Cleaning carpet and hardwood floors in a commercial environment requires having the right equipment, materials and techniques to produce the best results. Each job may require different types of equipment depending on a number of factors, including:
- Floor surface composition
- Area size
- Amount of typical floor traffic
- Amount of dirt and other contaminants you're cleaning and what they are
- Noise considerations
- Time constraints and cleaning frequency
- Entryway and aisle widths
- Obstacles typically encountered
The Right Machine for the Job
Floor cleaning machines come in all types, including vacuums, sweepers, scrubbers, polishers, strippers, buffers and more. This type of equipment is usually rated on its coverage area capability per hour. Obviously, a small home floor scrubber won't be very useful in cleaning a warehouse floor, for which you'd be best off using a larger walk-behind scrubber or an even larger ride-on floor scrubber.
large-area vacuum cleaner while areas with many obstacles, such as a movie theater or airliner floor, will be better served using a backpack vacuum. Areas where large spills are typically encountered may require the use of a wet/dry vacuum. Some machines out there are sold as combination equipment—able to accomplish more than one job. The important consideration here is that a combination machine is able to do both jobs well, thereby saving the expense of having to obtain two separate pieces of equipment.
Types of Flooring to Consider
Commercial floors come in a wide range of surface materials, each of which must be considered when determining which type of machine, method of cleaning and materials used are best suited for each particular type. Some of the more common commercial flooring types include:
- Hardwood–may be waxed, oiled or coated in polyurethane
- Laminate tile
- Ceramic tile
- Natural stone
- Unfinished/finished cement/concrete
Carpeted floor areas will require a vacuum machine for regular general cleaning and a cleaner/extractor to break down heavy grime or dirt with the use of a power washer and then extracting the dirty liquid for disposal. Carpet dryers may be used for providing ventilation and quick drying.
Polishers are used to provide a glossy finish to hardwood floors, and buffers can be employed to remove scuff marks and light scratches from wood, linoleum, ceramic and more.
Most modern floor scrubbers are multi-functional machines with a pre-sweep option that precludes the need to sweep before scrubbing. They then dispense cleaning solution, scrub it into the floor and vacuum it up with the aid of a built-in squeegee, all in one pass across the floor. These may be small for cleaning in corners and along baseboards or larger walk-behind or ride-on units.