How to Use a Floor Scrubber

Most high-traffic tile or linoleum floors are kept clean by daily mopping; however, scrubbing the floor is required periodically to remove scuff marks and heavy water-resistant dirt deposits. Scrubbing tends to remove surface shine, leaving the floor duller than it was before treatment, so the surface often requires polishing to restore the original finish. Scrub the floor with a heavy floor machine operating between 175 and 300rpm and fitted with the recommended floor pads for the best results.

Place suitable floor hazard signs at all entrance or exit access points leading to and from the area to be scrubbed.

Clear any movable furniture from the area. Tilt heavy filing cabinets and place wood blocks underneath to expose dirt build-up around the edges.

Remove surface dust with a vacuum cleaner or microfiber dust mop. Scrape off any hardened debris, such as gum, clinging to the floor. Bring your cleaning equipment into the area.

Fill a plastic bucket three-quarters full with an undiluted cleaning solution recommended by your floor covering supplier. Fill a second bucket with clean water.

Apply cleaning solution to a 7-square-foot area with a cotton or blended mop, starting at the corner farthest from the entrance. Sweep the mop head over the floor in a figure-eight motion, overlapping each sweep by about an inch.

Fit the recommended floor pads to an industrial floor scrubbing machine. Switch the scrubber on and guide it slowly forward over the area with a side-to-side sweeping motion, overlapping each pass by 2 or 3 inches.

Move the soiled water to the centre of the area with a long-handle squeegee. Remove the water either with a wet/dry vacuum cleaner, or with a cotton or blended mop head.

Sluice the area with clean water and a mop. Squeegee the water to the centre of the scrubbed area. Mop the water up, or remove it with a wet/dry vacuum cleaner.

Repeat this procedure by cleaning the rest of the floor in slightly overlapping 7-square-foot sections.

Apply a coat of finish wax to the floor and buff to a shine, if required for your flooring.

Remove your equipment, replace the furniture and remove any blocks from under filing cabinets. Clear away the floor hazard signs.


Remove the floor pads and clean the scrubbing machine before storing the equipment or returning it to the rental company. Wash the scrubbing pads in hot water, rinse them off in clean water and hang them up to dry in preparation for the next scrubbing procedure. Floors with a heavy wax build-up may have to be stripped before scrubbing the floor.

Things You'll Need

  • Floor hazard signs
  • Wood blocks
  • Vacuum cleaner or microfiber dust mop
  • Plastic buckets
  • Recommended cleaning solution
  • Cotton or blended mop
  • Scrubbing pads
  • Industrial floor scrubbing machine
  • Long-handle squeegee
  • Wet/dry vacuum cleaner (optional)
  • Finish wax
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About the Author

After graduating from the University of the Witwatersrand and qualifying as an aircraft engineer, Ian Kelly joined a Kitchen remodeling company and qualified as a Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD). Kelly then established an organization specializing in home improvement, including repair and maintenance of household appliances, garden equipment and lawn mowers.