Winter Is Coming. Are Your School’s Floors Protected?
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They’re predicting the country will see at least seven snowstorms this winter, with “a parade of snowstorms” hitting the northern states, “deep powder” across much of the west, and “snowy, icy, icky” in parts of the midwest. Great for skiers (well, not the “icy, icky” bit), but not so great for school custodians, who will struggle to keep school entryways clean and prevent salt and ice melt from damaging indoor flooring.
Source: The Old Farmer’s Almanac
Your floors are a big investment, and the better care you take of them, the longer they’ll last. Here are some tips for protecting your school floors from damage caused by salt, chemicals, and sand.
1. Use multiple mats in the entryway
Rather than just one entrance mat, place multiple mats near the doors. In the image below, the mats closest to the door will catch most of the snow, salt, and sand, while the mats will dry students’ shoes before they reach the hallway.
Renting or buying mats can be expensive, but it’s still cheaper than restoring or replacing hard floors or carpets.
2. Put up signs reminding students, staff, and visitors to wipe their feet
The best way to stop salt, sand, and ice melt from damaging your floor is to prevent them from reaching the floor in the first place. Encourage everyone who enters your facility to wipe their feet on the mats.
3. Change your entrance mats frequently
If your mats are soaking wet or become loaded with salt or sand, they won’t do their job. Change them as frequently as necessary, especially on a snowy day.
4. Don’t vacuum wet mats
5. Vacuum your carpet daily
6. Use a carpet extractor for periodic deep cleaning
Even with regular vacuuming, carpets in high-traffic areas need periodic deep cleaning. A carpet extractor performs this job quickly and efficiently, while also removing the chemicals that can become bonded to carpet fiber. Look for a commercial-grade machine with a low-moisture extraction feature. If you need to perform the extraction when students, staff, or visitors are in the building, select a carpet extractor that operates silently. Or, for maximum efficiency, use an all-in-one carpet care system that can perform both daily and restorative cleaning.
7. Add a neutralizer to your floor scrubber’s clean water tank
8. Use air movers to dry entrance mats and floors
Schools are busy places! If your floors don’t have time to dry on their own before the next wave of traffic, use an air mover. These are particularly effective at entryways for drying entrance mats.
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