Slip-resistant floor mats are a must in any commercial kitchen. Often called anti-fatigue mats, these mats offer a cushioned surface for your employees to stand on that is specifically designed to minimize the hazard of slipping, even when completely wet. Non-slip mats are often made of heavy rubber, so the idea of washing them every day can be a daunting and cumbersome proposition, but it is important to keep your mats clean and in shape to avoid any potential health and safety hazards. With proper care and a routine cleaning schedule, your floor mats should last you a long time.
For slip-resistant/wet environment mats that are used in the kitchen or bathrooms, the experts at Anderson Company recommend cleaning your indoor mats daily by sweeping or brushing with a stiff-bristled broom to remove any loose dirt or debris. Lingering impurities can expedite wear and will shorten the life of your mat, and the stiff bristles of a more industrial brush will really help to clear out the holes and grooves in your floor mats that softer brushes or mops will not reach. The floor underneath the mat should also be cleaned frequently to avoid wear on the underside of the mat. A clean surface underneath the mat will also improve the rubber’s grip on the floor and will prevent the mat from shifting around throughout the day.
In addition to daily cleaning of your kitchen mats, more routine and thorough cleanings are also necessary to preserve the life and efficacy of your mats. Grease and oil will accumulate on the mat over time, and even grease-proof rubber will eventually begin to degrade if the oils are allowed to remain trapped within the mat for extended periods of time. Rinsing each floor mat with a hose (preferably a pressurized hose, if you have access to one) and scrubbing it with a water-based degreasing soap at least once per week will help remove any accumulated fats and food-related oils. Although it is tempting to use solvent-based cleaners in an effort to sterilize the mats more thoroughly, this is not recommended. Solvent-based cleaners can eat away at the rubber with repeated use and will ultimately break down the material faster. A strong, water-based cleaner and proper scrubbing with a hard-bristled brush should be sufficient enough to remove any harmful oils from the mat.
For indoor mats with a more cloth-like finish (entrance mats, interior mats, etc.), daily vacuuming is recommended. A wet/dry vacuum may be a smart investment to keep yourself covered during periods of inclement weather when customers and employees are coming in from outside with wet shoes. The floor underneath each mat should be cleaned frequently to remove dust and dirt and increase the grip of the mat against the floor. Like the kitchen mats, routine deep-cleaning is also necessary to maintain the quality (and appearance) of your indoor mats. Cloth mats may be cleaned using any conventional method for cleaning carpeted floors, but the chemicals used should still be kept as solvent-free as possible. On the occasion that you do need to do a spot-treatment using a strong solvent to remove a particularly stubborn stain or mark, be sure to take care to properly rinse any excess solvent from the surface of the mat to prevent it from sinking through the material and damaging the rubber backing.
Outdoor mats are a little bit less demanding, as they do not require the same sort of thorough cleaning as indoor mats. The fact that they are used outside does not mean that they should be ignored, however, as not cleaning any mat periodically will cause it to wear out faster than it should. Outdoor mats should still be brushed, swept, or emptied on a daily basis to prevent large amounts of dirt and debris from accumulating. In addition to a good daily sweeping, outdoor mats should be periodically washed with a high-pressure hose to remove any trapped dirt that may not come out with a regular brushing.
Having and maintaining appropriately located floor mats is an important part of your restaurant’s day-to-day operation. A bit of extra care and attention to your floor mats at the end of each business day will keep your decor looking fresh and new and will ensure that your employees are working in a comfortable and slip-free environment for a long time to come.
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