Most veterans of the cleaning industry will agree that we all owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the never tiring efforts of manufacturers and distributors.  Of course, their goal in “building a better mousetrap” is to make a profit from selling these new devices.  At one time, the only floor machine was a 150 RPM rotary unit that revolutionized the industry by taking several manual tasks and making them far less labor intensive.  Over time, the manufacturers developed pad and brushes that made a paste wax floor shine.  Anyone in the military may remember using a wool blanket on the floor while a recruit sat on the machine to give it more pressure.


One day a manufacturer asked the question:  “Why can’t we make the machine go faster so that the work can be performed quicker?”  The low speed, side to side machine rapidly went to 175 – 350 RPM with increases in productivity and quality of results.  During this period, new pads and brushes were being developed so that a color coding system developed.  Red was usually for buffing.  Black was for stripping.  Brown was for heavy scrubbing.  Blue and green were for light scrubbing and lighter colors were for polishing.


The tried and true paste wax (which was slick and yellowed easily) gave way to cross metal interlock finishes that were more durable and could “pop a shine” when a higher speed machine was used with the correct pad on it.  In a very short time, the swing machines were relegated to scrubber status and were overtaken by high speed machines that generated 1,000, then 1,500 then 2,000 RPM with the goal of creating the wet look.


We will continue this evolution in a future article.  


Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean…


Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678.314.2171 or