When it comes to cleaning hard-surface floors, most people’s first thought is to grab a mop. But according to many experts, a vacuum is just as good a choice.

Cleaning hard floors with a vacuum may provide better results, be more efficient, and enhance indoor air quality.

Get Results

Vacuuming, when done properly, may remove more dirt from a floor than a dust mop or broom.

“Brooms and dust mops both leave fine dust and don’t get edges and corners well,” says Mark Browning, CEO of Varsity Contractors in Boise, Idaho. “The vacuum sucks up and eliminates all the dust, even the tiniest particles. It completely eliminates the dirt.”

Vacuums are more effective than mops in reaching dirt in crevices and corners. This is particularly true for grouted flooring. Mops have a tendency to glide over the surface, missing debris in the grout lines. Vacuums are also more suited to dry snow and salt, which would liquefy and form a film beneath a mop.

“Vacuuming is a removal procedure, not a pushing-around approach,” Rathey explains.

Cleaning a hard floor more efficiently if all particles are removed on the first pass. Since there is less dust on the surface, it is less likely to develop into caked-on filth that needs wet cleaning or burnishing to remove. According to one recent research, vacuuming rather than dust mopping decreased the requirement for burnishing by 60%.

Vacuuming up dust and debris makes mopping simpler since there is less filth to remove.

“When remaining dust and dirt are wet, they turn into mud,” Rathey explains. “If you can remove more of that fine dirt by vacuuming, your water will remain cleaner. Since you are not generating mud, you may wash the floor less often.”

Another study in a university found it took a janitor 47 minutes to dust mop and wet mop one classroom. Cleaning the same area with a vacuum and then a wet mop took just 25 minutes. The time savings were realized in not having to move furniture around and in not having to replace the bucket water.

According to Ken Krauss, vice president of sales and marketing at Xanitos in Radnor, Pa., not having to go to replace mop bucket water has made cleaning 15 percent more efficient.

Browning claims that the ability to vacuum both hard and soft surfaces in a single pass has increased his team’s efficiency and cost effectiveness.

“It’s a slam-dunk to me,” Browning adds. His company switched to using vacuums almost exclusively for hard floors about five years ago.

Brooms and mops often push dirt about instead of catching and eliminating it. Even worse, they may stir up the dirt and send it airborne, which can affect occupants’ health.

An added benefit of vacuuming hard floors instead of mopping is improved indoor air quality (IAQ). Browning and his clientele place a high value on health-related cleaning.

“We’re attempting to clean not just for appearance’s sake, but also for health. “A backpack vacuum with a HEPA filter is significantly better for dirt removal,” Browning explains. “It was the clincher for us. It’s much better for the building’s residents.”

A New Approach

As with any cleaning method, vacuuming is only effective when performed correctly. This begins with utilizing the proper tool for the task.

On hard floors, it is usual practice to use a classic upright vacuum with a beater bar. The beater bar, which is meant to agitate carpets, may cause harm to solid surfaces. The upright machine, even with the bar turned off, isn’t suited to clean hard surfaces. The opening is too wide, which reduces velocity and doesn’t allow for enough suction power. A canister vacuum or a backpack vacuum are the two finest vacuums for hard surfaces.

Because vacuuming hard floors is a departure from traditional cleaning methods, it’s especially important to train janitors on proper procedures. Janitors, for example, must pay more attention to minutiae in order to get the most out of a vacuum.

“The entire point of vacuuming is to get into all of your corners and edges,” Krauss adds. “You have a very efficient tool to do that but you have to be diligent.”

For janitors accustomed to upright vacuums, switching to backpack vacuums may need some training.

“It’s not the same as the classic push and pull of an upright,” Browning explains. “With the backpack it’s much more efficient and ergonomic to use a swinging motion. You swing the hose back and forth while holding the wand in front of you.”

It is up to the property manager to work with building service contractors to set frequencies and procedures that meet the facility’s needs without breaking the budget. Nonetheless, experts propose the following steps for optimal hard floor upkeep.

Floors should be vacuumed regularly to eliminate dust and debris from all areas including cracks and crevices. To remove any bound dirt, vacuuming should always be followed by wet mopping. Wet mopping should be used to wipe up spills on an as-needed basis. Intermittently, floors are burnished in preparation for thorough cleaning.

“In the real world, rarely do you have a perfect floor care program,” Rathey says. “If you vacuum, you can get away with wet mopping less regularly.”

Keep Mops on Hand

In most circumstances, a vacuum is an excellent choice for hard-floor cleaning. There are some situations, however, to which it is not well suited.

Large, open spaces, including wide corridors or gymnasiums, may be more quickly cleaned with a wide mop or ride-on scrubber. Even in these circumstances, a vacuum may be preferable for cleaning locations where dirt might accumulate, such as handrails or beneath furniture. If there is a lot of dirt that might turn to mud beneath a mop or scrubber, a vacuum may assist.

To achieve proper suction power, a vacuum requires a powerful motor. A good filtering system also requires electricity to function. As a result, noise levels are another factor to consider.

“If you are in a lobby or at a restaurant talking with someone and the housekeeper fires up the vacuum, it’s can be very loud and annoying,” says Krauss. “It doesn’t really matter how loud it is if it’s in an office building at night and no one is there. You must use the proper tool for the work and for the facilities.”

Related Questions

  • Should I mop before or after vacuum?

    Several professional cleaners recommend vacuuming before mopping. Especially if your interior floor is hard surfaces, vacuuming will make it easier for you to sweep and mop later. Some people like to start by dusting, sweeping, and vacuuming before cleaning.

  • Is vacuuming floors enough?

    Although vacuuming cannot totally disinfect carpet fibers, it is an excellent starting step toward keeping your house safe and clean. To ensure you’re getting the best lifespan of your flooring, continue your routine maintenance by having professional carpet cleaners come to your home every 6 to 18 months.

  • Should I vacuum the floor everyday?

    You only need to vacuum your hard surface floors once a week unless you bring in a lot of dirt or sand, live in a dusty environment, or have pets. Dust, dander and other allergens, however, can work their way into the cracks between floorboards so you don’t want to let it go longer unless it’s a room you rarely use.

  • Why is my floor still dusty after mopping?

    Avoid Using Too Much Soap
    Soap just pulls filth and oil into water, causing them to float. As a result, the more soap you apply, the more filth your mop absorbs. As a result, if you do not completely remove the soapy water from the floor, the dirt will stay, producing streaks on the floor.

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