Winter floor care strategies keep costs low

Appropriate winter floor care strategies can ease budget constraints.

By Rob Godlewski

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Scrubbers also are cost effective. Studies have shown that one person using a standard 16-inch buffer can clean 10,000 square feet of flooring in about 10 hours. Although this is much faster than mopping, the same area can be cleaned in less than 30 minutes with a 24-inch automatic scrubber. If the worker is paid $10 per hour, you would save $95 in labor costs every time this floor area is cleaned with an automatic scrubber.

More advanced automatic scrubbers have three-stage vacuum systems that not only improve moisture recovery so floors dry faster, but also help protect indoor air quality. Modern battery-powered automatic scrubbers have significantly longer run times than older machines, which improves worker productivity considerably.

Building the winter floor care plan

Many experts agree that instituting cleaning plan leads to floors that are maintained more effectively, and this is more necessary during the winter months. Among other things, the plan details when and how often floor care tasks are to be performed; what products, chemicals and equipment are to be used; and who will perform each task. Also, as mentioned earlier, it is formalized, which turns it into a contract, to guide facility managers and staff so they know what is being done, when and why.

The key steps to a winter floor care plan include the following:

  • Organize the team. Usually the team comprises the custodial crew as well as the facility’s manager; it’s wise to include some building occupants. The team works together to ensure the plan is developed, implemented and meets its goals.
  • Base the future on the past. Evaluate the effect past winter weather has had on the facility and its floors. Where was ice melt used? What building entries were most soiled? Were high-performance matting systems installed? What cleaning chemicals and methods were used to maintain the floors? What cleaning tools, products and equipment were used? How well did these products work?
  • Develop the plan. With a strong understanding of the plant’s needs as well as which cleaning products, equipment and systems were most effective and which must be changed, the team develops and formalizes a winter floor care plan.
  • Implement the plan. The team ensures that everyone is clear on why certain products and procedures are being used as well as the goal of the winter floor care plan: to improve the health and safety of the facility.
  • Evaluate results. Finally, the team should evaluate the plan on an ongoing basis. Although the plan is formalized, this doesn’t mean it’s written in stone. Facilities are ever-changing places. As a result, the floor care plan might also need to be changed.

Being flexible and staying aware of new floor care products, technologies and cleaning systems can go a long way to ensure a facility is prepared to meet this year’s winter challenges.

Rob Godlewski is vice president of marketing for Powr-Flite. Contact him at or call (800) 880-2913 x137.

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