Kremlička - Myčky

Swabbing by Rudolf Kremlička.

Caution wet floor

A wet floor sign.

Floor cleaning is a major occupation throughout the world. The main job of most cleaners is to clean floors.

Reasons for cleaning floorsEdit

The principal reasons for floor cleaning are:

  • To prevent injuries due to tripping or slipping. Injuries due to slips and trips on level floors are a major cause of accidental injury or death. Bad practice in floor cleaning is itself a major cause of accidents.[1]
  • To beautify the floor
  • To remove stains, dirt, litter and obstructions
  • To remove grit and sand which scratch and wear down the surface.
  • To remove allergens, in particular dust
  • To prevent wear to the surface e.g. by using a floor wax or protective sealant.
  • To make the environment sanitary e.g. in kitchens
  • To maintain an optimum traction e.g. for dance floors

Methods of floor cleaningEdit

The treatment needed for different types of floors is very different.[2] For safety it is most important to ensure the floor is not left even slightly wet after cleaning or mopping up.[3]

Sawdust is used on some floors to absorb any liquids that fall rather than trying to prevent them being spilt. The sawdust is swept up and replaced each day. This was common in the past in pubs and is still used in some butchers and fishmongers.[4]

It used to be common to use tea leaves to collect dirt from carpets and remove odours.[5] Nowadays it is sill quite common to use diatomaceous earth, or in fact any cat litter type material, to remove infestations from floors.

Wood flooringEdit

Wood flooring should be treated completely differently depending on whether it waxed or oiled, or whether it has a polyurethane coating.[6] It is important to determine the type of finish of a wood floor and always treat it the appropriate way, for instance it is difficult to clear wood floor wax from a polyurethane floor.

Reducing the need for cleaningEdit

Good well-maintained entrance matting can dramatically reduce the need for cleaning. For public and office buildings about 80 to 90% of the dirt is tracked in from outside. Installing a total of 15 feet of matting consisting of both indoor and outdoor sections will remove about 80% of this.[7][8] Thus about two-thirds of the dirt can be removed at the entrance. BS 7953 'Entrance flooring systems. Selection, installation and maintenance' has standards relating to barrier matting.

See alsoEdit


  1. HSE information sheet: Slips and trips: The importance of floor cleaning
  2. howstffworks: Home cleaning: Floor-cleaning Tips
  3. HSE: Stop slips in kitchens
  4. NRS 446.841: Use of sawdust on floors in retail meat, poultry and fish markets
  5. Historic Carpet Cleaning Methods in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
  6. "Wood Floor Maintenance". 
  7. The Carpet and rug Institute: Carpet Maintenance Guidelines
  8. Hughes Customat Inc: Dirty Facts

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