One mistake that many cleaning professionals make is that they will allow the floor appearance to drop either due to trying to save labor hours, equipment off line or simply being caught short staffed. For whatever reasons, a cleaning supervisor will often pull the floor tech and assign him/her to pull trash or clean rest rooms while ignoring the floor maintenance schedule.  

Once the floors start to decline to the point that they are noticeably dingy or dirty looking, the facility manager will contact the cleaning provider or department and find phrases like “uniform glossy appearance” to remind the cleaner of the expected standards. They may even suggest that the floor needs to be “waxed” when actually it simply needs to be cleaned regularly and correctly.

Every opportunity to educate facility managers and their tenants on the importance of using the right products and processes to maintain hard floors should be used. Facility executives can often have unrealistic expectations of a particular type floor and may be tempted to micromanage the janitor into doing inappropriate work that can result in additional labor, misunderstanding and in the case of building service contractors, eventually termination of the contract.

If the floor is supposed to have a matte type finish (such as ceramic or quarry tile) which, at best will produce a low gloss with a brush and appropriate chemicals, the janitor may try to short cut the process and apply a coat or more of water based floor finish. If the floor surface is not thoroughly clean before the finish is applied, the floor will tend to dull out or yellow rather quickly. If the floor has unsealed grout lines, the finish will soak into the grout and become a major headache in later removal efforts.  

Efforts to buff the floor to maintain the shine will have mixed results.  Scrubbing and recoating only adds to the problem since a certain amount of slurry will soak into the grout lines. Stripping and recoating will only make things worse in the long run since the soiled grout will develop a salt and pepper appearance that makes the entire floor look dirty.  

The facility manager will tend to become more dissatisfied and start looking for another cleaning provider. The answer to this dilemma is to have sufficient qualified staff and resources to maintain the floors to the agreed upon standards. 

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