As facilities resume regular cleaning routines, custodians will likely spend more time and effort restoring overlooked floors to pre-pandemic conditions — particularly those that have suffered the ill effects of overspray from disinfectants.

“Floors may have been hit with heavy-duty disinfectants, and that deteriorates the floor finish after prolonged periods of time, specifically if they’re not being cleaned frequently to remove those chemicals,” says Matt Scoles, outside sales leader for Scoles Floorshine Industries, Wall Township, New Jersey. “Either a deep scrub and recoat or a full strip and finish may be necessary at this point.”

As custodians pull equipment out of storage to perform these tasks, machines that have been dormant for extended periods of time may need a thorough cleaning before being brought back into circulation.

“Another way of transmitting pathogens is via the equipment itself, if it is not properly cleaned and disinfected each day,” says Sawchuck. “These machines typically travel throughout the facility picking up and accumulating pathogens on their wheels, pads, brushes and squeegees. Then workers place the equipment in a dark, damp custodial closet where bacteria can grow exponentially and be brought back into the facility the next time they use the equipment.”

To prevent this scenario, custodians should wipe down floor machines prior to storing them, paying close attention to disinfecting touchpoints, such as handles, switches and triggers. Pads and pad holders should be removed and thoroughly cleaned after use. Solution and recovery tanks should be emptied and cleaned, especially if the machine is going to be stored indefinitely.

“Standing water is a problem, and the smell can be odiferous,” says Hulin. “When it comes to materials or tools, this is a common problem. If a dirty mop or bucket of dirty water is stored for a period of time in a confined space, it becomes aromatic and can filter throughout the building.”

Hulin recommends custodians launder mop heads if they aren’t going to be used for an extended period of time, and make sure fibers hang downward to dry. Buckets, presses, microfiber trays and receptacles should not only be emptied, but thoroughly rinsed to remove any residue. Finally, clean pads and brushes should be stored separately from machines.

“Never store machines on their brushes,” says Hulin. “That practice has a tendency to bend the bristles, which may cause a wobble in the machine when you use it again.”

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