Tracked-in soil is the biggest threat to indoor air quality and building cleanliness. The best way to mitigate the destructive power of tracked-in soil is to trap it before it gets a chance to damage your floor by using high quality, well-maintained walk-off matting. That is why a good set of commercial-grade floor mats is absolutely crucial to a complete floor care program. Heavy duty entrance matting captures and stops soil and debris before they get on your floor…but they’re only effective if they are maintained! Think of your entrance mats as a container for dirt.
Imagine that it’s raining outside, and you have a small leak in your roof. You need to catch that leaking water, so you put a bucket under the leak so it catches the drips as they fall. But what happens if you put a very small bucket under the drip? Or what happens if you put a big bucket, but you never bother to empty it? If you never empty that bucket, eventually it’s going to fill up and overflow – and that’s exactly what happens with entrance matting that isn’t properly cleaned and maintained. Entrance matting fills up with dirt over time, and unless you “empty the bucket” it will overflow and stop trapping new tracked-in dirt.
For most typical commercial buildings, primary entrances need at least fifteen linear feet of walk-off matting as a first line of defense. Make sure the mats are heavy-duty enough to remain flat and smooth while in use to minimize tripping hazards; rental mats are notorious for flopping, curling up at the edges, and otherwise creating more problems than they solve!
You can help expand the dirt-holding capacity of your indoor mats by also using outdoor mats as a supplement. Outdoor mats should be aggressive scraper mats to remove larger soil particles while they’re still outside of the building, whereas indoor mats should be of the dryer/scraper type to remove finer soils and moisture still on the bottom of a person’s foot. Using commercial-grade walk=-off matting effectively pay for themselves through reduced maintenance and cleaning costs, and they have the side benefit of improving the appearance of a key building area: the entrance. Cleaning up tracked-in soil from a concentrated area at the entrance is substantially less expensive than allowing it to spread throughout your building. Frequent, regular vacuuming is essential to remove these loose soils and “empty the bucket” before they become embedded into the carpet fibres is crucial to extending the service life of your carpets and entrance mats.