Keeping hard surface floors in good condition involves understanding what kind of flooring you’re working with, what kinds of chemicals and equipment are appropriate for the flooring material, and plenty of hard work. Using all the right materials and tools will reduce the labor that is needed, so it is important to prepare for a floor care and maintenance event well in advance. The Cleaning Supply Mart is your one-stop shop for all of your floor care needs, from commercial floor cleaning products to floor equipment and tools. Shop online today!
In this blog post, we will focus on Vinyl Composition Tile (VCT) floors and provide tips on how to best care for them with a neutral vinyl floor cleaner. In the future, we’ll also provide information about ceramic, Mexican tile, Terrazzo, Linoleum, sealed concrete, and special flooring materials, like rubber and anti-static materials. VCT tile is the most common type of hard surface flooring used today in many different locations, like retail stores, barber shops, schools, and hospitals. The information in this post is appropriate for any size project, although, it may need to be scaled down or up to meet the specifics of your project.
Three Floor Maintenance Processes
Before we get started, let’s review the three basic floor maintenance processes that are essential for maintaining the beauty and luster of commercial flooring. These include routine daily maintenance, scrubbing and recoating, and stripping and waxing.
- Routine daily maintenance: wet mopping with a neutral cleaner.
- Scrubbing and recoating: using an auto scrubber or floor machine with a scrubbing pad to remove the top one or two layers of floor finish, along with dirt and grime, and then applying several coats of fresh floor finish.
- Stripping and waxing: completely stripping the floor of every bit of old floor finish, grime, and dirt, down to the bare tile and applying multiple coats of new wax (usually four to six coats).
Let’s take a closer look at the routine daily maintenance process for VCT flooring.
VCT Routine Daily Maintenance
Floor Care Equipment and Materials
The amount of labor and payroll you need is impacted dramatically by using appropriate chemicals, tools, and equipment. For routine floor maintenance, you’ll need:
Cotton Blend or Microfiber Mop
Be careful not to cross-contaminate your mop head. A mop that is used in the restrooms should not be used elsewhere. Wrong chemicals in the mop heads can affect the floor finish. Don’t use a “finish mop” that has rayon, as they are NOT designed to be absorbent. They are used only for laying down new floor finish.
Be sure to use clean mop heads, because using dirty mop heads only swirls mud around!
Combo Bucket/Wringer on Wheels
Use a 26-quart bucket for smaller areas and a 35-quart bucket for larger areas. See our website for a large assortment of different styles. Empty dirty water often to avoid putting dirt back on the floor. It is best to utilize separate clean water and dirty water buckets or inserts, like the Rubbermaid Wavebrake Dirty Water Bucket. This will save you labor and give you a better result!
Auto Scrubber (optional)
If you’re doing routine maintenance on large tile areas, you can save on labor hours by using an auto scrubber, like the Powr-Flite Predator 17. Use a light scrubbing pad, like the Brighton Professional Blue Floor Pad, so you ONLY remove dirt and grime and avoid removing layers of floor finish.
Wet Floor Signs
Avoid slip and fall injuries that can cause lawsuits and insurance claims by ensuring that you have posted signage indicating wet floors. The Rubbermaid Two-Sided Multi-Lingual Caution Sign works great for this, as it is bright yellow in color and very noticeable.
Neutral Cleaner for Mop Water
In a prior post, we reviewed the importance of neutral chemicals. Using a pH-neutral vinyl floor cleaner is very important to getting a good result and protecting the floor finish. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on dilution ratios. If you use too much in the mop water, it will actually streak rather than clean!
Check out our entire assortment of neutral cleaners on our website!
As you mop, you always come across someone’s chewing gum, price stickers, or other unsightly objects. They can be easily removed if you have the right tool, like a safety scraper.
Vinyl Floor Care Steps
- Assemble all of the equipment, tools, and chemicals needed.
- Fill the mop bucket to the prescribed level as indicated on the side of the bucket. Don’t overfill, or it will “slosh” water as you roll it around.
- Carefully follow the instructions for proper dilution of the neutral vinyl floor cleaner. Be sure to measure and don’t guess. Getting the right amount in the water is critical to a good result. We recommend using dilution control systems, like Diversey or Betco, as found on our website. The bottle measures the chemical for you. No measuring!
- Set out your “Wet Floor” signs in the general area where you will be working.
- It’s a good idea to start at the location in the building that is furthest away from your janitor’s closet and water source. Work your way back towards that starting area. By doing this, you will never have to roll that mop bucket (or auto scrubber) back across a floor you’ve just cleaned.
- After you’re completely done, it’s important to rinse out the mop heads with clear water until you’ve rinsed out the dirt and chemicals. Then, hang the mops so that the heads hang down, without touching the floor, so that they dry properly without encouraging mold or mildew.
VCT Floor Care FAQs
QUESTION: How big of a mop head should I use?
ANSWER: Mop heads are labeled according to how many ounces of water they will absorb. So, a #24 mop head will absorb about 24 ounces of water before wringing. The larger the mop head, the more it will absorb, but that makes it heavier to work with, as well.
QUESTION: Mop heads come in different colors. Why is that and what difference does color make?
ANSWER: It’s important not to cross contaminate your mop heads. It’s very difficult, if not impossible, to completely clean chemicals out of a mop head, and those residual chemicals can easily ‘bleed’ into the water you’re using in the new environment. For example, if you used a mop to pick up stripper, you don’t want to use that mop when you are doing daily maintenance because it will begin to destroy the floor finish. By using different colors, you can provide a visual “signal” to the housekeeping staff. (Red mop heads use only in restrooms, green only in food service areas, etc.)
QUESTION: I see lots of interest in microfiber mop heads. Are they better than cotton?
ANSWER: We’ve tested both styles, and there are advantages and disadvantages to both. Microfiber mop heads typically can be laundered many more times than cotton, and microfiber NEVER leaves lint. We recommend that you try out a few styles of microfiber mopping products and see for yourself! Check out the O’Dell® Microfiber Wet Mop, for example!
Shop Vinyl Floor Cleaner and Floor Equipment Online!
Are you ready to experience a professional-quality cleaning of your VCT floors? If so, then The Cleaning Supply Mart is here for you. We offer a wide variety of vinyl floor cleaning products, including neutral cleaners, scrubbers, buckets, and more! Shop online with us today and enjoy free shipping on orders over $50!