Maintaining a nightclub dance floor is an important task for cleaning professionals. Accidents have happened because club floors were not properly maintained. The quality of a floor can also impact the popularity of a club, while influencing the number of people dancing on it.
Here, Robert Kravitz, former building service contractor and now writer for the professional cleaning and building industries, interviews Paul South, a veteran in the professional cleaning industry and president and general manager of Valley Janitorial Supply based in Hamilton, Ohio. South offers some insight into dance floor cleaning and care.
What makes dance floors in a nightclub different from cleaning other types of floors?
A popular club will have a very soiled dance floor just about every visit, whereas the floors in a school or office building will need special cleaning attention only a couple of times per week. Cleaning professionals can expect a night club dance floor to be covered with cigarette butts, sugary margaritas, red wine and beer all mixed in with lots of dust, soil and grime just about every night. Whereas floors in a school may need only a dust mopping on a nightly basis, a dance floor needs to be thoroughly cleaned daily to prevent soil or moisture build up, which can negatively impact the appearance and safety of the floor.
So it’s mainly because of the way the dance floor is used that causes cleaning and maintenance issues?
There are other factors as well. For instance, spiked heels. The problem this creates is that wearers can leave indentations on the floor and soil and moisture can build up in these indentations. Often these become difficult to clean effectively. Also, the entire atmosphere in a dance club can impact the floor. Dancers start to perspire and this causes the humidity in the air to increase. As the air cools, it drifts down to the floor where it can turn dust, grit and soil into microscopic mud piles, further impacting the floor’s appearance and safety.
What’s your advice to cleaning professionals on maintaining nightclub dance floors?
First, establish a cleaning routine. You want to do things in a specific order. This will ensure all tasks are completed and saves time. The routine starts with picking up large debris from the floor and then sweeping or vacuuming. Be careful. There may be broken glass on the floor that may be hard to detect. Because of this, consider using a sweeper or wide-area vacuum, which will collect debris along with glass and other items. Plus, it will do a more effective job than sweeping or dust mopping, protects indoor air quality and can help improve worker productivity.
Should the floor be damp mopped afterwards?
I do not recommend damp mopping the dance floor. Even if the floor has been swept or preferably vacuumed, a lot of the grit and soil is imbedded into the floor, and soil can accumulate on the mop and in the cleaning solution. The best bet is to scrub the floor using an autoscrubber. The autoscrubber applies a cleaning solution directly to the floor, the machine scrubs (agitates) the floor to loosen soils, which are then collected and vacuumed up by the machine.
However, I must admit many nightclubs prefer not to use an autoscrubber. They are usually designed for much larger floors than a typical dance floor; the technician must be trained on how to use the machine; and probably the biggest factor is that these are costly cleaning machines. A less expensive alternative to an autoscrubber is an auto vac system. It works the same way and has proven to be more effective than a traditional autoscrubber. These systems are also more protective of the floor and the floor’s finish, if it has been applied.
Are there special types of cleaning solutions to use?
Typically a pH neutral cleaner should be used to clean vinyl or hardwood dance floors. If the floor is seriously soiled, a degreaser may be necessary. Some routines call for using a pH neutral cleaner three or four times per week and then using a degreaser for deeper cleaning. Also, applying a finish (wax or sealant) to the dance floor is often up to the client. But a finish may actually help keep the floor cleaner and protect it. If a finish is applied, however, it must have a high Dynamic Coefficient of Friction (DCOF) to help prevent slips and falls. This information will be noted on the product’s label.
You mentioned dance floors may have safety issues. Is it mainly because of spilled drinks and soil build-up?
Those are two key reasons but not the only reasons. Sometimes, with frequent use, dance floors develop uneven surfaces. If the floor is wood or tile, it may develop chips and cracks. And, as just discussed, a finish may be applied that does not have a high enough DCOF. Weather can even be a factor. Cleaning professionals must pay attention to all of these issues and realize the safety of patrons is at risk if they do not.
Robert Kravitz is former building service contractor and now writer for the professional cleaning and building industries. Paul South is a veteran in the professional cleaning industry and president and general manager of Valley Janitorial Supply based in Hamilton, Ohio.