Complete Guide To Floor Cleaning Machines And Their Uses

The floor cleaning machines on the market today are more powerful, more intuitive and more efficient than ever before, enabling superior cleaning results in much shorter timeframes.  With advancements in technology and a focus on ergonomic design, they are also safer, easier to operate and more environmentally friendly than the equipment of old.

There is a such a variety of floor cleaning machines available, with many designed for specific cleaning purposes or type of flooring in commercial, industrial and household settings.

So how do you know which floor cleaning machine will suit your needs? There are a number of questions you need to consider before making your purchasing decision, including:

  • What floor surface needs cleaning?
  • How big is the area to be cleaned?
  • Is it an open space or are there narrow passages and tight turns?
  • What is the level of cleaning required? e. regular maintenance cleaning or deep cleaning.
  • What is the level of soiling?
  • Is it an indoor or outdoor area?

If you’re in the market for a new floor cleaning machine, this guide is a useful resource, outlining the different types of floor cleaning machines and their uses, and will help you identify the most appropriate solution for your unique floor cleaning requirements.

Floor Scrubbers (This is a wet cleaning process)

Floor scrubbers or scrubber dryers are one of the most-used cleaning machines for cleaning hard floor surfaces in commercial and industrial settings.  These versatile machines use water (and sometimes chemicals) and a brushing action to remove grease, grime, stains, debris and other dirt from a range of floor surfaces, before removing the waste and drying the surface.

There are three main types of floor scrubbers: walk-behind scrubbers, ride-on scrubbers and robotic (autonomous) scrubbers for use in indoors and outdoors. These come in a variety of different power sources including, battery, electric and petrol/diesel/LPG models.

Compact, walk behind floor scrubbers are ideal for cleaning any hard floor surface in small to medium sized areas and are particularly useful in congested, narrow hallways or hard-to-access area.  They are widely used in schools, hospitals, hospitality and retail environments.

Larger ride-on floor scrubbers are commonly used in commercial and industrial environments with large, open spaces. They and highly productive and efficient at cleaning large floor surfaces with ease, with reduced operator fatigue. Ride-on floor scrubbers are ideal for use in warehouses, factories, shopping centre, transport hubs.

Robotic floor scrubbers are used in a variety of commercial and industrial settings where productivity is paramount to clean large ears quickly and efficiently, such as shopping centres and airports. Their advanced AI technology allows the machine to map, navigate, clean and dry the floor without the use of an operator.

Sweepers (This is a dry cleaning process)

A  sweeper can be used indoors or outdoors to collect dust, dirt, debris and other litter from a range of floor surfaces. These wheeled cleaning machines act like a traditional broom to sweep the dirt and debris into the onboard waste bin for later disposal. Some models also include a vacuum to ensure dust is suctioned into the filter system and not back onto the floor.

Sweepers come in a range of models suitable for different cleaning applications across small to large indoor and outdoor spaces.

Manual push sweepers don’t have a motor and the operator pushes the sweeper and the rotating brush collects the dirt into the waste container. Push sweepers are ideal for cleaning small yards and pavements and much more effective than traditional sweeping with a broom.

Walk-behind sweepers feature a motor (battery, petrol, diesel or LPG powered) to drive the brush and sometimes a motor to propel the machine forward. They feature rotating brushes with the operator guiding the machine with minimal effort, to clean easily and effectively in narrow congested spaces, both indoors and outdoors. Walk-behind sweepers are ideal for medium-sized surfaces such as factories, workshops, footpaths, halls, and warehouses.

Larger ride-on sweepers are motorised (electric or combustion engine) and rely on an operator to sit on the sweeper and steer it like a motor vehicle. They are ideal for sweeping very large areas quickly and used extensively in manufacturing, processing plants, logistics, airports and large carparks.

Road and street sweepers, as the name suggests, are designed to clean roads and parking lots and feature large waste containers and several stages of filtration to ensure all debris, leaves, paper, bottles, cans and even fine dust is collected.

manufacturing, processing plants, logistics, airports and large carparks.

