floor burnishing

Burnishing Floor Finish A Quick Guide

Burnishing Floor Finish

The best way to maintain floor finish shine is high-speed burnishing. This process is done with a rotary machine that has a pad turning speed of more than 1000 rpm but more commonly done at 1500 to 2000 rpm. Burnishing floor finish is helpful for two reasons. First it makes floor finish shine but more important, it makes the floor easier to keep clean. This is because it smooths out the scratches in the floor, removing areas for dirt to settle. Once dirt gets is in the scratches, it is difficult for regular cleaning to remove and with foot traffic will continue to further scratch the floor. Read more

Floor Finish Shine

Floor Finish Shine How It Works

How Does Floor Finish Shine? In another post, I talked about floor finish solids and what they really are. In this one, I will cover why floor finish shines. Floor finish shine is a result of nothing more than the reflection of light on a smooth surface. Getting a floor to have a glossy, wet look is a challenge for many in the floor care industry. This may shed some light (pun intended) on the reasons your floors look dull.

Before we can prescribe a fix for your dull floor, we must establish an understanding of how floor finish shine happens and why floors need finish in the first place. Read more

Floor Finish Solids Wax Solids

Floor Finish Solids Explained

What Are Floor Finish Solids Anyway?

Floor finish solids are an extremely important part of any floor finish. In fact, the solids are really all that is used after floor finish is applied.

The solids are the plastic or polymer molecules that are left on the floor when you apply finish and can have a big impact on the performance of the finish. The size and make up of these polymer molecules can very from brand to brand and can require different types of maintenance. Chemical liquids such as water, emulsifiers, wetting and leveling agents make up the remainder of the floor finish content. But in the end though, the solids
are what make up to protective coating that you rely on.  Read more

How Many Coats of Floor Finish?

How Many Coats of Floor Finish Do You Need?

I am always getting the question “How many floor finish coats do I need to properly protect floors?”

I have always used  4-6 coats as my standard answer. This comes from experience and the manufactures guidelines.

Since I grew up in Missouri and the “Show Me” principle runs through my blood, I thought I would do a little experimenting to find out if I really knew what I was talking about and find out how many floor finish coats were really needed.

Floor Finish Experiment – How Many Floor Finish Coats Are Needed?

Using a USB microscope, a piece of vinyl floor tile (VCT) and a 20% solids floor finish, I set out to take a look at what is going on at the floor level when applying floor finish. Over the years, I have applied countless layers of floor finish. While I have learned to recognize when a floor is properly protected, I wanted to see it up close.

Here Is How I Did It

First I took a new piece of VCT and stripped it using a standard, no rinse floor stripper. I did this by applying the stripper, allowing it to set and then scrubbing with the center of a black floor pad. I then rinsed the tile and allowed it to dry.

Then I took tape and divided the tile into 6 sections and applied a coat of 20% solids floor finish to the entire tile. Allowed it to dry for 30 minutes and then repeated the steps, excluding one section each time I applying additional floor finish coats. Here is what I came up with once the process was complete. (These images were taken at approx. 400x magnification.)

Step 1 – Prepping The Tile
Bare Tile Floor

Step 2 – Apply 1 Floor Finish Coat

One Layer Of Floor Finish

Step 3 – Apply 2nd Layer of Floor Finish

Two Layers Of Floor Finish

Step 4 – Apply 3rd Layer of Floor Finish

Three Layers Of Floor Finish

Step 5 – Apply 4th Layer of Floor Finish

Four Layers Of Floor Finish

Step 6 – Apply 5th Layer of Floor Finish

Five Layers Of Floor Finish

Step 7 – Apply 6th and Final Layer of Floor Finish

Six Layers Of Floor Finish

Analysis and Conclusion

As you can see, there is very little difference between the first and 3rd coat. Once you get to the 4th application, the floor finish really starts to build and show depth.

Since protection is what applying floor finish is all about, I would have to say that a minimum of 4 coats are needed to fill the areas of the floor that would be able to hold dirt and residue. This also where you begin seeing the gloss and shine on the tile.

