Standard Operating Procedures

Project Cleaning

Even though we do a professional cleaning job daily, a school facility is like our home--it sometimes needs a little extra touch. Not as much as we do during summer cleaning, but a little more detail than we can possibly do each day. This is what we refer to as project cleaning. This means checking the area (office, classroom, etc.) from ceiling to floor and performing the necessary cleaning tasks. The tasks usually consist of dusting lights, spot-cleaning walls and windows, washing or polishing furniture, and reconditioning the floor. Tile floors may need only spray buffing to restore their shine. Should the floor be carpeted, it may only need to have the spots removed or the high traffic area shampooed.

By performing project cleaning in one room or area each night, each area on a custodian's regular schedule gets its extra touch several times between summer cleanings. Rooms project-cleaned on a regular basis always look great and make summer cleaning much easier.

Office Cleaning

Offices are areas that generate first impressions on persons entering a building. They should be properly cleaned daily as well as project-cleaned on a regular basis.


Glass and Windows

Doors and partition glass in the office area should be spotted or cleaned several times a day.

Dust window sills and clean all glass.

Rest Rooms

If there are rest rooms in the office area, refer to rest room cleaning procedures.

High Dusting

Using the high duster, dust ceiling vents, lights, wall hangings, and any other articles too high for the low duster.

Low Dusting

Use low duster for wall vents, baseboards, chair rails, bookcases, etc.


Dust top and sides of desks, being careful not to disturb paperwork that is sometimes left on the desk tops. Lift articles such as telephones, staplers, and note pads, and dust underneath them. Be careful not to disturb paperwork.

Use furniture polish to remove fingerprints if necessary. Most Formica desk tops will streak if furniture polish is used. If streaking occurs, try a damp cloth; this usually works better.

Dust all file cabinets and bookcases, and polish them as necessary.

It is sometimes helpful to notify office staff members ahead of time for scheduled project work. By doing this it may be possible for staff members to clear the top of their desk and areas more than usual for a more complete cleaning.

Trash Receptacles

Wash trash receptacles inside and outside. Replace plastic liners.

Electronic Equipment

Dust all electric equipment. Be careful not to unplug or change any settings on any equipment. Clean all glass with glass cleaner.

Trash Containers

Empty containers and replace liners if necessary.


Should the floor be carpeted, vacuum thoroughly, removing spots if necessary. Move all chairs and vacuum underneath.

If the floor is resilient tile, dust-mop, spot-mop, and spray buff if needed.


Check walls and doors for spots.

Project Office Cleaning

Offices should be project-cleaned frequently in order to keep them looking their best.

Remember, regular project work makes summer cleaning much easier.


High and Low Dusting

Perform high and low dusting as described in the daily cleaning brochures.

Windows and Walls

Wash windows and spot-clean walls.


Polish all furniture tops and sides.


If the floor is carpeted, spot-clean and shampoo as described in carpet-cleaning procedures.

Perform the necessary procedures for resilient tile flooring as described in the floor-care procedures—spray buff, light scrub and refinish, or strip and refinish.

Classroom Cleaning

Next to rest rooms, classrooms are one of the most important areas to be cleaned in a school. The classrooms, need to be kept at a high cleaning and appearance level at all times.

Classrooms are probably the easiest areas to be cleaned if kept in good condition. In order to keep these areas up to par at all times, a proper daily cleaning schedule should be followed as well as project-cleaning at regular intervals. The amount of daily cleaning performed will play a large part in your project-cleaning requirements. Remember, what you miss tonight will usually double by tomorrow night and take twice as long to clean.

First, assemble all your supplies and equipment and make sure everything is in good working order.


When all equipment has been assembled and the cart has been stocked, move to a designated area. Place the cart outside the classroom next to the wall. Equipment left in the corridor always should be placed flush with the wall.


First, empty the pencil sharpener and the trash can.

High Dusting

Next, perform high dusting. Dust the tops of chalkboards, maps, light fixtures, the top of the TV (it's a good idea to clean the screen with glass clean as you dust), and any other areas that cannot be reached with the low duster.

Remember, if some high dusting is performed each day, project cleaning will be a lot easier.

Low Dusting

Low-dust items such as bookcases, window ledges (adjust shades to the top of lowest window pane at this time and check window locks), the teacher’s desk (do not disturb any paperwork), and remember to dust vertical surfaces as well as horizontal surfaces of furniture and fixtures.


Next, wash desktops using APD or germicidal detergent solution. Use a scrub sponge, as the abrasive side will help to remove marks or other debris.

All dirty desktops should be washed daily. This will make project-cleaning time easier, and desktops will stay in good condition daily. If only one night a week is designated to washing desktops, it is a very time-consuming task and the desks are unsightly for students who use them daily.

Carpeted Floors

Pick up all debris too large for the vacuum, and remove gum with an aerosol chewing gum remover. Spray gum with the remover until it is hard, then strike several times with the handle of the putty knife to break it up. Then scrape off the gum with the blade of the putty knife.

Remove any spots that may be on the carpet by spraying with a shampoo solution from a spray bottle. Let the solution soak into the spot for two to five minutes, then attempt to remove it by rubbing it with a damp cloth. Always rub from the outside of the spot toward the center to prevent spreading. If the spot remains, repeat the procedure.

Don't attempt to remove ink spots, as this requires the attention of a trained carpet specialist. Certain ink spots will spread very rapidly when you attempt to remove them. Report these to your supervisor.

