Cleaning & Restoring Luxury Vinyl Flooring
More advanced cleaning technology assures floors look their best AND opens up the opportunity for building service contractors to offer restoration services to their customers.
Luxury vinyl flooring has been the major category of growth in the resilient floor category over the past few years. A wide variety of installation and design options are the key factors behind this growth. In addition, new technology has allowed the creation of floors with high durability and low maintenance requirements. Note, however, that "low maintenance" does not mean "no maintenance!" There is no need to coat these floors with waxes and polishes, which means they provide significant savings when you look at lifetime cost. However, the cleaning process becomes very important to maintain the beauty and durability of the floor.
Some BSCs have found that traditional string mops and floor cleaning products are not as effective on these new floors. The cleaning process hasn’t changed, but the new flooring gets dirtier and dirtier, resulting in a frustrated customer and cleaning staff. That doesn't mean it can't be cleaned, of course. It just means this advanced flooring technology requires cleaning technology to match. In fact, savvy BSCs can use this as an opportunity to offer floor restoration surfaces to their customers.
So what's the culprit that leaves these floors looking dirty? Residue! Traditional cleaning products leave behind sticky residue when mopping. This residue, which would typically be removed by a regular strip and recoat process, can be a major issue in many ways:
- The dirty appearance can detract from the floor design and the overall image of facility cleanliness.
- The residue can provide a basis to promote bacterial growth.
- The residue can be slippery when wet, causing slip/fall complications.
Why Does Residue Happen?
The key drivers of residue are the cleaning product formulations combined with the cleaning process. There are two main mechanisms that can lead to residue build-up on floors during the cleaning process:
Direct residue deposits – In this case, one or more of the cleaning product ingredients are deposited on the floor and build up over time. The most common example of this occurs with regular use of quaternary ammonium disinfectant products and is often described as “browning” or “yellowing.” This sticky residue can act as a dirt magnet and floor appearance deteriorates further and further over time.
Dirt dispersion – Neutral cleaners can be very effective when used with equipment such as an autoscrubber. However, they are far less effective when used as part of a traditional string mop & bucket cleaning process since they lose their cleaning capability quite rapidly when exposed to soil.
Typically, a mop is dipped in a bucket of diluted neutral cleaner and wrung out. The floor is mopped and the dirty mop is put back in the bucket and the process is repeated over and over. The cleaning solution quickly ends up overloaded with dirt and eventually, no cleaning is going on at all. Dirt is simply being spread out and redistributed across the floor, caught in the sticky residue. The cleaning staff is often frustrated; they are cleaning every day, yet the floor gets dirtier and dirtier!
A New Technology
If traditional cleaning products and processes are ineffective, what is the best way to clean and maintain luxury vinyl flooring? The simple answer—new technology floors need new technology cleaning. EnvirOx has developed a simple cleaning process using our Absolute Cleaning System—a proprietary cleaning formulation—that will remove any residue build-up and restore vinyl flooring. Then a regular maintenance program with the same cleaning solution prevents the residue from returning. Better yet, the Absolute Cleaning System is designed to take care of 95% of your cleaning needs with just one product.
The cleaning process and tools are also very important. Replace traditional string mops and buckets with a high-quality microfiber flat mop together with a dual compartment mop bucket. The microfiber mop picks up and holds onto dirt and residue that string mops leave behind while the dual compartment bucket keeps fresh cleaning solution separate from dirty rinse water. This ensures that only fresh, uncontaminated cleaning solution is applied to the floor during the cleaning process.
H2Orange2 Hyper-Concentrate 117 is a powerful restorative cleaner. BSCs can use it to offer floor restoration services, which can be a great way to reach out to new potential customers. For more on how to restore floors using the Absolute Cleaning System, watch the short video presentation below: