pouring disinfectant cleaner into mop bucket

Disinfectant Cleaners are getting a lot more use these days with the COVID-19 virus pandemic. Folks are retooling their cleaning protocols at home and at work. If you’ve added disinfectant cleaner to your floor cleaning routine, there are a few tips you will find helpful. At 1877FloorGuy, our technical gurus have been fielding questions about disinfectants and floor cleaning for years from hospitals and surgical centers where disinfecting has long been part of their daily cleaning program so we are well prepared to answer your floor disinfecting questions.

Disinfectant cleaners do an excellent job at killing viral and bacterial germs but only if you follow the “dwell time” directions. Dwell time is the length of time the surface must stay wet with disinfectant cleaner in order to thoroughly disinfect the surface to which it is applied. For example, Vital Oxide label tells you the dwell time for hard non-porous surfaces, “Allow surface to remain wet for 5 minutes for virus inactivation – 10 minutes for bacterial disinfection.” Most floors are hard non-porous surfaces including luxury vinyl sheet, plank or tile and polyurethane coated hardwood and laminate flooring. Be careful when disinfecting hardwood and laminate to not get the floor too wet because excessive moisture can damage these types of flooring materials, just get it wet enough to last 5-10 minutes.

What disinfectant cleaner doesn’t do well at is cleaning the floor. They are not great at lifting dirt and residue. In fact, when the floor isn’t cleaned thoroughly before and/or after disinfecting, the disinfectant cleaner dries on the floor and you wind up with dirty looking residue that just continues to attract and hold more dirt, looking worse and worse over time and after repeatedly disinfecting. Most disinfectant cleaners tell you on the bottle label to “pre-clean,” especially for heavily soiled floors. So don’t let the name, “disinfectant cleaner” fool you, these products typically disinfect but fall short for deep cleaning.

1877FloorGuy floor care experts say to use the flooring manufacturer recommended floor cleaner before applying a disinfectant cleaner to the floor. Allow the proper dwell time for the disinfectant to work at killing germs on the floor then rinse with clean water and a clean mop. This will provide the best results for a floor that is clean and disinfected. If rinsing after applying disinfectant isn’t practical, at the very least, use the cleaning solution recommended for your type and/or brand of floor before using a disinfectant cleaner. When you do so, you’ll be disinfecting a cleaned floor which makes a lot of sense.

Keep in mind, when cleaning and disinfecting your floors, that different types of floors require different approaches. For example, hardwood floors should never be saturated with any liquid. Clean your wood & laminate flooring with a spray cleaner and a flat mop, for both routine cleaning and disinfecting. This provides better control over how much cleaning solution goes onto the floor. 

Vinyl floors, LVT, luxury vinyl plank, stone, and ceramic tile floors do well being cleaned with traditional wet mop and bucket because these types of floors can handle the amount of moisture typical during mopping. Both routine floor cleaner and disinfectant cleaner can be applied with a string or sponge mop. Be sure to wash or change mop heads between floor cleanings because a dirty mop will not provide a fresh clean floor.

As with any new product you use on your floors, test a disinfectant cleaner in a small, out of the way area to ensure compatibility with your floor and with any polish or finish that may be applied to your floor. Still have questions? Reach out to 1877floorguy via telephone, email or Messenger chat from our website and we’ll do our best to answer your specific floor cleaning and disinfecting questions. 

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