Facilities are starting to reopen across the country as businesses and individuals move on with life during the COVID-19 pandemic. While increased disinfection plans and sanitizing stations are both receiving plenty of attention, there are many areas of buildings that can’t be neglected. Floors are a perfect example.

“The peace of mind that cleaner floors could instill might certainly be worth the effort,” says Gordy Gillette, director of marketing and sales for SupplyDen, Auburn Hills, Michigan. “Restoring people’s faith in public places, when it is warranted, could hinge upon one’s perception of how clean and safe a space is.”

As cleaning managers try to balance increased disinfection duties and their regularly scheduled responsibilities, the opportunity exists for jan/san distributors to talk products, equipment and procedures with clients. Upgrading in these areas could help prolong the life of floors, reduce the labor required to keep them looking shiny and fresh, and control the spread of viruses and pathogens.

Forgotten Floors

During the pandemic, the emphasis on increased cleaning has focused on tables, chairs, keyboards, doorknobs and railings — objects that people most often touch with their hands. Mike Sawchuk of Sawchuk Consulting, St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada, offers a reminder that floors should not be overlooked as a potential source of germs.

“Your biggest horizontal surface is the floor,” he says. “People say, ‘I don’t touch the floor,’ but the average person touches the floor 25 times a day.”

Sawchuk cites tying a shoelace or retrieving a dropped pen as an opportunity for hands to come into contact with something nasty. Custodians have even more of this contact, as they have to wrap up a vacuum cord after it was just dragged across the floor, for example.

Distributors should emphasize to customers that the ground can be just as dangerous as a table as far as viruses are concerned.

“If I do an ATP (adenosine triphosphate) meter reading on the toilet flusher, or the cafeteria desk, or the microwave push button, the No. 1 reservoir of pathogens is typically the floor,” says Sawchuk. “People touch the floor many times a day, albeit indirectly, but whatever is on the floor is now on hands to transmit. The floors should not be given a backseat.”

Workloading cleaning tasks during the pandemic has been challenging. Disinfecting and sanitizing of high-touch points have increased, while the amount of employees dedicated to floors has been reduced. That changing emphasis forced end users to reconsider scheduling approaches and how they allocate available resources.

“There will be choices made as to what end users can afford to clean,” says Glen Huizenga, sales leader at Nichols, Norton Shores, Michigan. “Do you want tables or desks cleaned or do you want to have your floor cleaned? I can see frequencies potentially change when it comes to both hard floors and carpets.”

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