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“What is clear, in the majority of cases, is that companies are spending up to £180.00 per square metre on entrance matting and its use and life expectancy are not being maximised.”

Dry soil removal

restored the textile fibres to an upright position. The amount of dry soil removed during the first shift was staggering; weighing in at 4.0kg. The filters had to be changed three times during this first clean.

Two stage matting

realisation when we carried out these trials was that the time frame was limited and constrained. The earliest we could start was 11:00pm and the matting had to be clean and dry by 6:00am.

We followed a VCATV approach. For all of you non- cleaning experts, that’s Vacuuming, Chemistry, Agitation, Time, Vacuuming. In our view, the term ‘extraction’ means the same as ‘vacuuming’. The first vacuuming or extraction phase means removing loose soil but with the Host system this can be combined with a brushing phase. We used different vacuuming techniques such as lawn mower and double brushing and we also experimented with a number of brush types to establish whether stiff brushes worked better. We found that double brushing - North/South, East/West - twice was

necessary to restore the matting and was used for the first shift. Thereafter, double brushing was only used in the main traffic area and lawn mower used elsewhere. Lawn Mower brushing takes 50% less time than double brushing and we were able to reduce the time taken to vacuum the area from 2 hours to 45 minutes over the six week period. On the scraper/textile primary matting, we found that the deep brushing system

Curiously enough, the soil had a burnt tobacco odour but the mystery was solved as a smoking area was found adjacent to the entrance. During subsequent shifts, the weight of dry soil dropped significantly to around 1.5kg per shift by the sixth week. We could see that the visual soiled area had reduced dramatically, as the dry soil had been removed. This meant that we could concentrate the Host chemistry where it was needed.

On the first occasion, we applied Host and then double-brushed. We found that we were applying chemistry to approximately 80% of the area and used seven kilos of product.

By the end of the trials we were applying Host to 40% of the area and using under three kilos of Host sponges.

A significant drop in timing had also occurred; as the time taken to carry out the cleaning process reduced from four hours to two hours and the mat was dry immediately. Additionally, the matting looked much better and as it was cleared of soil would also work as the manufacturers intended. We were told that their current cleaning method took seven hours.

So why does matting, apart from our mall, look awful? Our opinion is that it’s the process of investment that goes horribly wrong. Everyone agrees that matting is a good thing and installation costs of up to £300.00 per square metre are often incurred. The investment gap, if you like, is that the unfortunate FM manager doesn’t then get the investment they need to keep the mats up to the grade required. Otherwise, why does matting need premature replacement and, more often than not, end up looking like the mats at the beginning of this article?” Lawn mower vacuuming 47

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