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Deborah Bland of Diversey Care offers floorcare tips for improving food safety in retail locations.

Listeria is not a bacteria you want to encounter. It causes serious infection when individuals ingest food contaminated with it. In the decade to 2014 there was an average of 180 cases reported annually to the UK Government, almost a quarter higher than the average for the previous decade. In fact, the number of reported cases increased by 5.3% between 2013 and 2014. The infection is present throughout the year but rates are generally higher in the summer months. The illness also appears to affect older people more than younger.

Floorcare should always be a staple of retail store cleaning programmes. When a customer walks into a retail space, what do they notice first? Likely, it’s the floors. A dirty floor can communicate that the rest of the store is not up to standards and scare customers from walking beyond the entrance matting.

Not only that but floorcare is also essential for encouraging risk management and food safety. Recent studies show that pathogens such as Listeria, can not only contaminate retail floors, but can also colonise on these surfaces, especially if there is water or soil present. A 2012 study in The Journal of Food Protection noted that Listeria colonising in floor drains in food processing facilities can be transferred to food contact surfaces if strong hoses are used to clean floors.

Retail facilities can maintain cleanliness, food safety and customer satisfaction while staying committed to the triple bottom line, or ‘people, planet, profit.’ To ensure clean floors day in and day out, improve customer perceptions and lower costs, it’s important to bear the following tips in mind:


Creating and following a floorcare schedule ensures that floors are cleaned as frequently as possible and can remain in top shape. Floors should be cleaned at least once a day. Cooler floors should be deep cleaned once a week.

Organisations should also take seasonal changes and varying climates into consideration when creating a floorcare schedule. During winter months and rainy seasons, floors should be regularly cleaned as snow and mud are tracked into the store and across floors by customers and employees.


Floorcare machines, such as scrubber driers, are effective at removing dirt, debris, water and other soils from floors. If using scrubber driers, cleaning staff should select machines that are easy to maintain, as certain types can be more manageable than others. Staff must be careful if using scrubber driers behind the counter, as they can spray pathogens to other surfaces.

A smart approach is to remove debris from floor, then scrub with a cleaner to remove soil using a scrubber drier and allow the surface to air dry. Microfibre mops are great for light or moderate soils, but if the soil load is too high, they will be no more effective than regular dolly or Kentucky mops.

Day cleaning is cost-effective, more environmentally-friendly and typically produces higher quality cleaning results compared to night cleaning. However, retailers must take caution with day cleaning. If this approach is to be used, it is more suitable for the front of house. In the back of house, there is a higher risk that machines will interfere with food


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