dry enough so it does not drip.
  6. Apply a thin coat of floor restorer
    1. Start in farthest corner from the entrance.
    2. Apply in figure eight motion, in 6 to 8 foot sections.
    3. Turn mop head over frequently.
  7. Allow to dry while cleaning equipment.
    1. Clean out finish mop.
    2. Discard any floor finish restorer remaining in bucket. Twist, tie and toss.
  8. Dry buff the floor finish restorer on the floor using a high-speed machine with the appropriate pad.
  9. After buffing floor, wash out pads. Store all equipment away for future use.

TESTING STRIPPERS

NOTE: Employing the stripper test can save time, energy and chemicals

Tools and Material Needed

  1. Six 16 oz. plastic cups, numbered one through six, for stripper to be tested.
  2. One 1-gallon jug of water with pump.
  3. Stripper, to be tested (with pump).
  4. Water
  5. Center from strip pad.
  6. Wet vacuum.
  7. Marker
  8. Pad and pen
  9. Proper protective equipment

Procedure for Test Stripping

  1. Put on proper protective equipment
  2. Pump one squirt of stripper into each cup.
  3. Pump water into each cup according to the number on the cup (one squirt into cup marked one and two into the cup marked two, etc.).
  4. Select area that you suspect will be difficult to strip and that will be large enough to accommodate the tests.
  5. As you pour the stripper onto the area to be tested, note time.
  6. Pour tests far enough apart to prevent them from running together.
  7. After ten minutes, agitate lightly with center from pad.
  8. Wet vacuum and allow to dry.
  9. Inspect. Use the weakest solution that stripped the floor all the way to the tile.
  10. You now know the stripper, the strength, and the dwell time.

STRIPPING

Tools and Materials Needed

  1. Two clean mop heads with handles
  2. Two buckets with wringers
  3. Broom and dust pan
  4. 175 rpm single disk floor machine (splash guard optional)
  5. Black stripping pads
  6. Wet/dry vacuum
  7. Floor squeegee
  8. Putty knife
  9. Doodle bug and pad
  10. "Wet floor" signs
  11. Walk off mats or drop cloths taped down
  12. Baseboard stripper
  13. Putty knife or stand up scraper
  14. Products
    1. Emulsifier Plus Stripper (one gallon of stripper for 500 square feet)
    2. Clear water
    3. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for chemicals
    4. Personal protective equipment as called for in MSDS.

Purpose of Stripping Floors

Thorough stripping and rinsing is the basis for:

  1. Sealer to penetrate the surface of the tile.
  2. Remove accumulation of old finish and impacted soils.
  3. Building a strong foundation and maximum adhesion for subsequent finish layers.

When is it time to strip?

  1. The finish begins to build up.
  2. The floor begins to change color.
  3. Mopping, top scrubbing and coating no longer provide desired results.

Procedure for Stripping

  1. Remove as much furniture as possible from the area to be stripped.
  2. Dust mop the floor thoroughly before beginning stripping. This will remove all loose material that could cut or scratch the floor during the stripping operation.
  3. Remove gum, tar and other foreign material from the floor with a stand up scraper or putty knife.
  4. Move all equipment and tools to area to be stripped prior to beginning work.
  5. Place "Wet floor" signs at every entrance.
  6. Strip Baseboards
    1. Put on gloves and personal protection equipment.
    2. Apply baseboard stripper to baseboards and 3" of floor edge.
    3. Be careful not to coat walls and painted surfaces.
    4. Let set 5-10 minutes.
    5. Reapply if drying out.
    6. Agitate with doodlebug.
    7. Rinse the scrubbed area with rinse mop using clear water.
    8. Pick up solution using wet vacuum
  7. Strip the Floor
    1. Put on protective equipment.
      1. Always wear protective equipment for your eyes, hands and feet, as recommended on MSDS.
      2. Footwear provides better grip on wet/slick floor and protects shoes.
    2. Mix one gallon of stripper to four gallons of water, or according to test results (hot water makes the solution work faster not better).
      1. Following manufacturer’s directions, add stripper to bucket of water.
      2. Do not place mop in water until stripper has been added.
    3. Apply stripper solution liberally to the floor.
      1. Start along the edge of the area.
      2. Fill in the rest of the area in a figure eight motion.
      3. Cover an area 100 - 150 square feet at a time.
      4. Let solution stand 5-10 minutes or according to test results.
      5. Do not let stripping solution dry out.
      6. Reapply solution prior to scrubbing, if necessary.
      7. Test with putty knife to make certain stripper has penetrated all the way through the old finish to the tile before scrubbing.
    4. Machine scrub the wetted area thoroughly.
      1. Use the machine (175 rpm, automatic, etc.) equipped with stripping pad.
      2. Move from where your feet are on dry floor into the stripping solution walk in previously scrubbed areas).
      3. Scrub slowly and overlap.
      4. Pick up stripping solution with wet vacuum. Move vacuum slowly to remove as much stripping solution from the pores as possible.
    5. Rinse the stripped area thoroughly. NOTE: Rinsing with a sprinkling can eliminates changing rinse water and speeds up rinsing process.
      1. Mop cool water onto the floor. Rinse corners and baseboards.
      2. Wet vacuum moving slowly, to clean cracks and pores.
      3. Wipe down baseboards, and inspect the floor.
      4. Repeat above steps as needed to assure clean floor.
    6. Floor is now free of all sealer, finishes, dust, grime, gum and other foreign matter.
    7. Clean all equipment, wipe cords dry, and store for future use.
    8. Allow the floor to dry before applying seal or finish.