With all gum and spots removed, vacuum the carpet, moving the desks and other furniture, if necessary. Make sure all the desks in the classroom are left in the same order in which you found them.

Tile Floors

Dust-mop all resilient floors, using a putty knife to remove gum, etc. As you dust, tilt the desk with one hand while pulling the dust mop underneath the desk with your other hand. Proceed by pushing the mop back through the aisle between desks, and repeat the same procedure with the next row of desks.

Be sure to keep the same side of the dust mop in the forward position at all times with the mop strands out in front to trap the dust. Try not to lift the mop unless it is absolutely necessary to remove collected dust. Sweep trash outside the classroom door for pickup. (Dust mops should be vacuumed and taken outside daily for a good shaking out. A dust mop can be used repeatedly and be very effective if this is done daily.)

The floor should be spot-mopped or damp-mopped where necessary. It is most important to spot-mop floors daily in order to keep them in good condition and to keep them looking good. Floors that are not spot-mopped daily will not hold up, as the spots get tracked onto the rest of the floor and the surface soil cuts the finish; all this very quickly results in a very dull and unsightly floor. When this happens it will take a lot of time and work to put it into shape again.

Rest Rooms

If there are rest rooms inside the classroom, paper supplies, hand soap, etc., will have to be replenished. Check rest-room procedures for proper cleaning instructions.

Walls and Glass

The last cleaning procedure now is to spot-clean walls and clean the door glass. Spot-clean the wall around the light switch, pencil sharpener, and other areas as necessary. Remember that the door glass has two sides, and it is important to spot-clean the door while you are cleaning the glass.

Remove all cleaning equipment from the room and take a last good look around to make sure nothing has been forgotten. Turn out the light, then close and lock the door.

A professionally cleaned classroom is a welcome and pleasant sight for students and teachers in the mornings.

Classroom Project Cleaning

In addition to daily cleaning, it is necessary to project-clean classrooms. A regular schedule should be followed for project-cleaning classrooms. For instance, if a custodian is responsible for 20 classrooms on a run and project-cleans one a night, then every 20 days each classroom gets a thorough cleaning. This is necessary because of the constant use and wear and tear on the floors. Although the floors are dust-mopped and damp-mopped daily, after a while they need to be spray buffed or lightly scrubbed and refinished in order to remove scuff and black marks and to restore the floors to their original shine. Neglected classroom floors can become very unsightly in a very short time. With a good spray buff program and daily spot-mopping, classroom floors can look great every day. It will not take long for the unkempt floor to need a major stripping, which involves a lot of hard work and is very time-consuming.

The first thing to do is assemble all equipment and supplies necessary for the job.


If the floor is carpeted, you will need a carpet bonnet or carpet extractor carpet shampoo and chewing gum remover. Follow carpet-cleaning procedures.


First, remove the trash and empty the pencil sharpener.

High Dusting

Using the high duster, dust overhead lights, vents, all ledges, and objects that cannot be reached with the low duster.

This is a good time to check windows, shades, and other articles in the room to make sure everything is in good working order. Should anything need to be repaired, report to the night lead or plant operator if preventive maintenance will not correct it.

Low Dusting

Next, low-dust window ledges, bookcases, student desks, file cabinets, and the teacher’s desk. Be sure to check windows and adjust shades to the top of lowest pane.


Clean the teacher's desk and other furniture with furniture polish. Be careful not to disturb any paperwork.

Wash desktops and window ledges, and damp-wipe the TV screen.

Walls and Glass

Spot-clean walls and doors; clean the door glass and windows.

Rest Rooms

If the classroom has a rest room, refer to the rest-room cleaning procedures.

Tile Floor

Dust-mop the floor using the corn broom to get into the corners and behind univents or other areas where the dust mop will not reach.

Experience will tell you if the floor can be restored by spray buffing or if it will need to be light scrubbed and refinished. If it has been kept up to par, all that will be necessary is a damp mopping and spray buffing with a spray-buff solution.

Using all-purpose detergent in cold water, damp-mop the entire floor to remove surface soil and grit. Mount the drive block and spray-buff pad on the floor machine, mist a small amount of spray-buff solution on a small section to the side of the floor machine, and buff back and forth until the floor is dry and a luster is visible. After the floor is buffed, dust-mop to remove dust and grit.

If scuffs and black marks cannot be removed by spray buffing, it will be necessary to light scrub (blue pad) and refinish.

Mix all-purpose detergent in cold water and wet the floor, one section at a time. Mount the blue scrub pad on the floor machine and scrub in one direction, overlapping each pass. Crisscross scrub in the same manner. Remember, you only want to remove scuffs and black marks. Pick up the solution with the wet vacuum, then rinse with clean, cold rinse water. Pick this up with the wet vacuum. Dip mop in rinse water and damp-mop. When the floor is dry, apply one light coat of finish, staying at least 12 inches from the wall to prevent build-up.

When the floor is dry, put all of the furniture back in place, and clean and store all of the equipment. Then the job is complete.

Make sure all of the furniture is put back in place. Remember to take one last look around to make sure that nothing has been forgotten.

Daily Rest Room Cleaning

A clean rest room is important to any facility. Rest rooms make the strongest initial impression on a visitor of any area in a building. Regardless of how clean the rest of the building may be, if the rest room isn't clean and odor-free, you can be assured someone will notice.

