How to Disinfect a Floor with a Scrubber

Introduction

In a 2017 study published in the American Journal of Infection Control, researchers concluded “that floors in patient rooms were frequently contaminated with health care associated pathogens and demonstrated the potential for indirect transfer of pathogens to hands from fomites placed on the floor.” Moreover, “In a survey of 5 hospitals, [they] found that floors in patient rooms were frequently contaminated with health-care associated pathogens and it was not uncommon for high-touch objects… to be in direct contact with the floor.” In light of the current COVID-19 outbreak, we have developed this guide to help you use your automatic scrubbers and sprayers with disinfectants in an efficient and effective manner.

In this article, we take you step-by-step through the process of disinfecting a floor with an automatic floor scrubber.  As many employers are undertaking a deep cleaning before re-opening offices, this procedure can help speed up the process in large areas.

Cleaning vs. Disinfecting

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these are the definitions of cleaning and disinfecting.

  • Cleaning refers to the removal of dirt and impurities, including germs, from surfaces. Cleaning alone does not kill germs. But by removing the germs, it decreases their number and therefore any risk of spreading infection.
  • Disinfecting works by using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs. But killing germs remaining on a surface after cleaning further reduces any risk of spreading infection.

How to disinfect floors and hard, non-porous high-touch surfaces

Step 1. Clean the surface.

Follow a normal, thorough cleaning routine. Routine cleaning will decrease the amount of virus on a surface. Visible dirt on surfaces can reduce the effectiveness of disinfectants because the disinfectant may be unable to reach the surface being disinfected.

Step 2. Choose a disinfectant.

Use disinfectants that are listed on the EPA’s website that are designated for use against SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. The list of approved chemicals can be found on the EPA’s website at this link: https://cfpub.epa.gov/giwiz/disinfectants/index.cfm

It is important to know that the EPA registration number listed on the chemical label may contain more digits than the number on the EPA website. If the first two parts of the number on the chemical label match the number on the EPA website, then the chemical is approved for use against SARS-CoV-2. See Figure 1 below as an example. In this example, the full EPA Registration number on the chemical label is 1839-167-5741. The EPA Registration number on the list of approved chemicals is 1839-167.

Figure 1.  Compare the EPA Registration Number on the EPA website with a chemical label

Step 3.  Read and follow the label and safety data sheet for the disinfectant selected.

The safe use of any cleaning chemical depends on your understanding of the proper procedure and risks.  Carefully read and follow the instructions on the label and the safety data sheet.  Be sure to use the proper personal protective equipment (PPE), provide adequate ventilation, follow the instructions for applying the chemical, and use the correct dilution ratio for concentrated disinfectant chemicals.

The tables below show the amount of concentrated disinfectant chemicals, in ounces, you should use with a full tank of clean water for NSS automatic scrubbers and sprayers. 

Table 1.  Disinfectant Amounts for Full Solution Tanks of NSS Scrubbers (128:1 Dilution Ratio)

Machine Model Amount of disinfectant chemical to use
eForce Scrubber 26, 32 25 ounces
Champ 2929, 3329, 3529 29 ounces
Champ 2417 17 ounces
Wrangler 2730/3330 30 ounces
Wrangler 2625 25 ounces
Wrangler 2616 16 ounces
Wrangler 2016 16 ounces
Wrangler 2012 10 ounces
Wrangler 1503 3.7 ounces

Table 2.  Disinfectant Amounts for Full Solution Tanks of NSS Scrubbers (256:1 Dilution Ratio)

Machine Model Amount of disinfectant chemical to use
eForce Scrubber 26, 32 12.5 ounces
Champ 2929, 3329, 3529 14.5 ounces
Champ 2417 8.5 ounces
Wrangler 2730/3330 15 ounces
Wrangler 2625 12.5 ounces
Wrangler 2616 8 ounces
Wrangler 2016 8 ounces
Wrangler 2012 5 ounces
Wrangler 1503 1.85 ounces

