With summer here, schools, hotels, park and recreation facilities, and other properties will be opening their pools for the season. Most managers know there are several steps they must take to make sure the pool is safe, clean, and ready for users. But often forgotten is the care necessary to make sure the mats, typically known as "barefoot mats," placed around the pool are clean, safe, and ready for use as well.
Barefoot mats are designed to work in wet areas, such as around a pool, sauna, or Jacuzzi. They have an open-grid construction to promote drainage. This allows moisture to flow under the mats, keeping the walking surface dry, reducing the risk for slips and falls and inhibiting the growth of fungus or bacteria.
According to JoAnne Boston, business development manager for Crown Mats and Matting, the first step in caring for barefoot mats starts long before summer begins.

"When the pool is closed, barefoot mats should be stored inside, in a dry area. This protects them from the elements and helps prolong their life span," she says.
When it's time to reinstall the mats, Boston suggests the following:
• Clean the surface below the mat first; this may be accomplished by sweeping or pressure hosing the area
• Inspect the mat; look for tears or worn areas, which might indicate a replacement mat is needed
• Clean the mat using a hose or pressure wash system
• If soiled, the mat can be cleaned with a deck brush and a mild sanitizer; thoroughly rinse the mat after cleaning
• If excessively soiled, the mat may need to be completely immersed in a water/degreaser solution, brushed, and then rinsed clean