3 Keys to avoiding winter floor damage

Each year, winter returns with a vengeance.  Ice melt, salt bags, and shovels are pulled from storage in anticipation of tackling the harsh elements and ensuring our buildings are safe for staff and guests.

In the same way, interior cleaning preparations must be made to fight back against the many contaminants entering our facilities.  Contaminants such as melting snow, ice melt, sand and rock salt can cause extensive damage to floors without the proper preparations and maintenance.   Here are our 3 keys to avoiding winter floor damage in your facility.


Entrances are key areas of focus in order to stop soils, sand and debris from entering your building.  Additional matting is absolutely necessary to collect and hold any grime, ice-melt, tracked-in snow, and prolonged moisture. 

The general rule is a minimum of 15 to 18 feet of matting at entrances to trap 80% of soils.  Whenever possible, select “high performance” mats which have longer lifespan and are more effective at retaining soils. 

Review often to ensure your matting program is still appropriate.  Preventing foreign contaminants from getting past your entrance will extend your carpet and hard surface life cycle and reduce wear, fading and damage.


Having installed a professional matting system for your entrances, you are now successfully containing a majority of contaminants.   Now we need to ensure these areas are properly cleaned.  Some additional cleaning requirements may include:

  • Vacuum flooring instead of sweeping to remove significantly more sand, soil and grit.
  • Extract and/or stand matting to dry prior to cleaning.  (Wet mats are highly ineffective.)
  • Clean underneath matting - remove all moisture, vacuum, and wash clean prior to replacing mats.  Sand and grit trapped below a shifting mat can cause extensive damage to floors.
  • Two bucket mop system allows cleaning with fresh water while leaving soiled water in a separate compartment.
  • A winter cleaning solution can help break down salt and ice melt during the mopping process.


No matter what you do, additional soils will still find their way into your facility.  Increasing your floor cleaning frequency is necessary to remove those additional contaminants that find their way in. 

If you’re not currently vacuuming daily, consider doubling your regular intervals.  High traffic hard surface flooring can also be vacuumed as needed and washed using a winter cleaning solution.  For carpets, an interim carpet care solution such as encapsulation is a cost effective way to remove winter residue from your carpets each month.

To get the most out of your floor care, consider partnering with a professional commercial cleaning service.  Our custom proposals can include floor maintenance as well as general cleaning, carpet cleaning, window washing, tile/grout cleaning and more. Working with a contractor to implement a comprehensive cleaning program will ensure proper maintenance and keep your building looking great all year round.