Four Things An Entrance Mat Should Do
Soil is everywhere! It is a part of the earth we live on and managing it is a vital part of our everyday existence.
Today's emphasis on Green Cleaning and the impact of the cleanliness of a building on health makes soil management even more important. Experts are recommending a minimum of 10-12 feet of quality matting products at entrances as part of a Green Cleaning program.
At the heart of soil management is the concept of prevention - prevention of contaminants from entering a building. 85% of all soil enters a building on the feet of building occupants. Of this, at least, 80% is dry soil and the rest is oily. The dry soil can range from large particles to powder-like dust. Over the years, many products have been developed and sold to help keep soil at the door and out of the building.
The International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA) has estimated that it costs 600 dollars to find and remove one pound of soil after it has been allowed to enter an average building. This cost is primarily labor. Since entrance mats stop and contain soil and water, it is obvious that removing soil from a mat can be less expensive than removing it from a building since the soil is concentrated in a localized area. One of the many reasons why purchasing effective mats is cheaper than renting mats (read Buying vs. Renting for more info).
Entrance mats may also be scraper mats that provide the first line of defense against soil. Scraper mats should always be used with other entrance mats that will provide wiping properties to remove fine soil and water from feet.
The Four Signs of An Effective Entrance Mat
1. IT STOPS SOIL AND WATER AT THE DOOR
Surprisingly, not all entrance mats are designed to do this. The most effective mats provide a combination of scraping and wiping to stop the maximum amount of contaminants.
2. IT STORES SOIL AND WATER FOR REMOVAL
The most effective entrance mats are designed to provide a place for soil and water to go to for storage.
It is important that the storage be designed for maximum storage and ease of removal when the mat is cleaned. It is important that the mat provide a way for soil and water to be contained so they cannot spread to the surrounding floor. Contaminants that flow off the sides of a mat cause damage and can lead to slip/fall dangers.
Mats with flat borders do not provide the necessary containment for best performance. Higher performance mats provide a dam that will hold the soil and water for removal during cleaning.
3. IT MINIMIZES TRACKING OF SOIL AND WATER
This capability is best accomplished by a BI-level construction that provides an upper surface for walking and a lower area where soil and water are stored until removed by cleaning.
The amount of soil that a mat allows to be reattached to shoes is directly related to the construction of the mat. High performance mats utilize this permanent rubber reinforced BI-level construction, thereby, trapping large quantities of moisture and dirt, minimizing the effects of soil and water being tracked further into the facility.
Low performance mats such as those with non-reinforced ribbed or cut pile face yarn alone will not hold up under foot pressure and will crush in a short period of time, thus allowing more water and dirt to reattach to shoes and be tracked into respective facilities.
A permanently rubber reinforced Bi-level construction extends the performance life of a mat reducing the need to dispose of mats frequently.
4. IT PROVIDES A SAFE WALKING SURFACE
The bottom of a mat should be slip-resistant to minimize movement on the floor when it is walked on.
Also any water on the mat should be contained in a reservoir below the traffic surface to prevent moisture on flooring surface adjacent to the mat that can cause slip/fall incidents. Rubber-backed mats provide a better slip resistance than vinyl-backed mats. Rubber-backed mats do not curl, as vinyl mats do, thus reducing trip and fall exposure.
Some rubber-backed mats have cleated surfaces on the bottom that further enhances non-skid properties and allows moisture to dry from underneath the mat.