By Jim Flieler, VP of Sales Canada for Charlotte Products Ltd

There’s a lot you can do to improve your floor care program while also offsetting increased facility costs that come in the time of global pandemic. In fact, the majority of your facility spend is related to floor care, and yes, even that has to do with COVID-19. 

The Infection Prevention Benefits

A well cared for floor, which has been stripped and finished, enhances the image of your facility with a higher sheen and shine. And clean and shiny sells, especially in today’s climate. The public is expecting the highest standard of cleanliness and a shiny floor will go a long way toward calming nerves and assuring the public that your facility is clean and that risk of an infection is low. Beyond looks, a floor finish also makes your facility healthier and safer.

COVID-19 is droplet based and, thanks to gravity, that means floor care is key to curbing the spread of infection. You want to prevent droplets from getting into your floors, where the virus could possibly embed or multiply and spread. By maintaining a floor that has no nooks or crannies where the virus can hide, you will stop the transfer of the virus throughout the facility

A tile is very porous. It is critical to maintain polymer coating year round. Applying a sealer fills these providing a  foundation or base coating to prevent almost anything, including the virus, from gathering in those pores. It is also easier to clean and disinfect when a surface is smooth. The smoother the surface, the easier to clean, and the less risk of spread—particularly with COVID-19 or any other pathogen.

Floor finish also makes your facility much safer by reducing the risk of slip-and-falls. Greater foot traction provided by a floor finish saves lives, in addition to thousands of dollars in litigation costs. Floor finishes also lower dust levels. This improves indoor air quality, which is absolutely essential for mitigating COVID-19 risks. Most facility reopening plans include requirements for indoor air quality management. Make sure that your floor care program is counted in your IAQ improvement plans.

The Cost Saving Benefits

In these times of increased facility costs, anything that can save money while making a facility safer is going to be worth its weight in gold. By implementing a robust floor care program, you will be able to protect the capital investment of your floor substrates. There are also many decisions a facility can make to further reduce floor care costs.

Floor care spends typically absorb up to 67% of the entire facility custodial spend. We know that 90% of sanitation budget is attributed to labor. Less than 10% is the cost of all supplies. Addressing that 67% of spend will be an unbelievable efficiency for your facility. We recommend that you explore all of the possible labor efficiencies in your floor care program. Sure, your floor care budget includes the finish, sealer, products and the machines including burnishers, wet vacs, autoscrubbers, mops and vacuums. But floor care is easily the most labor intensive task in any facility. That is why it is so important to address labor head on. 

When you are selecting equipment and products, labor should be top of mind. For example, decisions should take into account the list of steps for a process like deep stripping, amount of workers needed for the job and the time required to properly complete a task. There are 16 steps involved in deep stripping floors, including putting up slip and fall barriers, scheduling, dust mopping, and more. Most people have to repeat steps, so this usually gets up to closer to 26 steps. 

When choosing a floor stripping product you should review more than just the price  of the container. For example, look for a higher concentrated stripping product instead of a traditional 1-1, 1-2, 1-4 dilution products to gain substantial RTU cost savings. In addition these higher diluting products may have a shorter dwell time offering higher savings again. When you account for the number of custodians needed to deep strip a floor, it may make a significant impact if you can find a stripping product that has a shorter dwell time. And an RTU number, which indicates the dilution rate, could mean that even though a product is more expensive, you will get more work out of it. 

Learn more about floor care efficiencies, including demos of the processes described here, in this recording of a recent Charlotte webinar. In this ever-changing pandemic atmosphere, those of us in the cleaning industry are first responders. It is our obligation to provide our customers and all frontline workers with the knowledge and tools necessary to stop the spread of infection and create healthy, safe places for people everywhere. Continue to check back on our blog or tune into our weekly COVID-19 webinar series to stay up-to-date on the latest information related to the virus.