Facility Dude

Save money and the environment just by washing the floors

By Kate Donnelly
Sep 30, 2015

Facilities Management

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Save money and the environment just by washing the floors Floor cleaning as part of a regular building maintenance schedule goes a long way toward keeping your building sanitary and pest-free. But it can also use a lot of water and harsh chemicals. If your floors get stained with rust, oil or other tough spills, it could take several passes with a pressure washer or acid spray to remove them. But those aren't the only ways - in recent years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency introduced several guidelines concerning eco-friendly and sustainable ways to clean a facility. The EPA suggested that facility managers take a multi-step approach to sustainable cleaning, which not only includes using safer chemicals, but relies on staff training that emphasizes water conservation, recycling and cost management.

Save water while cleaning concrete floors

Power washers are a great way to remove tough stains from concrete without using chemicals. The powerful physical assault is usually enough to blast away the most stubborn discoloration. When that doesn't work, a harsh substance like muriatic acid will easily obliterate any remaining marks, said home improvement expert Bob Vila. Neither option is ideal, however, because the first requires large quantities of water and the second method can be dangerous if not handled properly. Vila recommended using a concrete sealer to prevent stains from taking such a permanent hold on the surface. Using less-harsh products like ammonia or hydrogen peroxide can also remove obdurate stains and are safer to use.

HGTV said that laundry detergent is another safe way to clean concrete floors. In that case, you would let the soapy mixture of detergent on water sit for half an hour, scrub with a stiff brush, then rinse with a hose. This method isn't as environmentally damaging and it uses less water.

Eco-friendly solutions to indoor floor cleaning

In rainy weather and during the winter months, mopping floors is an unavoidable part of facility house-keeping. But at other times, you can save water by vacuuming floors with a HEPA filter-equipped machine. The University of Colorado preferred this method to sweeping, as it removes more particles. When floors must be mopped, try to use environmentally safe products. But conservation methods don't end there. You can purchase cleaning supplies in bulk to save money and shipping materials, keep chemicals in reusable bottles, and recycle containers that can't be used again.

The university went on to suggest that floors be well ventilated to ensure that excess moisture doesn't build up and create a mildew problem, which would necessitate the further use of chemicals. According to HGTV, try a simple borax solution to clean up problem areas on vinyl flooring.

Floors can make the difference

By using environmentally friendly chemicals and educating staff about ways to conserve water, your floor maintenance plan can become a big money saver. You'll always have to clean your floors, so these little differences will really add up over the long term.

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