commercial floor cleaning Stow

Commercial Floor Cleaning Insight: Battling the Wrath of Old Man Winter

The same salt that melts the treacherous ice lining our roads, parking lots, sidewalks and walkways also wreaks havoc on your office floors. Smithsonian Magazine estimates more than 22 million tons of salt are scattered just on U.S. roads each year (137 pounds for every American). As our Stow commercial floor cleaning experts can explain, crushed and dissolved deicing elements routinely make their way from under our feet to over our floors, causing unsightly white or oily residue.

This residue can be difficult to remove. It’s likely to require pre-cleaning with a brush and probably more than one pass with a mop or autoscrubber. The more textured the flooring, the more scrubbing it’s likely to require. The same is true for high-traffic areas, like entryways (thick mats near the entrance can help cut down on some of the grime).

In addition to rock salt residue, workers and patrons can track in:

  • Sand
  • Dirt
  • Mucky water
  • Oil

We strongly recommend Northeast Ohio business owners have their floors stripped, waxed and buffed to protect it from these inevitable seasonal elements. It’s unwise to wait until winter is over because by then, not only will your floors be damaged with scuffs, scrapes and pocks, the debris will be more difficult (and more expensive) to clean.

Why Rock Salt and Other Deicers are So Damaging to Floors

The majority of commercial deicers have one or more of the following ingredients:

  • Potassium chloride
  • Magnesium chloride
  • Sodium chloride
  • Calcium chloride
  • Urea

Each of these melt ice a little differently, but all have a similar corrosive effect on floors because they have a high pH balance (similar to floor stripper). The worst of it isn’t the unsightly residue, but the brine created when deicers dissolve. This brine is abrasive (it has to be if it’s going to do its job outdoors!). But indoors, it can break down a floor’s finish and create small scratches where dirt can get trapped. Not only do the floors look worse for the wear, they are vulnerable to long-term damage.

If commercial floor cleaning isn’t done quickly:

  • Wood floors can dry-out and splinter;
  • Tile and other hard surface floors will discolor;
  • Carpet will “ugly out”;
  • Finish will be worn-down or removed, leaving the floor dull and damaged.

We commonly see the most salt damage in areas of high foot traffic (especially people are constantly coming-and-going), such as retail store floors, garage floors, school floors, office floors, hotel and restaurant floors and healthcare facility floors.

It might even create a slip-and-fall hazard, particularly if the deicer tracked in was made with calcium chloride (which leaves a more oily residue).

Protecting Your Floors From Salt Damage

An ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure, there are some steps you can take to protect commercial floors from salt damage.

Regular cleaning – at least once daily – during winter can have a major impact. Routine cleaning removes the salt and residue that would otherwise accumulate, preventing stains and pieces of salt that might scratch the floor or ding its finish. Although some companies may have on-staff workers who can assist with spot-cleaning throughout the day, a professional Stow commercial floor cleaning service may be needed for heavily-traveled areas.

Business owners should also install large entrance mats. This can help capture a great deal of salt and dirt from people’s feet before they have a chance to track it in.

Finally, resealing any tile, linoleum or hardwood floors. This can protect it from a variety of harmful substances – salt and other deicers included. It’s important to thoroughly clean the floor before sealing it and to use the right products and techniques. Hiring a professional will relieve you of the hassle.

If you are interested in commercial floor cleaning services in Summit, Portage or Cuyahoga Counties, contact KleenSweep Cleaning Co. at (330) 688-1389 or write to us at 

More Blog Entries:

What to Look for in a Stow Office Cleaning Company, August 2019, Stow Commercial Floor Cleaning Company Blog