Table 3.  Disinfectant Amounts for Full  Tanks of NSS Sprayers (128:1 Dilution Ratio)

Machine Model Amount of disinfectant chemical to use
Electro-Mist 4B 4 ounces
Opti-Mist 20B 20 ounces
Opti-Mist 3E 3 ounces
Opti-Mist BB 4 ounces
Opti-Mist P 3 ounces

Table 4.  Disinfectant Amounts for Full Tanks of NSS Sprayers (256:1 Dilution Ratio)

Machine Model Amount of disinfectant chemical to use
Electro-Mist 4B 4 ounces
Opti-Mist 20B 10 ounces
Opti-Mist 3E 1.5 ounces
Opti-Mist BB 2 ounces
Opti-Mist P 1.5 ounces

Step 4. Apply the disinfectant solution to the surface and let it dwell for the correct amount of time.

“When using an EPA-registered disinfectant, follow the label directions for safe, effective use. Make sure to follow the contact time, which is the amount of time the surface should be visibly wet, listed [on the EPA’s List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 Covid-19].”

See Figure 2 below. In this example, the contact time for EPA Registration Number 1839-167 is ten minutes.

Figure 2. Contact time listed on the EPA website

How to apply disinfectant using a floor scrubber

Scrub the floor with the automatic scrubber as you would for double-scrub cleaning. Do not vacuum the solution as you scrub and scrub the area twice. Leave the solution on the floor for the amount of contact time indicated on label.

How to apply disinfectant using a sprayer

Simply spray the surface following the instructions given on the disinfectant’s label. Apply enough disinfectant such that the surface stays visibly wet for the entire contact time indicated on label.

Step 5. Follow the instructions on the label for post-contact time steps.

Check the disinfectant’s label for additional steps after the contact time is complete. Depending on the disinfectant you are using, you may need to follow up with additional steps to correctly treat the surface. Some disinfectants require a rinse with clean water after disinfection, others require that you wipe away the excess disinfectant solution after the contact time is complete. Additionally, there are some disinfectants that don’t require any action at all and can air dry.

Step 6. After you are done disinfecting, prepare your automatic scrubber or sprayer for storage.

Automatic Scrubbers

Before storing the automatic scrubber, drain the solution and recovery tanks in accordance with your local community standards. Rinse both the solution and recovery tanks with clean water and empty them. Remove the lid from the recovery tank and allow the tank to air dry. Remove the squeegee from the machine, rinse it with clean water and allow it to air dry. Remove the pad drivers or brushes from the machine, rinse them with clean water and allow them to air dry.

Sprayers

Before storing the sprayer, drain the tank in accordance with your local community standards. Fill the sprayer with a small amount of water. Spray the water to clean residual chemicals out of the sprayer. Remove the lid from the tank and allow the tank to air dry.

Summary

The key steps you need to follow to disinfect floors using an automatic scrubber or sprayer are:

  1. Clean the surface.
  2. Choose an EPA-registered disinfectant for SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.
  3. Read the label, use the correct PPE, and use the dilution ratio.
  4. Apply the disinfectant so that the surface is visibly wet and wait for the entire contact time indicated on the label.
  5. Follow the disinfectant’s label regarding post-contact time steps.
  6. Clean out your equipment and let it air dry.

Need help?

NSS has regional managers throughout North America to help steer you in the right direction. Use the “Start a conversation” button on our homepage to let us know who you are and where you’re located. One of our regional managers will reach out to consult with you about your cleaning operations.

Share on email
Share this page
Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

DISCOVER A BETTER WAY TO CLEAN

NSS Enterprises helps companies have cleaner, healthier and safer buildings.  We will consult with you to understand your business, then deliver expert advice and products to help get you where you want to go.

GET EXPERT ADVICE
FROM NSS

Let’s get started!  Let us know who you are and your zip code. Our local NSS Regional Manager will contact you to schedule a conversation about your goals and objectives.

Thank you!

We’re reviewing your message and we will get back to you soon.  In the meantime, if you would like to browse through our products, click the button below.