There are no shortcuts in cleaning a rest room. Plenty of water, germicidal disinfectant detergent, and proper daily cleaning are the only solutions for clean and odor-free rest rooms. Odors are caused by germs and bacteria that are breeding. Areas around pipes, underneath sinks, the outside of a toilet bowl or urinal, and the floor drain are favorite breeding places for germs and bacteria. If you kill the germs and bacteria, you kill the odors.

The first step, as in any cleaning job, is to assemble all equipment and supplies on your cart.


Germicidal Disinfectant Detergent

Dispense the germicidal disinfectant solution from the dilution station, carefully following manufacturer's directions, in the plastic pail and mop tank. Remember, more is not better; it will only cause problems such as too many suds or too much streaking, which may cause the floor to be sticky, and, most important, may be harmful to skin. Since we never rinse germicidal disinfectant, it is vitally important to mix it properly. Cold water always should be used with a germicide, as hot water weakens its ability to kill germs. Be sure to wear rubber gloves.

High Dusting

First, take the high duster and the corn broom and remove dust from vents, sills, and ledges. From time to time you will need the corn broom to remove toilet tissue from the ceiling.


Empty the trash and replace the trash can liner.


Using the push broom, sweep the floor. Use the corn broom in corners and in areas too small for the push broom.

Paper Supplies

Replace towels and toilet tissue. This also is a good time to refill the soap dispensers.


Using the scrub sponge and pail of germicidal disinfectant, wash the mirrors. Dry the mirrors with a dry wiping cloth.

Sinks and Fixtures

Wipe the towel cabinets, soap dispensers, and the wall around the sink. Dip the sponge into the solution several times (do not wring it out); scrub the sink bowl, scrub around the faucets, and scrub underneath the sink. Be sure to clean the pipes and the wall around them.

Glass and chrome are the only items you dry. Allow the rest to air dry. This will help kill the germs and bacteria.


Using the scrub sponge and plenty of solution, clean the urinals inside and outside. Clean the pipes and the wall around the urinal. Wipe the chrome dry.


Clean the partitions with the sponge or doodlebug and plenty of germicide. Start at the bottom and wash upward to prevent streaking. Remember to clean the bottom of the partition.


Take the plunger and lower the water level in the toilet.

It may be necessary to use toilet-bowl cleaner at certain intervals, but not daily. If bowl cleaner is used, hold the bowl mop over the toilet bowl and pour the cleaner on the mop, then clean the inside of the toilet bowl.

Using the scrub sponge and plenty of germicide, clean the pipes, the wall around the commode, and the outside of the toilet bowl and base. When all fixtures are cleaned, check the walls for graffiti and spots. Clean the top and bottom of the seat. Use the gong brush to clean the wall behind the commode and a little of the floor around the base of the commode.

Dry the chrome and the top of the toilet seat if the seat is to be used very soon.

Check the walls and partitions for graffiti.


The final step is wet-mopping the floor. Using the germicidal solution in the mop tank, saturate the floor (do not wring out the mop; simply lift it up and let some of the excess solution run off). Starting at the farthest corner from the door, lay the solution on the floor. Be careful not to splash the baseboards. Go back to the bucket as necessary for more solution.

When the entire floor is covered, wring out the mop and pick up the excess solution.

This is wet-mopping. Never damp-mop a rest-room floor. You need liberal solution on the floor long enough to kill the germs and bacteria and leave the rest room odor-free.

Pour the remainder of the germicidal disinfectant solution down the floor drain, a favorite breeding place for bacteria and a source of odors. Also, if liquid is not occasionally poured down the floor drain, the water in the drain trap will evaporate allowing sewer gas to come back up the drain.

Clean and store your supplies and equipment.

A rest room properly cleaned every day will never have offensive odors. Remember, no short-cuts!

Project Rest Room Cleaning

With proper daily cleaning, we can be assured our rest rooms always will have a pleasing smell and attractive appearance. From time to time, however, it will be necessary to project-clean the rest rooms in order to give them an extra thorough cleaning and to keep them odor-free.

Almost every area in a rest room is a breeding place for bacteria that cause unpleasant odors. In order to eliminate these odors, we must apply a germicidal detergent solution to all surfaces. How often will you need to project-clean a rest room? Let's say as needed. Your professional experience will tell you when project-work needs to be done, or you can set up project-cleaning of the rest room on a regular schedule.

The solution can be mixed in a mop tank and applied directly to the wall with the doodle bug. This is a time-saving method that also reduces the amount of water used for this procedure.


Getting Ready

Assemble all cleaning supplies on the cleaning cart and take them to the rest room. Leave all supplies and equipment just outside the door and close to the wall.

Empty and clean the trash container, replace the liner, and place the container outside the rest room. Remove toilet tissue and paper towels from the holders and cabinets.

Utilize the dilution station for dispensing cleaning solution. More is not better; it will cause problems in sudsing, streaking, or can be harmful to skin. Be sure to wear rubber gloves.

High Dusting

Using the high duster (and ladder, if needed), dust the vents and clean the light fixtures. If the light fixtures need washing instead of just dry dusting, make sure to turn off the electricity.

Dust all ledges and window sills.

It may be necessary to use the broom to remove toilet paper that sometimes gets stuck on the ceiling.

When high dusting is finished, sweep the floor.


When washing a wall, always start at the bottom and wash up. The wet solution will cause the dry wall to streak as it runs down.

Scrub the wall with the doodlebug and pad. A gong brush works well to scrub around the baseboard.

Rinse the wall with the same solution, starting at the top and rinsing down.

