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Floor-Care 101

Introduction to maximizing a successful floor-care strategy.

When students arrive at college, the learning and social opportunities that await them on a campus should be aesthetically-pleasing and safe. However, the behind the scenes work it takes to maintain school buildings and grounds is challenging and often involves a variety of unique cleaning situations. As a result, it’s important for facility managers to take a comprehensive approach to floor care by identifying the best processes and products for their needs.

One Size Does Not Fit All

Universities across the country experience a wide variety of conditions that can impact a facility,
from the location of the campus to the number of students enrolled. Ultimately, these factors can impact the overall cleanliness and aesthetics of a building.
As each university is unique in a variety of ways, the approach a facility manager takes for implementing and maintaining a floor care plan must be specific for the campus, while simultaneously also addressing the needs of each academic building.

Floor cleaning standards and expectations vary from one building to the next. Commonly treated as separate entities, each facility on campus experiences different levels of foot traffic and has different floor types.
For example, academic buildings such as the law or business school often have a different standard of floor care than compared to the dormitories. These expectations can stem from having different building material needs that must be considered, such as terrazzo or stone.


Designing the Floor Care Strategy
Regardless of the differences between each building, the process of implementing a floor care strategy that ensures cleanliness and safety remains the same.
As a first step to identifying  the right floor care program, facility managers should conduct audits on a regular basis to inform important decisions on process and product selection. The audit should include an analysis of the current floor care conditions as well as overall maintenance records. By reviewing every floor surface with a critical eye, facility managers will be able to identify damages that need repairing, is accurately diluted for optimal performance  and doesn’t cause damage to the floor surface. Implementing a chemical management system is often the easiest, most cost-effective way to ensure consistent and correct results. The right floor pads should also be identified for performance and durability—whether the situation calls for  stripping, cleaning, buffing, burnishing or polishing. In addition, identifying innovative floor pad solutions that can perform two tasks with one pad, such as cleaning and shining in the same step, will help increase efficiencies within your cleaning program.

Personalizing Long-Term Floor Care
A unique situation campus facility managers face when compared to other types of buildings is the slow period during the summer months. With the majority of students off campus from early spring until late summer, it’s a prime time for facility managers to implement long-term care needs that refresh floors in heavy traffic areas. During this break, applying an effective floor  protector and installing an outdoor and indoor matting systems should be completed as a preventive measure to future damage.

When selecting a matting system, geography and weather should always be considered. For example, universities located in climates that experience heavy moisture from rain and snow, require an open-back matting system that is installed 10 feet outside the building as well as in the vestibule to prevent dirt and debris from entering the building. In warmer climates, the matting system should address frequent precipitation, and tapes and treads should be considered for areas that experience slippery conditions.

In addition to matting systems, selecting an effective floor protector will help extend the maintenance cycle of your floors. Floor protectors are a long-term consideration that will help keep your floors looking clean and safe and ultimately save you and your cleaning staff time and money on ongoing maintenance costs.

Since each building on a college campus has its own identity and cleaning needs, meeting cleanliness and aesthetic expectations, and ensuring optimal cleanliness will not only uphold the prestige and reputation of the university, but also minimize unwanted distractions on campus. Fortunately, by implementing and following a comprehensive floor care program, facility  managers can ensure that their buildings are in A+ condition.

By Tom Neu, Marketing & Business Development Manager at 3M Commercial Solutions Division


Overall aesthetics are important for any building, and the appearance of floors is often a key contributor to first impressions. As floor care is often one of the most time-consuming and costly cleaning tasks, it’s crucial for facility mangers to implement products and systems that ensure optimal results and maximize staff efficiencies.

In an effort to provide customers with a high-performing and costeffective option for floor cleaning and maintenance, 3M offers product solutions that work.

  • The new Scotch-Brite™ Clean & Shine Pad is a 2-1 daily cleaning pad that helps streamline floor maintenance programs by cleaning and shining in the same step, using only a low-speed scrubber. Effective with just water, it can be used on most coated and uncoated hard floors including VCT, vinyl, rubber, marble, stone, terrazzo, granite, and concrete.
  • The new Scotch-Brite™ Surface Preparation Pad Plus provides a turnkey solution to any cleaning routine by performing twice as fast when compared to competitors. The new pad
    —used to remove the top layers of floor finish with just plain water—features enhanced benefits engineered to maintain better performance throughout the life of the pad.
  • The 3M™ Easy Trap™ Sweep and Dust Sheets are designed to trap and hold up to 8X more dust, dirt and sand than a conventional flat fringed cotton dust mop. Fitting any mop or
    duster, the sheets are also versatile, as they are able to trap hair and debris on both dry and wet floors.

To learn more about how 3M floor care products can help meet your floor cleaning goals, visit