There are numerous reasons to keep plant or warehouse floors clean – increased productivity, worker safety, product contamination, protecting the floor surface and maintaining a quality image. It’s a big job though, and labour accounts for over 90 per cent of total floor cleaning costs.

On average, a manufacturing plant spends 931,850 hours per year maintaining floor surfaces. That’s over 550,000 hours spent sweeping, almost 380,000 hours spent scrubbing and the remaining hours spent polishing or resurfacing.

That’s why it’s essential to find a floor cleaning approach that not only meets your facility’s cleaning requirements, but also helps increase your productivity.

So, how do you decide whether to sweep, scrub or both? Here are a few factors to consider:

  1. The size of dirt and debris particles generated,
  2. The amount of dirt and debris generated,
  3. The character of the dirt (e.g., fibrous, oily, dusty, wet),
  4. The type of floor surface (e.g., tile, bare concrete, coated concrete, outdoor, etc.),
  5. And a definition of what constitutes clean at your facility. “Clean” can mean anything from getting rid of chunks of dirt on the floor, to creating a shiny, scuff-free surface. Your facility’s maintenance goals will factor in to determining the best equipment for your facility.

To determine the best industrial floor cleaning equipment for your facility, it’s important to first understand the difference between sweeping and scrubbing.

Floor Sweepers 101

There are two types of sweepers: vacuum and broom. Vacuum sweepers are ideal for picking up light, bulky debris like leaves, paper cups and shredded paper and packaging materials found in shipping areas. They rely entirely on vacuum suction to pick up debris, so they are not efficient in picking up heavy, dense debris or material that is matted to the ground.

Broom sweepers, on the other hand, are designed to pick up heavier, dense debris that may be packed down and stuck to the floor. They are ideal for applications where heavy debris and dust control are critical factors, like food processing and handling facilities or electronics manufacturing.

Floor Scrubbers 101

Floor scrubbers are designed to leave hard floor surfaces clean, dry and ready for foot or machine traffic. These include walk-behind scrubbers or ride-on scrubbers and their basic function is to lay down a cleaning solution, agitate the solution with scrub brushes and then recover the dirty solution with a squeegee. Automatic scrubbers used on a daily or weekly basis will maintain the floor surface and prevent the buildup of oil, grease and other stains.

There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing the right equipment for industrial floor cleaning.

Check out this detailed guide to learn more and help you determine which is best for your facility.