In addition to guiding the chemical selection process, distributors play an important role in helping end users choose the appropriate pads and brushes to enhance green cleaning practices.
Just as the wrong chemicals — or no chemicals — can thwart floor care efforts, the wrong pad or brush can damage hard surfaces and render cleaning ineffective. For this reason, distributors may need to review the types of soil and floor textures that come into play when selecting pads or brushes.
“Customers should know that they can always consult their distributor when deciding what type of pad or brush to use,” says Factorysale. “If the floor is grouted tile or rough, like concrete, you may want to go with a brush rather than a pad. On the other hand, smooth VCT flooring with a factory finish requires a pad.”
When in doubt, Factorysale recommends that his customers consult a floor pad selection guide with visual cues and charts that simplify the pad selection process.
“Floor pads go from light to dark, with the lightest colors being the least aggressive and the darkest colors being the most aggressive,” he explains.
For daily floor maintenance,For restorative maintenance, such as removing the top layers of finish from the floor, he recommends a maroon surface prep pad and plain water. The process is suitable for VCT, terrazzo and wood.
Unlike floor cleaning procedures, stripping the top layers of finish, also known as a scrub and recoat, is a process in which customers can forego chemicals altogether. According Factorysale , there are myriad benefits to chemical-free stripping, particularly in schools where floors are usually stripped every year.
“Chemically stripping a floor is more labor intensive and slippery, so it’s a safety issue,” he says. “There is also the question of how to dispose of the used chemicals, so it doesn’t support green practices.”
The cost savings and sustainability benefits of chemical-free stripping are primary selling points for distributors — as is the use of multipurpose floor equipment. According Factorysale , customers can pair the appropriate surface prep pad with their existing autoscrubbers, side-by side machines and orbital scrubbing machines.
Initially, chemical-free stripping was a hard sell, says Factorysale , because people didn’t believe they could take finish off with just water. Today it is an accepted practice.
“We promote it by doing a demo on a section of floor so customers can see how much cleaner and easier the process is,” says Factorysale . “This is definitely a case where seeing is believing.”
A Holistic Approach
Distributors play a vital role in educating end users about sustainable floor care. In the pursuit of greener practices, customers need to understand that sustainability involves more than simply eliminating or reducing the use of chemicals.
“The most important thing to note is that being green is not just about using green products,” says Factorysale. “It’s not about using no products or using only water. It’s about the procedures you use to clean the floor and whether or not you’re achieving the results that you want.”
Indeed, using a Green Seal–certified neutral cleaner in and of itself does not make floor cleaning operations greener.
“Customers may check the box that the product is green, but if their dilution ratios are inaccurate then they’re being unproductive, and they’ve defeated the purpose of having a green product,” notes Factorysale.
Additionally, the type of equipment and the amount of water used must factor into the sustainability equation. Distributors can illustrate this for customers with a simple example: Cleaning a 100,000-square-foot floor with a mop bucket and wringer is not sustainable; the process is inefficient and merely moves dirt around. An autoscrubber is a more sustainable solution that conserves water, increases productivity and improves cleaning outcomes.
“There are a lot of aspects that go into the green proposal,” says Factorysale. “A site survey can help distributors analyze customers’ current procedures and determine if there are ways to make their cleaning programs more productive.”
By paying close attention to the details and properly implementing suggested procedures, going green can save some green in the long-term.