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Floor Care…A Shining Example

By Anthony Burton

Most of us in the Janitorial Industry have stripped a floor or watched the process performed more than we can count. Based on the step-by-step procedures, most of us would rather visit the dentist than watch wax dry or move office furniture around a facility. Trust me, I know it can be a difficult task, but the rewards are plentiful if we do the job right!

Now, pay close attention to what I’m about to share… this “shining example” will guarantee a happy customer every time you perform a strip and wax! It’s tried and true because I spent all of last summer training advanced floor care, and I never received one complaint from the customers.


If you want to offer quality floor care to your customers, you need to make sure your franchisees and their employees are following procedures correctly. Here are some preparation tips and follow-up techniques that will ensure a quality job every time.

  • First, start with identifying the proper equipment for the job. All stripping and waxing equipment must be clean and ready to use. This is easily accomplished by taking time to clean the scrubber, wet vacuum, buckets, mop heads, stripping pads and floor scrapers after each job. Keep a laminated listing or Jan-Pro Advanced Floor Care Guide readily available for each Franchisee and employee. They will need to review the guide or checklist before starting the strip process to make sure all equipment is clean and ready to be used. Missing equipment is a sure way to derail any strip and wax job.
  • Measure chemicals according to manufacturer’s instructions. The stripping chemical is designed to emulsify old floor finish. This process is realized by mixing the correct ratio of chemical to water. There are some floor techs that think pouring undiluted stripper onto the floor will allow the stripper to work more quickly; this is not the case!  The water activates the emulsifiers within the chemical which then allows the actual separating of the wax to begin. It is very important to read the labels on all chemicals. We suggest using a measuring cup and following the label directions for the proper dilution. Too much can be more harmful than not enough!
  • Safety is the most important step. The stripping chemical can become very slippery once applied to the floor. We suggest using wet floor signs at every entrance to prevent anyone from walking into the work area. In addition, you can use tape or rope to block the area. Slips and falls should be avoided at all times. In addition, personal protective equipment must be used during the entire strip process.
  • Baseboards are included. Wax on baseboards is unacceptable. Cove base should be clean and void of any sheen or gloss. The cleaning process for baseboards will include a scrub pad and baseboard stripper. You will need to clean/strip the baseboards before any finish is applied to the floor.
  • Strip floors thoroughly. The one consistent complaint with advanced floor care is old wax not being removed completely from the floor. This problem exists due to inconsistency with scrubbing the floor or not allowing the stripper to dwell long enough before using the scrubber. Either way, you cannot apply new finish to a floor where old finish is still obvious. We suggest following each row of tile with several passes before moving the scrubber to the next row of tile. This will ensure the floor is stripped in a uniformed manner. Caution: Do not allow the stripping chemical to dry on the floor. If an area appears to be drying, apply more stripping chemical and agitate to loosen the finish. Drying stripping solution will re-adhere to the floor, thus causing you to rescrub the area.
  • Rinse and Rinse again. Rinsing the floor is very important beause the stripping chemical is very high in Alkaline. Most strippers have a pH reading of 12 – 14 while most floor finishes have a reading of 8 – 9. Obviously, the floor finish will not adhere properly to the floor with the presence of a non-neutral chemical. We recommend rinsing the floor at least twice, but as many as four times if needed, to remove any stripping chemical residue.
  • Applying finish is an art. Floor finish is designed to protect floors. Based on its chemical makeup, it also produces an attractive shine to which most customers can relate. If the finish is not applied properly, you can have a serious problem with the results. Start out by laying the first coat six inches (6″) from the baseboard. Very little finish is needed next to the wall seeing as this area receives minimal foot traffic. Outline an area approximately six feet (6′) wide and then fill in the area by walking backward using a figure eight motion. This process will allow you to cover large areas quickly and professionally. Allow the floor to dry for at least 10 minutes before using fans or air movers. Aim the fan toward the ceiling as to produce a downward force, thus eliminating the probability of the finish becoming wavy. Add additional coats to create a strong protective barrier for the floor. Typically 4 – 5 coats are recommended.
  • Inspection and clean up of equipment. If furniture was moved to accomplish a full strip and wax, all furniture must be replaced properly. We suggest taking pictures of any large areas of furniture to assure ease of replacement. Once furniture is replaced, it is imperative that all equipment is cleaned and prepared to be loaded into your vehicle. The inspection should be the last step before leaving the facility. Inspect corners, baseboards and the consistency of the floor finish.  Additionally, the door jambs and furniture must be clean. Correct any discrepancies before the next business day. If these steps are followed, you will have a happy customer after every job and maximize your profit!! GOOD LUCK!


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