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How do you keep hard floors in hotels and leisure centres looking their best for longer? A cleaning plan and complementary machine selection are crucial, says Stephen Pinhorne, UK National Sales Manager of Truvox International.

For most people the mention of hotels and leisure centres conjures up thoughts of relaxation and recreation. For cleaning and facility managers responsible for the upkeep of flooring, it’s constant traffic and heavy pounding that spring to mind.

There may be harsher environments for hard floors, but the expectations of guests and users tend to be exacting. On top there’s the commercial pressure to prolong the pristine appearance and life of this expensive asset.

This is why our advice starts at the threshold. Effective matting – at all entrances – will reduce the grit and dirt that accelerates wear and shortens that life span.

After that, our perhaps surprising advice as a manufacturer of a wide range of floorcare machines is not to start choosing from catalogues or websites. First, it pays to measure and draw up – respectively, floor areas and an annual maintenance plan. But you may wish to draw on the experience of a contract cleaner or equipment supplier as you do your sums.

It’s not just a question of the area and types of floor to be maintained, but also the chemicals and other consumables used, and the time taken. If your staff is still using manual methods such as mopping, the labour cost savings alone may repay investment in automation in short order. Apart from cost-effectiveness, there are likely to be benefits too in hygiene and the professional image of the establishment.

Versatility is another aspect of cost- effective cleaning. Leisure centres and especially hotels tend to have a wide range of flooring types. These may include sprung wooden floors, marble and terrazzo tiles, vinyls, and wet areas with non-slip flooring – not to mention carpeted areas.

Depending on the areas involved and the layout of the premises, ‘horses for

skirting board level, which is important with the curved edges of safety flooring in wet rooms and gyms.

Away from wet rooms, slips and falls are still an ever-present risk due to floor spills and contamination or even cleaning itself. Again, compared with mopping or other washing methods, an advanced scrubber dryer has the advantage of leaving the surface virtually dry in one pass.

Whatever the machines in use in a busy hospitality and leisure environment, it makes sense to go cordless. Battery power no longer compromises performance even in large facilities, and your customers may be thankful for reduced noise levels and disturbance.

courses’ may be justified, but there’s more often a need for a multi-purpose workhorse that can take most surfaces in its stride. The scrubber dryer tends to fit the bill as it can wash, mop, scrub and dry both hard and soft floors.

A big plus in the hotel and leisure sector are its abilities to clean slip-resistant flooring effectively, without damaging the surface, and similarly, to scrub down in the grout lines between tiles. This capability is particularly valuable in kitchens and food-service areas where hygiene is at a premium. The cylindrical brushes are the key. Models with optional side brushes can also clean to

Space does not permit a run-through of the many other factors to consider when specifying cleaning equipment. But polishing hard floors is likely to be an issue – not just for appearance’s sake. Be aware that rotary polishers and burnishers are more versatile than many realise. High-speed models produce a high shine on smooth, glossy surfaces, such as marble, terrazzo and oak parquet. With the right speed setting and pad or brush, they can also spray-clean effectively, and buff floors to erase scuff marks. Scrubbing is also possible on water-resistant floors such as concrete, tiles, stone and slate.

This brings us back to our annual cleaning plan. Maintenance cleaning methods and machines must be matched to the surface to preserve sealants and protective finishes, preventing flooring failures. Periodic deep cleaning – and refinishing floors, when a properly equipped polisher/ burnisher can be used to strip the old sealant – is an essential part of the plan. It’s a major job best carried out during a quiet spell. For floor cleaning staff, the hotel or leisure centre is no place to relax! 29

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