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 these floors 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 luxury vinyl flooring customers 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.
What’s the culprit? 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 a proprietary cleaning formulation that will remove any residue build-up and restore your floor. Then the regular maintenance program prevents the residue from returning. Seeing is believing.
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.
Luxury vinyl floors can elevate the appearance of almost any facility, providing a broad choice of designs to fit the desired look and style. Be sure to choose the correct low maintenance program to keep your floor looking as good as new!
If you’re interested in learning more, contact an EnvirOx Consultant today for more information on our products.
A version of this article first appeared in the Fall 2017 edition of The Flooring Contractor magazine from The Flooring Contractors Association.