Should the rest room not be equipped with a water-hose hookup, simply use a 44-quart mop bucket for wall washing.

Dip the doodlebug into the mop bucket containing the cleaning solution and wash the wall from the bottom to the top. Dip the doodlebug again and rinse from the top to the bottom.

This method is very effective and does not require excessive equipment. It is also a much safer method for applying the germicide than is spraying.


Clean with a scrub sponge or doodlebug, and rinse the same way the walls were done.


Wash windows with solution and dry.


Clean all the fixtures, sinks, commodes, urinals, etc., and use the scrub sponge to clean the inside and outside. Clean the chrome on the fixtures, and don't forget to clean underneath the sinks.

Rinse the fixtures with the germicide and allow to air dry. Dry with a wiping cloth only the mirrors and chrome.


Apply an amount of germicidal solution to the floor and, using a black pad or nylo-grit stripping brush, scrub the floor with the floor machine. If you have a ceramic tile floor, the nylo-grit stripping brush is good to get into the grout around the tile.

Remove the floor drains and clean, if necessary.

Pick up the solution with the wet pick-up vacuum if needed. Go over the floor with a damp mop with germicidal solution.


When the floor is dry, refill the soap dispensers and replace the toilet tissue and paper towels. Place the trash can in the proper place and you should be finished.

The Cafeteria Kitchen

The custodial staff responsibilities in these areas have been jointly agreed to by the Safety, Environmental, and Housekeeping Services Unit and the Department of School and Community Nutrition Services. The job responsibilities have been established as daily/weekly responsibilities and summer cleaning responsibilities. They are as follows:


Summer Cleaning

Stain-Removal Tips

The following is a list of some common stains found in a school and how to remove them.


Basically, there are three types of stains, unknown, greasy, or water-based. On carpet, never use a circular motion, but use a blotting motion with a white cloth or several layers of paper towels, Try an inconspicuous area first to be sure the color won't be affected. Common stain-removal chemicals and supplies are as follows:

Procedure for Unknown and Grease Removal

Remove as much foreign material as possible by blotting or with a dull knife. Blot with isopropyl alcohol. Do not allow saturation of carpet backing with alcohol. Try blotting with detergent and, if it works, continue. Rinse lightly with water in a spray bottle and blot. If the stain is not completely removed, blot it with hydrogen peroxide, let it stand for one hour, then rinse and blot as before. Dry with a pad of weighted-down paper towels.

Procedure for Water-Based Spot Removal

Blot up as much as possible. Use the wet vac if a large spill is involved. If dried, wet lightly with a spray bottle of water, let it stand one minute, then blot. Continue this procedure and blot until it is dry. If needed use the detergent method described above.



Like dust mopping, frequent damp-mopping and wet-mopping are key factors in floor care. In order to keep the high appearance of resilient tile floors, it is necessary to keep the surface dust and soil removed. If dust and dirt are allowed to remain on the floors, they act like tiny cutting particles, which destroy the finish, causing it to powder and walk off.


Damp-mop daily or as often as possible in classrooms, corridors, and offices.

Use APD for mopping.

Don't use your damp mop for any other purpose, when cleaning especially rest rooms. Using a mop in more than one type of cleaning agent can cause a chemical reaction that can ruin your floor finish.

Mark your mop with "daily mopping" and "APD" so you won't get them confused.

Put about four gallons of all-purpose detergent mixed with cold water in a mop tank.

Dip the mop into the solution until it is well-saturated and wring it out as dry as possible. With a figure-8 motion, start at the furthest corner from the door and mop yourself back out of the door. (This keeps you from walking on the damp floor, which may leave ugly footprints on your floor.)

Dip the mop in the solution and wring it out as often as possible. Change the water when it gets dirty. Don't ever mop a floor with a dirty mop or dirty mop water, as you are only defeating the purpose.


Wet-mopping is a different procedure from damp-mopping. Wet-mopping allows you to soak off heavy soil and is normally done daily in the cafeteria.

Place about four gallons of all-purpose detergent mixed with cold water in a mop tank.

Again, mark your mops, designating what they are used for and what type of chemical you used.

Dip the mop into the tank until it is well-saturated. Don't wring it out--hold it over the bucket and let the excess solution run out. Do not flood the floor with water; it will damage the tile.

Starting at the farthest corner from the door, using the figure-eight motion, lay the solution on the floor. Dip the mop back into the tank as necessary for more solution.

When you have saturated a limited area, dip the mop back into the solution and wring out as dry as possible. Do not allow water to stand on a tile floor for very long or to any appreciable depth.

Pick up the solution, rinsing and wringing the mop as needed.

This should loosen and lift the soil, leaving the floor clean and odor-free.

Stripping and Refinishing

Maintaining resilient tile floors can be one of the easiest cleaning tasks we perform if the floors are properly maintained on a daily basis. If, however, they are not maintained daily, keeping them up becomes one of the most time-consuming tasks that exists in housekeeping.

Proper care of your floors will allow you to go a long time without having to perform the time-consuming tasks of stripping and refinishing.

When it is necessary to strip and refinish, never take short cuts, no matter how tough, messy, and time-consuming the job may be. If it is not done right, the finish will not last. It will mean a lot of time and hard work will have been done in vain. It is impossible to cover up or mend a poorly stripped floor. The stripping will just have to be done over.


As in any task, the first thing to do is to get all of your equipment and supplies together and to make sure everything is in good working order.


