At Durabond, we are always on the look out for the best cleaning tips and practices. We are eager to pass on any information that is of value. See what The Janitorial Store has to say in regards to common floor mistakes:

Well-maintained floors project a professional image, which is likely very important to most of your clients. Clean floors also reduce the risk of accidents, have fewer slips, trips, & falls, and can save your clients money.

Keeping hard floors from deteriorating quickly requires more than a quick mopping with soapy water when there’s visible dirt. And without proper training, your crews can cause major damage to hard floors.


Common Floor Care Mistakes

Common Floor Care Mistakes


Increase the effectiveness of your hard floor maintenance by avoiding these common floor care mistakes:


1. Failing to prepare

It’s important to sweep up excess dirt, dust, and debris before introducing water to a floor. It sounds simple, but untrained or hurried janitors may skip this basic step.

Without dust mopping first, machinery can re-spread the existing dirt and create more mess than they clean. It also makes your equipment dirty, adding more cleanup to the janitor’s workload. Plus, the machine can grind that dirt into the surface and cause scratches in the floor finish.

Lesson: Train your staff to properly remove dust before cleaning floors (this should include around the edges of a room and in corners, which may require an angled broom).


2. Using too much

One of the most common mistakes janitors make when cleaning hard floors is using the “glug” method of pouring water or chemicals directly onto the floors. They think “the more, the better” when it comes to getting dirty floors clean.

The truth is, however, less is more for most hard floors. Too much water can seep into cracks or between planks and cause floors to swell or buckle. Too much chemical can build up, leave a haze, and then combine with new soil to create a sticky residue that causes bigger maintenance problems.

Lesson: Instead of dispensing systems, which can result in dilution errors, consider giving your staff single-use chemicals they can just tear open and use to avoid mixing mistakes.


3. Using the wrong cleaning products

Using the wrong cleaning products for a particular type of flooring can damage or ruin the floor. Chemicals that are too harsh can eat away sealer, destroy grout, remove finish, etch tile, or pockmark stone.

Relying on the customer to identify their flooring types can be risky. Their bad guess could result in you destroying a floor and then devolve into a blame game. Best to identify the flooring manufacturer and check their website or call their tech department for guidance.

Lesson: Select the correct chemicals at the appropriate dilution rates for each type of flooring. If the flooring can’t be identified, use a neutral cleaner (caveat: wood floors should be damp mopped without chemical).


4. Failing to prioritize safety

Slips, trips, and falls cost U.S. employers nearly $20 billion each year in lost productivity. Contract cleaning companies can do their part to reduce those costs for their customers by alerting building occupants to wet floors or other safety hazards.

Likewise, entrance matting can reduce slips and falls. If your clients don’t have quality mats, educate them on it’s a worthwhile investment. If they do, then do your part to keep the matting clean and safe.

Finally, your own crew can wind up with serious injuries if they improperly use cleaning chemicals and floor machines (in other words, if they don’t follow safety guidelines).

Lesson: Train staff to use safety signage and to read and follow SDS sheets and chemical labels. Also, keep entrance matting clean and safe.


5. Getting impatient

Stripping and refinishing a floor is typically among the difficult jobs a contract cleaner performs. It’s an involved process with plenty of opportunities for errors.

The mistakes already mentioned in numbers 1-4 can also show up in the stripping process. Other common problems involve a lack of patience—working in too-large sections (rather than sectioning off area by area), and not allowing enough dwell times during the repetitive application and removal process.

Lesson: Outline proper stripping and refinishing procedures and make sure your employees are following them. Attention to detail is key.


6. Skipping training

There’s one key to solving nearly all common hard floor care mistakes—proper training. That means the biggest mistake any cleaning contractor can make is failing to have a clearly outlined maintenance program on which all crew regularly receive training.

Every hard floor requires some sort of routine, periodic, and restorative maintenance. In general, each day crews should vacuum walk-off mats, dust mop hard floors, and then wash the floors with a microfiber mop or autoscrubber daily.

Less frequently but still regularly, most hard floors will likely need buffing or burnishing for gloss maintenance and scrubbing to remove heavy scuffing and impacted soil.

There are also restorative tasks (annually or less often) that vary based on the type of floor. These include things like diamond polishing a stone floor or screening and refinishing wood floors.

As a contract cleaner, your job is to create a cleaning program for each of your clients. These must be custom because the needs will vary from building to building based on things like foot traffic and flooring type.

The “Cleaning to Perfection” Hard Floor Care Training Program gives you the tools to avoid mistakes, make floors look great, and keep your customers happy.


Nothing sends the signal that a building is clean than shiny floors. Make mistakes in hard floor care, and your customers are sure to notice (and complain or call the competition). Make sure your cleaning and training programs address these common mistakes so you can ensure quality outcomes for your customers.


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Steve Hanson has been helping owners of commercial cleaning companies build a more profitable and successful cleaning business since 2005. Steve is also a CITS Certified Professional Trainer (C.P.T.) and business coach.