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How To Prevent A Stain On Your Reputation

Mark Brigginshaw on key messages to customers about stains

STAINS can be a real headache, often resulting in an unhappy customer. Be it in a school classroom, a retail store, toilets, or a domestic kitchen, it is a common complaint, often with no easy solution.

The causes can be many and varied, for example, chemical spills, rubber fittings and products, poster paints, cleaning chemicals, general trafficking and dir t/contamination to name but a few. Often the staining could have been avoided if the customer had taken the right action.

So what advice can contractors give to help prevent staining in the first place?

Staining may be linked back to ineffective cleaning procedures, and a lack of emphasis on cleaning from the start.

As manufacturers we say an effective cleaning regime and good all-round housekeeping is an essential part of keeping floors safe and clean throughout their life.

Key messages to give customers include:
• Good housekeeping: Where possible, keep to a minimum contact from any form of
contaminant to prevent transfer and long term damage. So remove all spillages immediately and thoroughly, regardless of their nature. What appears to be a relatively harmless liquid, if left long enough, can leave a permanent reminder of its presence.

This problem is not confined to liquids. ‘Solid’ items can be an issue too. For example, paper hand towels, cardboard etc. Add water and time, and the dyes can leave an unwanted pattern on your new flooring. The list of potential offenders goes on, so good housekeeping must be in place from the outset.

• Cleaning and maintenance regime: This must be regular, effective and done correctly. As with good housekeeping, this should be tailored to suit the environment.

Not all cleaning agents work on all contaminants. For example, limescale and cementitious materials require acidic cleaners. So spending time to ensure you’ve got the right cleaning agent saves time and money in the long run and keeps the floor looking new.

It may not be obvious initially, but build-up of everyday dirt and contamination being trafficked onto the floor can permanently affect its appearance if not regularly removed. This may only become apparent when, after a six monthly clean, that nice blue flooring now has a dark shadow running the length of the corridor, which, no matter how hard you scrub, won’t come off.

• Cleaning chemicals: After selecting the correct cleaning agent you need to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and guidelines. Get the dilution rate right, but most impor tantly, rinse. The vital par t of any cleaning procedure, often overlooked, is to regularly and thoroughly rinse the floor with clean water to ensure removal of the cleaning solution and contamination.

For example after sponging your car with a carefully measured solution of car shampoo and water, you wouldn’t leave it there as the finished job.

The least you would do is rinse it down with clean water to remove the traces of contaminated soapy water. The
same should apply to flooring. This brings me to another common staining complaint. ‘My flooring has changed colour overnight! It used to be blue and now it’s green! There must be something wrong with it’.

Or could it be the bright yellow cleaning solution used to mop daily and left to dr y naturally? Many cleaning agents contain dyes and colourings, included generally for aesthetic reasons.

If this solution is repeatedly left to dr y naturally and not rinsed off, the evaporation process will leave a build-up of neat solution, including any dyes and colourings, and in the worst case, cause a gradual change of the colour scheme!

• Help at hand: Flooring manufacturers can help you to help your customers. Altro, for example, provides cleaning cards for all flooring ranges in print and on our website. New technology is continually being developed to make vinyl flooring more and more resistant to staining.

Mark Brigginshaw is a member of Altro’s technical team
I T: 01462 489405

This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at