This helps to answer the question “How many floor finish coats do I need to use.” This of course depends on the type of finish and the floor, but at the minimum, it is a starting point. I don’t think I would ever go to the effort refinishing a floor without applying 6 coats. It is just too much work to not make sure it’s done right.

I have applied more on jobs over the years, but after 6-8 there isn’t much added shine. The number of floor finish coats can determine the longevity of the re-coating cycle, but too many can also be costly.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Let me know in the comments how many floor finish coats you think is right.

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3 Quick Fixes For Restroom Odors

Restroom odors are an issue in most public facilities. Here are 3 ways to quickly fix restroom odors that will help you to easily eliminate the restroom stink. Read more

automatic floor scrubber

Automatic Floor Scrubbers Are No Longer A Luxury

While shopping with my family the other day, we saw a custodian mopping the floor. Both the water and mop were extremely dirty and as was the floor she had just “cleaned.” My first thought was to wonder why they didn’t use an automatic floor scrubber. She was working really hard and getting poor results. It frustrates me when custodians put so much effort into cleaning but are not given the best tools for the job. Read more

Backpack Vacuums Improve Indoor Air Quality

Backpack Vacuums Improve Air Quality and Comfort

There are many choices on the market today for vacuum cleaners. Everything from the ultra light weight fancy (and expensive) models to having a central vacuum installed in your home.  Through the years it seems that everyone has focused on cleaning the carpet, but what about the health and comfort of the user? Backpack vacuums improve indoor air quality while making cleaning comfortable. And they make it possible to clean in those hard to reach areas too!

I have been using a backpack vacuums for years both on the job and around my house. To be honest, I rarely use my uprights anymore because they are simply not as handy.

Here are just a few of the benefits of backpack vacuums:

More Effective at Removing Dirt From Carpet

With an upright vacuum you typically have a brush roller that agitates the carpet. This actually stirs up dust that escapes the vacuum of the machine. This goes into the air for you and your family to breathe. Backpack vacuums are almost always direct suction.

This is helpful in a couple of ways. It forms a better suction with the floor that allows much less dust and dirt back into the air. It also has no brush belts to replace. If there is a loose strand of carpet, it will not make it pull. The turning brush can wrap the yarn, pulling an un-repairable line across some types of carpet.

Much More Maneuverable

You can reach areas under and behind furniture very easily. Without having to stop and change brush heads or pull out a wand as you have to with upright vacuums. You will find yourself more apt to tackling additional tasks when it is easier.

Also, since there is no brush to grab those unknown objects, you don’t have to worry about damaging cords or other unseen obstacles. Around my house, Legos are fair game. If the backpack vacuum finds them before you do, they are gone.

You can also easily go from carpet to hard floors as well. This is a great advantage when tasked with cleaning different types of flooring. Stairs are also simple to clean!

You Can Vacuum More Than The Carpet

Since the motor and canister of the machine are kept comfortably out of the way, you are free to raise the light weight wand or hose up off the floor and reach places that you would typically need a ladder for.

Ceiling fans, plant ledges, light fixtures, vents and baseboards are just part of the process. No need for those dreaded full day projects. This helps to control even more dust and air pollution that goes unchecked with most other types of vacuums.

When you vacuum these areas rather than wiping them, you put less dust back into the air. Backpack vacuums improve indoor air quality simply by being able to get to the areas that normally don’t get cleaned.

Backpack Vacuums are Easier on You

Our backs and hips are designed to support weight. Our arms are not. When you are using an upright vacuum, you are pushing several pounds repeatedly in awkward directions. The result is sore arms, wrists, and even shoulders and back.

With the backpack, the weight of the machine is where we are suppose too support it, on our backs. Without the extra housing, wheels and handle that upright have, backpack vacuums weigh a lot less than you would think. Most are less than 10 pounds empty.

