FM Articles

Effective Floor Care Tips for Winter


Winter is here, which means many areas in the U.S. are experiencing plunging temperatures and snowstorms. While a winter wonderland can be beautiful to watch from the comfort of a warm and cozy building, the weather associated with the season can be less than ideal when tracked indoors – especially for those who have to clean it up. From puddles of melting snow and ice to residual salt rings, daily floor care needs can increase significantly during the winter months. Ultimately, if these cleaning challenges aren’t addressed in a timely manner, the safety of those in the building, as well as the aesthetics of the space, can suffer.

Fortunately, there are solutions and practices to ensure that you continue to deliver the high cleaning standards your guests and staff are accustomed to while simultaneously addressing winter’s unique conditions.

Floor Safety for Any Facility 
The safety of staff and visitors is a top priority year-round, but with the added problems that come with winter, ensuring you have the tools to provide a safe environment is crucial. Melting ice and snow can lead to many issues including water and salt damage, as well as decreased traction, putting those who walk through your doors at risk.

It’s nearly impossible to keep snow and ice from entering your facility altogether but managing water control and removal can minimize slips and trips as well as other cleaning obstacles. In addition to mitigating the risks that come with standing water, appropriately controlling and removing water can also prevent mold and mildew growth.

Salt and sand can also cause issues when tracked into your facility. While these materials are essential winter safety tools for the maintenance of roads, parking lots and sidewalks, they can lead to dirty floors and potentially cause damage to a floor’s overall appearance.

One way to address these issues is to add a matting system to your facility. When a high-quality matting system is in place at your front entrance, dirt, debris and moisture can be trapped at the door, resulting in a safer facility that is much easier to clean and maintain.

Prevention is Key
During winter, bad weather can strike when you’re least expecting it and the severity can be far worse than anticipated. To make sure you’re prepared for any complications that come with severe winter weather, taking preventative measures can be a huge time and labor saver – especially when staff needs to prioritize other tasks. One way to proactively address floor care is to protect your floor with durable coatings. Additionally, stocking up on maintenance solutions prior to the winter months will help alleviate the stress of managing whatever floor care issues come your way as you’ll have the right tools for any scenario.

Whether it’s finding the right matting system for your facility or a floor protector compatible with foot traffic, it’s critical to determine a timeline that will allow you to apply the protector and install any matting correctly and efficiently. For example, educational facilities have the benefit of summertime to tackle floor protector applications and other preventative floor care when students and staff are on vacation. Identify what timing would work best with your facility’s unique needs to begin these preventative measures. Fortunately, floor care solutions like matting systems and floor protectors are beneficial year-round.

Sustainable and Efficient
Cleaning needs can intensify during winter months and so can the pressure put on cleaning staff to keep up. Floor care solutions that are efficient, effective and easy to use not only provide a spotlessly clean floor, but can also support other initiatives, such as sustainability and cost-savings.

Cleaning products that are multi-purpose can provide many benefits, including minimizing waste. Floor pad options that reduce the need for burnishing by cleaning and shining in the same step save time and decrease the need for additional chemicals. Additionally, identifying products that are longer-lasting and durable can extend product life, lowering product use and waste, as well as saving you money.

Furthermore, products that have received third-party certifications, such as Green Seal or National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) certification, allow you to best determine which products will bring you closer to your sustainability and safety goals. With products that are durable and minimize waste, you can keep up with the additional challenges that come with winter without compromising your facility’s sustainability initiatives.

Accuracy also plays a role in minimizing your facility’s environmental impact. Chemical management systems can efficiently support clean floors as well as other surfaces that are subjected to dirt, water and heavy use throughout winter. Greater accuracy is an important part of a chemical management system’s ability to control a facility’s changing water pressure to provide the consistent water flow needed for proper chemical dilution. Proper chemical dilution not only provides a more effective clean, but it also optimizes water usage, minimizes labor and ultimately create less waste. An accurate chemical management system also reduces human error and allows you to get the most out of your chemicals.

Creating a green cleaning program for your facility may seem like a heavy lift, but with sustainability being a top priority across many industries, product manufacturers are eager to provide solutions that support these efforts without sacrificing quality. When you are looking for products for your sustainable cleaning program, be sure to select solutions that are efficient, durable, and accurate.

Once winter is over, floor repair and restoration can bring even more shine back to your floor. Products with abrasive technology can effectively restore a floor without the need to completely refinish, reducing chemical usage and ultimately saving money and time. With the right products, you can bring your floors back to life after the winter wear and tear and continue to make great first impressions on guests.

With winter comes new obstacles and ensuring that your facility is prepared is key to keeping your guests safe and your floors spotless – even when the worst weather strikes. Provide your staff with the tools they need to best prepare your facility for whatever winter may bring. When the intensity of winter-related challenges increases, remember to keep both proactive preparation and ongoing maintenance in mind to ensure a facility the shines in any type of weather.

Craig Sykora Is Global Laboratory Manager with 3M Commercial Solutions Division.