17 Steps to Beautifully Clean Floors With a Riding Floor Scrubber

If you’re in charge of keeping a large floor area clean, you know how challenging the job can be. With people constantly walking across your floor, they continually track dirt onto the surface. The job gets even more difficult if your space is located in a building that needs to be hygienic, such as a hospital or nursing home.

Even if you don’t have to worry about cleanliness for medical reasons, a clean floor can speak volumes about your company or business. In fact, clean floors can be an effective marketing message.

When visitors or customers enter your location, they may not directly notice your sparkling floors but they will experience a feeling of cleanliness. You want potential customers to become repeat ones. A clean building is one essential way to achieve this.

Why Should I Choose a Riding Floor Scrubber for My Cleaning Job?

Riding floor scrubbers offer a number of key benefits over traditional floor cleaning options.

First, they are an efficient way to clean large areas quickly. Much more cost-effective than an army of maintenance personnel with mops and buckets, a riding floor scrubber is also hygienic and environmentally friendly.

When compared to walk-behind scrubbers, a riding floor scrubber is more comfortable to operate. Larger areas can be cleaned with fewer breaks since your operators won’t have to strain themselves pushing around a heavy machine. However, many people are afraid of the riding scrubbers simply because they are unsure how to use them. Reading through the large manufacturer’s instructions can be intimidating. If you have more than one cleaning machine, the job can seem even more difficult.

There are, however, some simple common steps all riding floor scrubbers follow. Here’s a step-by-step guide to cleaning your floors with a riding floor scrubber. Read through these steps to get a head start on your cleaning job. You can use this list as either a quick start guide or a refresher before cleaning your floors again.

1. Block Off the Work Area

Few things are as frustrating as having someone walk through a half-cleaned area. In addition, the floor scrubbing process creates a wet surface that could be a slipping hazard. This first step can prevent major headaches for your company while protecting your customers and visitors.

2. Sweep the Floor

Before you begin, thoroughly sweep the floor to remove loose dirt and debris. While this seems like an extra, unneeded step, it can actually save you time in the long run.

By pre-sweeping, you’re preventing the scrubber from jamming up, drawing in any foreign objects or grinding dirt into the floor surface. If you skip this step, you may find you will have to stop cleaning to unjam your riding floor scrubber — a waste of valuable time. Skipping this step could also shorten the lifespan of essential parts on your riding floor scrubber.

You do not have to remove all traces of dust — just large particles and pieces of foreign matter. A quick pass with a sweeper will save headaches, time and money in the long run.

3. Choose the Right Pads for the Job

If your model uses pads instead of squeegees, you need to choose the right ones for the job. Smoother, less aggressive pads are best for smooth, high-gloss floors. Rougher pads are best for concrete and other tough surfaces, while brushes work better than pads for very uneven floors. Brushes are also best for athletic flooring, which can be damaged by abrasive pads. Squeegees are suitable for all floor surfaces.

4. Make Sure the Floor Scrubber Is Ready to Go

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to prep the floor scrubber. Make sure the scrubber pads or squeegees are clean and properly mounted on the machine. Check all the hoses to be sure the connections are tight. Fully charge the batteries.

While taking the time to check these essential parts may seem like a time-waster, this step is essential for getting the results you need. The last thing you want is to be in the middle of a cleaning job only to find the scrubbers were not properly mounted and the floor is not getting properly cleaned.

5. Drive the Scrubber to an Outer Wall or Boundary

Depending on the scrubber model you have, you might need to turn a key, press a button or move a lever to start it. Some models automatically place the squeegees or pads in the correct position, while others require you to move them down before you begin cleaning. If yours automatically sets itself for cleaning, look for a switch or button that will manually override the system to allow you to drive the floor scrubber to the place you want to begin.

Choose an outer wall or boundary of the area you want to clean. This will let you make clean, tight passes back and forth to avoid missing any spots.

6. Prepare a Detergent Solution

Fill the floor scrubber’s solution tank with fresh, clean water and then add detergent according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Never put detergent into an empty tank and then attempt to add water, as it’s very hard to create the right solution that way. Every riding floor scrubber is a little different, so always check the recommendations for a scrubber you have never used.

7. Add an Industrial Defoaming Product

Some riding floor scrubbers have a tendency to create excess foam, which can create a messy situation. If yours is prone to over-foaming, add an industrial defoaming product to the tank after you make the detergent solution. Follow the defoaming product’s labeled instructions to add just the right amount.

8. Familiarize Yourself With the Floor Scrubber’s Controls

Riding floor scrubbers are simple to operate, but all models work slightly differently. For example, the Advance 2800ST and 3400ST give the rider manual control over the scrub deck and squeegee, while the Advance SC3000 automates those operations. In addition, some models have different settings for an extra cleaning boost, quiet operation and other customization options. Make sure you understand how all the different controls work so you can get the best performance out of your floor scrubber.