Because you only have to move the wand and hose, there is less risk of fatigue from repetitive motions. Moving less bulk also means less damaged walls and furniture as well.

If it is more comfortable to vacuum, you are likely to spend more time vacuuming, right? More vacuuming means less dirt. Less dirt means cleaner air.

Backpack Vacuums Improve Indoor Air Quality

Most have very efficient filtration systems and some have H.E.P.A. options available as well. If you are going to go to the trouble to vacuum, make sure your vacuum cleaner isn’t putting the dirt back in the air. It is really amazing how much backpack vacuums improve indoor air quality!

Backpack vacuums very in specification based on the manufacturer. Much like anything else you wear, they need to fit you. Most have very adjustable
shoulder and waste straps to fit just about anyone.  There are many different configurations and designs so find one that is right for you. Like I tell everyone who objects at first to the idea of a trying a backpack vacuum, if you just give it a chance you will like it. I have not had anyone want to give it back.

Find many different styles and models of backpack vacuums here. If you have any questions about the use or specs of specific units, drop me a line in the
comments section of this post.

cleaning myths

5 Dangerous Cleaning Myths

Cleaning Myths – Unproductive and Dangerous

Cleaning Myths are everywhere. This works better than that. “I sprayed this on and it was clean!” The impact of cleaning affects everyone. From the kitchen and tables in a restaurant, to the restroom in your home, the cleanliness or lack thereof, can influence odors, appearance and most of all health.

Since cleaning is actually a rather complicated science, most of us rely on what we have heard or on the broad explanations supplied by-product manufactures  in commercials or on bottle labels. The reality is that what you currently do  to clean may be the cause of your cleaning problems.

5 Cleaning Myths that explain the results you are getting and how to improve.

#1 – Clean Is A Matter of Opinion Cleaning Myths

“What I call clean and what you call clean are two different things.” This is a statement that moms make every day to their teenage kids when inspecting their rooms and although this may be a good  way to get a kid to improve the tidiness of her room, it is not the case when it comes to cleaning for health.

To clean something means to remove all soils that can attract bacteria and promote its growth.

With methods such as A.T.P. testing and even simple black light inspections, it becomes apparent that a surface that looks clean, is in fact not. Clean is not a guess or  opinion but a fact.

#2 – More Chemicals Equals Less Dirt Cleaning Myths

It is an old statement that many still believe, “A little works good. A lot works better” This couldn’t be farther from the truth for cleaning. The overuse of chemical concentrates can cause  your cleaning efforts to back fire.

When too much chemical is used it will leave a residue on surfaces that attract more dirt. Although these residues can be rinsed with clean water to remove, it adds another step to the cleaning process. Essentially you have to re-clean the surface to clean away the  cleaner. This makes no sense in the case of most cleaners.

To add to the confusion, an old trick that many chemical manufactures still employee is to direct users to use more than really needed. This leads to more product sold and also attracts more dirt so you have to clean it again sooner.

Note: Any product with an E.P.A. registration must be used at the required dilution to effectively provide the kill claims.

#3 – If It Smells Good, It’s Clean Cleaning Myths

Smell is a very powerful sense. It can influence perception in dramatic ways. When it comes to cleaning, we associate clean with an odor, in many cases it is bleach or pine or lemon. This is because these odors have been connected with many popular cleaning chemicals throughout the years. The problem is that most of these chemicals cover up to real issue and rely on a “clean scent.”

The smell of clean is no odor at all. The compounds used for fragrances are in many cases exaggerated to the point of leaving a bio film behind that can attract dirt and bacteria.

For the record, if a restroom smells like stale cherry, it’s dirty. End of story.

#4 – Disinfectant Cleaner Cleaning Myths

“Wow! It says right here on the label ‘Disinfectant  Cleaner!’ That means I only need one product to clean and disinfect!” Yes, but make sure your read the directions on the label. It won’t say it on the front of the bottle or even in the catalog descriptions, but there are always at least 2 steps to the process and the product must be used as if it were at least 2 different chemicals.