Combination Machines (Floor Scrubber Sweepers)

There are a small number of combination machines which combine both sweeping and scrubbing actions. These cleaning machines are usually at the larger end of the market and enable the facility to be swept and scrubbed efficiently with one machine.

Steam cleaners

Steam cleaning machines are an excellent choice where the highest standards of hygiene are required.  They use high-temperature steam to remove dirt, destroy viruses, disinfect, sanitise AND deodorise different types of floor surfaces and can be used in above ground surface cleaning.  Because the steam eradicates up to 99.99% percent of dust mites, germs and bacteria, including dangerous viruses such as coronavirus, salmonella, staph bacteria and E. coli, steam cleaners are ideal for hospitals, commercial kitchens, aged care facilities, restaurants, food and beverage processing plants and even households.

Steam cleaning offers many other benefits including eco-friendly with no, or minimal, use of harmful chemicals, cost effective, quick drying ensuring the workplace is safe to walk on within a short period.

Steam cleaners offer versatile cleaning and can used effectively on heavily soiled and stained carpets, upholstery, and other furnishings, tile and grout, showers, toilets, sinks, countertops, mattresses, grills, windows, curtains, cars, and many more cleaning applications.

Industrial steam cleaners or heavy-duty pressurised steam generators can tackle even the harshest industrial environments including food production facilities, cleaning and disinfecting bottle lines, machinery, weed removal, graffiti removal and industrial cleaning.

Carpet Cleaners and Extractors

Carpet cleaners and carpet extractors are designed specifically for deep cleaning carpets using a combination of heat, pressure and suction. These powerful cleaning machines are able to penetrate deep into the carpet pile to remove embedded dirt, germs and stains.

A commercial carpet cleaner or extractor come in many shapes, sizes and for different uses to clean small and large carpeted areas, rugs, mats and with various attachments can also clean upholstery, tile and grout.

 Carpet spotters are small, lightweight and portable machines designed to remove stains, spots and spills quickly & easily.

Walk-behind carpet cleaners and extractors are designed to be pushed or pulled along by the operator and used in medium to larger spaces such as hotels, schools and large office spaces.

Self-contained carpet extractors are large carpet cleaning machines, more powerful with high-capacity tanks to clean large areas, more quickly. The are widely used by professional carpet cleaners.

Ride-on carpet extractors are very large machines with the operator sitting on the machine to guide it, usually in large, high traffic areas. They are ideal for use at airports, convention centres and other large facilities.

Vacuum Cleaners

A robust, powerful commercial vacuum cleaner is essential to ensure your floors are kept clean, for the health and safety of your workforce and to provide a positive image for your business.

There are a large range of commercial and industrial vacuum cleaners designed for heavy duty cleaning available to suit different types of flooring and floor sizes. It is important to consider your cleaning requirements, frequency of cleaning, filtration required for types of debris, vacuum capacity, power and suction, accessories, noise level, user comfort and durability, to determine the best vacuum cleaner for your needs.

The different types of commercial vacuum cleaners include the following:

