Paul Rogers, Technical Services Manager at Amtico, discusses the simple steps to ensure LVT and Carpet flooring is kept clean and well-maintained as hospitality, retail and workplaces begin to open up again.
Technical Services Manager
Posters throughout the office with reminders to keep your distance, hand sanitiser at every shop entrance and till, QR codes instead of menus in bars and restaurants: the COVID-19 pandemic has affected how we use certain spaces and view the cleanliness of environments.
As restrictions are gradually lifted, concerns about limiting the risk of infection will remain, and there will be an even greater need to reassure individuals of their safety. As a result, one of the biggest challenges facing facilities managers is hygiene. During the first lockdown, the RICS UK Facilities Management Survey1 reported that services for cleaning were expected to be among the fastest growing areas in the year ahead – something that is showing no signs of changing any time soon.
When a person enters a building, whether it’s an office, school, hotel or care home, they will come into contact with the floor – so its cleanliness is imperative. However, the choice of flooring material will significantly impact how cleaning is approached, as well as how often it needs to take place. It’s important to note the difference between ‘day-to-day’ and ‘deep’ cleaning.
LVT is an increasingly popular choice of commercial flooring, thanks to its durability as well as ease of cleaning and maintenance. It’s one of the most versatile and hardwearing products available – presenting a commercially attractive alternative to other flooring materials. Amtico LVT also has the added benefit of increased antimicrobial protection, thanks to the embedded antimicrobial technology found in certain collections.
The hard surface of LVT makes it easy to remove loose dirt or debris, while liquids are unable to permeate the tiles and planks as easily as other materials, such as laminate, ensuring it is less susceptible to mould and bacterial growth. Daily sweeping or vacuuming, which can easily be incorporated into a daily floorcare routine (including entrance matting) is a simple way to ensure hassle-free day-to-day maintenance when paired with occasional manual mopping using a neutral cleaner.
For larger or more open areas, using a scrubber dryer can be more productive and cost-effective for soil and light mark removal; we recommend fitting the scrubber dryer with a red or blue 3M nylon scrubbing pad (or equivalent). For increased peace of mind, day-to-day LVT cleaning regimes can also include the use of antibacterial products (or those containing bleach) – as long as they are correctly diluted. For Amtico floors, we recommend diluting these solutions with at least ten-times as much water.
In addition, LVT floors should be deep cleaned at least once a year, and scrubbed thoroughly to remove any ingrained dirt. The recommended method is to prepare the stripper solution and apply over a manageable area using a mop and bucket, then agitate the solution using a low-speed rotary machine with a green 3M pad (or equivalent), before removing slurry with a wet vacuum machine or mop and bucket. This can then be followed by an application of dressing to provide a protective finish (if required).
Although LVT is becoming increasingly more popular, many commercial environments will also have areas with carpet, or entrance matting that limits the amount of soil and moisture entering a building. Vacuuming is a pivotal part of daily floorcare and can remove around 80% of soiling; for carpet tiles or entrance matting such as Amtico Entryway, we advise using a dual motor upright model with rotating beater, or a canister vacuum with a power head. Spot cleaning should also be carried out daily on stains.
To keep entrance matting and carpet tiles in good condition over the long term, we also recommend hot water extraction – a good quality machine can leave the floor virtually dry. This type of periodical floorcare can be conducted in three simple steps: first, pre-spraying to allow the chemical to break down stains and soil; then, agitation with a carpet rake to help lift dirt from the bottom of the fibres; finally, use the hot water extraction machine to rinse out the chemical and soiling.
Day-to-day cleaning of all flooring types combined with deep cleaning, at least once annually, will be of paramount importance to all environments for the foreseeable future. Carefully following the floorcare guidelines provided by manufacturers will also help to protect a flooring product’s warranty. Working with manufacturers and suppliers who have in-house support teams, such as Amtico, is yet another way of ensuring you get the best advice – peace of mind for you and for your clients.