The E.P.A. disinfection guidelines all include the statement “On Pre Cleaned, Non Porous surfaces.” This means that you must clean the surface first before moving on to the next step. Very few do this. In fact, I would guess that less that 10% of housekeepers even know about this. The disinfecting step is to apply the product and allow it to remain moist for a prescribed amount of time. Then, in most cases you still have a third step to wipe the surface again to remove residue. This also removes bacteria killed in the disinfection process.

Dead bacteria become a great food source for live bacteria if not removed. If used to clean a floor, the residue can be so bad that your feet will stick to the floor.

#5 – Bleach Is The Answer Cleaning Myths

“Mom always used bleach to clean everything.” She may have but there was very little cleaning going on. Cleaning chemical properties help to loosen and suspend soil in the solution so that they can be removed. Bleach has no such properties. It is a killer of bacteria. That’s all.

If the surface is contaminated with any number of micro-organisms, bleach will kill them if used properly. The problem is that with even a moderate soil load, it is not capable of removing the excess soil and deceased bacteria. Once it has lost is killing ability in a very short time, other bacteria show up is droves to feed on this buffet and the effort put in to cleaning the surface is wasted. Bleach is also dangerous for humans since we are just a larger organism.

The fumes that give us that desired “Bleach Clean” smell are toxic and can contribute to body burden.

Knowing the facts about cleaning can help to improve your overall results and also improve your health. Taking time to find out what is actually happening when you clean can save time, money and give you the peace of mind that if you say it is clean, it is clean!

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square scrubber floor stripping

Square Scrubber Floor Stripping 101

The idea of a square floor scrubber has been around for decades with limited success. The concept was good but not good enough to change the way the cleaning industry operates. This is quickly changing thanks to the pairing of square scrubber floor stripping with abrasive pad technology. This process mechanically removes floor finish without the need for hazardous chemical strippers. The concept is changing the way floor care is looked and giving those that choose to understand it, a lot of opportunities. But the majority of the industry does not understand why it works. Here is what you need to know about the dry stripping with a square scrubber phenomenon.

Square Scrubber Floor Stripping Pad

First of all, there is a specific pad that must be used. Make sure it has grit impregnated into it and not sprayed on. These are usually a maroon color and relatively thin, compared to standard floor pads.  They are about $10-15 per pad and will cover 1000-2000 sq/ft. when used to remove floor finish in a normal situation.

Surface Floor Stripping

The process is surface stripping. When you completely strip a floor traditionally, you remove all of the finish from the floor, including the pores of the tile. When you re-apply the new floor finish it must fill these pores. This is why the first few coats of finish do not shine. The light is being deflected by the pores. Once the finish is above the pores of the floor, (usually 2-4 coats) the surface is then smooth, so the light reflects directly back to your eye. This is the gloss or shine.

The surface stripping procedure removes the majority of the finish down to the tile level. Since the grit in the pad is larger than the pores in the tile, it does not affect the finish in the pores. Now if there are years of buildup on the floor or if the finish has been worn off and dirt is in the tile, this is not effective and chemical stripping is the best option.

Advantages of Surface Floor Stripping

But in a typical situation, the surface stripping will do a couple of positive things for you. It will allow you to save a ton of time and effort and product. It also will reduce the chances of slip and falls plus there is no odor.

The dust can be controlled with a dust kit which will allow you to attach a back pack vacuum (recommended highly) It will also save A LOT of finish. Since you don’t have to replace the 2-4 coat in the pores of the floor, your first coat of new finish will shine. You can also use it to strip a floor one day and come back later to apply finish. Since the pores are still sealed, dirt won’t settle in to them and require scrubbing to remove.

By integrating square scrubber floor stripping into your floor care program, you will be able to spend less time stripping floors, reduce the chances of injury and save gallons of finish. Learning the limitations and the effects of its use, gives you the knowledge to capitalize on a revolution in the cleaning industry. Send me pictures of your success!

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