In these turbulent economic times, finding ways to reduce expenses is a must.  What would you say if someone told you cutting back on your cleaning could save you money, keep your floors cleaner and possibly save lives?  Some 17,000 people die every year due to dangerous slip and fall accidents, yet more than 50% of these type accidents are due to dirty, unsafe floor conditions and thus, preventable.

So how can cleaning less make your floors cleaner?  By cleaning smarter.

No matter how you look at it, the more you mop your floor, the dirtier it becomes.  Throw in oils, chemicals, surfactants  and now you have a dangerous floor.  You only need to look as far as your mop bucket to see the current condition of your floor.  If your used mop water looks like motor oil after mopping the dining room or thick gray pea soup after mopping the kitchen, your floors are not only filthy but are also a potential slip & fall hazard.

The mandate that requires employees to wear slip resistant shoes does nothing to eliminate or solve the problem of dirty floors and is merely a band-aid for unsafe floor conditions.  Not only do these shoes provide employees a false sense of security but beg the obvious question; how does this help protect our customers?

Let’s face it, accidents do happen and some cannot be avoided, however, more than 50% of all slip and fall accidents are due to dirty, unsafe floor conditions.

Choosing efficient cleaning tools is just the first step. Proper training and enforcing guidelines and cleaning procedures is equally essential in providing a safe environment for both your customers and employees.  As mentioned earlier, mopping simply smears dirt and oil across the floor.  In order to offset the damage done by mopping, you must effectively scrub the floor on a regular basis.  And no, it’s not just about choosing the right tools and implementing the procedures, it’s also about doing the right thing for the environment and protecting valuable human resources.

Now, let’s talk about what is currently happening and how, by making slight adjustments, you can not only achieve better results but receive significant financial savings.

Current cleaning procedures require mopping the floor at- least 5 times a day.  Let’s assume that your employee makes $10 an hour and it takes 1 hour, 3 gallons of water and 3 oz of chemicals (each time) to mop the entire facility (kitchen, dining room and restrooms) from start to finish.  Now, let’s compare that to mopping 2 times a day, once with a 5 minute effective scrubbing procedure, and spot mopping only during operation hours.  

Expense Variable  5 times a day 2 times a day Annual   Savings
Labor $18,000 $7,200 $10,800
Water – 3 gallons per mopping 10,800 4,320 6,480
Chemicals – 3 oz per = gal/yr. used 127 50.6    76.4

As you can see, in the table above, that in labor alone a facility can reduce cost by over $10,000 annually. Not to mention the 6,500 gallons of water and 76 gallons of chemicals saved by reducing mopping from 5 times to 2 times a day.  More importantly, you will have a cleaner environment for your customers and employees. Thus reducing potential loss expenses and, in turn, saving people’s lives and well being.

The following steps will help determine the condition of your floor and what it will take to return it to clean and also what to watch for after implementing these procedures:

1.  Use your mop water as a gauge of what condition your floor is in:

a. If your mop water is dark brown to black (dining room) or thick gray (kitchen) your floor is filthy.

b. If your mop water is relatively clean, your cleaning procedures are working

2. Pick out a high traffic location, mark off an area about 3 ft by 3 ft, add a thin layer of water to the area and scrub the floor until the black residue appears.  Remove the residue with a push squeegee, a mop or lift with a wet/dry vacuum.  Repeat the wet, scrub and remove process until the scrubbing procedure only produces clear water. At this point your floor has been returned to clean. The same procedure will be needed to return the entire facility back to clean. (It usually takes 2-3 heavy cleaning efforts to return a floor to it’s original condition).

3.Once your entire floor has been returned to clean and scrubbing produces only clean residue then a sectional cleaning program can be implemented.  Simply break up the facility into  sections by which a 5-10 minute scrubbing procedure can be combined with one of the 2 mopping sessions.  This allows you to scrub your entire floor at least once a week.

4.For reasons such as oil build up due to cooking or spills, your kitchen should be scrubbed in sections on a daily basis.

If you are effectively scrubbing your floor, your mop water will be the gauge.  Naturally, there will be some dirt and oil after a long days work but mopped water should be relatively clean.  If you notice the dark or thick gray reappearing, it is most likely due to a significant reduction in the scrubbing procedures.

5. Although scrubbing the floor on a regular basis is the key to maintaining a clean, safe floor condition, a mop can still be effective if used properly during operational hours. Simply keep a bucket full of clean water on hand at all times to spot mop the kitchen and dining room with a slightly damp mop, changing the water as necessary.

To learn more about how to maintain a clean, safe floor condition please visit