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Understanding floor detergents and their appropriate use cases.
As you glide across the spotless floors in your facility, your feet crossing over from one surface to another, you undoubtedly think, “I sure am glad that I have a full arsenal of cleaning liquids and a deep knowledge of detergents and the specific surfaces to use them on.”
Or is that just us...? We’re kidding, of course. Even the longest-tenured, smartest facilities people can occasionally have trouble choosing the appropriate cleaning liquids for each surface. It’s tougher when you may have any mix of carpeted floors, concrete, hardwood, laminate flooring — and all of them with varying levels of traffic.
Here are four questions you can ask as you determine which floor cleaning liquid is right for the job.
1. Just how dirty is the floor?
Regardless of the type of flooring, there are times when something just simply needs to be cleaned and other times when it really, really needs to be deep cleaned. Generally, floor cleaning liquids are reserved for the latter category.
That doesn’t mean that floor cleaning liquids don’t need to be regularly used, though. One of the factors for you to consider in determining how badly a particular floor needs a deep-clean and how heavy the traffic is in that area. Some areas will need floor cleaning liquids much more regularly than others.
2. Is the floor carpeted?
This one should be pretty easy to answer. Of course, the most common form of carpet cleaning doesn’t require any detergents, as all carpets need to be vacuumed regularly. (Refer back to question one: For industrial carpets, that may just mean a couple times a week, while for busier facilities like schools or restaurants it almost certainly means daily.)
Even regularly vacuumed carpets will occasionally require a deeper cleaning. And when they do, you’ll want to put down a pre-treating cleaning agent before using a machine — like an extractor — to get all the dirt and grit out of the carpet. These pre-treating agents are available commercially and are specially designed to clean as deeply as possible without damaging carpet fibers.
One more thing to consider is the long-term impact of the surfactants in the cleaning solution. Tennant uses environmentally safer, biodegradable detergents.
3. Is the floor coated or uncoated?
The good news here is that you’ll find many light-duty and general-purpose cleaning liquids that work on both coated and uncoated floors. The answer to this question is still important, though, because of the variety that falls within. And it isn’t just about which products to choose. It’s also about how to use them.
For instance, porous surfaces like hardwoods and laminates can handle liquid cleaners — but you need to work quickly, because prolonged exposure to liquid could cause damage. Another example: Tile flooring may require non-abrasive cleaners.
Considering whether a floor is coated or uncoated, and the many variables within, can help you choose the appropriate liquid cleaner.
4. Do I need a heavy-duty cleaning solution?
Finally, for messes that aren’t messing around, we once again ask just how dirty the floor is. Degreasers are the most serious of liquid cleaner detergents, designed for the most serious of dirty messes. Unlike many pH-neutral general-purpose cleaners, degreasers are designed for aggressive cleaning applications and may have a high alkaline (or acid) content to help them do the job.
If you’re thinking that means that degreasers aren’t right for all floors, you are correct. But to remove tire marks, oil and grease stains, and much more from concrete, stone, ceramic tile, and more, degreasers are up to the task.
One other note that you’ll want to keep in mind is that your floor cleaning machines may be designed to work with particular liquid cleaners. Doing a little bit of research up front can go a long way to extending the life of your floors and the machines that clean them.