Entry mat selection and placement are far more important than many cleaning professionals realize. Installing the right mat in the right place can help keep a building cleaner and healthier and reduce the overall cleaning and maintenance needs of an entire facility.

According to JoAnne Boston, Business Development Manager for Crown Mats and Matting, one of the most common mistakes facility managers make when selecting entry mats is choosing mats that are too small to effectively trap soil and moisture.

"The Carpet and Rug Institute recommends 12 to 15 feet of matting at building entries," says Boston, "while a grocery store or hospital may need 20 to 25 feet of matting to keep soils out and promote safety."

Along with selecting the proper size of matting, Boston suggests the following:
•  Evaluate the level of foot traffic entering your facility. Is it high, moderate, or low volume? Different mats are designed for different traffic loads.
• Select mats that are facility specific. Matting for an industrial facility might not necessarily be appropriate for an office building, for example.
•  Also consider climate conditions. For proper performance during different times of the year, different mats may need to be installed in order to deal with varying climate conditions.
• Be aware that entry matting works best when used as a system. Scraper mats should be placed directly outside the building; wiper/scraper mats placed in the entry or vestibule area; and wiper mats, the "last line of defense," inside the building to trap any remaining soils on shoe bottoms.

"One way to determine if the proper [entry] mats have been installed is to see how they are wearing," adds Boston. "If there is excessive wear after a relatively short time or if the area just beyond the mat is soiled, a different mat and more coverage may be necessary. In general, more is better when it comes to matting. The more coverage you have, the cleaner and healthier the facility will be."

Once proper mats have been identified, it is important to focus on cleaning and maintaining the matting. Properly maintained mats will trap dirt and debris, preventing it from being tracked throughout the facility. Click here for tips on how to properly maintain mats.