Mark your mop handles so that each one is used in one particular solution and for one particular task. Label one for stripping, two for rinsing, one for damp mopping, and one for finish.

Move all of your equipment and supplies to the job site. Any furniture that can be moved will make the area easier to work in.

After all the furniture and movable objects are moved, dust-mop the area thoroughly and pick up the dirt.

Utilize the hand-held dilutions control to mix the stripper solution according to directions on the container in one of the mop tanks. Hot water (if available) should be used as it will soften the old finish and make it easier to remove.

Stuff towels or rags under the doors to prevent he stripping solution from running onto the floors that connect to the one you are stripping.

Stripping Procedure

Place the mop in the stripping solution, lift it in and out, do not wring it, but allow some solution to run back into the mop tank. Starting well away from the door wall, apply the solution to about a 10 ft x 10 ft area. Remember; use the minimum amount of solution it takes to scrub this area. Never flood the floor with excessive stripping solution. After applying the solution to the 10 ft x 10 ft area, apply it next to the baseboards. This will keep it from splattering the walls, as it will not be so full of solution.

Place the stripping pad in the bucket and saturate it with the solution. This will help it do a better job when you start scrubbing. Remember, never scrub an area larger than 10 ft x 10 ft, as the solution should be scrubbed and picked up as rapidly as possible to avoid damage to floor tiles. Place the stripping pad on the floor, and center the floor machine on the pad. Begin scrubbing, moving the machine from side to side, overlapping each pass about half the width of the machine. After you have scrubbed the area in one direction, change direction and go over the area in a crisscross pattern. Scrub as close to the baseboards as possible, moving the machine from left to right to eliminate splattering. Keep the baseboards wiped free of stripper as you work.

Use the doodlebug around the baseboards and other areas where the floor machine will not reach. Some handwork will have to be done in the corners. A putty knife will be needed for this.

As soon as a portion of the floor has been thoroughly scrubbed, immediately pick up the solution with a wet vacuum. If the area begins to dry out before you get it picked up, swirl the mop to keep it wet.

When the stripping procedure is finished, you can begin stripping another 10 ft x 10 ft area while the first one is being rinsed.

After a stripped area has been vacuumed, check it carefully. If any finish remains, repeat the stripping procedures. Floors that have been poorly maintained for a long time may require several stripping operations to remove build-up of old finish.

Do not ever use straight stripper to remove old finish. It will very likely damage the floor tile and will not perform as desired. It is much safer -- and better results are achieved -- to repeat the stripping operation.

REMEMBER: Strip only about a 10 ft x 10 ft area at a time when stripping with a standard side-by-side floor scrubber so that the solution does not stay on the tile any longer than necessary.

Large Industrial Scrubbers

Basically the same procedures are followed for stripping floors when a facility has a large industrial scrubber for use in lieu of a side-by-side floor scrubber. Naturally much larger areas can be completed in a shorter amount of time by using an industrial scrubber. Follow the same stripping procedures as outlined in conjunction with the equipment manufacturer's instructions for usage.

Rinsing Procedure

After all the finish is removed, the floor must be well-rinsed. This is done with two rinses and one damp-mopping. Use clean, clear water. Using a rinse mop, lay a thin solution on the floor and immediately pick it up with the wet vacuum. Repeat this procedure.

Using the second and another rinse mop, damp mop the entire floor, wringing the mop out each time. Be sure all the corners are clean, and rinse the baseboards while you are at it.

When the rinsing is complete, take a damp cloth or sponge and wipe any splashes off walls, woodwork, and baseboards.

When the floor is completely dry, run your hand across it to see if any residue is left. If there is, the floor will have to be rinsed again. This residue is stripper and the finish that has not been removed by a previous stripping. If no residue appears on your hand and there is no visible evidence of unstripped finish, the floor is now ready for new a finish.

Stripping Clean-Up

It is important to clean up all the equipment used in the stripping operation before the stripper and old finish have been allowed to dry and accumulate.

Rinse the mops until the water runs clear. Wring them out and hang them head down to dry. Never leave wet mops in a tank of water. Clean them immediately after use.

Wearing rubber gloves, dispense some stripping solution in a pail. Scrub and rinse the wringers and the mop tanks and store them in the proper place. Scrub the floor machine head, handle, and cord. If stripper is left on the cord, it can damage the floor at a later date if it should come in contact with water on your floor.

Empty and wipe the vacuum, wash the outside, and wipe the cord.

Finish Procedure

After all equipment is cleaned and stored and the floor is dry, you are ready to apply the floor finish. Pour the finish into a mop tank. (A good tip is to line your mop tank with a large, plastic trash bag and throw it away when you are finished. You will have no finish dried on your mop tank.) Pour only the amount of finish that you will use in the mop tank. You can always pour more finish into the tank. Unused finish cannot be saved, and never pour unused finish back into the container, as it will contaminate the good finish.

Dip your finish mop into the tank. Work the finish into the mop well, wringing finish through the mop several times to be sure it is completely saturated. Remember, if you are using a new mop, soak it in water overnight to remove the spinning oils and sizing.

Lift the mop from the tank and place it in the wringer; do not wring it out. Just apply enough pressure on the mop handle to squeeze out excess finish. The first coat should be a medium, uniform coat to act as a base. Apply the finish to the floor. Stay away from the walls, corners, and edges. Frame in the sides of the area to which you are applying finish with straight strokes, staying about 16 inches away from the walls and edges. Then use the figure-eight mop stroke to the rest of the area you have framed. Return to the finish tank for more finish as needed.