9. Start the Scrubber According to the Manufacturer’s Directions

Drive mode is often different from cleaning mode on a riding floor scrubber. Before you begin cleaning, make sure the scrubber is ready. Lower the squeegees or pads, making sure they are level and even with the floor. Then start the machine and begin the cleaning process according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

10. Clean the Floor in Halves

It is more time-efficient to clean the floor in shorter passes from one wall or boundary to the midpoint, and then from the midpoint to the other wall, rather than making long tracks from wall to wall. Find a visual dividing line down the center of the room.

Make a slow, even pass along the wall until you reach the center point of the room. Then make a sweeping turn and return to the far side of the area. Work back and forth, taking care to drive smoothly and evenly in straight lines.

When you have thoroughly cleaned one half of the area, continue cleaning past the center line and all the way to the far wall. Then reverse the process, traveling from the far wall back to the midpoint, turning and returning to that wall.

11. Use the Floor Scrubber’s Features as Needed

If your riding floor scrubber has a “burst cleaning” mode or similar feature, use it to spray additional detergent solution on stubborn dirt and grime. If you can manually control the pads or squeegees, lower them a bit to scrub particularly dirty areas. Some models have a “quiet” feature that allows you to soften the noise when cleaning in quiet places. Keep a close eye on the floor as well as your surroundings and be ready to respond to changing conditions as needed.

12. Check the Recovery Tank Frequently

The recovery tank is a second tank that holds the dirty water in your riding floor scrubber. The control panel on your scrubber has a gauge that monitors how full the recovery tank is. Keep an eye on it to ensure it doesn’t overflow. One tank can handle the typical moderate job, but over-foaming or particularly dirty floors can cause it to fill up faster than usual. If the tank gets full, stop cleaning and dump the tank, taking care to note exactly where you stopped.

13. Dump the Recovery Tank

At the end of the job — or when the recovery tank is full — drive the scrubber to your facility’s designated chemical dumping area. Read the detergent label and check with your supervisor for any special instructions. Then remove the tank or attach the dump hose according to the manufacturer’s directions and pour out the dirty solution.

14. Repeat the Cleaning Process if Needed

Riding floor scrubbers are very good at getting floors clean on the first try, but occasionally a job will require two passes. This is more likely to happen with floors that have not been cleaned in a long time and have a heavy buildup of dirt, especially if the floors are also rough and uneven. Visually inspect the floor after you finish to see if another pass is required and repeat the process if needed.

15. Clean Out Both Tanks

When you are finished cleaning, return to the designated chemical dumping spot. Remove both the recovery tank and the solution tank or attach their dump hoses. Then pour out the contents of both tanks. Rinse both tanks thoroughly with fresh, clean water, ensuring no detergent remains. Finally, dry the tanks completely before reattaching them to the machine.

16. Clean or Dispose of the Pads, Squeegees or Brushes

Some pads, squeegees and brushes are disposable, while others are designed to be washed and reused. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning or disposing of these items before putting the floor scrubber away.

17. Charge the Floor Scrubber and Put It Away

Riding floor scrubbers typically operate on batteries that are good for one or two cleaning jobs, depending on the size of the area and the dirtiness of the floor. It’s best to get in the habit of recharging the batteries after every use so that the scrubber is always ready to go.

Tips for Keeping Your Riding Floor Scrubber in Top-Notch Shape

To get the most out of your floor scrubber, you need to follow a few simple rules. First, always pre-sweep to remove larger particles and debris. This will save you from time-draining jams.

Next, put your riding floor scrubber on a regular maintenance schedule. Your manufacturer’s instructions should tell you how often to get your scrubber serviced. By getting your riding floor scrubber checked regularly, you can prevent small issues from becoming costly ones.

Finally, take the time to review your manufacturer’s instructions to ensure you are using your riding floor scrubber properly. Different models have different recommendations. By following the particular usage guides, not only will you be preventing misuse, but you’ll also be ensuring any warranties remain intact.

Get Expert Help From the Professionals at Bortek Industries

Still not sure about the best way to use your particular riding floor scrubber? Bortek Industries can help. We service all brands of cleaning equipment for customers all along the East Coast.

Not only can we give you insider tips and tricks to make your cleaning job a snap, but we can also provide the repair and maintenance service you need to protect your investment. If your scrubber is no longer cleaning as quickly or as well as it once did, don’t hesitate to contact us.

We can service your floor scrubber, replace worn-out parts as needed and return your riding floor scrubber to a like-new condition. Get more years and consistent quality results from your floor scrubber with professional service and top-quality replacement parts from Bortek Industries.