Sparkling clean, well-lit facility with large open windows and white floors.

What Sustainability Means for Floor Care Programs

Floor care is more than surface maintenance – it’s a form of reputation management for your facility. A clean and beautiful floor makes a lasting impression on guests and is the foundation for any space.

Facility managers can determine if their floor care program is sustainable by focusing on two key elements: first, the environmental impact of products and second, the work needed to maintain overall aesthetics. In order to assemble an efficient and sustainable floor care toolkit, it’s important to keep surface material considerations and desired outcomes top of mind.

Lay the Ground Work

30 years ago, vinyl tile was king in many spaces. Today, facilities gravitate to more modern materials including durable and low-maintenance options that limit environmental impact. As a result, stone floors, like terrazzo, rubber floors and luxury vinyl tile (LVT) are popular choices to pave our pathways.

This diverse range of options means that floor care programs vary depending on the facility’s traffic level and floor type. Some manufacturers advertise their flooring materials as “no coat” or “low maintenance,” and while they can require less treatment and stripping, upkeep is still necessary to prevent damage such as traffic lanes.

Choosing to be proactive in protecting floors before traffic lanes develop, or irreversible scuffs and scratches appear, is a smart way to extend the life of a low-maintenance floor. Increasing surface longevity is also a more sustainable practice and minimizes labor, costs, and material waste.

Understand the Desired Outcome

In addition to floor type, aesthetic considerations play a large role in informing a floor care program. Ultimately, different facilities have different expectations for levels of shine and gloss, and efforts to meet those standards need to be sustainable.

Today some facility managers are opting for a lower-shine, but clean, floor appearance in order to reduce maintenance requirements or meet a desired aesthetic. In other spaces, such as retail, facility managers often require a high gloss, pristine finish throughout the store. Identifying the amount of labor and correct products is the key to achieving the desired outcome in a sustainable manner.

Optimize Product Selection

The right product will do the job the right way, the first time, ensuring that you only need to complete a task once. More importantly, optimal product selection can influence a sustainable floor cleaning process by increasing efficiencies and providing multiple benefits.

Chemical control systems can have a major impact on efficiency and sustainability. Inaccurate dilutions can waste product and water, damage surfaces and require costly do-overs. The 3M™ Chemical Management System has the lowest dilution error of six leading competitive systems, and features cold water mixing to reduce energy use and improve safety. The complete solution also helps contribute to LEED certification.

Utilizing more durable and effective floor pads is another avenue for minimizing waste and maximizing your floor care. The Scotch-Brite™ Surface Preparation Pad Plus removes floor finish two times faster than competitive pads when worn so it keeps working longer and doesn’t require a backer pad. For daily maintenance, the Scotch-Brite™ Clean & Shine Pad is also a two-sided product that removes black marks three times faster and lasts longer than traditional cleaning pads. In addition, the pad creates a dustless polish, reducing labor time and costs by eliminating the need to burnish. Both pads are effective with the use of water or a neutral cleaner – cutting out the use of harsh chemicals.

Certifications can also provide valuable third-party credibility and help ensure a product lives up to its sustainability claims. The Scotch-Brite Surface Preparation Pad Plus and Scotch-Brite Clean & Shine Pad recently received Green Seal’s Certification of Environmental Innovation under the GS-20 standard. The certification recognizes the floor pads provide lifecycle impact reduction and environmental benefits without sacrificing quality and efficiency.

Whether you’re tasked with maintaining LVT or terrazzo, extending the life of the surface will make your floor care program more sustainable in terms of reduced labor and carbon footprint. 3M™ Floor Protectors, Including Scotchgard™ Resilient Floor Protector and Scotchgard™ Stone Floor Protector Plus, are designed to reduce or eliminate the need for stripping, which means fewer harsh chemicals and less labor to maintain the beauty of your floors.

A sustainable floor care program is easily attainable by proactively identifying what products and processes are necessary to achieve your aesthetic goals.