Drying time between coats should be a minimum of 30 to 45 minutes. However, if the humidity is high it could take longer. Do not recoat too soon. Just because it feels dry to the touch in a short time does not mean it is ready to recoat. The recommended drying time allows the finish to bond to the floor. If the finish is recoated too soon, it will soften the previous coat and cause the completed job to powder and walk off.

The longer you allow finish to dry between coats, the better the final results will be. Some, when possible, will allow overnight drying time and at least several hours between coats.

Repeat the recoating procedures for the second coat, wringing out the mop a little drier. The second and final coats can be lighter. Again, stay away from walls and edges until the final coat. Change direction when applying the second coat, crisscrossing the previous coat. Change direction each time you recoat. Experience will tell you how many coats the floor needs; usually three to six coats are considered a minimum, depending on the procedures used for daily maintaining of the floor. Remember, each time you buff you will be taking a very thin layer of finish off. This is the way the scratches and scuffs are buffed out.

On your last coat, apply the finish all the way to the wall and edges.

Finish Clean-Up

Clean and store all equipment. Make sure to get all the finish rinsed off the wringer. The tank should require little cleaning, as you have it lined with a plastic bag. Remove the plastic bag from the mop tank and throw it away. If it is not removed, the finish will dry and build up on the equipment and make it unusable over time.

As you can see, stripping and refinishing floors is a time-consuming and difficult task. With a properly stripped and finished floor and good daily maintenance, stripping and refinishing should rarely be necessary.


The best assurance for keeping a well-maintained and attractive floor is to have a regular spray-buff program. Spray-buffing will allow you to keep an attractive floor with minimal effort while prolonging the life of the floor finish and reducing the need for stripping and refinishing.



Before spray-buffing, the floor must first be dust-mopped and damp-mopped to remove all the surface soil. Use the putty knife to remove gum and other deposits from the floor. Pick up walk-off mats and take them outside. Shake them vigorously to remove the grit and soil. If possible, they may be washed with a hose and water.

Dispense a mopping solution of APD and cool water in a mop tank. Using a clean mop, damp-mop the area to be buffed. Follow the procedures given in the section on damp-mopping.

Prepare your spray-buff solution in a spray bottle. Although there are ready-to-use spray-buff solutions, a mixture of one-half water and one-half floor finish will work.
Holding the spray bottle in your free hand, turn on the floor machine. Spray a small amount on the floor to one side of the machine and begin to buff. Continue to buff until a shine is obtained.

Continue this procedure, moving the machine from side to side and overlapping each pass of the machine with the previous pass. Do not spray the solution close to the walls. This will help to prevent buildup around the edges.

When a heel mark or other hard-to-remove mark is encountered, spray the area and rub lightly with the centerpiece from a buffing pad. Use your foot to apply slight pressure. Do not rub too hard and do not “heel” the machine on such spots, as this will result in removing the finish, leaving a dull spot, which will soil rapidly and detract from the floor's overall appearance.

From time to time, it is necessary to clean the buffing pad. Lay the machine down, remove the pad, and brush it briskly with a stiff-bristled brush over a waste container. If this is inconvenient, brush the pad in place on the pad holder and then clean up the debris from the floor.

When one side of the pad becomes too loaded with soil and finish to do a good job, turn it over and use the other side. It is possible to go a long way on one pad.

If you have a high-speed floor machine, follow the same procedure except you do not buff side-to-side but buff in a straight line up and down the hall. The best procedure is to spray the area to your side as you are making your pass. Then you buff this strip on your return pass. In other words, you are always spraying one strip ahead of yourself.

When spray buffing is complete, go over the entire floor thoroughly with a dust mop again. Pick up any dust or debris you have created.


One very, very important thing to remember is to always dust-mop and damp-mop before spray buffing. If you don't, the surface soil is ground into the floor, causing browning and powdering of the finish.

The big plus for spray buffing is that the more you buff the harder the finish becomes, making it less likely to scratch, scuff, and mark.

Terrazzo and Concrete Floors

Terrazzo and concrete floors are treated in almost the same manner as the composition tile floors. One important difference is that terrazzo and concrete take considerably more drying time than vinyl floors. So when stripping, rinsing, and applying floor finish, it is important that you allow the floor to dry completely. This also holds true between coats of finish.

You will use the same equipment and procedure in stripping the terrazzo and concrete floors as previously followed unless installation warranty or floor maintenance guidelines differ. In some instances terrazzo floors are installed with a sealer that negates the need for waxing. If you are unsure of the manufacturer's/installer's directions for proper floor care for your particular school, contract the School Planning Unit at 485-3315.

When you are ready to apply the floor finish, remember to be sure the floor is thoroughly dry. Terrazzo and concrete floors are porous, and if they are not dry the finish will not bond; instead, it will streak and bead up on the floor surface.

Apply all the coats of finish to terrazzo and concrete in light coats. Heavy coats of finish are not recommended as finish will dry too thick, causing deep scuffs that are impossible to remove with normal spray buffing.

Other than the special cautions mentioned above, apply the finish coats in the same way as directed in the section dealing with stripping and refinishing vinyl floors.

Light-Scrubbing and Refinishing

Light-scrubbing and refinishing is a very effective and simple floor-care procedure to use to restore or recondition a floor when total stripping isn't really necessary, but the finish is so scuffed or marred that spray-buffing doesn't do the job.

