Professional, systematic cleaning & care contributes significantly to extending the life of floor coverings. It is also one of the most important tasks in contract cleaning. This applies primarily to the deep cleaning or stripping of resilient floor coverings.
RESILIENT FLOOR coverings also include PVC, elastomer (e.g. rubber studs) and linoleum. PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is a synthetic, resilient floor covering that is very hard wearing as well as water and alkaline resistant. Linoleum by contrast is a natural product consisting of the raw materials linseed oil, cork powder, wood flour and a jute substrate. This type of floor covering has only limited alkaline-resistance (application concentration pH 10).
It is often hard to tell at first glance the difference between the two types of flooring by their colour and structure. To avoid damage to the floor covering through highly alkaline cleaning agents, the so-called paperclip test is recommended prior to deep cleaning/ stripping.
“Once the coating residue is completely dissolved, the next step is to vacuum the dirty water using the scrubber drier – section by section. This is much faster than the conventional method using the wet and dry vacuum cleaner and also saves time.”
Process of testing
Heat the tip of a straightened metal paperclip (copper) in the flame of a cigarette lighter for about five seconds and subsequently press it on the floor covering on an inconspicuous area for about three seconds. On pulling the paperclip slowly out if the material is PVC, a small hole will be visible that extends almost to the base of the floor covering. The hole has a bulging edge formed from the melted synthetic material. This is very hard and can be felt when touched. When the metal tip is pulled out of the floor covering, a small thread is often formed that has a strong smell. If the floor covering is made of linoleum, the hole from the same experiment shows charring – the puncture site remains smooth and smells of burnt wood. With elastomer floor coverings, the clip hardly penetrates, a small hole is formed without bulge and smells of burnt rubber.
Deep cleaning with single-disc
One of the two working methods for deep cleaning or stripping involves the use of a low-speed single-disc machine, e.g. BRS 43/180 C. At 180 rpm, a high torque is applied to the surface to be cleaned. In addition, the machine is fitted with a detergent tank, a supplementary weight and a pad carrier with green pad.
The loose dirt is initially removed with a brush or vacuum cleaner. For linoleum, the all-round basic cleaning agent RM 754 ASF (pH 10.5) is applied in sections with the singledisc machine. During the contact time (about 10 minutes), the floor covering is scrubbed several times using strong, overlapping, circular motions. The dosage varies between 10-20% (may be higher from case to case), depending on the coating thickness.
When applying and processing, it should be ensured that the agent does not dry. Otherwise, the residual coating dissolving process slows down. It is therefore recommended to clean in sections and reapply cleaning agent if required. The hand pad can be used for corners and edges that cannot be reached by the machine. Once the coating residue is completely dissolved, the next step is to remove the dirty water using a powerful, large wet and dry vacuum cleaner. Alternatively, a scrubber drier with roller scrubber head fitted with green roller pads could be used.
Deep cleaning with a scrubber drier
Initially, the basic cleaning agent (for PVC: intensive deep cleaner with pH 13.2 and for linoleum: all-round basic cleaning agent with pH 10.5) is applied in straight sections with a small overlap. During the contact time, the prepared surface is cleaned several times crosswise with the scrubber drier. If required, more cleaning agent could be applied in order to prevent the agent from drying.
A very good stripping result is achieved through the strong and uniform contact pressure (up to 210 g/ cm2) over the entire working width, high speed (1100 rpm) and excellent floor contact (roller pads). Thanks to the consistent efficiency of the green roller pads as a result of the self cleaning effect, the stripping process is significantly shorter.
Once the coating residue is completely dissolved, the next step is to vacuum the dirty water using the scrubber drier — section by section. This is much faster than the conventional method using the wet and dry vacuum cleaner and also saves time.
The floor covering is subsequently rinsed again with clear water with the scrubber drier adding clear water using the one-step method. Additional mechanical processing using roller technology ensures that any detergent residue is optimally removed from the floor covering so that the risk of “powdering” of the new coating through the detergent residue is prevented. The floor must subsequently be allowed to dry.
The drying time for the natural product linoleum is minimum 12 hours, preferably 24 hours due to a risk of the new coating separating from the floor covering (powdering) where there is residual moisture. For this purpose, the AB 20 air blower can be used with sufficient ventilation. This halves the drying time.