Ahhh, winter. The season of Hallmark card worthy snow scenes, crisp air, hot chocolate by the fire and…dirty office floors! Keeping a busy office space clean can be a challenge in the best of weather. When winter arrives, it puts commercial cleaning companies to the test to stay on top of the snow, salt and dirt that gets tracked inside.
While keeping office floors clean in the winter months can be difficult, there’s no challenge that a good commercial cleaning crew can’t overcome. Here are our tips on how to keep office floors clean and safe during the winter:
Shampoo the Carpets Before and After Winter
Before the winter dirt even arrives, you should start off the season with freshly shampooed carpets. Even if the carpets don’t seem that dirty after the summer months, if you don’t start with a clean slate (errr, floor!) heading into winter, that increased winter dirt may be more noticeable quite quickly.
Once winter wraps up and the temperatures rise, you’ll want to give the carpets a good deep cleaning again to remove any lingering dirt and salt to prevent it from damaging your floors over time. Of course, you can shampoo the carpets more frequently (the Christmas holidays can be a convenient time if the office is empty) but should be done before and after winter at a minimum.
Use Entrance Mats to Keep Office Floors Clean
Using entrance mats is one of the most effective strategies to keep office floors clean during the winter. Also known as scraper or wiper entrance mats, these mats are typically dark coloured with rubber or vinyl backing to ensure the mat stays in place and to prevent water from seeping through to the floor below.
Entrance mats are designed to absorb and trap moisture and dirt from shoes and boots to prevent, or at least minimize, it from being tracked further into the building. As their alternative name (scraper or wiper mats) suggests, they also serve as a reminder and ideal place for people to stomp and scrape the snow, water, sand and road salt off of their boots.
Depending on your cleaning team’s responsibilities, this may or may not be within your scope of responsibility. Regardless, it never hurts to recommend that these are used because they ultimately lead to cleaner floors, which saves time and money on cleaning costs and will also help prevent slips and falls from wet floors.
Encourage an Indoor Shoe Policy
Similar to entrance mats, this isn’t a recommendation that’s necessarily specific to commercial cleaning companies but it still worth mentioning. Encouraging the adoption of an indoor shoe policy (that people entering the building must put on a clean, dry pair of “indoor shoes”) is another way to prevent water and dirt from being tracked into the building from shoes that people have worn outdoors.
This happens naturally in many offices, as staff don’t want to be wearing their winter boots all day, but if this isn’t the norm then a small bit of effort on the staff’s part can go a long way in saving on cleaning time and costs.
Vacuum Frequently to Remove Salt and Sand
Wet shoes in the office is one thing; when dirt and road salt get brought in that’s a whole other problem.
Dirt from shoes and winter boots can leave stains on carpets and the deeper it gets into the carpet, the harder it is to get out. While winter dirt is less damaging to floors, it doesn’t take much for them to appear dirty which nobody wants to see and can contribute to slip hazards if too much builds up in one spot.
Road salt is particularly bad for office floors and carpets. Road salt’s high alkaline content makes it corrosive, meaning it can not only stain a carpet (and it can happen pretty quickly!) but damage it over time.
The best solution to protect and keep office floors clean from winter dirt and road salt is to vacuum frequently. This minimizes the amount of time where a stain can set in and removes the dirt before it can become entrenched deeper in the carpet pile.
Mop Floors Frequently to Prevent Slips
Prevention is the best method for falls, so you’ll definitely want to implement our tips above to help in this department. Beyond keeping the floors dry in the first place, mopping hard floors on a regular basis can speed up the drying time to minimize slippery floors from wet shoes and puddles of water from melted snow. Mopping will also help remove traces of road salt, which can leave unsightly stains and damage floors over time.
Depending on the number of people in the office or building, floors may need to be mopped several times a day. If possible, try to plan this around busy times when water is most likely to build up, such as after the morning rush into the office or when people have come back from lunch.
There’s no doubt that in cold and snowy climates, it can be a challenge to keep office floors clean. Using our tips above and quality commercial floor cleaning products, you can keep winter outside where it belongs and maintain a clean and safe office environment for all.