Light-scrubbing means you are just removing the top layer of finish in order to remove the scuffs and marks and then putting a coat of fresh finish on it. Since you are not completely taking off all the finish, you must be careful not to damage the base coat you are leaving.

Since there are two things that very quickly harm floor finish, it makes common sense not to use them. These two things are hot water and too much detergent. Remember, never use stripper when light-scrubbing. Although you may think you can use a lesser amount, there are chemicals in the stripper that are made just to break down the finish so they may make it unbond from the surface.

The proper scrubbing solution for light-scrubbing is the same solution used for general mopping: cold water and the proper amount of APD that is recommended on the bottle.


Assemble the equipment you will need and move it to the job site.

Mark your mops for solution, rinse, and finish.


Apply the solution to about a 10 ft x 10 ft area and immediately begin to scrub the floor. It is not necessary to scrub up to the baseboards or other stationary objects. These areas probably have not been walked on, so the finish will probably still be in good shape. Make one pass with the floor machine, overlapping half the width of the pad on each pass. Crisscross scrub using the same pattern. You can light scrub very quickly, as you are only removing the surface scuffs.


After the scrubbing process is finished, pick up the dirty solution with a wet vacuum. Immediately flood the floor with cold water and again pick up the solution with a wet vacuum. One flood rinse is usually sufficient when you light-scrub.

Using the same rinse, wring the mop as dry as possible and damp-mop the entire floor. When the floor is dry, rub your hand over the surface to see if it is free of grit and dirt. If there is a powdery film on your hand, it will be necessary to rinse again.


Pour the amount of floor finish you think you will need into a clean mop tank. You are only going to apply one light coat of finish to the floor, so don't pour more than you think will be needed.

Apply the finish using the procedure given in the section on stripping and refinishing tile floors. Don't apply it all the way to the baseboards or areas where you did not scrub. You want to avoid buildup around the edges.

Now that you are finished, clean and store your equipment. Follow up your efforts with a good, daily dust-mopping program, daily damp-mopping, and a good spray-buffing program. You can go for a long, long time before restoration will be needed again.

New Vinyl Floors

Newly laid vinyl floors require special care until they are "cured" and ready to finish. If they are not properly taken care of, the mastic (the black cement used to glue the tile down) may begin to bleed up around the edges of the tile, and you will have a never-ending problem with your finish and the appearance of your floors.

First and foremost follow instructions given by the floor tile manufacturer and/or installer. Not doing so can impact any warranty that may exist. If unsure of the warranty guidelines, contact the School Planning Unit or the Manager of Housekeeping Services. The following are general guidelines that may be used with most new vinyl floors:

For the first 30 days:

The floor may be dust-mopped and damp-mopped only.

Do not flood the floor with water; do not use stripper, detergent, or apply floor finish during the first 30 days.

After 30 days:

Some new vinyl tile is now being manufactured that requires only top scrubbing, using all-purpose detergent to remove the initial protective coating before rinsing and applying finish. Strip the floor using the normal stripping procedures. The floor must be stripped or the finish will not bond. The tile comes from the manufacturer with a protective coating that must be removed before applying the finish. Again, follow instructions given by the floor tile manufacturer and/or installer.

Apply finish to the floor, after stripping, following the normal finishing procedures.

Vinyl Asbestos Floor Care

All remaining vinyl asbestos floor tile in JCPS facilities is progressively being removed as needed and as funding is available. OSHA has established regulations governing the maintenance of vinyl asbestos tile (VAT).

Stripping vinyl asbestos tile:

The floor will be kept wet at all times and, if scrubbing is necessary, only a red or blue pad will be used.

The standard 175 rpm floor machine will be used. A high-speed machine will not be used in stripping.

Vinyl asbestos tile that has no finish on it will not be dry-buffed or burnished. Never dry-strip, spray-buff, or burnish an unfinished floor.

Maintenance of vinyl asbestos tile:

Make sure the floor is clean and damp-mopped prior to buffing.

Vinyl asbestos tile floors can be buffed or burnished with a standard speed or high-speed floor machine as long as a minimum of four coats of floor finish are kept on the floor.

Spray-buffing will be performed with the standard floor machine and red pad. Burnishing will be performed only with the ultra high-speed (white) pad and high-speed floor machine. The red pad should not be used with the high-speed floor machine.

Since each buffing or burnishing cycle removes a small amount of floor finish, an additional coat of finish should be applied after each sixth repetition of buffing or burnishing.


All custodial employees will receive asbestos awareness training upon initial employment with JCPS.

OSHA regulations require annual refresher training, which will be conducted by the Safety, Environmental, and Housekeeping Services Unit at annual housekeeping professional-development sessions.

Carpet Shampooing

As with any other type of floor, a carpeted floor requires a regular maintenance program to look good and to ensure maximum wear.

First, daily vacuuming and spot cleaning are necessary. If regular vacuuming is not done, the soil goes deeper and deeper into the carpet fiber, becomes more difficult to get out, and acts as sharp cutting edges, causing the carpet to wear. So, vacuum daily.

An effective way to clean the carpet between major shampooing is to use a carpet pad (bonnet) and your floor machine. This provides good surface cleaning and is fast and simple to perform. Carpets must be left as dry as possible to help avoid mold, mildew, and odors. Fans should be used to speed drying. The door to the areas should remain open and the lights left on until the carpet is completely dry.



