Maintaining Facility Lobbies

April 15, 2004
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A facility's lobby provides the first impression a visitor has of the company he or she is coming to see, and therefore it should be kept as clean as possible. The floors found in entrances, lobbies and foyers are high-visibility areas that receive heavy traffic, and therefore require special attention from maintenance personnel. These areas will vary in design and construction and, in order to accommodate these variances, so will the maintenance program.

Carpets and hard-surface flooring located in lobbies and foyers, which act as transition points between streets and parking lots and internal transportation systems such as elevators, escalators and stairs, will need more frequent attention than their counterparts in other areas, as this is where soil makes its first appearance in the facility. If the soil is not stopped here, it will be tracked into other areas of the building where it is more difficult, time consuming and expensive to remove.

Large walk-off mats, ideally 10 feet to 15 feet long, should be placed both inside and outside of entry doors to catch soil and prevent it from being tracked indoors (when it comes to facility floor maintenance, it's always easier, faster, and cheaper to trap and remove soil at entry points than to look for it throughout an entire facility), and trashcans and cigarette urns should be placed near the entrance. Prevention is always more effective, and less expensive, than cleaning, restoration or repair.

When to Clean
Lobbies, foyers and entryways should be thoroughly cleaned each day and - depending on usage levels and weather - may require spot cleaning several times a day.

Spills or moisture should be removed immediately, with "Wet Floor" signs in use whenever hazardous conditions exist. Additional or replacement entry matting should be used when weather conditions result in existing matting becoming overloaded with moisture or soil.

Heavy and wet-cleaning procedures should be performed after business hours when entrance areas are not open to the public or to non-cleaning-related staff members. If this is not possible, care should be taken to avoid disturbing guests or staff while servicing these areas during business hours. Whenever possible, limit or barricade access to any areas where equipment and wet cleaning processes must be used during business hours or around other employees.

Setting a schedule for entrance-area cleaning is typically based on budget, the amount of traffic and the level of cleanliness desired.

How to Clean
Sidewalks should be hosed, swept or vacuumed regularly, depending on the amount of traffic and the location (you may want to consider using a blower to remove leaves, dust and debris from sidewalks instead of vacuuming). The goal is to remove or relocate as much soil as possible so it doesn't get tracked inside the building.

Continuously light-clean or police areas during each shift to prevent soiling and help promote safety. For example:

  • Clean entrance mats with a damp mop or vacuum.
  • Post "Wet Floor" signs whenever water is used or present on floor surfaces. New technology in warning signage is worth considering. One wet floor warning sign/device incorporates a fan in its base, along with a flashing light at the top.
  • Dust mop or vacuum all hard surface floors. Cordless vacuums are useful during business hours.
  • Damp mop to remove spills and wet soil around entrances (post "Wet Floor" signs).
  • Sweep or vacuum soil from edges and corners.
  • Remove gum, labels, and other sticky soil from floors.
  • Use a clean microfiber cloth and glass cleaner (or plain water) to spot-clean glass (especially in and around doors) to remove fingerprints, smudges, and other visible soil.
  • Spot-clean building and furniture surfaces to remove fingerprints, smudges, and other soil.

    When cleaning the lobby, your daily maintenance may include:

  • Parking the cleaning cart in or near the area.
  • Cleaning restrooms, security and reception areas before cleaning the inside lobby areas.
  • Collecting litter and place it in a waste receptacle.
  • Emptying waste receptacles.
  • Spot-cleaning windows, glass and mirrors to remove handprints, smudges, and other visible soil.
  • Using a damp cloth and appropriate solution, spot-clean inside and outside of doors, frames, walls, counters, and furniture surfaces to remove handprints, smudges, ink, adhesives and other visible soil.
  • Damp dusting, using a disposable dusting sleeve, or vacuuming to clean windowsills, blinds, radiators and wall hangings.
  • Vacuuming entry matting. Dust-mopping or vacuuming non-carpeted floors. Removing all gum or other adhered material from hard surface floors without damaging the surface.
  • Using a well-wrung mop (or flat mop) and neutral detergent solution to spot-mop hard surface floors to remove spills and other visible soil.
  • Vacuuming the traffic areas of carpeted floors and removing any visible spots.
  • Reporting burned-out lights and other needed repairs to a custodial supervisor or maintenance personnel.
  • Inspecting the work to ensure that it meets quality assurance guidelines.

    Your weekly maintenance program may consist of:

  • Detail/dust signage, ledges, edges, plants, sills, shelves, furniture tops and other objects.
  • Using a burnisher (with a vacuum attachment) and restorer to rejuvenate floor finish, remove marks and scuffs, and improve the general appearance of the area. Damp mop or auto-scrub before burnishing. Dust mop or vacuum before and after burnishing.
  • Vacuuming and spot-clean all carpeted areas.
  • Detail/heavy-clean reception, security and associated office areas.
  • Inspecting the work to ensure it meets quality assurance guidelines.

    Monthly maintenance may consist of:

  • Using a damp cloth, disposable dusting sleeve and/or vacuum cleaner, dust chair rungs, crevices, upholstered furniture, and building surfaces such as vents, picture frames and other structures/items above six feet.
  • Touching up paint where damaged or chipped.
  • Inspecting the work to ensure it meets quality assurance guidelines.

    Quarterly maintenance may include:

  • Cleaning carpet traffic lanes with interim process.
  • Cleaning windows inside and out.
  • Inspecting the work to ensure it meets quality assurance guidelines.

    (Background information provided by Cleaning Consultant Services, Inc., in Seattle.)

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