Green Trends: Eco-Friendly Floors & Floor Cleaning Equipment
The environmentally-conscious trend continues to sweep the globe, and the commercial floor industry in no exception – lobbies featuring reclaimed wood planks and work spaces boasting recycled linoleum or glass tiles are becoming the norm in many businesses seeking to “go green”. As a result, many janitorial services may be concerned that maintenance might require special floor cleaning equipment. However, sustainable floor surfaces for the most part are just as easy to maintain as traditional floors; many of these new eco-friendly materials simply require vacuuming or mopping with water. Below, a list of the most common “green” floor options that have been showing up in commercial buildings and the appropriate commercial floor cleaning tools you’ll need to maintain them:
Bamboo and Cork
Surprisingly durable and pleasing to the eye, bamboo and cork have become increasingly popular alternatives to traditional wood floors in commercial spaces. Used in high-traffic areas where business want to make a visually stunning impact, these floor surfaces respond best to standard, neutral floor cleaners, according to the experts. Tip: Since cork is extremely porous, it’s important to be conscientious of how much water is used during cleaning. In addition, salt in the winter can pose an issue, so it’s best to remove with a soft-bristle industrial vacuum once the debris has dried.
Although they’ve been cheap and commonly-used material for decades in industrial facilities, research has shown that vinyl tiles are potentially harmful to the environment. Since they’re a petroleum-based product, they emit toxic fumes detrimental to indoor air quality (IAQ). Ceramic tiles manufactured from recycled content (such as glass bottles) have become a more eco-friendly option, as they last twice as long without the detrimental side-effects. Tip: Maintenance of recycled ceramic tiles is easy: simply remove debris with a commercial vacuum or dust-mop.
One of the most common floor surfaces in commercial spaces, carpets can now be found in eco-smart options – using natural fibers such as grasses, organic cotton and wool, these carpets are less toxic than their petroleum-based predecessors and can be easily recycled. Tip: Cleaning recycled carpeting is typically the same as traditional commercial carpeting – maintain with a regular industrial-strength vacuum cleaner, perform deep-cleaning with a steam vacuum or carpet shampooer and spot-treat as needed. Be sure to heed any manufacturer’s instructions, as some fibers may require gentler cleansers; since companies have chosen eco-friendly floor treatments, they may also wish you to use green cleaning products, too.
As you can see, eco-friendly floor surfaces are not much different when it comes to care and maintenance. Once you’ve established a floor-care plan, it’s easy to maintain any green floor and continue to preserve our environment for generations to come.