Mix the cleaning solution according to the manufacturer's directions. Pour the solution into the pressure sprayer, and fill your mop tank about 2/3 full of water.

Move all of your equipment to the work site.

First, vacuum the carpet thoroughly and remove any gum, etc.

Next, spray an area about 10 ft x 10 ft using a side-to-side motion, overlapping the previously sprayed area. If you spray too large an area, the chemical will evaporate before you can clean it.

Wait about five minutes before starting to scrub to allow the chemical to work.

Saturate the pad in the mop bucket of water and wring out as dry as possible.

Mount the floor machine on the pad and begin cleaning. Work in a straight path from side to side. Each time you change direction, overlap the previous pass about half the width of the pad.

Turn the pad and crisscross clean the same area. This will prevent missing areas, which could result in a striped effect.

Spray another area, rinse the pad, and repeat this procedure until the entire carpeted area has been cleaned.

Use this method of cleaning on soiled traffic areas as needed.

A good, daily maintenance program and this cleaning procedure will extend the life of your carpet and will keep it looking better a long time.

Carpet Extraction Method of Cleaning

When a carpet extractor is available, this method of carpet cleaning may be used in lieu of bonnet cleaning. Follow equipment manufacturer's directions for equipment use.

Which method to use is most often an individual preference or is based upon equipment available. Both methods are effective.

With either method, it is extremely important that once you clean the carpet you extract as much moisture as possible, leaving the newly cleaned carpet as dry as possible.

Soap and carpet-cleaning chemicals attract dirt so do not overmix chemicals. As always, follow the manufacturer's directions for diluted ratio, and rinse if possible.

Whichever method you use, always ensure that your ventilation system is working properly, use fans to dry carpet if possible, and leave the door open and the lights on until the carpet is completely dry.

Disposable Dust Mops

When properly followed, the system works better than a rental service and is more cost effective. When properly cleaned daily and treated with dust-mop treatment, the dust mops have been used without changing for six months.

The following procedures should be followed:

Initial Setup

The frame and swivel handle are attached to each other. Note the three rows of Velcro-type "teeth" on the bottom of the frame.

Cut the desired length of disposable dust mop with a razor blade to match the selected base. The dust mop attaches to the frame by pressing together the Velcro-type "teeth" on the base and the Velcro-type loops on the dust mop.

Apply the treatment as directed in the following paragraph.

Treating Dust Mops

Initial treatment of new mop: New disposable mop heads should be thoroughly sprayed with dust-mop treatment as follows:

Retreating used mops: After daily cleaning, the used mops (see paragraph below on cleaning) should be retreated as follows:

Dust mops should be treated the day before they are to be used and then hung overnight, with wicks hanging down, if possible, before use.

The mop will begin to appear dirty after continued use; however, with proper cleaning and treatment the dust mop becomes more and more effective.


The disposable mop can be cleaned in several ways. To remain effective, it must be cleaned each day after use.

Place the frame on the ground with the yarn side up, backing down. Stand on one end of the dust mop and sweep the mop briskly with a broom.

The mop may be cleaned while on the frame by brushing vigorously with a gong brush.
After brushing or sweeping, going over the mop with the dry vacuum has been found to be very effective.

Stains that Cannot Be Removed from Carpet

Consult JCPS carpet care professionals by calling 485-3565.

Specific Stain Removal Tips: (following the above procedures)

Remember, always blot clean all stains on fabric or carpets so stain does not spread outward. Also, Housekeeping Services maintains a database and can be contacted to ask for suggestions if your best efforts are not successful.

School Not in Session Responsibilities

Scheduled breaks are when you need to catch up on the things that usually cannot be accomplished during the school year because of building usage and time limitations, and to get your school in tiptop shape for the opening of school. However, if some kind of a cleaning program or schedule is not planned, the break will be gone and many things will be left to be done at the last minute.

Following is a list of the tasks to be done to help you in preparing your schedule. Don't consider it all-inclusive, but add those additional things you know are needed.

The most important thing: Have some kind of summer cleaning plan and schedule.

Summer Cleaning Routine

Trash/Debris--Remove from entire building including all outside buildings and grounds.

Boiler Rooms--Must be cleaned first

Office Areas

Classroom(s)--Start on the top floor, then work down.

Hallways/Stairways--Start on top floor, then work down.

Gym/Physical Education



Your summer cleaning schedule must be scheduled around the following:

Scheduled summer programs involving students and the community. (Your principal should be able to provide you with beginning and ending dates/times of scheduled programs and activities.)

Planned construction/renovation projects. Your Quality Control Inspector (reached by calling 485-3565) will provide you with all needed information (i.e., scope of work, beginning and scheduled ending dates).

You must create a written schedule for "Summer Cleaning." This will allow you to benchmark and gauge timelines.

Suggestions for planning a successful summer schedule:

Clean areas in logical sequence, starting at the top and working your way down, as much as possible.

It takes teamwork--It is hoped that you and your staff function well working together to achieve quality results. Be cognizant of scheduled vacations.

Don't allow yourself to become frustrated when your tentative schedule must be altered. JCPS students are the reason we are here. Everything we do is for them!

Be proactive. Do everything possible ahead of time and at the beginning of summer to avoid "crunch time" immediately before school starts.

If classrooms must be moved or interchanged, meet with your principal ahead of time. It is helpful if teachers pack in boxes the contents of cabinets and bookcases. Make sure all boxes are clearly labeled and not over-packed. Tag all furniture and equipment before you start moving to avoid mix-ups.