    SEALING AND FINISHING FLOORS

    Tools and Materials Needed

    NOTE: If not using a “finish mop”, a new or clean “dedicated” rayon mop is preferred. If using a cotton mop, it must be presoaked in a low ph cleaner, and rinsed until free of oil & detergent
    1. Finish mop and handles
    2. Bucket with wringer
    3. Plastic liners
    4. "Wet floor" signs
    5. Products
      1. Sealer or finish of your choice, that suits your maintenance program (first coat requires one gallon per 750 square feet, second coat requires one gallon per 1500 square feet, subsequent coats require one gallon per 2500 square feet).
      2. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for chemicals used.
      3. Personal protective equipment as called for by MSDS.

    Purpose of Seals and Finishes

    The purpose of Seals and Finishes is to protect and beautify the floor.

    Procedure for Sealing a Floor.

    1. Put a plastic liner into an empty bucket. Pour sealer into the lined bucket.
      1. Liner keeps the sealer uncontaminated by anything the bucket may still have in it.
      2. Clean up is much easier. Just twist, tie and toss.
    2. Display “Wet Floor" signs at every entrance.
    3. Move the tools and materials required into the area where the floor is being sealed.
    4. Be sure footwear is clean (wipe with damp cloth) prior to walking on clean, stripped floor.
    5. Dip a clean seal mop into the floor sealer. Wring out to the point where the mop is wet, but does not drip.
    6. Laying the Seal/Finish
      1. Start in the farthest corner from the door.
      2. Frame a small area.
        1. Fill in the center, working backwards.
        2. Use a figure eight motion when moving your mop.
    7. Move to next area and repeat.
      1. Work side by side areas.
      2. Keep overlapping edges wet.
    8. Allow the floor to dry thoroughly. Apply additional coats, until number of coats desired has been applied.

    SPRAY BUFFING

    Tools and Materials Needed

    NOTE: Spray buffing is not a cleaning procedure, nor does it add protection to the floor.

    1. 175 to 1000 rpm floor machine
    2. Proper floor
    3. Trigger sprayer bottle
    4. Dust mop
    5. "Wet floor" signs
    6. Products
      1. Spray buff solution
      2. Dust mop/dust cloth treatment
      3. Material Safety Data Sheet for chemicals used
      4. Personal protective equipment as called for in MSDS.
    Purpose of Spray Buffing
    1. Remove scratches from finish.
    2. Bring back gloss lost to heavy foot traffic.
    3. Remove more finish than burnishing.

    Procedures for Spray Buffing

    1. Start with a freshly mopped floor.
    2. Fill trigger sprayer with spray buff solution.
    3. Adjust spray nozzle to a fine mist.
    4. Place floor pad on the floor machine.
    5. Lightly spray the area in front of the machine or on the right side.
      1. Spray an area 3 feet by 3 feet.
      2. Used one full pull of the trigger for eight tiles
      3. Do not over spray solution.
        1. All product must be buffed dry.
        2. Floor will remain dull with insufficient buffing.
    6. Floor will not shine at first.
      1. As spray buff solution is buffed dry, the shine will come back.
      2. The scuffmarks should be gone.
      3. If black heel marks are on the floor, a water dilutable spray buff product with a solvent should be used.
    7. Change pads frequently.
    8. Repeat process by spraying another area 3 feet by 3 feet, in front or to the right, until the entire area has been spray buffed.
    9. Dust mop the entire area that was spray buffed.
    10. Put away equipment
      1. Put away all equipment, tools and materials.
      2. Wash out spray buff pads.
        1. If pads are too built up, soak in diluted stripper solution.
        2. Always wear your gloves when working with stripper
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