In my last tip I covered the first two variables to wet cleaning: temperature and agitation. I'll now cover the next two: concentration and time. 

One approach to dilution control is to use portion packed chemicals that come in a small packet of concentrate.  These are packaged with a single use in each packet. This makes it easy to assure that the dilution is correct and if color coding is used, the proper chemicals can be easily identified and you are not paying for water which is usually readily available.  A misperception is that portion pack chemicals cost more per gallon because of the additional packaging costs when labor costs to and from a dispenser and convenience are not factored into the equation. Check to see which works best for your contract.

Another option are chemical proportioners. These dispensing systems come in all types and can be great in simplifying how much product to use.  In most cases, a wall mounted unit near a source of water in the custodial closet allows users to select the product they are going to use premixed so long as there is adequate water pressure.  A color coded tip determines the mix ratio of water to chemical without anyone playing Junior Chemist or having to guess.  At all costs avoid the “chug-a-lug” system that can waste product and give unpredictable results.  In most cases, it is best to have the unit locked with keys being limited to supervisory staff.

Probably the most undervalued variable in the cleaning equation is time.  Often referred to as “dwell time” or “contact time”, the amount of time the cleaning chemical is in contact with the floor surface is a critical component of cleaning results as well as disinfecting abilities on all surfaces.  Generally speaking, the longer the chemical has to work, the deeper the cleaning benefits.  One exception to this “longer is better” rule of thumb is in restorative strip outs.  In this situation, it is counterproductive to leave the chemical on so long as to have it dry on the floor resulting in a mess requiring reapplication of the stripping solution.  This creates extra work and should be avoided.  Follow label directions.  Take into account variables such as humidity, air conditioning, blower systems, etc.  The level of soiling and the condition of the finish will drive your decision on T.A.C.T. on the floor.  We will begin with a condition of light soiling with the underlying finish in good condition.  This calls for light regular maintenance.

Your comments and questions are always welcome.  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