Colder months are nearly here for many parts of the country and along with winter comes its own unique facility maintenance challenges. Facility owners and managers will need to keep salt, sand, slush, and other dirt from being tracked into their buildings by employees and visitors. It may seem like a daunting task, but now is the time to develop a plan for the long winter months ahead. Read on for our list of three must-haves that will help you safely and sustainably care for your floors, even if the outside weather conditions are unpleasant.

Winter Floor Care Woes

The outdoors easily make their way inside during the winter. From ice-melting products to snow to mud, there are many types of soils that threaten the pristine condition of hard floors like tile, wood and concrete. What makes winter floor care particularly difficult is that floors can be clean one minute and dirty the next, especially in high-traffic facilities and near the holidays.

Floors are often the first thing that visitors notice upon entering your facility, and they can leave a lasting impression on customers, especially if they don’t meet their cleanliness standards. According to a 2016 survey conducted by The Harris Poll, 93% of U.S. adults would not return to a retailer if they experienced some type of issue related to the facility. Dirty surfaces in particular would influence 65% of U.S. adults while entryway cleanliness is a concern for three in five Americans (60%).

Not only do winter contaminants negatively impact the look your flooring, they can also create safety risks. In 2019, slips, trips, and falls accounted for 27% of the 888,220 reported nonfatal workplace injuries, according to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). These incidents can lead to injuries, negative reviews from customers and even days off from work if employees are impacted.

While clean floors are essential, it’s impossible to constantly mop and scrub. Not only does this drive-up labor costs tied to cleaning, it results in the overuse of chemical and water. Thus, a strategic and environmentally friendly approach to floor care is key.

The Three Musts of Hard Floor Care

The following are must-haves in order to keep your facility’s hard floors in good condition:

  1. Entrance matting. Entrance matting plays an important role in reducing the amount of soil that makes its way onto floors. In turn, this can reduce the need for frequent cleaning and excessive use of water and chemicals. It’s a win-win for the cleanliness of your facility and your sustainability goals. Not only can matting scrape dirt from the bottoms of shoes, but it can also absorb moisture so that wet shoe marks and puddles don’t cause safety hazards. Be sure to install enough matting so that the first several footsteps after entering will be cushioned before shoes meet hard floors. Then, regularly vacuum entrance matting to remove the built-up soils.
  2. Mopping essentials. Cleaning tools like mops, brooms and buckets are especially necessary in the winter. To make your floor care program more sustainable, consider high-quality tools that are designed to be laundered or can be easily maintained and used again and again. That way, you’re not relying on single-use solutions or putting money into new tools regularly that increase your facility’s waste. Additionally, to prevent redistributing wintery slush back onto your facility’s floors, select a dual-cavity mop bucket that separates clean water from dirty water.
  3. Training. From March 2019 to March 2020, cleaning worker job openings increased 75%. It’s possible that newer, less experienced employees may not have a thorough understanding of how best to clean during winter months. To get a head start, take the time to train staff on how to perform cleaning tasks and properly utilize specialized cleaning equipment. Increasingly, facilities are turning to automated vacuums and hard floor scrubbers, so educating employees on how to work alongside these machines is key. Training can reduce your facility’s chemical and water consumption by ensuring that cleaning is done correctly the first time. And most importantly, training ensures consistent results so that your visitors are always greeted with cleanliness.

Making Hard Floor Care Easier than Ever

Maintaining the cleanliness of hard floors can be challenging, especially during the winter when shoes, luggage, shopping carts and other items track contaminants like ice-melting products, snow and dirt into your facility. To keep your floors looking their best, and free of excess moisture that can lead to slip-and-fall accidents, it’s essential to have a floor care strategy in place. With entrance matting, the right floor care tools and proper training, your team will be ready to address any messes that may occur, allowing your organization to uphold its reputation as a clean and welcoming environment while also keeping sustainability in mind.