One of the most satisfying moments in a janitor’s work experience comes when looking back at a freshly stripped and refinished floor. Done properly, the floor is crystal clear and the gloss appears to be a foot deep. 

But time marches on. Brown spots may appear here and there, or the entire coating may become discolored. You have top scrubbed, recoated, used restorers and burnished until the coating is hard as a rock. The time has come for the floor finish to be removed.

Now imagine you learn that your customer’s floor must be stripped by tomorrow night. You are already on a tight schedule and cannot afford to waste time going back over the floor in the event the first stripping procedure fails to remove all of the old coating. You must have the floor stripped clean the first time.

Keep in mind guesswork leads to more work. Just because you always dilute the stripper one to four with water and scrub in five minutes is not a good reason to continue to do so. If that dilution and dwell time works and you are successful in removing the old coating the first time, how do you know if a weaker dilution would not have worked just as well?

The key is to find balance. Our goal is to mix the stripper using a dilution ratio that ensures total penetration of the old coating so that we use up nearly all of the chemical energy in the solution. Excess chemical left on the floor wastes product, wastes money and forces the use of a neutralizer or requires excessive rinsing.

If you want to guarantee only having to perform the stripping procedures once, instead of two or possibly even three times, try this simple test conducted prior to the actual stripping operation. In fact, if you are considering purchasing strippers, this 10-step test will verify that you are getting your money’s worth and that the stripper will perform.

1. Put on proper protective equipment.      

2. Pump one pump of stripper into each cup.

3. Pump water into each cup according to the number on the cup (four pumps into cup marked four and three pumps into the cup marked three, etc.).

4. Select area that you suspect will be difficult to strip and that will be large enough to accommodate the tests.

5. As you pour the stripper onto the area to be tested, note time.

6. Pour test strippers far enough apart to prevent them from running together.

7. After 10 minutes, agitate lightly with center of pad.

8. Wipe the areas with a damp cloth and allow to dry.

9. Inspect. Use the weakest solution that stripped the floor all the way to the tile.

10. You now know the strength, and the dwell time.

Since every floor coating is different, this simple test can establish the proper dilution and dwell time. If you can determine the exact stripper concentration and the exact dwell time to strip the floor in the first pass that will save time, energy, water and chemicals, and minimize safety risks.

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Take The Floor Stripper Test