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record. This allowed for a comparable picture of the damage to be Tips from the expert reproduced retrospectively.) An inspection of the entire flooring confirmed the suspicion raised at the outset: Daily maintenance cleaning had not been performed in an appropriate and profession- al manner. The floor appeared to be uniformly covered with a dull Damage prevention chalky-white film and to have lost its homogeneous color structure. Many types of damage can be avoid- If you look at the constituents of elastomer coverings, the ingredi- ed if the product manufacturer’s usage and care instructions are read ent responsible for the film becomes clear very quickly. As a rule, carefully before going to work on the an elastomer covering consists of 30 to 45 percent rubber-polymer cleaning project. (synthetic rubber and/or natural rubber), mineral fillers (chalks, If cleaning instructions are no longer kaolin), additives (sulfur powder, titanium oxide, mineral oils, available, most kinds of floor cover- resins, flame retardants) and a substrate (cork or foam). Elastomer ings can be cleaned in such a way coverings react sensitively towards alkaline and/or solvent-based that damage can be prevented. The detergents. As is always the case, the effects of the reaction depend guiding principle here is slow and on the length of time of the application and/or the concentration gradual introduction of the cleaning Sascha Hintze, master agent. craftsman for building of the selected detergent in the cleaning solution. cleaning, publicly appointed To verify proper cleaning, it is pref- and sworn expert, Sachver- Alcohol-based cleaners can cause long-term damage erable to first try in concealed test ständigenbüro für Gebäude- Here, the cleaning contractor used an alcohol-based detergent that stairs, under fixed counters). Duisburg; hintze@sachver-reinigung & Entwicklung,areas (cleaning rooms, underneath was also being applied to other areas and other types of surface staendigenbuero-hintze.de. materials. The damage observed by the expert in this case can clearly be attributed to the use of an alcohol-based detergent, which accord- available. It became apparent that while some of the staff had tried ing to the service provider’s statements, had not been changed to adhere to the manufacturer‘s dosing recommendations, quite over the time period in which the floor was cleaned on a regular a few members of the cleaning crew took the “Well, a little extra basis. The damage developed slowly due to the indeterminate con- can’t hurt” approach. centration of the detergent in the cleaning solution. A fixed dosing The investigation also revealed that, depending on the degree of station, which could have prevented different dosages, was not soiling and the cleaning crew roster on any given day, the floor would get a different type of treatment, either damp mopping, wet mopping, or two-stage mopping despite the service provider’s instructions. Reconditioning the surface layer Now that the problem had been identified, the question was what solution, if any, could be found for getting this very tired-looking floor back into shape. After some deliberation with the property manager, the expert suggested to prepare a sample area and try to remove the chalk-like overlay from the surface and treat the floor- ing with a product that could subsequently be used on a regular basis for maintenance cleaning. It should be noted that elastomers are sensitive to aggressive cleaning materials (pads). Nevertheless, the expert decided to work on the surface with a silicone-carbide or sica brush to remove the damaged surface. Afterwards, a highly concentrated wax clean- er was applied, which restored the fresh, homogenous blue color of the original flooring. The left side of the pictures shows the flooring after a concentrated Following this successful test, the contractor cleaned the entire cleaning agent was applied until the elastomer was saturated. After area with a small automatic scrubber. No additional detergent was the recommended reaction time, the surplus was simply vacuumed off. used and special care went into applying overlapping strokes. In Scrubbing with sica brushes effectively removed the dull film (r.) to bring back the original color‘s depth and freshness. The same cleaning agent is addition, to address the challenges posed by the round studs, the now integrated into the maintenance cleaning routine. area was covered in a series of radial passes. N Sascha Hintze | markus.targiel@holzmann-medien GLOBAL CLEANING | ISSUE 2016 45


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