The Truth About Gym Floor Auto Scrubbers

More than likely, large-facility maintenance crews will rely on a gym floor auto scrubber to save time.  For larger institutions like universities or 5A public schools, maintenance crews could be caring for up to 18,000+ square feet of hardwood floors. Gym floors are a lot of work. With all that must be done, it’s easy for staff to miss, or shortcut, the many do’s and don’ts of gym floor maintenance.  Time is money after all, and there is plenty to do before game time.

However, if maintenance is not careful with a scrubbing machine, everything will go wrong. The reality is that gym floor auto scrubber use is a risky option just so your maintenance crew can save 45 minutes. We know! Everyone is using auto scrubbing machines on their gym floors. In fact, some of our clients use scrubbing machines on their gym floors. More times than not, those clients call us wishing they’d have listened to QHF Sports. 

Truth of Gym Floor Auto Scrubbers

QHF Sports (QHF) stands by the Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association in recommending against the use of a gym floor auto scrubber on wood floors. Auto scrubbers forcefully spray water on your hardwood floors. 

Do Not Auto Scrub Your Gym Floors!

Many floor scrubbing machine manufacturers implicitly cover-their-backends by stating that auto scrubbing machines are only to be used by highly trained operators. They have lists of reasons why… lists! Hmmm? You mean not just anyone can take them for a spin? Why not? If you are still on the fence about them, then let’s get deeper into the finish of auto scrubbers.

Auto Scrubbers Vs. Gym Flooring:

  • Shaling / Splintering
  • Major shrinkage and expansion
  • Floor boards splitting
  • Uneven cupping

Auto Scrubbers Vs. Floor Finish

  • Early, and excessive, wear on the finish
  • Chipping and peeling of paint and finish
  • Swirling scrub-marks in the finish
  • Dull finish appearance

Remember kids, water and wood flooring are not friends. As stated above, a gym floor auto scrubber puts water and cleaning chemicals on the wood. These machines do this with such force that if the vacuuming system is not functioning properly, water will seep in between the floor boards. Voilà… swelling, extracting, cupping.

Additionally, the wrong cleaning chemicals can leave a haze on your gym floor. Then your shiny gym floor is left looking dull.  We’re happy to come back and refinish your gym floors, but your purse wont be.

Did we mention properly sweeping and tacking (using a lightly-damp mop) your floor before scrubbing? If all dirt and debris are not entirely removed, your auto scrubber brush just became a sander. We recommend dry mopping / sweeping your gym towards the gym entrance, starting from the opposite end.  It’s a great way to get your steps in!

Instead Of A Gym Floor Auto Scrubber

QHF knows gym floor maintenance is a lot of work. There isn't an easy way to maintain your gym floors to keep a beautiful shine, perfect performance and athlete safety. Since we've convinced you not to use a gym floor auto scrubber, QHF does have some recommendations.

When it comes to cleaning your gym floors, be wary of cleaning products.  Keep your home cleaning products at home.  QHF recommends a neutral cleaning solution for your gym floors for routine maintenance.  Advantage Coatings Technologies has Pro Sport Clean - Gym Cleaner for removing black marks and dirt “without dulling the sheen of the floor”.

For minor spills, or spot cleaning, it is recommended to first dry-up wet area asap.  After this, use a lightly damp (not wet!) towel to remove any residue left behind.  Again, use only neutral cleaners!

QHF Sports loves discussing gym floor maintenance with our clients, and we hear of new solutions daily.  Some clients have had success with tacking their entire gym floors with products like CourtClean's Damp Mop System.  (Notice it says "damp", not wet).  Facility maintenance will need to walk their floors for this, so show that step-tracker what's what.

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