The right floor pad for the job

5th of January 2018
The right floor pad for the job
The right floor pad for the job

Just how important is the role of the floor pad in effective and productive floor care, and how vital is it to choose the correct pad for each application? Anette Therén at pad specialist Twister Cleaning Technology offers guidance on the right pad for each job, and takes a look at the most significant technological developments in recent years.

Most professionals in the floor cleaning industry will concur that when it comes to floor care, the quality and efficiency of the cleaning process has a lot, if not everything, to do with three important factors - the equipment and products used, the person performing the cleaning and the time invested in the cleaning process.

With these three main factors in focus, as well as an overall increased interest in sustainable solutions, the floor cleaning industry is facing a great deal of complex challenges. The right pad and cleaning method can end up saving millions - not only translated from labour hours, but additionally in consumable cost savings and handling of consumable waste. When packaged as a sustainable solution, the right pad in the right place can win government tenders and corporate contracts thanks to the added green values, and even lock out competitors from competing for the same.

The role of the floor pad is therefore at the very core of effective and productive floor care, and the right choice of pad for a specific application can prove to be a door opener to new business
and partnerships.

Key factors to look for in a pad

Most customers will start by looking at the financial aspect, but looking at cost savings from a price point of view can prove to be misleading. The life span of the product and complexity of a system will most likely have a bigger impact on the total cleaning cost and productivity than the price per unit. In many cases a complex system may also deliver below average quality results, simply because the risk of human error during the cleaning process is too big.

Simplicity reduces risk of errors

Simple, easily implemented methods and products fitting a wide range of floor types will lower the risks of producing unsatisfactory results. With a high turnover of staff in the cleaning industry, simple products with simple instructions that are quickly introduced and easily understood, have a better chance of resulting in effective and productive floor care.

The market is in no way saturated with products and we still see new pads being developed by manufacturers but we also see that the main selling point in most cases is whether the product will simplify a cleaning process, or if it adds a new step to an already implemented method.

The right pad - a problem solver

In some cases the right pad for the job can be the key to solving a problem – whether the problem is a specifically sensitive environment or a floor with difficult cleaning properties. In some cases the right method can save an entire floor from being replaced, meaning great cost savings as well as green savings.

New development and trends

Most new trends in the industry focus on problem solving and sustainability issues. The mega trends are primarily focused on cost and chemical savings, apart from sustainability as a whole.

Among the more noteworthy technological developments in the industry that fits the bill are floor pads suitable for a number of applications that can be used without involving chemicals and still perform as well, or even better, than the traditional chemical based methods. Diamond floor pads are the most well-known and most used, ranging from restoration, chemical free honing and stripping, to daily cleaning and buffing of floors. They basically cover all bases.

Sustainable solutions

For the environment and the cleaning staff, as well as visitors in public areas, this is a positive development in many ways. Problems like not getting the chemical dose right - whether in daily floor cleaning, or when stripping a floor - may have many negative implications for the staff, the visitors and for the businesses.

If a cleaning solution is too diluted, surfaces do not get cleaned properly, which can result in unhappy users and inefficiencies as the cleaning has to be carried out again. In sensitive environments such as hospitals and schools, there is a possible risk of increase of illness and spreading of bacteria – both serious consequences. In areas with patients with respiratory issues, the use of cleaning agents can be a big problem. A floor pad specifically designed to clean without chemicals will resolve many problems in these areas.

Obviously from a cost point of view, using too much chemicals is just as bad - expensive, inefficient and leaving sticky residue on the floor, making the environments less safe for everyone.

All these factors drive development in the floor pad industry to look very closely at ways to reduce chemicals, or exclude them altogether when possible. The main focus for chemical free cleaning is in daily cleaning where simple routines and fewer possibilities for errors, as well as cost savings, will have the biggest impact.

Chemical free

Other welcome trends in the industry are chemical free stripping and restoration procedures for worn down floors. Often this means using diamond technology paired with more rigid pad materials. These cleaning and restoration pads are specifically designed to prepare floor surfaces for further upgrading.

The rigid stripping and restoration pads have proven to be veritable floor savers and present a unique possibility to revive an etched and dulled down floor by bringing it back to a polished, high gloss look again.

During this process the surface can be gradually restored back to perfect finish without added costs: as the rigid pads simply replaces the daily cleaning pads during the surface preparation phase.
Following the finished preparation phase, daily cleaning pads can be re-introduced and the end result is thereafter maintained with the same diamond technology, but now transferred to a daily cleaning pad.

This means daily cleaning routines are never disturbed or changed. The whole procedure can be performed without the use of chemicals - cutting time and costs, keeping the floors available during the process and healthy for both visitors and cleaning staff throughout the entire restoration. This is obviously a dream scenario on busy floors with high traffic like a retail environment or a public airport.

Choosing the right pad

The choice of the right pads and cleaning methods will also have a big impact on the total life span of a floor. The more aggressive the methods, the shorter the life span for the floor. This is one of the reasons behind the trend of multipurpose pads both cleaning and polishing in the same daily cleaning procedure.

A floor with a mechanically densified surface from daily micro-polishing, means a floor that will be easier to keep clean and the quality of the floor can be upheld with less effort and less aggressive methods.

When reducing invasive steps, such as restoration and periodic maintenance procedures, the lesser the total wear on the floor will be over time. This saves money, keeps the floor available and prolongs the life span of the floor, or in some cases prolongs the life span of applied floor coatings. The latter is just as important since coating a floor is both costly and means involving harsh, alkaline chemicals, while making the floor unavailable during the process.

In the end, what is most important is to be able to adjust to realities in a customer environment. A problem floor or a floor with a lower cleaning frequency might need a pad with better cleaning capabilities or a new methodology, rather than a polished surface. The truth still holds that a dirty floor will always wear down faster in the end.

Where does this leave us?

In a complex world with high turnover of employed cleaning staff, one of the core factors for good floor cleaning results is simplified cleaning methods with fewer error possibilities. To maintain healthy environments both for cleaning staff and visitors, we need to reduce chemical usage and we need to address sustainability on a bigger scale. This means accounting for life span of floors and floor coatings, as well as total waste management when choosing the right pad for an application.

The core factor for effective and productive floor care can therefore be described in one word – simplicity.

This does not necessarily mean the industry will experience a decrease of new pads being developed - rather the opposite. The market needs range to address the many challenges we face in order to uphold clean and healthy environments.

The conclusion to draw is rather - choosing the right floor pad and method for an application should simplify implementation and the possibility to maintain good, consistent cleaning results. Because as we all know, the key to good productivity is business as usual and that, as well as great quality results, is what a good floor pad should be able to deliver.


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