Let’s face it, squeegees are where it’s at when it comes to keeping your commercial flooring scrubbed clean. Without a decent squeegee, in prime cleaning condition, scrubbing floors can take longer and leave your floor looking dull and dirty. Or worse, you could experience streaking—and no one wants that!
On top of that, oil or grease that is not thoroughly cleaned off the floor could be a potential slip and fall hazard. All these issues can result in a poor reputation for your business, especially as health and safety become more important to clients, adding to the overall perception of your space.
Therefore, it is important to maintain the squeegees on your commercial floor scrubber.
However, not all squeegees are alike. Before you set out to buy your squeegee, you’ll want to know more about the type of flooring you’ll be cleaning (is it smooth, rough, indoors, outdoors), and what type of debris will need to be cleaned off the floor. The same squeegee that can easily clean water may not be the right squeegee for heavily soiled or oily floors.
Plus, if you have the wrong squeegee, the job will not be done correctly—costing more time and money overall.
Here’s what you need to know:
How Squeegees Work
Squeegee Blade and Housing
The squeegee blade fits into what is called the squeegee housing. Some squeegee housings are made of plastic while others, like those that come on ICE Robotics Intelligent Cleaning Equipment, are made from cast aluminum.
Making sure the squeegee is properly housed is crucial to getting the job done well. This is because the squeegee works to create a suction along the flooring making sure to swipe any water, dirt, debris, oils, or chemicals into the vacuum hose attached to your scrubber.
In this way, the squeegee, scrubber, and vacuum hose work to get the floors shiny clean.
Scrubber Assembly System
The assembly system on the scrubber uses a parabolic design, which is a two-dimensional mirrored symmetric design. This type of assembly allows the squeegee to be in motion and not a stiff object, giving it flexibility. The parabolic design allows the squeegee to move from side to side on wheels to accommodate edging along walls.
This is beneficial because when a scrubber makes a sharper turn, the squeegee can pick up more water than a straight squeegee blade. This means that the squeegee can be a little narrower but just as effective as a straight squeegee.
Squeegee Pitch and Adjustment
The pitch of a squeegee will likely need to be adjusted to the proper alignment to the floor. Adjusting the pitch of the squeegee is common and easy to do with a crescent wrench, and it can make all the difference in the performance of the squeegee.
Essentially, you want to make sure the entire squeegee edge is touching the floor surface evenly. The edge of the squeegee blade should be working against the floor—this is a working edge.
Caution: You don’t want the squeegee positioned straight up. This will cause hopping and lead to a job NOT well done.
Adjusting the pitch means your squeegee is at a consistent angle all the way around. This ensures that there are no air leaks, which can occur when the squeegee is uneven and not touching the floor evenly. When this happens the performance of the recovery—the suction process—is interrupted and floors are left with water on them.
Types of Squeegee Blades
There are three main types of squeegee blades, and these can make or break the job!
Linatex—is a natural material squeegee that is red in color. Linatex works on most common surfaces and typical soils levels. Linatex includes additives that help with flexibility, tear, and abrasion resistance, making them a standard choice for most cleaning projects, as the performance is consistent.
Polyurethane—is a more expensive option but has special properties that make it highly effective on greasy floors, as it resists chemicals and oils that can damage natural rubber. It also has a long wear life for dry abrasion jobs.
Gum Rubber--is a man-made synthetic material that works best on flat, smooth, and indoor flooring in low traffic areas, so simple jobs. These squeegees do not last long if used on rough or uneven surfaces or if they come up against heavy soils or chemical oils—they will warp, tear, or wear unevenly, meaning they will need to be replaced more often.
Here is a guide from CleanFreak.com:
When to Change Squeegee Blades
Before each use of your commercial scrubber check to make sure the squeegee blade is not worn down.
You will want to be sure your squeegee blades have four pointed to corners on each end. As the blade starts to wear down the corners become more rounded and start to disappear.
Examine the squeegee edges and corners closely and always look for warping or tears.
Squeegees should be replaced if there is evidence of:
- Worn down edges (do not make a flat sharp edge that touches the floor)
The good news is that squeegees have multiple sides, extending the life of each squeegee blade. Rear squeegees have four sides and front squeegees have two sides—meaning you can make use of each edge of the squeegee before replacing it with a brand new one.
If the edges start to curve, simply flip the squeegee to a new edge. They are rectangular in shape so this can be done two to four times before fully replacing the squeegee.
Warping or tears are a different story however, and when that happens the squeegee will need to be replaced right away.
Front and Rear Squeegees are typically made of the same material and therefore shouldn’t wear any differently, however the rear blade is the one doing the work. So, it wears about twice as fast as the front blade, and it needs attention more often.
Tips to Improve Squeegee Performance
Improving Squeegee Performance
- Choose the appropriate blade for the type of flooring
- Make sure the correct blade is installed into the housing properly—avoid ripples
- Check the pitch: make sure the squeegee is adjusted properly along the floor
- After each use make sure to wipe down the squeegee: the best way to do this by cleaning the squeegee in a large utility sink or by rubbing a towel along the edge—never bare hands, though.
- Word of warning: avoid putting any chemicals or cleaners on the squeegee to try and clean it because that will get on the flooring during the next use.
Common Squeegee Issues and How to Resolve
Since squeegees are so important to the floor scrubbing process, it’s best to know what to look out for and how to resolve the issue.
Streaking is the most common issue, and this is due to the ailments noted above: improper adjustment or pitch, worn edges, or tears and debris caught between the floor and squeegee blade.
So, the last thing we need to cover is Pre-sweeping.
Industry leaders recommend sweeping or running a commercial sweeper over the floor and removing all large debris before starting the scrubbing process. This will aid in a better performance by your squeegees and help you get the end result you are looking for—clean, safe, and shiny floors.
ICE Robotics offers a full line of scrubbers and sweepers. Reach out to our experts and let us know how we can help you.
If you’re interested in reading further, we suggest: 4 Reasons Routine Floor Care is Important for Your Business.