Many indoor sporting activities require the use of gym mats to promote safety and prevent injuries. However, compared to other types of matting, gym mats have very specific placement, cleaning, care and storage requirements. Following these guidelines for maintaining gym mats will help keep matting in good condition, providing years of quality service.

• Upon receiving: If a gym mat is delivered during the cold winter months, do not unroll it until it has been stored at normal room temperature for at least 24 hours. In some cases, unrolling a gym mat in cold conditions can result in damage to the foam and outer coating of the mat.

• Cleaning the mat: Clean mats by first sweeping them to remove grit and dirt. Next, clean them with a neutral pH cleaner and then a disinfectant before each use—or, better yet, before and after. This keeps mats as clean and healthy as possible. (A cleaner/disinfectant may also be used)

• Chemical disinfectants: Experts recommend using disinfectants specifically designed for gym mats. These will disinfectant effectively without leaving a chemical residue on the mat. Never apply previously used disinfectant. Always use a fresh solution.

• Clean underneath mats: While it is not necessary to clean under mats after each use, moisture and mildew can build up in these areas over time. This can eventually damage the mat, as well as the floor below. Clean and damp mop the floor underneath mats at least every few weeks, if not more often.

• Properly storing [gym] mats is also critical:  If it cannot be stored flat, roll the mat up, not too tightly or too loosely, and secure it so it does not unravel. This should keep it in good condition.

Following these tips will help add years of life to your mats.  If you need any help caring for or maintaining gym mats give us a call.  We would be happy to arrange a site visit and evaluation.

February is National Care about Your Indoor Air month, which is the perfect time for facility managers and cleaning professionals to take a moment and focus on the importance of improving the indoor air within their facilities. 

Custodial personnel and the type of cleaning processes in place can have a large impact on the quality of indoor air. For example, using vacuums with filtration systems can reduce the dust and debris redistributed into the air from equipment exhaust. Chemicals with low VOCs can minimize what particles linger in the air. And potentially one of the most noticeable factors influencing air quality is odor, so it is important for custodial personnel to deal with odors appropriately.

Here are four tips that will help eliminate problem odors and improve indoor air quality:

Lose the mask
Many products simply mask odors with air fresheners and overusing an ineffective product can make the problem worse. The best way to remove — not mask — odors is to first identify the cause of problem and select cleaning products that can effectively eliminate the odor at its source.

Tackle tough restroom odors
Urine odors present one of the toughest challenges when it comes to maintaining pleasant indoor air and can make an otherwise clean facility seem unappealing and dirty, despite the hard work of cleaning professionals. The effective and lasting solution to eliminating urine odors lies in breaking down uric acid crystals in urine, removing the source of the odor rather than just masking it. Incorporate products that break down the odor-causing urine crystals as a regular part of your cleaning routine.

Don’t forget soft surfaces
Porous damp surfaces, such as grout, host bacteria, which feed on urine and humid conditions or wetting the surface can reactivate the odor. To combat this, look for products that are specially formulated work on hard and soft surfaces such as grout, carpet and mattresses.

Limit the spread of pathogens
Unpleasant odors can signal the presence of harmful microorganisms, such as Shigella, Salmonella, Hepatitis A, E. coli and Norovirus, which are routinely found in restrooms and are associated with outbreaks of illness. Remember to select products that are Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered to kill illness-causing bacteria. Bleach products are especially effective against multi-drug resistant organisms and are compatible with most hard surfaces found in public restrooms.

Prevent cross-contamination in restrooms and elsewhere by focusing on high-touch surfaces and objects such as counter tops, urinals, toilets, door knobs and handles, light switches and faucets.

No matter how good the floor care program, a harsh winter can leave a floor looking drab and discolored upon the first blooms of spring.  After the final rain has come and gone, it is time to address the the wear and tear that winter brings to floors.  

Floors will generally need to be stripped or deep-cleaned to return them to like-new condition. A floor that needs stripping may look dull and its finish may appear uneven, cloudy or hazy. After stripping, the floor will need recoating with a floor finish.

The floor will likely need a deep scrub before applying finish to spruce up tired looking floors. It’s a good time to strip and recoat just to get rid of leftover contaminants that were brought in during the winter.

Whether stripping or just a deep scrub is required is largely determined by how well crews kept up the floor during the winter months.

During the winter you have a couple of options, you can either increase your frequencies in an effort to keep things looking good, or you can take a chance and and work on sprucing it back up in the spring.  Which is the best for you?  In the end it will be will be up to each facility manager or business owner to determine the need based on their individual requirements.

When you think about a deep cleaning of your office, what do you consider?  Dusting, strip & waxing of floors, machine scrubbing of restroom floors, shampooing and cleaning carpets?  However, upholstery cleaning may not be top of mind.  Have you ever stopped to consider those other germ-filled upholstery items, like cubicle walls, partition dividers or (gasp) your chair?

In the average office, you have sugars, starches, proteins, skin, perspiration, and germs circulating throughout the entire facility and collecting on furniture.  Cubicle walls often hide dust and stains by design, but are among the most neglected areas in an office building.   They are one of the biggest filtering medias that you have in the building.   Cubicles are commonly covered with a layer of woven polyester fabric that can become a collector of dust and other airborne debris.  They also collect stains associated with workers eating and drinking at their desk, from coffee spills to soup splatters.  Each person sheds about a gram and a half of dead skin cells every day.  However, the real concern lies with dust mites, who allergic droppings threaten indoor air quality.

Upholstery cleaning is a must in any building where indoor air quality is a priority (and it should be).  It’s also important to remove invisible stains or damage from foods, beverages, sweat, skin oils and more.

Talk to your janitorial provider about whether they offer upholstery cleaning in addition to the standard carpet extraction.  Hot water extraction provides a thorough, deeper cleaning.  A damp or dry shampoo can be brushed on, agitating the fibers and allowed to dry before being vacuumed away.

It is recommended to most commercial office customer that the cleaning of cubicles, partitions and upholstered furniture should be performed once every 12 to 24 months.  One rule of thumb to remember: “If you can see the soil, you’ve waited too long to get it clean”

Most cleaning professionals know vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters (high efficiency particulate air filters) can help protect indoor air quality. These filters capture the smallest of particles, 99.97 percent of the time. They can trap smoke, molds, bacteria, dust mites, pollen, and other particles.

HEPA filtration is a great advantage used in modern vacuum cleaners because it removes harmful particles from the air that can trigger allergy and asthma symptoms. However, this filtration method is only effective if properly maintained. Taking good care of your vacuum and performing routine maintenance will ensure a clean and healthy environment.

Over time, HEPA filters need to be replaced. This is crucial for the vacuum cleaner to operate at optimal performance. However, because HEPA filters can last a fairly long time, it is not uncommon that you simply forget to change them.  In fact, if you fail to replace the HEPA filter in your vacuum cleaner, it can actually cause a loss in suction and an increase in allergies or asthma due to particles released into the air. If you use a bagless vacuum cleaner, you will need to pay more attention to the filter. While the advantage of not having to replace bags is great, bagless vacuums tend to be a lot less efficient in filtration than bagged machines. Harmful particles can easily escape back into the air from these machines due to a lack of sealed filtration.

If you use a bagless vacuum (like a Dyson ball) you’ll want to replace the filter every 3-6 months as needed. Some filters offered in these machines will be washable. If this is the case, make sure to wash the filter as often as a normal filter would be replaced in order to avoid dirt buildup.

When replacing the filter, users should contact the distributor where it was purchased or the manufacturer directly. And always select the HEPA filter designed for that specific machine and model.