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The Forgotten Cleaning Step: Interim Maintenance

Posted by Briana Smith on Dec 18, 2020 1:10:48 PM
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By: Briana Smith  |  December 18, 2020

Winter break is typically the time of year that many custodial staffs have some time to do some extra cleaning with so many people out of the building or off campus for several weeks on holiday.

While it may be tempting to spend the time on restorative or deep cleaning procedures, you’re better off holding off until after all of the inclement winter and spring weather has passed. A combination of ice melt, excess water from snow and rain, and mud being dragged in really does a number on a facility’s flooring!

Instead, it’s better to focus on interim cleaning procedures, which allow you to clean more extensively than daily routine but is less intensive and time consuming than deep cleaning.

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Saving Time, Labor and Money

Interim cleaning is often overlooked, but it provides a consistently high level of appearance without having to deep clean as often, giving both facility managers and custodial staffs more flexibility within their cleaning schedules.

Hotels, convention centers, and schools are among the many facilities that have areas which receive tons of foot traffic exposing the floors’ surfaces to recurrent damage. Interim maintenance can improve the overall condition of your flooring, especially if you catch it before a deep clean is needed. More frequent interim cleaning removes the amount of soil that can build up on floors, especially carpeting, therefore reducing the toll that numerous and extensive deep and restorative cleanings can take.

Deep & restorative cleaning procedures are expensive on multiple fronts:

  • Time: Deep & restorative cleaning is time consuming due to the several steps involved, including closing off areas from foot traffic, downtime between steps and the drying process
  • Labor: It takes a lot more effort for your staff to strip & recoat floors and deep clean carpeting
  • Money: Costs involved include the above labor and time, the products and cleaning equipment rental (if you do not own them), disruption to building occupants and guest, as well as the loss of income from not being able to use the room

Interim cleaning provides a cost-effective alternative which reduces the time and labor, while increasing your custodial staff's efficiency and productivity.

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When to Perform Interim Cleaning & Maintenance

It can be a little tricky to determine when daily maintenance should progress to interim cleaning, but essentially you want to perform it before your flooring is showing visible signs of damage. If carpeting or resilient flooring looks bad, they’ve already reached the point where deep or restorative cleaning is necessary.

A general rule of thumb is to perform interim cleaning on carpeting and resilient flooring:

  • Before your carpeting looks visibly soiled
  • Before the nap/pile is flattened
  • Before the finish has completely worn off in walkways & busy areas
  • Before flooring looks damaged

Some preventative cleaning routines will schedule interim maintenance procedures throughout the year (often after evaluating their programs and benchmarking), whereas other times it’s better perform interim cleaning based on the visible condition of their floors.

Read: The Benefits of Scrubbing & Recoating Your Floors

Where to Begin

Before you begin with your interim cleaning, you’ll want to perform your regular daily routine maintenance for cleaning your resilient floor surfaces, as you need to have a freshly cleaned surface before you can take it to the next level. This is similar to the process of cleaning a surface before disinfecting it.

Similar to when you start any cleaning procedure, whether you are vacuuming or planning to refinish a gymnasium floor, you’ll want to take the time to review the process and get all of your supplies together ahead of time.

So, gather your materials & personal protective equipment (PPE), put your safety signs up, dust mop your floor and then damp mop or use an autoscrubber to clean your flooring while using a neutral cleaner or a neutral disinfectant cleaner, etc.

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Interim Cleaning for Carpets

For carpets, interim maintenance generally means carpet extracting or possibly a fast, light surface cleaning using an absorbent compound (aka. dry extraction), bonnet or spin cleaning, or shampooing the carpet.

This keeps your carpet looking refreshed by taking care of a build up in dirt before it becomes problematic, and you can then perform a yearly deep cleaning at a more optimal time once inclement weather has passed and overall conditions have improved. 

Learn More: Carpet Care & Maintenance

Interim Cleaning for Resilient Flooring

The scrub and recoat process allows you to keep your floors looking pristine without having to spend hours stripping and refinishing. Essentially, you’re buffing a couple layers of finish off to remove more minor wear and tear, and then laying down a few replacement layers of finish.

This maintenance allows your custodial team to take care of any issues that pop up that are caused by dirt, water and ice melt, while also preventing the potential for slip and fall accidents. Again, letting you leave the annual restorative cleaning in better conditions.

Want to take your cleaning routine to the next level or need floor care guidance? Contact your WAXIE Account Consultant today to schedule a consultation or training session.



Briana Smith is WAXIE’s Social Media & Product Branding Specialist and spends quite a bit of time skimming the news for what’s new in cleaning, sustainability and technology while managing all of
 WAXIE’s social channels. She especially loves posting about #teamwaxie activities & conversing with customers on Instagram. Briana has a Bachelor's Degree in Communication Design from California State University, Chico.

Topics: carpet, hard floor care, flooring, cleaning tips

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