  • Barrel or cannister vacuums feature a wheeled cannister unit connected to a flexible hose and wand. They are versatile vacuum cleaners for reaching tight spaces and use on various surfaces such as carpets, hard floors, stairs and upholstery. Cannister vacuums are used extensively in hotels, retail spaces, offices, hospitality, schools etc.
  • Backpack Vacuums are worn on the operators back, allowing freedom of movement in hard-to-reach areas and tight spaces. Many models are lightweight, ergonomically designed for operator comfort and to allow longer cleaning times. Backpack vacuums are used by contract cleaner, facility managers, restaurants, schools, cinemas etc.
  • Upright vacuum cleaner are easy use and maneuver and ideal for deep cleaning of carpets in hotels, office and retail spaces. They usually have a motorised brush which is excellent for agitating the carpet fibres and releasing trapped dirt and soil.
  • Wet and dry vacuums are used to remove both liquids and solids with powerful suction vacuum and high filtration levels. They often feature more than one vacuum motor and so are designed to cope with large volumes of dirt and soil. They are widely used at construction sites, automotive workshops, and other commercial environments.
  • Industrial vacuum cleaners are robust, heavy-duty, powerful vacuums designed for the toughest cleaning task. They are ideal for removing fine dust, debris, hazardous materials and often used is in factories and manufacturing plants to meet a specific cleaning requirement.
  • High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) vacuum cleaners feature a HEPA filter that captures and traps tiny particles and allergens that are often too small to be caught by regular vacuum filters. These particles can include dust mites, pet dander, pollen, mould spores, and even some bacteria and viruses. They are ideal for use in areas where maintaining clean and healthy air is essential, including hospitals, aged care facilities, and laboratories.
  • Hazardous vacuums or asbestos vacuums, either H, L or M class, are designed to safely handle and remove hazardous materials and substances such as asbestos, lead, silica dust and other carcinogenic materials. These vacuum cleaners are typically used in industrial settings, laboratories, construction sites, and other environments where the cleaning process involves the collection of dangerous or potentially harmful materials that cannot be safely handled by a standard vacuum cleaner. We recommend using personal protective equipment (PPE), a mask, and eye protection, when operating in these environments.
  • Battery powered vacuums are available in backpack, cannister, wet and dry models and are ideal where there is limited access to power and offer more efficient, cordless cleaning in congested areas.
  • Ride-on vacuum cleaners are large, industrial machines that allow the operator to ride on (sit or stand-on) to enable cleaning larger areas quickly. They are often used in shopping centres, warehouses and airports.

Pressure washers

A pressure washer is a cleaning machine that utilises highly pressurised water to clean and remove built-up, ingrained dirt and grime from a variety of surfaces.  Pressure cleaners are excellent for cleaning external surfaces, such as removing algae from tiles, mould from grout lines or accumulated grime on concrete driveways and can be used on walls as well as floors. Pressure washers use adjustable pressure jets to eliminate stubborn stains and dirt without the need for hazardous chemicals or intensive physical labour, enabling fast and efficient cleaning.

Hot and cold-water pressure washers are commonly used in commercial and industrial settings such as to clean equipment, machinery and floors, construction sites, warehouses, workshops, agricultural facilities motor vehicle repair centres, parking lots and many more.

Burnishers and polishers

A floor burnisher or polisher is and ideal piece to clean, buff or polish a variety of different hard floor types including vinyl, terrazzo, polished concrete, marble, wood, laminate and linoleum.  

These floor machines are available in a variety of sizes and power options (electric, battery or gas) including walk-behind and ride-on models.  They are used in commercial and industrial environments are an important tool to maintain the appearance and cleanliness of large floor areas exposed to heavy foot traffic.

A floor burnisher or Ultra High-Speed Polisher (UHS) is a powerful, specialised machine designed for maintenance and polishing and used to enhance the gloss or shine of sealed surfaces.

A floor polisher, also known as a floor buffer, is a specialised machine designed to clean, scrub and polish a variety of floor surfaces.

A final word on floor cleaning machines and their uses

Every facility has a unique cleaning need.  Fortunately, there are specialised cleaning machines that have been specifically engineered to tackle specific tasks, for different types of flooring and surfaces.

The team at Commercial Cleaning Equipment has extensive industry experience and in-depth product knowledge on the various types of floor cleaning machines and their uses. We can help you choose the right cleaning machine for your cleaning task. We only stock high quality cleaning machines backed up by product warranties, training and after sales support.

Call us today on 08 9249 8744 to arrange a site survey and demonstration or visit us in store to view our range of floor cleaning machines form world leading brands Tennant, Comac, Karcher, Duplex, Tecnovap, Steamvac. SV Equipment, MotorScrubber, Makita, Haaga, Numatic, Sebo, Pacvac, Pullman, Pioner Eclipse, XPOWER and more.

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